Exploring the Writing Community: Functionally Fictional

This post is long overdue, and I’m excited to share about this great resource for the writing community.  I discovered Functionally Fictional through a Facebook writing group that I’m a member of, because that’s where a lot of stuff happens.  I stumbled across a post seeking authors to feature, and was interested.  I’m an author.  I’d like to be featured.  So I reached out, and quickly learned how organized and well-run the site is.  It offers a plethora of features, from book reviews, author interviews, books of the week, and a running database of promoted books.  Now enough babbling from me, let’s get to know more about this wonderful internet destination!  I spoke with the curator of the site, Caitlin, and this is what I learned.
Let’s start with a little about you as a reader/writer.
For as long as I can remember, books have been a big part of my life.  I remember my parents reading to me as a child and being in love with any library I entered.  I didn’t read a lot as I got older, but I still loved it.  About five or so years ago, I started following various book websites, such as Epic Reads and YA Books Central, and a few booktubers.  I wanted to be a part of all that, but didn’t know how to get started.
That being said, I hated writing growing up.  I never wrote outside of the classroom, and I bs’d my way through honors English classes without actually reading or learning much.  In 2015, I dropped out of college and moved back home.  After about four months, I was bored out of my mind.  I started reading more and when a certain book didn’t end the way I wanted it to, I thought, “Why don’t I just write my own book?”  I’m currently querying a YA fantasy book, have several others in the works, have been publishing online articles through Coffee House Writers for two years, and have applied to a Master of Fine Arts (Creative Writing) program.
Where did the inspiration/motivation come from for your website?
In the fall/winter of 2017, I read the A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas, which rekindled my love of reading and started the frenzy that led to where I am now.  All I wanted to do was talk about books all the time, but only a couple people in my life read the same type of books.  So, I looked into working for sites like Epic Reads and YABC.  They are run by volunteers, however, and rarely bring in new people.  Since I wasn’t ready to start a YouTube channel, I thought, “Why not start my own website?”  Are you sensing a pattern here?  On a whim, I created Functionally Fictional in March of 2018, without any idea what I was doing or the fact that book blogging was a very real thing already.  (I really thought I was on to something brilliant…)
How long have you been operating your site?  How many books do you think you’ve reviewed and how many authors would you say you’ve featured (if you know the numbers)? 
Since January of 2018, I have read at least a little bit every single day.  Before 2018, the most I’d ever read in a year was 30 books.  In 2018, I read 74, and I’m at 54 for 2019 so far.  I do not review every book I read, but I try to review most.  I re-read old favorites quite a bit, so I don’t always review those.
36 books and their authors have been featured for a week on the homepage since the end of January 2019.  The featured book of the week is now booked up until February 2020.  I don’t have the exact number of reviews we’ve done upon request, but I do know we’ve had over 50 requests this year.  With most of the team being students with families and jobs, this is quite a bit.  Hence, we’re not taking anymore review requests unless the author is okay waiting a while.
What was your goal when you started your site, and has that changed at all now that you’re established?
My goal with Functionally Fictional was simply to create a space to talk about books.  I wanted to have a solid team of reviewers and have weekly book-related posts.  We’re still getting there.  In fact, I’m working on restructuring how the website operates to get more consistent posts out each week.  The goal has changed quite a bit.  It ran more as a blog last year, with minimal effort.  This year, I’ve expanded it to focus more on promoting books outside of reviews.  I am actually working on making it a legal company and have a lot of big plans in the works.
What is your favorite part of running your site and the services you provide? 
My favorite part of running the website is offering free promotion.  I love working with indie authors to get their work out their more.  A lot of work goes into these books, especially when self-publishing (editor’s note: boy howdy!), and their work deserves to be seen.  The more I get involved in the indie book community, the more I love it and want to help.  I’ve even started considering that route for my own books because of how amazing my experience has been.  I want others to have a positive experience as well, and if I can help make that possible even a little, the 16-hour days are worth it.
How can people go about contacting you and submitting their works for feature and/or review?
If you’re interested in having your book featured or promoted, please fill out the form below.  Apart from being featured for a week on the homepage, your book(s) can be added to the Promoted Books page, and we do cover reveals, author interviews, release-day posts, and participate in blog tours.  If there’s something else you have in mind, just let me know and we’ll work on it!  All books from all genres are offered free promotion.  However, we do not review every genre.  The details of what is accepted for reviews will be updated on the website sometime in the next week.
I am also offering paid author services now, such as proofreading, editing, PA work, creating promo/teasers, blog/website management, etc.  My prices are very low because I’m just starting out on my own.  I do have over two years of editing experience, but am new to freelance work.  For the details and prices, visit my page here, and please feel free to email functionallyfictional@gmail.com with any questions.

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I’d like to give a huge thank you to Caitlin for taking the time to answer my questions.  As you can see, she has plenty on her plate already!  I also owe her a debt of gratitude for all of the support and publicity she has offered me and the Kings of Chaos Motorcycle Club Series.  I take the approach to the writing community that we are not here to compete and that we can all benefit from each other’s knowledge and experiences.  Finding other like-minded community members is always exciting for me.  Keep up the great work, Caitlin, and for all of us indie authors, thank you!

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