Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Busting the Newbie Blues

Small Review is hosting a fantastic event called Busting the Newbie Blues. It is a great way to increase blogger interaction and to start discussions about being a newbie in the book blogging world.

When did you start your blog?
About one week ago now, on December 26, 2011.

Why did you start your blog?
I read so many great books last year, so many Young Adult ones that I really wanted to talk about. Most of my friends and family don't read YA books and I told myself to get used to the fact that I wouldn't be able to talk about most of the amazing things I read with real, actual people. Then, late last year, I discovered Goodreads and Blogger and I found out that this whole, amazing world of other YA readers existed right under my nose. I just had to be a part of it.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Getting everything set up! I discovered that there are so many different decisions to make when setting up your blog. Layout. Branding. Social Media. I'll still be working on the layout off and on for a while, I'm sure. Actually posting something, whether it's a review or a meme or this survey, is still pretty intimidating. 

What do you find most discouraging about being a new blogger?
Sometimes I feel self conscious because I am an older blogger reviewing mostly Young Adult books. I am trying to get the hang of using social media networks like Twitter, Goodreads, and Google + to also interact with fellow book lovers, but sometimes it is discouraging because it is so new to me.

What do you find most encouraging?
I have already met so many great bloggers and found so many great events to participate in.

What do you like best about the blogs you read? Have you tried to replicate this in your blog?
I love blogs like Small Review that post reviews but really also try to encourage conversation and discussion. Sometimes she will leave leading discussion questions at the ends of reviews, like this one. She has amazingly fun things to read like whole posts on Discussion and Review Comparisons. I might try to ask more discussion questions at the ends of some of my reviews. After all, that is what I am here for.

What do you dislike about blogs you’ve read? Do you try to avoid this?
Playlists, music, and widgets that auto-play when you load a page.  I definitely avoid using these things on my own blog.

Any advice for other new bloggers?
Oh gosh! I am still so new myself. With all of one week's worth of blogging wisdom beneath my belt I would say just have fun. Read other blogs to see how they operate, comment often, and have a good time. Oh, and always use the Preview button. 

Any questions you'd like to ask newbie or established bloggers?
So many! How do you schedule ahead (what types of posts/how much a head of time, etc.)? How do you encourage discussion on your blogs?
ETA: I have thought of another burning question! Spoilers! I have found that a lot of reviews on the blogs I've been reading don't warn for the amount of spoilers that will be in the reviews. Do you just assume that, when reading a book review, you will basically be spoiled for the entire book? Is it okay to talk about specific spoilers in comments (even if the review contains no specific spoilers and leaves things vague)? Or would you not want to in case you spoil someone else reading the comments for the ending or something? I love to talk about books, but I don't want to leave spoilery comments if that is something that is just Not Done.

Is there anything you’d like to tell us about your blog? Feel free to link a few of your favorite posts or posts you wish had more comments.
I am a challenge collector. I can't seem to be able to stay away from them. Even now, I see new ones I want to sign up for. These are the ones that have already caught me in their webs of excitement. Feel free to drop by any time to encourage me or kick my butt or to just mock me in general.

Thank you for reading ♥


  1. Don't feel discouraged 'cause your older! *hugs* I'm 35 and have been blogging about books and reading YA for 2 1/2 years.

    Regarding your question: How do I encourage discussions? Ask your readers questions. At the end of a review ask your readers if they read the book and what they thought of INSERT NAME. You'll find readers looove to share their thoughts.

    Best of luck!

    I like your blog name btw.

  2. Thanks for your follow on my very own new blog! We started blogging one day apart and it is nice to finally meet a newbie like me! [:

    ShawnaLeAnn @ Dreaming In The Pages

  3. Hey fellow newbie! Thanks for following my blog!

    Like Juju said, don't worry about being older and reading YA books. I'm also in my twenties and I rarely look at "Adult" books anymore, just YA.lol It's like they're the hot thing right now for any age so I try not to worry about it.

    I also would love to have discussions on the end of my posts, I never thought of posting questions though. I'll have to try that. :)

    Good luck with the new blog!!!

  4. @Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com
    Thank you :) I don't even know where I got that idea and I know it's somewhat irrational. I've read a lot of awesome blogs already by people of all ages. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one.

    Thank you so much for your advice! I'm going to try to incorporate some discussion questions going forward. And thank you for stopping by.

    Lol, I had nooo idea what to name this blog but now I'm kind of fond of the name too :D

    YAY a fellow newbie :D

    This is all so new/terrifying/exciting but it does help to know I'm not the only one in the same situation. Thank you for the follow back.

    @SarahO. (Krazy Elf's Bookshelf)
    Hi, Sarah! Thank you so much for the follow back :)

    I guess being older is something that I didn't really know bothered me so much until this survey, but it's really helpful to know I'm not alone in the older group who is reading YA.

  5. Thanks for another great idea! Us newbies have to stick together. :)

    Can't wait for your next review!

  6. I definitely agree with your advice for newbies. It helps to communicate with other bloggers.

  7. @Colleen
    Yes! Newbies stick together :)

    I did not realize when I started this, but commenting can be so addicting. Now I have to actually walk away from the computer so I can get back to my first love -- reading. It's too bad I can't clone myself.

    @Sagacity Quest
    Thanks for stopping by :) It's hard to think of advice for newbies when I'm still one myself, but I think having fun is the most important part.

  8. Since when is being a 20-something too old for YA?! Oh geez, someone needed to tell me this sooner, because I've been too old for years! Lol, don't sweat age!! Think of it as the older you get, the more life experience you have to offer, and thus the more things you will have to discuss with your readers ;)

    I know a lot of experienced bloggers who schedule their posts ahead of time, but that just hasn't worked for me. I find when I start to make a schedule for my blog, it becomes more like work. Blogging is my hobby, so even though I like to post regularly, I don't like to feel like I have to - and that's what scheduling does for me.

    I'm a pretty opinionated individual, so you'll find a lot of opinions in my reviews - opinions that people will comment on, whether its to agree or disagree, and I find that helps foster discussion. I also make a point to visit other blogs, and participate in discussions there, so they'll want to come check out my blog and hopefully return the favour :)

    I'm also participating in Small's event, and if you're interested in checking out my post, you can find it here!

    Radiant Shadows

  9. Hi Eden,

    I'll turn 25 in a couple weeks and I absolutely love YAL. I wrote a Master thesis related to this topic and analysed - among other things - the crossover appeal of YAL. It's completely normal for adults to lose themselves in worlds far off from their own reality! So don't worry ... ;)
    I personally enjoy that YA authors push the limits of literature. You can do so much more in this genre than in the "more mature" ones.

    I'm with Kelly regarding the scheduling issue. Reading and blogging is something I do for pleasure. I don't want it to turn into a duty. So, try not to lose the fun!

    Maybe you'd like to stop by at my blog as I'm participating in Small's event as well. Find my questionnaire here.

    Anne (from Living in a Fairy World)

  10. Hi there Eden, thanks for the visit and the kind words! (:

    As for your question on how to schedule posts ahead, it differs for every blogger. If you write one review every week, it would make sense to only schedule one review every week. Try not to get overworked at least ^^. I personally try to publish reviews on their release date. Scheduling ahead takes away a bit of pressure.

    You will soon enough find your place in the blogging community. And I will tell you a little secret; there are SO many older book bloggers out there that love YA. You don't have to feel self-concious at all!

    I hope my advice was a bit usefull (:

  11. I'm so glad you're participating! Your blog is very aesthetically pleasing and I love your little bear.

    Don't feel badly about being older! I'm in my late 20s and the majority of the YA blogs I read are written by people like me (erm, very much not YAs anymore!)

    Thank you so much for the kind words you said about me and my blog. You've made me blush :)

    Haha, yes, that preview button is a necessity! :P So many times my post looks ok and then I look at it in preview and all of my pictures are in the wrong places and there's a bunch of odd spaces everywhere!

    I'm pretty obsessive with scheduling. I feel less stressed the more I have scheduled, so I try to schedule a few weeks, or preferably, a month in advance. Otherwise I feel like I have deadlines looming all the time. The only posts I don't schedule too far in advance are the IMM posts, because, well, I don't know what I'll get! If you're wondering about how to actually physically schedule a post, I wrote about that here.

    I am a challenge addict, too! Good luck! :D

  12. @Kelly
    Haha, it is not too old, not at ALL. I have been cured of my insecurities thanks to all the lovely support here. Thank you, seriously.

    True story, I just discovered the little scheduling feature in Blogger this morning! How neat is that? I can't imagine using it for anything but memes or discussion, though. If I have written a review or something I just want to share it with the world as soon as possible. I definitely don't want it to start to feel like a job. I already have one of those :)

    I love opinions! It's so great because everyone notices different things. You could have 10 bloggers read a book and each one could have such a different take. And you may not agree with everyone but it's fun to have others point out things you didn't notice the first read around.

    I'm so glad you're participating in this event as well. Your post will definitely be my next stop.

    Thank you so much for your advice, Anne. Your thesis sounds really interesting and it is good to know that my indulgences are totally normal :)

    I love that YA Lit pushes so many limits. It is really surprising at times because there are some dark themes but the writing is so good, I can see why so many people and not just teens really enjoy it.

    I will definitely be checking out your questionnaire. I'm trying to get to them all and they're all so great. So much great advice and so many really kind bloggers!

    Thank you, Celine. Your advice has been super helpful.

    I'm trying to take it slow and not do too much at first. I hope that if I just focus on reviews and completing my challenges for a bit, it won't become too stressful and I'll continue having as much fun as I'm having now ;D

    @Small Review
    SMALL ♥ You are my blogging hero! Your blog is just such a fun place to be because there is so much original, fun stuff going on. Like this event. Thank you for running it. I've read so much great advice already and I'm not even halfway through reading all the entries.

    It's little things that make me so grateful for the Preview button. A background on an image or a typo here and there.

    A whole month, wow! That is a lot of scheduling. I am so amazed at everyone who can do that.

    It is good to know there is a fellow challenge addict around :D

  13. Hi There,

    I'm a new follower. Thanks for visiting my blog. I'm shocked at how new to blogging you are because your blog looks great. Don't feel shy about being an older YA reader. There are many of us out there. In fact, I'll stand up and say I'm a 40+ YA reader.

    So, my first piece of advice to you would be ditch the comment thingy. It takes too long to put in those letters/numbers. Its really hard when you are surfing from a mobile device.

    As for your question on spoilers, they are fine to include in a review as long as you can come up with a way to warn the reader FAR in advance they are upcoming or if you find a way to hide them and make a reader highlight or click on something to read them.

    Regarding scheduling, I work 12hr shifts and use this feature to schedule content to be posted while I'm at work. I sit down and write when I'm off. I try and write as many posts as I can so I develop a sort of backlog. Then I'm always able to keep the fresh content rolling.

    Well, Eden, it was nice to meet you. Best of luck with your new blog.

  14. Hey! :) I'm a new follower of your brand new shiny blog. I really like the green you have used.

    I can't wait to see what you have in store for your blog. I'm off to check out your reviews now, and if you ever have any questions about anything I would be happy to help :)


  15. Aw, you're making me blush! Thank you for saying such kind things. I'm SO happy this event has been helpful to you. Really, it's people like you and everyone else who has commented and participated that make this event what it is. I'm very thankful to everyone who has joined in.

    As far as spoilers go, there are a bunch of ways you can handle it, but here's my personal opinion on it (which is by no means an "authority"):

    I don't like it at all when a blogger has spoilers in their review and they don't warn about it. I usually stop reading that blog then unless I've already read the book they're reviewing. I don't want to be surprised by a spoiler. That said, I don't mind at all if a blogger puts up a warning on the post saying that the review will contain spoilers. Then I know I can just avoid that one review and I'm still safe with all the other reviews they write.

    As for hiding spoilers like Gina suggested, I think that's a great way to talk about the spoilers but not ruin it for everyone who hasn't read the book yet. There are lots of nifty ways to make spoiler tags that hide the text unless you click a button, but these are terrible for feed readers (like Google Reader). Many feed readers can't parse that fancy code, so your spoiler shows up in the reader and everyone who reads your blog that way will get a face full of spoiler. The best way to avoid that is to highlight your spoiler text with a color, and then make your spoiler text the same color you used for the highlight. Does that make sense? (Check out the summary section in my review here for an example.)

    I try to avoid spoilers in the comments and if I want to discuss a particular spoiler with the blogger then I email them.

    I hope that helps! Again, I'm just one opinion of many :)

  16. Hi there! I'm a new follower and I also like your design.

    I plan my posts a week in advance, no more and I participate in a few memes and hops, and I fill the rest with reviews or a discussion post once in a while.

    I work full-time and I'm also taking some graduate courses and I time blogging becomes very limited, which makes me anxious.

    I don't include spoilers in my reviews or a re-count of what happened in the story (I really don't like to know that much detail myself!) My reviews include my observations, feelings, I talk about the characters, the plot and the writing.

  17. @Gina @ My Precious
    Hi, Gina :) Thank you so much for following!

    On the comment thingy, I have to confess. I'm really not sure what's going on with that. Is that some setting that I can change in Blogger? I thought maybe it had something to do with the Spam detection but I couldn't find a way to turn that off in the Settings. Oh no :( That is kind of distressing. I certainly don't want to make it harder for someone to comment here.

    I definitely don't want to spoil anyone in reviews or comments if they aren't prepared for it. I think Small has some great tips on it and if that works for feed readers then I will probably use that option, but will try to avoid spoilers in my reviews in comments.

    @Michelle @ Book Briefs
    Thank you for your lovely words of encouragement, Michelle. And thank you for the follow :)

    On a side note, is that your cat in your icon? It's so adorable! I'm such a cat person. Also, I see you are doing a read-a-long in your blog. Those sound like so much fun, though I don't have that particular book at the moment. I love discovering fund new events.

    @Small Review
    Small, thank you again for your amazing advice.

    I didn't even think about spoilers until I found myself reading a review and excitedly commenting about a huge spoiler. I can't even believe it didn't occur to me before now. I really like the idea of hiding the spoilers by making the font and background the same color. If that works for feed readers, it seems like the best option. I use Google Reader a ton and I would hate to be spoiled that way unless it was warned for in advance.

    Hi Liza :D Welcome, welcome. Thank you for the follow and your words on the design. I went back and forth with it, but I think the leaves go nicely with my lovely panda.

    My blogging time is so limited, too. It also makes me anxious too when I haven't posted anything new in a few days. I'm glad I'm not alone in that.

    The spoiler thing, it is definitely something I will be more concious of going forward. I know that different people read reviews for different reasons, but I don't want to spoil anyone who is reading one of my reviews but maybe hasn't read the book. All of those things that you mentioned are a good focus for reviews. Thank you for your advice :)

  18. For the comment word verification--yes, definitely remove it, please :) I rarely get any spam so it really doesn't protect you from anything and just is an inconvenience for people who want to comment. Don't worry that you've had it up, almost every newbie does because it's the default setting. :)

    Now here's how you remove it:

    -Go to settings. Do you see at the top right under settings you have a few link options (basic, publishing, formatting, comments, etc)?

    -Click on the link that says "comments"

    -Scroll down until you see a section called "Show word verification for comments?"

    -Select "no"

    -Save your settings

    If you need anymore help, please don't hesitate to email me. I'll send some visuals :)

  19. Hi! Welcome to book blogging and I know you're going to love it just as much as I do. It's a great community of people and you'll definitely find your place :)

    Now, to answer your two questions:

    I try to be good and schedule ahead at least a week's worth of posts. This month, however, I'm fortunate enough to have scheduled most of it already - thank goodness for reviews I had to play catch-up on! I usually participate in two memes (Top Ten Tuesday and TGIF), but other than that, it's all reviews and blog tours.

    I'm still trying to figure out how to inspire discussions on my posts. I have this idea I've just stumbled across, so hopefully it pans out ;)

    And spoilers are tricky. I used to include some if I couldn't avoid it, but I've learned to not do that anymore. If they're unavoidable, I always appreciate a warning.

    It's a pleasure to meet you!

  20. @Small Review
    YAY! Okay, I think I have it turned off now. I couldn't see the option at all when I was using the new blogger interface, so that might be confusing for other newbies too. I switched to the old interface, turned it off like you said, and then switched back. So hopefully that works now.

    THANK YOU SO MUCH! I was looking everywhere for that but couldn't find it and it was driving me crazy.

    Hi, Alexa. Thank you :) I just know I'm going to love it a lot too. I'm already a bit addicted.

    I might borrow your idea a bit and do some reviews for stuff I've recently read. I've been reading the same book for a week and I'm finding it hard to get through.

    I've very paranoid now about spoiling the books too much. I'll definitely be avoiding them as much as possible.

    Thank you very much for stopping by and it was nice to meet you too :D

  21. Like everyone else has said...there is no such thing as too old for YA! I'm a 20-something too and I read almost exclusively YA :)

    In terms of spoilers in reviews, what I do is make the spoiler text white (since that's the background colour of the post) and then have the reader highlight to read the spoiler. (Or occasionally, I'll word something vaguely if I feel like I don't really need to go into the specifics of the spoiler.)

    Also, if you're a challenge collector, perhaps you might want to check out my "New Adult" reading challenge? *is hopeful* :D

    Anyway, welcome to the blogosphere!! If you'd like to drop by my own "Busting the Newbie Blues" post, it's here .

  22. @danya
    Hi Danya :D

    Thank you so much for the great advice! Everyone has been amazing with their advice. I think I'm going to try to keep things vague, but it's such a fine line, you know?

    I have just signed up for the New Adult challenge, by the way. Thank you for pimping it here because I love New Adult as a genre. I'd love to see it get as much attention as the YA genre.

  23. Congrats on starting up your blog, new follower I'll keep checking back to see what's happening on your blog


  24. Congratulations on starting your blog! I think it's a little scary for everyone starting out, but the good news is that there are a lot of great bloggers out there (including the lovely Small Review!) who are ready and willing to help.

    Good luck with it in the coming year. :)

    1. Thank you, Wendy!

      I know, there have been so many amazing bloggers willing to help and offer up their advice. I feel so welcomed into the community and I know it's only going to get better :)

  25. Wow , a really newbie :). Don't overwhelm yourself because you have to think you have to post every day . Im a new follower and Good Luck

  26. Hi, I'm participating in Busting the Newbie Blues, too, and it's nice to meet other newbies! I just started my blog recently, too (only 2 weeks ago, yeesh!).

    As others have already said in previous comments, don't worry about being an adult reading YA - it's quite common these days, I think! It took me a little while to be comfortable with perusing the Teen section in my library, but I always see other adults there or in the YA section at my local book stores.

    As far as spoilers go, I think it's always best to warn your readers (whether you're about to write a spoiler in a post or in a comment) by simply stating "Spoiler Alert" or something. That way if someone hasn't read the book they can simply skip over the spoiler and you can still discuss what you wish to discuss with others who have read the book. I'm really against spoilers myself, but I have no problems with them if someone just announces them, because then I won't accidentally read a spoiler, or if I've actually read the book I'll go ahead and read them.

    I'm looking forward to reading more from you!

    Andrea (New Follower)
    The Overstuffed Bookcase