When did you start your blog?
A little over a year ago.
Do you ever still feel like a newbie?
Absolutely. I think I've gained plenty of experience in over a year of blogging, but I often still feel lost and shy about certain aspects of blogging. For example, even after over a year of blogging, I still feel as though I am unworthy of receiving ARCs. So I don't request them.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far? Did you make any mistakes new bloggers can learn from?
Blogging often and regularly is tough for me. When I was a new blogger, I used to try and fill in the gaps between my reviews with tons of memes. It took me awhile to realize that those memes weren't exactly quality posts, just filler. Don't get me wrong, memes don't have to be filler; I can think of many that are either entertaining or informative or both. But I would recommend keeping your focus on creating quality review posts, and then on memes if you have the extra time. Don't let your blog get completely bogged down by memes.
What did you find most discouraging about being a new blogger? How did you deal with this?
I was completely overwhelmed, and still am, by the amount of books some people seem to be able to read in a year. How can I compete with that? I've always been an extremely slow reader; I've even been tested for any reading disabilities, but they found none. Just slow. I still struggle with the pressure I feel as a blogger to read many books in a year and read them fast. I just have to remind myself that it's not a race and I enjoy myself more when I read at my own pace anyway.
What do you find most encouraging?
Other bloggers! I used to be shy and intimidated around other bloggers, afraid to try to interact with them. I soon found out that I had nothing to worry about! Everyone I've "met" have been quite nice and perfectly friendly.
If you could go back in time and speak with your newbie self, what five bits of wisdom would you tell yourself?
1. Don't get too caught up with reading all those hot, new releases and forget about older releases that you've always wanted to read.
2. Don't let your blog get too bogged down by memes; focus on writing reviews (this is a book review blog, after all).
3. Schedule posts to save time (hmmm, still not too good about this one).
4. Take your time and savour the book you are reading, or else you won't enjoy the experience at all.
5. Don't stress and have fun! This is a hobby, not a chore.
What do you like best about the blogs you read? Have you tried to replicate this in your blog?
My favourite thing is always the reviews, in all shapes and sizes. I like 'em long and wordy and I like 'em short and concise. I like 'em thoughtful and informative and I like 'em personal and silly. And I especially like 'em honest, but never mean. This is important.
I constantly wish I was a better writer, but yes, I do strive to at least try to write honest, quality reviews to the best of my ability.
What do you dislike about blogs you’ve seen? Do you try to avoid this?
Again, I feel less is more when it comes to memes and other "fluff" posts. But if you have the time to spend drafting out numerous, thoughtful, and interesting meme posts for every day of the week, then go for it. I certainly don't have the time for it though.
How did you bring your blog to the attention of so many people?
I sought out blogs that I felt were similar to mine or else had a "voice" that I found interesting, followed them, and left meaningful comments on their posts, which people appreciated and usually followed me back. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Hosting a giveaway is also a good way to capture lots of people's attentions all at once, though it does not usually result in the type of follower who will actively read and comment on your blog.
When and how did you get your first ARC (or first few ARCs)?
This is still a mystery to me. I entered a contest to win a book on Simon & Schuster Canada's YA Book Blog one time when my blog was only a few months old, and they've been sending me ARCs ever since without me even having to request them. Talk about lucky.