Friday, January 6, 2012

Busting the Newbie Blues!!

Welcome to the second
Busting the Newbie Blues event!

Starting out as a new YA book blogger is a ton of fun. You meet a bunch of new people who all share in your passion for YA books, you become a part of a friendly community, and you're continually exposed to wonderful new books.

But sometimes things can be a little discouraging when you're just starting out. You look at your blog and then look at some of the awesome established bloggers out there and wonder if you'll ever make the grade.

So here's to Busting the Newbie Blues! Don't be discouraged. Instead, take action! Participate in the Busting the Newbie Blues event at Small Review, which will run through the entire month of January!

This event is designed to:
  • Put new YA book bloggers on the map
  • Increase blogger interaction
  • Start a discussion by sharing our experiences as new bloggers
  • Learn about what it was like for established bloggers when they were newbies

So how does this work? Simple:
  • Be a YA book blogger (oldie or newbie)
  • Select the questionnaire that best applies to you (there's no "wrong" choice, so just pick whichever one you feel most comfortable answering)
  • Create a post on your blog with the questions and your answers

1.  When did you start your blog?
I started my blog on the last day of December 2009 when I wrote my first post.  I remember being so excited, not because of the post itself, but because I managed to figure out the technology to be able to post.   I laugh now, but it took some time for me to figure out some of the technology to be able to post some of things on my blog.  You should have seen how excited I was when I was successful with my first Youtube video.

2.  Do you ever still feel like a newbie?
It depends on what is going on.  I still feel like a newbie in the technology department because I have trouble with the HTML stuff and have messed up by blog a few times by playing around with the design; now, I just hire someone to do it as it's far easier and my blog doesn't have the potential to go 'poof' because I did something seriously wrong.  When it comes to posting, I feel more confident in what I am doing and am not as concerned about things as I used to be.  I am still in awe of some blogs and the time and effort they put into some blogging events; I wish I had the time to do some of the things that are done, but my day job is way too demanding.  It's not because of newbie tendencies anymore, but because there aren't enough hours in the day and now I know how much effort goes into some of these events.

3.  What has been the biggest challenge you've faced so far?  Did you make any mistakes new bloggers can learn from?
I still make mistakes every day and every week.  The biggest challenge is realizing I cannot do it all, including reviews, contests, and big events.  When I first started blogging, I took on too much and I was overwhelmed and started to hate blogging.  After a two week hiatus, I looked at what I enjoyed, and cut back on a lot of things, and now blog with more reasonable time frames.  I also spent too much time on the follows and the memes, which took up a lot of time away from the blogging part I enjoyed the most which was interacting with others and visiting other blogs.  Unfortunately, now it's my job that is pulling me away from this.

4.  What did you find most discouraging about being a new blogger?  How did you deal with this?
I think it was wondering if anyone would actually read my blog and start interacting with me.  When I first started blogging, I spent so much time on other people's blogs posting comments that I was hoping others would do the same.  I just kept going.  J. Kaye was the first to become a follower and as she was the blogger I admired most at the time, I remember being so incredibly thrilled when I saw that little follower list. 

5.  What do you find most encouraging?
Other people's wonderful comments and their email messages.  After my father passed away before Christmas, I got some beautiful email messages from some followers and I can't tell you how much that meant to me.  I find the whole spirit of the book blogging community is usually so wonderfully supportive and encouraging as a whole.  And any time I needed advice, I knew I could email any one of the more established book bloggers with a question, and any one of them would always respond.  It's something I try hard to emulate now that I've been doing this for a couple a years myself because I remember what it was like for me in the beginning.

6.  If you could go back in time and speak with your newbie self, what five bits of wisdom would you tell yourself?
1. Don't stress over followers on your blog and on twitter.  If you're patient, they will come. (Isn't there a movie with that line? LOL)
2. Post whatever you like, whenever you like.  Who cares if people like it or not.  Creating controversy is sometimes fun!!!  Quality is more important than quantity.
3. You blog for yourself, not for others.
4. Have fun.  Once blogging is no longer fun, quit or take a break.
5. Interact, interact, interact!!!

7.  What do you like best about the blogs you read?  Have you tried to replicate this in your blog?
I like the humour in some of them.  I like the originality and the creativity in some of the events.  I stay clear from trying to replicate or copy as it would seem completely fake; what I do is mine and based completely on my personality.  I tend to be very private and I don't think I could change that even if I wanted to, which I don't really want to. 

8.  What do you dislike about blogs you've seen?  Do you try to avoid this?
The colours.  I stopped following several blogs because I couldn't read them and there is no point to following if you can't read them.  Really bad grammar also puts me off.  I followed one blog for a while whose posts looked like something from a text message, and I just couldn't handle it any longer.  I also tend to avoid blogs that have really erotic content on them as I tend for a more family oriented blog.  I also stopped following several blogs as soon as I saw attacks towards other bloggers and / or authors that were very negative.  I just don't think a public domain is the place to attack someone, especially with vulgarity used in the process.  I try really hard to be positive, even in my more negative reviews.  Of course there are books that I have actively disliked, but I have come to the point in my reading life where I either do not finish them, or I do finish them, and then contact the publisher and / or author personally and ask their opinion about what they wish me to do with the review.  We then come to a mutual agreement.

9.  How did you bring your blog to the attention of so many people?
I participated in a number of events, especially in my first year of blogging.  Blogmania was a great way to visit new blogs and I participated in one of those, plus I hosted some contests.  I also participated in some hops.  Other than that, it was pretty much word of mouth and it happened slowly. Oh, and I networked and interacted big time!!!!!!   I finally caved in and now have a Twitter account that I should really learn how to use properly; I have to look up what some of the short forms mean on a cheat sheet I found on the Internet, isn't that horrible?  And I finally joined Networked Blogs about a month ago.  The Google+ thing I have, but I don't really know how to use it as I haven't had time to play with it.

10.  When and how did you get your first ARC (or your first ARCs)?
I had actually been a reviewer for several years for another company, and a blog before I decided to start my own blog.  It was actually at the suggestion of a rep from a publishing house that I began my blog in the first place as she said I could receive my own ARCs rather than get them through someone else on someone else's schedule.  So that's what I did.  My situation was rather different and before I knew it, I was getting books from Penguin Canada.  My advice for newbies is to read your own books at first, be patient, and not expect the ARCs or other books; it will all come with time and with patience, and before you know it, you will find a request in your email for books.  Another way to go about it is to put your name in for independent books, there are manyy sites, and have indie authors contact you.  A lot of their books are really good and you may be surprised at the results.  Established authors from publishing houses are switching to independing publishing so you never know who may contact you.  Many of them use ereaders, so you may want to invest in one as well.


  1. Really interesting post, Stephanie. I've kinda always wondered how bloggers get into the biz and get the word out there, so I definitely enjoyed reading this.

    Congrats on building such an awesome blog!


  2. I'm not a YA blogger, but found this really interesting! I remember being thrilled when J.Kaye left a comment on my blog. Wasn't she something? I miss her, as she was one of my biggest inspirations and I learned an awful lot from her!

    I don't use Twitter as much as I probably should, and aren't really certain how to use google+ either, but we'll eventually figure it out!

  3. I don't consider myself a YA blogger either, but I figured since I do post enough reviews on young adult and children's books on here that I would post something about this. I am, and always will be, an eclectic reader.

    Thank you ladies for your kind words. And yes, J. Kaye was definitely my inspiration for starting my blog, and was a huge help to me in the beginning. I remember how sad I was when I found out she was giving up her blog.

  4. I am a new blogger & it always nice to see that old& new bloggers all have the same concerns and problems. I tend to find my self worried about followers and comments as did you. But I have decided to blog because I like it and worry less about comments!

    on another note I love your layout it is very cute! and organized!


  5. Im an old follower and I have to say I am inspired by your number of followers :) I also adore the autumn feel that yout blog has too it , goes well with the curling up in front of the fire theme