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Interview with a Book Blogger | Jeffrey D. Keeten | Jeffrey Keeten


Jeffrey D. Keeten
aka JeffreyKeeten

Q.1 Please introduce yourself – Where are you from? How long have you been blogging? What’s the name of your blog? What made you decide to start a book blog? 
A. I worked for ten years in the book biz in Arizona and California before taking a job with a farm publication in Dodge City, Kansas. I eventually ended up owning part of the company, and when it sold a year or so ago, I decided to spend my time reading and writing full time. 

I started book reviewing with writing pithy reviews on Goodreads but eventually started writing more in-depth reviews that led to me starting my own book blog at jeffreykeeten.com. There are not a lot of readers in Kansas, so I wanted to reach out to book lovers around the world, and through GR and my blog I have met so many wonderful readers. I have over 224,000 followers on GR now. I think I’ve been writing reviews for about six years now. 

Q.2 What is your favorite genre and book?
A. I am probably considered one of the most eclectic readers on GR. I’m more about good writing than I am about staying within a certain genre. Recently, I’ve been reading a lot of hardboiled mysteries and Revolutionary War history, but next month it might be gothic mysteries and science fiction. Asking what my favorite book is like asking which is my favorite child, but I have two books that were important to me when I first read them. I read Treasure Island when I was about ten, and I owe a debt to Robert Louis Stevenson for turning me into a lifetime reader because that book was the first magic carpet ride I took to a different place and time. I had no idea that books could be that good. When I read The Great Gatsby in high school, I thought to myself, I hope someday I can write a book this well written with such compelling characters. Even though I’ve read thousands of books since I read Gatsby, I still think of it as a watershed moment in my reading life. 

Q.3 What one piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you first started book blogging?
A. I need all the advice I can get now! I have been blogging for the love of the game at this point, but at some point, I will need to think about monetizing what I do and will need all the help I can get. 

Q.4 What piece of advice you would like to give to other bloggers?
A. Start a blog that you have an unending number of things to write about and hopefully things that you love. Creating your own content is king/queen to being successful. 

Q.5 How many books are actually in your bookshelf/shelves right now?
A. 4000+. I’ve been given so many books over the decades by writers and publishers, not to mention the books I’ve bought myself, that every few years I have to go through and purge the shelves to make room for new books. I can usually only find a hundred or so that I can let go of. Some of the first edition, signed copies have become too valuable to part with.

Q.6 If you could be a character from a book for just one day who would you be and why?
A. I think I’d enjoy being Philip Marlowe in the middle of The Big Sleep case. I get to wear a fedora, trenchcoat and carry a big gun. It would be fun trading innuendos with Vivian Rutledge. I’d pick one of those days when he doesn’t get slugged in the back of the head though, which seems to be few and far between.  

Q.7 Is blogging your profession or just a hobby? Does your family support you? What’s their take on this?
A. I guess I should consider it a hobby, but it can take up enough time to be considered my profession. My family loves the fact that I’m not giving away 60 hours of my life a week to the business. They get to see me more, and certainly, my stress levels have fallen to nearly zero. They are impressed that so many people read what I write. 

Q.8 What do you think is the best strategy for getting more visitors to a blog?
A. Content, content, and more content. I would suggest posting on more social media sites than I do as well. I keep to GR and FB along with my blog. I’ve noticed that people who leave GR do still come to my blog, but I would have never met them without GR. 

Q.9 What are the top 3 characteristics you look for in a good book?
A. It has to be well written. If I don’t like the writing style, I don’t care how wonderful or twisty the plot is. I like authentic characters. I don’t even have to like them, but as long as they are portrayed in such a way that I can imagine them existing in real life, I’m happy with the writer. I like the book to be edgy with great dialogue. Too much of the writing coming out of MFA programs reads like they were put through the same word and plot strainer, and don’t get me started on YA.  

Q.10 What are your favorite Instagram/Bookstagram/Booktuber accounts?
A. I’m laughing right now as I think about how to answer this question. I don’t really interact with other bloggers. I don’t really read other blogs. I’m too engrossed in reading books! I should probably check out what other people are doing and steal their best ideas, but I’m just too busy doing my own thing. 

● A few words for our readers and Books Charming -
I appreciate Aakanksha Jain getting in touch with me and asking me to participate in this interview. I have many people every year ask me how I read so many books, and how I select the books I read. I read every chance I get, and I encourage everyone to do that. There are a few things you can be doing that will benefit you more immediately and in the long term. Don’t continue to read a book you don’t like. Toss it aside and move on to a new book that will trip the light fantastic in your brain. Stretch your reading comfort zone. Don’t pass on a book because of length. Some of the greatest reading experiences I’ve had have been with books that resemble door stops. Classics are classics for a reason and be sure to read as many of them as you can. Take notes as you read what you like. I’ve often pulled a book off the shelf years after reading it and used my notes to reread favorite passages. Apply what you read to your life. 

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