If you read crime fiction and are active on Instagram, you most likely know who Crime By The Book is. What you might not know is the woman behind the bookstagram! I got a chance to sit down and chat with Abby this Summer and she is incredibly sweet and ambitious. It was such a pleasure! Keep on reading to see what she dished about!
Giselle from HBL: Hi! I’m here with Abby from Crime By The Book and if you don’t know who Abby is, please look her up RIGHT NOW and if you don’t like crime fiction, you definitely will after visiting her blog!
Abby, tell me (and the readers) a bit about yourself– you work in publishing right?
Abby: [Laughing] Thank you for having me, Giselle! It’s so nice to meet you in person and yes, I do work in publishing. By day I work for Dutton, an imprint at Penguin Random House, as an Assistant Publicist where I assist our Publicity Director and Assistant Director with their titles, but I also have my own titles as well. I always like to preface all of this by saying I don’t post about Dutton books on my blog. Just so everyone knows there’s no conflict there, but I love my job and Dutton has a great blend of fiction and nonfiction, and a lot of our fiction authors are crime authors, which is fantastic!
So incredible! You’re basically doing exactly what you love, working with books you love?
It’s honestly amazing and I feel so fortunate to get to work with authors that I love to read in my free time.
How did you get to where you are in your career? How did you land this incredible job?
After college, I actually started working for-
[insert waiter giving us back our check] … the suspense is real!!
[Laughing] I was working for a legal reference book publisher in Houston, Texas, which is where I went to college, and I was copy editing law books there– obviously totally different from what I’m doing now! During that time I began to think I might like to get connected with the fiction publishing community, so I started Crime by the Book because I had always been a crime reader and I said, “You know what, why not, let’s give this a shot!”. I think I was also starting to annoy my friends on my personal Instagram with all my book photos. (LOL I can relate.) From there it just kind of took off and I got connected with people at Penguin, had phone calls with them to learn a bit more about their jobs, and from there I identified that I would like to work in publicity and applied to Dutton, so here I am!
And here you are now! So what was the time period from when you started your blog to when you got your job?
It was about 6 months. (INSANITY!) It honestly been like a fairy tale and I’m so fortunate for how it worked out, Dutton was the perfect opportunity for me because of the crime fiction connection so it really feels like the stars aligned for this.
Now, going back to bookstagram, what do you think has been your favorite thing about the community aside from the professional connection you gained?
You know, starting bookstagram, as much as I wanted to get connected with the fiction publishing community, it was never my outright goal to get a job in publishing. My favorite part of it is definitely the willingness of readers to interact with me, and with one another. I have been so blown away because when I started bookstagram I thought, maybe there isn’t even really a place for a solely crime fiction account. I wasn’t sure if people would be interested, but I’ve been totally blown away by how interested people are in learning about crime fiction and engaging, and talking with me and one another; it’s been crazy!
Crazy is right! You’re currently at 41K right? (at the time of interview but now it’s 48K!!).
Yes! It’s been two years and it’s been incredible, and every time I get a new follower I just feel so thankful because it has totally surpassed my expectations.
And have you discovered any other crime bloggers on bookstagram?
So what do you think is next for Crime by the Book?
Oh man, I always wish there were more hours in the day because I want to do everything, but my next long-term goal (I don’t know when this will happen) but I would love to start a Youtube channel! (I approve of that 110%!).
What are your top favorite book recommendations?
My favorite book of all time is The Snowman by Jo Nesbø (now a movie)- it’s fantastic – it’s part of his Harry Hole series, but you can read it as a standalone. I always recommend The Crow Girl by Erik Axl Sund – a Swedish crime novel. In general, Scandinavian crime is my favorite. For psychological thrillers, I love Claire Mackintosh; I think she is fantastic. I also love Ruth Ware’s books. The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney was probably one of the best debut psychological thrillers I’ve read in a long time (it has a bit of a 50 Shades of Grey romance mixed in with a really fantastic thriller plot). I think one of the best things about crime fiction is that there is so much contained within that one genre, so I have crime fiction recommendations for every specific, subgenre interest someone might have.
What got you into crime fiction?
It honestly all started with Nancy Drew. I was home sick from school one day as a kid and I went up in the attic (I don’t know why I was up in the attic!) and my mom had this box of Nancy Drew books that were just up there collecting dust and I brought a couple downstairs and just devoured them. I loved them so much and I know that Nancy Drew has inspired so many crime fiction readers and from there I was just hooked.
(This was the cutest “Why I started reading” story that I’ve ever heard.)
What do you think is your biggest accomplishment thus far?
Well, I obviously feel super grateful for my job. That was a totally unintended consequence from starting my blog and I’m so grateful to have bosses who are understanding and supportive of me continuing the blog also. I work for a great team! On the blog side of things, I have to say, I recently went to the Facebook offices and got to interview Jo Nesbø in their offices and that was a dream come true. And I don’t get flustered around many authors but I was freaking out when I met him! And I also think the first time I was ever quoted in a book, that was huge to me! (The book is Little Boy Blue by M.J. Arlidge).
What came first: the Instagram or Blog?
The Instagram came first and then the blog came a little while after. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with the blog at first! I love to write, so the blog slowly developed – at first it was just kind of there while I tried to figure out how to incorporate it with what I was doing on Instagram, but I came to really love it! Now it’s been something that I’m trying to grow more and focus on more (along with the Instagram, of course)!
Any final words! (Shout yourself out, where can people find Crime by the Book?!)
It was so great meeting you, Abby! Thanks for sitting down and talking to me! You are a rockstar!
I hope everyone reading this enjoyed the inside scoop into Abby’s life and make sure to keep up with her and me on Instagram and be on the lookout for more #BehindtheBookstagrammer interviews!