Category: bloggers (page 2 of 11)

BBAW 2011 – Bloggers

Today’s BBAW post is about the bloggers themselves.

The world of blogging is continually changing. Share 3 things you think are essential, tried and true practices for every blogger and 1-3 new trends or tools you’ve adapted recently or would like to in the future.

Rule number 1 – Quality over quantity. Every blogger is different – some people only write when they have something to say; others, like myself, set up a blogging schedule because they work better that way. But don’t feel like you simply must post a review every single day. Don’t feel like you have to leave a comment on every single blog post you read. Don’t even worry too much about the design of your blog, at least at first. Focus on quality over quantity. What do you want to say and how do you want to say it? Spend time writing one or two really good blog posts instead of five or six mediocre ones. The technology and tools surrounding blogging will continue to adapt and change, but good writing will always be good writing. Focus on the good writing and the rest will come.

Rule number 2 – Blog/write because you want to. If you love reading, but don’t like writing, then maybe starting your own blog isn’t the best idea. There are plenty of people who just love to read. There’s nothing wrong with that. Bloggers should blog because they like to, because they find it fun, because it gives them some sense of accomplishment or meaning. The minute blogging starts to feel like a chore or an obligation, step back and take a break. Unless your blog is still a class assignment (like mine once was), you really should only blog because you love it and you want to.

Rule number 3 – There are no rules. Seriously. Make it up. Find inspiration from other blogger. Ask to borrow – and then credit – someone else’s good idea. Do what works best for you. There really aren’t any hard and fast rules for blogging, whether you’re writing about books or about anything else. I firmly believe that the best “tried and true” practice for any blogger is to be themselves and do what they want to do. Don’t try to be anyone other than exactly who you are. Don’t even listen to these rules I’m listing here – listen to yourself.

That’s a wrap! Today’s post was the last Book Blogger Appreciation for this year. If you’re new to the Librarian Next Door because of BBAW, I hope you stick around next week when I return to your regularly scheduled programming.  Thanks for stopping by!

[Photo Credit: BBAW website]

BBAW 2011 – Community, Part II

Today’s BBAW post is also about community, albeit in a slightly different way.

The world of book blogging has grown enormously and sometimes it can be hard to find a place. Share your tips for finding and keeping community in book blogging despite the hectic demands made on your time and the overwhelming number of blogs out there. If you’re struggling with finding a community, share your concerns and explain what you’re looking for–this is the week to connect!

Ah, yes – so many book blogs, so little time.

When I first started blogging, I just jumped in and didn’t really pay attention to the fact that there were literally thousands of other book blogs out there. It wasn’t until I had been blogging for almost two years that I started actively participating in the book blogging community. As it is, I’m a fairly eclectic reader, with wide-ranging tastes. I can’t easily identify myself as a YA blogger or a romance blogger or a fantasy blogger, because sometimes I’m all three.

I don’t know if there’s any “right” or “wrong” way to do things – you just have to figure out what works best for you. So, for what they’re worth, here are my tips:

  • Read other book blogs. Simple, I know, but it’s a good place to start. The best way to find a place within the book blogging community is to read other blogs and see if those bloggers are your kind of readers.
  • Look at other bloggers’ blog rolls. Blog rolls are often links to other bloggers. Here on LND, I call it my “literary love” page. If you find one particular book blog that you really love, check out who they really love – especially if/when you trust that book blog’s opinions. More often than not, you’ll start to see familiar book blog names coming up again and again.
  • Don’t limit yourself to connecting via blog. Most book bloggers also have accounts on other social media sites, like Twitter, Good Reads, Library Thing and Facebook. Each one offers something different. Twitter, for example, will let you send short quick messages – perfect for when time is in scarce supply. With Good Reads, you can communicate back and forth while reading, instead of after the review is written. Think outside the box when it comes to connecting with other bloggers – it’s not always just about the blog itself.
  • Find the time. We’re all busy, but community doesn’t happen unless you communicate. And I fully admit I’m terrible at communicating sometimes. But every now and then, I make a point of putting aside even just 5-10 minutes and writing a thoughtful comment on a blog post or sending a quick tweet to another blogger. It may not be much, but it’s something, and that’s better than nothing.
  • Patience is a virtue. I’m like anyone else – I’d love instant gratification. But that rarely happens. Building an online community for yourself or finding one you can be a part of takes time. It won’t necessarily happen over night. I’ve been blogging for almost three years and I’m still working on it. Have a little patience and you’ll get there eventually.

All this week, I’ll be writing Book Blogger Appreciation posts. Be sure to stick around to see what’s coming next!

[Photo Credit: BBAW website]

BBAW 2011 – Interview Swap

For today’s BBAW Interview Swap, I’m pleased to introduce you to Teresa, of Teresa’s Reading Corner!

Her blog’s tagline is “so many books, so little time” – a sentiment we all can relate to! Teresa is a lot like me, in that she reads a variety of genres and generally gravitates towards fiction first. She also hosts the 2011 Audio Book Challenge. For our interview swap, Teresa and I simply emailed back and forth a few times in order to get that conversation-y feel to the interview. I hope you enjoy getting to know Teresa a bit and be sure to check out her blog!

Meredith: I put myself on a writing/blogging schedule, because otherwise I get too lazy and I won’t write. I also try to make things a little easier on myself by having a few regular features, like my Word of the Week or Book News. Those are easier posts to write, because there’s a simple formula I follow.

Teresa: I noticed your Word of the week while poking around your blog. I love that one! Are you open to sharing it?

Yes, of course! In fact, I didn’t even really come up with the idea myself. BermudaOnion’s blog has a Wondrous Words Wednesday meme that I borrowed and made into my own. Speaking of memes, I know some bloggers have a lot of memes they participate in or come up with regular features that publish every Tuesday, for example. Is that something you do? Is it even something you like or dislike? In terms of your own blogging schedule, do you write whenever the fancy strikes you or do you tend to stick to more of a schedule?

Teresa

I’m not a huge fan of memes and to be honest, I often skip over them in my Google Reader. I did give It’s Monday What am I reading? a try recently. I haven’t decided if I’m going to stick with that one or not. Devourer of Books has a weekly audio book feature on Friday’s that I’ve started linking up to. That being said, I’m pretty sporadic. Until very recently, my reading and writing schedule was dictated by scheduled review dates and book tours. I’m slowly moving away from that. As a result I’ve gotten a lot more reading done, but probably not as much writing.

I think one of the reasons I try to stay away from accepting too many reviews or book tours is because I don’t want to be hampered by scheduling dates. I like to read what I’m in the mood for, you know? Especially now: I’m about six months away from my 30th birthday, and I have noticed that I’m reading less and less YA books. I think my tastes are moving towards older YA characters and more novels that are considered “adult literature.”

I think that is a completely reasonable progression. I’ve certainly noticed that my tastes have changed over time.

Good! I’m glad to know I’m not alone! I noticed that your reading tastes are pretty diverse like mine. Is that something you set out deliberately to do or are you more of a mood reader, reading whatever happens to appeal to you at that time?

It wasn’t really a deliberate decision. I am definitely a mood reader too. When I first discovered book blogs, I felt like I was in a rut. I was picking up a lot of books and not liking any of them. I turned to the Internet and found a lot of great suggestions. Between those and some suggestions from friends and family, I began to find a lot of different genres that I enjoy.

I also noticed that you read non-fiction occasionally. I’m very picky about my non-fiction, so I don’t end up reading a lot of it, but I always feel like I should read more. How do you end up choosing which non-fiction books to read?

Non-fiction is tough. So far the majority of non-fiction I’ve actually reviewed are memoirs. I think of other things that I’m interested and seek those out. For example photography, cooking, or quilting. Some of my desire for non-fiction has been sparked by something that I read in a novel. When I read The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by CW Gortner, I immediately set out to find out more about her.

I think that’s a great idea! A lot of authors do a lot of in-depth research to make their books come alive. It makes perfect sense to go back and find the source material. I definitely need to try to include more non-fiction in my reading “diet” because I tend to get stuck in “reading ruts” where I read just one author or just one genre for awhile.

I fall into this same pattern quite often. I’ll find that I’ve read a few Historical novels in a row and will make the conscious decision to pick up something a little different.

I’ve actually found that keeping track of what I’m reading, either here on my blog or on a site like Good Reads helps me remember to pick a different type of book. I’d be interested to know your thoughts on book-sharing sites like Good Reads. On the one hand, I like having a record of what I’ve read and what I thought about it, but sometimes it feels kind of redundant with my blog. And you can get a lot of spam from self-published authors or other readers inviting you to random online events. Do you think sites like Good Reads or Library Thing have some value that a blog doesn’t? Do you use either one yourself or do you have a different way of keeping track of what you read?

It’s funny that you should ask about tracking. I’m definitely redundant with my tracking. I began using Good Reads in 2008. It has been interesting to see how my progress and interests have changed over the last several years. I also love the ability to make lists. This has come in very handy lately with the addition of their Android App. I popped into the bookstore just a few days ago and referred to it many times. I completely agree with you about the emergence of spam via Good Reads. My solution was to turn off all emails so I don’t have to deal with them. So far, so good.

I tried Library Thing and found it to be too cumbersome for me. I still have an account with them, but I rarely use it. I also have a spreadsheet that I use to track my reading from year to year. It’s very simple and does much of what you can do on Good Reads, but I like it as a quick reference.

I didn’t know Good Reads had an Android app! (*disappears for a few minutes to go download it*) One of the things I do like about sites like Good Reads is that you can find similar books to the ones you like. It makes it just a little bit easier to recommend another book to a friend or family member. And that’s a good thing for me, since I often struggle with recommendations because some people simply won’t like the books I like.

It is so difficult to try and suggest a book to someone else since we each experience them in a different way. More often than not, I’ll tell them about something I’ve recently read and a little bit about it. I might ask if they have a favorite book so that I can try and make a suggestion based on that.

I’m usually just glad people want my suggestions at all. Otherwise, I can get somewhat annoying in my persistence to encourage people to read. Do you do a lot of “reading evangelizing?” Have you ever had someone say, “oh I just don’t like reading?” Being someone who reads actively and writes about reading, how do you even begin to counteract this strange idea that someone could actually not like to read?

Oh I know! It seems impossible to me that someone wouldn’t enjoy it. Of course I come from a family full of avid readers so reading has always been the norm for me. I’m sure that others find it extremely odd that I don’t really watch television.

When I come across someone who tells me that they don’t like reading, I don’t really try to convince them that they should. I believe that there is something out there for everyone and I would fall back to your tactic of remembering what you know about them comes in handy. I’ve also learned that just having conversations with others about my own passion for reading has been encouraging.

I like the idea of letting your own passion come through in conversations. It’s a much more subtle way of persuasion….I feel like we could completely go on chatting forever, but the interview has to end at some point, so just one last question: you host an audio book challenge, which I think is great. I used to listen to audio books all the time when I commuted by train to school and work. Have you noticed any difference in your experience with audio books versus “regular” books? Do you think the experience of an audio book (versus the experience of reading a book) changes the way you think about books in general?

I am a fairly recent fan of audio books. The experience does vary between audio books and print books. I think there are several things that factor into this. First and foremost is the narrator. If the narration doesn’t do it for you, the book is going to be difficult to follow. It also depends on what I’m doing when I’m listening.

There are certain books that I’m convinced are so much better when listened to. Specifically I’m thinking Bossypants by Tina Fey. So much of the humor came from her narration on the audio. I’ve also found that I enjoy chick lit on audio. They are super easy to listen to and you don’t have to give them a great deal of attention to know what is going on. It’s kind of like having the television on in the background while you are doing something else.

Audio books have opened up an entirely different reading experience for me. I don’t know that they’ve changed how I look at books other than I get to “read” at times that I wouldn’t ordinarily be able to.

I have Bossypants on my “to read” list, but now that I know Tina Fey narrates the audio book herself, I’m going to have to listen to it. I love her humor. Thanks, Teresa, for this great chat! It was a blast getting to know you!

Hey bookworms, isn’t Teresa great?! Be sure to check out her blog when you get a chance and consider participating in the audio book challenge next year. All this week, I’ll be writing Book Blogger Appreciation posts. Be sure to stick around to see what’s coming next!

[Photo Credit: BBAW website; Teresa of Teresa’s Reading Corner]

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