My humble blog is a little over a month old now, so I thought I’d share my experiences and observations in the book blogging community so far.
Blogger vs. WordPress
The ultimate question before you start a blog: which platform to use? Since 100% of all blogs I previously visited are on blogger, I tried that one first, but for some reason it didn’t really work for me. Then I searched for alternatives, headed over to wordpress (which I’ve never even heard of before) and found an easily usable system that helped me accomplish exactly what I wanted. The truth is, blogger seems to be most people’s choice and I probably could have made it work somehow, but in hindsight I wouldn’t change anything.
Starting this blog was sort of a spur of the moment decision for me, after maintaining the ‘oh, blogging seems like so much fun but I could never create a website myself’ opinion my whole life, and I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I had no idea if anyone would ever visit, if I would go unnoticed for quite some time, if I would be discouraged and just give up entirely before long. To this day I still don’t know how people find me outside of book memes, but it seems to happen on a daily basis by now, and for that I’m grateful. Is the warm welcome universal? No. Does everyone who’s website I visit and comment on checks mine in return? No. But this community has already been kinder to me than so many people I’ve met in person and I’m grateful for that, too.
Participating in memes
I’ve seen Waiting on Wednesday, Top Ten Tuesday and other such posts before on other blogs, but haven’t realized they were called ‘book blog memes’ until I found this really great website, listing a bunch of them here. I figured it was the best way to start connecting with people and spread the word about myself. I selected a few that sounded like fun and started posting. My experiences with these memes have been overwhelmingly positive so far. In more detail:
- Waiting on Wednesday: this is probably one of the most popular ones out there. It doesn’t take long to pick a title from my mile long TBR list (let’s face it, there is no shortage of books we’re dying for, right?) and it’s always fun to see 5 more people pick the same book you did, or something you’ve already chosen before. And if nothing else, I can guarantee you’ll find some cool new titles to add to that mile long TBR list you already can’t keep up with… 🙂 The disadvantage of being so popular is that in the early stages people won’t take a second look at your fairly unknown blog unless you comment on theirs, and maybe not even then. You can’t wait around after linking up your post for people to show up, you have to ‘go knocking’ yourself first. A lot. This will hopefully change in time as people become more familiar with my name and blog.
- What’s next: this is a pretty small meme I’ve seen around before and liked, asking other people to help decide what to read next from a short list you provide. I myself often can’t decide what I’m in the mood for and it’s nice to hear other people’s input.
- That’s what He said Thursday: this meme is run by Julie & Rose, and features quotes from swoony bookboyfriends we all wish we had. It’s even fewer people than What’s next, but at least I get to squeal everytime someone mentions Adrian Ivashkov and leave affirmative comments in capital letters (OK, that only happened once, but it probably wasn’t the last time…).
- Book beginnings on Fridays: so, when I picked out which memes to participate in, I just went with whatever sounded like fun and didn’t quite realize that they each draw a certain crowd. The previous ones are mostly for YA readers and I fit right in there, but this one is more for full-fledge adults whose taste is often very different from mine. This isn’t a bad thing and I still find the occasional interesting book, it just means I choose my book beginnings more carefully, selecting ones that might interest them in return.
Followers & Following
One thing I’ve heard before and can completely agree with is that numbers don’t matter. A large number of followers doesn’t mean anything. Clicking on a button is easy. I have 14 followers now, but I can guarantee you most of them don’t read a single word I post. They never comment on anything, they’re just there, usually hoping I’ll follow them back. But I’m not complaining. I’ll choose quality or quantity anytime.
As far as me following others is concerned, I don’t do much of that for the same reason. If I follow someone, that means their posts show up in my WordPress reader, but I honestly never check that. I already have an insanely busy twitter feed, and a slightly less crowded tumblr dashboard, and I just know from experience that there’s no way I can keep up. Instead I do what I’ve always done. I bookmark interesting looking blogs, and check back regularly, possibly comment. Following me is a sure way to get me to take a look at your blog, because you just might be awesome, but there’s no guarantee I’ll keep coming back.
Paying it forward
I’m still very much an amateur with a lot to learn, and it feels like everyone else has been here forever, but believe it or not, it’s not the case. There are even newer blogs than mine. I already mentioned how important it is to have positive feedback and support on one’s blog, otherwise we would probably all give up sooner or later, right? It’s certainly true for me. If it hadn’t been for some people (yes, I’m looking at you Sarah, you’re never going to live this down), I definitely wouldn’t be sitting here now, typing furiously, excited to post again. So in the spirit of paying it forward (did anyone see the movie or read the book?) I’m going to mention 2 people with brand new blogs I found this past Wednesday when I made my WoW rounds. They both seem like very nice people, and I plan to check back regularly, you might want to give them a try too.
- Suchbookishness is maintained by an 18-year-old English lit student (that’s not me, but there seems to be a lot of those around) and Game of thrones enthusiast (again, not me, please don’t throw things), here’s her latest post:
- Littlebookloft (I really love that name) is maintained by a “twentysomething year young female with a love for life” (her words, not mine), here’s her latest:
Oh, wow, this post turned out to be a lot longer than I originally planned, I guess I’m rambling again. It happens, you should probably get used to it. Anyone else have any observations or suggestions to share?