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Since So Says the Whale is still in its infancy, I’ve obviously opted to fill out the newbie questionnaire~
When did you start your blog?
It was first created last summer, but I didn’t really start posting until early fall.
Why did you start your blog?
I love, love, love posting reviews.
And forcing my opinion on others. For years and years I maintained one of the biggest music communities on livejournal. I did it all on my own and by the time I finally closed it, there were well over 2,000 members. :) That was a huge accomplishment for me! All throughout high school I wrote for – and edited – my school’s paper and reviews are something I’ve always enjoyed writing. Although I didn’t continue my journalism path in college, I did wind up writing music and book reviews for an online website. Having a book review blog is something I’ve always been interested in, but until just a few months ago, it wasn’t something I ever thought I’d actually do.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Definitely finding followers or even people interested in what I have to say. I recently got back into YA, so before that, it was even harder to find a following. It’s no secret that YA is massive and the fact that I wasn’t a part of it only made it more difficult to attract readers to my blog.
What do you find most discouraging about being a new blogger?
I’d say this goes hand-in-hand with the previous question. Seeing a month-old blog with 3,000 followers can be extremely disheartening.
What do you find most encouraging?
Comments! I love it when someone comments – especially when someone comments regularly. Also, when an author comments/randomly talks to me on twitter/messages me on goodreads. Last year I reviewed a book that is so different than what I normally like and I ended up loving the book! I flailed and squealed over it and the author ended up reading my review (on goodreads) and was ecstatic that I enjoyed it so much. Totally made my day.
What do you like best about the blogs you read? Have you tried to replicate this in your blog?
I like it when bloggers do something fun and different, whether it’s a meme they created or posting a soundtrack they made for a book. So far I haven’t done anything like that, although I have so many plans in the works! :D!!
What do you dislike about blogs you’ve read? Do you try to avoid this?
One thing I find a little off-putting is when a blogger will completely stop posting reviews/interviews/anything book-related for weeks and only talk about their favorite tv series/how their workout is going/what their dog ate for dinner. A derail here and there is totally cool with me – I’ve definitely done it before and will probably do it again at some point – but to have a blog solely dedicated to books and post about something completely unrelated? :/ Ugh.
Also, this might just be me, but another thing I’ve discovered I’m not a fan of is when a blogger will post multiple reviews (yay!) but they’ll all be for the same series. Especially if it’s a series I have no intention of reading. Ever. Now, naturally, I understand that now everyone will have the same taste in books, but I feel that to post three or four reviews in a row for the same series can potentially lose followers. There are plenty of series I love, but I try to space them out, not just in my reviews, but also in my reading. I suppose I like a little variety in my life.
Oh gosh, I hate that the complaints part is my most detailed response!! The last thing I’ll mention is a blog layout filled with banners in the sidebar; blinking, glittery graphics; massive, in-your-face fonts. Basically anything to detract from the reason I’m reading your blog. I love clean, sleek layouts.
Any advice for other new bloggers?
Commenting is huge. Sure it can be a little (okay, maybe a lot) intimidating to comment on a blog that has thousands of other readers, but it’s the simplest way I’ve found to make your presence known. I’ve discovered tons of awesome blogs by reading comments on random posts. Not only that, but it’s a great way to get to know other bloggers and to make friends. YAY FRIENDS!
Any questions you’d like to ask newbie or established bloggers?
I’m still not sure where to draw the line when it comes to “advertising” a new entry/review/etc. When does it turn into mindless spam? When I write a review, I’ll automatically update goodreads, twitter, & book blog networks, but I’m always a bit worried people will see it as spam and ultimately ignore it.
Also: negative reviews. Thankfully this hasn’t happened
yet! (& so far the only reviews authors have commented on were positive ones), but I know I would feel horrible and guilty if an author read a negative review. I know a review is my opinion and that I should feel confident and stand by what I wrote, but how do you stop yourself from feeling awful? On a similar note, if you become friends with an author, how do you make sure your reviews aren’t biased?