Well, it’s the final day of my blogoversary celebration. And it definitely feels like I’m closer to my third year of blogging than my second. Wow, November seems like a really, really long month.
And while I am a little sad that it’s over, I’m glad to get back to posting as usual this week. Minus a review or two while NaNoWriMo continues to kick me.
It was so amazing to have so many bloggers on the blog this past ten days to share their thoughts about blogging and to share their wisdom. Each of the bloggers has been at this for over a year, several for longer than two, and I am so thankful each and every one of them is a part of this community.
It’s nice to know that there are others out there going through exactly what I am. That while I do this thing all by my lonesome attached to the internet by a keyboard or two, I’m not really alone. Because there are thousands of other amazing bloggers doing exactly the same thing. Pouring their thoughts out onto the digital page for the world to see.
Each of us struggling to formulate sentences that make sense, that captivate, that draw readers to our page again and again. Each of us hoping that our voice stands out in the crowd, if not every day, then at least once. And each of us tackling the hard work, pushing past the drama and overcoming the doubt that comes along with the excitement, thrills and moments of unadulterated joy that are all very much a part of being a book blogger.
I am still so shocked that I’ve managed to do this thing for two years, just about day in and day out. I am still surprised to see that I’ve published over 1,000 posts on this blog. I’m always puzzled by the fact that there are actually people that want to follow me on Twitter aside from spammers, marketers or auto-followers. And I can’t believe that while I don’t have the best ranking, consistent traffic or huge following, that there are these wonderful readers that do visit often, that leave a comment, that make me grin from ear to ear, and that make every moment worth it.
While the landscape has changed over the past two years – the number of blogs has grown, the drama has increased tenfold, the tension has risen, several blogs I started out with are no more, several bloggers have shifted their focus to writing, and each year new debut authors replace the previous year’s group – there are still those bloggers going strong that I first met when I started out. Those blogs that existed long before mine did are still run by bloggers who are icons and pillars of this community. And the authors I knew of and loved before I became a book blogger are ones that I adore even more two years down the road – a few of them are ones I’ve actually had the courage to communicate with.
Yes, that still makes me giddy.
And those bloggers I looked up to for their wisdom and guidance when I barely knew what CSS, HTML, Widget and Sidebar even meant, are still there to offer their expertise – Pam of Bookalicious, who seems to know everything about everything, Rachel of Parajunkee’s View, whose weekly advice about blogging I stalk regularly, Lisa of A Life Bound by Books whose professionalism I admire greatly and who does a tremendous job of showcasing the books and authors she adores, and Alex of Electrifying Reviews, who manages to consistently blog, be just as passionate about as ever about books and who seems to juggle more than anyone I know.
And before I wrap up my part of this post and pass my blog along to the two amazing bloggers I have sharing their wisdom today, I have just one final piece of advice to share.
Make friends with Google.
That’s right. Google. When I first started out I knew no one. I was incredibly shy – I still am – and I would never have thought to ask for guidance from anyone. So I made friends with Google. I typed in those questions I needed answers to. And Google provided answers. Most of the time.
When I wanted to make a grab button for my post, Google gave me links to a few sites that showed me how. When I wanted to learn how to turn my image into a favicon, Google was there to give me a favicon generator.
When I needed guidance on how to manually create a colored text box around my descriptions? Yep, you guessed it. Google. Everything I learned during my first year of blogging I learned from searching for answers on Google. And much of what I learn today comes from there too. Though I couldn’t have transitioned my blog from Blogger to WordPress without Parajunkee’s step-by-step instructions.
There are amazing videos that give visual demonstrations if you need answers. If you want to understand the difference between <p style> and <br /> and  , just search for it. It’s all there. Laid out in an easy to understand way by people much more skilled than I will ever be. Which is why I stalk those forums and tech blogs and instructional videos on a weekly basis.
And while it’s not always quick or easy to find an answer, the answer is out there.
Definitely don’t be afraid to ask for help from others in the blogging community. We are a helpful bunch. But if you don’t want to wait… I hate waiting… sometimes you can find a quick fix on Google.
Anyway…. with that said, let me now turn the blog over to my final two guests.
On how to keep up and don’t forget yourself in the middle
We bloggers all know that we LOVE ARCs or eARCs, right? It’s one of the perks of being book bloggers and usually, when we already have an audience whom to share with, we reach out to publishers/authors and ask for that book we can’t wait to read.
We might even get access to NetGalley -that frenemy of mine…- and go crazy (crazy, I’m telling you) and start requesting so many eARCs that soon we will find ourselves surrounded and overwhelmed by so many books. And then you might start to panic a little bit. And then stress out. And finally hyperventilate.
So, my advice (because I’ve been there) is that you take a deep breath, relax and decide to be a little more picky. Yes, that’s right. Before requesting an ARC ask yourself if you really want it and if so ask yourself if you will be able to read it before publication date. If the answer is no then you are doing a favor to no one and you will, most likely, take someone else’s chance of reading and writing a review about it.
The most important thing is: be yourself. Read the books you like, the books that hold (or you think might hold) a meaning to you, that might have an adventure you could love. And don’t forget to read and review the books that are on your TBR pile ’cause, let’s be honest, we always have a pile… and it never ends!
NetGalley is a frenemy of mine too! But I totally agree that keeping the requests to a minimum alleviates much of the stress! It’s so easy to try for every book you might think you want. But unless you are a fast reader or have some extra time to power through every book you’ve requested, being picky is key.
Thank you so much, Alaiel for sharing your advice! And yes, those TBR piles are endless!
For a little background…
I am pretty sure I first met Alaiel during Armchair BEA 2011. Her blog’s name was so distinctive that it stood out to me. I mean, how cool is the name Librarian Mouse!?!
But I got to know Alaiel much better through email and during the SSRC. I was so thrilled that she decided to participate in the event and even more stoked that she read and loved the books by one of my favorite authors of all time… the always amazing Rachel Vincent.
Alaiel is so super nice and I love that she reads and blogs about the books she wants to, not just the popular books that bring high traffic to her blog. If you haven’t met her or her lovely blog yet, be sure to click on the links above. She is definitely someone worth getting to know in the blogosphere.
Julie has offered to share a post she had on her blog about the positive aspects of blogging. I’ve excerpted a portion of that post, but if you’d like to read it in its entirety, CLICK HERE.
Well I think that with blogging comes great responsibility. I have had some wonderful invitations that I never would have had the opportunity without blogging. I have made some wonderful friends in real life that I would never have made. I think that I am more social and willing to help someone in need….
I am more willing to share my books with total strangers within the blogging world. I have also made some amazing friends that its nice to talk to about a good book or bad book.
I think that there are times that I want to stop blogging and just enjoy reading books. But I also think that their support and sharing of books, helps me get through all those times.
There are so many amazing opportunities that open up to book bloggers. I wish I had the chance to attend all the wonderful signings, author events and conferences!
But I can’t agree with you more about the friendships. Like you I’ve become much more social than I ever was before. And having friends in the community makes it easier to keep going when you do want to stop blogging and just read those books on the pile.
Thank you so much, Julie, for sharing your blogging experience and wisdom. You have an amazing blog and the fact that you can keep up your blogging and take care of your five “monkeys” is such an inspiration.
For a little background…
I think I first met Julie on Twitter. She was chatting with Jaime of Two Chicks On Books, I believe. But I’d actually known of Julie long before we first spoke. Because I’d seen her blog’s design on the Parajunkee Design website during the almost six months I stalked that blog before getting the courage up to add my name to the waiting list. And I clicked the link to visit her site more than a few times.
Her blog was so pretty and whimsical. But I was awed by the fact that it seemed as if she’d been blogging forever. Which she has been and still is. And I’m so glad that she has decided to remain a part of this bookish community. Because she is one of the nicest bloggers I know of online. And even though I don’t know Julie well, I do know that she’s incredibly helpful, is so kind and supportive and someone whose absence from this community would leave a pretty huge hole.
So be sure to check out her awesome blog or say hi on Twitter!
As this is the final day of my Blogoversary Celebration, I thought I’d share an ARC I received through a trade of…
My Blogoversary Celebration Day 10 Giveaway is for an ARC of SHARDS & ASHES by Melissa Marr, et al that I received through a trade to ONE winner. The ARC looks to be in great condition and will be sent via U.S. mail.
And as I hadn’t chosen to give away a book of either blogger’s choice, I’m including a couple of extra entry opportunities to follow them on Twitter.