January 3, 2012

Busting the Newbie Blues

host: Small Reviews

1. When did you start your blog?

I started my blog in April 2011.

2. Why did you start your blog?

I have always loved reading - it's one of the things that I do like it's second nature to me. I barely have any friends who are readers in real life, so the primary reason for creating my blog is to become a part of the amazing book blogging community and add my own two cents to the discussion.

3. What has been the biggest challenge you've faced so far?

The biggest challenge I'm facing is trying to find my unique niche when it comes to my reviewing style. I think I may have found my groove, but that's still to be tested this month.

4. What do you find most discouraging about being a new blogger?

It's difficult to really set yourself apart sometimes, I'd say. Or at least, that's how I felt in the beginning. I have found, with a bit of time and experience, that being a genuine version of who you are is key to having other people respond and interact with you.

5. What do you find most encouraging?

The whole book blogging community - from fellow newbie bloggers and established bloggers to authors and publishers - has been incredibly welcoming. It's always great to be given so many opportunities and to meet so many people who are helpful and gracious and kind.

6. What do you like best about the blogs you read? Have you tried to replicate this in your blog?

I have found that I prefer blogs that have good, quality content, such as reviews and discussion posts. It's been my intention to make sure that my reviewing style improves and that my reviews are my quality content on the blog.

7. What do you dislike about the blogs you've read? Do you try to avoid this?

This may just be a personal thing, but there are two things I generally dislike on blogs.

First, I find it hard to like a design that's too bright/sparkly/crowded/slow to load. It is essential, of course, that you design your blog to reflect your personality, but I really cannot abide looking at blogs with any of these elements.

Second, it bothers me when a blog only posts giveaways and memes. Giveaways and memes are not bad things, mind you, but they're better in moderation. 


  1. Hiya :) I love your blog and your answers to those questions were really good :) I'm going to be doing my Busting the Newbie Blues post very soon so feel free to stop by :D I'm a new follower by the way!


  2. Think I have to try the scheduling thing then! :D

  3. I think that discussions are quite possibly my favorite things to find on blogs. If something is written in such a way that it encourages me to write back, I generally will. And I know that for me, at least, conversation with those who read my blog is my favorite thing about it. Since (like you, it appears) I started it to talk to others about books. (When I became aware of book blogging, at least.)

    I think the things you object to are subjective. A slow to load blog is a problem in general, often caused by poor coding or having two many things that require plugins or another outside source. Blog appearance may be something that doesn't bother me as much, or perhaps that I don't think about, because it's often lost on me. I have vision issues and have to make screen size bigger, which means that most blogs become scrolled documents where all I ultimately care about is the content. I think the most frustrating thing I have ever encountered was a twitter ap that made a bird scroll with the page that continually wanted to cover up main text. Music that auto plays is another of my pet peeves.

    As for giveaways and memes, I treat them the same way I treat everything (as a blog reader)... If I am interested in the topic (or the prize) I'll click. If I'm not, I won't. So they can be a mixed bag. My least favorite thing, personally, is when 20 blogs do a cover reveal for the same book and have absolutely nothing to say about it. Yawn.

    Anyway, great post and thanks so much for sharing. :) Best wishes to you this year!

  4. I love Disqus too! And it's always fun talking to other booklovers via Twitter :)

  5. Thanks for the follow! I want to try to do it too, but I don't know if I'll get any responses either. We should definitely talk about doing a bookish discussion one of these days :)

  6. It's going up this week so I hope you check it out :)

  7. Ooh, Waiting on Wednesday is a dangerous meme. Dangerous because I add so many new books to my TBR!

  8. I haven't done any of the meme's yet, but I've been considering it. My favorite one to read on other blogs is the Waiting on Wednesday one because it highlights books that I often haven't heard of and I get to add lots of things to my TBR pile.

  9. I love this meme, I've never seen it before.

    I started my blog in April (or maybe May? Somewhere around then anyway) last year too, so snap!

    I know what you mean about blog layouts though - if there's too much sparkle or bright colours, I'll just leave. Oh, and music playing in the background. That's a pet peeve of mine!

    Personally, my favourite thing to see in a blog post are personal details. I like to know that there's an actual person on the other end of the keyboard. Talk about your cat, your hair, your shoes, I don't care - that's what sets a blog apart for me!


  10. I totally agree Hanna! I love seeing personal updates or stories from the bloggers interspersed with their reviews :)

  11. It is a pleasure to meet you Monaliz, and I'm so grateful you visited my blog back! Scheduling took a while for me to get used to, but it has minimized my panic mode over not having any posts to put up ;)

  12. I'm a fan of giveaways, just as long as there aren't too many and they're not only giveaways, but rather include more stuff, like reviews or excerpts or whatever else :)

  13. Yup, reviews are still something that I'm working on - and hopefully, I continue getting better. That review (Before I Die) is actually by my boyfriend, who wanted to do a little retro reviewing :)

  14. Thanks! That's how I feel about the blogs I do admire. Everyone has such a distinct personality, so it's easy to tell everyone apart.

  15. Hi Gina! It's funny you should mention that - I'm actually working on my review archives and it will be up soon! Thank you so much for following the blog :)

  16. Thank you for stopping by!! And I am excited to read New Girl it looks pretty dang good, I can't wait to see your review of it. New follower here. [:

    -ShawnaLeAnn @ Dreaming In The Pages

  17. Hey there Alexa, I'm a new follower. I love your review style and how you break it down into different aspects of the book. One suggestion I have for you would be to make a review archive. When I came to your blog I was curious about what type of books you've read and reviewed and I didn't see a way I could just click on something to see them all in list form.

  18. Michelle@book briefsFebruary 6, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    I agree, it is pretty hard to set yourself apart in a community this big, but it helps that everyone is so nice and supportive of everyone! I also agree on the clutter blog thing, that is one of my blog turn offs too. I like blogs to be as neat and organized as possible.

    I'm with you on the memes but giveaways don't bug me. I normally like them paired with reviews or other book content though.

  19. Have to agree with the whole being genuine thing :) I love reviews and posts that brings out the bloggers personality. And I don't mind if there's something from their lives included, that just makes it more interesting :)

    And I'm the girl who notices every morning that she's forgotten to write anything and have to hurry like hell :/ Maybe I really should try the scheduling thing..

    Seems that everyone has a problem with clutter! Not a surprise there, it just makes it so much harder to concentrate to the main things, like reading reviews!

    Thanks for stopping by, and you just gained a new follower :)

    Monaliz @ Mind Reading?

  20. Sara (of the Page Sage)February 6, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    It's definitely daunting how many YA book bloggers there are, but at the same time, that's part of the fun! There's so many people with the same interest as you, and they're all friendly. (:

    My first reviews were pretty mediocre, but then I started to get the hang of it. If I'm having trouble writing a review, I just brainstorm things I liked/disliked about the book and it all comes together. It looks like your review style is working for you, though! I really liked your Before I Die review. (:

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  21. You've hit the nail on the head about standing out: being genuine is key. The people who's blogs I read regularly all infuse their own personality into their posts and are all honest in their reviews instead of just going along with the crowd. I have a good idea whom each of them are as people so they don't blend together. Seems like you already know all this so great job!

  22. Thank you so much for stopping by!

    Like you I like quality, not-spoilery reviews and posts. I like to participate in disussion posts, but I hardly get the same response when I try :(

    New follower!

  23. I agree with the blogs that are just giveaways and memes - there is so much more to a book blog than that. Im a new follower

  24. I HATE cover reveals... I don't need to see the same thing 20 times...

  25. Ugh, I hate book blogs that just feature memes. I actually cut away all the memes I participated in except In My Mailbox, because it just felt a little bit meaningless.

    Thank you for visiting my blog (: I hope you have a great day!

  26. lol''So they can be a mixed bag. My least favorite thing, personally, is when 20 blogs do a cover reveal for the same book and have absolutely nothing to say about it. Yawn. '' me2

    like this topic

  27. Giveaways and memes are fine in moderation but, like you, I can stand blogs that only have them on and nothing else for me to read. My favorite blogs are all very simply designed and use disqus (I loves me some disqus!) because it makes it so, so easy to comment.

    My answer to #5 is the same: the bloggers are what make it so much fun!!! I love the discussions that come up from a comment or a tweet. I hated trying to make a space for myself and making the blog special in some way, twitter really helped me find a spot and make friends.


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