06 January 2012

Busting the Newbie Blues

I am participating in Small Review's Busting the Newbie Blues event going on during the month of January. She started it last year to help new bloggers (like me) get started and to give them the confidence and courage that they need to continue. I did not have my blog last time she did this, so I am excited to be a part of it this year! You can participate as well and/or find out more about it here.

I answered the newbie questions:

1. When did you start your blog?
-I started my blog in August of 2011.

2. Why did you start your blog?
-Well, I work at a children's bookstore and a large part of my job is getting to know every book in the store so I can be able to match the perfect book to the child. I'm a big fan of young adult literature and, unfortunately for me, our biggest clientele are picture book and middle reader age (I'm currently working to fix this). I read so much YA I feel the need to share it with others who are as much of a fan as I am. Hence, the blog!

3. What has been the biggest challenge you've faced so far?
-Hmm hmm hmm. I guess I'd have to say posting reviews of books I didn't like. I have yet to actually do this because I don't want to upset anyone, particularly the author if they end up reading it. Plus, I feel more reluctant to do it if I'm in the minority that didn't like it. I'm worried maybe I read it wrong? It's silly, I know.

4. What do you find most discouraging about being a new blogger?
-I didn't realize how intensive and time consuming writing a blog is. It feels like it's become a job that I don't get paid for and it has been forever since I've read an "adult" book for pleasure. I currently just don't have the time to read a book that's not for review, but maybe soon, if I can begin to schedule blog posts in advance. Don't get me wrong, I love writing the blog but sometimes it can be exhausting.

5. What do you find most encouraging?
-There are so many YA blogs out there that sometimes it can feel competitive, but I've gotten a lot of help and support from other bloggers, experienced and new.

6. What do you like best about the blogs you read? Have you tried to replicate this in your blog?
-I love that most of the blogs I read are able to post every day. I'm currently working on how to do this, but I don't want to post something for the sake of posting, especially if I have nothing to say. Most of them are also up-to-date on cover releases which I like as well. I've thought about doing this too, but A) I have no idea where they get this info and B) so many blogs already do this, I feel like my post would be redundant. I also notice other bloggers' layouts. I love a clean and "easy" look and have tried to replicate it. I also admit I copied other blogs that box their book synopsis. It's pretty and professional looking.

7. What do you dislike about blogs you’ve read? Do you try to avoid this?
-Um, maybe a limited use of paragraphs? I find a post hard to read if it's all one long thing. I tend to not read it then. Other than that, I can't say I've actually read any blogs that I've had issues with. I hear things from other bloggers complaining about people who are mean in their reviews and other things, but I have yet to come across these blogs.

8. Any advice for other new bloggers?
Reach out to other bloggers if you have questions or need help. I have yet to come across one who wasn't willing to help and be supportive. I know it can be intimidating approaching a blogger, especially one who is "popular" and established, but they're not scary and were where you are right now.

9. Any questions you'd like to ask newbie or established bloggers?
HA! A lot:
    1. How exactly does a "blog hop" work?
    2. How do you best utilize Twitter and other social networks to your advantage? For example, gaining readers.
    4. How does a blog tour work? Do you ask or are you invited to be a part of one?
    5. How do you handle books you didn't finish? Review or no review?
    6. On the same note, how do you handle reviewing books that you are asked to review but did not like?
See? As you can tell, I've been holding a lot of them in. I probably have more, but this is all I can think of right now.

10. Is there anything you’d like to tell us about your blog? Feel free to link a few of your favorite posts or posts you wish had more comments.
-I always try to put myself and my humor in my blog posts. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, and sometimes it's not there at all. My main goal is to be nothing like the NY Times or anything so "formal." I prefer to stay casual and be myself. I may start doing "If you liked this book then you'll like these" posts. It's what I do at my job so why not online too? Or I could do them at the end of my reviews. What do you think?
My blog post about the cover for Such Wicked Intent: I wanted to create a discussion on this one, but it didn't quite work out.



  1. Thanks for dropping by my blog and commenting, Angie! I know what you mean about feeling apprehensive when posting reviews where you disagree with what most bloggers have said...it is indeed intimidating! I know I sure felt that way when starting out, and in fact, I think I probably still do a lot of the time. But I try to remind myself that I set out to write honest reviews and I want to stick to that, and also that I appreciate it when I read negative but candid book reviews on someone else's blog. That sometimes helps a bit, anyway!

    I really like your header — it's very striking, it captured my attention right away! Your blog layout also feels clean and organized, which is nice :)

    I can do my best to take a stab at answering some of your questions:

    - "blog hops": these are basically for spreading the word about your blog and "hopping" to other blogs. They're a way to both get more followers and find new blogs to follow. Sometimes they're themed or there's a question to answer, etc. If it's a giveaway hop specifically, then there will be a giveaway to enter at each stop on the hop.

    - books you didn't finish: personally, I don't review books I didn't finish. Somehow I feel like it's kind of unfair to the book/author since technically I didn't read the whole thing. However, I have considered writing "DNF" reviews and explaining why I didn't finish it — plenty of bloggers do this as well, and I have often appreciated reading these kinds of reviews myself. Who knows, perhaps I might try it! In any case, it's really up to the individual blogger and how they feel about it :) It also may make a difference to you if the book is for review or not, but I think that, too, varies from blogger to blogger.

    - books I've been asked to review and didn't like: I typically write reviews of these, but it might depend a bit on who is expecting the review (author or publisher) and how the review request was phrased. As a general rule, though, I don't like to shy away from reviewing a book just because I didn't like it. But I try to be honest without being rude when I do so.

    Hope some of my answers helped!

  2. OMG, me too on the not wanting to post negative reviews! In fact, I have a review that I've been hanging on to for a while now because while it's not scathing or anything, I really didn't enjoy the book at all. I feel bad!

  3. It's difficult to post negative reviews, especially if you were asked by the author to read the book. That's one reason I'm hesitant to accept review requests. I think I've only posted one completely horrible review, and I didn't feel too awful because I truly felt the book had been written purely in the interest of making money, not that the author was really putting his heart and soul into it. (Of course, I could be completely wrong about this, and I really hope the author doesn't come across what I wrote.)

    That also happened to be a review for a book I did not finish. I think if you have enough reasons to write a solid explanation of why you put a book down, and you think it would be helpful to you readers, you could write a review for it. I would just make a clear note that you didn't read the whole book, and maybe give an estimate of how much you did read before drawing your conclusions.

    Thanks for sharing your answers!

  4. @Danya: Thank you for the compliment (a fabulous friend made the banner) and for answering my questions! Truly appreciated and eye-opening. I know I have to develop a thicker skin when it comes to writing negative reviews just like an author has to develop a thicker skin when reading them. I, like you, always want to be as honest and fair as possible in a review. I mean, authors are real people and have put themselves out there too!

    @Karen: Glad I'm not the only one!!

    @pagesunbound: Thank you for your advice! I also have yet to accept a review request for the same reason. I made my blog with the intention of posting what I want when I want stress-free, but that's not how it's happening, haha!

  5. I love your blog... I got my start working at a children's bookstore, too!
    My best piece of advice is: pace yourself, and don't get discouraged.

  6. @Madigan McGillicuddy: Yes! And what a great start it is, huh? Thank you so much for the advice! :)

  7. what a fun way to learn more about the blogger behind the blog. i really enjoy your blog. like you, i am pretty new to blogging. i have a good friend who invited me to review with her on her blog awhile ago and have only started really stepping it up recently. there's so much more to book blogging than i originally thought.

    one of the reasons i first started following your blog (besides the reviews) was the clean layout. it's attractive and easy to read. i hate going to blogs where i have to struggle to find things or read the font.

    i don't have all the answers to your questions but i have a few.

    -blog tours: from what i can tell, you're usually asked to join. if you have pub or author contacts, they will usually reach out to you to see if you'd like to be part of the tour. sometimes i see posts from authors or other bloggers as well asking for volunteers to participate in a blog tour. don't be shy to reach out to them if it's a book you feel you would want to promote.

    -unfinished books: it's really so rare that i don't finish a book. i would say don't review it if you didn't actually finish it. if you feel like you need to review it, state the reasons why you didn't finish it.

    -books for review that you didn't like: i don't have a real problem writing negative reviews. i always try to be constructive and say why i didn't like the book vs just ranting about how bad it is. as long as i am courteous and professional, i see no reason why i should not write a negative review. i don't think publishers expect all reviews to be positive (even though they might hope they are). i think the best that any review can be is honest. you're not going to like everything you read. even books you really like may have some flaws and that's ok. that said, i try to only accept review requests for books that look interesting to me that i think i'll like. there's always the risk that i just won't like it but that's a risk you take with any book.

    phew - that was kinda long. i hope it was a little helpful. i think you're doing a great job. posting every day sounds crazy, but i'll be glad to read your posts if you do. :)

  8. Great questions! If I've requested a book and don't like it, I give the author/publisher the option of me posting a full review and then host a contest for the book.

  9. Im a new follower www.thephantomparagrapher.blogspot.com

    1. How exactly does a "blog hop" work? - I tend to follow at least 30+ blogs each time , more if I get a chance . You follow, comment on their posts :)
    2. How do you best utilize Twitter and other social networks to your advantage? For example, gaining readers. I have my Twitter connected to my Goodreads account, so everytime I update a review on Goodreads, it links it back to twitter.
    4. How does a blog tour work? Do you ask or are you invited to be a part of one? Google Blog Tour Companies , or sometimes they email you to join their groups.
    5. How do you handle books you didn't finish? Review or no review? - I have it stated on my Review Policy- If a book deserves less than 3 stars then I won't review it, but to let it get publicity I will do a synopsis of the book.

    6. On the same note, how do you handle reviewing books that you are asked to review but did not like? -As above.


Thank-you for commenting! I always appreciate and read each one! I also try to reply to each one, but I'm really bad at this, so I apologize in advance for one (or any) I may miss. Please note, I love all of my commenters. In fact, it may be more like "in love." Comment at your own risk.