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I have all the answers.

I WISH I had all the answers! Ah, to be 15 again. But I do have some answers! A few days ago I said I’d answer any questions you have. The lack of comments on the post makes it look like you should probably be able to hear crickets, but there’s 5-7 comments that got accidentally deleted when my site went down. Boy, did I have some choice words at that time! Thank you to all of you who made sure there were no crickets on my blog! Me love you long time.

SO! On to the questions…

From Diane: When did you start your blog, and how did you decide on the name for it??

I started my blog when I agreed to take care of a friend’s evil kitty. I was reading one or two blogs at that point and thought it would be fun to start my own. The idea fizzled after the cat escaped. That was in July 2007. Then in September 2007 I started blogging again about random things like my nightmares, my electrolysis, and my book club. Lisa from Books on the Brain left a comment on my book club post, she became my idol for blogging, and the rest is history. (Lisa’s probably tired of hearing that she was my inspiration, but she was! The other book blogger who I found through Lisa that inspired me was Stephanie from The Written Word. I’ve never told her that but it’s true.)

My blog was originally called Hey Lady! because of something my ex-boyfriend (my ONLY ex-boyfriend) used to say. He used to say “hey, lady” in a funny kind of way and I loved it. So I named my blog Hey Lady! But then I realized some bloggers were getting free books, and *I* wanted free books but wondered why publicists weren’t finding me. So I thought maybe they didn’t know my blog focused on books! So I changed the name to Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’? I think it’s a cute name because it’s something people actually say. 😀 The name change didn’t get me free books right away, but that’s another story.

From Jackie: I’ve always wanted to know why you don’t have a photo of yourself on your blog – only the 60s? girls?

I wanted a cute picture as an avatar, but didn’t have any. I’ve been obsessed with vintage pinup girls since I discovered vintage clothes, and since pinup girls always look super cute, I went with the pinup girl waving. I thought she was cute. I imagine I’m her and I’m waving and saying hi to everyone who stops by.

Then with the header thing, I used to have a picture of my cat peeking out of a blanket, but one day wondered if I could find a pinup girl reading, and I did, so she’s been up ever since.

Then I saw a bumper sticker that said “Reading is sexy” and while I didn’t make it up, I thought it went perfectly with my blog theme of pinup girls, so I adopted it as my tagline.

I’m not opposed to posting pictures of myself…I’m just kind of lazy with uploading the pictures. Here’s one I like:

Dashing was the word that came to mind when I saw this picture.

(the sun is obviously washing me out, but I really am that pale)

From Beth: How is it that you can write up an excellent post on a hot issue so quickly?

I DON’T. It just looks like I do.

One of the benefits to being succinct is that I don’t have to go on and on about a particular subject. I state my point and I’m done. Basically, though, I’m not a fast writer. That’s why blogging sucks so much time from me!

An opinion post can take anywhere from one to three hours. Depends on how thorough I want to get.

From Cindy:

  1. What is the one thing you would tell a fellow blogger not to do and/or to do?
  2. What is the longest you’ve waited in line to see an author?

1. Don’t put music that automatically plays on your blog. Have an opinion! And start out self-hosting. Or go to self-hosting the second you have an inkling you enjoy blogging. Self-hosting is rather cheap ($10/month, and that’s not even the cheapest!), so it’s a rather inexpensive hobby. Time consuming, but inexpensive.

Also, I caution against doing too many memes. You want original, fresh content on your blog. Of course, many of these things assume that you want to grow your traffic.

Also, go visit people. Being one of the few bloggers who don’t have to do anything to get traffic would be nice, but most of us aren’t like that. Most of us have to go out and make friends.

Also, don’t do partial feeds.

I guess that isn’t one thing. So much for being succinct! But if I had to choose one, it would be go with self-hosting asap.

2. Not that long. I’m a front-row get-there-first kind of girl so I don’t usually have to wait. However, I would wait HOURS to meet Tana French. And then I would offer to have her babies.

From Michelle: What’s your all-time top 3 favorite books (or 5, or 10, if you have the time).

In no particular order:

  • I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb
  • The Likeness by Tana French
  • Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
  • Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive SCRABBLE Players by Stefan Fatsis
  • The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
  • We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  • Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I feel like when naming favorite books that I’m asked to pick my favorite star in the heavens (name that movie!). By leaving off The Art of Racing in the Rain or The Other Boleyn Girl or East of Eden or Wintergirls or Pope Joan, I feel like I’ve made a Sophie’s Choice.

From Ti:

  1. Do you belong to a book group? I don’t think I’ve read that you do. If you do, tell us a little about it.
  2. If you could invite 3 authors to dinner, which ones would you choose (and why) and what would you serve?
  3. Where do you get you cute T-shirts? LOL. They are book related and I love ’em.
  4. What is the one book that you read over and over again and why?
  5. What do you think of e-readers like the Kindle?

1. I do! The road to getting a functioning book group was difficult. I told the whole story at Books on the Brain. But the book club I have now is pretty great. It’s all female. We range in age from 30 to 58 and usually have differing opinions about the books we read, which I like. We range in reading from someone who’s been in another book club for 10 years to some who joined so they’d be forced to read more. We have a salad bar before the meeting, which is delicious. Edamame. Radishes. Onions. Croutons. Pine nuts. Fresh bread. Butter. Mmmm. I’m the defacto leader.

2. I would invite:

Wally Lamb because he’s a fascinating author. He’s generous with his time to a women’s maximum security prison where he teaches a writing class. He’s an amazing person and I wish we were friends.

Joyce Carol Oates because who writes that like?! She pumps a book out about every six months, and I think she’d be really cool.

Katherine Dunn because she’s so awesome. I haven’t had a chance to write up about my experience at the LA Times Festival of Books, but Katherine Dunn rocked my socks. She’s a little off the beaten path and I like that.

I’m kind of a foodie so I’d prefer to take my guests out to dinner. I live in an area that’s saturated with excellent restaurants, and we could always come back to my house for some port or ice wine (my preference).

3. Here’s where I got my librarian girl reading shirt and here’s where I got the smart mudflap girl shirt. I already have shirts with pinup girls on them, so it’s logical for me to have the librarian girl reading shirt. The smart mudflap girl shirt is just cool.

4. I’ve found I don’t normally like to read books over and over again. They lose that je ne sais quoi, that magicalness. But The Wednesday Sisters is a book I know I’ll want to go back to again. I may even read The Likeness at some point again. I definitely want to read Word Freak again. Okay, maybe there’s more books I want to reread than I thought.

5. I think e-readers are awesome! I want one! BUT. The price of an e-book? NOT THAT CHEAP. Really, if I’m going to buy an e-reader, then books need to be mass-market-paperback-cheap, not hardcover-on-sale-cheap.

From chartroose: What are your regrets?  If you had to live your teens/20’s over again, what would you do differently?

CHARTROOSE! You do not know the can of worms you have opened!

For the most part, my life is fairly regret-free. But when I was 23, I left my religion which hurt quite a few people. That’s a big one.

I regret that I hurt my ex-boyfriend when I broke up with him after two years. More accurately, I regret not telling him the real reason why I wanted to break up and not giving him a second chance. Understand he’d already put me through the ringer, starting with when we were first dating, he was best man at his friend’s wedding, and I was with him, and when the last dance was announced, he turned to the girl on his other side and asked her to dance. So I sat there alone, the only person not dancing, and yet I HAD A BOYFRIEND! AT THE WEDDING! WHO WAS DANCING WITH SOMEONE ELSE! I remember it vividly. So while he wasn’t perfect, I’ll never get the picture out of my head of him crawling into bed with me a few days after I broke up with him (we were living together and he had not yet moved out) and holding him while he sobbed. I knew I’d broken his heart, but I couldn’t stay in the relationship anymore. He certainly deserved the truth of that, which I couldn’t articulate at the time.

Those are two big regrets. In my teen years and early 20s, I wasn’t doing drugs, having sex, or drinking large quantities of alcohol. I certainly did my fair share of things I probably shouldn’t have done, but I don’t regret them. I don’t even regret at 17, challenging a 250 pound guy to a drinking contest. I’d never been drunk before, and he had done more than his share of drinking. But I’m competitive and don’t back down, so we did shots of tequila until I basically passed out mid-competition. That’s the only time I got drunk before 21. I think.

If I could do my teen years over again, I would wish that I could introduce myself to vintage clothes. Once I learned about vintage clothes, I got a style that I liked, that I was comfortable in, and that was unique. I think if I could have had that in my teen years, I would have had more confidence.

I grapple with whether I have regrets or not. I mean, I think I owed my ex-boyfriend a second chance, but I wouldn’t have met Dave if my ex-boyfriend and I had stayed together. And Dave is one of the best things to ever happen to me. The choices I’ve made, they make up who I am, so how can I regret them? I think anything I regret has to do with hurting other people, because I would never ever purposefully hurt someone.

From TexasRed: Where is your favorite place to get books (local shop, library, online, publicists, direct from authors, etc?)

My favorite place to get books used to be Borders. But these days it’s my local independent bookstore, probably because I feel good supporting the economy and local business. Free books from authors are nice, but they don’t give me the same satisfaction I get when I buy books from an independent bookstore.

From gentle reader: What’s your favorite guilty pleasure–in books, and/or just in general?

For a while it was Philippa Gregory’s books. Total guilty pleasure because I wouldn’t consider them literary. Then it was the Anita Blake  series, until it just got trashy. Any mystery/thriller is a guilty pleasure for me, something I read to take a break from other books.

In general, my guilty pleasure would be cookie dough. Or sopaipillas (the New Mexican sopaipillas with lots of powdered sugar on top). Or cake batter. Or 31 Belows from Baskin Robbins with extra Oreos. Mmm…

From Lisa: Best vacation ever?

I don’t get out much, but I had a blast with two friends when we went to New York 10 years ago. But my honeymoon was pretty cool last year, since I got to meet some professional poker players that I’ve admired for years now. Maybe I should just say the best vacation ever is the last vacation I took, because the answer is always changing. 🙂

Back in January in my Cream of the Crop post, Jeanne asked this: But sometime can you share some more suggestions for how you got more traffic?

Traffic is a tricky thing. I’ll tell you that last year, from January to April, I spent 15-20+ hours visiting other blogs. I put a lot of work in to get people to come to my blog! Once you get the ball rolling, your traffic should keep getting better. Controversial posts help, too. As do rockin’ giveaways. And well-written posts. Does that answer your question? I can elaborate if you want.

Phew! I probably told you more than you wanted to know, but what else is new?

| Tags: 38 comments »

38 Responses to “I have all the answers.”

  1. Jen - Devourer of Books

    Very fun post, Trish. I love finding out about my fellow bloggers.


  2. LiLu

    Oooo- your hair is FAB!!!


  3. Kathy

    People came up with some great questions and I loved reading your answers!


  4. Ti

    I tweeted at you but in case you don’t see it, what is so great about self hosting? I don’t even know! I mean, how is it different than just using blogger or wordpress? I see lots of people going that route and they have all sorts of problems transferring stuff over. What’s the draw?


  5. Valerie

    Wow, those were great questions and your answers to them were so interesting. Especially your answers to what your regrets were. I don’t think I’d be brave enough to bare all of mine :-)!

    Partial feeds are a pet peeve of mine also. I wonder if some bloggers are not aware that theirs do that.


  6. bybee

    This was such an enjoyable post. Thanks, Trish!


  7. Jackie (Farm Lane Books)

    Great post! I think the reason you get so much traffic (or I assume you do anyway!) is that your posts are always so original, well written and thoughtful.

    Thank you for answering my question – it is great to finally see a picture of you!

    Keep up the good work!


  8. Stephanie

    Thanks so much for the nice mention. I’m blushing!! BTW, I’m 3/4 of the way through The Help and it is SO INTERESTING. Can’t wait to meet you in two weeks!


  9. SuziQoregon

    Fun post!!


  10. jennsbookshelf

    What a great post! It was so nice to learn more about you!


  11. jess

    Thanks for all the great advice especially in regards to blog traffic.


  12. nat @ book, line, and sinker

    lisa was the FIRST comment EVER on my curly wurly blog. i had been blathering away to NOBODY for almost a month…and then she dropped by and left a comment and the rest is history. she does has an impact on us, doesn’t she?!?

    i enjoyed reading all about you…you’re a zany girl!!!


    Heather Reply:

    Lisa was my first reply ever too!!! First book blogger I ever met. 🙂


  13. Eva

    Loved this post! I especially like your advice to new bloggers (except that I don’t self-host…when I have an income I will, lol). All of it is so true!


  14. Monica

    I’d probably be just as hurt if my boyfriend did that to me. But at least you have a silver lining — Dave!


  15. chartroose

    Aww, man, this makes me love you even more, Trish! I don’t self host, but I do spend an extra $15 a year to customize my site. Does this count?

    I appreciate your honesty, and I think your sweetness and humanity really shone through on this post. (Plus, Lisa e-mailed after your L.A. meetup and said you were every bit as awesome in person as you are on this blog).

    Lisa was one of my first visitors. So was Dewey ) = And YOU were one of my firsts, too. Thank you so much , kiddo!


  16. Becky

    I heart the stuff about blogs. You are SPOT ON. Partial feds drive me bonkers. Why? I DON’T KNOW. Answer me that, Trish. That’s my question.


  17. TexasRed

    Great Q&A session — I have the same follow-up about the self-hosting.

    (And the same comments about your content being rockstar!)


  18. Jeane

    So… did you ever find the friend’s cat? He really did look evil!

    I have the same question about what’s the big attraction for self-hosting. And tell me more about the Scrabble Players book! I love playing Scrabble. Have you reviewed it on your blog somewhere?


  19. Jessica

    you really DO have all the answers love!


  20. Kailana

    This is a great idea for a post!


  21. Tara

    I *loved* reading this and getting to know you!


  22. Emily R

    ok, then another question for you. how do i get free books?!


  23. Emily R

    Also, I cannot stand music on blogs. I read blogs while nursing the baby (hence the lack of capital letters), and the music scares the dickens out of her.


  24. Yvette Kelly

    Really interesting answers.And thank you for the partial feeds info.I did not know that.And the music thingy.I would have probably done that if I could have found songs to match true crime books which would have definitely been unnerving.Nice knowing the person behind this great blog.


  25. Nan

    Great post! People asked good questions and you supplied great answers. Thanks for sharing. 🙂


  26. Beth F

    Thanks for sharing so much and answering all those questions! And thanks for answering mine. And yay you for supporting your indies!!


  27. gaby317

    Thank you for this interview! It is so helpful to newbies. I’ve jotted down a bunch of tips but did want to ask: (1) what is self hosting? (2) what is a partial feed?

    Also, I think your site name is brilliant and the layout very well done.


  28. Heather

    I know others have mentioned this, but I really think you should do a whole post about self-hosting. What is the big deal? Why should we all do it? What are the benefits? I’d love to be enticed. 🙂


  29. Suey

    Enjoyed this post! Fun to get to know you better.


  30. Kim L

    Love your answers! Isn’t it interesting how certain events conspire to bring us to a particular place in our lives? Hubby and I met because we both happened to pick the same college and the same major, which was a pretty chancy thing. He decided on college last minute, it wasn’t my first choice… yet that’s how it happened. Regrets? A waste of time. Life goes on.


  31. Lenore

    We have 4 of the same favorite books! And I would also wait hours to meet Tana French. She’s amazing!


  32. Jeanne

    I think your “chatty” style encourages questions. Last week was just a bad week for visiting–or doing anything–but I’m getting well now. Thanks for answering my question–again–in a slightly different way! And yes, I’m chiming in on the self-hosting question.


  33. Jenners

    This was a fun, fascinating post!!! You just sound like a very open, honest and true person … which is why your blog is such a joy to read! : )


  34. Natasha @ Maw Books

    Great post Trish! I enjoyed the questions and answers, it’s a great way to get to know people more.


  35. Dawn - She Is Too Fond Of Books

    Great fun reading this post and learning more about you! and I like that the pic you posted has a bottle of red AND a bottle of white!

    Partial feed – bad. Automatice music – badder (OK, more bad!)


  36. zibilee

    Very cool post. It’s nice to get to know some of the behind the scenes stuff about you and your blog.


  37. avisannschild

    My boyfriend loves calling out “Hey lady! Whatcha readin’?” when he comes home and finds my nose in a book (hmm, that doesn’t sound quite right!). As I’ve said before, I love the name of your blog!

    I also want to know more about self-hosting!


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