Friday, January 13, 2012

Busting the Newbie Blues for Established Bloggers

This is a yearly (I think) meme started by Small at
Small Review.  It runs for the entire month of January and helps newbie bloggers. I filled out the form last year (don't remember which one) and thought I'd fill it out again for the experienced one since I have a year and a half under my belt.
I follow a lot of blogs that have been out there longer than me and they are doing it right. I hope I'm doing something right!

When did you start your blog? 

I started my blog in June of 2010. Ironically I reviewed a book that I would not review now on my blog, but I hadn't decided then what genres I would be reviewing.

Do you ever still feel like a newbie?

All the time!  With all the new social media stuff I just can't keep up. When am I supposed to read?  And I'd like to try my hand at writing so between reading, keeping up with my blog and having a family, staying on top of the social media is my weak spot. I've got twitter down until they change it. But facebook is lacking, I know. And Blog Frog, Tumbler, Tribrr (someone asked me to join them on that and I had to tell them I had no idea what it was) And Dear God, Google Plus!  They are going to force us to use it whether we want to or not!

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

Social media, keeping up with it. See above.

 Did you make any mistakes new bloggers can learn from?

Yes, accusing bloggers of making assumptions about mental health issues without getting all the facts. It's a pet peeve of mine. I have a mental illness.  It's just like saying I have a heart condition. But people in books seem to always be killing someone or neglecting someone because of their mental illness.
I tend to be hypersensitive to this issue, so when a reviewer says this character did this because she/he had this mental illness I may have fired off one or two angry emails.  Get the facts before you accuse a blogger of something or not knowing something.

What did you find most discouraging about being a new blogger? How did you deal with this?

Most discouraging was getting followers. Those Friday Follower hops don't get many followers at a time and it's hard to get your name around.  To fix it, I joined a couple of  I'm a Reader Not a Writer's give aways.  People join your blog when you are giving them something.  I also tweet my reviews and guest posts and put it on my Facebook. I usually tweet a few times a day. It's easy with the little tweet button Blogger puts on the bottom of your post.

What do you find most encouraging?

That I'm still here a year and a half later and still love doing it. I get in ruts, but I've seen a lot of people go through that.  My son thinks it's cool that I do this.  I have met a lot of authors that I would never have met otherwise and read a lot of great books that I never would have touched before I got into blogging.  I don't know how people buy books without blogging!

If you could go back in time and speak with your newbie self, what five bits of wisdom would you tell yourself?

First I'd tell myself to not sweat it. Slow is fine, you'll get there.
Second, don't do a giveaway on your own. Having seven people join your giveaway is just discouraging.
Third, don't buy every book that's coming out.  Just buy a couple and READ them.
Fourth, find some bloggers who's reviews you agree with and  purchase books according to their reviews.  Follow them and subscribe by email so you don't miss a post.
Five, participate in Bloggiesta!  You learn a lot and you get a lot done on you blog that you didn't even know needed to be done!  It's coming up!!

What do you like best about the blogs you read? Have you tried to replicate this in your blog?

I like the way they tell how the book made them feel, how they felt about the characters, what the writing was like, if they connected to the story, the characters.  I never look at the ratings, I think that's just too subjective.  And yes, I try to include those things in my reviews.  If I don't forget all that because I loved it so much I just gush and gush about how awesome the book was!

What do you dislike about blogs you’ve seen? Do you try to avoid this?

I don't like the blogs that brag about how many ARC's they received from the publishers in their IMM's.  Or they may just list them in their TBR piles.  Yeah, this week I got a bunch of ARC's, but they weren't books.  They were e-books and they will disappear in a few months, so I really just borrowed them.
If I want the book, I'm going to have to go out and buy the book!  And there are certain blogs that don't seem to give an opinion one way or another as to whether they liked the book they reviewed or not.  They seem to be pandering to the publisher or really just writing a synopsis of the book.  Tell me if you liked it and I should spend my money on the book!!  You'll know on my blog.

How did you bring your blog to the attention of so many people? 

I'd love to say because it's so wonderful, but I really think people found me through the give aways.  Now, when I comment on Twitter, I find a lot of people starting to follow me there.  Especially if I have a conversation with an author or another blogger.  But one of them has to be following someone that's following the person that I'm talking to I think. Not real sure how that all works, but I don't think they can see my conversation if they don't follow me.

When and how did you get your first ARC (or first few ARCs)?

I think I got my first ARC from Library Things Early Reviewers program.  It's been too long for me to remember really.  I know they are a good source as well as indie and self published authors.  It's harder with the big publishers. I just got an e-reader so I can request through Net Galley.  And I have a few contacts at some of the smaller publishers.  And sometimes give aways.  But back to the original question, I think my first ARC was C.C. Hunter's Born at Midnight.

Great one to start with, right??

Thanks Small, this was fun!!



  1. Thank you so much for participating, Heather! I love your attitude and approach to blogging.

    You are ahead of me when it comes to social networking. I'm not even on Twitter! I'm so impressed when people can juggle all of those different social networking outlets. I can barely keep up just on a blog :P

    Ugh, I hear you on the synopsis "reviews"! I can read a summary of the book by reading the blurb. I want to know what the reviewer thinks, and why.

  2. Many nice points you made. I too hate it when I can't tell if the reviewer liked or disliked the book overall. If I actually read all the way through a book I are totally gonna know. If I loved it - I'm gonna say that. I definitely prefer those that are clear - otherwise why read the review?
    - Jessica at Book Sake.

  3. Totally ladies, you've wasted my time when I could have been commenting on another blog that DID tell me what they liked and didn't like about a book!

    I know when I'm at both of your blogs whether you liked or didn't like the book, that's why I always come back. And thatnks for always coming back to mine!! You are very loyal bloggers!!

    Now, if I could just figure out how this new comment thing works I'd be happy! :)

  4. Your attitude and confidence is AWESOME.

    I totally agree that bragging about ARCs and summaries that pose as reviews are annoying. I don't even click on IMM posts anymore because there's not going to be anything of any use to me in reading it.

    Definitely going to enjoy following you!
    Lauren @ Hughes Reviews


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While I appreciate it, I just don't have the time to respond to them.


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