Tuesday 3 September 2013

Interview with Indian blogger Award winner and The Book Reviewer DDS

1.    Can you tell us a little about yourself? Your blog, and your aspirations and your hobbies!!
My name is Debdatta Dasgupta Sahay (I know that’s a mouthful!). I am a daughter first, then a sister, a friend, a wife, an employee and a blogger. Born in Kolkata, I grew up in boarding school & college at Darjeeling and finally settled in at Hyderabad. I am into Human Resources.
I blog about books at b00k r3vi3ws. I review books, invite authors and bloggers for interviews and guest posts. This year I am also hosting two Reading Challenges. Besides reading, I also love dancing and listening to music.

2. How you first got involved in with blogging, are you an imaginative person?
Ever since I personally discovered internet, I have been using it to discover more about authors and their books. I discovered the book blogging community couple of years back and since then I have been hooked onto some really good blogs. I started blogging about 3 years back. At first it was just sharing a video or a photo or for a social cause. But soon it wasn’t enough and I knew I had to combine blogging with my biggest passion – Reading. So in Feb’ 2012 b00k r3vi3ws was born and that’s when I actually started blogging seriously.
Imagination, my friend, is the only thing that teaches a person to truly live. Without our imagination we would never truly aspire and would all be still stuck in stone ages – never think out of the box or try to break the boundaries. And being a bookworm, my imagination expands every time I pick up a book and live the adventure through the pages!

3.    What do you find most challenging about blogging about your topic?
Writing a negative or not so complimentary review is always tough.
I never want to discourage anyone from reading a book no matter how much I hated it. Buying – sure I would love to discourage people to buy the books of a certain popular author or the pirated copies. But, I never want to discourage anyone from reading one. A book that failed to speak to me can influence somebody else. A story I couldn’t relate to could be the life’s story of another reader who picks it up. Besides, every author puts in a lot of time, patience, love and hard work into a book and I find it difficult to trash it just because the book didn’t click with me.

4. Tell me about some of the people you have met while working on your blog?
That is the thing about the blogging community – they are a friendly bunch. I have made quite a few virtual friends over the course of time. Some I adore, some I look up to and all of them are very encouraging and helpful. I cannot, for the life of me name a few, because to me it would be like naming a few favourite books – which names to say and which ones can I leave out. And if I give the whole list – well this post is going to be way too long! ;)

5. How would (someone) describe your blogging style?
Well, you would have to ask that ‘someone’ because ofcourse I am partial to my blog and may have some blind spots regarding it.

6. What do you do when you are not working on your blog?
I have my official and familial responsibilities. Those take up most of my time. Rest is spent in whatever imaginary world the author of my current read has created.

7 .Where do you see yourself blogging wise in the next 6 months, and 5 years down the road?
Honestly, I don’t know. I take a day at a time and live in the present. But, I do plan to continue blogging and keep growing with my blog.

8. What networking do you do that you feel helps your blogging business?
Blogging Business? It is not a business to me. It is a hobby, a passion and at the most an outlet to throw my bookish tantrums, but never a business. The friends I have made and will make in the future are simply that – friends. As to how they help me – well they teach me a lot and encourage me to keep blogging. That’s good enough for me.

9. How do you keep coming up with material/content for your blog? Many people struggle with coming up with different articles/posts and they only have one blog.
When I had initially started blogging I would blog about the books that I had recently read, whether bought or borrowed. But I was lucky enough to start getting review requests pretty soon and since then I haven’t looked back. I don’t think that there has been a time in last one year when I haven’t been backlogged on my review request piles.

10. What’s your strategy with your blog in general?
No strategy as such. I try to be regular with my posts, have a simple layout and honest opinion.

11. Any specific tips you have for newbie bloggers who want to make it in the blogosphere?
I would only suggest that while looking up to some blogging experts is a good way of learning the tricks of the trade, the true fun lies in being yourself and enjoying it.

12. What would you prioritize? Content? SEO? Traffic? Readers?
Content is the most important thing. Without that no amount of SEO tricks can bring you quality traffic. I personally visit only a few chosen blogs regularly, and while I often stumble across and discover new blogs, I seldom go back there unless the content is good. Next as a blogger, it is also important to consider your readers and their opinion of your blog – after all they decide what heights your blog is going to scale. I can’t say much about SEO tricks, because I know none myself and yet I think I am doing satisfactorily.

13. What’s the best thing a blogger can give to his readers?
We as bloggers do have a social responsibility. No matter how far our reach is, we do have the ability to influence people – even if it just my best friend who reads my blog out of loyalty. Yes, even if it is just that one person, we should be careful what we blog about. There is enough bigotry all around us and in the world. Let’s not add to that and take conscious steps to take that responsibility seriously and bring in that positive change.

14. A lot of people are interested in blogging for the money earning potential. What are some tips for people interesting in making money from blogging? What are some realistic expectations in regards to what can be made?
I am the wrong person for this question.  I have no money making tricks up my sleeve and make no money out of it. I do it to rant about books, to make friends and to have some ‘nirmal anand’.

15. What motivates you most in life?
Random MusingsMy failures. It sounds clichéd but it is true. I tend to get mad when I fail to do something and go back and see where I went wrong… whether it is a failed test or a glitch in a relationship.

16. What has been your strategy for creating visibility to yourself and your blog?
I do not have any strategies as such. I just try to put up good content – best to my abilities and then float the links of networking sites like Twitter/Facebook/Goodreads and hope that somebody will find it and like it.

17. What was the most challenging moment in your blog content development process and why?
I certainly was at loss for words when the question about money making through blogging came up! ;)
Other than that – nothing as such.

18. Everyone has a favorite/least favorite post. Name yours and why?
My favourite and least favourite posts are one in the same. It is a short story called ‘I Do’. [http://mohur.blogspot.in/2011/08/i-do.html] That was the first time I put up one of my personal scribbling for the world to find. It was scary and liberating – that’s why it is my favourite post. It is also my least favourite post because I still wonder sometimes ‘what was I thinking’ when I put it up there.

19. Name some of the bloggers whom you look up to and why?
Pattu Raj Mam [http://gardenerat60.wordpress.com/], Saru Singhal [www.sarusinghal.com/‎], Anuradha Goyal [www.anureviews.com/‎] , Priyanka Roy Banerjee [http://oneandahalfminutes.wordpress.com/], Arnab Ray [http://greatbong.net/] These are the top few bloggers who continuously inspire me with their talent and attitude.

20. What is the story behind the name of the blog?
I only wish my answer was something  glamorous or interesting. But the truth is ‘book reviews’ was taken and that’s all I wanted for my blog address. So had to do the zero for an "o" and three for an "e" trick. I had also thought of replacing ‘I’ with ‘1’ and the ‘s’ with ‘5’, only barely managed to reign in myself from going completely crazy with this.

21. Your connection with any Blogger Network like Indi blogger or Writeupcafe or any other and the experience?
I am part of BlogAdda, IndiBlogger and WriteUpCafe. Binoy Karan from WUC has guided me a lot during my novice days and still continues to do so.

22. Which genre do you feel gets the raw deal?
Every genre has its own footing. Be it reviews or memoirs or fiction writing or even the mommy blogs.

23. Which one plug-in would you suggest all bloggers to have?
Sharing on Facebook! Must have. Everyone is surfing mindlessly on facebook these days – including me.

24. Five adjectives that describe you.
Pragmatic, Bookworm, Introvert, Stubborn and Carefree

25. What book would you say has made the biggest impact good or bad on you?
One book??? Why would you put me on the spot like that?? Let me see… Anita Desai’s – Village by the Sea

26. Do you get easily provoked by positive/negative comments??
Not really. Being an opinionated person myself, I do understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and in their own way, they are right. But I do get irritated when people get personal through their posts and comments.

27. Do you plan to write a book, as every bloggers dream it is?
No. Nope. Never.

28. Are you a judgmental person, do you prefer to take sides instead of standing neutral?
BooK ReviewSI can be judgmental in cases – like if you are opposed to gay marriage or still put too much stock into caste/creed/skin colour/religion or think that men are born superior than women, then I would ask you directly to stop living at the bottom of the well. Then again, if you are talking about politics – I would stand in a third group that stand for ‘all the present politicians are corrupt and should be in jail instead of being in a position of power’. I guess it depends case to case.

29. Your collaboration with other bloggers, are you much into social networking, tell us everything about it?
So far I have only had fun collaborating online with bloggers, authors and publishing houses for reviews, guest posts, giveaways and blog tours. Though not a complete novice, I am still a newbie and feel have a long way to go yet. As for networking sites, I am on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads and the lot of it. It is fun to explore and discover stuff but I make sure that I put in more time into reading and my blog.

30. What genre attracts you the most and which genre you avoid?
Assuming that you are asking about blog genres, I would say that I pretty much l love anything to do with literature (Review sites, fiction writing sites, poetry, etc) And though I am interested in pretty gadgets, I tend to stay away from tech blogs because the tech bloggers seem to blog in their techno lingo (or atleast that’s what I call them) which I don’t understand at all.

31. Your Views on Contests and increasing plagiarism?
Contests are fun. I love the excitement around one whether I am participating or not. They have served as a great way to discover new talents/blogs. Contests, if conducted properly can encourage not only the winners but all the participants as well.

Plagarism is one thing I hate a lot. Even a parrot can be taught to repeat things.

32. Words for me and my blog.
I came across your blog about a month back when you published an interview of a friend of mine. I have explored it a bit, and all I can say is that though you interviewing us gives us a chance to get our name out there (and of course Thank you for that), I like your other blog more – Desire v/s Destiny. I have thought about dropping in a challenge there but nothing I could think of seemed challenging enough for you. One of these days I will. Till then continue writing…

33. On winning the Award/s?
J I am still reeling from it! When I started blogging, my only concern was what if nobody wants to read my blog? That still is my only concern. Winning the #IBAwards 2013 in books category isn’t something I was prepared for. I had hoped to win maybe 4-5 years down the line when I would be more experienced. But winning it within 18 months of starting the blog is the biggest encouragement ever!
It has made me smile like a maniac and blow on my own trumpet a bit, but I guess the main challenge begins now – to justify it. I hope I will be able to do it justice by only growing in terms of quality.


  1. IBA Awards to one of the hyderdabadi is something special.That to our HBM Group.
    Feels Good :).

    Thats a nice interview.
    Way to go mam. Keep it up.

  2. Great interview I love that we connected early on.. today you are just Ms popular !