The Secret Life of a Book Blogger

Secret Life of a Book BloggerThe last time I was tagged, I was about 10 years old, and it was during recess. HA! Seriously though. One of my deep, dark, bloggy secrets is that I get a little envious of bloggers and their circle of blogger buddies who tag each other to do these fun little questionnaires. But now is my time! Thank you, Vlora @ Reviews and Cake!

How long have you been a blogger?

ExpageUh. For a really, really long time. I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ve been involved in the blogosphere for about sixteen years now– that means I started blogging when I was about eleven. I stumbled across a website called Expage, and its there that I starting practicing HTML, creating layouts, and writing about my day. I perused the Way Back Machine and discovered one of my very first layouts. My webpage was called “Blueberri Frazter” (no idea what that even means, I’m pretty sure I just liked the sounds of the words), I lovedΒ  Garfield because he was “soooo kool”, and I was obsessed with getting people to sign my guestbook (the equivalent to comments today). I can’t believe I just shared this with you. It’s really quite embarrassing! (Also, that purple marble under my page title used to roll across the screen. I never had enough scrolling marquees on my page).

My design skills eventually improved, especially when my parents bought me Paint Shop Pro for Christmas, and eventually I made an online friend who offered to host me on their domain. Aside from owning your own domain, having a friend offer to host you was the pinnacle of success back in the early 2000s.

Books & Tea is my first and only experience with “niche” blogging. All of my earlier blogs were personal blogs, and I just wrote about the woes of high school (and the excitement of marching band).

At what point do you think you’ll stop?

Considering I’ve been blogging for sixteen years, I cannot imagine life without this hobby. I don’t plan on stopping any time soon.

What is the best thing about blogging?

Connecting with people, for sure. Back in the day I made some pretty good interweb friends, and we still keep in touch today! Connections in the book blogosphere are a bit more challenging though because this niche is competitive. Still, there are so many bloggers that I admire, and in my headcanon we are BFF4Es.

It’s also great to discover people who are passionate about books. It boggles my mind how often I read that statement when bloggers discuss their favorite thing about book blogging. Sometimes it makes me wonder if most people in the world are closet-readers afraid to admit their love for stories.

What is the worst thing about blogging, and what do you do to make it okay?

We are an opinionated and passionate bunch of bloggers, eh? And sometimes that creates friction. I’ve read many confrontational posts over the years (and of course a bunch of reactions to said post). Sometimes it’s great to see the rallying support of other book bloggers, but sometimes the negativity of the situation is frustrating and overwhelming. I just want this community to be so full of love all the time, but I understand that is unrealistic, so I always try to remain an observer on such occasions.

How long does it take you to create or find graphics for blog posts?

Considering most of the images I use are book covers, not very long! But even when I attempt to make my own graphics, it still doesn’t take me that long because they’re usually pretty simple. I use canva.com, which offers templates to get the creative juices flowing. Now original photographs? That’s another story! I’m using original photographs more now than I have in the past, and that is time-consuming; plus I have to overcome feelings of self-consciousness because other book bloggers’ bookish photography is far superior to my own.

Who is your bookish crush?

Weasley

Do you mean what book character do I have a crush on? Honestly, I don’t fawn over book boyfriends because my own non-book boyfriend is such a stud muffin. But, if I had to choose, it would be Ron Weasley. Now, if this question asked me which characters I admired, the list would be much longer, and it would most definitely start with Hermione Granger.

Which author would you like to have on your blog?

The queen herself, JK Rowling!

What do you wear when you write your blog posts?

What a strange question. I’m usually found wearing jeans and a sweater, even in the summer time. Sometimes I loaf about in my pajamas, especially on Sundays.

How long does it take you to prepare?

Another strange (and vague) question! I’m going to say not very long, for the most part. Usually I blog on the fly, but occasionally I’ll plan out a series or a theme to write about all month-long. I usually write those a few weeks in advance because I want to make sure I have enough content that qualifies as a “series” before publishing.

How do you feel about the book blogger community?

looooove

I’ve stuck around for over four years, and I have no plans on leaving anytime soon. I think that says a lot, right?

What do you think one should do to get a successful blog?

  • Interact with your community— seek out other blogs and leave them lovely comments. Usually they will return the favor! Participate in events like Alexa’s Book Blogger Love-A-Thon or Rinn Reads’ Sci Fi Month event, or even start your own and invite other bloggers to join.
  • Create original content— which is totally hard, I know. It’s easier to quickly publish a meme post, but it’s more rewarding to spend time creating blog series and “discussion” posts.
  • Be consistent— this is something I struggle with. I always come up with excuses about being busy or being worn out from work, but really I just lack the discipline to sit my tookus in my seat and craft posts. Our community used to be obsessed with blogging every day, which is an unrealistic goal for many of us, but consistent posting or posting a-plenty will keep an audience checking back
  • Get a little personal— as in write about yourself sometimes. You don’t have to share with the blogosphere everything about your life, but I know I stick around a little longer when I actually get to know the bloggers behind the books.
  • Be genuine— your passion for a topic comes through in your writing, and if you’re just in it for the ARCs, readers will be able to tell.

Tag! You’re It!

Jessica from JB & Tea

Syc from The Lit Mermaid

Beth from Fuelled by Fiction

Monica from Tomes Project

Melissa from Readerly Geek

 

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11 thoughts on “The Secret Life of a Book Blogger

  1. Oh wow, contrary to you, I usually don’t really like tags and challenges. Sure, they can be fun, but at some point you get tired of answering the same questions over and over again! I can only imagine how authors might feel who have to do this on a daily basis if they are promoting their books! However, those questions were quite different, so I can’t really complain. πŸ™‚
    I will have to say, though, that I don’t think that daily content or even continuously consistent content is the key to success. There are blogs I absolutely love that sometimes post two times a week and sometimes once a month. And there are blogs I couldn’t care less about (sad, but true) that post almost daily. What I find most important is the blogger’s voice. A lot of people who are just starting out with blogging have yet to find their voice and I think readers notice that. I like it when the blogger is confident in their voice, in what they have to say and the way they say it. That’s what draws me in. I will agree with you, though, that getting personal is also a great way to engage someone. Humans are curious by nature. So what better way to engage a reader is there than to let them snoop around in your personal life? πŸ™‚

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    1. I suppose if I were tagged often enough, I would get tired of these little questionnaires too, but the novelty of this made me feel so happy!

      Yes! I wanted to touch on establishing your own voice too, but I had a really hard time conveying why it was important or even HOW to do that.

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  2. Hey, your header is back to the old one. I like it!

    I hope you know what this means now – I’ll tag you for ALL THE THINGS. πŸ˜€ Also OMG canva.com is so cool, I had no idea! Is everything I create on there free to use, or do I have to take copyright and ish into account? Thanks for the link, this is going to make my life so much easier.

    To be honest, I think it’s reeelatively easy to stay away from drama in the blogging world. Most of what I see is just posts discussing drama that there apparently was somewhere, but I tend not to even post about that, because I feel like posting about the drama just draws attention to the drama. If there was one controversial post/event/thing that happened, there will be 100 posts talking about it, so it gains a lot more attention than it otherwise would have. That’s my theory at least.

    I haven’t experienced book blogging as very competitive either, but then I just don’t care that much about ARCs and all that, so that might be why. If it’s your burning desire to get to read that one book, and someone else got approved and you didn’t, I could see why it would be competitive. Honestly my blog is like 70% personal and things I happen to feel passionate and 30% books (though those also often fall in the happen to be passionate about category), so I guess I sometimes feel a bit removed from that kind of book blogger? IDEK.

    OMG J.K. Rowling! How could I not go for her in the author question? Regrets. I LOVE your blogging tips; I agree 100% with everything. And, um, clearly your design skills were AWESOME when you were younger??? Garfield is love. The wayback machine is my biggest nightmare though, to be honest haha. It’ NOT FAIR what can be found on there. πŸ˜€

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    1. Thank you! I know I said I wasn’t going to fiddle around with my blog, but I just craved something clean. I really appreciate flowery wreaths on other people’s blogs, and perhaps that’s what influenced me to give it a try, but it just…wasn’t me at all.

      You’re free to do whatever you would like with the free resources on Canva, and you don’t need to worry about copyright infringement. There are a TON of free illustrations and icons and picture frames and backgrounds and photographcs, etc. but there are also options to purchase resources too for $1 (which, these might have some kind of copyright on, and that’s why you have to pay?). I’ve never done that though because they have plenty of free stuff to keep me satisfied. If you have the opportunity, you should check out their design school blog: https://designschool.canva.com/ They have a bunch or articles and tutorials on graphic design for total noobs (like ME!)

      I don’t…actively participate in blogosphere drama. But, I notice that I tend to become a bit of a rubbernecker. I guess that can be just as bad as publishing and article on how person A upset person B.

      I think the reasoning behind the author you would invite to your blog is better than mine. I just had a deer in headlights moment and picked the first glorious author that came to my head. Richelle Mead’s conspiracy theories about her neighbors sounds awesome. I’ve never read any of her books, but that alone makes me want to run out and pick up copies of Vampire Academy. I’m so easily swayed by the silliest of things sometimes…!

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  3. I laughed really hard at your “stud muffin” comment about your boyfriend. I feel like that too! I’m like, my boyfriend is awesome, I can’t obsess about these fictional guys, it’s like…. fictional cheating!

    Just kidding. But not really. πŸ™‚

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  4. Thanks so much for tagging me! I’ll definitely sharing answers on my blog in the next week or so. I loved your answers, by the way. Canva is THE best. I use it for all my blog posts. I used to do original pictures too for my blog, but I just felt like I could never get them looking right (I live in a very dingy house). I just mostly use book cover pictures now for my book posts and screencaps for everything else!

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  5. On the question “Who Is Your Bookish Crush?” I’d have to say Peeta Mellark from the Hunger Games. I don’t know why! I wasn’t tagged, but decided to say that anyway πŸ™‚ I started to use Canva and it’s amazing! Going to use it a lot now πŸ™‚ Love the blogs theme, and the header is beautiful.

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    1. Thank you so much, Alice!

      I’ve only read the first book in the Hunger Games trilogy, but I’ve seen all the movies so far (a bookish sin, I know). I wasn’t *too* smitten with Peeta in the books, but I’ve grown to really appreciate him in the movies. Or maybe I’m just smitten with Josh Hutcherson…

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        1. I actually really loved the first novel in the trilogy, and I *do* plan to read the other two books. I have a tendency to take long breaks in between books that are in a series though. I’m especially curious about the books after the last movie; a lot of people said the book’s ending was rather different.

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          1. I’m sure you’ll like it! I have read the last book and I think they kept the movie pretty similar, although they had to change it a little to make it into two parts. I’m really excited to see how they make the last part though, I hope they do the book justice!

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