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[Let’s Chat] Do You Talk About Your Blog In Real Life?

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Something that probably won’t be a surprise to all bloggers out there is the fact that we have lives outside of blogging.

I know; such a surprise, right? But, it’s always made me wonder how many of us separate blogging and the “real world,” in a sense. I know that I, for sure, compartmentalize. If you met me in real life, I’d be a totally different person than how I act on the Internet.

So, I decided I’d like to talk about my personal experiences with talking about my blog in real life. Obviously, there aren’t too many because I just don’t like doing it at all, but, hey, why not talk about it anyway.

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So, my close family does know that I blog. There’s an accomplishment right there!

I have to say, the only reason my family knows is the fact that I used to have the crappiest laptop that I got when I was, like, twelve or something, so I decided to use my mom’s, and I had to ask permission before I just spent hours and hours on her laptop (and, BOY, did I spend hours and hours on there. Not like I don’t do that now). I ended up getting a laptop a couple weeks later for Christmas that actually works and is totally awesome, which I wasn’t expecting, so it was such a grateful surprise!

I’d say that my mom is the one who cares more than my dad and my younger brother. My dad knows that I blog and doesn’t really talk to me about it (thank God), and you know how siblings work; my brother doesn’t give a damn about what I do, and same I feel the same about his interests (we’re total opposites; he’s an extrovert, and I’m an intorvert). But my mom is the one who has continually always wanted to get into my business. True story: when I used to be on Wattpad, she created her own account, and pretended to be a girl around my age in order to learn more about my stories because I wouldn’t talk to her about it in real life. And you might be thinking, “LOL, Mikaela; that sounds nuts.” BUT IT’S TRUE. Obviously, I don’t think my mom can do that now since it’s harder to start a random blog account as opposed to Wattpad, but she always keeps trying to pry information about it to me and wants to advertise it to all her friends, and I don’t want that. Mainly because I want my success to be my own, and, also, I just don’t want my mom to know everything about my blog.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’d just rather do stuff on my own regarding things I’m proud of, without the help of my parents. And I also just want one bit of myself out there on the Internet that my mom doesn’t know about much about. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m a teenager that makes me feel that way, but I’d just much prefer a little bit of distance. Just a little.

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Now, regarding friends,  it’s a whole different ballgame for me. I have never mentioned to my friends that I have a book blog. Except one. And that’s basically it. 

I’ve already mentioned a million times about how I don’t really have anyone to talk to regarding books, so this place is where I like to go to express that. It’s again akin to the whole thing with my mom; I just want a little corner of the Internet that’s separate from my life in the real world. I actually had one of my friends read my Wattpad stories before I deleted them, and I always found it so amusing that she truly enjoyed reading them. It always made me nervous, but it was nice to know that she really appreciated my writing, but, for some reason, I feel totally different regarding blogging.

Also, okay, I might have a TINY fear that they might find it weird that I take pictures of books, and I consider that a hobby. Or that I have all these people following me because they think I’m cool or whatever. I’m not the only one who has those types of fears, right? RIGHT?

I have to say, sometimes it sucks when something amazing happens regarding my blog, but I don’t really feel like I can celebrate it with my friends because they don’t know about it, but remembering that I can fangirl on Twitter or on my blog and have people who truly understand me is what makes me happy and actually makes up for it, in a way.

And if my blog became public knowledge to my school?

haha no

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For me, those are the only two categories in my real life that I can talk about, but I’m sure there are other people that have some others, such as bloggers older than me who have co-workers and such.

To me, the general consensus is that I just really like to have something private that I’d like to keep to myself. Obviously, it’s not private in the way most people would say it’s private, since I’m still posting my stuff on a public blog, and also promoting it all on sorts of social media accounts, but I consider blogging something that I keep separate from the real life, and that works for me.

Also, to those who are probably like, “Where did the #DregsDiverseathon sign-up go?” I deleted it! Long story short, I wasn’t really ready to post it, but I didn’t really have anything to go up for Monday, so I made a terrible decision to post something for the sake of something. So, the readathon isn’t gone forever; I have it in my drafts, and I probably will wait to host it later this year or something! But everything’s good!

Let's Chat

Do you talk about your blog in real life? Have you had any weird experiences with that? Why do you talk or not talk about your blog in real life?

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54

[LET’S CHAT] What Makes An Original Book Blogger?

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Ah, yes, one of the biggest questions when you enter the blogosphere: do you have to be an original blogger?

I feel like that’s something that every blogger sees as some sort of requirement. Even in my own post when I talked about what makes me follow a book blog, I said that I really liked seeing original content that would continually inspire me. And, also, who wants to see a blog that looks like pretty much every other blog? We don’t just push creativity and non-conformity in the blogging world, but pretty much everywhere. How many times have you heard someone say that they’re tired of superhero movies and sequels and want an original movie? Or someone saying a song is overrated because it sounds like every other song on the radio? Or someone complaining about how a TV show is using the same old tired cliches?

But, is it necessary to be completely original as a blog? There seems to be a sort of look-down on people who just post memes and tags and awards, and even some people who have pretty much sworn off all of those things in favor of original content. So I wanted to talk about my experiences with all those things, because I am the blogging queen.

(Just kidding, I am 100% not the blogging queen.)

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So, of course, you’ve probably heard of these things called weekly memes, and contrary to what I used to think, memes aren’t just those things that get popular on Twitter and become annoying after a day. Basically, there’s a concept, and you’re supposed to pick books relating to that concept. Some of the popular ones I’ve seen around are Top Ten Tuesday, Saturday Situation, WWW Wednesday, and Waiting on Wednesday. There are definitely a lot more out there, and several for pretty much every day of the week.

If you’ve been around since the very beginning, you’ll know that I used to do WWW Wednesday for the month of January. Eventually, I realized that I wasn’t really enjoying them, and, surprisingly, they weren’t really doing too good in terms of stats (even though I’ve seen so many people say they’re memes do the best in terms of stats), so I ended up quitting. It’s definitely worked for me, since I’ve now opened up a spot that’s been taken in favor of more original posts, but I know that might not work out for everyone.

I’ve definitely seen a general consensus that seeing too many memes when you first stumble upon someone’s blog makes it less likely for them to stay, and I’ve also seen some people say that they just straight up avoid their Reader on Tuesdays and Wednesdays because of the amount of memes. I definitely get it; I feel like with WWW Wednesday and WoW, it’s hard to really say something other than, “Oh, cool; I loved those books, and that one’s on my TBR! Here’s my link!” and “Yes, I’m super excited to read that book as well! Here’s the link to my post!” With TTT, I can definitely find something to comment about, because I’ve seen several people turn those posts into something creative (like what Cait @ Paper Fury does), but even if it’s just a list, I can always find something to relate to!

I don’t know if it’s a way to meet new people, but I have seen lots of people say that’s how they got their outreach when they were first starting out, so I can see why new bloggers like me jumped on the train! Personally, I don’t think I was really discovered by my WWW Wednesday posts, but I guess it might depend on what type of meme you’re doing.

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I guess you can say it’s mixed regarding tags and awards. On one hand, I feel like they’re fun and easy to do, especially if you don’t have something to do that day, and it’s always fun being tagged in an award. But, I’ve also seen some bloggers say that they think that they can get boring every once in a while, which they definitely can be, depending on the tag. There are some tags that I’ve managed to turn into full-blown post ideas, so they’re not completely useless.

I used to do tags a lot, and those who’ve been here around since the beginning, again, know that all I used to do were tags and reviews, before I got sick of it and opted to do more original content. And, as you guys know, I’m a huge planner when it comes to my blog, and even though I’ve been nominated in so many blogging awards and tags, only about three or so tags are on my agenda until August of next year, and don’t even get me started on blogging awards. I just feel like I’d rather post a Let’s Chat or a recommendations post or a list over a blogging award, because even though they’re nice, I don’t get excited about posting them. So, I decided that since I’ve been nominated for so many, why not just combine them all into one huge Q + A post? That way, I don’t have 248028 awards to do, and it’s fun and creative!

I’ve seen some people say that they don’t do tags and awards anymore, which I can totally understand if you want more original content on the blog. I think some tags are definitely fun to do since they reveal more about yourself, and same with blogging awards because you usually have to list facts for those, but I feel like they’re best in moderation, so I reserve them for every once in a while or when I just have nothing to post (which will probably never happen, so there’s that).

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As you guys probably know, I freaking love lists. Basically, for me, what falls under the “List” category are Monthly Recommendations, Anticipated Releases, Monthly TBRs and Wrap-Ups, and Book Playlists can be put under this category.

I did a lot of lists in February when I was trying to branch out in terms of more original content, and I was very happy to see that it gained so much popularity. I thought it was not only a great way to try something new on my blog, but I also got to share a lot about myself (my favorite ships, my favorite series, some facts about me, etc.), and I love doing that since it reminds everyone that there is a human being behind the blog. I also got a lot of comments from those types of posts, so they obviously push people to talk and share about themselves as well!

I’ve never done monthly TBRs, and I have an entire post dedicated to that whole subject that you can find right here if you’re interested. But, you’ve probably noticed that I don’t do much in regards of Wrap-Ups anymore. I realized during the month of March I really didn’t feel like doing a Wrap-Up post, and I realized that I don’t HAVE to do them at all. It’s my blog, and I can do whatever I want with it, so I chose to just skip out on it and just continue on with the month with more original content that I was really excited for. I like seeing other people’s wrap-ups, but it’s just something that I don’t really like doing, so I decided I wouldn’t.

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Ah, yes, the real money-makers. It seems to be that everyone in the book blogging community agrees that discussion posts are what’s really good for your blog and are what rake the numbers in, which is definitely true. When I posted my first ever discussion post – which I was incredibly nervous to do – I was blown away by how many likes and comments I received from it! And I realized how much fun it was to write that discussion, so I thought, why not keep doing this?

People seem to worry a lot about the topics they discuss, though. Some people never know where to get their ideas from or don’t really know how to get their thoughts into a blog post. Some feel like so-and-so topic has already been talked about by SO MANY PEOPLE, that their input will mean nothing in the long run. But, I definitely don’t think you SHOULDN’T talk about something just because someone else already has, and I don’t think that you have to be completely original to write up a discussion.

Personally, when I started out blogging, after getting frustrated with my lack of original content in January, I ended up brainstorming. So, really, pretty much all the discussion topics I’ve come up with have been thought up months ago. I don’t think I’ve ever thought up a discussion post the month of, basically. I use Discussions to talk about things that I don’t think too many people in the blogosphere have already talked about, and Let’s Chat is more for topics that have already been discussed by a range of people, but I just want to put in my own two cents anyway. Obviously, I post several Let’s Chat posts a month, but only one Discussion per month, and that works for me. They tend to get noticed a lot, and also generate conversation, which I love.

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So, that’s basically all the categories I can think of.

Hopefully, there aren’t many more than that. For me, the answer to the question is no, you don’t HAVE to be a completely original blogger. It’s pretty hard to come up with an idea that someone hasn’t already thought of and written down. But, it does seem like the general consensus is that bringing something new to the table can push your blog to several heights and even get better stats!

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What are your thoughts on each of the categories? Is there one you prefer over the others? What do you think makes an original book blogger?

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[LET’S CHAT] What Do You Blog For? A.K.A. Blogging Success

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So, I know this is probably a topic that’s been talked to death already (the woes of entering the book blogosphere late so all the good ideas are taken), but, hey, maybe I might have something awesome to add to the discussion.

I wanted to ask the question: what do you blog for? An alternate title could be: how do you determine blogging success?

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So, it seems to me that the book blogging community has lots of things you shouldn’t blog for.

For example, the amount of times I’ve gone to a post titled “How to Get ARCs” and it says in some form, “Don’t blog just to get ARCs” is a lot of times. So, apparently, we as book bloggers frown upon people who want to blog for the free books. And, as I discussed in another Let’s Chat last month, there’s a lot of stigma and taboo around people who blog for popularity or based off of numbers and good stats. But book bloggers do think that blogging for the love of the community and for yourself are good reasons to blog, which makes me wonder is there really a “good reason” to start a book blog.

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We’ll start with the whole controversy around ARCs first.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve yet to stumble upon a book blog that solely blogs for ARCs. I mean, how could you even really TELL someone is blogging for ARCs just by looking at someone’s blog? I say that mainly because blogging takes a lot of someone’s time and you have to put in SO MUCH EFFORT. Are ARCs worth it for all the time I put into the blog, whether e-ARC or physical copy? Definitely. But for someone who just starts a book blog because, “Hey, free books!” it might be a hard process. It’s not just trying to make your blog look pretty, reading enough books to write reviews, thinking up good content, and then actually writing that content. It’s also maintaining several social media accounts, having the time to do other non-blogging things, and then actually get people to read, comment, and like your posts, which is an effort in and of itself. And then you have to look at other people’s blogs and comment and make a presence. I mean, you have to get a good amount of stats before asking for ARCs. Sure, you might get lucky, but if you have 10 blog followers, and virtually no people reading what you write, you’re more likely to be declined than anything.

BUT, is it wrong to blog for ARCs? I guess some people see it as a greed sort of thing, but as I said earlier, I love being rewarded for my hard work not only with followers and comments and shares and likes, but also being blessed enough to get to read a book early and hype it up for others. It always feels good to know a publisher or a publicist looked at my blog, and thought I was good enough to read their book early. Since book blogs aren’t as big as fashion blogs, food blogs, parenting blogs, etc. – where they can make serious money off of it – and because sponsored reviews are so frowned upon in the book community, really, we’re “paid” in awesome stats and free books. And I have to say, the allure of getting to read a book early is totally awesome. Just saying.

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And then there’s the frown upon of people who blog for popularity.

Again, bloggers seem to have this mindset that we should never, ever care about our numbers, which I don’t think is true. I mean, seeing all these super popular book blogs and hoping to get on their level someday shouldn’t be something that’s looked at as bad. I sure wish that I could be that one blog that has all the followers across all the social media accounts and the one that people mention and others go, “Oh, yeah, I love her blog, too!” Probably because I’m quiet in real life, and “Internet fame,” in a way, would be much easier to handle. And, to me, a successful blog is the one where all the popular bloggers comment on, and they get all the ARCs, and they handle social media perfectly, and they’re on everyone’s favorite lists, and they always inspire people. Other people might look at a successful blog as one that just has a good enough readership and lots of comments because that person wants a sense of community. Success is different to different people, and I don’t think there’s any “wrong” way to go about it.

BUT will blogging just for popularity become frustrating? Indeed it will. Personally, I’m very impatient. Like, about everything. I’ve talked several times about how I quit things, and I feel like the reason I so often do is because I always build up these unrealistic expectations in my head – on Wattpad, my story is going to blow up and I’m going to be spotted by a publisher; on Goodreads, I’m going to make the best reviews and become super popular like Emily May and have all the friends and followers – and then I’ll peak in success and get super excited, but as soon as that peak slowly descends, or I’m not doing as well as before, I start to get deflated and lose interest. I don’t want that to happen with blogging (and, so far, it hasn’t!). I’m one of those people who starts things, puts a lot of work into it, and then waits for success to come to me RIGHT NOW, even though there’s a part in my head that’s telling me that it’ll take time before I reach that status. So, for someone like me, it’ll be rough to start out and realize that you could work so hard on a post, and only one person likes it. The road to popularity success is a bumpy one, but I don’t necessarily think that you’ll crash and burn because of it.

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Then we move on to the “good reason” for book blogging – the community.

And not just the book blogging community in general, but just a community of bookworms. This could apply to blogging, to Book Twitter, to Goodreads, to bookstagram. It’s awesome how there’s an endless amount of platforms to talk and share our love about books nowadays! I’ve said this before, but in real life, I don’t know too many people who read. So, it’s always a little disheartening when I finish a great book, and I have nobody to talk to about it. Hence one of the reasons why I started this blog – I wanted to talk about books, but I also wanted to talk about other bookish-related topics, as you can see by my word-y Discussion and Let’s Chat posts. So, for me, book blogging seemed to be the best way to go, and I haven’t looked back since.

I’m guessing the main reason why this is seen as a “good reason” to start a book blog is because it’s less greedy, in a way? Like, I’m sure to others, blogging to get free books or to gain some form of popularity makes you seem like a vain person, but you’ll think better of a person if they say, “I started blogging to join the wonderful community,” if that makes sense?

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I’m not saying that people who say that are fake in any way, because I said it just earlier, but why does it seem like I can’t blog for all three reasons?

I blog because I love the community and I love sharing my thoughts with people who will finally understand me. I blog because I like to be rewarded for all the work I put into my blog with free early copies of books. I blog because I’d love to be an inspiration or a favorite to others. I blog because I don’t feel comfortable expressing my feelings all the time in real life, and knowing that there are people out there who listen and like those thoughts always warms my heart. I blog because even though a comment might be super long, it’s always nice to know that someone thought my post was worth it enough to leave one. I blog for all these reasons, and that’s why I like to think my blog is successful. Not just because I’ve met so many awesome people, but because I get to read some amazing books early and for free and I know that there are people out there who care enough about what I have to say. I honestly don’t think I’ll ever blog for just ONE reason. And I think that’s okay.

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Also, just wanted to take a moment to say that I’ve sent out e-mails to all the Big Bloggers as to who you’re assigned to! The project starts today (YAY!), and I hope you guys are as excited as I am about the whole thing! I have three book blogs that I’ll be supporting, so that’s fun! I just wanted to let you guys know in case you happened to not get an e-mail or something. But feel free to ask me any questions or if you haven’t gotten an e-mail in your inbox!

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What do you blog for? Do you consider your blog successful and why? What is a successful blog to you? Any blogs that immediately come to mind when you think “successful” (just because I’m interested if anyone picks the same person lol)?

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[LET’S CHAT] The Pros and Cons of Writing Book Reviews

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Yeah, it’s time for another edition of Let’s Chat! This one centers around a pretty interesting concept to me, and some thoughts I’ve been having.

I really got this idea from a super old discussion post from Briana @ Pages Unbound, where she talked about some blogs considering running without book reviews (obviously, I highly recommend checking it out).

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This honestly got me thinking because confession time: I don’t like writing reviews.

Yes, some of my reviews are easier to write because I have a lot of feelings – whether those feelings are positive or negative is up to how I feel about the book – but what do I do for books that are just meh? Or if I continue a series, and I feel as if I’m repeating the same things about each book over and over again? Or for an ARC I DNF?

As you guys know if you’ve been around for a while, I still do reviews! I post reviews once a week, and then something non-review for the other three days. Personally, this schedule has worked for me, and I will probably continue with this schedule unless something changes or I do something drastic with my blog out of nowhere. But I wanted to look at some reasons as to why people would give up doing reviews and some reasons why people would continue doing reviews (a.k.a. I basically sort out my thoughts through writing).

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Keep Writing Reviews

1. I want ARCs. I’m sure everyone in the book blogging community knows about Advanced Review Copies, and, as you can tell, you sort of have to review them. I can’t imagine publishers are going to be too happy if you request a book, and they find out that you don’t even write or publish reviews anymore. And, yes, I love getting ARCs via Netgalley, and I’d love to eventually delve into the world of physical ARCs, and I have to review books to get there. I know; I’m shallow.

2. I want bookworms to broaden their horizons. Really, this can mean anything. Personally, my reason for starting to blog was the fact that I wanted to sort of bridge the gap between YA and Adult, since I’ve seen so many people see they’re tired of YA, but don’t actually go out to read adult books, because they don’t know where to start. So, I’m here to read and review some blog posts since I took the plunge last year and haven’t looked back. I don’t know if anyone has ever read said books because of my reviews, but if you do, that’s awesome! For other people, I know it’s reading fantasy or dystopian if all they usually read is contemporary, or maybe reading some YA after reading so many adult novels.

3. We want to share our love of books (or rant). I mean, nothing is more fun than raving about a book that you feel isn’t getting enough attention, or reviewing an ARC that you’re so excited to come out so everyone can get their hands on it. And there’s also the other side, where you get to rant about a book that really disappointed you or you want to warn someone else about something that you know that person won’t like, such as the dreaded insta-love.

4. It brings the book community together. I always anticipate posting reviews for popular books everyone has read except for me (which happens so often, and way more than it should) because I can finally gush about all my ~feelings~ without sounding weird to everyone else. In real life, I don’t know too many people who are fans of books, so this is pretty much one of the few places where I feel like I can talk about books, and people understand what the heck I’m talking about. How else would I be able to talk about horrible cliffhangers or heart-breaking deaths or how good a book is.

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Stop Writing Reviews

1. I can still get ARCs. I know I said this in the previous part, BUT you really don’t have to have a blog anymore to receive ARCs. If you have a large enough following on Instagram, for instance, you can receive boxes of book mail and early releases, and a large majority of those people don’t have a blog at all. I will say, I think it’s ten times harder to get over 50k followers on Instagram than it is to get some traction on your reviews. In fact, I think Instagram is the hardest place to get connection and interaction, because you can do literally nothing wrong, and six people could unfollow you overnight, so there’s that. But, still, you could do it!

2. No one really reads reviews. I know there’s sort of a stigma in the book blogging community that people don’t really read reviews. I will say that this sort of rings true. Honestly, unless it’s a book I’m anticipating or I’ve heard a lot about, I’ll probably just like it and move on. And, personally, reviews are the least interesting thing on blogs for me. I do follow some blogs that primarily do nothing but reviews, but those are mostly niche ones – thrillers and mysteries, to be exact – and I think it’s a bit harder to do that for YA books and keep people coming back, probably because there’s a larger audience. I’m a bigger fan of advice posts, discussions, recommendations, etc.

3. I don’t like writing them. Like I said earlier, I just don’t like writing reviews. I can do them, of course, but I’d rather spend my time writing any other type of blog post, and it’s definitely something I have to be in the mood for. So, I can definitely understand if someone just stops doing reviews, because if they hate writing them, and only 20 people are actually reading them, then why continue writing them?

4. You have to be reading. I think a problem for some people is the fact that they might not read too fast, or they could read a book and not find it good enough to review, but don’t have anything else to write about or can’t think up any good ideas. Of course, you could totally take a break from reviewing, but for some people who want to have a couple of reviews up per week or the ones that their entire blog is dedicated to just reviews and blog tours, it might be a challenge finding the time to read a book and then finally write a review for it.

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These are probably some of the more basic pros and cons for continuing to write reviews.

In the end, though, I’ll probably still keep on writing reviews, and, honestly, I’ll probably mainly do it so I can at least have a shot at getting ARCs. And I occasionally enjoy blabbing about my thoughts as well.

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How do you feel about reviewing books? Would you still keep up with a book blog that doesn’t review books at all? What are your reasons to review books?

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[LET’S CHAT] What’s the Most Effective Social Media For Your Blog?

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So, there’s a constant message around the blogosphere that social media is a big must for your blog and promotion. I think that’s definitely a true statement.

Though you can definitely go without social media and still do well (trust me, I reached 100 blog followers in a short amount of time and wasn’t using Twitter or Instagram at the time), I have found that it’s a really awesome place to promote my posts.

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Social media can definitely be time-consuming.

I mean, even waking up in the mornings, I usually check my e-mails and Bloglovin’ first, then Twitter, then the WordPress app, then Instagram, and then I end with Books Amino. Obviously, that takes a while, but I will say, it’s really fun to look through all my feeds or wake up to new comments, likes, and followers.

There are definitely people out there who are total social media wizards, who can fire off clever tweets five times a day, post three gorgeous pictures, organize an entire Pinterest board, interact on Faceboook, and then manage to answer all their blog comment. I am not one of those people. I’d say that my handling of social media is average, and I do prefer some social medias over others (Instagram over Twitter any day), but I try, and it’s really the thought that counts.

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Twitter 

So, I consider this one to be the best way promote your posts! A large majority of book bloggers are on Twitter, and it’s probably the easiest since you can actually hook up your Twitter account to WordPress to promote your posts (which was  godsend when I figured out I could do this).

Personally, this isn’t even my favorite social media. I literally spend probably three minutes scrolling through my timeline, then I leave, which I’m sure is odd to some people who say they’re addicted to Twitter. I’m just not. But I’d recommend this one the most just because it’s not as hard as keeping up with other social medias, because most of them require work while you can fire off a Tweet in like, five seconds.

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Instagram

Though I love Instagram with all my heart, it’s probably the worst way to promote your blog posts. To me, it feels like a total different entity, especially since bookstagrammers are now seriously considered as people to send ARCs to, even if they don’t have blogs, while Book Twitter is sort of for the “average Joe” if that makes sense.

Instagram doesn’t allow links in captions, only in the “Website” space for your bio, so that makes it harder for people to actually find your site since most people aren’t going to take the time to go from their newsfeed to your bio. Not to mention that even though I had people who had blogs who followed me on Instagram, they didn’t follow my actual blog, and vice versa; there are people whose Instagram accounts I followed, but not their blogs. So it’s all very disconnected. It’s a lot of work, and that’s probably why I quit last month, so there’s that.

But if you really want to put effort into it since it takes a lot of work and if you love pretty pictures of books like I do, feel free to use Instagram! But I just feel like it sucks promo wise, no matter how much I try. I do love looking at pretty pictures, though. I feel like just getting an account again just to follow my faves and like their pictures. I MISS YOU, INSTAGRAM.

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Facebook

Honestly, I don’t know if it’s a good way to promote your posts or not. Personally, I don’t have an account at all, and never had. But, funnily enough, I get a pretty good amount of views from the site, and I’m guessing it’s because someone is cross-posting my stuff on there? Unfortunately, WordPress doesn’t tell you when someone cross-posts your stuff somewhere else, so I have no idea who is doing it or what posts they’re advertising, but thank you Mysterious Facebook Poster. Your work is appreciated. Feel free to reveal your identity in the comments.

Though in my millenial (or Generation Z because I was born in the 2000s – I can’t keep up with these stupid generation things) mind, I feel like FB is totally outdated, I’m well aware that it might work for someone else, especially since it gives me a good amount of views.

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Bloglovin’

I will say, this is a pretty great site to use to follow blogs, especially if you want to follow Blogger blogs or blogs that require you to sign up via e-mail, if you really hate it. I tend to only follow WordPress blogs and a couple blogs outside of that on the site, so I definitely need to work on branching out more.

You’ve probably heard about that whole controversy a couple months ago where people were saying that Bloglovin’ was stealing your views; here’s a post from Ashley @ Nose Graze about the whole thing. Personally, I didn’t care that much at the time because I don’t have too many followers in the first place, nor a lot a views on my posts. Also, I think I have a good amount of views on my posts on WordPress that I just really don’t care if I miss out on 6. But I’m sure there are some people out there who have a large amount of followers and have all their posts go viral on Bloglovin’ that it really bothers them. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those popular users.

I’ve actually started to get a lot of traction from Bloglovin’ the last couple of weeks, which is pretty awesome! My followers and interaction has grown a lot, so this one isn’t actually too bad!

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Goodreads

(Does this count as social media? I’m counting it.)

So, if you’ve been living under a rock for a while, you’ve probably not heard of Goodreads, which I’d probably say is the biggest book-reviewing site out there. Mostly what people do on the site is review books, but you can also gain Friends, keep track of your reading, join groups, etc. 

I tried to re-start a Goodreads account a couple months ago, but it was just so much work, that I gave up (again). Since I was only on there for a couple of days, I can’t say if it’s good promotion or not, but you can definitely join groups dedicated to finding book bloggers and gaining more of a readership, which is always great! Personally, I feel like Goodreads is more of a way to advertise to publishers that you cross-post on other places, and I don’t necessarily think a large readership on there translates to blog readership, but someone probably knows more than me who actually uses the site!

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Pinterest

I feel like this is another meh way of promoting posts. I mean, you can add your stuff to Pinterest, but unless you have a large amount of followers, I feel like it’ll get lost. I mean, if one of your pins gets extremely popular, that would be great because it gets the top search and gets spread a lot, and maybe people will go ahead and visit your blog? But, I feel like this is more for people who write a lot of “Help/Blogging Tips”-like posts and also have gorgeous pictures as graphic headers to draw people’s eyes to actually check it out.

I have a personal account that I basically haven’t used for pretty much a year (I should delete it, but I don’t really care enough to do it), and I actually made one for my blog for, like, a week, and even though I actually got two or so referrals (I don’t even know HOW), it just seemed pretty useless and no one repinned my stuff. I did it for only a couple of weeks, though, so I’m not a good resource. I’m impatient; don’t blame me.

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Books Amino

You’ve probably never heard of this app before in your life, but I absolutely love it! I’d say this app is sort of like blogging-lite; you ask questions, do fun quizzes, create polls, post your writing, write discussion posts, review books, etc. And it’s very easy to link other posts and web pages and insert pictures and format things.

I used to do full-blown posts on the site, but after I started blogging, I’ve basically just linked to my posts, which does well for me. Unfortunately, since Books Amino isn’t as big as Twitter and Instagram, WordPress doesn’t calculate their views, so I can’t find out how many views I’m getting from there, but people comment on the app, so that means people there are obviously reading! I actually have found some other book bloggers on the site, not to mention that I have over one thousand followers on there, so it’s sort of my biggest platform.

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And, that’s it!

I think I covered a lot of the social media platforms that can correlate with blogging, though I feel like I might be missing out on one or two because there are JUST SO MANY. But I tried as hard as I could to talk about all my experiences with all of them and impart some of my ~wisdom~.

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Separately, this is the last time I’m going to promote Project Big Blogger, Little Blogger! I’m so surprised from the response I’ve already received (I thought for sure this would flop and I’d only have, like, two responses)! I’ll be closing the link tomorrow morning and sending out e-mails this week, so don’t miss your window of opportunity if you want to hop in! The link to the Google form is right here, so fill it out if it’s something you’re interested in! And if you want to learn more about the actual project, the post is right here. Feel free to share or join in!

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What social medias do you use for your blog? Which one do you think is the most effective way to promote your own blog or posts?

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[LET’S CHAT] The Complexities of Blog Commenting

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I’m going to assume that most bloggers love comments.

I know that I love comments! Nothing can put a smile on my face faster than replying to all your thoughts and hearing your opinions and seeing if we share any of the same interests. And the feeling you get when someone who hasn’t commented before finally does is like a small victory.

In the short time I’ve been on the blogosphere (it’ll be five months on May 20. WHERE DID THE TIME GO???), I’ve noticed that there seems to be a sort of commenting etiquette for book bloggers. This is another one of those things that we as book bloggers always talk about, and it seems like no other niche-type blog does. But, I wanted to talk about some of the “commenting etiquette” rules it seems like have been established and dissect them a little!

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(Also, the people who voted on Twitter voted for this post, so yeah! Don’t worry, the other post is slated for a week from now, so it shall arrive in due time.)

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Rule #1: Commenting is key to growing your blog.

I can confirm that this one is definitely true! Reaching out and commenting on blogs was what got me my first couple of followers (shout out to Janel and Chelsea!) and I continued to grow time and time again because I commented on so many blogs. I know that I definitely find a lot of people through the comments sections of posts, which is probably how I started following most of the bloggers I follow today! Or maybe I’m the only one who stalks the comment sections of old posts more often than I should.

Basically, the more effort you put into your comments and into commenting on other people’s post, the more your name is out there, and the more likely people will probably end up checking out your blog if they see your name everywhere. This doesn’t mean you have to comment on ALL THE POSTS OUT THERE. I know for sure that I get busy or I’m just straight up lazy and don’t feel like commenting on all the posts of ever, which is totally fine. Hopefully, people will understand you have a life outside of blogging.

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Rule #2: Bloggers MUST reply to comments.

This is somewhat true, I’d say. I know there are some people who can quickly get irritated if a blogger just refuses to reply to comments – there’s a difference between a late response and just never getting a response ever, after all – and it’s sort of weird having a public blog that anyone can comment on, and never bothering to actually interact with anyone or start a conversation, because why keep the blog public at that point, but who knows what everyone else is thinking?

I will say, as someone who frequently stalks the comment sections of old blog posts, I HAVE seen comment sections where the blogger only responds to about six or seven of the eighty comments they get and they’re still super popular. Who knows, that blogger might choose to just to go to a commenter’s blog and comment on one of their posts instead of replying to their own comment sections, which is fine as well! It might help downplay the amount of stress and work you have if you just choose to go to their blog instead of replying to all the comments on your own.

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Rule #3: Commenting back is compulsory and advised.

I was honestly quite confused on what “commenting back” meant when I was a smaller blogger. I thought it meant that I replied back to comments on my own blog, which I already did, but then I learned that what it really meant was visiting the blog of someone who commented on your post!

And, honestly? I’ve never intentionally done it and I feel like I should start doing it??? I’ve never done it mainly because a large majority of the people who comment on my blog are people I already follow, but I know there are some people out there who have been loyally commenting and I’ve just never visited your blog before, which totally sucks! I’m hoping to try and improve on this over the summer when I have more time and I’m just basically lazing around and doing nothing.

I’d like to say my blog is still growing pretty well and people still comment on my posts even if I’ve never commented back ever, so I wouldn’t say it’s something that would be detrimental to growing your blog, but if it’s something you want to do, I suggest you do it! I’ve heard it’s good for blog growth (but I wouldn’t know, though, so, there’s that).

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Rule #4: Comments meant to promote your blog are rude.

I can agree that I really don’t like these types of comments. You know, the ones that are some variation of a generalized comment that could go to any blog, and then, “Check out my post!” with a link. Nine times out of ten I don’t click on the link because why should I when most of the time, promo comments are just straight up spam.

One time, I actually got a comment where it was literally just a link to their site – nothing more, nothing less – and, thankfully, since I turned on the feature where people who’ve never commented before have to be approved by me, I just marked it as spam and moved on with my day. I do always feel a bit awkward when I get a comment, and it’s basically just, “Nice post! I tagged you in this thing!” and then a link to the post they tagged me in. You can tell that, in a way, it’s genuine, but it’s just so awkward when you’d rather they just linked you in their original post so I could get a ping-back.

Overall, I think I’d just rather have no links in my comments section unless I ask for them in some way, but everyone’s different!

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Rule #5: Short comments aren’t really good enough.

I feel like most people seem to prefer longer comments than shorter comments, which is perfectly fine, because who doesn’t like receiving so many long comments because your post inspired them to talk that much! But then I also see people say that they don’t like short comments or that short comments aren’t as meaningful as long comments, which I don’t think is true.

Though there are definitely people who comment on my blog that prefer to start their own mini discussion, which I absolutely love, I do cherish the shorter comments I get! I personally don’t see shorter comments as meaning that the blogger who commented doesn’t care, but maybe they’re just not a wordy person. In all honesty, the fact that anyone even bothers to comment on my stuff totally astounds me, so long or short comment, I’m grateful that I get any at all!

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And those are just some thoughts on blog commenting and how damn complicated it all is! 

Obviously, we all have different systems of commenting and commenting back and which types of comments we prefer because we’re all different types of bloggers. But I definitely do love and appreciate all the comments you guys leave me, and I love responding to them!

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 I’m going to promote Project Big Blogger, Little Blogger once again!  Right now, I’m needing some more “Big Bloggers” to line up because I have more “Little Bloggers,” so feel free to sign up if you haven’t! The link to the Google form is right here, so fill it out if it’s something you’re interested in! And if you want to learn more about the actual project, the post is right here. Feel free to share or join in!

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What are your opinions on commenting and commenting back? What are your favorite types of comments to receive? What’s your commenting system?

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[LET’S CHAT] How Do You Balance Blogging, Books, and Life?

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We all know those bloggers.

The ones who put up three posts a week, tweet four viral tweets a day, post twice on Instagram, are able to attend all these awesome blogging events, have two videos up on their Booktube channel, work on their book, spend time with their family, do homework and study, and then read 50 books per month. And the question on everyone’s lips: how in the hell are they managing to do it all?

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Personally, I think I do all right in terms of balancing things, especially because things can get hella stressful.

I’m not like those super bloggers who seem to nail every single thing they do, but my standards, I’m happy with what I do and what I can handle, and that’s really all that matters, right? 

So, I thought it’d be interesting if I shared how I balance blogging, social media, my personal life, and my reading life. I’m not going to pretend this is an advice post or anything, but I thought it’d be nice to share how I personally deal with ALL THE THINGS.

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Blogging

For me, personally, I feel like this is where I most succeed. I know some of you guys think I’m straight up nuts because I’m months ahead in terms of posts, which is true, I am. I’m writing this post right now in March (this was supposed to go up in May, but I switched some posts around), my May posts are pretty much finished at this point, and I’m probably already working on some of my June posts. I’ve planned all my posts on my calendar up to April of 2018, so now I don’t have to do any brain-storming for a while!

You might be like, “Mikaela, are you selling  your soul to the devil?” and the answer is no, because my parents would kill me if I were. But, for real, I started blogging at a great time! I started this thing back in late December over Christmas break, and I pretty much wrote up all my January posts at that point, so I decided, “What the hell, let’s continue?” And when you do that month after month, you end up getting very much ahead. 

For me, Saturdays are my reserved “blogging days.” That’s when I write my posts, edit some posts I think need tweaking, make my graphics, add the reviews I’ve written to my review index, write some reviews for the books I’ve written, customize my blog, etc. I get a lot done on these days, and a large percentage of the time, I write two-to-three of the posts I planned for the upcoming month. My goal is to try to completely finish them, but I don’t mind editing them if I have to later.

On days that I do post, I don’t do too much. On the weekdays, I’m at school, but I have iPads at mine, so that’s awesome. Usually, I check the app every two hours just to see if there are any new posts in my Reader, and that’s pretty much it. As you guys know, I post in the mornings, and though I check Instagram and Twitter, I don’t really check my blog notifications until 8 at night, just because I think I’ve given most people enough time to check out my posts. I’ve noticed after I check, I don’t really get notifications anymore, so it’s a pretty perfect time for me personally.

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Reading

See, this is where I fall completely and totally short. Before blogging, I was totally on top of my reading game. I read over 150 books last year. I was reading about 15+ books every month despite the stress of school. I could easily read a book in 2-3 days. And now…that’s basically fallen apart.

When I have time to read, I just find myself not feeling like reading whatsoever, even though I really want to. I really have to push myself, and now that I read e-books, even though I feel like I’m reading faster, having all these apps on my phone that can easily distract me makes it so bothersome. Some weeks are great reading weeks, and some just plain suck. And, I’ve accomplished about zero of my reading goals, and I feel like I’m completely and totally failing at reading 200 books. I used to try to read at least 100 pages a day, and now my reading philosophy is, “At least try to read.” 

Like, seriously, how are people reading over 20+ books a month and then doing 4824802 things??? Can you please share your magical reading powers with me; I’d very much appreciate it. I just think that now I’ve started blogging and that takes up a lot of my time, I’m actually doing WORSE at reading. Who knew book blogging could really throw your reading?

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Life

So, for all bloggers, “life” could mean something completely different. For some it’s about family, for some it’s about college, for some it’s about their job, and, for me, it’s about the hellhole that’s high school. Hooray.

(Obviously, that was sarcasm.)

I’m a sophomore in high school at the moment (yep, the hell that’s supposed to be junior year is coming up soon), and it sucks. I don’t like school in the first place, and I just really want to get to college so I can study something I ACTUALLY CARE ABOUT. I’m ready to get out of my conservative state. I’m ready to be an adult. But, that’s two years away, unfortunately, so I have to (im)patiently wait. 

I’m usually busy during the weekdays because of this, so I don’t usually work on the blog unless I just really want to write this review and get it out of the way or if I can actually find the time. I also do track during the spring (which I hate with my entire being), which takes up my afternoons, so I don’t really get home until around 6:30, so I only have a limited amount of time to do my homework before having to eat dinner, and when that’s over, I’m exhausted and just want to listen to music or watch some TV, so that’s what I do.

Basically, all I do during the weekdays is post in the mornings before I leave for school, occasionally hang around on Twitter for a little, and check out my blog notifications when I have them.

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And, basically, that’s how I manage to balance ALL THE THINGS.

I don’t think it’s too effective, but I feel pretty satisfied with everything (except my reading life, that’s just a total dumpster fire), especially blogging, and, for me, that’s what works out for me the most.

Let's Chat

How do you balance reading, blogging, and life in general? Do you feel like there’s an area where you’re totally lacking?

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