Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Armchair BEA: Blogger Development

Design credit: Sarah of Puss Reboots
Today’s post for Armchair BEA is all about blogger development. I like to think I’ve come a long way since I started my blog two and a half years ago. I probably have, but I also know there’s a lot more I could do. Even though I’m not always sure what those other things are!

One thing I know for sure is that I’m always a little jealous of the professional looking blogs out there. One blogger I follow just redesigned her site and brought on a friend to be another reviewer. I adore her new site (you can see Bookish Comforts here) and was blown away when she said they did it themselves. This made me realize it’s time to learn some new skills, brush up on some old ones, and design something myself.  Of course, I just need to find the time to do these things. These sites just look so clean and fresh and I want something like that for myself.

About a year into my blog I because an associate reviewer at Novel Escapes. This has helped me read even more books that I wouldn’t have otherwise and it’s helped me gain a new friend in Lydia, the woman who runs the site. I don’t think I could have asked for a better person to work with because she has been so incredibly when I’ve been delayed in sending reviews or reading books due to several crazy life changes. The reviews I write for her are still in my own voice but I notice that they’re just a little bit different from what I write for my own site. Interesting to note, I think.

When I first started reviewing I didn’t realize how big this book blogging community really is. Because of that, I just started writing in a way that felt right to me – and I still do that. If something reminds me of a story from my own life, I’m going to include it. I love personal touches when I read other blogs and I try to make mine fun and entertaining – and personal.

I also think it’s so important to be honest when writing a review. Let me be clear on what I mean by honest. I don’t mean trashing the book or the author. That’s just rude and inconsiderate. I mean actually writing what I think instead of worrying about hurting the author’s feelings. Is that easy? Absolutely not. Thankfully, I haven’t had to deal with this too often. There are really only a handful of books that I didn’t love, or didn’t like as much as I thought I would, and have caused me some issues when writing the reviews. What makes me feel better about my being honest approach is that I’ve had a few authors tell me that they love my reviews simply because I’m honest. I’m very careful with my five star reviews on Goodreads (Side note: I don’t star things on my blog because it was just one more step I didn’t feel like taking and I also usually don’t put up my reviews on Goodreads – not because I don’t want to, just because I’m lazy. That will be changing soon. I hope.) and will only rate a book that high if I was absolutely, positively in love with it. That does happen though, I promise!

One of the other things I really want to do is create a review archive type page. My mom even suggested I do that, which I thought was cute. It’ll mean a lot of work since I have so many reviews now but it’s something that should be done. I can’t decide if I want to list the review by author, title, or rating. Thoughts or suggestions on that?

I also want to get in touch with more publishers. I have a fabulous relationship with Random House of Canada (the fact that I interned there earlier this year definitely helped matters) but there are still a few other houses that I’d like to work with. Progress is being made but these days I’m more focused on getting myself a job in publishing than getting myself on a list for review copies!

Well, this has been a pretty rambly post but that really shows you what I’m like. I tend to go off  on tangents but I usually always end up back where I wanted to be. I hope you enjoyed this post! Tonight I’ll bounce around the blogosphere and see what everyone else has to say about their own development and see if I can pick up any tips!


  1. Being honest in your review is a fantastic thing. I agree with the not bashing the author, but I know some of them do take any sort of negativity badly. Regardless, honest reviews are the way to go!

  2. Honesty does not have to be cruel. And I love your rambling post. I shows me you are really thinking about your blog and your voice.
    Oh and I am totally on board with clean and crisp blog design. I am thinking about tinkering with mine this summer because I think it is getting cluttered.


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