Thursday, September 28, 2017

Book Bloggers and Reviewers: Rachel Gilbey – Rachel’s Random Reads

 We welcome Ellie Holmes to the RNA blog with the latest in her series Book Bloggers and Reviewers. Today Ellie is talking with well known Rachel Gilbey.

Rachel Gilbey is a proud Londoner and lifelong reader who admits she feels naked without a book. 
Rachel with Helen J Rolfe
Since dropping out of university Rachel has followed a varied career path, working in IT and Brochure design for a travel company, qualifying as a Playworker, and working in after school clubs. She has also spent a few summers working abroad as a Children's rep.
When she returned to the UK her love of books grew to the next level and she started a book blog - Rachel's Random Reads, and has now launched Rachel's Random Resources too.
Welcome to the RNA blog, Rachel.

What made you start to review/blog?
I was always a prolific reader from an early age, leading Mum to have to take me to three local libraries on a regular basis to keep me in books. A few years ago, I was entering a large number of competitions, and discovered many fabulous book bloggers which I still follow to this day, and also Goodreads.
With any book I won from Goodreads, I went on to write a review, as it sounded like a condition on entry, and from there I discovered a few reading challenges some friends were running. At which point, I ended up reviewing almost everything I was reading.
Ultimately after a few others had suggested it, it was Laura Bambrey from Laura Bambrey Books that persuaded me I should blog, as I was doing 90% of the basics anyway.
Two and a half years on, I can barely remember how I filled my time without blogging, and adore being able to share my love of books to what I hope is an appreciative audience.

Are there certain genres you prefer to cover? Could you give us a link to your review guidelines?
Despite being a prolific reader, I'm rather narrow and set in my ways when it comes to the sorts of genres I tend to read, and thus cover on my blog.
I predominately read romance, women's fiction, chick lit with regular forrays over to the dark side of crime/mystery/thrillers and psychological suspense/thrillers.
My full review policy is available here.

Do you meet up with other bloggers and reviewers?
Given how solitary a hobby reading is, you may be surprised to hear that since starting my blog I have a far more active social life than I did before. I often attend the Blogger/Author Shenanigans events that the lovely Kim Nash organises, where I get to chat books with authors and bloggers.
I also attend book launches and panel discussions where there are authors or subjects of interest to me, and often bump into and other bloggers at these too. 
I have met so many bloggers and I love them all, it’s just that there are far too many to name!

What do you expect from the writer when they appear on your blog?
I'm not sure expect is the correct word. In an ideal world I would love an author to supply everything in a timely manner that has been asked for, which includes author bio, social media and purchase links, cover image and author photo, in addition to the guest post or interview.
The other thing in an ideal world would be some acknowledgement when the post is live, be it a thank you, a retweet, share just something.

What’s the best thing about being a book blogger?
Definitely the book events that I get invited too, some of them which appear to be completely star studded where I come over all fan girly and unable to string a sentence together, as I have met authors that I have been reading for 15-20 years in some cases. 
My other favourite thing about book blogging is definitely the direction my life is changing in, which I can answer best in the next question.

You have just launched an exciting new venture Rachel’s Random Resources. Can you tell us about it?
Rachel's Random Resources is my brand new business offering assorted services to authors to make their lives easier when it comes to publicity of their books, old and new.
I organise blog tours, shorter blog blitzes, 1 day publication day pushes, or Book Birthday Blitzes , to get a real buzz going on your special day, as well as cover reveals, which my growing family of bloggers will be eager to help out with.
I've got my Review Vault, which is where I will gain you potential reviewers without them having the pressure of a blog tour. This is open for reviewers that just review on Goodreads and Amazon too, to increase the exposure of the book on all the major outlets.
I'm also doing assorted graphic design for social media. This include header graphics for Twitter and Facebook, blog tour banners if you have organised your own, special offer graphics, images with quotes from the book or from your favourite reviews, all to enhance your social media, with a some variety.
Essentially, I am aiming to connect authors with bloggers, do the asking on your behalf, do the organising or graphic design on your behalf, freeing your time up to write the next book!

I saw on your blog that you are big West End musicals fan (a woman after my own heart). How else do you spend your free time when not reading?
Rachel with Sheryl Browne
I'm supposed to have free time when I'm not reading? Not sure I was ever told that!  As you spotted, I am a huge fan of musicals and will try to visit the theatre as much as I can in a year, although it’s a rather expensive habit to have. That does remind me I don't have any more shows lined up yet to see, I must go and buy some more tickets!
Cheaper than my other main love which is going on holiday, I love spending time abroad, sitting, relaxing soaking up the heat, and oddly reading at the same time!
I'm also a huge fan of sports, watching not participating, and events such as The Olympics or the Football World Cup will see me stuck to the TV no matter the time difference to soak up as much as I can.  I try to get to some live events each year.  I'm lucky enough to live near Wembley, and also within an easy enough journey of The Olympic Stadium (or The London Stadium, or The Queen Elizabeth Park, or whatever it is currently being referred to as). I was lucky enough to attend the World Athletics Championships recently, and had a wonderful time cheering on Team GB!.

We often ask agents and publishers what they consider to be the next 'big thing' - what do you hope to see more of in 2018?
That has to be the hardest question on the whole interview, especially tricky as let’s face it most of the lists for at least the first half to the year from traditional publishers are likely to be finalised already! 
So how to answer this question?
At the start of 2017, two other bloggers and myself embarked on a massive challenge, to between us see if we could read around the UK in 144 books, and see just how much of the UK we read about in books. Although we seem to have stalled, what I have discovered is a large amount of the UK just doesn't necessarily get featured in books often if at all.
I would love to see more variety of location in the books that I read. So often I spend most of my time virtually in Cornwall and Devon, despite there being pretty coastline all around the UK.
Thank you so much for inviting me to be interviewed today. It is a great honour and I really appreciate the opportunity.

It was a pleasure to talk with you Rachel. Thank you for giving us an insight into your world and good luck with your new venture Rachel’s Random Resources.  I’m sure you’ll have lots of RNA members beating a path to your door.

Links to Rachel’s Random Reads:

Links to Rachel's Random Resources:

About Ellie:
Ellie Holmes writes commercial women’s fiction with her heart in the town and her soul in the
country. Ellie’s debut release was The Flower Seller. A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Alliance of Independent Authors, Ellie’s latest book, White Lies is out now.


Thank you Ellie and Rachel for a most enjoyable interview. Good luck with your new venture, Rachel!

If you would like to write for the RNA blog please contact us on


Ellie Holmes said...

Thank you to Rachel Gilbey for being such a fab guest and best of luck with your new venture Rachel. I look forward to trying it out in the future. Ellie x

Rachel Gilbey said...

You are very welcome Ellie. It was a pleasure to answer your questions and an honour to be featured on the RNA blog.

Sheryl Browne said...

I hadn't touched a drop! Love this feature, Rachel. Thanks for including our fab, smiley photo, Ellie! I would just like to say that Rachel really is a prolific reader and massively supportive of authors. Loving the Rachel's Random Resources business, Rachel. Thank you for your timely promotion of my book, After She's Gone. The services you are offering, particularly bearing in mind the needs of the author in today's frenetic environment, are perfect. Keep up the good work (you may sleep occasionally). Best of luck! A huge thank you to all bloggers, while I'm here. In case I haven't mentioned it before, you are hugely appreciated! xx

Rachel Gilbey said...

Thank you so much Sheryl and it was a joy to include you in my launch celebrations, especially with the timing too.

I'm certainly going to do my best with meeting authors needs where I can.

Now sleep is the one thing I am already starting to forget! It might be why I booked a holiday this week!

Julie Houston said...

Great feature. Really enjoyed reading this! x

Wendy's Writing said...

A really interesting read. Thank you, Rachel, from another West End fan 😀

Natalie Kleinman said...

What a great interview. Thank you, Rachel and Ellie, and good luck with Rachel's Random Resources.

Rachel Gilbey said...

Thank you Natalie Wendy and Julie

Alison Brodie said...

It was fascinating to get inside the mind of one of the world's major book bloggers. I agree with Rachel: there are too many books set in Cornwall and Devon.

I also think there are enough books with the word "Girl" in the title. And enough books about abducted children.

I think Rachel is doing a magnificent job bringing authors and bloggers together.

Thank you for the post, Ellie!

Rae Cowie said...

Gosh - I'm amazed you have any free time, Rachel! Interesting post. Wishing you oodles of success with Rachel's Random Resources.

Rachel Gilbey said...

Rae that is a concept I'm really struggling with at the moment - "Free Time"! Thank you so much.

Alison - Thank you so much for your kind words. I'm not sure about World's Major book bloggers, but I am flattered regardless!

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