Wednesday, May 29, 2013

ArmchairBEA 2013: Blogger Development

Design credit: Nina of Nina Reads

Today is day two of Armchair BEA and we are discussing blogger development.

Prompt for the day: How do you develop yourself as a blogger. Have you branched out into your community? Do you partner with other bloggers? Have you gone “pro” or begun supplementing your income through your blog? Are you a long-term blogger, and how has your online personality developed over the years? These are simply ideas. Think development and tell us what comes to mind.

I've been blogging here at Always With a Book for just over 3 years now. It started out as a way to share my thoughts about the books I've read and seems to have grown from there. I don't partner with any other bloggers, I don't supplement my income through my blog, and I don't claim to know it all. But, I do know that just in the three years, my blog has evolved, as have I as a blogger.

Memes: When I first started blogging, I did a lot of these - sometimes 4 or 5 in one week. I found that this was a good way to get involved in the book blogging community and seeing all the different blogs out there. After a while, though, this got to be too many. I stopped doing some, started doing new ones and now, I religiously do three each week:
  • Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews on Sundays - I use this to track what books I got each week
  • It's Monday...What Are You Reading? hosted by Book Journey on Mondays - I use this to keep organized - what I read the past week, my upcoming read and reviews I still need to get to
  • Sound Bytes hosted by Devourer of Books on Fridays - a place to link up audio reviews

Blog Tours: I remember being so surprised and humbled when I got my first request to read and review a book for an author - I couldn't believe someone wanted my opinion! Since that first one, I've done quite a few review requests from authors, publishers, and publicists. I have developed some good relationships by doing this and really do my best to stick to the date agreed upon for the review. I keep a calendar just for review requests and make sure to consult it when a new request comes in - I try to not double book.  This calendar also helps me in determining what I should or can read next - do I have a tour coming up that I need to still read the book for or can I squeeze in a library book or book of my own. I've definitely been more selective with the books I choose to take on, but that's only because I have so many of my own books that I would really like to read.


Reading Challenges: I love doing these challenges and I am pretty selective about the ones I choose to join. I try to join ones that stretch me as a reader. This year, I joined a classics reading challenge because I've been wanting to read some classics and just never seem to get to them. I'm a pretty competitive person, so if I sign up for a challenge, I want to be able to complete it. I have a few that I do every year, like the library challenge (I love supporting the libraries), the e-book challenge, and the audio book challenge, and then I try to add a few new ones each year, too. This year the new ones were the classics reading challenge, the first reads reading challenge (reading new-to-me authors), and the tea and books reading challenge (reading books over 650 pages).

Blog Events: I love participating in events that lots of other book bloggers are doing - like ArmchairBEA, Bloggiesta, Audio Book Week and even some of the read-a-thons. I love the discussion posts that occur during these events, especially since that is typically not something that I do on this blog (although it's something I do want to eventually feature here on the weekly or even monthly basis). I recently joined two online book clubs - She Reads and Book Lovers Unite Book Club. This is a great way to get involved with the blogging community while sharing a common book. So far, I'm enjoying it.

Twitter: I finally decided to jump on the Twitter bandwagon. I use it primarily for my blog - although I do follow a few General Hospital links. This has been a lot of fun - it's a great way to quickly connect with fellow readers and I've even found new blogs to follow as a result. It's also a great way to find out about other bookish happenings, for instance through twitter I found out about the Book Lovers Unite Book Club and also about an in-person event happening not to far from me - Beach Reads 2013 being held at the Princeton Library.


Well, there you have how my blog and I have developed over the past three years. How about you? What have you done to develop your blog or yourself as a blogger?


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Previous ArmchairBEA 2013 posts:

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16 comments

  1. I really like book challenges as well. It gives a little bit of direction to my otherwise aimless reading. And it is always great to see what others are reading.

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    1. Yes, it is a great way to see what others are reading!

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  2. Kristin
    Thanks for visiting my post. I feel honoured because your blog is a top favourite with me - I guess it is the one I most visit.
    Love this post. I can imagine there would be some conflict around reading your own books you want and ones you are asked to review.
    As a newbie I am doing some of the things you suggest. Armchair BEA is probably the 1st biggest event for me. As I am still a full time teacher for me the tension is between work and reading and blogging. So for me it has to be really small. Yes I too am new on twitter and I know gradually I will build up relationships with the reading community.
    Kathryn

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    1. I think you're doing a great job so far!!! Definitely look for posts about Bloggiesta - I think the next one is in August - that's the time when a lot of us work on our blogs at the same time and there's a lot of visiting and chatting going on. I get a ton done, and love that a bunch of other bloggers are doing the same things. Plus it's a great time to learn new tips/ideas about blogging.

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    2. Thanks for the tip on Bloggiesta, will look out for it. :)

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    3. They have a website just for the event - I have it listed on my sidebar.

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  3. It was nice being able to read a little more about how your blog has evolved, especially seen as I have only been following a few months now. I'm coming up to the six month mark with my blog so its safe to say I have a long way to go in the developing department!

    The only thing I currently actively participate in, which features on your list, is meme's. That and interacting with bloggers, as well as posting regularly, are what have got me to where I am currently. I'm toying with the idea of taking part in a challenge or two next year, but there are so many out there I have no idea where to start. Haha!

    Thanks for sharing Kristin! :-)

    My Book Bubble

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    1. Even though I've been blogging for just over 3 years, I still feel like I have a lot to learn!

      I love the reading challenges - great way to find some new blogs and see what others are reading. Just start with one or two that you think you would be successful at. They all tend to have a few levels within their challenges, so it all depends on your reading preferences.

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  4. Meme are a great way to start out as a new blogger! I am not on Twitter at the moment. Maybe in the future.

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    1. Yes, they really are. Twitter is lots of fun - but it can be addicting...I find myself checking out twitter instead of reading!!!

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  5. I am going to have to check out this Sound Bytes meme! I have recently started listening to a lot of audiobooks so this may be something I'm interested in doing in the future!

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    1. Definitely check it out. Also, June is Audio Book Month and Jen at Devourer of Books does a whole week dedicated to Audio Books - there will be prompts everyday and a place to link up audio book reviews. It's a great time to find out about the different aspects of audio books - different narrators, what other people listen to, etc. I'll be participating so be on the lookout for all those posts!

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  6. Wow! You are inspiring with how organized you keep your book reading schedule! Wish I could do that...maybe someday. Love your post being a 3 month old blogger :)
    Steph @ The Unlikely Librarian

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    1. Oh...thanks. I find that if I don't keep myself organized with the books, then I end up missing dates for scheduled reviews. I can be pretty anal about things - don't even get me started on reading series!!! :-)

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  7. I've just started joining blog tours in recent months and they are a ton of fun...though sometimes when I'm set to review a book I'm terrified I won't like it. I keep a calender for such things as well, it makes things so much easier and there is a lot less confusion.

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    1. I've had that fear a few times, too. Luckily, I haven't really had that happen, though. I am pretty selective about the books I take on - just because I feel that it takes time to read them and with so many books out there that I want to read, I'm not going to take on something that doesn't fit my tastes.

      I would go crazy without my calendar!!!

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