Meet the RHUL second year who’s an Insta-famous blogger
She has over 80k followers and hangs out at glitzy red carpet events
When she started uni, Gemma seemed like any other fresher. It wasn’t until her housemate went to tag her on Instagram that her secret was out: she’s actually a pretty famous YA (young adult) literature blogger.
As we have an insta-famous celeb in our midst who spends most of her time attending movie premieres and chilling with a-list authors, I thought I’d ask her a few questions to learn more about how she became so successful.
You’re an English Lit & Creative Writing student by day, but you have a side hustle by night. Could you explain what you do?
Basically, a few years ago (thanks to my fabulously loving brother) I realised I talk about books a lot. When I was younger my parents would give me pocket money when my paper round earnings weren’t enough, and I’d race down to Waterstones every Saturday, change in hand, to scour for the latest book released or anything with a fancy cover. I’d spend the entirety of my week reading, only to repeat the process the next weekend.
A few years back I attended a fan event for a popular book-to-movie series Divergent, and managed to nab a couple of tickets to the premiere behind the event because I had a lot of Instagram followers. It was a secret kind of entertainment drug deal.
After the event I decided I should probably stop pissing my poor brother off by talking about books and actually write about it. I started a blog (it was a Weebly blog – horrific and ancient) to share my thoughts on any books I came across. Said blog started generating a fair amount of views and after three months I bribed my brother and dad to create (and fund) a website for me.
Very quickly I started accepting writing applications from all across Europe, Asia and America – people actually wanted to write about books and movie reviews. After I gained more experience from my editor-in-chief position, I started writing for bigger entertainment websites, and then started receiving invitations to exclusive blogger events, publishing events, film premieres and press access for movie promotions.
As if that wasn’t enough, I became social media coordinator and publicist for two publishing companies after interning for a leading UK publishing company in London last December. This all happened in the space of a couple of years, while I was studying for my degree.
How did you get so many followers?
Hashtags. No, seriously. Don’t be the guy who tags his gross sandwich as #ham, #nice, #food – it’s too much. But as hard as it is to believe, people do surf tags on Instagram. And once you’ve got a solid foundation, people will typically follow you because hey, why would 80,000 other people do it?
Any tips for getting started with a blog?
Start small. We all started with zero followers and zero comments. Find what you really want to talk about, otherwise you’ll lose motivation fairly quickly. Never, ever, ever do it for the free stuff. You’ll be disappointed when companies turn you down and how long the stuff takes to actually materialise.
What are the perks of blogging?
The perks are definitely feeling like you have input in the industry and people value your opinion.
Who’s the coolest person you met and whats the coolest thing you’ve been invited to or done?
I always love doing film premieres and cast interviews. It’s always really nice catching up with people. I recently interviewed Veronica Roth in her hotel room (author of the Divergent series) and it was super chill.
Do you have any famous blogger pals?
I think you definitely meet and bond with lots of people, all of whom have diverse followings, but it’s always easy to forget “this person” or “that person” has a lot of followers and subscribers. It’s a thing but they’re all just normal people with thousands of followers.
Are you going to write a book of your own?
While I’ve been writing for a long time and self publishing (thanks, NaNoWriMo), I can quite confidently say: not right now. Studying creative writing has made me even more critical of my work, and a lot of the characters I create seem to be bland and copies of my own favourite characters. I can see myself staying in publishing for a very long time. But who knows?
Finally, where can people follow you?
I’ve had a clean slate from my main website and Instagram as I’m now in the process of re-branding my style and myself. I used to be the owner and editor-in-chief of bookinity.co.uk and my Instagram was @TheStiffs. Now, my Twitter is @TheStiffsUK and my Instagram is @anovelyouth. Currently, I’m the London executive writer for fangirlish.com, I’m a publicist for Month9Books and Swoon Romance. I also blog and vlog on youtube, which you can find at youtube.com/anovelyouth.