Thursday, June 7, 2012

Armchair BEA: Beyond the Blog

Today's an interesting sort of day on Armchair BEA. We have a couple of choices for what we'd like to talk about: tips for moving beyond the blog (monetizing, freelance, making professional connections) or sharing a fun aspect about our blog or life that may be completely separate from books. I'm doing kind of a combo deal today, so let's start with the moving beyond part, shall we?

I don't really have any tips. I'm going to be blog hopping and visiting many other blogger's posts today because I am looking for tips myself. I really love books. Everything about them. Reading them, writing about them, talking about them. I want to find a way to play with them all day long (and not work in a book store because I did that for too many years!). I have yet to come up with a brilliant way to accomplish that. I don't think I'm cut out for a library (I also used to work as a page in my public library when I was in high school). I also don't relish the idea of doing more school right now. I could try to get into publishing but the majority of publishing houses are in Toronto and I don't ever want to live in or near Toronto (sorry to those who do - I'm a small town girl at heart!). I'm trying to think creatively and have so far come up with nothing. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Sometimes I wonder if I should focus more on the writing side of things. Whether that's my own stuff or trying to branch out and do some freelance work. I've always been a scribbler. I've got poems and stories from when I was a kid and teen (that are probably quite bad). I've also got a couple of other ideas right now that are rattling around in my brain. Do I dare try to put them on paper (or screen)? Through Twitter and the blogosphere I've met enough first time authors to see the absolute joy they got from getting their work published. Do I want to have that feeling? Yeah, maybe I do. Am I terrified of what kind of stuff I'd come out with? Yes. I've read quite a few first time books that have had so many problems and I don't want to be that kind of author. I know I can't be perfect but I'm a little scared of being so totally far off from perfect that I write something awful. I think the only way to get over this is to just start writing my own stuff down. Maybe I will. Someday...

So, since I don't have any tips and am clearly in need of some myself, I've been searching my brain for something fun about my life that's totally separate from books. This is difficult because books are such an integral part of my life that I feel like everything is somehow related back to them. Stumped, I told one of my closest friends that I had trouble coming up with something. Her response? "Because your fun is books." This then led into an odd train of thought process and I landed on an amusing anecdote for you all.

I'm a little biased but I think
this is pretty awesome :)

One of the courses I took in university was graphic design. It was a theory class (I was in university, not college, after all) but everyone in the class had some sort of interest and talent in design. Our final project had us create something that reflected us and our interests (and of course looked good). What did I do? I decided to make myself a book reviewer and editor (and keep in mind this was over two years before I started my blog). I created a fake book, you know the ones that have a hiding spot inside for things but it looks like a real book? It was part of a package I, as the reviewer and editor, would drop off to publishers and authors and the like. Included inside the little book were notepads (that I designed and got printed) that had "Kaley Stewart, book reviewer" on the bottom. I had totally forgotten about this assignment (like I said, this was a few years ago) and it didn't help that I wasn't able to get the final product back and have lost the electronic copy in the Land of Lost Computer Files. When I was back home for the May long weekend I came across one of the extra notepads. I showed it to my mom and we had a little laugh over it. It was cool because I had this seemingly pipe dream of being a book reviewer back in university and now I am one. Sure, it's not "official" and it's not for a publishing company or newspaper or magazine. But it's something. I had a goal and I managed to work my way to it. And that I like.

Which sort of brings me full circle. I think what this shows me is that I need to trust my gut. If I want something I need to work towards it. Think I can do it? :)


  1. Great job of rounding out the two ideas and making it work. Enjoyed your post.

  2. I love your story! It's so true, for most of us book bloggers, books are THE fun and affect almost everything else we do. At least you still have that one notepad!

    Happy ABEA :)

  3. You got it right! If you want it - you'll work towards it. Sounds like you are on the right track.

    Thanks for participating!

    Here's my beyond my blog post


  4. That book sounds like a really fun project. It's too bad you didn't get it back, but the notepad is neat too.


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