|Click the now deceased Tootsie Pop Owl to get to the retro version of Book Blogging 101
Book Blogging “101” With Fantastyfreak’s stand-in: Muzzy (obvious copyright infringement..)
In the past, I’ve commissioned the Tootsie Pop Owl until he got one too many licks in his perpetual game of trying to get to the core/essence of the Tootsie Pop. Also, I sorta had some legality issues, and in the name of copyright infringement, I decided to veer more towards a British spokesperson, who also is bilingual.If you don’t know who Muzzy is, watch this fantastic commercial that is comprised of cheesy nineties hair styles, and outdated clothing! (Plus, the spokes-lady, with the cheery voice, could totally pull off a David Bowie ala. Labyrinth look)
Oftentimes, my blog posts are exceedingly long to the extent where they could easily pass as the endless stream of overwrought exposition text at the beginning of the Star War films.
Since this particular blog contains some very important information for beginner bloggers, Muzzy will be interviewing me in English, not Spanish, French, Italian, or derivatives/dialects of these languages.
Blogging Advice for Beginners, Featuring Muzzy as the Interviewer.
Muzzy: So Fantastyfreak, you’ve been blogging for quite some time. How does one start a blog? We know you can’t just have your blog posts featured as Facebook notes. One has to use either Blogger or WordPress to first create a blog.
FF:Muzzy, I would advise beginner bloggers to use blogger because I find WordPress to be overly complicated, and I think most beginner bloggers are hindered by the fear of the technical aspect of blog creation more-so than the writing the posts. There are many readers that would love to express their love for literature, and promote titles that they found to be worthwhile and worthy of being recommended to other readers that might find such a book just as captivating. Blogger has a great tutorial for creating the blog,and the various layout options are neatly organized and clearly labeled. I’ve tried WordPress before, and just got lost trying to create the layout and place banners on the side of the page afterwords. I’m not dissuading people from using WordPress, but I personally find Blogger to overall be a much easier program for those who are not tech-savvy. I know, I’m not. I still have problems with setting hanging indents for Works Cited pages on college papers. If you don’t know how to use Blogger, I suggest doing a Google search for “Tips on how to Start a Blog on Blogger.” Right now, I don’t feel like my technical instructions about how to start a blog would be very helpful, when there are other spaces on the internet dedicated to simpler, more effective instructions on such things.
Beginner bloggers should be judicious about what books they commit to reviewing and also realistically ask themselves: “Will I really read this?” When your blog develops more of a presence online, you’ll begin getting inquiries from publishers, and its easy to think to yourself gleefully “OHHH!! Free BOOKS!!” No, you must stamp those unrealistic impulses out, and try to only commit to reviewing books that you really believe you might like. Realistically, even a novel’s premise may be unsatisfactory and is not a good judge on whether or not you’ll actually enjoy the book because the writing itself might be riddled with errors. That is inevitable;therefore, its best to try to set achievable book review goals. You are bound to despise some books. I’m a very picky reader and can tell that I won’t enjoy something by approximately ten pages. Remember, publishers and authors are depending on you to help promote a forthcoming release, thus its polite to try and review their books that you reply in return with absolution. At the beginning of blogging, I was far too disorganized and a bit trigger-happy. I tended to say “Yes” to everything. In the last year, I’ve striven to “politiely” say no, and bid the author good luck on their book release. While everyone should have fun blogging, it still requires responsibility, and I’ve recently been trying to “atone” for my blogging related sins.
Muzzy: What about contests? Do you recommend them? I hear many beginning bloggers quizzically ask:”How can I have fancy graphics or contests?” How many contests should a book blog have, and just have flashy should the colors and graphics be?
Recently, I feel like I don’t do enough of the former, but I’m trying to reach out more. In the last two years, I’ve been sharing my Anne Rice-related blog posts with members of her Facebook page, and I’ve been indebted to Anne Rice’s active presence with fans for keeping things here enlivened. My book blog, at one point, nearly went extinct, until I find myself remembering that blogging is not stringently attached to how many followers or comments one compiles. It is about stretching yourself creatively and having the opportunity to be able to autonomously maintain your own media space of sorts. Be yourself when blogging, and never succumb to outside pressure to have a blog that is uniform, and not unique! Also, do what you feel is most comfortable with your schedule. Oftentimes, I drastically slow things down during my college semester because I’m a writing tutor/full-time college student outside of blogging. Blogging might remain a summer activity for now.
Muzzy: We are getting down to the metaphoric wire, Fantastyfreak. I have only two more questions, before that scary lady (my agent) with the frizzy blonde hair comes back to forcefully record more videos for the BBC. Anyways, How does want get to BEA, and should prospective BEA attendees make business cards for their blog?
Anyways, my first year of Book Expo America was pretty overwhelming, and taxing. I literally dragged four bags of books home on the Amtrak train. Again, I had a little too much fervor about Book Expo America, and took one too many ARCs. You should always be judicious when choosing ARCs, and realistically think about how you’ll transport them home. Otherwise, the experience will be marred by the long trek from the Javitz Center to Penn station or elsewhere.
Muzzy: A lot of bloggers feel discouraged after their third review. What are the best way of combating the feeling of being in the “blogger doldrums?
When you’re in the doldrums, don’t keep burying yourself further in the pit, but find creative ways of getting yourself out! We all get discouraged sometimes, and therefore it is best to just keep pushing yourself and set achievable goals for yourself. If your blog is something that is not daunting, but is something that is individualized and creative, blogging will not become the drudgery that is can become if you don’t constantly remind yourself that “the blog is your property, but its also somewhere where you share in the love and promotion of literature!”
Muzzy: Thanks Fantastyfreak for this stimulating interview, though it is still as lengthy as your other posts!