Blogging: The Expectation v. the Reality, Part 3

When I started my blog, I had many preconceived notions about what exactly it would entail. Even after the journey began, I came to assume certain things would or would not happen. And some of them have turned out to be true, but most have not. I recently read Cora Harrington’s 5 Things I Wish I’d Learned My First Year of Blogging (a fashion blog, but the article applies to any blog type) and was inspired to think about my own first-year of blogging. So, I thought I’d do a few posts about my “expectations” versus the “realities” I’ve come across in the blogging world. (Remember, these are my experiences. Your mileage may vary.)

 

 

I already read so much that I’ll have no problem banging out reviews, several a week!

 

 

 

Ah, how sweet and innocent I was. I figured writing a review wouldn’t take long at all. After all, I love to write, I write all the time. I’ll read and review, read and review, read and review, and my blog will be chock full of well-written reviews.

As you may remember from a post I did a while back, I have a serious inability to get a review completed. I tend to start it, get easily distracted and lose my train of thought, then just give up and plan to go back to it later.

Alas, the “go back to it later” part isn’t one of my strengths. Right now, at this moment, I have 20 reviews that need to be completed. Literally, 20. And some are for books I read over a year ago. I could do something with them, like Respiring Thoughts does, and make a post with several books listed and give a very general one- or two-paragraph recap. But I feel like, I read the book, I want to review the book, you know?

I wish I could be one of those super efficient bloggers that reads a book and writes the review immediately. When I see a review that says “I read this book last night and…” I wonder how the hell they did the review so fast! I need to ask them to teach me how they stay focused enough to actually write a complete review within a few hours.

What it really comes down to is focus and self-control. I need to practice both to increase my review output. I would love to be able to post 2 reviews a week, that’s always been my goal. I certainly read enough to do that amount. But, it turns out reading a book isn’t the same thing as reviewing a book.

Were you able to write reviews as quickly as you expected? Or did they take longer than you realized?

Blogging: The Expectation v. the Reality, Part 2

When I started my blog, I had many preconceived notions about what exactly it would entail. Even after the journey began, I came to assume certain things would or would not happen. And some of them have turned out to be true, but most have not. I recently read Cora Harrington’s 5 Things I Wish I’d Learned My First Year of Blogging (a fashion blog, but the article applies to any blog type) and was inspired to think about my own first-year of blogging. So, I thought I’d do a few posts about my “expectations” versus the “realities” I’ve come across in the blogging world. (Remember, these are my experiences. Your mileage may vary.)

 

 

 

There aren’t that many book bloggers out there. We’ll all get to know each other and become great friends.


 

 

Man, I just lived in my own little world, didn’t I? There are literally thousands of book bloggers and a crap ton of them are young adult book bloggers. I am a teeny tiny fish in a great big giant ocean.

I have made a pretty good friend or two, but I know very few other bloggers on a personal level. Of course, my extreme shyness probably has something to do with that… It turns out “If you build it, they will come” does not apply to blogs and friends.

But I do think I’m friendly and get along with almost all of the other bloggers out there (as far as I know!). And I seriously love so many of them; I love their humor and kindness and general attitudes. Even though I don’t know them all, I like to think I’m pretty cool for being one of them.

Blogging: The Expectation v. the Reality, Part 1

When I started my blog, I had many preconceived notions about what exactly it would entail. Even after the journey began, I came to assume certain things would or would not happen. And some of them have turned out to be true, but most have not. I recently read Cora Harrington’s 5 Things I Wish I’d Learned My First Year of Blogging (a fashion blog, but the article applies to any blog type) and was inspired to think about my own first-year of blogging. So, I thought I’d do a few posts about my “expectations” versus the “realities” I’ve come across in the blogging world. (Remember, these are my experiences. Your mileage may vary.)

expectations
 

 

I’ll spend 80% of my blogging time reading and the other 20% writing the reviews. Easy peasy.

 

 

 

I spend my blogging time doing a crazy mixture of things I never could have imagined, the percentages of which change every day. As of right now, here’s what they look like:

  • 15% Reading review books.
  • 15% Writing reviews, which I usually do over a period of about a week.
  • 10% Updating plugins, updating review archives, cleaning out spam, updating widgets, optimizing the database, setting up post templates and other blog maintenance.
  • 10% Writing discussion posts.
  • 10% Scouring Goodreads and the internet for book covers to fit the theme for the new Who Covered It Best? feature, resizing those covers, creating the posts, creating the Polldaddy voting form, then putting everything into the post.
  • 10% Reading Facebook, participating in Twitter conversations, stalking authors and checking out various other social networking sites.
  • 10% Reading other blogs; this includes reading the actual blogs, my Bloglovin feed and the updates I get via email.
  • 5% Commenting on other blogs (this should be more, I feel like it’s my way of giving back to the blogging community as a whole). I’m great at reading blogs, but terrible at commenting on them.
  • 5% Thinking up interview questions or guest post topics for authors, sending them to the authors, pasting the replies in the post, then formatting them for continuity.
  • 5% Emailing other bloggers, readers, publishers, authors, guest bloggers, book tour coordinators and giveaway winners.
  • 5% Thinking up and researching new post ideas, Let’s Discuss topics and themes for Who Covered It Best?

As you can see, there is a TON more to book blogging than reading a book and writing a review. A. TON. If I knew then what I know now, I don’t know for certain that I would have started the blog. But since I was oblivious, I did start one, and now I can say I’m so glad I did. If the work involved had scared me away, I would be missing out on so much.

All you bloggers out there, were you shocked by the amount of work involved once you got started? And for those non-bloggers, did you have an idea of all the stuff that goes into a simple little blog? Does it scare you away from potentially starting your own blog?

Book Blogging Challenge Day 11 – My Best Blog Posts

April at Good Books, Good Wine is hosting this fun challenge where we answer book-related questions every day for 15 days. I’m not sure if I will take part every day, but I’ll do what I can. If it sounds like fun, make your own post and let’s compare answers!

 

Today we’re naming our best blog posts. Hmm, this could be a subjective topic; “Best” as in the most commented on? “Best” as in best written? I decided to name my personal favorites. For one reason or another, these are the posts I’m most proud of:

I loved my advocate post for the NA Crush Tourney. I lost the round, but I love the post. It basically describes why Matt Watkins from Flat-Out Love is the perfect book boyfriend.

My review of The Collector by Victoria Scott is a favorite, simply because I loved the book so damn much.

I love my little furbaby, so any excuse to talk about her is welcome.

In my review of From Ashes by Molly McAdams, I’m kind of proud of the way I summarized the story in 3 short conversations. I thought it was chuckle-worthy.

Velveteen by Daniel Marks was a book that, surprisingly, blew me out of the water, so I had fun writing that review.

This post about my experience with bullying from February of last year is very personal and was hard for me to write.

My very first interview was with Jessica Park, author of Flat-Out Love (natch). That book was the main reason I started the blog, and I emailed Jessica, as a brand new blogger, fangirled for a bit, then asked for an interview. She was so nice to me, though I had zero audience to speak of, and she even let me give away 5 ecopies of the book. And then I got her name wrong when I posted the review! And yet, she was still so nice, joking about it with me. She will forever hold a special place in my heart.

And of course, my review of the book: Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park. I think if I could rewrite this one, I would. Looking back now, I wish I sounded more excited about it. But I was a brand new blogger and didn’t want to come off as a weirdo.

Book Blogging Challenge Day 9 – Why I Blog About Books

April at Good Books, Good Wine is hosting this fun challenge where we answer book-related questions every day for 15 days. I’m not sure if I will take part every day, but I’ll do what I can. If it sounds like fun, make your own post and let’s compare answers!

 

Today’s challenge is to tell you why we blog about books. I did a post about why I started the blog, with a cute little infographic, a while back. I keep blogging about books because I love almost everything about it. I love the community, getting to interact with authors, other bloggers and readers, sharing books that I loved with other people, and of course, getting to read all the time.

That’s not to say it’s not hard, because it is. Anyone who says differently is selling something (bonus points if you know the movie I just quoted from). Luckily, the pros far outweigh the cons!

Beyond the Blog Interview

Hey friends! Paranormal Haven interviewed me for their Beyond the Blog series, so click on over and check out my interview. See you there!

TGIF @ GReads: A Book Blogger is Born

TGIF at GReads is a weekly meme hosted by GReads. This week’s question asks:

What made you decide to start your very own book blog?

Excellent question. I’m looking forward to seeing some of the answers people offer up for this one. For me, it was all about 2 books and a blog.

I had always been a chick-lit reader but every once in a while I would read something different (horror, mystery, romance, etc.), though I hadn’t read any young adult books since I was a young adult. One day a bunch of clicking through the “Customers who viewed this also viewed” section on Amazon led me to Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles. I devoured it and loved it muchly. I thought hey, maybe there are some more amazing books out there in the ya market. So I did some googling and landed at Forever Young Adult.

The gals over at FYA were adults who read YA. That idea had never occurred to me before. Though I had just read a YA novel, I figured I was an odd bird for doing so. But if the ladies at FYA could make reading YA novels seem okay, I guess I could read them, too. I loved reading their blog, they had such snarky attitudes and I just ate it up.

From there, I read a few more YA novels, but Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park was the clincher. I loved that book so much, I wanted to tell everyone I knew about it. Unfortunately, I was the only YA reader that I knew, so I couldn’t tell many people about it in person. Then I had the bright idea of starting my own blog. I would be witty and sarcastic, just like the ladies at FYA, and the people would flock to my little corner of the internet so I could preach the gospel that is Flat-Out Love. Oh, and then I would read some other books and blog about those, too.

So there you have it. That’s why I started my blog. Turns out I am not as sarcastic and not nearly as witty as I thought I was. So I bow down to the experts at FYA.

Reviewing books and blogging turned out to be way more time-consuming and challenging than I ever could have imagined, but I have stayed true to my original goal and continue to pimp out Flat-Out love every chance I get. This blog has opened more doors for me and let me experience so many things I never could have imagined and I’m so thankful I took the plunge.

To sum up:

A Blogger is Born

Spread Love, Not Hate

K.C. Neal and her friend Katie came up with this event after Katie experienced bullying regarding the debut of her novel. This hop is an opportunity for lots of people to stand up and say that bullying is not acceptable. For my post, I’m going to share an experience I had with bullying growing up.

Girls are mean. Any woman on planet earth knows what I’m talking about. In my middle school, there were lots of little groups that didn’t like outsiders. Not one big clique but several smaller ones. For several years, I was a member of one of those groups. We were a small group of girls, and while I don’t remember being outright mean to others, I’m sure I wasn’t welcoming.

And then suddenly, one day I was an outsider. It was like I had the plague. These girls (who until very recently I had considered very good friends) wouldn’t speak to me or even look at me.  They started spreading rumors about me and telling other girls in our classes not to speak to me. I used to come home crying to my mother about how mean they were. I have always been a sensitive person and my feelings were easily hurt, so you can imagine how devastating that was for me. To make matters even worse, I had no idea what I had done to deserve it.

This went on for weeks and weeks; nobody would speak to me at school, or worse, they would say hurtful things, then I would go home and cry. Every day, my mom would say things like “They’re just jealous of you,” “You don’t need them,” and “You’re too good for them.” You know, all the things a mother is supposed to say.

Finally, I started to get pissed. I don’t know if mom’s wisdom finally started to sink in, or if I just figured it out on my own, but maybe I didn’t need them after all. I started ignoring anyone who said something mean. I held my head up and walked on by. And the craziest thing started happening: they stopped making fun of me. My wise mother had said: if you stop reacting, they’ll get bored and move on. And she was right! (Mom, if you’re reading this, I did not just say you were right.)

Eventually, there was something new to talk about so I became old news. People started speaking to me again and I gained some new friends. Still, I had to face those same mean girls every day at the bus stop. But that’s what I did – I faced them. I didn’t let them scare me anymore. Then one day, and I’ll never forget this, one of the girls walked up to me and said “I’ve decided to forgive you.” I should have been ecstatic, right? Here she was, the most popular girl in my group and she was forgiving me (I never did find out what I needed forgiving for, by the way). I wasn’t pissed anymore, I was over that. But I was also over her and over the drama. Mom was right (again, Mom, I did not just say that), I was too good for them. So I looked her right in the eyes and said “That’s good. But I don’t forgive you.”

We were never really friends again after that, my group and I. We saw each other in school over the years, shared some classes and were friendly enough, but we were never close. I never forgot how they made me feel and I was careful never to make anyone feel the same way. I didn’t want to be that kind of person.

I have a 13 year old son now and I have made it known again and again that if he sees someone being bullied, he has an obligation to not only not participate, but to stand up for the person being bullied. Whether that means literally standing up to the bullies, telling a teacher or other adult, or befriending the victim, he is expected to not stand by and let it happen.

It seems like there’s a story in the news so often now about a child taking action after having been bullied. Sometimes they fight back, sometimes they harm others with a weapon and sometimes they even end their own lives. As an adult, I feel it is my responsibility to do anything I can to prevent that from happening to anyone we know.

I included some resources I have come across while perusing the interwebs. I am not endorsing any of these sites, nor am I affiliated with them in any way, I am just listing them for your convenience.

StopBullying.org
Anti Bullying Network
Bullying.org
Kids Against Bullying
No Bully

Below is the linky for the hop, so please stop by some of the other blogs and see what they have to say about bullying. (The linky appears to go in and out, so if it’s not showing, click here to go to K.C. Neal’s post with all the info.)