Literanista is a published poet, a writer, a social media strategist, who formerly worked at Hachette Book Group, scouts the ever-changing Web landscape & is working on her debut novel & about a million other things.
A native New Yorker born to Puerto Rican & Sicilian parents in Spanish Harlem’s El Barrio, Literanista is a graduate of Hunter College of the City Univ. of NY. She holds degrees in Anthropology & Liberal Arts & Sciences. During her formative years at Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics, she was selected to study as a Junior Scholar at Columbia University.
In the past, Literanista has worked/written for WebWorkerDaily.com, AOL, Bloggingstocks.com, NY Resident Mag., Thomson Reuters, the NYC Dept. of Ed., the 92nd St. Y, Papierdoll, & The Gen. Theological Seminary…
Back in 2006, when I began Literanista, I had a cushy job as a copy editor with a lot of downtime. Years earlier, I had encouraged my own best friend to write her own blog, now defunct, because she was so witty, funny, and had so many interesting tales to tell.
A couple of years later, I wondered why I hadn’t taken my own advice and kicked myself for missing out on the chance to be an early adapter. I knew when I began my own blog that I had to find a niche, a focus, so I set out to write about what I loved and was passionate about and knew extremely well – books from a Latina’s perspective.
I wanted to highlight Hispanic authors’ works, their contributions, to create a legitimate place for dialogue about being multicultural, biracial, not fitting in and marry it with the insight and spunk of a young, educated, ambitious, New York professional. I wanted a place to discuss relevant social issues without the negativity and stereotypes that seemed to be everywhere around me.
I wanted to talk about being Latina, a person of color, without the exoticism and “caliente” accoutrements. But most of all I wanted to create a shelter, a beam of light to shine on the marginalized, the ignored and the invisible in society and in literature.
Out of that place of hope and optimism, Literanista was founded, and it has flourished ever since. Back then, social media was just beginning to become popular, most high-profile authors had websites but few if any had blogs. I had the luxury of writing what I chose to write about and soon requests from authors and publicists came pouring in for reviews and publicity on my site.
In addition, I signed up for every early review program I could find – this was before Librarything and Goodreads so these were also few and far in between but I felt blessed to be able to do something I enjoyed and could also benefit from, especially when it was mutually beneficial. I was in bibliophile heaven with all galleys and invites to book events.
While my job then was comfy, it wasn’t very prestigious and because of all the downtime, it was sometimes incredibly boring. Sometimes I barely spoke to anyone all day long and other times I wondered if the lack of challenging work was turning my mind to mush. I found things to keep me occupied; I took classes (HTML, anthropology graduate courses, creative writing, etc.,). I wrote for a local free newspaper and other websites. I wrote poetry and got one of my poems published. The anthology was on sale at the MOMA gift shop! I worked on my novel (still working on that)…and I kept writing Literanista.
Sometimes I felt like no one even knew this blog existed, sometimes that bothered me, other times I knew I did it just for me and it did not matter. Every once in a while a loyal reader would email me and write to me about how something I had written, affected him/her – and I remembered that all it takes sometimes is one small pebble in the pond. One time, I had someone write to me all the way from Spain and although I felt the constraints of my physical place, I realized that online had no bounds – I could reach anyone, everyone.
I realized the power of my voice and the power of my platform. That realization was made even greater when my little blog helped me move on in my career and landed me a job in the technology industry – in one of the top companies. And then again, when I set out to come back to the publishing world, my experience as a book blogger and my knowledge of social media and tech trends made me the perfect candidate for my dream job – the one I had wanted out of college, the one that brought it all home.
It’s funny how sometimes the road is circular and how it’s the little things, like my little humble blog, the things you sometimes doubt or think that aren’t meaningful that truly make us who we are and help us blossom into who we were meant to be.
* All content on Literanista is strictly based on my sole personal opinion & beliefs & not those of my employer. I sometimes receive advance release copies of books, media, and products for promotion purposes.
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