Since there were a couple of interviews that I didn’t end up posting while I was on hiatus, and when I came back, I’m having two spotlights this month. The first one was Mel & Mir last week. This week is a special person who I’ve seen grow into the amazing person they are now. I’d love to introduce to you all Cierra @ Cierra’s Cynosure! She has both a book blog and a booktube, so I’m hoping you will be sure to check out both of her platforms.
(1) Tell me a little bit about your start in the book community.
So, my journey into the bookish community started in 2015 when I launched the first version of my blog on Wix! Back then, I still wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to blog about, so if you scroll allll the way back, you’ll see some (rather embarrassing) “lifestyle” posts such as the glory that is my “top 5 favorite Bath & Bodyworks products” post…*cringe*
But then, I wrote a post about a Barnes and Noble book haul I had one summer, and thought, “wait a minute…why don’t I blog about books???”
The rest is history.
(2) How do you keep up with both your blog and your booktube channel?
…*Cue nervous laughter* It’s tough! I manage because I only post twice a week on my blog and once a week on my channel. AKA: I’m realistic about my content volume. I also keep a running list of blog ideas in my notes on my phone and I tend to prewrite and schedule posts on the weekends.
I do the same with booktube when I can, but it’s a little more time-consuming with the editing and uploading process. I currently have a class schedule with Tuesdays being completely free, so that will most likely be my new recording and editing day!
(3) How do you decide what goes on your blog versus your channel?
Ooooh, this is a great question! It’s one I ask myself every time I come up with new content ideas.
Basically, I ask myself two questions:
- Can I articulate this concept/activity best in writing or visually?
For example, it is simply more practical to make my reading journal setups into videos rather than blog posts. I couldn’t imagine trying to take pictures at each step of the process and explain it in writing for a blog post!
- Would this be more entertaining/appropriate as a blog or a video?
Some things just flow better in a certain type of media. For example, my book reviews are at the very least always blog posts, and sometimes they become videos too if there’s something I really want to say, but can’t find a way to put it into written words. My platforms also have a different vibe. I try to keep my blog very succinct and semi “professional,” whereas booktube is an outlet for my natural silliness that is hard to capture in writing.
My general rule of thumb is: wrap ups, reviews, and discussions = blogs, while reading journals, special case study book reviews/discussions, and tags = videos.
(4) What is your favorite part about being in the book community?
Hands down, the interactions I have with my mutuals. I think there is such an underrated blessing in being a “small” content creator, which is the fact that you have the capacity to make genuine connections with the people that follow you. I am so thankful for the handful of people that actually talk to me in the bookish community!
(5) How long does it usually take to edit a video and what’s your favorite part about the editing process?
Usually it takes me anywhere from 2-3 hours to edit, but it also depends on the video. In particular, a reading vlog can take me several days to edit because it is an ongoing video that requires a timeline in footage, music synchronization, etc!
As for my favorite part of editing, it is definitely getting to the end of my editing flow and watching back the final video. Why? Because I always dance to my outro music. Every time. Without fail. It’s like my “yay! Another one done!” celebration!
(6) Where is one place you’d love to go that you read about in a book, and why (can be a fictional or real place. Let’s live big!)
Leelynn, why must you ask such difficult questions?! Let’s see…
I’d definitely have to say in the world of The Storm Crow, but: before the Illucians invaded Rhodaire and destroyed all of the elemental crows. It would be so cool to have my very own sun crow!
This is my most recent non-review post that I’ve done! I really love this blog because of the way it’s structured. I categorized four sets of five underrated books by something they had in common with each other, and gave a short blurb about each book! It was a great way to spotlight some of my favorite books that not a lot of people talk about.
We’ve all experienced spoilers before and wondered why on Earth a reviewer thought it’d be okay to talk about that topic without spoiler warnings. In my opinion, it’s because a lot of people don’t know what’s considered a “spoiler” in the first place!
Also: this blog was super fun to make because I asked for suggestions on Instagram and got to include others in the conversation!
I lowkey feel like this blog post got slept on. *cough* I mean what? This post was SO fun for me to make because I am a huge word nerd and a proud hoarder of lyrical adjectives. Therefore, you can probably imagine the pure bliss that was coming up with adjectives to describe different aspects of books!
This post will always be special to me for two reasons:
- I am constantly trying to improve my book reviews by making them more meaningful. This post seriously made me think critically about my reviews and reflect on how I and other bloggers can be more impeccable with our words.
- This was my first “discussion” type of post I’d ever done, and I put a lot of time and consideration into my words. The goal was to be as impactful as I could in a succinct way, and I definitely feel like I accomplished it.
Ilia, for being the first person to talk to me outside of books and trust me with other things about life. I appreciate you so much and I’d love to meet up with you one day.
Jesse, for constantly pushing me to grow, improve, and be more inclusive. You’re basically the embodiment of my intellectual aspiration.
Kasey, for brightening my day with your wittiness and personality. You remind me that it’s okay to be totally jubilant and random on camera and not be embarrassed about it.
Brenna, who isn’t a booktuber but is a blogger and an author of a book waiting to be published. You have become one of my closest mutuals through your unwavering support, and I’d love to get to know you better.
This video is basically the memory of summer 2019 for me and that’s why it’s one of my favorites to date. Bonus points for decluttering, donating, and an interruption from a cute dog!
Continuing on that note, this video is the embodiment of the end of my summer and the beginning of my sophomore year of college! If anyone out there has ever made a video that was more for them rather than for their audience, that’s the type of video this is to me. But from a viewer’s standpoint: you get to see a montage of a road trip!! That’s pretty dang cool content if you ask me!
…If it is a sin to spotlight two reading vlogs then I guess I’m a sinner. I love this reading vlog for the selfish reason that I can look back at it and know the outcomes of the things I was preparing for at that time. But from a viewer’s standpoint, you get to see my hoard of stuffed animals in my dorm room, a few glances at my college campus, and a whole montage of me being the silliest I’ve probably ever been on camera!
Becoming is one of two non-fiction books I have ever reviewed on my blog. It was just such a special moment for me as a reader and as a person to read this book and gain new perspectives from it. I am proud of this review because I was very honest about the topics that were most important to me, and I broke them down one by one explaining what I gained from them. I’d recommend this stunning memoir by the former first lady if you’re ready to have your preconceptions about a lot of things challenged.
Although this review was composed with a retired structure, I really enjoyed writing it! It features original photography of goodies I received from the pre-order campaign, and I really admire how I analyzed the characters and their roles in the story. Spin the Dawn was one of the highlights of summer 2019 releases for me. If you haven’t read it, and you’re looking for a book that takes you on a journey, I definitely recommend it!
Don’t chase numbers. Don’t stress about your analytics. Don’t worry about being “relevant.” Make content that you enjoy and that you will look back and smile at. Just be authentically you, because that is what will get you farthest.
Didn’t you just love reading Cierra’s answers? So well thought out and enjoyable! I am so glad that I had the opportunity to hear from Cierra and see both of her amazing platforms since 2019. I can’t wait to see even more from her, and I hope you enjoyed getting to know her through these answers. They were pretty fun, yeah?