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5 Years of Fiktshun: Blogoversary Musings + Giveaway

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Today is my 5 year blogoversary… well, not mine exactly, but Fiktshun’s. Sometimes it’s hard to make the distinction between the two of us. And I’m kind of surprised I made it this far.

Five years is a huge milestone. One I didn’t think I would reach as a book blogger. I used to look at those blogs that had been doing their thing for five years and say, “That will never be me.” And yet, today, it is.

And I’m pretty sure I have the day right. Though for a couple of years I thought it was November 10th.

Anyway…

A LOT has happened over the last five years. And if you have a few minutes and are interested, read on. If you just want to see what I’m giving away, scroll down to the Rafflecopter.

But before you do either, I just want to thank EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU who has ever visited my blog, left a comment, said “hi” to me on social media, loved a book as hard as I have, or made this community awesome.

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When I first started blogging…

I never imagined anyone would read my blog. I didn’t know the first thing about being a book blogger. I didn’t know the first thing about interacting with people online. I barely knew how to write a review. (That last one is still up for debate.)

I made mistakes – I spread myself too thin, I forgot about real life, I became too invested in my blog, I started too many blogs, I was too naive. I learned from those mistakes.

Now…

Five years later, I’m somewhat wiser – though I still over-promise, I still agree to read too many books on deadline, I still spread myself too thin. Most of those other blogs are retired – Fiktshun’s Ramblings a.k.a. The Annex, Fiktshun After Dark, My Reading Pile, Book Blogger’s Corner, Reading YA Rocks. Many of my original features are retired, too – Book Watch: Releasing this Week, My Reading Pile, Epic Fail Moments in Blogging, Book Buzz, etc.

But Fiktshun is still here.

Even though I’ve wanted to shut it down each and every time I was plagiarized. Even though I’ve doubted my abilities as a blogger/reviewer. Even though I’ve found other things in life that interest me – like writing and sailing.

And I am still amazed that anyone actually visits my blog, reads my reviews, interacts with me on social media.

The future…

Honestly? (As if I’d be anything less than honest.) I don’t know about Fiktshun’s future. Five seems like the perfect amount of time to spend doing one thing so regularly. It would be the perfect time to retire. And I’ve been thinking about it, seriously, for this past year. But it’s just so darn hard to think about walking away from something I’ve put so much time and effort and love into.

I will likely never shut down this blog completely. It’s become too much a part of my identity. But maybe it will become something else. Maybe I’ll spend less time reading someone else’s stories and spend more time thinking up my own. Maybe I’ll just post reviews, gushing posts about books I’m excited for, and a few random thoughts about my observations.

I have over 2,000 books on my Kindle, most of which are still to be read. So it’s not like I’ll be lacking for any material.

Whatever happens in the future, I can say with certainty that the time I have spent (and will spend) I have zero regrets about. And I am so appreciative for everyone who has spent (and will spend) their time reading my posts.


On Being Five

5yearsIt’s a bit surreal, actually. In some ways it feels like I’ve been blogging forever. In other ways it feels like I blinked and now it’s five years later. But time has passed and many books have been read, many blogs have come and gone, and here I still am.

I suppose it’s a pretty big deal, but I’m not one of those people that makes a big deal out of things that are big deals. I tend to do that about things that are meaningless. So if I sound under-enthused or underwhelmed it’s just because I’m not one to jump and scream and call attention to myself.

They – though I’m not exactly sure who they are – say that people usually have a two-year attention span for things. After two years they get bored and move on, or their life moves on. And over the past five years a lot has changed in my life – some good and some bad – but thanks to my blogger friend Jaime and my extraordinarily talented designer and friend Rachel I haven’t become part of that statistic.

Five years means I’ve been blogging for 1,826 days. That’s a LOT of days. I’ve moved three times in the past five years and will be moving again in a few months. I’ve lost someone I’ve loved. I’ve met all sorts of amazing people. I’ve read hundreds of books. I’ve bought thousands. I’ve reached milestones, I’ve had achievements, I’ve had disappointments. But that’s all part of life.

Just as blogging about books for the past few years has been a huge part of mine.

Being five means that I’ve done something of value for the past five years. It means I’ve committed to something for a long enough time to make it important. It means that I have what it takes to power through the hard times. It means that in this I’m not a quitter, or a failure.


On Being Fiktshun

I’ve always been myself – the best version of myself, anyway – when it comes to this blog. I originally wanted to be the kind of reviewer that Bookalicious or Parajunkee are/were. But that’s not me. So I never tried to emulate them, except to the extent that they were being who they were.

I wanted to be a thoughtful, open-minded blogger. I wanted to post original content. I wanted to be creative and enthusiastic. I wanted to share my love of reading with as many readers as possible. I’m happy to say that I can put a check next to each of those boxes.

I never wanted to be popular – I’m not good with the spotlight. I never wanted to be the biggest blog – I’m not much for competition. I never wanted to be the “go to” blog for publishers – though I, of course, I love being considered now and then. And I’m not any of those things, nor have I ever been.

But it’s nice, each and every time, when someone offers me a book for review, when I’m invited to be on a tour, when my eGalley request gets accepted, when someone recognizes my blog’s name, when I get a new follow on Twitter. It’s a little bit of validation that all the time I’ve spent doing this thing has had some positive results.

I love my little blog, my little space on the interwebs. I love having a platform to talk about the books I read. I love having a few close blogger friends that I can reach out to and who can reach out to me when they need to.

Being Fiktshun is pretty fantastic, actually. I’m so grateful for every single reader and commentator. I’m so appreciative of every author who has introduced me to their works and I’m so blown away when they connect with me outside of the blog. I am still amazed when I get approved for an eARC or get sent a printed book or ARC by a publisher. It’s a privilege and one I do not take for granted.


highsandlows2

Blogging has had its share of highs and lows. If I were to list them all I don’t think I’d ever finish this post. But I wanted to share some of those highs and lows that have stood out over the past five years. And *spoiler alert* although the lows may be really, really low, the highs still outweigh them.

The Highs

  • Meeting so many amazing readers, bloggers, authors and publishers. (Mostly online, as life outside of blogging seems to get in the way of any/all bookish events.)
  • Discovering incredible new books I’d have never otherwise discovered.
  • Getting the chance to read some incredible books in advance of their release.
  • Getting the chance to beta read and critique some freaking awesome books in advance of publication.
  • Finding out my reviews have been blurbed in books, ARCs, author websites.
  • Getting some insanely fantabulous blog designs for Fiktshun.

The Lows

  • Getting plagiarized repeatedly via copy/paste, re-working, selective word replacement.
  • Drama. From having images stolen, from calling out plagiarizers, from having an original feature stolen, from saying the wrong thing to the wrong person on social media.
  • Feeling not good enough. From having bookish requests go unanswered or denied. From receiving negative feedback. From being overlooked for tours or other promotional events. From having Tweets disregarded. From having posts or reviews getting little to no traffic or interaction.
  • Being overwhelmed. It may be a self-inflicted thing, but it’s almost unavoidable. I can’t avoid it, no matter how hard I try. It’s not easy to say no if it’s a book I want to read, or if I don’t think an invite will be extended again if I do say no.

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In the past five years I’ve managed to reach a few milestones that I’ve either set for myself or that just kind of sound like milestones. Here are a few:

  • I have over 2,000 published posts on Fiktshun – *pats self repeatedly*.
  • I have read over 500 books since I started blogging – likely well over 500, but who’s counting?
  • I have purchased over 2,000 books for myself since I started blogging.
  • I have given away over 500 books since I started blogging – it’s actually closer to 1,000.
  • I have over 100 book boyfriends – don’t judge.
  • I have had over half a million unique visitors to my site.
  • I have over 5,000 followers on Twitter – though I have no idea why.
  • I have tweeted over 40,000 times – that can’t be right. Seriously?
  • I have over 15,000 comments – not counting my own.
  • Every single post on this blog has some original content or thoughts.
  • I have blogged at Fiktshun for FIVE FREAKING YEARS.

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I’m not one to flaunt what I consider my achievements. I don’t blog to make others jealous, or feel bad about themselves. I’ve kept some of the moments in blogging that have made me the happiest quiet because I didn’t want to appear as if I was shouting, “Look at me, aren’t I awesome!” or “Look what I got!”

And maybe the word “achievements” is wrong – but I paid for the graphic and it’s too late to get a new one made. But here are some of the moments in blogging that I considers pretty freaking cool.

  • Getting a review blurbed in a book, an ARC, a newsletter, on a website, on the front cover, on the back cover. (I have to seriously thank everyone for pointing these things out or I might never have known.)
  • Having an author recognize me at an event because of my blog’s name and the review I wrote for their book. (It was in my first year of blogging and it made my entire year.)
  • Having an author sign a book to me via a friend, saying I’m their favorite blogger – even if it’s not entirely true. (I totally fangirled.)
  • Having an author reach out to me during a really tough time, sending me a supportive letter. (It’s something I will never, ever forget.)
  • Being on a book’s acknowledgements page. (It still leaves me speechless that someone like me could be acknowledged by someone who wrote a book.)
  • Getting asked to alpha or beta read an author’s WIP or book and critique it. (Again, so freaking awesome, to be entrusted with someone’s work who is also looking for my opinion.)
  • Having a character named after me – and not being killed off. (Coolest thing ever, from one of the coolest authors ever. The fact that I didn’t die is still such a surprise.)
  • Having a blogger/author/agent reach out to me and invite me to write a short story for an anthology. (It was at one of my lowest moments in blogging, ever. I will never forget this.)
  • Having an author write the most amazing inscription in a book they sent. (It was such an open and honest inscription, and I feel privileged to have been entrusted enough for the author to share those thoughts.)
  • Making a really close friend in the community. (It’s so not like me to be social online or to stay friends with someone for any length of time. So this is probably my greatest achievement in blogging.)

Wrapping It Up

Well, I’ve managed to once again ramble on endlessly. But for those of you who have visited my blog over the past five years it should come as no surprise.

Thank you all again so much for your visits, your comments, your support, your friendship over these past five years. Even if I don’t continue my blog as it currently exists through my sixth blogoversary, I hope to connect on Goodreads, Twitter, Instagram, or wherever else I ramble online.

And maybe by this time next year I’ll actually be actively blogging on one of writerly sites.


The Giveaway

giveaway

I’m offering up a few prizes for giveaway…

  • To ONE winner – a choice of two SIGNED books (not to exceed $20 each) to be ordered from Books of Wonder – US only
  • To ONE winner – a choice of two books (not to exceed $30) to be ordered from Amazon or The Book Depository – International
  • To ONE winner – an ARC of PASSENGER by Alexandra Bracken – US only

**For the free entry, please state which giveaways you want to be entered for.**

As this is for the blogoversary I am adding a couple follow options as extra entries in addition to tweeting about the giveaway and leaving a comment. I’ve also added twitter follows for just a few of the authors that have made an impact on me and my little blog.

  • Must be 13 or older to enter.
  • There will be one winner for each of the three prizes.
  • Giveaway ends on November 30th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific.
  • Winners will be chosen by Rafflecopter.
  • Winners will be announced in the Rafflecopter and contacted by email.

Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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