Interview with Alexandra Warren, creator of The Bookworm Lodge.
I stumbled upon The Bookworm Lodge some time ago and I really liked the site, here was a place where book authors could come to showcase their work and readers had a place to find good books. New authors were praised and welcomed into a space created to celebrate and promote their work. What stood out to me most was that Alexandra Warren the creator of “The Bookworm Lodge” was not some old lady who sat in her house next to her beloved cat with a pile of books laying all around. It was the total opposite, Alexandra is a young vibrant woman with a passion for reading. Not only is she an avid reader but she is also a published writer herself, in her early twenties she has already published four books. So I couldn’t wait to interview her to see how she does it all.
S.H: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started with your site
Alexandra: Well, I’m Alexandra, I’m from Nebraska, born and raised and I still live here. I am a teacher by day and a blogger by night. I started my site because I am a reader and I love to read. When you go to certain stores there is not a big selection of books and I do go online to sites like Amazon but there are so many authors that you have to go through. I decided to start my site that would tailor to new authors so they wouldn’t get lost.
S.H: The site is new but it has been growing and you have been getting authors with big followings, how did you build those relationships?
Alexandra: One of the first people I hit up was author Christina C. Jones, she has so many books but she has been writing for like two years. So I reached out to her and was like “I love your books, if you are interested I have this site to feature new authors. She was like sure.” From there I kept it going.
S.H: What gave you the idea to structure your site the way that it’s structured? You have something on the site for everyone. You have a blog, interviews with authors, and you have different genres, its very creative.
Alexandra: It’s funny because I battled with that because I have a limited genres that I like to read. One of the first submissions was different from what I liked, but then I said to myself, “the person submitted it so I am going to feature it.” So there were a couple of books that I personally didn’t like but I knew there was someone out there that would like it. And who am I to say that it can’t be on the site?
S.H: So how did you come up with the idea of the “Tour Stop” and “A Bookworm’s Inner Thoughts?”
Alexandra: So the tour stop I did my research to see what people were doing and I noticed that some book authors preferred to do tour stops. A couple book authors hit me up and wanted their work on the site but didn’t want to do the traditional submission. So I knew I needed to make a place for them to have that space so that’s how the tour stop came about. And then for “A Bookworm’s Inner Thoughts,” I was kinda being a little selfish (she laughs) I wanted to be able to interact with the audience as well so that is how it came about. Especially because a lot of people expected me to do reviews, because I don’t like to give bad reviews so that was a way for me to get my thoughts out.
S.H: How many books a week or a month do you read? Have you read all of the books that you feature?
Alexandra: No, No, No, (she laughs) I could never keep up with reading all of the submissions. Honestly, since I have been doing the site and the writing stuff, I don’t read nearly as much as I would like. I also beta read so I do count that as books I’m reading, so I would say four or five a month.
S.H: You’re young, you run your own site, you publish books, and you’re doing all of this at 23. Do have an active social life?
Alexandra: I’m a preschool teacher and we have nap time (she laughs) so I can do a lot of reading and there is time in the day where I can work on my site and read. But it’s a grind, starting out I didn’t realize how much work goes into it but its fun and I like it a lot.
S.H: Do you ever think about turning the site into a business? I look at the site and I see the potential of where it could go business wise, have you thought about that?
Alexandra: I guess I didn’t realize how much readers and authors wanted this type of site, I knew I wanted a site like this but in the beginning I had no clue people would gravitate to it like this. I would never purposely hinder the potential of the site, its not my main focus to turn it into a business as of now but if it happened I wouldn’t be opposed to it. What’s important to me now is getting the content to the readers and getting the authors out there.
S.H: You are also an author, what came first for you the site or being an author?
Alexandra: Well, when I was younger I was writing and people became interested in my writing. I enjoy reading and you know when you read a book you think to yourself, “man I could do that.” So the actual site came first, and then I was talking to author Christina C. Jones and I sent her a little line I wrote. She was like, “yo this is so dope you need to keep writing, I’m not gonna let you not finish this book.” And I was like “okay…” and then the next thing I know I wrote the book and people enjoyed it so I was like “I guess I’ll be doing this for a while.”
S.H: How long did it take you to write your first book?
Alexandra: Ummm, it took me I wanna say two and a half months, just because I didn’t know what to do. But after that they have been kinda flowing.
S.H: So are you an indie author? What is your process?
Alexandra: I am an indie author to the fullest. I’m a do it all author, I write it, I edit it, I trust my high school English skills, (she laughs) I send it to Christina C. Jones and a couple friends to make sure they don’t find any major flaws and that’s it. The first couple of covers I did myself and then a friend of mines helped.
S.H: For your site do you try to appeal to the authors more or do you try to appeal to the readers more?
Alexandra: I honestly think I kinda base the site off the authors, in the beginning I was reaching out to authors and now they are reaching out to me. Just because someone is writing for a long time doesn’t make them better than a new author so I don’t pick and choose based on fans, I do it based on the author’s submissions.
S.H: How many submissions do you take a week?
Alexandra: I try to feature at least to two books a week, and add in some blog posts.
S.H: What has been the biggest lesson you have learned since creating this site?
Alexandra: The biggest lesson I have learned was to be flexible, because you have this vision in your head about how you want the site to be the beginning. And then you see how things change and being flexible helps you.
S.H: What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own site?
Alexandra: My advice would be to go for it, people get too wrapped up into what can go wrong instead of how great something can be You just kinda gotta zone out and say this is what I want to do and go for it.
S.H: What gave you the leap to start your own site?
Alexandra: The Bookworm Lodge was literally like an overnight idea, I was looking on amazon trying to find new authors and I couldn’t find anything for new authors or black authors. And then a light bulb went off and I started my site. So that’s why I say for people who are interested in starting something to just go for it.
S.H: Okay now we are going to get into some flash questions (questions you answer without thinking).
Alexandra: Okay go,
S.H: Coke or Pepsi?
Alexandra: Neither, I don’t drink pop (she laughs).
S.H: Favorite time of day?
Alexandra: Night time.
S.H: Favorite book author?
Alexandra: Christina C. Jones
S.H: Favorite television show?
Alexandra: Ohh, I don’t watch a lot of television, but I guess I would say Scandal.
S.H: Favorite thing to do besides reading?
Alexandra: Sleeping (we both laugh hard) No, I love to travel, I love love to travel.
S.H: Favorite food?
S.H: Who is Alexandra?
Alexandra: Alexandra is just some crazy girl who thinks she can do whatever she wants to do and its gonna be okay.
At 23 Alexandra is a book author, book blogger, and teacher. Alexandra is quite the inspiration for anyone who wants to take a leap of faith and create something. I personally learned a lot from my interview with Alexandra. First, you should always focus on the work and not focus on the voices surrounding you, everyone will have an opinion about what you should be doing, but when you focus on the work and making that excellent the results will open new doors. Second, to always always take a chance on yourself, Alexandra could have easily stuck to blogging about other authors but she took a chance on herself and her talents and published her first book. And lastly, to always have good people in your corner encouraging you. Throughout the interview she kept mentioning author Christina C. Jones as being a person who encouraged her to keep going and I am sure that helped with her confidence. So always have people who will encourage you and push you forward. I cannot wait to see what else Alexandra has in store for us.
Stay connected with Alexandra…