Today, in honor of the RT Convention, this edition of Dishing Junk will focus on dishing some junk about New Orleans.
Things NOT to do in New Orleans
Do not FLASH anyone on Bourbon Street your boobs or ass. They only reward you with a bit of plastic beads that cost about .25¢ and will probably post your picture on the social networks or youtube. You should at least demand more money…
Do not book a balcony room. The only time you want a balcony overlooking Bourbon Street for your hotel room is if you DO NOT want to sleep your entire visit. Update: A few of you asked me to clarify on this point. The reason behind this is the noise level. Remember there is NO CURFEW and there is no decibel restriction in the French Quarter. Bars are open 24/7. And it is a competing sound level from each bar. Not to mention the tourist traps that blare music from their open doors also. So, it’s mainly sound. Balconies are hella fun…we rented one for Superbowl 2009 – see the post here. But, we didn’t sleep in the room, we stayed for the game and WENT HOME. This vid is a good representation of sound level from a balcony.
Do not wear a ton of beads. Mardi Gras was in March, it is the only time that you can walk around with beads around your neck and not look like a tourist. If you want a sign that screams “I’m a tourist, take advantage of me” – wear a shit ton of beads around your neck. In the convention – sure. Out in the French Quarter, not so much.
Do not take a Katrina tour. If your home was flooded, broken into, peed on, pushed through a concrete embankment and turned upside down and then the insurance refused to pay… but then you managed to scrape together a few bucks, rebuild and set up shop in your neighborhood in which only two of your neighbors have rebuilt…would you want a tourist bus coming down your street to gawk at you? Yeah, I thought so.
Do not walk barefoot in the French Quarter. It will be prom season in New Orleans when you are attending the RT Convention. Look for the dumb teenagers walking around with no shoes on in their prom dresses and pray that they don’t end up with Hepatitis. Buy a cheap pair of flip-flops at a tourist shop, but even that is kinda skeevy.
Do not answer anyone that says “I know where you got dem shoes?” They do know where you got dem, you got dem on Bourbon Street, which is where these vultures tend to hang-out.
Do not spend all your time in the French Quarter, there is so much more in New Orleans to do then rat the stinky streets of the Quarter.
Do not wear heels if you are traversing the Quarter. Unless you want to sprain your ankles. Ever walk on cobblestones in heels? Well, if you want to give it a try be my guest. But, you might end of doing #5 before long. Yuck.
Do not be stupid about your purse, wallet or phone. Crime isn’t ridiculous in the city, but it does exist. Place valuables in front pockets and make sure they are slim enough not to “broadcast” their locations. If you use a backpack, have it locked up, same with your purse – it shouldn’t be open and screaming “take me!”
Do notforget your umbrella. It rains daily in New Orleans, most of us, just pull up our big girl panties and sprint through the wetness – but if you don’t want your do getting drowned, bring a brella.
Do not bring valuables with you. Better to just leave them at home. By the time I got married, I didn’t hang out in the Quarter, but friends of mine that were engaged that worked or played in the Quarter…well they had their “cheap” engagement rings. Fake cubic zirconium engagement rings. Just in case. I would just leave my rings at home. But, the point is to not be flashy…just in case.
Do not wander around alone at night. Crime, again is a thing in New Orleans, but it is usually restricted to certain areas. Make sure you stay in the well-lighted more secure areas of the city, don’t wander into cemeteries or bad neighborhoods alone.
Do not walk out with glass – ask for a “to-go cup” and you can travel the streets with plastic! Ask any bartender for a to-go cup and he will know what you are talking about. It’s the glass that the cops frown on, even though you’ll see a few fools walking around with beer bottles, don’t take any chances.
Do not try and hail a cab. This ain’t New York, this is New Orleans. Cabs won’t respond to whistles, if you see one, jump in front of it, waving your hands, or go to a cab stand. Make sure if you do jump out in front of it, you are in a slow-speed area.
Do not buy a shirt from a tourist shop that says, “I got Bourbon faced on Shit street.” It’s only funny for like 1 minute…
As always, stay good. Can’t wait to meet everyone at RT!
Tired of posting the same thing over and over again? The same kind of blog tours, the same kind of reviews. Your blog is your littler dominion that YOU RULE. So play the part of the goddess and change things up, however you see fit. Get creative, do something different. Break out of that box and start your own trend.
Getting creative is hard though! Have I mentioned I used to work for an ad agency. A fast food of an ad agency, really. There were no deep though, creative sessions. We were expected to come up with idea after idea on a daily basis to market one product, for 200+ clients. It is very hard to be on all the time. I completely understand this. But, have to do this to keep your blog fresh. I covered tips on how to keep your blog fresh just a few weeks ago, but now we are going to go a bit deeper. Because, fresh is new ideas and new ideas spring from creativity. Let’s take a look at what other bloggers in all sorts of niche groups are doing and how you can be inspired by their creativity.
What does that mean? Well, when you diversify your financial portfolio you don’t put “all your eggs in one basket.” In blogging this could be combining a few ideas, or niche groups. You don’t have to be just a Young Adult blogger. You also don’t have to be just a book blog. One of my favorite new things to check out are the new Fashion & Fiction type posts that I’ve seen on a few blogs. I believe the concept came from a blog called Fiction to Fashion. But, now it has trickled down throughout the book blogging community and I’ve noticed tons of what are termed Book Looks. They are fabulous. Of course half the fashion stuff I couldn’t fit my left calf in, being of the plus variety – but I like pretty shiny things – and paired with books, win, win. It doesn’t have to be fashion – think about what you like to pair with books. Maybe it will inspired an idea.
Everyone is always looking for a reason to celebrate. So – celebrate. Celebrate a movement. Host an event. Make up a holiday. Brainstorm on what you would like to celebrate and then think of ways you can celebrate that “thing.” Anyone can do this…even reality shows come up with events like National Dance Days (So You Think You Can Dance) and other similar days. Have at it. You could spark a trend. Organizations like ALA have come up with great reasons to celebrate… participate or come up with your own idea.
Chase a Trend
You don’t have to come up with the idea, you just have to make it work for you. Right now they are saying “image blogs” will be super popular in 2014. Make it work for you. You don’t have to be all images, for example, check out bookshelfporn.com – they took a trend and ran with it. You can do this too. Podcasting and audio recordings are also supposed to be hot. The Next Best Book blog came up with a great idea – they asked authors to read from their books – and then posted the audio. Brilliant.
What do you think? Any of these ideas inspire you?
Ready to talk about some covers? I love cover snark editions, guess it is the evil in me coming out. Today we are dishing it out for the Science Fiction and Fantasy cover variety. All covers were found just perusing the dregs of Amazon.
Now this book showed up in Science Fiction / Fantasy section of amazon. I wasn’t in the children’s or picture book section. But, I had to include it. This poor fairy, on top of her being subjected to really bad typography it looks like she was only born with half a wing-span…
And then finally – maybe just maybe this post can prevent a cover tragedy from happening…
Forget the floating head with the type over it…there are too many of these covers to say they are “bad” – obviously tons of people love floating heads, movies and books. But, take a look at the blurb on the cover. Because – bad images does not always a bad cover make – sometimes a subtle typo will bring your beautiful cover crashing down. To give this an ironic twist, the author claims she hates typos – as posted on her blog: ” I hate typos. Really. I’m the one who carries a dry erase marker in her purse so I can correct restaurant signs when necessary. Say it with me: I. Hate. Typos.”
Well, maybe just maybe… it will take a more than a spell check to fix…the
It is that time of year…tax time. Did you know as a blogger, if you make any money from your blog and you live in the U.S. you have to claim that money earned – but it also gives you the opportunity for deductions. Take this post in stride, I am not a tax professional, this is the type of stuff I hand over to my tax guy – but you can do this too! They don’t know unless you tell them and a lot of the time, bloggers have no clue that they can claim their blog. Or have to claim the money they make blogging.
A question people always ask me – “how much could you possible spend on blogging?” You would be surprised. Take a peek in my pocket and all the expenses that might arise with blogging.
I purchased a new computer this year, a 13 Retina Mac Book Pro. I also had to purchase a new wireless router. I went with an Apple Airport Extreme Station, because nothing else was working. Right there I was in the RED big time, just in purchases. But, I hope that these purchases will last me for at least 3 to 5 years. Computer equipment is tax deductible.
Have an eReader for your use to read your NetGalley books? I like to use my Kindle for NetGalley books, over my other readers. And I’m in the market for a new one. Going back and forth between the Kindle Fire, or an eInk type reader. Both are tax deductible according to my tax guy.
Internet Fees & Wifi
Speaking of my Airport Extreme, mentioned above, I also pay my monthly fee to my internet provider. If I didn’t have internet and wifi none of this would be possible. What would I do? Work in a coffee shop each day. At my local coffee shop you have to make a purchase to use the wifi – so $5 a day for coffee is much more expensive then $30 a month for fast internet. Not to mention people can hack your computer while you work at coffee shops.
Going to BEA cost me a fortune last year. The air fare, hotel fees, taxis and conference fees all added up to money money money. While at the conference you can claim the conference fees, hotel, transportation, dining…might make that big expense, not so big in the end.
Internet Subscriptions, Hosting & Domain Registration
This is a big one! Don’t forget your hosting and registration. I pay GoDaddy a lot of money to host 3 of my sites. This is also tax deductible. You can also claim any other monthly subscriptions you pay like a Linky Subscription, Rafflecopter, Yahoo Flickr account etc. These little $25 – $100 fees a year add up. I have subscriptions with Gravity Forms, Elegant themes – you name it. I’ve probably purchased it. To the woe of my darling husband. Don’t forget if you purchase stock photography for your site, or maybe a song to play!
Talk, Talk, Talk
How do you communicate with people? Do you use your cell phone, or maybe a land line to set up interviews, connect with advertisers etc? I know I do….I use my iPhone for everything, even if you just use it for social networking, you are using your 4G connection right?? Another expense. I don’t know what I would do without my iPhone.
Design & Promotion
I do my own design, but I subscribe to Adobe’s Creative Cloud, which is a monthly expense. Any design you purchase for your site is a tax deduction. If you advertise your blog on other sites, that is another expense. Did you also know that Contest prizes you purchase are another expense? Yup. All those contest you host, shipping, books…let your tax professional know. Have pens, tees or other promotional material printed? Another expense! Boy, we spend a lot of money on this blogging thing, don’t we?
Office Equipment & Supplies
I purchased business cards, bookmarks, boxes and envelopes for shipping, post-it notes for scribbling, notebooks for scribbling…all of these are expenses.
Subscriptions & Memberships
Anything that you subscribe to, or become a member of that promotes your blog maybe deductible.
Other Expenses to keep in mind (might not be deductible but it doesn’t hurt to ask):
Hello dear readers, Wicked is back and I’m here to discuss a buzz topic that seems to have infiltrated our society. Bullying. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of this word. I’m tired of everyone and their grandma screaming that they are being bullied to justify their bad retaliatory behavior. And half the time they aren’t even being technically bullied, they are just the victim of a bit of mean-spirited behavior. Or the recipient of a bad opinion directed at them.
Half the time, when someone gives their case on how they were bullied, I just want to say, “Oh please, stop being sensitive, pull up your big girl panties and move the f*&k on. Bye bye now.”
Want to say, hell, I’ve said it to a number of people and I usually get the response that I’m a bully myself. So be it. I call it aggressive, or opinionated. Because I know what an actual bully looks like. I know how they behave and I know what it means to be targeted by a bully. But, wait, I’m an adult – so I can’t even say a bully – bully is a child term, I’ve been targeted by an Abusive Criminal. Because adult bullies are criminals. Calling me a bully when I state my opinion, because I might be a bit aggressive in my manner of dress, speak and carriage – well that is another person trying to bring me to heel. Trying to put my actions in check. Behave. Sit still. Good girls don’t say bad things. Good girls don’t curse, good girls don’t use sarcasm. Sarcasm is just a tool to hide your pain. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Sit down. Shut up. Behave. Be politically correct. Give everyone an award. A for effort! You did a good job, just by showing up!
Don’t think all of this is related? Think again. Because by overusing the word, Bully, diminishes it. If we make people over sensitive about these things. People get TIRED of the word. They start seeing these cases, “OMG I was bullied!” And they realize that it is just this person being dramatic, grasping at attention. And then the next person that cries “bully” they don’t pay attention to them and this lets the BULLY win. The bully wins when everyone and their grandma is called a bully, which forces the “good people” to be quiet. The good people are afraid of being labeled a bully. Not the bully, not the criminal. The bully likes to be a bully.
But, you. You Naughty Girl, don’t want to be a bully. You just want to be a little naughty, but are afraid if your naughty gets called out, you’ll be labeled a bully and targeted. I can’t stop this. I can’t stop the judgmental asshats, or the overly-sensitive cry babies. No matter how much logic you throw at these people, they always talk in circles with the usual sanctimonious, nonsensical gibberish. There will always be those type of people out there. The point is to not let that sanctimonious dribble defeat you. And the way you do this, is by knowing what they are trying to define you with. By knowing, you’ll realize that there is no reason to be ashamed of your behavior. Don’t sit down. Don’t shut-up. Stand up. State your opinion and be proud of it.
Here are some facts, I will call them The Naughty Girl’s Guide to Bullying, Stalking and Harassment…
Most Bullying sites, like the US’ www.stopbullying.gov
always define bullying as an act between children, teens and preteens. So, right there the definition is defunct when it applies to adults engaged in this sort of behavior. Once two adults are involved in bad behavior of this nature it is considered, stalking or harassment.
Most people that cry “bully” in our niche environment do this because they don’t have any proof of stalking or harassment. They consider being bullied a “diminished act”, below stalking or harassment, like a stepping-stone to actual criminal behavior. But, bullying should be paired with terms like harassment and stalking – because it is the same. Someone that is repeatedly bullied, is stalked – is harassed. They just coin the term bully because it is from one child to another, and to call a child a Stalker or a Tormentor might be a little too “much.” Hence, the cute term “bully.”
Harassment or cyberharassment in our environment, is the repeated receipt of threatening emails, instant messages or blog entries directed at the person, with the sole intention of torment, torture or malicious intent, basically psychological torment.
Cyberstalking is the same concept of Stalking, just digitally. A stalker is someone that behaves within an obsessive pattern, repeated bad and inappropriate behavior. All meant to torment and torture an individual. It is dangerous and malicious behavior and it is criminal.
Are we noticing a pattern here? Repeated, obsessive, malicious behavior, with the intention of harm, threat, injury and torture.
Stating your opinion about someone or their book, while it might be mean, is not bullying or cyberharrasment. It is an opinion.
Giving an author a bad review, even if you use derogatory statements or phrases is NOT cyberharssment
Marking an author “will-not-read” on your shelf is NOT cyberharassment
Tweeting an author with a bad review is not cyberharassment
Writing a blog post “hating” on a particular subject, person, action or product is not cyberharassment
Engaging in a twitter discussion where your opinion differs from another, even if bad language is used is not cyberharassment
Blocking someone from your blog, Facebook, twitter account is not cyberharassment
Discussing with others the reason you didn’t like a book is not cyberharassment
Discussing with others why you have blocked someone on twitter or Facebook etc is not cyberharassment
Getting a group of twitter users together to insult one user repeatedly is cyberharassment
Sending an author repeated emails stating “you suck and I hope you get carpal tunnel so you can’t write another word” is cyberharassment
Commenting repeatedly on a person’s blog with derogatory statements directed at that person, with the intention to torment them is cyberharassment
Tweeting someone repeatedly with threats, derogatory statements, or just statements meant to torment the individual is cyberharassment
Reading a blog post about a badly behaving author and then going to Amazon, Goodreads, Booklikes and your own blog, marking ALL of their books as 1 stars, placing them on shelves with defamatory titles, even though you have not read a single one of their books and you do this repeatedly is considered cyberharassment. These are targeted attacks and are organized both by authors and bloggers and no good ever comes out of them. Their intention is harm. The goal is vengeance. The term is harassment, no matter what the author or person’s crime.
Trying to expose a blogger or anonymous author to their “real world” life, with threats of exposure is considered cyberstalkin. If harm may come to this blogger or anonymous author by revealing their identity. For example, a female that writes erotic romance, that happens to be a preschool teacher. Writing erotic literature does not make one a deviant – but school officials and parents might disagree. This is intention of harm and a bit of research and “stalking” would have been required to discover this information.
I could go on and on. But the gist of this bit of knowledge is simple. If the intention is to harm the person and the user repeatedly tries to cause harm to that person on a cyber level – that is consider cyberharassment and there are a ton of new laws in effect. If you don’t intend to harm this person, if you are just stating a conflicting idea, opinion or belief, you are standing up for what you believe in. Their reaction to your statement or stance is not your problem and they shouldn’t make it your problem.
Like any community, our blogging community is full of a diverse group of people, each with their own ideas, opinions and customs. As our blogging community has grown, the intensity of our group has increased and so has the feeling that this isn’t a small niche anymore, but a vast network of sites each jockeying for the same position. And myself, as one little fish in this big sea of bloggers, tries to just hold on…sometimes I feel myself slipping. Especially when I look around and notice that I have no idea who these people are around me.
What are you looking at?
I just have to keep chugging, the whole time reminding myself that it’s hard to keep on top of changes, to not let people annoy me and keep making friends, all the while keeping abreast of what is going on in this ever growing community. But its worth it, this is fun, this is rewarding, right? If I couldn’t respond affirmatively to those statements, then I guess it would be time to pack it in and look for another hobby. But, I don’t want to do that. I want to be a part of something. And the Book Blogging Community is my “belonging of choice.”
But, it’s hard. And if it is hard for me, with my vast amounts of book blogging experience (just about five years, I’m almost an expert – nod in agreement folks) how hard must it be for bloggers just getting started? The cure for this, do I have one? Notice the bold word over and over again: Community. As a group of people with the same goal and love of literature, we should easily be able to band together and form a tight nit community. With a strong community behind us, it will only strengthen us as individuals. And it will also give us a reprieve, a place to fit in and be ourselves. But, we can’t just wave our books around and say “Accio strong community” and expect it to be summoned into existence. No, each of us has to work on it and together, as a team we can make this book blogging niche something to be proud of.
Remember a good Online Community is there to support the bloggers, foster good feelings in it’s members, get people talking about books and other shared hobbies and promote learning and achievement. The point of a community is for us to feel like we belong.
Here are some of my ideas on fostering a good Book Blogging Community:
Healthy Competition is one thing, but your fellow bloggers are not to be considered “the competition.” Stop thinking of other bloggers as your competitors and more on the lines of future BFFs.
When engaging with a fellow blogger, don’t do it with the intention of gaining promotional value or information gathering, approach the interaction with the intended goal of gaining friendship points.
Make a point to visit new blogs and leave a comment. Make sure the comment is a greeting, much like you would greet someone in the line of the grocery store. “Hi, how are you? That is a nice shirt you are wearing.” You wouldn’t walk up to someone and say, “Hey, I’m Rachel. Want to see what’s in my purse?” Slow and steady – you can show them your purse — er, url later.
Strike up a conversation on social networks. Respond to tweets or facebook posts that pose a general question and begin conversations with fellow bloggers.
Never demand. Don’t be needy. And don’t expect anything from anyone. Would you befriend someone just so they could get you a job? Or would you date someone just because they have a rich family? This is the same notion. Don’t pander to bloggers just so you can use them for promoting your blog or gaining information.
Be a Match Maker. Have you made a few friends lately and two of the friends both really adore The Vampire Diaries, introduce them.
Help out! Notice that someone is really trying to promote their new meme, but no one is participating? Why not do it once or twice? It’s not a life-long commitment and maybe you’ll start a trend.
Get inspired. Look around the community…as you visit blogs, ask yourself, “what is awesome about this blog?” Maybe take the time to tell them this. Who knows, you could spark up a friendship.
#BookBlogMeet Meeting face to face can be a great way to get closer to your community. Organize local meet-ups, or attend a convention. Take the time to say hello to fellow bloggers.
One of the ways communities protect themselves is by not allowing what they consider “bad elements” into their group. But, this can lead to stereotyping, ostracizing and cliquish behavior which is not good for any community. Just remember before you jump to conclusions when you see an accusation of “bad behavior” go out – do your research. Yes, we do not want trolls and rats in our community, but we also do not want to promote mob mentality. Put the pitchforks away and think logically.
Think of ways to bring people together, whether it is a book discussion on twitter, a Facebook party, or just a meet-up in a nice forum. Common threads are great ways to make close friends.
Have some great ideas or tools that you can’t live without? Share the knowledge! Telling everyone about the great plugins you are using will not hurt you…it will only foster good feelings and make you a community asset.
Be welcoming. If you see a new book blogger commenting on your site, or maybe saying hi on twitter. Make them feel welcome. Visit their site, leave a comment. Say hello.
Support a cause that is close to you and let others know about it. Don’t be afraid to ask others for help, this is not blog promotion if it is for a good cause. Bring others into your cause, everyone wants to help out. Look for ways, other then money that people can join in and help out.
Organize an event. Start an online chat. Get creative and get people involved. Even if you have only three people join, it’s still a nice group chat.
Don’t be an enabler. If you see someone in the community that likes to do things that hurt the community, don’t enable them. It is not your job to tell them to quit their bad behavior, but if you ignore them, if you don’t comment and they see this behavior doesn’t get them attention, they’ll discontinue doing it. Much like a child that throws tantrums. Just ignore.
Promote the expression of opinion, even if it is different from your own. If someone has a difference in opinion it is okay to say, “hey I don’t agree with this, because of XXX, but you make a good point.” Don’t make someone feel stupid for the way they feel or believe.
As this book blogger community grows, the numbers increase ridiculously. Remember when you engage with someone they might not always hear your message. If someone doesn’t respond to a comment, don’t give up. They just might have missed it. Maybe try and engage a different way.
#BookBlogLittleThings As in everyday life, it should be about the Little Things. Remember this is a fun hobby for most of us. Yes, there are a few of us that are professionals and make a living at this thing called “blogging” but the majority – it’s a hobby. Professionals – remember, you are the minority, don’t judge the fun-lovers when they are acting unprofessional – and hobbyist, don’t judge the professionals when they do something business-like. We are still people, professional or hobbyist.
You like to receive compliments don’t you? Well so do other bloggers, so dish them out! Promoting good feelings is a great way to inspire positive outlooks in our community and make friends, which is the point of this whole exercise. To make friends.
Here is an exercise of sorts, an activity for you guys to promote a strong Book Blogging Community. Use the hashtag #BookBlogInspiration and tell the world what book bloggers inspire you. Make sure to mention them in your comments, facebook or twitter post. And let us know why they inspire you.