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Blogoversary

    Six Year [Belated] Blogoversary + Giveaway

    It’s a few months past my actual six year blogoversary, but as I posted at that time, it didn’t feel like a time for celebrating. And while things haven’t improved all that much since then, I didn’t want to wait any longer to thank everyone who has been a part of my blog’s six year history, who has connected with me on social media, and who has shared their love of reading.

    For the love of reading…

    The reason I started my blog six plus years ago was because of my love of books. I wanted to share my thoughts online about the books I read. I wanted to connect with like-minded readers. I wanted to “meet” the authors of the books that made an impact on my life.

    And over the past six years I have “met” some amazing bloggers and readers. I have “met” some incredible authors. And I have read a ton of phenomenal books.

    While things haven’t always been easy – and keeping up the blog has sometimes been more than challenging – I have never been able to walk away completely. And I have never fallen out of love with reading – even if life has gotten in the way at times.

    I don’t – and haven’t ever – blogged to get free books. I don’t blog for money – I’ve never earned one cent being a book blogger. I blog because I love discovering new books and authors. I love meeting new characters. And going on new adventures. I love visiting new worlds. And I even love getting my heart broken time and again.

    I do this for the love of reading, even if I don’t always have as much time as I used to.

    Times have changed…

    But the blogosphere has changed. There are new ways to promote that are not quite my forte – YouTube, Instagram. There are thousands of new blogs I haven’t had the chance to visit and bloggers I haven’t had the chance to meet. There are so many new authors whose books I haven’t been introduced to.

    I am overwhelmed by the magnitude.

    I am also so happy to be a teeny, tiny part of things.

    Ask the Eight Ball…

    I don’t know what the future holds for me and my little blog. But I hope to be around to celebrate my 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th Blogoversaries. I hope to master the art of taking a really great picture so that I can become a somewhat interesting Instagrammer. And I hope to find a LOT more time to find and read new books and re-discover some of my old favorites.

    I also hope to have more time to promote some of those upcoming releases I am so excited about like I used to do way back when.

    For right now, though, I’m just taking things a day, week, month at a time, devouring as many books as I can.

    And I wanted to say…

    THANK YOU!

    From the top, middle, and bottom of my heart I want to thank you all for being a part of my blog’s existence, for loving books as much as (or even more than) I do, and for making me feel that I am not alone in my love of the characters I meet.

    Without you my blog would be just a compilation of words and images on the internet. It wouldn’t give me the joy it does. It would be absolutely meaningless.

    And I certainly wouldn’t be celebrating…

    So, as my thank you to YOU, I am offering up a bookish prize…


    The Giveaway

    What’s up for grabs…

    • Books of Your Choice (up to $75 USD) to ONE (1) winner – International

    The deets

    • Must be 13 or older to enter
    • Giveaway is open to anywhere the Book Depository ships
    • Books will be ordered from Amazon or Books of Wonder (US) or The Book Depository (Int’l)
    • Giveaway ends on March 7th at 12:00 AM Pacific
    • Winner will be announced in the Rafflecopter and notified by email
    • Winner has 72 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen

    There are no requirements to like or follow. Extra entries are available for leaving a comment and spreading the word on Twitter.

    Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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    Six Year Blogoversary – Postponed

    6yearsoffiktshunToday is Fiktshun’s Six Year Blogoversary as I’d mentioned in a post the other day. And while I had planned on posting all sorts of gushy rambling thoughts about turning six and sharing a giveaway, it doesn’t feel appropriate given the emotional roller coaster that was election day yesterday (and this morning for some).

    So I am postponing my blogoversary celebration for a bit, but I promise that one will be forthcoming. But it doesn’t feel very much like a day for celebrating my blog when there are so many people reeling from last night’s results.

    And before I sign off, I just want to say a little bit about that and a little more about me… oh and then about this great book that’s releasing today that I’m really excited about…

    Those who know me, know that I am a private person online. (Yes, the irony hasn’t escaped me that I blog.) They also know that I’m pretty shy with those I don’t know and know that I don’t share too much about myself, my life, my beliefs. And that I try not to get caught up in drama.

    So I don’t talk much about my family. I don’t talk at all about my job. And I don’t discuss my personal views on matters too often – especially not about politics, which is a hot button issue for many.

    And so I’ve stayed (mostly) away from what’s been going on with the election on Twitter. And I haven’t championed any candidate publicly. And I don’t plan on talking politics – not because I’m afraid to, or have something to hide, but because my opinion on books is what matters here on the blog, not my opinion on politics, the candidates, the voters.

    But what I will say is that I am someone who believes in equality, and freedom from persecution and fear. And for those who now are living in fear because of the decision that was made, I am heartbroken. I also believe in compassion and tolerance and acceptance, so the vitriol on social media from both sides of the divide has really made me sad. I had naively hoped not to see the pitchforks and ugliness, especially toward those who opted not to vote or chose to vote for a third-party candidate. Choice, even if it isn’t a choice we like, is part of what makes this country great.

    And I do believe America to be the greatest nation, one that is more accepting of diversity than most, one that has more freedoms than most, and one that makes me feel safer than most.

    I wasn’t born in this country, though I came here as an infant and got my citizenship as a child. From the moment I was conceived I was not welcome in my country of birth. So I know what it’s like to be hated just for existing.

    When I came here there were many who hated me just because I was different. I didn’t grow up surrounded by diversity and acceptance. So I know what it’s like to be afraid, to feel out of place and not welcome.

    But as time has gone by I’ve seen this country grow and change. I’ve seen its people change. And I have been grateful every day that I live here and not there. There I would have had no chance to get an education. There I would have had no chance to voice an opinion, fall in love, have a life worth living. There I probably wouldn’t have lived as long as I have.

    And instead of becoming bitter because of my circumstances, I have chosen to take my experiences and have tried to become someone who is tolerant of others’ views, choices, lifestyles even if they differ from my own. I try to be respectful of others’ choices. I try to be understanding and caring. Because I know I could just as easily have turned out the opposite.

    The vote was pretty evenly split last night – which I’m still in disbelief about – but what has me more shocked is the thought that this could be the first time this country has been divided so drastically since the Civil War. And it frightens me.

    The disliking of the candidates is one thing, but seeing just how hateful we have become of one another during this vote is a huge and devastating blow. I’m just hopeful this split doesn’t widen in the coming years. I hope we can come together and work together to the betterment of our country. And I hope we can remember that our differences are what we have been fighting so hard for so many years to maintain even if we don’t always love those differences.

    I am a reader. I am a writer. I am a blogger. I am a sailor. I am a woman. I am educated. I am diverse. I am shy. I am funny (sometimes). I am sad (often). I am middle class. I am a hopeful minimalist. And I am so much more.

    And on that note… I am also really, really thrilled that TODAY, on Fiktshun’s blogoversary, the final book in the My Blood Approves series by Amanda Hocking has released.

    Because Amanda Hocking is the very reason I started blogging on Fiktshun. She was the first “indie author” I discovered online before I started blogging. She is one of a few authors whose blogs I “stalked” before I started blogging.

    And her series was one of the first YA series I fell in love with. So if you hadn’t been aware of SWEAR‘s release, some details are below.

    swear

    Add to Goodreads

    In the final book of the My Blood Approves series…

    Alice has moved on and is settling into a new country with a new career as a vampire hunter. Finally, she’s created a stable, happy life for herself and her family, including her boyfriend Jack. Or at least as stable as her life can be, especially with a dangerous vampire cult resurfacing.

    But everything she’s worked for is put in jeopardy when she receives a disturbing message – one that sends her on a quest that delves into a tragic mystery that has haunted Peter for years.

    And on a final note… I just hope that after the shock of the results wear off that the authors and bloggers and readers in this community can once again come together as a community and rejoice in the fact that this country offers opportunities to so many amazing writers.

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    Random Thoughts: On Fiktshun’s Upcoming 6th Blogoversary

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    In a couple days my blog will turn SIX. I can hardly believe it, though maybe that’s because I’ve been somewhat absent this past year. Between a difficult move, injury, illness, family crises and losses, it hasn’t been much of a bookish year.

    As much as I’ve wanted to escape into the worlds of books and book blogging I’ve had to be present and in the moment. Though in some of my darkest hours I have had some wonderful books to offer me the most lovely of distractions. And for that I will forever be grateful.

    I wish that I could say things will be different in the year ahead, but I still have some family concerns that must take priority. So I’m just not certain.

    But I hope to be more present. I hope to read more books. I hope to review more of the books I do read. And I hope to make more bookish friends.

    In the six years since I joined the book blogosphere things have changed so much. A few of the bloggers I’ve known about since those earlier days are still active bloggers whose blogs I enjoy. A few of those bloggers have become published authors – yay, I’m so excited for them! Several of those bloggers have left blogging behind but still remain a part of the community – book lovers forever! Though, sadly, many of the bloggers I’d “met” along the way have moved on altogether and I just hope they’re still as passionate about reading the books they love as they were when they decided to share their thoughts online.

    It’s been tough to keep up with all the new additions to the community on social media as of interest tweets and posts get buried by things like drama, politics and ads. And with new algorithms in place, it’s not always easy to find the posts I actually want to see. I wish there was an easy way to discover new blogs with similar bookish interests to my own – though I secretly wish people would just start up a convo about books as I’m still too shy to join in.

    If it weren’t for Jaime of Two Chicks on Books I might just have disappeared altogether. But she has kept me in the loop with some of the goings-on, she has invited me on books tours of some of my favorite authors, and she has alerted me to some of the latest “must read” books.

    She has also been a really great friend and listener, even if I haven’t been a very good one at all.

    In the past year of blogging I’ve probably read only about 75 books. In the year ahead I hope to get that number over 100 again. I’ve only posted on the blog about 100 times this past year. I hope to up that number, too.

    I also hope to figure out instagram – or at least learn to take nice pictures of my books – as my posts look so very, very sad in comparison to my favorite bookish instagram account – Bridget from Dark Faerie Tales – whose pics are so very amazing and make me very jealous of every book she owns even if I might have the very same books.

    Fiktshun may not have the most updated blogging technology driving it. It may seem simple and sparse in comparison to some of the more elaborate and interactive blogs out there. But I am still madly in love with the design that Rachel of Parajunkee Designs labored over for weeks. It still makes me happy just knowing I have this little spot on the web to ramble about books when I have the time.

    When I started blogging six years ago I could quickly name every single writer out there who wrote books I love. Now there are so many incredible authors whose books I love or whose books I just know I will love. This has been one of the best parts of being a part of the book blogging community – seeing how much talent there is out there, how many possible stories there are to read, how many characters there are to meet and fall in love with.

    Of course, sadly, there are the drawbacks – witnessing plagiarism (by bloggers and authors), greed (grabby hands at bookish events, selling ARCs), “bullying” or other unfriendly, close-minded, or ungenerous behavior. As huge as this community has become these past six years, it’s unfortunate that the simple love of books isn’t enough to bring and keep us all together, keep us honest, and keep us kind. We are a diverse community that spans the globe – that should be celebrated. We all want our voices heard – that should be tolerated. We all want to discover some amazing authors and books – that should be enough. But instead we battle one another for early reads. We steal others words when we don’t have our own. We shame others for liking something we don’t like. And we shut others’ opinions down when they don’t dovetail with our own.

    But even with all of that to detract, I am so happy to have been and to still be (to some extent) a part of this wonderful community. I still love to follow my favorite authors on social media, get teasers about their writing progress, see their gorgeous book covers. I still get excited when a blogger receives a new book to read, gets to meet one of their favorite authors at an event, posts a gushing review of book I loved just as much.

    Six years is a long time, and yet it feels like an instant. I hope to be here next year to celebrate #7 – I’m sure if I just blink a year will pass, that’s how quickly time seems to be moving these days.

    Fiktshun turns six on Wednesday and while the “event” may not be quite as elaborate as in years past, I will be hosting an international giveaway, so if you’ve made it to the end of this long ramble, I hope you’ll stop back then.

    And…

    Thank You All So Much!

    …for stopping by over the years to my little space on the web, for leaving comments on my posts, for chatting with me on social media. I know there are so many, many sites to visit, posts to read, much more sociable bloggers to connect with, and I appreciate all of you more than you could possibly know.

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    Epic Fail Moments in Blogging #8: My Blogoversary

    Epic_Fail_Blue copy

    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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    Half Past Two Year Blogoversary

    Fiktshun Turns 2.5

    Today my blog turns two-and-a-half. There are no celebratory banners. No fanfare. No fuss. Not this time around.

    But I couldn’t let the day pass without acknowledging its passing and thanking those of you who do stop by, who read my posts, who share their thoughts in the comments and who keep reminding me that I’m not talking to myself day in and day out.

    I don’t feel that two-and-a-half years is a major milestone, even though it does feel like I’ve been blogging for a lifetime. I think I’ll feel differently when my blog turns three – yes, barring any drama I definitely will be here in six months.

    And if I somehow double this number and am around at the five-year mark, I know it will be huge. Because five years is a long time. Especially to be a blogger. I cannot fathom putting in the kind of time and effort it takes day in and day out, year after year, to achieve that goal. But who knows?

    In my short time in this community I’ve seen so many new blogs spring into existence. It seems there are so many more blogs today than there were back in 2010. I could be wrong, but it feels like the community has grown in leaps and bounds over the past two point five years.

    I’ve also seen quite a few blogs disappear. Many of them who’d been around for two or three years.

    So I know that this is supposed to be finite. But the longer I blog I just can’t imagine it being so. Barring any sort of drama, I can’t imagine not having a blog in which to share my thoughts about books or bookish things. But I suppose that only time will be able to tell that particular story.

    Right now, for the first time ever, I think I’m finally settling in. I finally found a way to blog that fits in with my life. While there will always be some stress in meeting deadlines or coming up with words to express my thoughts, ideas that aren’t rehashed, or content that will fill the span of a week, I’m okay with the fact that there might be a day when my blog is dark.

    And I’m okay with the fact that my blog’s traffic may be slow now and again, or comments on my reviews may be few and far between.

    I’m here to do what I love – talk about books. I’m here because it makes me happy to do so. I’m here to help spread the word about the books I love. And I’m here to share the books that I do love with people who love them as much as I do.

    Anything else is gravy.

    As I’ve always said – and it still holds true – that just knowing that one person is visiting my site and reading my posts is enough to motivate me to keep going. The fact that every so often there’s more than one is all sorts of awesome. So…

    Thank you…

    To those readers and bloggers and authors who have made every moment of effort, stress, heartbreak worth it.

    To all the lovely people in this community who have not only never made me feel like an outsider, but who made me feel welcome.

    To those bloggers whom I respect and admire that make me want to be a better blogger.

    And to those friends that I’ve made that keep me going when I’m teetering on the edge.

    giveaway

    What’s Up for Grabs

    To THREE winners $25 (US) in Books of Your Choice from Amazon or The Book Depository depending upon location.

    The Deets
    • You must be 13 or older to enter.
    • Only ONE entry per household.
    • There will be THREE winners.
    • Winners will be chosen by Random via Rafflecopter.
    • Winners will be announced in the Rafflecopter and contacted by email.
    • Winners with have 48 hours after notification to respond or prize will be forfeit.

    Enter in the Rafflecopter below…
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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    Blogoversary Guest Post: Amy of My Overstuffed Bookshelf

    It’s almost over. Of course now I’m getting a little sentimental about it being almost over. I mean, who knows if I’ll be one of those lucky bloggers that makes it to a third blogoversary? A lot can happen in one year….

    Well, today’s post was going to be the final one as I was going to combine the remaining bloggers’ posts. But then I wouldn’t be able to wrap things up in the way I wanted to without the post getting way too long…. I do so love to ramble.

    So I decided to extend things just one more day so that I could ramble and feature the remaining bloggers without the post seeming endless. And so today I’m turning the blog over to the super awesome Amy of the very stunningly gorgeous blog My Overstuffed Bookshelf to share a couple of tips.

    But as always, before I do that, for just a little background….

    I can’t remember when I first “met” amy online. I’d seen her blog long before we first said “hi!” But I know we talked a bit during the 2011 YA Crush Tourney when I was filling up my timeline on Twitter with my numerous “Vote for Tod” tweets. I’m actually surprised she didn’t give me an “unfollow.”

    Of course I’m even more surprised that she agreed to be a part of my blogoversary.

    But I was amazed by her blog, My Overstuffed Bookshelf. It was so pretty. And purple. And rich with content. She’d been around so much longer than I had and I was in awe. I still am. Because I don’t know how she could do this for as long as she has.

    So, I’ll leave that to her to answer….

    When Fiktshun, aka Rachel, invited me to join in the celebration for her blog’s anniversary, I was thrilled. I admit, I was slow getting back to her, but I think she forgives me since she is posting this. 🙂

    Do not second guess yourself!

    One piece of advice that even after 3 1/2 years blogging, I still struggle with.

    You are doing your blog for your own reasons. My blog was established because I was tired of my family rolling their eyes at me when I went on and on about a new book I had read. I found out about blogs, and decided to at least tell my computer screen about the books. What would it hurt right? Then I found other bloggers. Blogs who had thousands of readers. I wanted to reach those readers as well, but I would have been happy with just one person reading my thoughts.

    Now that my blog has been around for a few years, I sometimes second guess myself about many things. Are my reviews good enough? What am I doing wrong and what am I doing right? Then I take a deep breath and realize my blog is just that. Mine. I have to remember that I started it for myself and to share my emotions about a book. While there are still times I second guess myself, there are times like this that let me know that friendships mean even more. Thank you for reading my blog. Thank you for keeping me sane while I flip out over a book. Simply put – thank you.

    Do not let a genre define who you are on your blog!

    Limiting yourself to just one genre of books is like limiting yourself to only one type of food.

    On my blog, I review all across the board. My reading taste is ever changing. I could read a young adult book about vampires one minute, then turn around and read a sexy erotic book the next. I like to read reviews from others who aren’t afraid to widen their reading ranges. That is why when I started my blog, I made sure not to imply in the title or catch phrase targeting one specific genre. There is a whole world of books out there. Why stay in only one place?

    Thank you to Rachel for inviting me to join in the fun.

    To help celebrate, I am giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to one lucky person.

    It is almost impossible not to second guess yourself. It’s something I do frequently…. Well, maybe a little more often than that. Try, all the time! Should I publish this post? Should I change my review style? Should I word something differently? Should I just keep my mouth shut? Should I shut down a few of my blogs? Should I not?

    I would have hoped by year two that I’d feel like I knew what I was doing. I’m so relieved to know that even beyond the three year mark there can still be doubts.

    And you picked such a great title for you blog. While it does confine you to talking books and bookish things, it is a book blog after all. But you definitely didn’t restrict the types of reads you can discuss. So if your reading tastes do vary or change you don’t have to rebrand your blog!

    While I’m stuck talking fiction on my blog, I don’t see myself reviewing books in non-fiction so fortunately it’s not a problem. At least not yet….

    But thank you so much Amy for sharing your advice and expertise! You have been around longer than almost any blogger I know. And the fact that you not only have stuck around, but you’ve been at it successfully for as long as you have is amazing!

    Anyway….

    If for some odd reason you haven’t yet “met” Amy, you can find her here!


    So I asked Amy what her favorite read was these past couple of months and she mentioned EASY by Tammara Webber. But as I am already giving that away this blogoversary, she chose another one of my favorite author’s books.

    So, I am offering up for giveaway – to be ordered from Amazon or The Book Depository depending upon location – to two winners a copy of BITTER BLOOD by Rachel Caine.

    Enter in the Rafflecopter below, and all my usual giveaway rules apply. (See my giveaway policy if you have any questions.)

    AND… If you’d like to enter Amy’s giveaway for the $10 Amazon Gift Card, say so in the comments and I’ll run your names through Random to choose a winner when the bookish giveaway closes.

    The winner for the AMAZON GC is Christina K. Christina, I’ll contact you to confirm the email address you’d like to provide to Amy to send the Amazon giftcard. Thanks so much for leaving a comment for Amy and stopping by my blogoversary event!

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    Blogoversary Guest Post: Maricar of Blackplume

    Well my blogoversary event is finally winding down. With just a couple of days left, I will be saying goodbye to the amazing banner and buttons I had created for me by Parajunkee Design. But not quite yet….

    I still have a few amazing bloggers stopping by to share their words of wisdom. One of whom I have on the blog today. And that’s Maricar of Blackplume, who has so generously and articulately put together TEN tips for new bloggers starting out. Tips which are just as helpful to be reminded about by those of us who have been at this for awhile.

    Such as her tip about organization. I used to be organized… until I’d been at this blogging thing for awhile. Now I live in chaos on a daily basis.

    Anyway… before I turn the blog over I will just share a little background….

    Maricar is one of the first bloggers I met in the blogosphere. And it was either on my blog or on Facebook, but I’m thinking Facebook. Yes, you get to meet a totally different group of readers and bloggers on Facebook, so I highly recommend starting a Facebook blog page if you don’t already have one. Sorry about that detour….

    She is one of the first international bloggers I met online. And I loved her blog which consisted not only of reviews, but of poetry and writing. She blogged about books, but that wasn’t her only passion, and so she blogged about other things she loved. And she still does.

    But Maricar is also so incredibly helpful and generous. I had a bit of a tough time with a package not being delivered to a giveaway winner and she so generously offered her help. It’s something I never forgot. Fortunately that situation did resolve itself and I was proven not to be dishonest and the winner ended up with three copies of the book and I didn’t have to take Maricar’s help. But her assistance and support were so very much appreciated and were gestures that meant so much to me.

    I love connecting with her on Facebook and Twitter as it seems the easiest places to socialize. But every-so-often I get the chance to head over to her blog and read one her wonderful reviews, which are interesting and thoughtful and very much in her voice. And she has some amazing poems she shares with her blog’s readers that always make me think. So be sure to stop on by!

    Anyway… once again I’ve rambled, and it’s not my post to ramble on. So, without another word….


    Book Blogging Tips for Newbies

    Let me get straight by telling you that I am no expert in book blogging. I am just a regular book blogger like anyone else out there who love to write their personal opinions about books and other related topics. The tips I’m going to share in here are based on my personal experiences in my two years of blogging. Some of these I learned the hard way and some I am still trying to learn. Though most of these are common knowledge to my fellow book bloggers, I think they are still fairly useful for newbie book bloggers out there.

    In no particular order, here are a few tips I can share which I called the 10 B’s of book blogging:

    1. Blog for the right reason

    There are lots of reasons why we blog, but if you don’t have one right reason, you are doomed. For book bloggers like us, the most common and rightful reason is we blog for the love of books. But what exactly “love of books” means? For me, it means sharing – sharing our ideas and thoughts, sharing our knowledge, sharing our dedication, time and effort. If you are just blogging for freebies like free books or ARCs, you are in a wrong path. Even if you enjoy receiving free books, it doesn’t always mean you also enjoy reading them and writing reviews for them. And forcing yourself to write a review and promote something you don’t like is a recipe of disaster. There is no fulfillment in that, you will just end up tired and suffocated.

    2. Be yourself and be unique

    There are so many book blogs out there and the only way you can stand out is to be different from them. And how will you do that? Simple, just be yourself because you are unique. Add some personal touch in your blog by sharing not just your thoughts but also your experiences. Show your creativity, feel free to express yourself and be you. By being you, you don’t just stay away from plagiarism issue, you also give chance to your followers to know you more. And by trusting your readers to know you, you can gain real followers or supporters. Followers who appreciate you and what you do.

    3. Be involved

    Interact with others, comments with other blogs, offer to guest post, and participate to some online discussions. In short get involved! Don’t just stay on your own blog and live in your own world. Book blogging is not a static world where bloggers are stuck behind the pages of their websites. There are more fun things aside from writing reviews and being part of the community is just one of them. You will get a lot of help from friendly bloggers. They can give you tips in writing and blogging, they can introduced you to their contacts, even give you encouragement and supports you in your passion. You can find friends, mentors and supporters in this active world of book blogging.

    Also, people will start following you if you are more visible as a person who they can actually talk/chat to than just an anonymous blogger. So strike up a conversation. Utilize social media sites such as facebook, twitter, tumblr, formspring and goodreads to connect with other bloggers and authors. Hang out with other book lover friends, attend book events, meet authors and even join active book clubs or organizations.

    4. Be respectful

    As a blogger we have a responsibility to be honest in our reviews, but we also need to be thoughtful in writing our reviews. We should respect the authors and their works. Bashing a book or the author is not right even we don’t like the author’s work. There’s a right way to say it (or not say it). If you really don’t like the book, I suggest skip reviewing it. And if you are required to submit a review, try to ask the publisher or author first if you can skip the review and explain to them in a professional way your reasons. If they still insist then write your opinion with so much care. You can be honest without attacking the author personally. Also, keep in mind that if you write a negative opinion about the book you read, make sure that you backed it up with examples from the book. Explain what you think happened and why you feel it didn’t work for you. Don’t just say you don’t like it, you should explain why you didn’t like it, so readers understand more where are you coming from. Remember, what didn’t work for you doesn’t always mean it won’t work for other readers too. So be fair.

    5. Be friendly

    When I say friendly, I didn’t mean that you should befriend anyone you meet online through your blog or other social networking sites. You just need be nice and don’t be a total snob. You don’t need to follow everyone or stalk them, that is impossible thing to do and a total waste of time. I suggest look for friends and not just followers. It doesn’t really matter how many followers you got if you don’t have at least one book blogging friend. Yes, it is nice to have many followers, but don’t get caught up too much with the statistics. As long as you have a circle of friends who believe in what you do, I think you will be fine. Because friends are the one who will accept you and appreciate your work. They will encourage and supports you in what you do and even give honest criticism that will help you improve. Most of the times they are the support that you need when you feel tired in blogging. They are the one who will remind you that you rock when you feel that you are not.

    6. Be selective

    Choose what you read and what you accept for reviews. Do not accept everything that comes your way. Be realistic and accept the fact that you can’t read everything and you can’t review all the books available out there. Read stories that interest you not because they are available for free or because everyone is raving about it. Do not accept books that you don’t like so you won’t be forced writing negative reviews. Reading and blogging is a serious endeavor and forcing yourself to do something that you don’t enjoy is a waste of time.

    Also be selective in joining events or features like memes. Participate only to those that really interest you and not because you feel like you’ll get more followers in joining. In using memes for your blog, please do not overdone it. I’ve seen a couple of blogs who uses memes in their everyday post. As if they got every memes available out there and it is not really enticing for me. As much as they are helpful in keeping your blog active they also can cause distractions. Posting meme after meme after meme is just too much and quite annoying.

    7. Be professional

    For most of us, book blogging is not a profession but a hobby, still it is not an excuse for not being a professional. We don’t need to get paid in order to take seriously what we are doing. We should be a responsible blogger. As a blogger, we have an obligation to our readers/followers when we decided to post something in our blog. We also have an obligation to authors and publishers when we decided to accept the books or ARCs they send us for reviews. We should honor commitment with those authors and publishers. We should be honest in writing reviews, and be careful in information we are giving to our readers. We should check carefully our spelling and grammar especially the author’s name, the title of the book we are reviewing and links where we are directing to our readers.

    8. Be organized

    Get your priorities in order by keeping a calendar or reminders. List your review dates and deadlines the moment you accept a book for review. If you can, schedule your post ahead of time. Have a list of events you are joining and submit the requirements on time. If you are joining a book tour make sure you can read the book and submit your review on time or anything that is required to you. Put things in perspective. Prioritized deadlines and your commitments. And always remember to not accept commitments if you know you can’t deliver it in the first place.

    9. Be active

    An active blog not just attracts followers/readers but also site traffics. So post everyday if you can. Though it is really hard to do this, it’s still count that you at least try. Write down every ideas you have, anytime and anywhere because you don’t know how those ideas can turn into something interesting one day. I am not saying that you should published everything that comes up in your mind, all I am saying is put those into writing and try to expand your ideas into something you can use for your blog. Do not post something just for the sake of having something to post. Do not procrastinate. I know this is easier said than done but there is no harm in trying. I myself is a victim of procrastination, but I am trying hard to be active and keep my blog alive and running.

    10. Be entertained and have fun (forcing the “B” in here :D)

    Book blogging or blogging in general should be fun. If you are not enjoying it, better not do it. As I said, there’s no point in doings things you don’t like. Do not stress yourself out with the responsibilities of reading, updating and reviewing if you don’t feel that it is not for you anymore. Remember, your feelings also shows in your writing and if you are not enjoying blogging, your readers will know it and they won’t enjoy your blog too.

    Oh Maricar, I totally agree with ALL your advice. And I absolutely agree that you shouldn’t push yourself to promote something you don’t love or believe in. I love promoting books. But I couldn’t imagine pushing a book I don’t love. It feels very dishonest.

    And your last tip – “have fun” is so important. Why do it if you’re not enjoying yourself? Unless you’re getting some kind of financial reward it doesn’t make any sense to work hard doing this if it doesn’t make you happy.

    I just wish I could follow your tip #8. I strive for organization but I often fail miserably. Fortunately I don’t have a specific schedule for my posts so that it gives me some flexibility. But trying to keep a calendar is something I do not succeed in. That’s the tip I need the most work on!

    Thank you so much for sharing all your wisdom. I couldn’t agree with you more about all if it. I know that your advice will be so very incredibly helpful, not only to those just starting out, but to those bloggers who have been at it for awhile and just need that friendly reminder.

    I could keep on rambling, but I probably shouldn’t, as it’s your guest post, not mine.

    So….

    For those of you who have not yet “met” Blackplume, here are a few places you can find her here…

    As I was completely remiss in asking Blackplume what her favorite book was, I stalked her blog and found a wonderful review she did last week for SPEECHLESS by Hannah Harrington.

    So, I am offering up for giveaway – to be ordered from Amazon or The Book Depository depending upon location – to two winners a copy of SPEECHLESS by Hannah Harrington.

    Enter in the Rafflecopter below, and all my usual giveaway rules apply. (See my giveaway policy if you have any questions.)

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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