Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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Book blogger spotlight: Lectito

Since starting her book blog Lectito in 2015, Margot McGovern believes that blogging has become ‘much more fluid’. ‘Most of the bloggers I follow work across multiple platforms and use social media as an extension of their blog rather than just a way to promote core content,’ she says. McGovern spoke to Books+Publishing for our ‘Book blogger spotlight’ series. 

Describe your blog in under 50 words. 

My motto at Lectito is: ‘Read widely. Read deeply. Read often.’ I publish (hopefully) informed yet informal reviews of books across a range of categories and genres, as well as tips for new book bloggers and the occasional bit of writing advice.

What makes your blog unique? 

Probably my posts about the back end of blogging. I get really excited about the behind-the-scenes stuff! Blogging looks deceptively simple from the outside and it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking everyone else is just breezing along. In reality, it takes a huge amount of time and effort, and there’s a lot of trial and error involved. So I think it’s important for bloggers to support each other and talk about the challenges we face and how we tackle them.

When and how did you get started? 

I moved from Melbourne to Perth in May 2015 and left behind a magazine job where I did a lot of work in digital media as well as a wonderful book club, both of which I missed. So Lectito started as a way to keep talking books with fellow readers and also continue developing my digital and social media skills. 

In the beginning, I focused mostly on the blog itself, but I quickly fell in love with micro-blogging on Instagram and have increasingly put more energy into that, especially over the past few months when I’ve been unexpectedly busy and haven’t had as much time for writing longer posts.

How do you find out about new books? 

I hear about books from all kinds of places: publisher catalogues, other book bloggers, NetGalley, podcasts, Instagram, Twitter, recommendations from friends, reviews in more traditional media, browsing bookshops, and so on.

There are also a few publishers who are kind enough to send titles my way when they think I’ll enjoy them, and it’s always a treat to find a new book waiting in the letterbox. I’ve discovered some of my favourite reads of recent years this way. However, it can be tricky to read and post reviews of these titles before their publication date if I don’t know they’re coming, especially at the moment as I’m heavily pregnant and working flat chat with the team at Penguin Random House to finish the major edits on my YA novel, Neverland, before bub arrives!

What audience do you reach? 

Lectito’s audience varies across platforms, and it’s changed over time. The blog originally attracted readers predominantly from the US, and my Instagram account was largely followed by US and UK bookstagrammers. However, I spend a lot of time hanging out around the #LoveOzYA and #AussieReaders tags and my Australian readership is growing rapidly. I’ve also found that Aussie readers are the ones more likely to strike up conversations and become long-term engaged readers, so the stats are a little misleading.

Lectito’s audience is overwhelmingly female (83%) and currently most popular with the 18-24 and 25-34 age demographics, which is interesting given that, for the past six months or so, I’ve predominantly reviewed YA.

What other book blogs do you regularly follow?

Oh gosh, lots—way too many to list them all! I’m a long-time fan of Danielle Binks’ Alpha Reader. Amanda, aka The Bookish Manicurist, does fabulous things on BookTube and Instagram. I often trade book recommendations with Lucy Pearson who writes about reading and travel over at The Unlikely Bookworm, and her photography never fails to stir my wanderlust. Lately, I’ve also been loving the Better Words podcast hosted by book bloggers Caitlin (Just a Bookish Babe) and Michelle (The Unfinished Bookshelf). And on Instagram I’m a big fan of my fellow co-conspirators behind the #AussieReaders tag: Erica (@libretto_reviews), Danielle (@halfdesertedstreets), Elle (@ellebiblio), Tamsien (@babblingbooks), Michaela (@crazybooklady_), Kate (@lillytales), Annie (@thebookcube) and Alex (@epicbookclub).

What has been your most popular post? 

I run a series of blog posts recommending my favourite Instagrammers for fellow bookworms to follow—both the series and the individual post have been very popular. I also have a post about how to make more time for reading that consistently gets lots of views.

What’s your favourite social media platform, and what recent trends in social media have you noticed in book blogging? 

Instagram is easily my favourite place to hang out online. It’s still largely a troll-free zone and the bookish community there is extremely welcoming and supportive. I absolutely love seeing other bookworms’ pictures and the creative ways they present their favourite books and reading life—it’s really inspiring—and I have so much fun making images of my own too!

In terms of trends, it seems like bloggers have been moving away from the more traditional blog format for a while now. Most of the bloggers I follow work across multiple platforms and use social media as an extension of their blog rather than just a way to promote core content. Even since I started Lectito in mid-2015, the concept of blogging seems to have become much more fluid. It’s really exciting!

There’s also currently a big push towards achieving greater diversity with regards to what books are published, who talks about them and the industry as a whole. That push has largely been led by the online reading community, in particular, younger readers and reviewers. I hope that continues. I’ve also loved seeing the #LoveOzYA movement grow from strength to strength.

What are you reading now?  

I’m on a bit of a YA binge at the moment. I’ve just started The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis, which I picked up after falling in love with his story ‘I Can See the Ending’ featured in Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology. Next up, I’ve got A Shadows Breath by Nicole Hayes waiting on my shelf and I’m counting the sleeps until I can get my hands on Jay Kristoff’s Godsgrave and Take Three Girls by Cath Crowley, Simmone Howell and Fiona Wood.



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