Friday, June 8, 2012

Armchair BEA: The Way of the Future

As Armchair BEA draws to a close today, we're wrapping up a great week by getting and giving some tips about blogging so we can all stay energized and enthused about books and blogging well into the future. 

First, I'll dive right in and give a few.  Here are the three most important lessons I think I've learned in my blogging.

1. It doesn't have to be all about the books all the time.  - Okay, maybe some people are purists about their book blogs, and they never want to hear about anything else.  As for me (and others, I've heard), I want to know the person behind the book reviews, too, so if you've got a hankering to tell us all about your bad week at work, the amazing vacation you just arrived back from, the cooking/knitting/quilting project that is your pride and joy, what your crazy Uncle Joe said to you just last week, etc. feel free to share.  Books are great, but I love blogs that have books and a personal touch.

2. Don't overcommit.  - I'm still working on this one and pretty much failing.  There will come a time, if you write good thoughtful reviews for a long time, network with just the right people, and/or just get plain lucky that perhaps your e-mail box will find itself full of review copy offers.  Maybe you'll also be slurping up titles at NetGalley at an alarming rate.  Bottom line?  Review copies are great and a fun perk of book blogging, but there is too much of a good thing.  You will be tempted to say, yes, yes, YES!  But don't let it get to the point where you feel like you're always reading out of obligation even if the books are great and you've got the best of intentions.  Oddly enough, review copies, if not handled with care, can suck the fun and passion out of blogging much faster than you'd guess, and when it's not fun, it's just work, and really, who needs more work to do??

3. Don't forget to hang out with the nice other bloggers.  - The backbone and the best part of book blogging is and always has been commenting and community.  Don't get so caught up in trying to get a post up every day that you forget to pay your blogging buddies a visit and occasionally go out of your way to discover some new would-be blogging buddies.  We all need to feel like someone's reading all this typing, right?  ;-)  For me, it's easy to drift too far to one side or the other, only reading and commenting or only focusing on a getting content up on my own blog.  Never stop trying to find the balance, unless, well, you've already found it, in which case, you should probably draw me a road map to balance in the comments...

And, now, a question for you, good readers.  I've been blogging away here with more or less consistency since the end of 2007, and honestly, I'm starting to feel like I'm saying all the same things all the time.  Occasionally, I'm afraid I might even be boring myself.  Maybe it just feels that way, but it's hard to shake the scary feeling that I'm just...I don't know...beating a poor, dead horse.  That said, how do you keep things fresh and exciting?  I'd love to hear what you do when you feel like your blog is kind of cruising along on average-y auto-pilot, and you want to breathe a little life into it. 


  1. Some great advice topics!

    I'm a fan of running a giveaway to spice things up. It's a great way to bring new traffic as well as get the old followers to contribute again. :)

    Here are my posts for Armchair BEA:
    Day 1 | Introduction
    Day 2 | Best of 2012
    Day 2 | Giveaway | Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
    Day 3 | Networking
    Day 4 | Beyond the Blog
    BEA 2012 | Take Home Results
    Day 5 | Blogging Advice | Give or Take

  2. I so agree ,yet am so bad, at number 2. I've stopped going to netgalley until I get caught up. but then the emails come...

  3. Yes! I agree so much with number 1. I'm trying to figure out a balance on my own blog; I think it's one of those things that will be easier once I've been doing it for a while. And number 3. I'm trying much harder to visit blogs and make some new friends. It's so easy to get caught up in your own.

  4. I am pretty bad at number 1. Well, I don't know if I'm bad or I just am uncomfortable. I just don't like sharing my personal life on the internet, I suppose, and so tend to focus entirely on books on the blog. I can completely understand this getting boring, but well... I just don't want to put all my personal stuff OUT THERE, I guess. So I too worry sometimes that I'm getting dull and perhaps repetitive. It bothers me more when people don't comment on reviews of books that I REALLY loved- I get so worried that the books won't get the attention they deserve!

  5. I try to mix things up a bit but still stay within the parameters of my blog. Sometimes I tie-in current events or other things that I think might have some tangential aspect. I love your blog title. Leafing through life. Reminds me of frogs on lily pads and grasshoppers.

  6. That's great advice! Although I don't really do #1 much - I have a personal blog where all that stuff goes, since I tend to be REALLY detailed and personal in blogging about my life and kids and such, and really only want family and friends reading about it. But I try to inject some personality into my book blog as well. And definitely see the validity in your other points!

    I have no advice on your question, since I'm still pretty new to the book blogging world, but I'm interested to see what others say!

    Great post! Here's my Armchair BEA Ask the Experts post.

  7. Yeah, I used to stick just to books because I thought people would be bored of reading personal posts. When I go on a blog and see tons of random pictures about a person I don't even know, then I usually don't stick around. But I think there's definitely a way to balance things and add a personal touch.

  8. I do projects to keep things original. I am doing a photo project right now. I am constantly coming up with new schemes.