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
Reviewer for www.famousfiveplus.com
To find out more about JB then check out her full profile on LinkedIn