BookTube Babble: An Interview with Samantha of Thoughts on Tomes
You should all know I love me a good interview with a bookish person and today, I have the pleasure of giving you an interview with one of my favourite BookTubers who has been on my laundry folding playlist for the last few weeks — Samantha from Thoughts on Tomes!
Sam is known for her delightful reviews, thought-provoking and fun discussions, and personally, for me, her super soothing voice and narration in her BookTube videos. I was pretty stoked when she agreed to be interviewed by little old me, and I hope you guys enjoy her answers to my questions as much as I did.
1. Hi Sam! Thanks for letting me interview you from my little corner of the blogosphere. I’ll start off with, how are you doing? What’s been happening, what are you currently reading?
It’s been a busy summer, as I’ve been travelling once a month for both book things and non-book things since May. BookNet Fest is also coming up in September, and the team is currently in the busiest season of planning. As such, I haven’t had time to read as much as I would like unless I’m on a plane. I’m currently reading Twelve Kings by Bradley Beaulieu, which I’m enjoying and glad I finally got around to.
2. For readers who don’t know you or your channel, how would you introduce yourself?
I’m Sam! My channel focuses on Fantasy and Science Fiction primarily, with a smattering of other genres depending on my mood. I enjoy discussing tropes (especially very niche ones I enjoy), trends in publishing, and current conversations in the book community. I also talk about other media, especially video games. ~My brand~ is assassin chic blended with forest witch, who loves angst and wants to run off and live in the woods.
3. What inspired you to get into reading and BookTubing?
I was raised to be a reader. My dad has always been a voracious reader and I followed in his footsteps, although we read completely different genres. I discovered Booktube after following other types of YouTube content. I wanted to contribute to a community like that but didn’t feel I knew enough about those other topics. Once I discovered Booktube, I knew it was a good fit. Plus, I don’t have local friends who read, so it was a way for me to discuss my favorite books with other readers.
4. I previously wrote a 2018 YA Book Trend Predictions post and I’m currently writing the 2019/2020 edition and would love to know; what’s a trend you predict or you’re seeing is on the rise in the YA book industry for 2019/2020?
Definitely death magic, necromancy, and more gothic and grimdark-type fantasy. This has been on the rise in both YA and adult, but especially in the last year there’s been a number of large titles with this theme of power over death and darker characters that border on villainous.
5. What are a few things you’ve learnt or seen happen in the community since you first started your channel?
I’ve officially been on Booktube for 5 years, so I’ve seen a lot. I think we have become much more comfortable with discussions and disagreements than we used to be, but they also happen at a much faster rate due to much of the community being on twitter rather than needing to wait to post a video. The community has also expanded to include more critical readers, with negative and rant reviews having a huge draw. I also think there’s a section of the community really fighting against consumerism. For a while, big book collections were the norm (and still are!) but things like unhauls, advocating for libraries, and ebooks have created more diversity when it comes to acquiring things to read. I even did a video a few years back where I Konmari’d My TBR! I think that’s the book community’s way of embracing the broader minimalism movement as well.
6. What are your top 3 tips for readers wanting to start their own BookTube channels?
Just start and see if you like it. All of our videos at the beginning are bad, and you can’t improve without practice.
Get involved in the community. The best way to make friends is to comment on other people’s videos, and participate in discussions, especially on twitter.
Make what you love making. There are no “required” booktube videos. Make what you enjoy, for you, and it will remain fun instead of forcing yourself to make content you don’t really enjoy just because you think you should.
7. I’m a huge fan of the Tome Topple readathon and I’ve participated in the last 2 rounds. As the creator of the Tome Topple readathon, for others who may not know much about it; what inspired you to create it and what are your thoughts on how big this readathon has gotten in the community?
I am so proud of Tome Topple! It is my baby. I had the idea for the readathon for about a year before I actually started it. I was finding that I had so many large books I wanted to read, but was also very intimidated by them. Also, I found readathons very motivating, but the whole point of readathons at the time was to read as many books as possible, and they usually only lasted one week. I wanted to create a supportive, motivational readathon that was a bit longer, and about books over 500 pages and being more focused on pages read than amount of books read. I love how much people love it. So many people tell me they save their big books for Tome Topple (which we shouldn’t do – read big books all the time!) and I always get questions between rounds about when the next one will be. As readathons get more intricate (which I love how the community has gotten creative about them), I enjoy that Tome Topple remains very simple and straightforward.
8. If you had to pick 5 books that are your all-time favourite reads, what would they be?
1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
2. Uprooted by Naomi Novik
3. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
4. The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
5. The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo (they are a set; I cant pick one!)
9. What’s 1 thing that you like in the BookTube and wider book community, AND one thing you think/wish to be improved?
I love how passionate we are. Everyone is here because we love books, and we all discuss them in our own unique way. We also love creating creative content, with how we review and discuss, to how we read, to how we connect as a community.
I think we could improve on moving beyond the basic discussions we keep having. As long as I’ve been here, I’ve seen the same basic conversations come around regarding diversity, accessibility, consumerism, etc. I’d like to see, instead of rehashing the same conversation and patting each other on the back for doing the bare minimum, moving beyond those 101 level conversations to deeper and more nuanced conversations about these topics so that change can happen.
10. What is the most underrated read that you would recommend for us to pick up sometime soon?
The World on Fire series by Jessica Cluess starting with A Shadow Bright and Burning. It is a darker fantasy trilogy set in Victorian London where different types of magic users (magicians, sorcerers, and witches) are fighting against monstrous beings who have entered our world from another dimension. It is flawed (there is basically a love square), but it is so fun and I love the world, the different types of magic, and how all of the characters have a darker edge to them.
It was an absolute pleasure to interview Samantha, thank you so much for the opportunity!
Hi! My name is Samantha. I love books, board games, and all things fluffy. I post videos every Wednesday and Saturday. I post book review videos on Mondays. I talk about all of my other loves in life on my other channel, About that Life : http://tinyurl.com/z2bz7en
What did you think of the interview? Would you want to see more blog interviews with your favourite BookTubers? Let me know your favourites down in the comments!
Until next time,