I am delighted to be joined by Bex aka @NinjaBookSwap to speak about her latest internet based venture, the Ninja Book Box and the importance of ‘community’ as part of the project blog tour.
If you are interested in finding out more about the Ninja Book Box project, or would like to speak to Bex please head over to Twitter or alternatively, there is a blog page for the Book Box where relevant information will be updated in due course.
Without further waffle from me, I’ll hand over to the bookish mastermind behind this all……
Hello I’m Bex, I usually blog at An Armchair by the Sea and run several internet-enabled projects which aim to connect people, most noticeably the Ninja Book Swap. This post is part of the blog tour for my newest project, Ninja Book Box. It’s a quarterly box of bookish goodness featuring an independently published book from any genre plus gifts and extras to help you immerse yourself in the world of the book. It was massively inspired and facilitated by the online communities that I belong to.
Community is an interesting word. Its technical definition is “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common” and in our daily lives most of us probably belong to several communities. Personally I’m part of my neighbourhood and local area community, the community of allotmenteers on our allotment site, my church community, the community of preschool parents, users of my local library and my workplace community as well as others I’ve missed, I’m sure. Online I’m part of the book blogging community and also several communities surrounding the various projects I’m involved in, most noticeably for the book swap that I run.
There’s a lot of media attention focused on how people don’t talk to their neighbours anymore and how communities in the traditional sense don’t really exist, and while I think it’s probably true for a lot of us that we don’t chat over the garden fence with our neighbours (although I definitely know people who still do!) I don’t think it’s necessarily true or helpful to say that communities no longer exist, when you only have to look around you to see that they very much do, but maybe in different ways than we’re used to.
When I decided to launch Ninja Book Box it was primarily to help promote and share the love for another community that often doesn’t get the attention it deserves (although it does also have a lot of very vocal supporters!); the independent publishing community here in the UK. I read an interesting article while writing this where the owner of Libreria, the new London bookshop argued that creative people need to break out of their own communities and interact with each other in order to generate new ideas, and I fully support the concept.
The point I’m trying to make is how important it is to have people around you. Without people to encourage, support and facilitate us it would be very difficult for most of us to do anything. We function as part of the world and we can make the world a better place by supporting things we love. The links between us can reach a very long way, and the internet is such an incredible tool for this. It makes it so easy to connect with people doing almost anything, anywhere in the world. I’ve had so much support for this project from the community I belong to online that’s come out of book blogging, and organising various projects including swaps and bookshop crawls, and they’ve brought it to the attention of people I’d not encountered before who are now also part of that community of support. When I talk about support I don’t just mean money, but also support with promotion of the project and support of me personally with encouragement and large amounts of virtual tea and hugs when things get rough. Community is key.
Any time I embark on one of my crazy ideas I’m struck by how important it is for us to connect with each other. Through the difficulties of anxiety and other issues the internet provides a space for us to do that. For a long time after I moved across the country I used my internet community as a substitute for being active in my local communities, but now I’m learning that the combination of both is important. Also that you can bring internet communities into real life because when you know you have something in common it’s so much easier to talk! Over the last couple of years I’ve met so many online friends in real life and it’s been amazing, you just have to take the plunge!*
Being part of such a brilliant community is such a privilege and getting to support other people in their crazy, brave, excellent endeavours is just as great as having them support yours! If you’d like to know more about Ninja Bok Box please head over to the website. You can also order the November ‘Slightly Surreal’ box by backing the Kickstarter, or take your chances with the giveaway below!
*Of course, always be safe. Don’t meet anyone in a secluded place, always tell someone where you’re going etc. Generally though if someone were trying to pretend to be someone other than they were I doubt they’d keep a blog for years and post about their personal lives.
And being the lovely person that Bex is, she’s offering you the chance to win a Ninja Book Box via a Rafflecopter giveaway – it’s open internationally!
If you’ve already backed the Kickstarter you can still enter and redeem the prize as an extra box (it might make the perfect Christmas present for the book lover in your life!) or alternatively you can opt to have your February box for free – can’t say fairer than that eh?
Thanks for that Bex, very interesting points you make there about how it’s important to have the support both online and offline and how they bring encouragement. As a member of the online book blogging community and having participated in previous projects you’ve run I can honestly say I’m honoured to count you as a friend, peer and much respected advisor.
Don’t forget to check out the other blogs on the tour, each one is a fantastic and enjoyable stop!