Writer and podcaster Anne Bogel loves diving in, hiding out, and creating her deep work yet still manages to be everywhere, all the time making sure the world knows about great books and better reading.
Anne Bogel is the genius behind the hugely popular Modern Mrs. Darcy blog and the “What Should I Read Next?” podcast. Followed by thousands of readers, authors, and publishers, she is a tastemaker through her popular book lists, reading guides, and stylish posts about life in general. She is also an author of two books about the reading life.
I’ve been a fan of Anne’s for more than five years when our virtual worlds brought us together in real life (shout-outs to Laura Vanderkam and Holland Saltsman here). Her ability to consistently and creatively share content that is interesting, engaging, followable and fan-able never ceases to amaze me. I was thrilled that she took some time to share how she does it!
Check out our “Behind the Seens” video – (and see the person behind the groovy voice):
Read on for highlights of our conversation:
Nancy: Anne, I’ve always thought of you as an early adopter and a quintessential tribe builder. You were building a community online before everyone talked about how to do that. Have you always been that way?
Anne: I don’t feel like an early adopter. I always felt like I was late when I started blogging, and I waited a year to get on Facebook and Twitter. I do love to try things. Breaking things is okay with me even though my it might not be okay with my husband who is the person I call to fix them.
What has been a game changer for you in terms of growing your audience?
I can think of 3 things:
The first was changing from an anonymous blogger to being personal. It was early on and I realized that it wasn’t quite as scary online and being part of the blogosphere and I really saw a change when I started writing in a more personal way.
The second thing that happened was that other people who had influence with their audiences started sharing my blog and letting people know that they might like it as well. That was really a big deal.
The third thing was starting the “What Should I Read Next?” podcast – it’s about book talk, reading recommendations and literary matchmaking. People really connect with the medium and it’s been so much easier to make connections. With the podcast people tell me that it’s part of their day. I had heard that all this was true about podcasting, but I was still surprised when it happened.
You also do a great job of taking your awesome content and leveraging it, so it reaches the most people. I see you doing that with your reading guides, but also with your podcasts and your blog posts as well. It’s a terrific case study for others who don’t get as much traction or who haven’t been able to share their content across multiple platforms.
I’m glad it looks that way because I am doing it “wrong”. I should spend more time promoting and less time creating but I like doing it this way. I’m glad to hear your feedback.
What is your favorite social media platform? Or, if you can’t pick a favorite share with us why you love those you use and how you’ve gotten there.
I really don’t use Facebook personally, only for the business side of things.
And I do use Pinterest to promote things, and I do use it personally. My daughter and I recently searched for ideas because we are painting her room. I like their search function for project things like that.
What are you doing today that you feel is new?
I am making myself try on social media. I have some big long-term projects going on and my instinct is to go in my cave and work on them and nothing else. I do have a belief that’s sweet and a bit naïve; that good work will win out – that people will find it. But then I know that’s not always true. Sometimes I read a book and I’m wondering why everyone isn’t talking about it because it’s so good – and then I realize it’s because people don’t know about it. I make the effort to do good work and be on social media. Especially Instagram stories. I never wake up wanting to do one, but once I get going I’m like oh, this is fun!
Can you share with us what’s behind you on the wall in your office?
It’s a calendar of the past two and the next six months of my life. It’s how I plan out what I’m working on to make sure that everything is accounted for, and to be sure that it all gets done. I have to be able to see it all at a glance, so I taped up some calendars and used post it notes and found a way to see what’s coming up and what’s next.
What’s your secret for growing your tribe? What is it about Anne Bogel or Modern Mrs. Darcy that keeps people coming back all the time?
I don’t know how true this is in 2018 but in 2011 when I started Modern Mrs. Darcy, it was an oddball blog. Toni Morrison said that if what you want to read doesn’t exist, you have to write it. I think what also works is that it’s specific, it’s personal, and I think what works for our audience is that we are super-nerdy about books and reading. What we’ve heard from our audience is that no one is passionate about this in their personal life, so they are looking for it online.
My husband said this early on – you don’t have a niche but you do have a tightly defined demographic. And they are interested in books and reading but they also wear mascara and drink tea and I’m up for sharing that stuff too.
What do you do when you aren’t writing or posting online? How do you recharge when you step away from the laptop? Besides reading – which we know you do.
I like to walk the dog. I’ve talked about that a lot and I also like to walk alone, or with friends or my husband. I like to eat. I love to go out for a bite or a drink. We are hikers and paddle boarders – which is a new family thing. And every now and then I like to rearrange the books on my shelves. I get so many books, so when they stack up I know it’s time to alphabetize the book shelves again.
Before we go do you have anything you want to share with us? Something that’s coming up in a few months – hint, hint?
Yes! I have a book coming out on September 4th. And it’s about reading. It’s titled I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life. You can go to annebogel.com and pre-order, and we have fun pre-order bonuses. You can also go to idratherbereading.com. All those sites will get you to the right place.
If you are not already a fan of Anne Bogel, at Modern Mrs Darcy and What Should I Read Next, then connect with her here:
- Modern Mrs Darcy website
- “What Should I Read Next?” Podcast
- Instagram: @annebogel / @whatshouldIreadnext
- Facebook – @ModernMrsDarcy
- Twitter – @annebogel
- Pinterest – @Modern Mrs Darcy / Anne Bogel
Your reading life will be better for it. I promise!