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Epic Fail Moments in Blogging

    Epic Fail Moments in Blogging #9: Release Dates

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    Have you ever anxiously awaited the release of a book, marked your calendar so you’d be sure not to miss it, cursed your online retailer for not downloading or delivering it on its release date only to find out that the book doesn’t release for a whole other week?

    Has this happened to you only after publicly embarrassing yourself by complaining about said retailer or after blogging about the fact that you plan on reading it the instant it lands in your hands?

    Have you perhaps wished an author a happy book birthday only to find out that the book’s birthday is nowhere in the vicinity of the date you sent out your overly enthusiastic wish?

    If you can answer “yes” to all of those questions then you’ve reached the same level of FAIL that I have. And that level is of the EPIC FAIL variety.

    Perhaps you have a legitimate reason for erring. Maybe you marked your calendar or created your post months in advance and the book’s publication schedule changed. Maybe the date printed on the side of the ARC you’ve been reading got stuck in your head even though you knew it was only tentative. And maybe you forgot to check its accuracy just one last time before posting or tweeting.

    Or maybe you had no excuse.

    Maybe your error was due to the fact that you’ve been relying on some random date that you latched on to that had nothing to do with anything. Maybe you heard someone on Twitter or Facebook talking and instead of confirming the validity of the conversation you assumed it to be true. Maybe you were thinking of a completely different book and got the two mixed up in your head.

    But whether you have a legitimate-ish excuse or none at all, it doesn’t matter when you’ve publicly shamed yourself.

    And while you can quietly sneak back onto your blog and alter the date in a post, it’s that much harder to take back a tweet. Especially when you don’t realize the error of your ways until hours later.

    While it’s not as heinous a mistake as attributing a book to an author that didn’t write it and then proceed to insist to that author they did – no I didn’t do this, but there was this book signing I went to where things got majorly awkward – it’s still really, really embarrassing.

    If you’re lucky, the mistaken date just happens to coincide with an electronic version’s release date or an international edition’s release. Legitimizing your error, combined with an “I meant to do that” and a chuckle, helps to mitigate that feeling of mortification.

    What also helps is just owning it. If you can laugh at yourself it doesn’t quite hurt as much when others laugh. Because they’re laughing with you, not at you… right?

    Being wrong never feels good. Neither does feeling like an idiot. More so when it is pointed out to you, rather than discovering it all by yourself. But either way it feels pretty darn lousy.

    I should know. This has happened to me. More than once. Typically because I associate some random date in my head with a release that I clearly pulled out of the aether. And even if I were to check Amazon, I’d still likely not see the truth in front of my eyes. Not until it was too late.

    My most recent FAIL…

    … involved a book I was participating on a tour for. My fail did not involve the post for the tour but one of my reading pile posts in which I went on and on… and on about said book’s upcoming release.

    Not once did my brain alert me to the fact that just recently I’d been listing a completely different date as its release date. Not once. And I was so sure in my rightness that I never bothered to check, just to be sure. Because I was sure. So sure.

    The imagined release date came and went and the book had not downloaded to my Kindle which prompted a frustrated call from me to Amazon inquiring as to what could possibly have happened to my pre-order. It was only then, after having it pointed out to me – repeatedly I might add, as the reality didn’t quite sink in the first or second or third time – that the book wasn’t slated for release until the next Tuesday, that I realized my mistake. And even still I accepted this only grudgingly.

    After all, I knew when the book was releasing. The eBook’s release must have been on a week’s delay. I couldn’t have been mistaken.

    I was.

    When checking the post I created for the tour I saw the true release date listed. No amount of rubbing my eyes would change that number from an eleven to a four. I then checked a book watch post I’d done prior to that. And again, it showed the eleventh.

    It was a definite FAIL on my part. One I hope to never repeat.

    My not-too-long-ago EPIC FAIL…

    …involved me tweeting out book birthday wishes to an author – pretty much the only time I’ll “@” an author in a tweet that’s not a conversation.

    Usually I double, triple, quadruple check the date before potentially making an a** out of myself. But I’d just seen this book listed among the book releases I compiled for my Book Watch post. What I forgot was that while it was among those originally listed as releasing on that date, either the release date had changed or Amazon was initially incorrect. So when creating my post and discovering that this title wasn’t releasing as originally thought, I’d moved it to its new date in my calendar.

    Clearly my brain didn’t catch up with the reality. But this is why it was top-of-mind and why I’d associated it with an incorrect date. Legitimate mistake, sure. Still no less embarrassing.

    By not checking before sending out that tweet, I ended up doing something that caused me to mentally kick myself repeatedly, delete my tweet – but not before it was likely seen by the author – and hide from Twitter for no less than three days.

    If I was the type of blogger who chatted with authors on a regular basis I could probably have just laughed this one off. But I’m not. I over think ever single word before I actually say one to these rockstar authors. So when I make a mistake like this it sets me back. Way back.

    Hence the reason this is one of the most EPIC types of FAIL I can have.

    What about you?

    Have you ever been incorrect about a book’s release date and blathered on and on about it only to find out you were wrong? Have you ever reached out to an author, brimming with excitement, only to be told that you must be mistaken?

    Have you ever found yourself in a situation where the author was too kind to point our your error, but you found out the truth later and cringed thinking back on the conversation?

    Have you quietly gone back to a post and made the fix or do you just let the error stand, because it’s no big deal?

    Does being wrong about something that you should be an authority on make you feel like a FAIL? Or are you only embarrassed if someone calls you out on your mistake or the author politely sets you straight?

    To you, are release date errors a FAIL, an EPIC FAIL or not something you’d ever think twice about?

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    Epic Fail Moments in Blogging #8: My Blogoversary

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    Normally I’m pretty good with dates. I remember birthdays and anniversaries and other major life moments. I remember the day I moved in with my Dad. I remember the day The Dude first told me he loved me. I remember my graduation day… from grade school.

    But for some reason I can’t quite keep the date of my blog’s anniversary in my head.

    I know the month is November. It’s not like I’m so far off-base. But whenever I plot and plan to celebrate, I mark down November 10th in the random calendar in my brain. (Yes, I could use Google Calendar, but I have a whole other set of fails involving that device. But that is for another day, another post.)

    I’m not sure why I keep getting it confused. It’s not like I’m thinking of the date in terms of numbers – 11-10-10 instead of 11-9-10. I could understand the error if that was the case. It’s not.

    And whenever the month prior to the “big day” rolls around and I start trying to think about what I want to do about it, I begin the planning for the wrong day. Fortunately my designer is smart enough not to add the actual date to the graphics. Either she knows, or somewhere deep down inside I know I’d be wrong, so I don’t give her the date to use. It’s probably a little bit of both.

    My blogoversary is November 9th. It hasn’t changed in the almost-three years since my blog’s inception. And since I have always opted to celebrate half-year blogoversary events, you’d think I’d have gotten that date committed to my long-term memory by now.

    But no. That hasn’t happened yet, and I’m starting to doubt if it ever will.

    So why is this a failure of epic proportions?

    Well, I’d planned on putting up a post a month before my blogoversary date, on October 10th. I’d been waiting on a graphic from my designer, but I was still in the thinking stages about what I wanted so I wasn’t feeling particularly rushed. As long as I had that post up at some point on October 10th all would be good.

    Three years is a huge milestone for me. I never really thought I’d be blogging this long. I mean, three years? Holy wow! So I wanted to do something different, go a bit out of my comfort zone – reach out to a few authors, put a sign-up form together to see if there would be any bloggers who would be interested in guest posting. I’m not very good with outreach and the thought of including a sign-up form seems so arrogant, it was a tough decision to come to.

    But I was spurred on by the gorgeous and “whimsical” blogoversary banner my designer, Rachel of Parajunkee Design, created for me.

    Blogoversary-Banner

    And so I began putting the post together last night. I figured as long as I had it posted before Midnight I’d be good.

    I took a look back at my previous blogoversary posts, and that’s when I realized that no, my blogoversary is NOT on the 10th. It’s on the 9th. So the “one month until my blogoversary” statement was wrong. I missed it. It totally deflated me.

    So, no, I did not put up that post. While I could have approached it with humor, I felt like such a total a** that I posted a planned giveaway I had for Friday instead.

    I mean seriously, nearly three years down the road and I still can’t get the date right? Ugh.

    And no, I do not consider that an epic fail. It’s not like I missed my actual blogoversary. This was just a FAIL.

    Where it gets EPIC is…

    Blogoversary FAIL

    In my searching for previous blogoversary posts to ensure that I wasn’t being redundant, I came upon a post celebrating my one-and-a-half years as a blogger. I was so happy that I’d made it to the eighteen month mark that created a post and celebrated with a giveaway. On… and this should be no surprise… May 10th.

    Which is bad enough. But it was the first lines in that post that really drove home my failure.

    “Just yesterday I discovered that as of today I will have been blogging for one-and-a-half years.”

    Um… no. That “yesterday” I was referring to was actually the day I should have been celebrating blogging for eighteen months. I should have created that celebratory post the day I made that discovery, not the day I decided to celebrate.

    Had it been the first of my mid-year celebrations I still would have given myself a little leeway. But no, I celebrated my blogoversary at the six month mark, on May 9th, 2011 – heck I even celebrated my three months as a book blogger.

    Forgetting the date beforehand is one thing, but posting and celebrating on a date that is not correct is another. It was public, not private. It was – and is – out there for the “world” to see. It is a complete and total FAIL of the most EPIC of proportions.

    So, yes, after seeing that post last night I realized that when it comes to my blogoversary I am – and will likely always be – a total EPIC FAIL.

    And what about you?

    Have you ever messed up the date for your own blog’s anniversary? Have you ever happily celebrated a milestone moment-that-wasn’t on your blog?

    Have you ever been called out about your FAIL by friends, co-bloggers, your blog’s readers?

    And, if so, how did you ever recover from the mortification?

    *whispers* Please say I’m not alone in this, please say I’m not alone in this, please….*sighs*

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    Epic Fail Moments in Blogging #7: Losing a Blog

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    I know it doesn’t seem possible to lose a blog. But for me it is. And it’s not because I have so many blogs that I can’t keep track of them… well, that might have been the case before Bloggiesta, but now I’ve really decreased the size of my online footprint. So losing a blog isn’t something that should be possible.

    But it happened. Kind of. At least for a little while.

    For a brief time I lost my blog, Blogger’s Corner.

    Now, I don’t consider it a fail to lose a blog if said blog is taken from you. Like if Google decides to delete your blog. While it might be a fail not to have backed it up, having a blog deleted is not the same as a loss.

    That’s not what happened to my blog.

    And it’s not like I forgot the domain name, lost the login credentials to the site. I actually lost my blog and couldn’t find it anywhere.

    How is that possible?

    Well, a few months or so ago I decided that I wanted to move all of my blogs under my Fiktshun hosting package. I had multiple hosting packages, some of which were coming up for renewal, that I was spending a decent chunk of money on each year. That first year teaser pricing was ending and instead of paying thirty dollars a year for each, it was going to be more like eighty.

    But I didn’t want to delete all my sites at once and try to move them. I figured I’d just start with the one – Fiktshun After Dark.

    It took some doing, learning about recoding various config files, and swapping out URLs in my SQL database. But after a day or two of trial and error I finally got it up and running and felt like this ginormous success.

    The Annex was an entirely different situation altogether in that I was moving it from Blogger to WordPress. But after that was done and the formatting in my posts tweaked to look okay, that level of confidence I had previously shot up. Way up.

    I thought I was an expert. I could totally do this. I didn’t need anyone’s help. I had this process down cold.

    And then I went looking for Blogger’s Corner.

    It was gone.

    FAIL.

    Now, I knew I had deleted it from online when I took down FAD. And I’d thought about not reinstalling it at Fiktshun. But I liked that blog and even if I didn’t end up posting on it that often, I liked having a corner just for bloggers.

    I searched high. I searched low.

    I checked my old computer. I checked all of my Macs. As I have a ton of backups of Blogger’s Corner when it was on Blogger, it’s not as if the searches came up empty.

    But I couldn’t find the files which I knew I’d backed up when I converted it to a WordPress blog.

    They were nowhere.

    I was distraught.

    For weeks I thought it was all over for me and BC. I thought about trying to upload the XML file to Blogger and import it back into WordPress again. But I’d already done all that work in the past. I had downloaded and uploaded each image and lovingly re-coded every post to link to the new address of every one of those images. (My Blogger Image Importer tool did not work back then.)

    I didn’t want to start all over from scratch. I figured perhaps it was meant to be.

    But it irked me. Because I knew I’d backed up those files. I even remember trying to install Blogger’s Corner’s files on some random WordPress blog I had just to use as a tester site.

    And I’d all but given up every last bit of hope I had. Until Bloggiesta when a lightbulb suddenly turned on above my head. DUH!

    Blogger’s Corner was not a standalone blog. It was sharing Fiktshun After Dark’s hosting package. Which I knew. And while it had its very own login, the actual site lived in a folder within the root at Fiktshun After Dark.

    Which means that the database was located in the Fiktshun After Dark backup files. The WP-content files which included my media library and theme were living in a folder called “Corner” in Fiktshun After Dark’s backup folder. And as I am somewhat neurotic about backing up my sites, I had multiple copies of FAD and BC on every single one of my computers.

    It had been there all along. Ever since the moment I deleted Fiktshun After Dark and installed it on Fiktshun.

    The whole freaking time.

    EPIC FAIL.

    So…. yeah.

    So much for feeling so proud of myself and my technological prowess. If I can’t even find my database and site files because I am too much of an idiot to solve the simplest of mysteries I don’t deserve to call myself an expert. I don’t even deserve to be considered somewhat knowledgeable.

    But I definitely deserve to publicly shame myself and call this one a complete and total EPIC FAIL.

    Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever lost your website? Or is this particular fail one that’s reserved all for me?

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    Epic Fail Moments in Blogging #6: Twitter DMs

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    I am not the world’s most talkative person on Twitter. The idea that something I say has to fit within 140 characters and has the potential to be seen by anyone makes me hesitant about conversing there. Publicly, that is.

    I do tend to spend quite a bit more time talking privately with a few people, mostly Jaime. People who don’t seem to mind that it takes me a few messages to get my point across. Or that I often typo. Or on occasion rant.

    Sometimes I send the most random of DMs out. Like how I’m pretty sure the series of “peanut” commercials purposely sound strange so that whenever I hear them I think they’re advertising something else altogether. I would not put it past the advertisers.

    Or sometimes when reading a particular book that has gotten me all riled up I’ll send out a DM complaining about a particular character’s behavior, such as “Veronica is such a tramp!” Though, chances are I’d use a more derogatory term, like “hobag” to describe a particularly irritating character.

    And all of this would be perfectly fine… at least I think so as no one has complained to me yet… BUT (and yes there is a big “but” here)….

    When using Tweetdeck, especially when carrying on more than one conversation at once, I sometimes forget to switch back to the other person I’m talking with before I send that DM.

    So, every once in awhile a DM meant for someone gets sent to someone else.

    FAIL.

    And every once in awhile that incorrectly sent DM is so mortifyingly inappropriate.

    EPIC FAIL.

    Fortunately I’m not typically someone who spends a lot of time talking about people behind their backs or I’d be in serious trouble. If I have something to say about someone I’d typically feel comfortable saying it directly to them. Not always. But if the something I had to say was so awful I probably wouldn’t put it in writing.

    But I don’t talk about the same things with everyone and I don’t share the same details about my life with everyone. Some people know a little bit more about me than others. Some know that on occasion I like to rant and rave to let out steam. Some people know that I have a slightly twisted sense of humor. And some know exactly how neurotic I can be.

    So when a DM meant for someone else gets sent to the wrong person, it has the potential to be rather shocking to them. And absolutely horrifying to me.

    The whole concept of the DM is that it’s meant to be direct, it’s meant to be private. When sent out to someone who is not the intended recipient my response is usually of the “Oh My Gosh What Did I Just Do, Kill Me Now!” variety.

    And there’s NOTHING I can do to take it back.

    I’ve rarely been the recipient of a private message that was not meant for me. But I’ve sent more than a dozen in my time on Twitter. Most of which happened after I started using Tweet Deck.

    This particular FAIL doesn’t happen to me on Facebook and it’s rare for me to send out an email to the wrong person, though it happened somewhat recently when I must have accidentally hit a key and it autofilled a random email addy. But that’s rare. No, this FAIL seems pretty much isolated to Twitter DM convos and the occasion text message.

    And it wouldn’t be so bad if it was Jaime that was the recipient of the wayward DM. The most it might elicit is a “Huh?” or a “LOL.” But no. Why would the FAIL be just a FAIL when it has the potential to be an EPIC FAIL?

    It wouldn’t. With the way my luck runs, failures of epic proportions are par for the course.

    Which means that I should be forever vigilant so as not to risk making this type of mistake, I should be aware of my shortcomings and act with caution. But in the heat of the moment or when expediency, not caution, is at the forefront of my mind, I dash off that direct message, I click that “reply” button and then beat my head against the desk once I realize the error of my devil-may-care ways.

    While I don’t have specific screenshots as evidence of my EPIC FAIL ways, some examples might include…

    • Woot! Only 30 weeks + 5 days until REX MANNING DAY! Say no more mon amour!
    • Rawr. OMFG Cole Holland. Dying. And by dying I mean drooling.
    • Freaking hell, have you seen this cover [insert link]? *snickers.* Are those man-boobs?
    • Ugh. My Dad is such a mimbo.

    Actually, that last one might be more than an example….

    And while the examples I listed aren’t exactly horrible – it’s not like incorrectly sending a message to someone complaining about them – there have been worse DMs sent. Much, much worse. But I’m too mortified to even craft an example and publicly shame myself.

    But sometimes even the most innocuous of DMs can still feel like EPIC FAILs. Sometimes it’s less about the offensiveness of the message and more about its confidentiality. Sometimes its level of FAIL-ness depends upon the recipient.

    Given the number of mistakes I’ve made, I probably should hide from Twitter DMs as well as my Twitter timeline. But as I don’t have unlimited text messaging and I’d likely send a random text to an unintended recipient, too, I’m stuck with Twitter DMs for now.

    Though I should probably take extra care during those times when an EPIC FAIL is most likely to occur. Which is:

    • When I’ve said something totally confidential, extremely personal, or bat-s**t crazy.
    • When an author has DM’ed me (of course) so that they’re the most likely candidate to receive said wayward and totally awkward DM.
    • When I’m about to go on a long and rambling multi-message rant.
    • When I include a link to something bizarre or inappropriate for all ages.

    Yeah. It’s happened. And if you are one of the unlucky recipients of my oddball wayward DMs, I am SO SORRY! And thank you for choosing to ignore them rather than taking a screenshot and posting them on Facebook.

    But what about you?

    Have you ever private messaged, emailed or texted the wrong person with something so mortifying it is nothing less than an EPIC FAIL?

    Is this a common occurrence or are you fortunate enough for it to be a rarity? (If so, I’m so jealous of you right now.)

    Are there any Twitter DM EPIC FAIL moments that you’d like to share? Or are they just too shameful to reveal even generally?

    And are there any tips you have or steps you take to try and avoid this type of FAIL?

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    Epic Fail Moments in Blogging #5: Character Names

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    I know this post is a little early (try a few days) but my schedule next week on the blog is packed full and it seems this week I have an unplanned day open. So why not fill it with a fail?

    I also know that I’ve mentioned my inability to remember character names, but I’m not sure I’ve been quite as forthcoming about how big of a problem it is. And a FAIL as big as this one deserves its own post.

    Prior to blogging I never forgot a character’s name. If someone asked me way back then if it were possible I’d have laughed at them. Not so anymore. It’s gotten so bad that if I don’t read a book in one sitting I will forget the character’s name while reading the book.

    And unless it’s a book in a series that I’ve read at least two or three previous installments, I will always forget a character’s name (or several characters’ names) the moment I’ve finished reading it.

    So how does this amount to a FAIL?

    In quite a few ways, actually.

    On a personal level. I am someone who falls in love with books and the characters in those books. I make a personal connection to each and every one of them. The fact that I am not able to remember their names makes me feel like a complete and total failure. How can I claim to love these characters if I can’t remember their names?

    I don’t consider myself a love ’em and leave ’em type of reader. Out of sight does not mean out of mind for me. And yet I still can’t seem to recall their names when thinking back on the book I’ve just read.

    As an authority. Okay, well, I don’t really consider myself an authority, but I like to think that I have some knowledge of YA books. But how can I give my opinion if I can’t even remember the characters in those books? How can I be a part of a discussion about them if I don’t know who everyone is talking about? I can’t.

    When people are having a conversation on Twitter about a character, I often have to do a Google search to figure out just who they’re talking about if I think I might want to chime in.

    When I’m brought into a conversation by someone looking for my specific opinion, panic sets in and my search becomes that much more frantic.

    When Jaime DM’s me and asks me what I think about a specific character I almost always have to ask who she’s talking about. Because, honestly, I have no clue. Shame sets in when she mentions a book I’ve just read. Mortification if it’s a book I’m currently reading.

    As a blogger. It’s a huge fail for me as a blogger to not get characters’ names right. It’s one thing to forget them altogether. That happens with at least one character per book over seventy-five percent of the time. Which makes me feel less like I know what I’m talking about, but not a complete and total fail as a blogger.

    And it’s also not the end of the world to misspell their names – Dmitri versus Dimitri (yeah that happened), Elliot versus Elliott (yeah that happened, too). It’s a fail. An embarrassing one. But it’s not so heinous as to be an epic fail.

    But it’s another thing altogether to get the names wrong. And to call them by said incorrect name in a spotlight post or a review – such as with my Glitter & Doom debacle.

    Epic Fail #1

    I rarely take notes for a review book. My thoughts about the book are pretty clear even long after I’ve read it. I tend to highlight passages I love, passages that annoy me and I always note characters’ names.

    But even that level of care does not always prevent me from my FAIL. When writing my review for Glitter & Doom I was so certain about the character’s name. I proofread the post at least ten times. I read the description to be sure I had the names right and cross-checked my notes to be extra sure. Of course, in the end, my brain refused to see that I had called the character Alice when apparently (and I knew this) her name was April.

    Oh, and yes, I do distinctly remember calling her Alice, but just now I had to run a Google search to find out what her actual name was. Because, once again, I’m drawing a blank.

    The morning after that review went live, all of a sudden my brain sent an alert to me, while half asleep, that there was something amiss. I decided to read the review once more just to put my mind at ease – that didn’t happen – and instantly realized that I had the character’s name wrong.

    I quietly made the fix. And perhaps no one would have been the wiser if I hadn’t, at that time, brought my failure to light.

    Most of my other fails in terms of mistaken character names in reviews are ones I catch before publication. If it hadn’t been for the fact that I was on a review writing roll and it was a Quickie Review, I might have stepped back and realized my Glitter & Doom error before it went public. But then again, maybe I wouldn’t have noticed.

    But those types of failures are usually private fails. Not public ones.

    Which leads to my biggest fail. It’s one that is still eating me up inside to this day.

    Epic Fail #2

    This past spring I took part in a blog tour for the very amazing Julie Kagawa’s THE ETERNITY CURE. I’d gotten to tweeting (a rarity for me) with the publisher and author about her awesome books and characters in that series. And I tweeted about how fantastic I thought Ethan was.

    Ethan….

    Noooooo….. NOOOOOOOO!

    While the author does have a character named Ethan in her Iron Fey series, the Blood of Eden books contain no such character. The character I should have been referring to was Ezekiel (a.k.a. Zeke).

    In my panic I may have done something I have only done on two other occasions in my time on Twitter (once before then and once yesterday) and that is delete the tweet. While it was too late – the author and publisher had to have seen it before I realized my grievous mistake – I couldn’t have that level of failure staring back at me in my timeline.

    While it may not seem like such a big deal to everyone, those who know me best know how nervous I am around authors. I am in awe of what they do. I do not see them as equals or peers or friends. They are my rockstars. And the idea of messing up in a way that appears that I love their characters so little as to not remember their names fills me with horror.

    That one EPIC FAIL moment set me back at least a year in terms of my comfort level of tweeting with authors. So, yeah, for me it was pretty bad.

    The Deduction a.k.a. Why do I FAIL?

    I’ve deduced that it’s an issue with my short-term memory combined with the fact that I tend to read one book on top of the next without allowing the story to sit with me for awhile.

    In the olden days, a.k.a. “before I became a book blogger,” unless I was reading books in a series or multiple books by an author, I almost never read one book after another. I’d take a break for a day or two to recover from the book I’d read before moving on to a new one. Many times, if I loved a book, I’d re-read it immediately, which further cemented those characters’ names in my mind.

    But I was also a little bit younger back then. And I’m starting to realize that maybe just maybe my age is to blame for some of my memory fails. While my long-term memory is rock solid, my short-term memory not so much.

    Of course it could be the fact that I don’t sleep very much and my brain doesn’t get the chance to reboot. But as I’ve been an insomniac pretty much all of my life, I’m not quite so sure it’s that. As much as that excuse would be soooo easy.

    And I would like to be able to give you examples of all the characters’ names I forgot, but… well… as I can’t remember them, it makes it a bit of a challenge.

    But what about you?

    Do you struggle to remember certain (or all) characters’ names in the books you read? Do you forget them during the read, immediately after the read, or a little farther down the road?

    Is the reason for your FAIL because of similar character names? Too many books read in close proximity to one another? Or do you think it’s a sign of age, stress or lack of sleep?

    Or if character names are not what do you in, is it author names or book tiles that cause you to fail? Is it something else?

    Have your FAILs been public? Or have you just been privately shamed? And have any of them been failures of EPIC proportions?

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    Epic Fail Moments in Blogging #4: Giveaways

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    Sharing my fail moments one post at a time…

    Epic-Fail-GIVEAWAYS

    You’d think it would be pretty hard to fail when it comes to giveaways, wouldn’t you? I certainly thought so. I mean, you have something to give away, it’s free and it’s likely that someone wants it, so where exactly is there room for failure? Answer: In the execution, for starters.

    And in my case, it was all about the execution.

    I’ve given away lots of stuff for free in real life. People would travel for miles to pick up the stuff I was giving away on craiglist. I put up flyers on my apartment’s community board with pics and people would call asking if the set of dishes, furniture, DVDs I was giving away were still available.

    But my first couple of giveaways on the blog? Complete and total fails. Epic fails. They were such big failures that I’m mortified to even admit that I held them. I still cringe when thinking about them. Yes, they were that bad.

    To start with, there was the issue with timing. I was a really small blog. I had no audience. While giveaways have the potential to draw an audience you have to be able to get the word out in the right way. And, of course, the giveaways have to make sense.

    I had no following on social media, I hated sharing posts on Twitter – I think I’d been on Twitter for a week (or less) at the time – I had no following on my blog and my giveaways were were so poorly thought out I still wonder just how my brain managed to take a vacation without me knowing about it.

    The backstory….

    In November 2010 I was still clueless about book blogging. I have a slow learning curve. And being anti-social doesn’t – and didn’t – help. My friend Nic offered up suggestions on things to do, as she was much more comfortable scoping out blogs online than I was.

    She told me I had to get the GFC widget as other blogs she’d discovered had them. She told me I had to make my blog posts available by email, so that she could read them in her inbox, like she did other blogs’ posts. And she told me that I really should think about hosting a giveaway as that seemed to be something other book bloggers did.

    As I was no stranger to giving things away, I figured, “Why not?!?”

    Here’s what happened… a.k.a. how I failed.

    I let my brain get the best of me.

    I came up with an idea, a theme if you will, for the giveaways. Which, at that time, I’d labeled “contests.” It was a bad, bad, bad, idea. Which, come to think of it, probably explains why I use Jaime as my sounding board. I do not want to make that kind of mistake again. And, for the record, no, I never bounced my ideas off Nic after that.

    But before I reveal my “shame spiral” idea, I have to say that, sadly, this wasn’t the only fail when it came to my first two giveaways.

    I’d taken a look at some of the giveaways Nic had pointed out to me so that I could structure the rules for mine in similar fashion. I decided upon follow via Google Friend Connect and leave a comment for the first giveaway. I’d gotten a little more enthusiastic with the second by adding, in addition to those two options, tweet about the giveaway and post the contest on your blog.

    On first glance the rules don’t seem entirely ridiculous – though I still think posting about a giveaway is too much to ask – but… I did not specify if any of those things were mandatory or optional. And looking back at them today, I’m still not entirely sure what my intent was.

    If I don’t have the first clue how can I expect anyone else to?

    Which leads to the next reason my giveaways failed…. THE IDEA. Yes, this ties in to people being clueless.

    *Cringes* … *Cringes again*…

    I thought it would be a grand idea to have the winner of the contest be someone who could “Guess My Favorite Quote” from the book(s) I was giving away. Yes, that’s right. Because a complete stranger should somehow know me well enough to figure out what single quote in a three book (or more) series is my favorite. Or in the alternative know that I likely would have listed said favorite quote on my Goodreads profile.

    Oh, and no, it was not multiple choice….

    And, yes, the only person who entered both giveaways was my friend Nic. And, no, she didn’t guess correctly for either, though I did award her both prizes.

    Why else did I fail?

    I held both giveaways within a few days of one another. Even when I knew the first one was a complete and utter failure.

    I did not tweet about either giveaway beyond the first day I posted them. So my twenty (or fewer) twitter followers likely never even knew I was hosting a giveaway.

    At the time I was getting less than forty visitors a day on my site, so even if the contest was less convoluted and the rules more clear, I probably wouldn’t have had more than five or ten entrants.

    I wasn’t a part of the blogging community. I hadn’t made any friends, I’m not even sure I’d spoken to a book blogger at that point, so I didn’t have anyone who could help spread the word.

    Lesson learned?

    Heck yes.

    Aside from posting about author giveaways in order to gain entry into their giveaways, I stayed giveaway-free on the blog until February when I held a fairly quiet thank you giveaway for my three month blogoversary.

    And while I did try again with the “Guess My Favorite Quote” idea – yeah, I went there – it was multiple choice and it was only for an extra entry opportunity.

    Have I recovered?

    No. Not yet. But maybe, just maybe, now that the cat is out of the bag I can begin the recovery process.

    I think I’ve always been waiting for someone to call me on this, to say, “Hey, remember that ‘brilliant’ idea of yours to have a ‘Guess My Favorite Quote’ contest? Well, I’m still laughing about that one.”

    And while that may still happen, at least now it won’t be out of left field. This FAIL isn’t a “dirty little secret” I’m just waiting for someone to discover. It’s out in the open.

    I am owning the FAIL.

    But what about you?

    Were any of the giveaways you held a flop? Was it due to the fact that it was just too soon in your blog’s existence? Or did you have it all wrong, like I did, and it was a failure of EPIC PROPORTIONS?

    Was it the execution that failed? The giveaway prize? Or was it a combination of both?

    How long did you wait before you tried again? Or was it so bad you’ve yet to take the risk?

    And did you even think it was possible for there to be epic fail moments when it came to giveaways?

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    Epic Fail Moments in Blogging #3: Pressing Publish

    Epic-Fail

    I know I can’t be the only one who had one of those moments where I hit “Publish” instead of “Save.” And while it’s not a frequent occurrence, as I am very paranoid about it happening, it has happened. Especially on my Blogger blog, The Annex.

    Pressing Publish 2
    Just looking at the button placement I know Blogger is begging for me to have an epic fail moment.

    Placing the “Publish” button right next to the “Save” button is just asking for trouble. It’s not like it would have been so tricky for them to place the “Preview” button between “Publish” and “Save.” But no, they opted to place that “Save” button right next to “Publish” so that bloggers like me can, with just a slight twitch of a wrist, accidentally hit “Publish” and announce to the world what an epic failure we are.

    And you’d think that by coloring the “Publish” button a nice bright orange it would alert me to the fact that it was NOT the button I want to click. But no, it actually has the opposite effect. It draws my eye and my mouse pointer to it, to inevitably and mistakenly click that button instead of the much more neutral “Save” button that blends in with the others.

    Pressing Publish 1

    While WordPress is better – in that the “Save Draft” and “Publish” buttons couldn’t be farther apart – I still manage to accidentally click that “Publish” button every so often when my intent was just to save yet another draft.

    It’s the color of the button that does it. After hitting “Save Draft” and “Preview” twenty to thirty times during the formatting process, I find that at least one of those times my pointer is unintentionally hovering over “Publish” before I realize the error of my ways. I’m drawn to the colored button. It’s calling to me. It’s a beacon. A dangerous one.

    Cover Reveal Badge

    And of course it’s bound to happen at the worst possible times. Never when I’m nearly finished with one of my less trafficked features. Or just before a proofreading. It happens when I’m scheduling something as time-sensitive as a Cover Reveal. Or a Tour Stop post. It happens when I’m putting together a post that requires tons of formatting and is in the early stages where it more resembles a Franken-post than a promotional one.

    It happens when my placeholders still show XXX or [Insert Book Here] or… sorry about this… [Insert Author Here].

    And I’m left mortified. Terrified. Horrified.

    Especially because you CAN’T TAKE IT BACK. Sure you can revert to draft. But if your blog is featured on someone’s blogroll – and apparently I’ve discovered another word I have an epic fail moment with: blogrool… I mean blogroo… Grrr…. blogroll – that post will sit atop that blogroll until someone else posts. And it will still show the incorrect post title UNTIL that moment where you post something else.

    It’s no better on WordPress. In fact, it can be much, much worse. If someone subscribes to your posts by email, within a moment of you clicking “Publish” that post is sent by email to the subscriber. So even if you realize your mistake, it’s too late. Someone has a copy of said unfinished disaster post in their email box.

    Which is why I try to be super careful before clicking any button. But as I am a bit obsessive about hitting save – I’m on revision number fifteen of this post at the moment – clicking “Publish” at the wrong moment is almost guaranteed.

    So, while I haven’t learned any “tricks” to prevent me from clicking the wrong button, and rushing to get things scheduled will likely cause me to make those mistakes at least a few more times this year, I have trained myself NOT to do certain things when creating my posts.

    1. I will NOT put a random placeholder post title at the top of my post, such as, “My Crappy Review” or “My Abysmal Thoughts” when feeling particularly glum.

    2. I will NOT add in my review rating until I am absolutely certain of what it is. (Yes I sometimes change my mind while writing the review.)

    3. I will NOT go off on a long, negative tangent when writing a post when I am feeling particularly judge-y about my voice.

    Ex. Why am I writing this post? I sound so stupid. I really wish I had something to say that didn’t sound like I was talking out my a**. Ugh, sometimes I just don’t know why I even bother writing. It’s all “blah, blah, blah.” I totally lost the plot, didn’t I? What am I even saying here? What was the point? Who the [bleep] am I to even be voicing my opinion on this subject anyway? Oh. My. Gosh. I think the moron train just left the station and I know I was supposed to be on it. I can’t even get that right!

    4. I will NOT add in the post “schedule” time until I have actually finished writing and proofing the post.

    5. I will NOT put “XXX” in as placeholders for various character names for me to come back and add later once I’ve looked them up and confirmed their names. (Yes, you get some strange visitors to your site if you forget to change out the triple X’s.)

    And most of all….

    6. I will NOT put random adjectives or other descriptives in my post that I KNOW I will NEVER use during later stages of the writing process. Words like awesomesaucetastic, hawt, smexy, rawr. Descriptives like, “The dude was hot and all, but he was a total a**-clown.” Or, “I freakin’ loved this book so hard I ache.”

    Of course now that I have a few spare blogs on Blogger, some of which are private, I typically create all cover reveal posts on those blogs and then just transfer the HTML and tweak it on the live blog before scheduling. Saves me from inadvertently hitting “Publish” on something that’s meant to be a secret. It saves me much angst.

    But it doesn’t stop those epic fail moments, like the one I almost just had. Because OF COURSE when creating a post about accidentally pressing “Publish” I almost press “Publish.”

    My biggest epic fail “Press Publish Moment.” (Well, the one I remember and am not too mortified to reveal.)

    I was working on a guest post. As they generally take me anywhere from two hours to six hours to format, add images, links, descriptions and my own thoughts, I tend to get paranoid and save more frequently than other posts. At some point during the process I must have clicked “Publish” but I didn’t even realize it. While the fact that I did click publish wasn’t a big deal, the fact that it was very unfinished when it published was.

    And I didn’t even realize it. Not for at least thirty minutes when I went to go click “Save Draft” and that option wasn’t there.

    Thankfully the post somehow published based on an earlier draft date, so it wasn’t the “top” post on the blog. But clearly someone must have seen it in a blogroll or elsewhere as when I did end up reverting it to draft the giveaway already had one entry.

    Yeah. Mortified. Still cringing about that one today.

    Now I have to ask…

    What about you?

    Has this happened to you? Have you clicked “Publish” when all you meant to do was press “Save”?

    Has it happened when creating a cover reveal? A tour post? A review?

    And how bad was the epic fail? Was there a mortification moment involved or was it more just an “oops” moment?

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All content - except for guest posts and guest reviews - has been written by me and can not be copied or used without permission. All graphics and images used on my site – aside from book covers used for purposes of discussion – have either been given to me by authors, publishers or bloggers for guest posts, blog tours, interviews or promotion, have been sourced, have been designed by me or have been purchased for my exclusive use. Aside from images with a “grab code” beneath, no images can be used or displayed without permission.

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All reviews on this website are unbiased and reviewers are in no way compensated for their reviews by the author, publisher, or any other agencies. While some reviews may be based on receipt of ARC copies of an authors work, a fair and impartial review is always given by the reviewer. Most of the reviews, however, are based upon books purchased after publication date.