Beth over at BooksNest is an absolute powerhouse in the bookish blogging world. She has an incredibly successful social presence, particularly on Instagram and Twitter and her blog has won multiple awards. Seriously, go take a look and in less than 5 minutes you’ll understand why! On top of that, she’s one of the most genuine and sweetest people I’ve ever had the pleasure to speak to and follow.
During YALC 2020, Beth won ‘Best Established Blogger’ UKYA Blogger Award, and previously won the UKYA Blogging Award for Most Inspirational in 2019. And again, it’s not hard to see why.
I feel incredibly blessed to have been able to interview Beth shortly after her most recent blog award win. So let’s get on to the chat!
V: First of all, congratulations on your most recent win for ‘Best Established Blogger’ – you must be extremely proud. But I’m curious about the beginning of your journey! You’ve said that you started BooksNest way back in 2016 as a creative expression and as an Instagram. Since then BookNest has become a well-known brand in the bookish community – but where did the name come from? What inspired it?
Beth: I wish I had some fun origin story for the name BooksNest, but honestly I can’t remember! I created the account first as an Instagram account, being desperate to take part in the bookish community in some way. It was a New Year’s resolution of mine actually, so I think I probably came up with the name whilst drifting off to sleep on New Year’s Eve and thinking about different combinations of words. I think I must have liked the idea of a nest of books and gone from there!
V: Your accounts definitely have a defined colour scheme! Why yellow? Where did the inspiration behind your aesthetic come from?
Beth: I think I can blame my lovely yellow armchair for my addiction to yellow, that and the positive glow I feel when looking at a yellow space. I’ve always loved bright colours and when styling my current bedroom, I went down a yellow route. It felt natural that my feed would take on that colouring too as most of my photos are taken in that room, and it kind of went from there really.
So basically, the inspiration behind the aesthetic came from the yellow chair of my dreams and blossomed from there! I also just find it such a positive and happy colour that it fits so perfectly with the mindset I’m trying to help promote.
V: You’ve been on such an incredible journey so far. What have been some of your highlights from Day 1 to today?
Beth: I love this question! I’ve seen a lot of amazing things come out of my BooksNest platforms, but to list a couple of them, I’d have to start with making the friends I have. I’ve made some of my best friends because of my platform and I am so happy that I have been able to do that. So that will always be my best highlight.
I’ve also been to a few exciting events because of my blog. I was invited to the premier for BBC’s His Dark Materials which was seriously cool. It was at a very swish London venue filled with celebs and fancy foods, I honestly still can’t quite believe it happened!
Another highlight would be going to a launch event for Brigid Kemmerer’s A Heart So Fierce and Broken in The Sketch in London, another really funky venue and exciting event!
And finally, one more highlight would be speaking on a panel at YALC last year (and virtually this year) with UKYABA and later going on to win awards both years too!
V: Such an incredible journey couldn’t have been without some bumps in the road. How have you overcome any difficulties along the way?
Beth: I don’t really find I’ve had many blocks, which is lucky I know, but I think the biggest difficulty I always face is time. I work a full-time job, would like to try and keep up with my reading and have a social life.
And then I blog, create YouTube videos and Instagram photos, which has quickly turned into a full-time job on its own! Sometimes I’m working late into the night and trying to get multiple things done at once which can make me feel a bit overwhelmed. But because I love creating content so much it never seems like too much of an issue. Thankfully I’m good at time management so I can try and make this as easy on myself as possible. But creating for so many platforms certainly takes its time!
V: As well as bookish content, you also focus on mental health a lot on your blog. Where did the inspiration come from to pair books and mental health and how rewarding have you found the experience?
Beth: I think for me the mental health side of things has somewhat separated from the book side, so my mental health posts often become their own topic within my blog. I have been diagnosed with OCD since I was 14, and the word depression has also been mentioned to me multiple times, so mental health is incredibly important to me.
I want to create more awareness for the things I feel passionate about, so it felt like a natural step to have that section on my blog too. Of course, it’s also brilliant to promote books talking accurately about mental health as I know these can also be a huge help to people who need it.
V: As someone who is deeply involved in the book community, what’s your biggest piece of advice for someone looking to join the book community?
Beth: I think a lot of people give similar advice such as make sure you’re enjoying it and don’t enter into it thinking you’re going to make money right away.
But I think what I would say is to go into this being kind to yourself.
It can be easy to look at the accounts that have been doing it for years and compare yourself to them. But this has taken me 4 and a half years to get to where I am now, and at times I definitely compared myself to others for sure. But never think unkindly about yourself and your own progress. We’re all here because we love books and want to make content about them, so let’s really make the most of our passions!
V: Speaking of passions, what book are you currently reading?
Beth: I’m reading The Burning God by R. F. Kuang at the moment, which is an advanced copy eArc as the book doesn’t come out until November 2020. It’s the third book in The Poppy War series, which is one of my favourites, an epic fantasy with so so much depth to it! Very excited to be reading this one!
V: You’ve already accomplished so much in the four and a half years you’ve been part of the bookish community, but what’s next for BooksNest?
Beth: I think my biggest challenge at the moment is both my YouTube, which I started a few months ago, and growing my Instagram.
My YouTube has grown quickly to 3.3k in the last few months since starting it as a lockdown project and I’m really enjoying spending time on it. I love film-making, my degree was in Film Production so it seems natural to carry that on somehow. So I’ll be focusing a lot of my time and effort into creating more engaging content for my YouTube.
But I’d also like to focus on my Instagram a bit more too, I’ve grown it to an audience of 23.6k, but that has remained the same for some time now and I need to try and figure out why that is and give it the boost it needs to keep growing in engagement and followers. The pain of the Instagram algorithm is it’s a lot of research to understand it and even then, no one is 100% clear.
V: Thank you so much for chatting with me! Before you go is there anything you’d like to say to anyone reading this?
Beth: I end all of my YouTube videos by saying “keep smiling and stay positive”, and I think that’s the message I always want to leave people with.
A lot has happened this year and it’s often been quite challenging. Sometimes I know we can’t keep smiling and stay positive, I’m not immune to that. But where I can, I’m trying to train my brain to think more positively and to smile more. I want this positivity to spread throughout the book community and for everyone to continue to be supportive of their fellow creators and enjoy this space.
After all, we’re all here because we share one love for books!
I want to say a HUGE thank you to Beth at BooksNest for taking the time to talk to me, and vicariously to you! She truly is an inspiration to me in the bookish world, and her life philosophy of trying to stay positive is so important right now.
If you’d like to check out Beth and BooksNest across her multiple platforms just click the links below! I promise you she’ll make your day a little bit brighter!
BooksNest Blog: https://booksnest.co.uk
BooksNest Twitter: https://twitter.com/BooksNest
BooksNest Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/booksnest/
BooksNest YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/c/BooksNest
BooksNest Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/BooksNest/
BooksNest Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BooksNest/
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