Miscellaneous is the tagline to store random posts that don’t really belong elsewhere. They may involve tags, awards, challenges, and other book blogging nonsense.
What’s Miscellaneous Today?
Armchair BEA 2015 —
Day 3: Blogging 101
What is it?
Day 3 looks at Character Chatter & Blogging 101. I’m forgoing Character Chatter because this one is contextually hefty to read about.
The “tips” below aren’t golden rules to live by; they’re observations from a year+ of niche blogging. (And for the most part, I have no idea what I’m really saying. So…there’s that to look forward to lololol.)
Blogging 101. All kinds of tips and tricks to get you started or keep you going. Talk about ARCs, reviewing in general, web design, etc. What blogging platform do you use? How do you network? What are some of your favorite web designs? Or maybe you want to talk about your own blogging journey, and how you got to where you are now. Either way, we want you to share your knowledge with the rest of the community!
IN THE GREENROOM
considerations for all of the background noise and preparation
The Beginnings Don’t Define You
Every blogger starts off with the same beginnings (basically nothing) and it’s really what you make of the journey that becomes part of your branding. Own the experience.
Aesthetics, design and content go hand-in-hand in branding and distinguishing your voice. If you have the freedom to change your design—why not give it a whirl? I empathize with those who are bound by default themes (re: free WP) but you can still make the most of it by emphasizing your personality; being unapologetically you and others will take note.
Establish Your Priorities
Always have a talk with yourself (or someone) about what you want out of this experience. Maybe you want those stats to get those ARCs. Maybe you want to find friendships and create those connections. Maybe you want your voice to be heard. These are all paths that intersect with each other and there is no ideal vision greater than staying grounded and being yourself in what you do.
De-stress your blogging life by making the schedule work for you. However, if you curate content best on the adrenaline of feeling rushed/obligated to shoot a post out. Then by all means, do what works.
ARC Rite of Passage
I’m half serious with this one. All bloggers ought to endure the “oh shit, why did I request so many ARCs phase” which leads to “oh my goodness—I’m backlogged in reading”. Your blogging life isn’t the same without it. (You’re welcome.) NetGalley and Edelweiss are excellent starting points for requesting eARCS.
Post Maintenance and Backing-Up Your Script
I have never been fully satisfied with the posts that get uploaded. There are always problems; typos, broken links, anything, and this is a PSA to revise your work. Also, don’t solely rely on your blog or Internet to be a memory-dump of WIPs. Free WordPress users: know that your blog can be taken down.
considerations to go about crafting content that is “You”
I won’t say much here other than find a format that works for you. Take notes, use post-its, do whatever helps with writing reviews and talk about what comes naturally. Most readers aren’t looking for some golden review to put on a mantle; they’re looking for an opinion—preferably with your voice—that they can buy into.
I swear by this as one of the best ways to build those bridges. It’s no get famous quick scheme but it’s a good point of continual relationship development. Why? Because there’s an immediate purpose of an ice-breaker framed within a prompt.
If you’re on WordPress, search the tag up on the day of the post and get connecting. Note that Free WP does have some rules regarding visibility. If you over-tag your post (more than 15) it might not show up in Reader. Something to think about.
Read the content and comment accordingly but take note that Internet-dialogue is a very fickle thing and what you say can be misconstrued. For example: sarcasm does not always translate across screens. Also, try not to always comment robotically. Sometimes you can’t help but write generic comments—that’s okay—but you want the best you possible to translate to the reader(s) (remember, more than the post author will view your comment).
Leaving Your Mark:
If you’ve participated or are thinking about participating in memes, I’m sure you’ve witnessed commenters leaving a “Here’s My [Meme Link]”. Contextually, this is fine.
I’m very notorious for leaving a “Cheers, joey @ thoughts and afterthoughts” at the end of my comments where the quoted is an HTML target link. I know there are those who believe this to be disingenuous blogging practice, and maybe it is, but I’m of the belief that it signs off your comment with a kind gesture (like a “see you later”) and opens that door for a connection to be made—which in fact is a link to your meme post instead. It’s a sleight of hand almost but it immediately gives that individual somewhere to go and something familiar to discuss. This is why I do it.
Playing the Game of TAG:
Everyone who plays the game of tag is a winner. Not only are these posts quick to read and write, they’re accessible to read. Consider tagging individuals to give credit. Saying “I tag all of you” only encourages those who are willing to do it. If you tag with intent then there is usually more incentive to complete the tag.
I want to spend a bit of time on this because while topics of “ebook vs physical” or “how I review books” are some examples of prompts to engage your audience, I do feel like it’s the same rehashed question seen on a different day. That being said, I am no guru at discussion writing nor is there a cookie cutter way to go about writing these post—I’m merely giving my two cents on writing discussions from my experience thus far.
Talk about what you enjoy. It’s worse to try to spoon-feed someone if you yourself don’t appreciate what you’re trying to sell.
Deconstruct an umbrella topic and raise awareness to a niche issue based on what you know or how you think/feel. For example: I satirize all that is poorly represented of men in fiction because I have that personal experience to gauge it upon.
E.g. Characters -> Male Archetypes -> Physical Appearance -> Your Claim (i.e. Men do not smell like the great outdoors.)
Spawn a topic from a conversation with your friends. You’d be surprised how many topics can come from just talking amongst your friends as it relates to bookish content. You may not notice the tangents in your bantering but it’s there.
Do not be afraid to go against the community. It’s tough to be the black sheep but I assure you that in the herd, there will be others who appreciate the dialogue you have created and those who may genuinely agree with you.
Ask questions and probe for responses. Your rant is complete but the job is not done yet. Ask questions to spark that connection; whether it’s personal or post-related, everyone has a valid opinion to share.
Be mindful of what you’re saying and open to interpretation. This is the biggest thing I need to stress (and can be applied everywhere in blogging). Just because you post on your blog does not give you some God complex to disregard other trains of thought. Be open to that possibility.
Don’t be afraid to branch out in blogging content if you feel interests swaying. Change is necessary but it doesn’t take away your roots of being a book blogger.
MEET & GREET
considerations after that blog goes live
Fact: everyone loves that notification when something happens around their blog or comments (unless it’s drama-related). The more effort you put into building rapport, the more those Internet-walls start to break down and messaging these blogger-turned-friends becomes less daunting.
It’s Hard Work
Don’t expect those who do (or don’t) follow you to regularly return to your blog. Any bridge you build will deteriorate with time. It’s up to you to continue cementing those bricks so that you can cultivate a lasting connection.
It’s Not a Solo Mission
Blogging is a never-ending journey to the top of the mountain. Bring your friends with you so you can all enjoy the trip.
It’s an Extension of You
It is what it is. And I quote from a recent post of mine “be you, be true, and the rest will surely follow.”
Honestly: I am no master at anything (aside from maybe solving Sudoku puzzles) and I don’t even follow my own advice most of the time (#hypocrisy). So do what I say not as I do because my blogging practices are not a standard I would encourage bloggers to live by. I write very last minute, nonsensical, and exhaustive—but that’s just the identity I hope to convey.
And so I ask: what kind of blogger do you strive to be?
If you have any [non-invasive] questions regarding anything book blogging related, I’d be happy to answer them (not that you should really take what I say to heart—ever.)
(I am also going on a massive follower-ing spree as since ABEA encouraged me to practice what I preach LOL. If I have yet to follow you on Twitter or what-not, do let me know.)