Saturday Twitter Chat Recap: Book Blogging Basics

On Saturday, we chatted specifically about book blogging. Here’s what we decided:

What are the elements of a good book blog?

  • Usually some sort of reviews or talking up books.
  • Book discussion posts.
  • A good mix of both!
  • Promoting books and authors, but not too much. A good balance.
  • Making book lists.
  • Showing a love for books and wanting to introduce people to them.
  • Having variety and originality. So important.
  • Maybe an original feature.
  • Writing more important than features though.
  • Make your promoting sincere.
  • Some giveaway perhaps, but not tons.
  • You have to figure out what “it” is that your blog needs!

What about reviews? 

  • Just tell me if you liked the book! Did it suck? Did it rock?
  • No spoilers… PLEASE!
  • Short synopsis, if any at all.
  • Do mini reviews for those books you didn’t like too much.
  • Try to do them right after you read them.

What are your favorite tools you use for book blogging?

  • UBB (Ultimate Book Blogger plugin)
  • Editorial Calendar
  • Goodreads
  • Excel
  • Google Calendar
  • Coffee and M and M’s
  • Pocket
  • a notebook
  • Twitter
  • Evernote
  • Photshop
  • PicMonkey
  • NetGalley
  • my Kindle

What’s the best part of book blogging?

  • the people
  • other bloggers
  • the community
  • readers that get me
  • making friends
  • connecting
  • talking about books
  • (do you see a theme here?)
  • bottom line: We are all awesome!

Advice to fellow bloggers?

  • Be yourself!
  • Be original.
  • Proofread
  • Be polite.
  • Post what you love.
  • TURN OFF CAPTCHA!
  • Have fun.
  • Take notes and jot ideas down.
  • Be helpful.
  • Get involved.
  • But don’t try to do too much either.
  • Take a break when you need it, but don’t announce all your breaks.
  • Visit and comment on other blogs.
  • Don’t stress. This is FUN!

Now…. get blogging!

Twitter Chat Recap: All Your Blogging Problems Solved!

Did you miss the Friday chat? In which we solved everyone’s problems? Here’s a run down of what we talked about:

Problem: I struggle with creativity and coming up with ideas.

Solution: Use idea generating websites like Hubspot and Portent.

Problem: How do I use WordPress?

Solution: Play with it! Learn it! You’ll get it! And use the Ultimate Book Bogger plugin, for sure!!

Problem: How do I keep up with and keep track of reviews?

Solution: Use google docs, anchor links,  and create review indexes and archives.

Problem: How do you make your headers and logos?

Solution: PicMonkey! Photoshop! Picasa! Make cookies for a graphic designer!

Problem: Have you ever tried vlogging?

Solution: Check out BookTubers on YouTube. A whole other book community. If you are scared of being on camera, try podcasting. Maybe learn video editing. But it’s not necessary.  Some brought up a controversial panel at last year’s BEA where there was a pretty huge debate about vlogging. Hopefully, we’ll all just be friends!

Problem: Rafflecopter for giveaways?

 Solution: Lots of people use it but Giveaway Tools is starting to be popular now too.

The discussion morphed into meeting each other at BEA or some other big event. Who would be shy and who wouldn’t? Maybe a Bloggiesta meet up sometime? How fun would that be!!!

Blogging and Life Tweet Chat

Today we had a Twitter chat about how to balance blogging with our real lives. I thought it would be fun to list here some of the things that were mentioned.

Suggestions for Ways to Manage Time and Maintain Balance

  • set a timer
  • shake things up and do things differently
  • schedule posts ahead of time
  • keep notes while reading
  • write down blog ideas right away
  • use your life as part of your blog inspiration
  • keep perspective
  • readers won’t care if you give yourself a break
  • use your free time wisely

Words of Wisdom and Advice to Those Struggling

  • do what you can when you can
  • take a break if you need it
  • don’t force the blogging
  • blog about the struggle
  • remember to breathe…blogging is supposed to be fun!
  • don’t pressure yourself
  • remember, readers are forgiving
  • love what you write about
  • write when you can then schedule posts
  • don’t beat yourself up, love yourself!
  • remember why you blog
  • read lots of other things for inspiration
  • have fun, stay connected, keep reading
  • jot down prompts
  • do a personal post at least once a week
  • trust others

Some Favorite Tools Mentioned

  • Evernote
  • Hootsuite
  • Google Calendar
  • MS OneNote
  • Buffer
  • Editorial Calendar plugin
  • Exel
  • reading journals
  • old fashioned appointment book

What other suggestions to you have for bloggers struggling with balance and time management?

Bloggiesta September 2014 Starts Now!

Mark, get set, go! It’s time to fiesta! Get working on those blogs! And if you haven’t done so already, be sure to link up your To Do Lists on this post here. That we we’ll see everyone that’s participating!

And…in case you are new to this event, here are a few things to remember.

HOW TO PARTY

  • Bloggiesta begins now and runs through Sunday night… wherever you are. We don’t have specific starting and ending times…. just Thursday September 18 through Sunday September 21… wherever and whenever you are in the world!
  • Plan to spend as much time as you can working on your to do list and completing mini challenges. Don’t worry about having the entire four days to devote to this, but do challenge yourself to put in some good hours to the project.
  • Feel free to update your progress any way you see fit. You can simply cross things off your list, or write a couple of update posts. We will have a Finish Line Post link up here on Sunday for anyone wishing to link up their summary posts (or crossed off lists.)

HOW TO CONNECT

  • Much of our connection with each other will be happening on Twitter. Be sure to follow @Bloggiesta and the hashtag #bloggiesta. You can also check out everyone’s Twitter handle on the sign up list and follow them.
  • Be sure to join us for the Twitter chats. They are a blast! We’ll be having themed chats again. Here’s the schedule:
    • Blogging and Life (Time Management): Thursday September 18 @ 2 p.m. Eastern
    • All Your Blogging Problems Solved: Friday September 19 @  6 p.m. Eastern
    • Book Blogging Basics: Saturday September 20 @ 11 a.m. Eastern
    • End of Event Wrap Up: Sunday September 21 @ 1 p.m. Eastern
  • Also, plan to do lots of blog hopping by clicking on participants links (See the sign up links here.) Send lots of encouragement everyone’s way and help out with your expertise on all bloggish things! This is a big part of the whole idea of Bloggiesta!
  • Be sure to participate in as many mini challenges as you can! The new ones are listed here, and previous challenges are listed here. Give our awesome challenge hosts lots of link love and ask them lots of questions!

And that’s about all there is to it! Go forth and blog your hearts out!

Bloggiesta September 2014 Mini Challenges

Bloggiesta-Button-Fall

It’s the eve of yet another Bloggiesta! Welcome to the party! Below, you’ll find the list of our current mini challenges. Here’s hoping you see something you’ve been dying to learn how to do! Or something that inspires you to learn things you’ve never dreamed of!

Have fun clicking around and exploring and adding to your to do lists. Please be sure to thank all our wonderful hosts! They spend lots of time making these awesome challenges for you!

Amanda Shofner has a challenge giving us even more lessons on Google+. She’s calling it Google+201. For last Bloggiesta’s first Google+ challenge, check out Google+101 here. (@amshofner)

Wesley from Library Educated brings us a tutorial on MailChimp. (@whoffs)

Allison from The Book Wheel teaches us how to make anchor links. (@TheBookWheel)

April from The Steadfast Reader gives some hints about writing a negative review. (@steadfastreader)

Come and learn about browser extensions from Brianna at The Book Vixen. (@TheBookVixen)

Berls from Fantasy is More Fun brings us a challenge all about Flickr! (@BerlsS)

Katie from Doing Dewey teaches us all about Riffle. (@DoingDewey)

Stephanie from Cover 2 Cover shares her book organization tips with us. (@GoreLenore)

Becca from I’m Lost in Books has many Instagram tips for us. (@imlostinbooks)

Aloi from Guiltless Reading encourages us to make a book map! (@guiltlessreader) Aloi also has an awesome blogger template giveaway going on for Bloggiesta. Be sure to check that out!

Stacy from The Novel Life teaches us how to work with a blog designer. (@thenovellife)

Enjoy!!

Bloggiesta September 2014 Sign Ups

Welcome bloggers! It’s time once again  to sign up for the quarterly blogathon known as Bloggiesta!!

The idea behind Bloggiesta is to spend four days working on perfecting your blog and connecting with other bloggers who are doing the same thing. Spread the word and get all your friends to come and fiesta with us!

We’ll officially get started next week on Thursday, September 18, but today (and all this week) you can sign up by linking to your to do list posted on your blog and letting us know what you plan on accomplishing during this four day blogging fiesta.

If you don’t know where to get started, you can find a sample To Do List here.

Most bloggers use the time to do pesky tasks that they are always putting off. Things like fixing the header, adding sidebar content (or deleting!), catching up on archive lists, fixing labels and tags, learning how to finally do… whatever it is you’ve always wanted to do!

For more ideas, check out our past mini challenges here. You can always work on those things you missed from previous events.

Our new list of mini challenges will go live sometime the day before the event on Wednesday September 17. As always, we have some awesome things planned! Don’t forget to check back here that day.

Also, be sure to add the Twitter chats (#bloggiesta @bloggiesta) to your calender.

Here’s the schedule:

  • Blogging and Life (Time Management): Thursday September 18 @ 2 p.m. Eastern
  • All Your Blogging Problems Solved: Friday September 19 @  6 p.m. Eastern
  • Book Blogging Basics: Saturday September 20 @ 11 a.m. Eastern
  • End of Event Wrap Up: Sunday September 21 @ 1 p.m. Eastern

And now, the To Do List linky! Please sign up using a link that goes directly to your To Do Lists! Also, if you are on Twitter and would like other participants to be able to find you there, add that just after your name. Thanks!

 “Your Name” from “Your Blog Name” (your Twitter name)

For example, mine would look like: Suey from It’s All About Books (@SueySays). And remember, plug in the URL that links up to your to do list, whether you’ve already posted it, or are just posting it today.

Spread the word!


 

Looking for Mini Challenge Hosts for Bloggiesta in September!

Whether you are new to Bloggiesta or an old timer, we’d love to have you be a mini challenge host! If there’s something you feel you do well, or are a little bit of an expert in, write a blog post and teach the rest of us how! Then challenge us to actually DO something. Post this challenge just before Bloggiesta starts and let the fun begin! You can offer a prize if you want, we leave that up to the individual hosts.

If you have been a challenge host in the past and would like to “upgrade” your challenge to be more advanced, for those bloggers needing an extra push, we are looking for hosts willing to do such a thing. We are getting feedback that we need some more advanced challenges. If this sounds like something you are interested in, we want you!

Either way, let us know. The best way to contact us is to send an email to Bloggiesta@gmail.com with your idea, or your plans to upgrade an old challenge.

The dates for Bloggiesta will be September 18 to 21… challenge posts will need to go up on Wednesday the 17th.

We look forward to hearing from a bunch of you! It’s fun. I promise!

Thanks for your help. You’re all awesome.

Bloggiesta Business

Hey everyone! I hope you had a good mini Bloggiesta this past weekend. Sorry I had to pretty much bow out from running things here to attend (and speak at!) my grandma’s funeral. Then we immediately came home to host a Japanese student for this week and so went right into entertaining mode.  Life is crazy but fun!

Thanks so much to Amanda who took over the reins for the chat on Sunday!

Sorry there was no official starting line (other than the sign up post) or ending line, link up, but I figured it was a small enough event this time around that it wouldn’t be too terribly missed!

And now, we can start looking forward to the main fall Bloggiesta happening in September! It will be here before we know it! The dates on the sidebar still show a three day event, but we’ll actually start on Thursday and have four days to party, like we did back in March.

So the dates for the upcoming Bloggiesta will be September 18 through the 21. Mark your  calendars and spread the word! I’ll be looking for mini challenge hosts in just a couple of weeks, maybe mid August we’ll get that process started, so if you are interested or have a great idea, please let me know.  Send an email to bloggiesta AT gmail DOT com.

Thanks so much for participating! I bet you all have the spiffy-est blogs around!

 

July 2014 Mini Bloggiesta Mini Challenges!

BloggiestaMiniS14

Our Summer Mini Bloggiesta starts tomorrow! We have several awesome NEW mini challenges for this Mini Bloggieseta. Click on the links below to check them out and add them to your to do lists. Some of them will have prizes, but not all.  Most of the links will be live Friday, if not, check back Saturday when the event officially starts.

Have fun!

Remember to join in the fun by linking up your To Do Lists here!

Don’t forget, there are many old challenges from past Bloggiestas that you can also work on. Find the entire list here.

Also, mark you calendars for the Twitter chat to be held on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time.

 

Mini Bloggiesta July 2014 Sign Ups

Are you feeling the need to freshen up your blog? Here’s hoping so, because it’s time once again for a Mini Bloggiesta!

Join us this next weekend, July 19 and 20, for a fun gathering of bloggers, working feverishly to fix and freshen up their blogs! There’ll be a few new mini challenges, so stay tuned for that list on Friday, but you can also work on any of our past challenges. It’s a perfect time to catch up on challenges you missed during previous Bloggiestas!

We’ll be having one, just one, Twitter party on Sunday, the 20th at 1:00 pm Eastern Time. You know you want to join us because Twitter parties are awesome. Use the hashtag #Bloggiesta and follow @Bloggiesta.

Meanwhile, create your To Do Lists and sign up below, linking to your lists on your blog. That will let us all know who plans to join us! (For ideas to get you going on your lists, check out this past challenge.)

Also, spread the word! Grab a button, let your blogging buddies know it’s happening and persuade them to join the fun!