Busting The Big Blogger Blues: A Survey And Event

So, I was browsing my google reader when I came across a survey on Smash Attack’s blog for a Busting The Newbie Blues event. The survey was geared at established bloggers, and as a fan of talking about the process of blogging, I had to just click on over and find out what it’s all about. Apparently Busting The Newbie Blues is an annual event hosted by Small Review and this year Ruby Reads has teamed up to host a sister event for bigger bloggers, obviously called Busting The Big Blogger Blues. I KNOW, that’s a lot of introduction, but I love the concept so I’ll obviously participate.

When did you start your blog? 

I started my blog in July 2009.
Do you ever still feel like a newbie?
Not anymore, I think I’m well established and have carved out my own place in the book blogosphere.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far? Did you make any mistakes new bloggers can learn from?
You want me to be brutally honest? Standing up for one of my friends who was harassed via a fake twitter account/blog. It was terrifying to write up that whole post, but I think the truth sets you free.
As for mistakes, I make them all the time. Don’t censor yourself, but at the same time be prepared to back up what you say and to be called on it.
What did you find most discouraging about being a new blogger? How did you deal with this?
This is kind of funny, but when I was new I used to follow a ton of blogs. I had a few followers too, right. Not many. But I would leave lots of comments. And I’d notice in the follower box someone would be following all these blogs but not mine and I took it personally. I know, that was dumb. And I’d meet all these people who already had cliques and friend groups and be jealous because I wanted to be in the friend groups. Anyways, I just dealt with it by keeping my head up and continuing to reach out and be social and comment on other blogs. FYI commenting and just TALKING to people will get you very far in your blogging experience.
What do you find most encouraging?
Genuine connections. Look dude, I know when someone is copy pasting the same comment on every blog, I was not born yesterday. But when someone leaves me a heartfelt comment or tweet or says HEY WE LOVE YOUR LACK OF FILTER, that’s encouraging.
If you could go back in time and speak with your newbie self, what five bits of wisdom would you tell yourself?
Don’t get caught up in the followers game.
Work hard and you will see results.
If you have an opinion, share it.
Don’t be afraid to say hello to your blogging idols. They are human and awesome and one day you will have a great dinner with one of them.
Buy an agenda book now, since you kind of suck at google calendar.
What do you like best about the blogs you read? Have you tried to replicate this in your blog?
I love humor and discussion posts. Absolutely, I think I naturally have a decent sense of humor, I am okay with making fun of myself and joking and talking about who is a douchecanoe in the books I read. I love discussion posts, because to me when you devote the space to an opinion, even one I disagree with, it shows passion. All of the blogs I am head over heels in love with blog with passion and that’s something I strive for as well.
What do you dislike about blogs you’ve seen? Do you try to avoid this?
I hate the followers game — you know OMG FOLLOW ME FOLLOW ME CONTEST FOLLOW FOLLOW. Look, it’s great to build an audience, it truly is, but I think a lasting audience is going to stay because you are putting out relevant, quality content. Not interest that lasts so long as a rafflecopter count down. And yes, I do avoid this.
I will admit that my traffic and stats matter to me, but I have a platform where I want to build a sustainable audience, one that is there because they like my honesty or my humor or my taste in books.
How did you bring your blog to the attention of so many people? 
SEO, baby. SEO.(Google it). Also, I am quite brash and open and honest on twitter. Some people dislike that which is fine, but some people are drawn to it, I suppose. I spend a lot of time networking. A LOT OF TIME. Think a whole Sunday afternoon to visit new to me blogs on In My Mailbox and leaving individual, unique comments.
When and how did you get your first ARC (or first few ARCs)? 

To be 100% honest, I don’t even remember. I started out reviewing library books and books I purchased, and eventually grew an audience where publishers offered me copies. I’m pretty positive that ARCs have no bearing at all on how established someone is as a blogger. I’ve seen plenty of blogs that I wouldn’t exactly add to my google reader get lots of ARCs, and other blogs who have been at it for a LONG time refuse review copies. What I think being established boils down to is making a name and reputation for yourself, so when people hear your name or your blog name — they know who you are. Like when I hear The Story Siren – I think oh, Kristi she’s the YA queen. Or when I hear Anna Reads, I think awesome stick figure videos. Or when I hear The Book Smugglers, I think analytical, thoughtful reviews of speculative fiction.

About April (Books&Wine)

April is 30 years old and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and baby, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

Comments

  1. Thanks for posting this! I’m not sure if this is creepy or not, but I love question/answer posts and learning more about other bloggers aside from just book stuff.

    I totally agree about the followers thing. I had GFC on my blog for a while but then was like, meh. Why? If they like me, they’ll stick me in their reader. Hopefully I made the right choice!

  2. What’s a douchecanoe? Also, you are totally right — be you and stick to it, and people will get to know you and you will establish yourself based on that. PS: When I think of you I think of pretty hair and honesty and making me laugh!

  3. Jac @ for love and books says:

    I spent a few months in that “I wanna be part of the cool kids clique” phase of book blogging — we all go through that at some point I think. Once I figured out that it didn’t really matter, that I was doing this for me and for fun, I felt like my reviews started getting better and my. Log in general was more of something I would visit. To me, a few dedicated visitors is far better thana huge number in that GFC box that don’t ever visit or only leave cookie cutter comments.

    And your lack of filter is what I love about your blog 🙂

  4. You have such solid insight, April. Well done, my friend.

    I just may have to give this a whirl…

  5. Thank you for the insight! I’ve only just now decided to jump into the blogging world myself, after following for the outside for a long time. Your reflections make good advice for those of us newbies. I agree with what you, and Jac said above…I realize that blogging is a public forum, but I am truly doing this for myself and my own improvement. I feel like writing posts and reviews makes me think more deeply about the materials I consume, and the blogging community creates a collaborative atmosphere that I’ve been missing since college.

    • I am glad you joined the blogging world 🙂

      And for me, I feel the same way. I think more about what I read and the publishing community at large than I did before.

      I’m glad you are able to find that collaborative atmosphere again.

  6. Great answers and advice. I used to get caught up in the followers game when I was a newbie. I guess I just felt like an outsider not invited to the cool kids’ table. But once I started networking and commenting my butt off, I made those meaningful connections I so wanted. And soon after I realized that loyal readers were much more important than that follower number.

    And yeah, your opinions and lack of filter are my favourite part of your blog.

  7. I always love reading these surveys too and learning more about bloggers! I might have to do this one too 🙂

  8. Thank you for the advice. I have only been blogging on a regular basis since January 2010 and still have to get rid of the newbie blanket. I got some sage advice back in November and am not starting to focus on how many people comment; its hard, but I understand that one can’t comment on anything. I realize also that I maybe I need to flesh out my reviews a bit before I get comments on them.

  9. GOSH, this helps. And it’s got me thinking about a lot of things.

    Hehe, when I think April, I think of that funny, sassy, quirky blogger with the hilarious vlogs and honest reviews 😉

  10. what i dislike most about blogs out there, and lisa the nerd hit on it briefly, is the meme thing. i have one or two that i’ll participate in when i need some filler, but oh my gah when it is all the time it drives me crazy.

    i’m not much of a rant-crazy person, but i will rant.like a madwoman on steroids about that. which is probably unfair since other people would probably find something equally annoying about my blog to rant about.

    i do LOVE comments, but i don’t seem to get as many on my reviews as on the stupid memes i do. i get TONS of hits and views via my stats, but my comments don’t reflect that, which is a bit frustrating for me – just being honest here, considering i’m still a newbie with a small blog.

  11. and for the record, the memes i participate in aren’t stupid, that was part of my rant. 🙂 /endrant

  12. It’s great to see the effort you’ve put into your site, which leads to positive results. People can’t expect things to happen straight away it takes time.

  13. Great advice! I need to work a bit more on leaving better comments. I know how much I love when someone leaves a really awesome comment for me. I want to brighten people’s days like that!

  14. I really like this post. I like your honesty, and I know you’ll tell it like it is. It isn’t sugar coded.

    I follow very few book blogs now. Only the ones that I see unique content, or have a voice I can relate to.

    I also hate the FOLLOW ME FOLLOW ME thing. I get comments all the time that say, I left you a comment, follow me back. I’d rather people follow me for my taste in books and discussions. I’d rather keep it small like I am now and have plenty of interaction with fellow readers. Even though it would be GREAT if my blog would grow more.

    Great post!

  15. Oh. My. God. You are basically my new favourite person. And now the comment you left on my blog means EVEN MORE because not only do I like you but I completely RESPECT your outlook on blogging.

    Total renewal of faith in the blogosphere.

  16. Awesome advice and you are SO right about the followers game.

  17. First off, I’m glad I found your blog because you made me laugh out loud. You had one of the most humorous yet heartfelt and useful Busting the Newbie Blues posts I’ve read so far. Thank you!
    The stuff about unique comments has seriously affected me, but my commenting juices have kind of run out, so I’m going to sign off saying that it was an awesome post and I will hopefully remember to come back for more awesomeness 😉

    Ana @ BookSpark

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