This is the end of the 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge hosted by Good Books and Good Wine. It’s Day 15. And I’m a little bit sad that it’s all over. Participating in this challenge has been a bit of a mini blogging vacation. I guess this means, starting tomorrow, I’ll have to get back to work. Boo.
If you’re just tuning in now and you’d like to see what this challenge was all about, you can head over to Good Books and Good Wine and read the “Let’s Get It Started” post. Or you can just scroll through the past two weeks here on the blog and read any of the fourteen other posts I’ve done for this challenge.
On the final day of this fifteen day challenge, the post topic is…
I’m actually not sure I have a blogging mentor. There are a few bloggers who I look up to and respect, but I’m not sure I would consider them as mentors a.k.a. advisers. While they have on occasion given me advice through comments, conversation or posts, I’ve pretty much done my own thing here on the blog. Yes, I probably should have taken some of that advice.
The only real advice I followed when starting my blog was given to me by The Dude. So I guess you could say he’s my blogging mentor, even though he doesn’t blog. His advice was pretty simple, but it’s advice I took to heart. And it’s made all the difference in the world.
Find a unique name for your blog. Don’t buy a domain that is similar to someone else’s. You don’t want there to be any confusion.
At the time I bought the domain name for my blog there was only one “Fiktshun” that came up via Google search who had a couple of images from 2007 on something called 43things. I figured I was in the clear. And the person who owned Fikshun (yes I wanted it without the “t”) owned the domain but didn’t have a public site. They still don’t.
Back up your site. And learn how to do it on your own.
After many tears – it took me a long time to figure out how to learn to use an FTP client – I learned how to FTP my site’s files down to my computer for safekeeping. I also learned how to back up my database through phpMyAdmin as at some point my provider said my database was too big for automatic backups.
You shouldn’t have a blog if you don’t know what you’re doing.
He was referring to understanding WordPress. Understanding CSS, html, et cetera. Learning on my own why garbage coding could cause funky things to happen to my posts on IE even though they were totally fine on Firefox, Chrome or Safari. Understanding how to create a favicon. Learning how to create “grab code” for those badges in the sidebar. Learning shortcode.
And guess what? I did learn. Begrudgingly at first. I did the Google searches. I watched the YouTube instructional videos. I trolled the tech forums. I started questions in the WP forums when I just couldn’t find answers on my own. And I’m a better, more self-sufficient blogger for it.
But there are a couple bloggers I admire and have admired for years, whose knowledge is invaluable, who I’ve looked up to since my early days of blogging, and whose presence in the book blogosphere makes this a better place to blog.
When I first started blogging and began to realize I wasn’t blogging in a vacuum, that there were other people who blogged about books, I stumbled across Parajunkee’s blog. Rachel’s site had an awesome design and looked totally professional. Her blog was what I wanted mine to be when it grew up.
While I didn’t actually read much of her content at the time – it took me awhile before I actually started reading blogs by those other than my blogger friends – I was in awe of her site, her skill in designing it, and her knowledge – and willingness to share that knowledge – of the technical side of blogging.
While I didn’t reach out to her asking her for advice or tips, so she wasn’t exactly a mentor, I did read a few of her “How to”-type posts and these days I read every single one of her BB101 posts each week. I now know that her knowledge extends well beyond that of a designer, book blogger, and tech expert. She’s also tremendous at marketing and brand building. She’s the full package. And I’m in total awe of all that she does.
But there was also another blogger I looked up to, and still do. And that is Pam of Bookalicio.us. Hers was another blog I came across early in my blogging days. And while she now blogs about books on her dot org site, it was her posts and reviews on the dot us site that I read and admired in those early days of blogging.
It was on Twitter, however, that I learned just how knowledgeable she was about the industry, how in tune she was with it, how connected she was to the authors and publishers there, and how she wasn’t afraid to speak her mind or voice her opinions on any subject.
She also was helpful in my early days and offered some advice when I sought it out. And while Pam isn’t my blogging mentor – I’d be scared for anyone who took on that role, actually – she is truly inspirational and is someone I am more than a little bit in awe of.
A few other blogs that impressed me in those early days were Dark Faerie Tales, Mundie Moms, A Life Bound By Books, The Story Siren, Electrifying Reviews and Good Books and Good Wine (yes, the host of this challenge). And I’m still so amazed by those early pioneers, who are still blogging today.
Well, the challenge is officially over, and I did manage to tackle all fifteen days of this challenge here on the blog.
Day 1: Make 15 Book-related Confessions
Day 2: What’s Your Bedtime Reading Ritual?
Day 3: Who are Your Blogging BFFs?
Day 4: What’s the Last Book You Flung Across the Room?
Day 5: Recommend a Tear-jerker
Day 6: Describe How You Shop for Books
Day 7: Talk About Your Blogging Quirks
Day 8: Quick! Write 15 Bullet Points of Things That Appeal to You on Blogs!
Day 9: Why Do You Blog About Books?
Day 10: How Do You Choose What Book to Read Next?
Day 11: Show Off 5 of Your Best Blog Posts
Day 12: How Do You Fight Blogger Fatigue?
Day 13: Describe One Underappreciated Book Everyone Should Read
Day 14: Tell Us Your Dealbreakers
Day 15… You’re here.
But if you’d like to check out all the post on April’s blog, just click on the image below to visit Good Books and Good Wine’s website.