[LET’S CHAT] Goodreads And Why I Don’t Use It

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Lots of people use Goodreads, but I don’t.

Which is funny, because I used to use Goodreads. Like, a lot. It was basically my life for a long while way before I even started blogging, and it was the first place I even entertained the idea of starting a book blog. But, sometime during October of last year, I realized that I really wasn’t enjoying myself, so I quit, promising that I’d come back in the form of a book blog, and lo and behold, I have, and it’s been a much better experience for me.

So, I thought it’d be interesting to make a post about why I don’t use Goodreads because maybe you guys are curious (probably not, but that hasn’t stopped me before).

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reviews and their influence

The more I was on Goodreads, the more I realized that I hated looking at my newsfeed. I’d constantly mute my friends on my feed, I’d ignore it for hours on end, and I’d wish there was some sort of way to just turn it off. Nothing drives me up a wall then being bombarded with 208402 different opinions on a just recently released book that all manage to contradict each other. Sometimes, I just want to read a damn book without being influenced by anyone’s decisions, and cutting Goodreads out of my life definitely changed me for the better. I can finally go into a book blind and without influence so my opinions are my own and I can spend my time reading books that I want to.

I know there are books I gave second chances to – such as The Winner’s Curse – that I just should have left alone because Goodreads loved them SO MUCH, that I was obviously missing something. Soon, after reading the two books again and hating them ten times more than I had the first time I read them, I realized that sometimes the Goodreads community and I just don’t gel. There are only so many times I can see people trashing the books I love while reading the books Goodreads obsesses over and being disappointed before I was just done with it.

And let’s not mention people who bump their reviews 24080284 times a day just so they can get more likes. Excuse me while I try to refrain from throwing my phone against the wall as I see one of my friend’s reviews of a book I don’t care about for the tenth time that day. I WILL NOT LIKE IT, DAMN IT.File_001 (63)

I will say, this both helps and hurts me. I actually did pretty damn well on the reading challenges the past couple of years, and ended up always exceeding my goal pretty quickly. But, the pressure can definitely drive me crazy. I loved the feeling of finishing a book and being able to add it to my “Read” shelf, but all the pressure of it was definitely way too much for me. And I know I could just ignore the reading challenge or put down one book as my goal so I can finish it off within a few days of the new year and just focus on reading, but I’d just rather not even bother with it all.

(Not to mention that if you don’t enter a number, Goodreads will badger you throughout the entire year to join in anyway. I DON’T WANT TO, GOODREADS.)

Also, this year has been terrible for me in terms of reading, so I think it’s on point that I’ve just stopped even knowing how many books I’ve read this year. IT’S FINE, I’M FINE.File_002 (48)

Though Goodreads was a huge part of my life that I used to enjoy, the main reason I quit in October was because it was just too much work to keep up with. The first few months of school last year were super stressful and I was reading pretty fast, so it was hard for me to keep up with all the reviews I had to write and publish, especially as someone who doesn’t like reviewing that much. So, in the end, I quit because I was too busy with school and it was making reading a chore, not to mention that my sort of “popularity” was waning and spending time writing reviews only to get about three likes on them was pretty annoying and not worth it.

I tried again to get back on Goodreads because so many other bloggers talk about how cross-posting is a good way for publishers to pay attention to you to get ARCs, but after a week or so on being back on it, it stressed me out once again. Having to immediately log on to Goodreads and post my review and then take an extra few minutes linking back to my blog only to get little to no hits from it was a huge waste of time. And I wasn’t even going to bother trying to gain a following again on Goodreads because it was too much work. So, I quit – for the second time because of the same reason. And I still get ARCs, so I guess it doesn’t really matter, in the end!

Since I honestly don’t care too much about the whole process enough to put work into it, I realized, “Why waste so much time?”

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And, hopefully, that gave you more insight into why I don’t use Goodreads!

It’s definitely fine that there are people out there who LOVE Goodreads – I feel like I’m in the minority – but it just doesn’t work for me, and I hope this might help some other bloggers out there who are trying to figure out if Goodreads is for them or not!

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[LET’S CHAT] How Do You Find New Blogs to Follow?

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A couple months ago, I suggested that the book blogging community might be more clique-y than we think it is.

Of course, I launched the Big Blogger, Little Blogger project, BUT, writing the post also made me realize that I’m terrible at finding new blogs to follow myself, especially since I follow such a low amount. So, I thought I’d go over the methods of how people might find new blogs to follow, and how I find new blogs myself!

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So, there’s several ways to find blogs through Twitter! Twitter chats where people leave their links at the end of it, asking for links to blog-hop or to specifically find types of blogs, or even just scrolling through certain hashtags! I know there are lots of people who find blogs through Twitter, but I rarely do. But then again, Twitter just isn’t the place where I hang out often, so that might be why.

I have yet to participate in any Twitter chats (mainly because they look stressful as all hell) or asked for links to blog posts (which I do want to do sometime). I’ve definitely asked for help from other book bloggers via Twitter, and it’s been helpful so far, so I really want to branch out soon!

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When I was Instagram, I rarely found new blogs to follow. Instagram is one of those places where I feel like it’s really hard to promote your websites or blogs if you’re not already established as a brand, but that might just be me! 

I know I did stumble across some blog links from time-to-time, but nine times out of ten, they wouldn’t really be updated consistently or seemed to be completely inactive, so it was really pretty much a lost cause for me! I know there are some people who find a lot of blogs this way, though, so power to you guys!

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I do use Bloglovin’, and even though it felt pretty useless in the beginning, my account has grown recently over the months, so it is very useful! I know that a lot of blogs that are WordPress, but not necessarily on WordPress.com and Blogger blogs follow me on there, and I keep up with blogs on there, so it’s helpful!

I actually find it really hard to find new blogs on the site, despite it sort of being a place where I’m SUPPOSED to find new blogs. I think that’s mainly because Bloglovin’ tends to push the most popular book bloggers my way, whether it’s checking out the “Film, Music, and Books” category is trending (which is always filled with posts from bloggers with 800+ followers – even if their post only gets one save or one comment) or checking out the “More Blogs Like This” tab (which no matter what book blog you’re at, will always show you the bloggers with 1,000+ followers). So, I never really find new blogs to follow that way.

I will say, I always check out who follows my blog, and that can end up leading me to some lesser-know book blogs, so that’s nice!

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I feel like I’ve talked a lot about Books Amino on here, but it’s basically an app where you can talk about books and such! I like to think of it as “blogging-lite” and I got started out posting on there before sort of ditching it to start blogging. I do know it’s great for promotion, though, and I’d highly recommend it!

There have been a lot of blogs that I’ve found on the app, and I know there are lots of bloggers who’ve found me on the app! Some of my closest blogging friends and I met through the app, so it’s definitely been a huge help. 

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I know for sure that if a favorite blogger of mine makes a list of favorite bloggers, I’ll be there paying attention and making notes. Even if my favorite bloggers don’t really MAKE a post about it, some bloggers have blog rolls somewhere on their blog that show me who they follow or who their faves are.

It can definitely be a sort of hit or miss – just because that blogger is my favorite doesn’t mean I necessarily will love or be interested in all the blogs they love, and that’s totally fine! But I do know that I’m more likely to check out a blog if it’s recommended to me by someone I trust!

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I can definitely say this is where I found most of the blogs I follow! I’m that one person who totally stalks the comment section of a post that can be years old and see how many people are still blogging to this day. I know, it’s weird.

There can definitely be pros and cons to this! As I mentioned in that post I linked to earlier, it’s really easy to see the same people to pop up in the same people’s comments sections and can get old quickly. Even I’ve noticed over the last couple of months that there are people I expect to comment on all of my posts and do so – which is great – but it’s so hard to stumble upon new commenters. There are some days where a new person comes along, and that always gets me excited because it shows that my blog is truly growing!

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And those are all the ways you can find new book blogs to follow!

My main way of finding new blogs to follow is definitely the comments sections, though I know there are people who are more social media savvy than I am who find blogs that way! It really doesn’t matter how we find the blogs we follow as long as we’re part of the blogging community, right?

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What’s your main way of finding new blogs to follow? Any ways I didn’t mention that you use?

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[LET’S CHAT] What Makes You Comment On A Blog Post?

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Let’s continue this wonderful series of “Let’s Chat” posts that could only be titled “Mikaela Is The Only Person In the World Who Cares About This.”

I’ve done posts on what makes me follow a blog and also my opinions on blog commenting, but I realized that I’ve never really combined the posts together into an interesting discussion. I’ve never really seen a discussion in the blogosphere about this, but I thought it would be a fun post to write because I realized this is a question I ask when I scan my Reader: what am I compelled to go read and comment on?

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I feel like before we can get into a deeper analysis as to why we comment on certain posts, I wanted to talk about why I’m compelled to comment on blog posts in general! I feel like there are three main reasons why I usually comment on someone’s post.

1. When I have something to say. I would usually apply commenting like this for when someone makes a list of books or recommendations, and I’ve read the books before or the blogger and I share the same books on our TBR or we share the same opinion on a character or series. I feel like these are easier and shorter comments.

2. When I relate to it in some way. I mainly use these on discussion posts I read because I apply it to my reading or blogging life in some way and talk about how I do things.

3. Because I want and/or need to. Usually, I fire these off when I’m tired or lazy, so they’re pretty short overall and not as long as I’d like them to be. This usually happens when all the posts in my Reader have stacked up over a couple of days, and I just can’t keep up with them all.

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I definitely feel like how we comment is definitely geared towards which types of posts we’re commenting on. Or maybe that’s just me. I know when I look at my Reader, I scan the title of the post, and from that, I can figure out whether I’ll like and comment on the post, or if I’ll just like it out of courtesy.

1. Reviews. I think we can all agree that it’s really hard to comment on reviews unless you can relate to what’s being talked about. I know if it’s a book I’m not interested in or haven’t read yet, I’m probably just going to skip out on the review. If it’s one of my anticipated reads, I’ll probably give it a glance and like it. And if I’ve actually read the book, then I’ll probably leave a like and a comment discussing my thoughts on it! Really, it all depends on what book is being reviewed. I tend to not really comment on reviews at all, to be honest, though.

2. Memes. These are a pretty easy post to find SOME way to relate to. I think it depends on what meme you’re doing – I find Top Ten Tuesday and Top 5 Wednesday to be the easiest to comment on – but there are some that are, in all honesty, just filler. I mean, what can you actually comment on a Teaser Tuesday post unless you’ve read the book they’re teasing? Some are definitely better at drawing in comments over others, in my opinion.

3. Wrap-Ups, Weekly Recaps, TBRs, and Book Hauls. I feel like these are definitely hard to comment on. I usually skim through these types of posts, and unless I have something to relate to that doesn’t seem like filler – like “Oh, yeah, I enjoyed that book, too!” – I usually just like them and leave. In my opinion, they can be sort of boring (which probably explains why I don’t write them), but that’s definitely a me thing!

4. Discussions. These are definitely the easiest to comment on! No matter what’s being discussed or said, all people reading the post will have some sort of opinion on the topic and want to express it! You can always probably find something to relate to, whether you disagree or agree on the blogger’s opinion, and a good discussion usually asks questions and is open for your thoughts and opinions, so it’s always much more personal! I know I usually comment on most discussions that pop up in my Reader, especially if they’re really interesting and well-written!

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And those are my opinions on commenting on certain posts!

I’m sure all of you guys will have different opinions on what makes you comment on a post and why you even comment on posts, so I’m definitely curious about hearing your thoughts on what makes you comment on which types of blog posts!

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What makes you comment on a blog post? Do you comment on certain types of posts like I do, or do you just comment on all of them? What are your favorite and least favorite posts to comment on?

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[LET’S CHAT] Is There A Pressure To Be A Creative Book Blogger?

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Most book bloggers expect and admire creativity.

It isn’t really a bad thing. Most people search for originality everywhere – whether it’s in the form of a book, a movie, a television show, music, etc. – so it’s no surprise that most book bloggers want a blog that can introduce them to something new rather than the same old-same old. But I’ve also realized that with people wanting and asking for new content comes other people who feel anxious and uncertain because they’re just not creative or original enough.

I thought it’d be nice to go over the pros and cons of being a creative and original blogger, for those who are trying to figure themselves out, and to maybe ease the pressure on those who feel like they’re sucky bloggers because they can’t churn out content three times a week!

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Pros of Creativity

1. You’re more likely to stand out. This is definitely true! If I asked people about their favorite bloggers and why they liked them, said person would probably name a quality of them that if I went to their blog to check it out, I’d probably understand what they’re talking about. Whether it’s their discussions, their blogging voice, their expertise in a certain topic, their reviews, etc. if you stand out in a certain part and people notice that, more people will probably be more likely to check out your blog over the one that posts the same thing over and over.

2. It will create more attraction to your blog. When most people list the reasons as to why they follow a blog, most of them say “originality.” Even I mentioned it in my own post about following blogs. I feel like if you have original content that you enjoy making, people will eventually find your blog and start enjoying it. I know that I felt that that was the type of experience that my blog had, and it took a few months, but it was worth all the hard work I put into it.

3. It’s easier to find an audience. I personally think it was much easier to find an audience when I started writing discussions that people can easily relate to and comment on over the memes, tags, and reviews I did in my first month of blogging. Yes, it was my first month of blogging, but the stats for my tags and reviews were much lower than the one discussion post I posted that month, and when I went from tags and reviews to lists in February, my stats definitely did go up, and the more I dove into original content, the more my blog grew and the more people find me, so I think an audience is easier to find when you’re posting discussions and tutorials over the same old book tours and blitzes that people can find on 280284 other blogs.

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1. You might end up like everyone else. On the other hand, some people can be original, but still be like everyone else. There are some discussion topics that can get old, so a discussion about ebooks versus audiobooks versus physical books is something that might get people talking, but is also a super old and overused discussion topic so it’s not really SUPER original. Honestly, it goes both ways!

2. It’s much harder work. Trust me, blogging is fun, but constantly having to come up with ideas and actually WRITING out the posts is a lot of work. It’s definitely not as easy as it seems. And I’m also a huge perfectionist, so sometimes a post will be just fine, but I’ll still mess with it anyway, such as this post, which was actually much shorter, but I decided to write EVEN MORE, because I felt like it wasn’t good enough. SOMEONE HELP ME.

3. It’s hard to come up with ideas. I feel like the main problem with those who want to be creative is that they feel like they can’t come up with any good ideas, which I can understand! I know I’m constantly thinking and always in my head, so I easily can come up with ideas from nowhere, and that’s always how I’ve been, but I know some people just can’t, and that’s really the basis of originality and creativity, and pressuring yourself to keep up with that might be unnecessarily stressful on a certain blogger.

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1. It’s easier to create content. It’s definitely true! I know that the couple of weeks I was doing memes, it really wasn’t that taxing. Of course, it might differentiate depending on the meme, but I think it’s safe to say that most of them are pretty simple and don’t take that long to write. I personally did WWW Wednesday, which was pretty easy to put together, and sometimes it’s nice to just only take a couple minutes writing a post that’s basically already made for you over something that will take longer to write and you have to think about what you want to talk about and how to format it, etc.

2. You’ll find an audience among regular bookworms. Though I’d say that most of our audience is other bloggers and we’re more likely to target our content towards them, I know I do have some e-mail followers that I assume read some of my posts, and might enjoy it when I give recommendations or when I review books or do fun tags! I know that a large majority of my Google searches are from people searching for reviews of a book, and some of mine pop up, so there’s definitely an audience for that content.

3. There’s an infinite amount of ideas out there. Obviously. If all you do is reviews, all you have to do is review books (and there are a lot of them). If you mostly do memes, most have topics set out for you, and if not, you provide the material by yourself (like WWW Wednesday or Teaser Tuesday or Stacking the Shelves, etc.), so it’s pretty hard to run out of. There are lots and lots of tags out there, and even if you do run out, you can create your own! Basically, if you don’t have the pressure to be creative, there’s tons of material that you can use without wracking your brain for ideas, which will work better for some people than others.

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1. You’re pretty much like everyone else. I mentioned this in the previous post a little, but when you sign up for fifty blog tours with fifty other bloggers that are also a part of it and the only work you put into the post was copying and pasting HTML, it’s not really going to draw people to your blog. Why see your cover reveal of a certain book when ten other bloggers are doing the same cover reveal on their blog? What makes it truly stand out? There’s definitely a market for that, but I know I get bored with a blog easily when all it seems to do is have a million blog tours that speak positively about every single book they’ve read. It sounds way less genuine and seems like a move to look popular with publishers, but maybe that’s just me.

2. The content can quickly turn repetitive. I know that I always find myself really disappointed when I go to someone’s Reader and all I see is review…after review…after review. It gets really boring after a while. Obviously, too much of a thing can get tired after a while, but I’d much prefer someone posting discussions and lists over and over again rather than reviews or memes.

3. Finding an audience among bloggers is harder.  As I mentioned earlier, bloggers are looking more for quality over quantity, so posting the same old, same old every day a week might be good for stats, it might be hard to build a true following among followers, since most seek diversity in the posts they read (or I assume they do). I think this one really depends on what you want your audience to be and what goals you have for blogging!

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[LET’S CHAT] What Makes Me Unfollow Your Book Blog

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Sometimes, we unfollow blogs, and that’s okay. 

If you’ve been around for a while, you’ll know that I actually wrote a Let’s Chat months back about what makes me follow your book blog. For some reason, it ended up being wildly popular, and was the first post to get 100+ views within one day. So, why not make a sort of second part to the post about what makes me unfollow your book blog (which I’ve certainly done. A lot). Obviously, this isn’t a “to-do” list for how anyone’s blog should be, so don’t take any of my points to heart! I’ve learned that 99.99% of the time, even though you really think someone is talking about your blog, they’re not.

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I said in my previous post that I really like consistent content on someone else’s blog. Of course, it doesn’t have to be every single day, it could be once or twice every week, or maybe three times a week. The blogger doesn’t even have to have some sort of blogging schedule for me to keep up with their blog. But, if out of the blue, someone who usually posts three times a week only posts two reviews for a couple of months with zero explanation behind it, then I’ll probably unfollow them.

I don’t mind if the blogger mentions somewhere, whether on their blog or social media, that posting will be sparse because they’re busy or on vacation or something else, but if the posting just stops and there’s no reason behind it, I’m likely going to just leave.

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This can mean a lot of things for me. It could mean that when I start scrolling past your posts in my Reader without barely giving them a second look, I’ll unfollow you. If I start mindlessly liking your posts without really commenting or feeling like I’m even prompted to comment, I’ll unfollow you. Or if I just don’t really like what they’re posting anymore, I’ll unfollow. Like, if I followed someone because I love their discussions and their recommendation posts, and all of a sudden, all I see from them are book blitzes and reviews and book tours, I’ll probably leave their blog. I always suck at keeping up with the people I actually care about following, so I don’t need my Reader filled with people I don’t really pay attention to.

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I feel like this one is pretty self-explanatory. If someone just ends up vanishing in thin air or they announce that they’re leaving the blogosphere, then I’ll wish them well and unfollow them because there’s no reason to keep following them. For those who vanish, if it’s been months since they’ve posted, I’ll just unfollow them. I know there are some people who don’t feel like unfollowing people who vanish unexplained because they might come back one day, but, sometimes, I just don’t feel like sticking around. Is that heartless? Maybe.

Though I will say, I don’t mind if someone goes on a hiatus and says they are! We all need to take breaks. But if someone just drops off the earth unexplained, I’m usually just left confused and let down.

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I’m sure we’ve all experienced those blogs where we like the blogger’s most recent posts and they have a pretty design and they’re really nice and it seems like you share the same favorites, so OF COURSE you follow them…and then a couple of weeks of following them seem to be a nightmare because literally all of the posts after that aren’t interesting to you or the person is too negative for your taste or the content just seems to change or they go on hiatus. Basically, those people are impulse follows. I follow them because they seem really awesome and right up my alley…and then I realize they’re not.

This is probably why I follow so few blogs and why I check and double-check before I follow to make sure I WANT to follow them. I’ve had many a impulse follows where I just can’t get into any of their recent posts, so it’s just best to unfollow.

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And those are all of the reasons I unfollow blogs!

Hopefully, this is a good reference to those who are looking to unfollow blogs and just don’t know where to start! Or to those who are just curious. Just remember to never feel guilty for unfollowing a blog, even though that might be your instinct. We all have our tastes, and that’s totally fine!

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[LET’S CHAT] What’s Your Blogging Schedule?

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I need a blogging schedule.

I do. I really do. I know there are people out there who don’t have a blogging schedule and post whenever, and I’m in awe of that because I just couldn’t do that. One, because I wouldn’t know when to post something. I’m that type of person who edits and re-edits and edits all over again because I want everything to look perfect, and the only thing that actually forces me to hit the “Publish” button is knowing when the post is going to come up. Two, because I need organization in my life, and I can’t live without it. And, three, because I probably wouldn’t be consistently posting if I just posted whenever. I wouldn’t know when to plan the post or to write it, etc. So, basically, I’d be a hot mess.

But, it did take me a while before I developed my own blogging schedule. I’ve said this before, but I started my blog on a whim, without any planning whatsoever, so my posting was all over the place, and I didn’t even think to have a schedule. So, I decided it’d be nice to walk you through my own!

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If you guys have been around a while, you’ll know that I post on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. My basic outline for the week is that Mondays are reserved for reviews (if I manage to write one up that week), and Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays are reserved for other things bookish – a Discussion post, a Let’s Chat, a recommendations post, a list, a tag, etc. I decided to declare Mondays review days because I thought it’d be nice to take a break from bombarding you guys with three Let’s Chat posts in a row, for instance, and the fact that since they don’t do well in terms of stats, I’ll just shove them in the beginning of the week to get it over with.

I don’t know if you’ve guys noticed, but I usually reserve my monthly discussion and recommendation posts purely for the last two Sundays of the month. I don’t really have any reasoning for it other than those were the days when I first posted them, and I decided to continue with it and make it a sort of trend. I consider Sundays and Fridays the days where my stats are the best, which is funny, because most bloggers have said that the weekends are their worst days for posting. So, there’s that.

I also used to have reviews twice a week – one on Monday and one on Wednesday – but ended up nixing that because reviews are terrible for stats, and I didn’t really like writing them, so it was hard to get up two per week. So, I decided to turn Wednesday into a free day, and it’s made me happier, and my blog stats are really good, so it’s much better.

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 At the moment, I post pretty early in the morning. It wasn’t always that way, and actually took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out.

When I started my blog, I did post in the mornings, usually around 10. No matter what, I’ll usually get up around six or seven because that’s when I have to get up for school, and my body is forever stuck in that mode. So, 10 was a good enough time for me to be able to get up and maybe edit the post if it still needed finishing.

Then, school started back up again, which created a sort of dilemma. I couldn’t post at 10 anymore since I had class then, and publishing a post via my iPad stressed me out, so I skipped that. I decided to post when I got home, which was usually around four in the afternoon. This was a pretty terrible choice, and I totally regret it, but the past is the past.

Of course, track started up again, and that was from after school to 5:30, and I usually didn’t get home until close to 7 at night. I didn’t want to post THAT late, but couldn’t post at four since I’d be practicing at that time, so as soon as school let out at three, I published my post and promoted it on social media. It took a while, and the locker room I changed in had crappy wi-fi, so, again, another terrible decision.

THEN, since that was really starting to stress me out, I decided that I’d go back to posting early in the mornings, so, during the school year, when I wake up, I usually post, and I’m set to go for the rest of the day. Usually, that’s sometime around 6. I’ll have to post EVEN EARLIER next school year because my brother is taking a before-school class, so, now I’ll be forced to wake up earlier. Hooray.

I honestly don’t know if it matters what time you post or not (I know my stats got better, but my blog was smaller back when I posted in the afternoons, so it might mean nothing), but you can totally try out different times and see what works for you.

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Right now, I post on my blog four times per week, and I really like the schedule and will probably stick to it. Since I post on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, it’s sort of an “every other day” deal, and I like being able to take a break, but not TOO long of a break to the point that people might forget my blog.

I actually used to not have a set schedule for how many times I posted or what days I posted when I first started out, but then I got into a rhythm of three posts – one on Monday, one on Friday, and one on Sunday. It’s a big memory blank about what made me change that, but I remember wanting to post more often since I hated the three day break between Monday and Friday, and I chose Wednesday because it was in the middle.

Most people say that posting three times a week is consistent enough for your blog, and I agree that it’s not only effective, but it did wonders for my blog stats, but if you can only manage to post twice a week or once or maybe all seven days, go for it! It’s your blog, so do what you want with it.

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And that’s it for my blogging schedule!

Hopefully, this might be helpful to anyone out there who’s trying to figure out their blogging schedule or if they even want one in the first place. A blogging schedule is definitely not for everyone, so don’t fret too much about it!

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Do you have a blogging schedule? Why or why not? What’s your blogging schedule?

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[LET’S CHAT] Do We Put Too Much Stock Into Authors?

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Obviously, we, as book bloggers, love books.

We devour them and love them and hate them and review them and recommend them and fangirl over them. But, an important component in the whole “book” process is the author. If authors didn’t exist, books wouldn’t exist. So, obviously, they’re pretty damn important.

So, I thought I’d dedicate a Let’s Chat to talking all about authors because there’s A LOT to talk about and dissect, not even mentioning all the scandals and drama surrounding authors after all these years. So, let’s get into it!

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So, now that we live in a world that thrives off of technology, we’ve been introduced to social media. Whereas back when I was born (which was back in 2000) most people read a book and that was it, we now live in an age where we can love a book and then go and tell the author that. Obviously, that has its positives and its negatives.

It’s definitely nice to interact with authors online. As someone who’s socially anxious, I know it’s much easier to tell an author I love their books online over in real life (even though I also don’t mind that). And it’s a fantastic way to get to know the writer behind the book, especially since, when you really think about it, we don’t really know much about an author past their book. So it’s nice to see what they love, what they hate, their author friends, what books they’d recommend, what they do when they’re not writing, etc.

Obviously, that comes easier to some over others. I know I only follow probably three authors on Twitter, and that’s basically it. I’ve seen people who are buddy-buddy with authors on a friendship level, which makes me totally jealous because I’d never be able to do that AND keep it professional. TELL ME YOUR SECRETS.

There’s also this huge debacle over sharing reviews and tagging authors. I know I’ve seen lots of Tweets that pop up once a month or so about how you shouldn’t tag authors in negative reviews of their books, which you’d think would be common sense, but apparently isn’t. I’ve also seen some people say that you shouldn’t tag authors in positive reviews because reviews aren’t for authors, which I get, but at the same time, if I gave five stars to their book and want to tell them, I’ll go ahead and do it because I know it might make their day. Personally, I used to tag authors in my positive reviews, but now I just don’t do it anymore because it gives me too much anxiety, and I just don’t want to.

We also have a sort of problem of author interpretation and such. Obviously, we, as readers, might see something that we consider canon or not canon, and the author thinks the opposite, which can elicit not-so-nice conversations. Unfortunately, this leads to…

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I feel like we really need to DEFINE “bad behavior” before we class it. Obviously, people have different takes on what author bad behavior is, but for me, it’s when an author actually does something threatening. For instance, Kathleen Hale and the whole stalking incident years ago. That’s author bad behavior. Or that one indie romance author who told her Facebook followers to flag a three-star review of her book on Goodreads. That’s author bad behavior.

It might be a controversial opinion, but if an author says something that I don’t agree with, that’s not bad behavior to me. Like, if an author tweeted, “I think God is a jerk,” I don’t agree with that…but I’m not going to blacklist them forever just because they don’t agree with me. I just don’t believe in a world where we ALL have to agree on something. Obviously, there’s a difference between “I think God is a jerk,” and “All Christians are stupid and weird” – THEN, I’d probably stay away from their books – but if they said they didn’t believe in global warming, then that’s not “bad behavior” to me.

I personally tend to separate the author from the work. I don’t think because an author might have said some dumb things that I don’t agree with, I can’t enjoy what they’ve written ever again. There are some authors that I don’t like on social media because they just seem aggressive in my eyes, but it doesn’t make me NOT want to read their book if I’m interested in it. Separating the author from the work can lead to…

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It’s actually really funny how much stock we put into authors. We never really talk about it, though, but it’s true that if we see an author we love or don’t love or disappointed us or we have meh feelings for, we’re more likely to add or not add that book to our TBR pile.

I feel like there are three categories we, as bookworms, put authors in after reading a couple of their books:

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Auto-Buy Authors:

These are the ones you have clearly dedicated your soul to, the ones you might have met at a signing, the ones whose books you love, the ones you follow on all their social medias, etc. When you see this author’s name, you immediately put it on your TBR and will venture to get an ARC for it no matter what. You basically love these authors to death and expect nothing less from them.

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Middle-Of-The-Road Authors: 

You’ve read five of their books or three of their series, and you feel pretty “meh” about them. They’re household names, so you recognize them easily, but your feelings regarding three of their books are positive, but the other two were terrible; or one of their series was AMAZING, and the other two were duds. When you see this author’s name, you decide to read some reviews from those you trust to see if it’s worth checking out.

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Authors You Avoid:

You’ve read their series or you’ve read all their books and you just. Don’t. Like them. Since you’ve been so disappointed by them or you hate their characters or the writing is average or some other reason, you vow never to read one of their books ever again. When you see this author’s name, you run in the other direction.

I’m sure that even as you simply READ those descriptions, you probably already started thinking about which authors fit in which category for you. Personally, I really wish we stopped judging books by certain vendettas against authors and just READ THEM if it sounds mildly interesting to you.

I definitely have noticed that I give different second chances based off what I’m reading. Regarding YA, I realized I’m way less likely to give a second chance to an author, whereas concerning adult thrillers, even if I didn’t like the author’s previous book, I’ll still get hyped for it and read it anyway. I think this is just for the fact that I can never give up an awesome thriller premise no matter what. It’s my weakness.

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And those are all my feelings about authors!

Obviously, we all have different opinions on authors, whether it comes to social media interaction, author bad behavior, and giving second chances, which is totally fine! It’s what makes us all unique and individual. But it’s definitely good to talk about controversial author topics, and the good and bad that can come of it.

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Any specific feelings or opinions on these topics? Feel free to comment about it!

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[LET’S CHAT] You Don’t Need to Follow All the Blogging Advice

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I know what you’re thinking.

“But, Mikaela, you’re giving all this blogging advice this month! What are you talking about???” But, here’s the thing: all blogging advice does not work for everyone. I know that. In the (almost) six months I’ve been blogging, there’s been some helpful advice I’ve taken or should’ve taken sooner, and there’s been some advice that I just ignored. And I survived.

So, I wanted to talk a little about some of the advice that helped me in my blogging career, and some of the advice that I had different experiences with or just aren’t “me” things, because I love talking about my experiences just in case someone else is panicking about these things and doesn’t feel alone, I guess? But let’s get to it!

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1. You must comment back to create relationships.

I have never commented back. Like, ever. And even though I want to work on doing it more, I know that I probably won’t do it ALL the time. I know that, if I’m being honest with myself, commenting back just isn’t my thing. And I know there are some bloggers that consider commenting back as sacred, which is great for them, and will look down on bloggers who don’t do it all the time, and oh well! But, I feel like I’ve made a lot of close blogging friends and created great conversations in my own comments section without feeling like I’m obligated to go comment on someone else’s blog just because they comment on mine. I just prefer thinking that people comment on my blog because they WANT to, and not because they want to add me as a number in their own comments section, but that’s just me!

2. To get on all the social media accounts.

Before blogging, I was anti-social media. I had zero social media accounts. Zero. So, I was really worried when I saw so many bloggers say that to get your blog out there, you need to promote on social media accounts, and listing all the ones you could use. And it was just SO MANY. So, for the first couple of months of blogging, I had no social media. And I got over 150+ followers and pretty good stats and e-ARCs from Netgalley that I was dying for. So don’t feel like your lack of social media means that your blog will never thrive.

3. To ask for ARCs at the 6-month, 500 followers deadline.

I know when I wanted to request physical ARCs, I was SO NERVOUS. I read, like, probably hundreds of “How To” posts, and so many of them said that you should wait until you’ve been blogging for six months and have at least 500 followers. I ended up requesting for physical ARCs after three months, and probably a little over 200 followers. Though I ended up only getting e-ARCs of some of the physical ARCs I requested, I DID end up getting my first ever physical ARC from St. Martin’s Press, and that was He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly! So, don’t stress about it. Who knows what will happen?

4. Do memes to reach out as a newbie.

Lots of veteran bloggers usually recommend doing memes to reach out, and I tried to do that, but, unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy it! And I was bored with checking out other people’s WWW Wednesdays. And I didn’t even really meet any fellow bloggers that way. So it’s perfectly fine to not want to join in on the meme hype if you’re a newbie blogger. I gave up on it after posting just a couple of them every week in favor of more original content, and, eventually, it increased my readership to what it is today, so it works out in the end!

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1. Make a blogging schedule.

I’m going to talk about this more in a separate post next month, but when I first started out, I didn’t have a blogging schedule. I just posted sporadically, at different times every day, and it was a terrible idea. I once posted three reviews three days in a row, and the third day I posted, my review only conjured up 5 views. 5 VIEWS. It wasn’t until March where I created a blogging schedule, and it wasn’t until mid-April that I created one that I really enjoyed, and I still keep up to till this day! Personally, it’s something that’s really worked well for me, especially as a planner and one who likes to get ahead.

2. Be consistent.

Again, was definitely not consistent when I started out. Oops. But I know that I really prefer posting things that people expect on the days that people expect them. And I know I’m more likely to follow and pay attention to a blog where I know how many posts I’m expecting from them each week or month. It’s always personal preference, because I know there are some people who are sporadic and that’s just who they are.

3. Write a lot of discussion posts.

Okay, not A LOT. But some. Or maybe even one a month. But discussion posts are not only my favorite posts to read and comment from other bloggers, but pretty much everyone can relate to them, and, it’s true, they do a wonder for your stats. I personally love writing them, and I love the discussions they produce, and I probably won’t stop.

4. Get on Twitter.

I resisted getting on Twitter forever because as someone who’s not on Twitter, just letting you know, it’s viewed as a cesspool (other people’s words, not mine!). BUT, I went ahead and did it. Still not my favorite social media, but it’s a very nice platform for sharing things and getting things out there for other bloggers!

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And those are just some of my experiences with blogging advice!

But, really, you don’t need to! Even with my advice you don’t need to listen to it and do EXACTLY what it says, unless you feel like it’ll work for you. It’s YOUR blog, therefore you can do whatever you want with it, whether other people like it or don’t – which is totally awesome.

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Just another quick reminder that we are in Phase 2 of the Big Blogger, Little Blogger Project, where we dedicate an entire post on our own blog to the Little Blogger we’ve been supporting! If you don’t know what I’m talking about or aren’t very clear about it, the link to the instructions is here! Whenever you publish it, just link it back to one of my posts so I can see it and take note of it! I’m hoping to post the masterpost sometime in July, so hopefully you can get them done in time!

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How do you feel about blogging advice? What are some pieces of blogging advice that you followed or didn’t follow?

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[LET’S CHAT] Is There a Difference Between a “Successful” Blogger and a “Big” Blogger?

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Welcome to yet another Let’s Chat!

Today, the topic I want to tackle is whether there’s a difference between a successful book blogger and a big book blogger. I talked about what blogging success means to you in a Let’s Chat a while back, and I guess this is the post where I’m going to expand on the topic a little bit.

(Also, this is officially my 100th post on my blog! Have I really been posting that much? Damn.)

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As I said in my post about blogging success, I mentioned that everyone has different standards for what that means to them, much like they might for what a “big” blog is.

My views on what being successful is are probably much different from other bloggers’ ideas, and that’s totally fine. I don’t really believe there’s a right or wrong way to want to blog or what you aspire to achieve. But because we’re all on such different wavelengths regarding success, that also leads to how we label “big blogs.”

For me, my idea of success would be having a great ability to network (having lots of followers on social media and being friends with authors and publicists) and also having a large readership, especially in terms of comments. I actually don’t think I’m doing too well at the networking, but though my readership isn’t SUPER large, I’m actually quite satisfied with what I have now and the response I get from you guys. So, my outlook on a “big” blog is one that gets a lot of reader interaction and those who always manage to talk to authors on social media flawlessly and get ARCs easily because of their friendships with publicists.

But, for Random Book Blogger, her idea of success regarding her blog might be just getting a few comments on her blog and growing her bookstagram following. So, for Random Book Blogger, a “big” blogger might be one who gets a TON of comments on all of their posts and also manages to post pretty bookish photos twice a day and has over twenty thousand followers on bookstagram. So, obviously, between me and Random Book Blogger, we probably have different bloggers that we look up to or inspire us.

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This leads into a little discussion about what a “big” blogger really is.

Of course, around the book blogosphere, a “big” blogger will mean something different to everyone, like I’ve pointed out earlier. Personally, mine have changed a lot over the short time I’ve been blogging – some of the blogs that I considered “big” aren’t ones that I’d think I’d consider that way now since I like to think we’re on the same level, sort of (though there are still blogs that I consider bigger, and it still freaks me out that they follow me). Someone who has only five followers or just started book blogging will probably have different standards for a “big” blogger than someone who has a large following on social media and their blog and receives a lot of comments or someone who’s been blogging for years and years.

Though “big” book blogs can be different for everyone, we all know those bloggers that anyone can mention, and everyone will say, “Oh, yeah, I love that blogger, too!” Or the blogs that it seems like everyone follows. Or those bloggers that everyone says are super nice and funny and amazing. Or those bloggers that always inspire other bloggers to do things. And no matter what, I’m sure everyone wants to be THAT type of book blogger.

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But does being a “big” blogger mean that you’re a “successful” blogger? Not necessarily. 

I’m not a “big” blog by any means – at least, to my standards I’m not – but I do like to consider myself a successful blogger (and a hella lucky one, as well). I get e-ARCs of books that I want, I have stats that I’m not only proud of but still shocked that I even have, I enjoy writing the posts I write and publishing them, and I don’t think I’m doing TOO terrible on social media (but, then again, that’s just me).

And that’s why I feel like we need to shatter the stigma that “big” blog = “successful” blog. Because even if you don’t get all the hottest ARCs or are friends with amazing authors or get lots of comments or have the best stats or are terrible with keeping up on social media or suck at blogging design and graphics, it doesn’t make you any less successful than the biggest book blogger out there. As long as you’re hitting your own goals regarding your own blog, you, my friend, are definitely successful. And who knows? Maybe those “big” blogs you look up to feel like they’re not doing that great of a job either and that they’re a hot mess or feel uninspired and down about their blog at times.

(Trust me, this is the sort of pep talk that even I need to hear sometimes to this day.)

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And that’s it for all my rambling!

Anyway, I just wanted to take the time to say that I’ll actually be on vacation by the next time I post to New York City, which will be my first time there! I’ll be there for five days, not only for Bookcon, but also just for a family vacation. I will still be active on this blog, probably! I already have all my posts written and edited, so all I need to do is post them, so you probably won’t even realize I’m gone! But if something goes wrong, like I’m not on Twitter much or I’m failing to get to all of your posts, you’ll know why!

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Do you think there’s a difference between a “successful” blogger and a “big” blogger? What is your definition of a big blogger? Do you think you’re successful in terms of your blog goals?

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