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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Busting the Newbie Blues

Busting the Newbie Blues is an event hosted by Small Review as a way of helping put new bloggers on the map and increasing interaction between new and established bloggers. The event runs from December 3rd-31st and anyone can participate, new or more established bloggers! See the original post here and sign the Mr. Linky form to get involved.

The questionnaire:

1. When did you start your blog?
About 3 weeks ago.

2. Why did you start your blog?
I discovered the world of book blogging in August of this year. I loved the idea of it, I thought it sounded so amazing to be able to interact with fellow book lovers. Unfortunately September, October, and early November were very busy times for me so I had to hold off until mid-November to start the blog and fully have time to interact in the community.

3. What has been the biggest challenge you've faced so far?
I am such a slow reader. Always have been and always will be. So it's been a struggle to get out regular reviews on the blog, especially with school, finals, and my thesis. So far I've managed one review a week and I have to say, I'm quite proud of myself for that! Hopefully I'll be able to keep it up.

4. What do you find most discouraging about being a new blogger?
It's a little daunting reading some blogs, new and established, who put out multiple, well written book reviews a week. I'm not sure I would ever be able to do that!

5. What do you find most encouraging?
The book blogging community is so supportive and nice! I think I kind of expected that during my first month of blogging, I would only imaginary followers and readers of my blog so I was pleasantly surprised.

6. What do you like best about the blogs you read? Have you tried to replicate this in your blog?
My favourite blogs are the ones whose reviews are honest, have something unique to say, and it seems like they put a lot of effort into writing a well thought out review. These reviews are the most helpful for me in deciding whether it'll be worth it to buy a book. I try my best to replicate this on my blog but unfortunately, I'm not a terribly good writer so this can be difficult.

7. What do you dislike about blogs you've read? Do you try to avoid this?
Basically the opposite to the answer above: I tend to dislike reviews where it seems the blogger didn't put a lot of effort into it. I totally understand that some bloggers are busy (I am, too) or maybe just don't have much to say about the book (I know the feeling sometimes), but if they just regularly write a couple sentences for each book they review, this isn't really helpful for me as someone who's looking into whether I want to read the book myself. I will most definitely try my best to avoid this, time permitting of course.

8. Any advice for other new bloggers?
Always be honest in your reviews and yet, diplomatic and constructive if you didn't like the book.

9. Anything else you'd like to share about your experience?
I'd like to reiterate how warm and friendly the book blogging community has been. It really makes the experience so much better!

10. Is there anything you'd like to tell us about your blog?
I have such a long way to go to improving my blog, both looks-wise and content-wise. It'll be a challenge but I'm up for it!


  1. Yay, you're participating!

    You want to know my secret to putting out so many reviews? I wrote reviews for about a year before I started my blog, so I had a big backlog to work with. I try to write new reviews and post them, but when I'm busy I'll poach from my backlog and post an older review.

    I don't think there's anything wrong with one review a week and you should be totally proud of that. I enjoy reading your reviews. For me at least, quality and consistency matter more than frequency.

    You also have Muggle Monday, which I love reading! In that post you say something along the lines of "But let's be real, I just want to talk about Harry Potter" and I smile every time I read that. So funny (and so easy to relate to!)

    I love your new purple background, btw (though the green was nice too). Your blog is very clean and organized. I appreciate that a lot.

  2. Phenom post Aylee!

    I have the opposite problem. I read too fast and now I have a butt load of books I need to review. And with work and shtuff I end up not reviewing a couple here and there. I end up with like 2 reviews a week when I read like 4 books a week or more.

    Reviews take time to write. Especially when I have to come up with playlists. I don't know how some people have time to write a post everyday. Some blogs have more than one person posting though. I've been thinking of adding a member to my blog cause then you get more posts and you can share books!

  3. Oh and I wanted to add that I think your blog is great. It'll take time to build a following but I started mine in July and I'm already at 365. Most blogs don't last more than a couple months so those that survive will build a steady following. :)

  4. @Small Review: Aha! So that's your secret! haha, well that makes me feel better. But you also go to great lengths to write original posts that are so well put together and fun to read (I'm referring to your theme posts). I can really tell you put a lot of effort into all your posts and that's what makes it a pleasure to read.
    Re: the new background. I felt like a change. This is only a very minor one but hopefully I can eventually build my blog up (especially with a banner!) but this will take time.

    @Looksie Lovitz: Oh, how I wish I could read 4 books a week! There are just so many that I want to get to but it seems like I never will at the rate I'm reading. And yeah, I've definitely noticed that some blogs have more than one team member so that's how they're able to update multiple times a day!

  5. Hey Aylee! I agree with what you said about liking reviews that people put a lot of thought and effort into. It's not enough to just simply write a blurb. The reviews that are the most helpful are the ones that are detailed and honest.

    I have to tell you, while I may not be a slow reader, I'm a REALLY sloooow writer, so I know how you feel! I'm a perfectionist and it takes me forever to write a review. I will write and rewrite a review several times before posting it. That's why comments mean so much to me. When people write comments it makes me feel that all the time I spent writing the review was worth it :o)


  6. I'm a really slow writer, too if I haven't prepared notes about what I've read in advance. I try to write on stickies and stick them in my book as I read so I don't have to go back and read and think about what points I want to make with my review. And I agree, it's a very nice feeling to get comments on something you've written :)

  7. Awesome Aylee! I'm a slow reader, too -- especially when I can't get into the book or when it's long. But you're doing a great job so far! Keep up the fab work :)

  8. I totally agree -- 2 sentence reviews aren't very helpful! I also totally agree that you should be proud to put up one a week with everything else you have going on! A thesis? O_O Wow! I have the same problem when school is in session - I tried to read a ton of books over the summer so that I'd have some stockpiled reviews, but alas, they ran out more quickly than I would have thought lol! I think you do a great job with this site and I really enjoy visiting it! I'm looking forward to watching it grow =)

  9. Aw, thank you so much. That means a lot to me. In fact, you were the first person ever to comment on my blog!

  10. I'm a slow reader too! Sometimes it takes me a week... Like I remember going to a midnight party for the release of Breaking Dawn and my friends finished the book the next day and it took me about a week.
    I agree with you about the bloggers who seem to not put a lot of effort into their reviews... But sometimes it can be a little tedious if you write a lot, like what I seem to do (or at least I think i do...) :D
    I'm looking forward to seeing some of your reviews :)

  11. Good to know I'm not the only slow reader with a blog :)
    And actually that's a good point, too. There is such a thing as a review that's too long and doesn't get to the point! It's best to try and find a middle ground I find.

  12. See, Aylee, I was right! Your answers are great! Don't worry about only gettting out one review a week - I am a fast reader, and that's all I can manage at the moment with a fulltime job and family/real world obligations. In a good week, I can manage two, but that's hard during this time of year. Keep on truckin'! You're doing great!

    -Linds, bibliophile brouhaha

  13. Hello! Thank you for dropping by my blog, I am now your 36th follower :D

    I am a fast reader too, but I can't put up that much reviews in a week because of my day job. But what helps me is making a draft of my review, typing in everything I thought about that book, so that when I already have enough time to write a review, it wouldn't be too hard on me since I already have a guide on what I want to write about :D

    I hope we can share great reviews in the future!

    Brush Up On Your Reading

  14. @Linds: Aw, thank you! That is very reassuring!
    @Nina: I do the same! I'll try to jot down some points and make a tentative draft as I read the book so I don't forget anything once I get around to writing the review.

  15. *hugs*
    I know what you mean about not being able to put as many reviews as you'd like. Sometimes I feel like everyone is updating but me, but I decided I rather be slow than stress myself over putting something up every day, or putting content that I'm not proud up.

    Good luck with everything blog related!! I hope your ride is awesome, and you have given good advice her. :)

  16. Thanks! I'll remember to take deep yoga breaths and not stress out too much about updating everyday.

  17. I also have about six months of reviews in backlog to work with which really helps as I'm a very slow reader like yourself. I just read The Riddlers Gift with 643 pages of small print and it took me 10 days of reading all evening, every evening lol. My son's daddy borrowed it and read it in one day. He doesn't work granted, but still makes me feel peeved at him lol.
    I really enjoyed your answers and love your blog. I've looked at some other posts too and commented. Now your newest follower. You have all the elements in your blog that I enjoy :)

  18. Because you're such a great blogger I'm giving you the Life is Good Award> http://bonbonsandreveries.blogspot.com/2010/12/life-is-good-award.html

  19. Hi Aylee! I think you have a great start to your blog and I'm shocked you have time to read at all with trying to write your thesis and being in school, I don't know that I could even do one review a week with all that:) Keep it up, I thoroughly enjoy visiting your blog!

  20. I'm so glad you find the book blogger community welcoming! I'm a slow reader too and worry about not being able to put out enough reviews too.
    I must say I'm loving you blog! :)

  21. @The Slowest Bookworm: I am always envious of super quick readers so I would have been peeved at that, too! And thank you! I'll go take a look at your other comments right now :)
    @Caroline: Oh wow, thanks!
    @Jenny: Thanks, I'm trying to "make it werk!" :)
    @Katie: I'm loving your blog, too! The vids, the banner, love it!

  22. Thanks for stopping by, Aylee! I really don't know how some bloggers manage to churn out so many reviews a week - usually I try for at least 1 but I've had a couple weeks where I didn't have any reviews. To each her own, I say :)

    Also, I was not very skilled at HTML when first starting out either (haha, actually still not too skilled). I've been learning along the way and now I know some basic stuff. Google has helped a lot, or if you're stuck there are some book bloggers out there who are very experienced in HTML and design stuff and would probably be able to help out :)

  23. I have moments where I read fast and I don't get reviews written fast enough and then moments when I read so slowly that I can't get a book finished sometimes.

    But no matter what, don't give up! Trust me, you'll miss it. :)

    I didn't know to say it before so I'll say it now: Welcome to book blogging! I know I'm still a fairly new follower of yours but it's been a joy.

  24. @danya: Thanks so much for the advice! I'm slowly learning about html and I definitely use google as a resource all the time.
    @Jessica: Nope, not giving up yet! I hope my blog stands the test of time. From what I've heard most blogs only last a couple of months!

  25. Couldn't agree more about how nice the book blogging community is, so welcoming and supporting!

  26. I know! It really just makes the experience so much better!

  27. Hi Aylee,

    Thought I would pop over for a lookie. Nice blog you have here. Just got up to speed on your book challenge . I read until the wee hours of the morning as I have 3 kidlets , its my quiet time. Then bleery eyed I take on the day:D I have read a lot of books and have my reviews on draft until I can write them properly. I have a thing where if I cant write it exactly how I want..I have to make time until I get it right. Hence why The Hunger Games bk 1 and 2 and the evernight series 3 books havent made it to the blog yet. I have to get them just right:D Well done and a blog is incredibly time consuming but balance is the key. I have had to force myself not to get carried away and neglect the kidlets when they come home from school. So I time everything to get my day in order. Family first, blog second. Or else I will want to sit here all day and write. It's a little passion I discovered:D


  28. Thank you for the advice! I am now realizing how important that statement is, "balance is key." And I commend you on not posting your reviews until you get them just how you want them!

  29. One review a week is fine, especially since you write such detailed ones. I try to go for two a week plus blog hop and a contest on Monday. It doesn't always work out that way :-)
    I read fast and sometimes the reviews just hit me and I write up a lot all at once, but then other times I can go a month or so and nothing grabs me. You can't force it.
    I love this feature - it's a great way to meet you - welcome to blogging!!

  30. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! No, I definitely wouldn't write a review if I thought it had to be forced out of me. It probably wouldn't be a very good read.
    I definitely can't take credit for this feature though: it was all Small Review.

  31. Aylee, Thanks for stopping by my blog and for the nice comment I appreciate that. I'm one of those people also that as I read I tend to write things down that I like and didn't like, or maybe even quotes and passages. I know by all means that most of my reviews probably stink (whic is fine) but if they can help someone then I've done what I set out to do.

    Oh, I don't know if you've read it yet.(I have to look around abit more) If you haven't I recommend The Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead. The last one just came out tuesday. They are awesome books. (6 all together)

  32. Aylee, thanks for stopping by my blog! :)

    I'm always amazed at how so many bloggers can churn out multiple reviews a week. I have a hard enough time getting one posted per week! I wish I would have thought to write a backlog of reviews before I started blogging!

    Also, I hate to admit this but I've never read any of the Harry Potter books...one of my book resolutions is to read the first book in 2011.

  33. @AngelicNytmare: Yes, I definitely jot notes down as I'm reading or else I may forget them for my review. And OMGosh The Vampire Academy series has been recommended multiple times to me but I still have not read! Ack! There is just no time!

    @Jen: Yes, that would have been convenient had I had a backlog of reviews to work with. It would have been nive. Oh well :) And yay! For some reason I always get super excited when people read a HP book for the first time. I really hope you enjoy it!

  34. Thanks for stopping by. Lol, I love my Canadian followers since if they live close enough, I may actually be able to meet them sometime and have a face to face conversation :)

    I like that your layout is simple. Less is more sometimes because I'm not a fan of blogs that have too much going on. You've got some great content and I can't believe you only started three weeks ago!

  35. I don't have many Canadian followers; you're one of a handful, I think.
    I like a simple layout but it's also fun if they can be customized and individual to the blogger, too. I have much to learn about html though.

  36. Oh my gosh, DITTO on the slow reading and too many other commitments. I'm also in school and when I see these 100+ reading challenges I think NO WAY. When I realized that meant reading two books a week I knew that wouldn't be possible for me. I'm also in a tough spot where I'm not sure what to read before the challenges start up in January.

  37. I can't imagine reading that many. I think I may make a personal goal of 50 for next year. It seems a reasonable number and yet still ambitious for myself as I've never managed that many before.

  38. I just read your answers and great job!

    I completely agree with you about how the blogging community is so welcoming and comforting! They just open up their arms to you and really make you feel special. Such as this Busting The Newbie Blues event, and many others make it so comfortable for new bloggers to just slide right in!

  39. Aylee, I just read what I posted last year and I'm dying from laughter. I was appalled at reading anything close to 100 books in a year, and do you know what my final tally was on the Goodreads challenge? 120 BOOKS! Do you see what book blogging has done to me? :)