Thursday, 30 October 2014

The Evolution of a blogger and her blog!



Today, I have the wonderful JB Johnston, who I am proud to call a friend, sitting round my pool talking about how Brook Cottage Books have made a difference to JB and to so many authors.

Thank you to the lovely Pauline for having me on her blog today. I am so used to asking authors for guest posts that it never actually occurred to me how difficult it can be to put something interesting in a post. I hope I don’t bore you all!

In the book world I blog under the name of JB Johnston.  My real name is in fact Debbie and the name of JB originated in two ways. Firstly, I was known as jontybabe. Jonty was my husband’s nickname at school.  I am his babe! Then the name evolved into JB which is a shortened form of Jontybabe but is also my nickname – Just Books Johnston! Whenever I first met up with fellow bloggers and lovely authors it felt strange to hear others call me JB but now it just feels perfectly natural.  JB is my alter-ego. The braver and more confident me!

I began blogging a few years ago with a personal blog and had featured some book reviews. Soon the demand for reviews became so great that I set up Brook Cottage Books. Originally the blog was only to feature reviews from my own personal bookcase and showcase a few of my author friends. I received some wonderful support from fellow bloggers and authors and this meant so much. This support soon gave me the confidence to keep developing Brook Cottage Books and before I knew it I was able to offer guest posts to authors, run competitions and even take part in book tours with Fiction Addiction.



Soon blogging began to open up a whole new world to me. A world in which books arrived in the post at an alarming but thrilling rate! The postman began to look at me questioningly and to this day he is suspicious delivering to the strange person known as JB Johnston! My house soon became the place where all good books came to live! In a vain attempt to stem the flow of books and provide us with some living space, my husband bought me a kindle.  Whilst I love my Kindle and now have more books in my possession, it did nothing to stem the flow of paperbacks arriving! My husband has now given up that fight and has resigned himself to the fact that he might have to share the house with an army of books all fighting for space. Those with a true love of books will understand the thrill of ripping open a parcel to find a book there. The feel, texture and smell of a new book is just divine! And, if it’s a signed copy…………..well that’s a whole new level of wonderful! Don’t even get me started on stationary!

Through Brook Cottage Books I have made many wonderful friends. To say that true friendships cannot be made or sustained online is simply not true. I have been lucky enough to meet many of these truly beautiful people and they are as genuine in real life as they are online. They all hold a very special place in my heart. 

As the blog continued to evolve so did my confidence. Initially, I was in quite shy and worried that I was out of my depth amongst the blogging and writing world. After all, what on earth did I know! I only read books!  I wasn’t a writer or publisher.  It wasn’t long however that I began to feel like a new person was emerging through the haze of books. I grew in confidence and continue to do so. The book and blogging world is a place where I feel I can show the world the real me and at times I do actually know what I am talking about.  I decided that I would be braver and recently became involved in a project with author Nicky Wells. Nicky and I have become great friends over the last few years and she now hosts a monthly radio show for Siren FM called Books Rock. I am the regular reviewer contributor to the show. I love it, despite hating the sound of my own voice! I am so grateful to Nicky for having confidence in my abilities to be able to do this without mucking up her show!



As previously mentioned, when I began to expand the projects the blog became involved in, one of those projects was becoming a tour host for Fiction Addiction book tours run by Sharon Goodwin. Sharon is a very special lady and has become such a great friend and mentor. Being involved in her tours was one of the things that helped build my confidence as a blogger. Sharon has since passed Fiction Addiction to me and I now run all the tours through Brook Cottage Books. I had considered keeping the Fiction Addiction name because Sharon had worked so hard to build its reputation but I felt that equally I have worked hard at establishing Brook Cottage Books and wanted the new tour promotions to reflect that success.  Probably a daft idea but Sharon has been completely understanding and supportive and I am pleased to say that Brook Cottage Book tours has coordinated quite a few tours now and the demand for more is growing. To find out more about the range of services that the site now offers authors and bloggers check out the Author Services Page on the blog. Although there are a number of paid services that authors can access, I still want the overriding ethos of Brook Cottage Books to be one of support to all authors and bloggers and that means helping out in any way I can. I want to continue to give something back to all who support me.  

With the continued success of Brook Cottage Books has come a new and not so unrealistic dream. I want to work at book promotion full time or at least within the book industry. I want to be able to give up my day job and continue to develop Brook Cottage Books. This is a reality that will hopefully come to fruition in the next few years, allowing me to work from home and be around for my family. With the wonderful support of authors and bloggers I will someday be living that dream. A dream that is continually evolving along with me!



About JB Johnston
JB lives in Northern Ireland. She works full time as a social worker but her real passion is books and all things bookish. She is very happily married and is mum to 2 children and 2 step children. She is also a carer for her teenage daughter who has a range of special needs. 

 JB is involved in a number of projects;
Monthly Contributor for Books Rock on Siren FM
Review panel for www.lovereading.co.uk
Reviewer for www.loveahappyending.co.uk lifestyle magazine
To find out more about JB then check out her full profile on LinkedIn



JB’s Links

Email brookbooks@hotmail.co.uk

19 comments:

JB JOHNSTON said...

Thank you so much for having me as a guest today. Feels surreal reading about myself lol.

Pauline Barclay said...

It's a honour to have you here JB. You are amazing. xx

Elsa Bridger said...

What a lovely, honest and open blog - certainly not boring! I wish you every success in living your dream. I'm off now to check out your books :)

Pauline Barclay said...

Hello Elsa, how really wonderful to see you here. Thank you for your fabulous comment. JB is a very special lady. Love to you and Barry and your family xx

Jo Lambert said...

A lovely post. I'm a total fan of JB, someone who does so much for the written word. It's not simply blogging now, there are so many other services she offers. I love the Promo Blitz - not only does your book get promoted and reviewed but you get to know a whole lot of people on FB that you didn't know before. And, I forgot to mention it is great fun! Although I write I have recently become a Tour Host for Brook Cottage Books working as a reviewer on some of the book tours she organises. I think her love of books and the support she gives to writers is fabulous and I do hope she realises her dream of doing this full time. Thanks JB, you're amazing! xx

Pauline Barclay said...

Hi Jo, thanks for stopping by and saying such wonderful things about JB, and I know all are true. An amazing lady. x

JB JOHNSTON said...

oh wow! Thanks so much for the lovely comments. I am truly touched. You are all very kind. x

JB JOHNSTON said...

What I also should have said in the post and didn't because I am daft.......is that the blog has recently had a makeover and that's all thanks to a lovely lady, Ysar, over at Jelly Dog Design. This very talented lady is getting her web design business up and running and I hope to feature her on the blog as a guest. http://jellydogdesign.com/

Suzy Turner said...

So thats what you look like, JB!! Beautiful! I've only ever seen your avatar! This is a truly wonderful post... it's fabulous to get to know the real you.
Thanks Pauline xx

Pauline Barclay said...

Hello Suzy, it is wonderful to see JB as the real Debbie and what an amazing lady. Thanks for stopping by. Have a fabulous weekend. xx

JB JOHNSTON said...

Thank you Suzy. This pic was taken 7 years ago while I was on honeymoon in Malta. I've a few more wrinkles since then lol. But, I love the pic as it was taken at a time when I have never been so happy, chillaxed and full of wine! lol.

Nicky Wells said...

JB, your moment in the spotlight! You should get more of these because you deserve all the praise and thanks in the world. You totally rock, and it's been an honour and a privilege to get your support via Brooks Cottage Books. Loving you to bits, and please keep on blogging and reading. Rock on, my friend, rock on! Thanks to the lovely Pauline for hosting you today. :-) Sending big hugs and happy smiles to you both. XXX

Pauline Barclay said...

Ho Nicky you are so right about JB. A fab person. Thank you so much for calling by. Hugs to you with sunny smiles xx

Shaz Goodwin said...

Ah JB, you too are really special and I cherish our friendship. I couldn't have left FA in better hands both for now and for your own future.

Wishing you success in reaching your dreams :)

X

Melanie said...

I love JB's book blog - Brook Cottage Books - and have taken part in some of her blog tour activities. It's been a blast, JB, and I look forward to more fun with you and Brook Cottage Books. :-)

Pauline Barclay said...

Hello Shaz, thanks for popping along and I know FA could not be in better hands. Hugs to you xx

Pauline Barclay said...

Hi Melanie, wonderful to see you here. And you are right. Brook Cottage Books organises amazing blog tours and parties. x

Janice Horton said...

Hi JB and Pauline! I really enjoyed reading this post so much. I'm a great fan of JB/Jontybabe/Debs and Brook Cottage Books, whose passion for books and support for authors and readers has been so generous and unstinting. I'm thrilled to have known JB from the start of her book blog and we have met at the Festival of Romance, when she was on the shortlist for Romance Blogger of the Year. She really is as lovely and as much fun in the flesh as she is online! Sending my love and my sincere thanks to you Debs - and wishing you every success with your future plans for Brook Cottage Books.
Love, Janice xx

Pauline Barclay said...

Hi Janice, thanks for coming along and for your fabulous words about JB, she is truly amazing x