Monday, January 2, 2012

Busting the Newbie Blues

Small from Small Review is hosting a monthlong event called Busting the Newbie Blues in which new and experinced get together to help new bloggers get settled in the blogosphere.

My answers to the Busting the Newbie Blues Questionnaire are as follows. I chose to answer the "newbie" questions, although I think I'm more on the cusp of becoming an established blogger.

When did you start your blog? I started my blog over a year ago; April 22, 2010.

Why did you start your blog? I had this idea of creating a website to share my thoughts on the books I read. (At this point I had no idea such a thing already existed.) I tried a couple of different ideas, one of which was a homemade Goodreads-type site, where I literally created every page on a WYSIWYG editor, finally settling on a blog as the best choice.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far? Spreading the word about my blog. I had a follower spike in September, when I hosted a giveaway for Squeaky Books birthday bash, but for the most part my followers and pageviews have been increasing very little.

What do you find most discouraging about being a new blogger? When you try to put your thoughts down, and it seemed like everyone else can say the same thing so much more eloquently.

What do you find most encouraging? When people comment, and when I find new blogging friends, like Small. Also, my favorite thing about blogging is that it gives me a place in the book blogging community. I don't know how I found my books before I began reading all of these great book blogs.

What do you like best about the blogs you read? Have you tried to replicate this in your blog? I like interesting and fun reviews, and when bloggers are generally nice. Yes, I have tried to replicate this.

What do you dislike about blogs you’ve read? Do you try to avoid this? I dislike a blog cluttered with memes, and blogs that talk overmuch about unrelated topics, such as TV shows. (Talking a little bit about yourself every now and then does not count as "unrelated topics.") Yes, I try to avoid this.

Any advice for other new bloggers? Keep going! The more you blog, the better you'll get. Even if it seems like there's no one reading, it never hurts keep going, especially if blogging is fun (and it should be!). And the readers will come, eventually. Also, don't be afraid to ask for help. There are a lot of super nice people out there, who would be glad to help you out.

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'd love to hear from you. If you only leave a comment telling me what you thought of the book, I'm super happy to receive it. And I will definitely reply (eventually ☺), so check back. Here is a list of books I've reviewed on this blog. Do I have some of your favorite books? What should I check out next?


Celine said...

Hi Pica! I love the typewriter header (: I know a low follower count can be discouraging.. but the best thing is to keep going!

Anne said...

Hi Pica, I would say getting people to read and follow your blog is the biggest challenge of all - at least its mine ... :D

But I think with enough patience, passion and pleasure (should I call the 3Ps *lol*?) everything is possible!

I'm participating in Small's event as well. Nice to "meet" you.

Anne (from Living in a Fairy World)

Gina @ My Precious said...

Hi Pica, nice to meet you. I'm Gina from My Precious. I agree with you about how others seem to be able to say thing with such grace and my words are so weak. I wish I had the gift to write, I've heard though the more your write the better you become. Hope this is true!

Lisa Nguyen said...

Nice to meet you too Pica! :)

Small Review said...

Aw, I love the way you write your reviews. When I found your blog it was almost like finding *that* book :) When i read a book you've reviewed I read your review again and use it to help frame my reading experience.

You gave very good advice! It's so important to just keep on going, especially in the early days of blogging when it's easy to get discouraged.

Thank you for participating! :D

Pica said...

Celine - Thank you! I love typewriters (the one in the header is actually my own - it's sitting next to me right now) and it seemed the perfect symbol for my blog. Yes, I agree that just keeping going is the best thing. I keep reminding myself that I'm writing this blog for ME, and I can make it into something fun, or a I can worry about how few people I'm reaching. I try to choose fun as much as possible.

Anne- Yes, I agree! Getting followers is hard. But it's so great when you see that number pop up, isn't it? Nice to "meet" you too!

Gina- Hi! I've been following your blog for a while - I love your Cover Crazy posts especially, and your unique review format. I've found that it is true that the more you write, the better you get, but it only works for reviews if you keep writing reviews. Essay writing does little to improve blog writing :D

Lisa- Hi again!

Small - Thanks so much. I love discussing books with you, as we have such similar tastes, and I totally look up to you in terms of blogging. Thanks for creating this event - it's wonderful to meet so many nice new people!

the Vintage Bookworm said...

Hi Pica! Nice blog. =) I'll have to check out some of your reviews.

I agree with you on your tips, they were very great advice. =) You said it a lot better than I could. Ha! =D

I'm participating in this event as well and decided to come over and say hi. Nice to meet you!

Pica said...

The Vintage Bookworm- Hello! Nice to "meet" you! Thanks for coming over.

Andrea @ Cozy Up said...

Nice to meet you. It's so helpful to see someone who's been at this for awhile and still feels like a newbie. I love the advice you give of not getting discouraged, it definitely helps. And also I understand about not having the blog being taken over by memes. I'd rather let my blog go off for a week because I want to write a review rather than fill it up. Thanks for participating!


Monaliz said...

Hi! Same problem here, meaning how do you get people to notice your blog. But guess that's (almost) every bloggers problem?

And I also have some problems with expressing myself. Probably 'cause I don't use English in my every day life (except now of course, because of my blog. D'oh.), so I ramble. A lot. Or I just have some problems with concentration..

Monaliz @ Mind Reading?

Stephanie ( said...

Hi there! I think it's definitely discouraging for readership not to increase as well. It's really difficult to really put yourself out there and get people to return regularly. It's always so nice when familiar faces (er, names) keep popping up on your comments.

Pica said...

Andrea - Hello! Nice to "meet" you too.

Monaliz - I think everyone, whether they use English every day or not, has some trouble getting their thoughts into words. I certainly do sometimes! Thanks for stopping by.

Stephanie - Yes, I love seeing the same people over and over. It's also great when someone I recognize from their comments on other blogs comes over to mine. I'm so bad about commenting, but I'm trying to improve. It's so nice when someone comments on my blog, I'd love to return the favor!

Eden (The Prickly Reader) said...

Hi, Pica :)

It is nice to meet you and thank you for sharing your wisdom. I am a newbie and I'm participating in Small's event as well.

I also feel like everyone else expresses themselves so much better than me. I hope to get better at this the longer I blog.

Pica said...

The Prickly Reader - Hi! Nice to "meet" you too. It definitley gets easier to write the more you do it. The hardest part is pushing through before you get the easy part, and accpeting that there will always be room to improve. If you just do your best, it'll be good enough - seriously. I have a few reviews I'm less proud of (don't believe me? Check my review index) but every review I get closer and closer to finding my writing style and figuring out how best to review the books I read.

Alexa said...

There is one quote in particular I love in your post - "the more you blog, the better you get". I think that's very true! I recently reread some of my blog posts from April 2011 (when I first started) and I write reviews in a completely different way now.

It's a pleasure to meet you and I'll be checking out your reviews :)

A. Knight said...

Hi, Pica! I'm Asher Knight from Paranormal Indulgence. It's so nice to find another book blogger who can review so well, so even though I'm kind of bad keeping to comments, you'll definitely be getting more pageviews from me *lol*

To get your blog out there, I'd suggest utilizing Twitter, Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, etc. Social networks are a great way to connect with not just other bloggers but publicists and authors too. Also, it doesn't hurt to leave meaningful comments on other Waiting on Wednesday, In My Mailbox, etc. posts. It'll helped you get noticed.

Stay strong. Like I said, I like your reviewing style. Have an amazing reading week and I hope to see you around the blogosphere!

Kelly said...

Hey Pica!

I completely agree with how it seems like every one else can put things down so much more eloquently. It definitely has me wondering if I'm in over my head some days!

Having people read and follow your blog seems to be a big issue for most bloggers, so I wouldn't let it discourage you! All good things come with time and hard work!

I'm also participating in Small's event, if you want to check out my post, found here!

Radiant Shadows

Paige said...

I so agree with you when you said that sometimes you feel like people are writing things way better then you could. Yeah i feel like that all the time. What keeps me going is that one day i know i'll get better at it =) I'm a new follower by the way!

Pica said...

Alexa- Thanks! Nice to "meet" you.

Asher- Thank you. I am so bad at commenting on other people's blogs too, but I'm going to try this year to comment at least once a day on someone else's blog. Your suggestions sound great. I use Goodreads, but I'm hesitant to get a Facebook or Twitter. I do think commenting is a great way to get your name out there though.

Kelly- It gets discouraging sometimes to see other blogs with amazing writing, but hopefully with time we can both get there. Even if I (or you) can't write as eloquently, your thoughts still count, and that's the important part.

Paige- Yes, the writing definitely gets easier over time. I remember working for hours on my first reviews, one-paragraph summaries that sounded like book reports more than anything, and now I'm writing several hundred word reviews that I'm proud of enough to send off into the blogosphere. Thanks for following.

Mar said...

Hi Pica. Your blog looks very good! I found it with the 'Busting the newbie blues'
I do agree with you, keeping your followers and pageview numbers high is one of the biggest challenges I've faced during blogging. I may sound like I've been blogging for a long tine, but I've only been blogging for 1.5 months... But look at it from the sunny side; you have one more follower now c:
Also I agree with you on memes and how they reduce the quality of a blogs content!

xo Mar

Rubita said...

It's nice to find a blog that reviews some older books--like DWJ and Vivian Vande Velde. Have you read Companions of the Night? It's one of my favorite vampire books ever--from well before the Twilight-era craze.

The thing about followers is that once you get a lot, there's pressure to keep them. I go back and forth about this, because I don't want followers who just follow me for giveaways, but on the other hand, they're a great way to get exposure, at least.

Anonymous said...

Yea, growing my follower base has been slow too. But everyone's definition of "slow" tends to be slightly different, so you may actually be way ahead of the game! My best advice for getting more followers is to participate in memes. Check out other people's blogs, leave comments routinely, and generally be your awesome self. The followers will come.

I'm so bad about comparing myself to my favorite bloggers. "So-and-so would write this summary so much better than me." I guess we just have to keep in mind that we're not better or worse than any other blogger, just different. And different is cool.

The Book Pages said...

I agree with you! I have no clue how I found all my books before I got into the book community either. But I am sure glad I did. I have so many incredible books. Especially ones that were not published in the United States at the time. I also love how almost everyone who is apart of the book community are such wonderful people. I love your blog. (=

Sincerely, Amber.

Pica said...

Mar - Hi! Thanks for following!

Ruby - I haven't read Companions of the Night yet, but I love VVV in general. I think her short stories are her best work. Older books are wonderful, and too often overlooked!

Couchpotatocritic - Thanks. Actually, all of the supportive feedback (and followers) I've gotten from this event has been wonderful in making me feel like an accomplished blogger. And I agree with you - it's hard not to compare yourself to other bloggers, but different is great.

Amber - The community is wonderful, I agree. And being part of the blogging community has been wonderful for expanding my TBR. My to-read shelf is literally overflowing. Thanks for stopping by!

Phantom Paragrapher said...

Hi Pica :)
New Follower

Shae Carcar said...

I totally agree! It IS hard to kind of get your blog name out there! But I think if you have a good blog, then the views will come :) Lol I sound like an after-school special!

Shae @ Understanding Shae's Story


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