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…
Then while looking at Water Lily Fairies…at the bottom it says, Customers also liked…and this one popped up. I guess the same customer really likes badly illustrated people in weird positions…
I don’t even know how to pronounce that title… Grid Scan?
But let’s get away from illustrations, to FUNNER topics, like Photoshopped images. I love these…
From subtle lighting changes and skin lightening effects like this one, that make it obvious that two models were “shopped” together…
She looks content, besides her badly shopped face, it is supposed to be their honeymoon – he though – looks like he just farted…
to cover artist that take the “floating animal head” to a new level…
Don’t mind me, I’m just sitting up here, way high on a tower, sniffing my arm pit, in my underwear while a incorporeal dog barks at me. La la la.
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
Have a great day…!
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):
- Audible.com Subscription
- Amazon Prime Membership
- Shipping Costs
- Cameras, Video Equipment
- Movie tickets if you review movies
- Plugin costs
Check out this handy list on About.com for more info.
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.
Source: NCSL.org, stopbullying.gov
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.
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.
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.
Hey guys. This is a quickie. Because I had a really feel good BB101 planned for today. It was a strengthening community post (Murphy’s Law right? ) and I’ll post it next week, but the thing is, I woke up this morning and I had four kind of nasty emails in my inbox. On a singular level, each email was probably not that bad – but then when combined with my mood – they became really nasty. And taken all together I felt like someone had just crapped in my cheerios. Pardon the vulgar pun.
Now, if you have been following this blog awhile, you might realize that I’ve been doing this for a long time. I also go out of my way to do things to help out the book blogging community. Like these BB101 posts and I sit on boards for conferences I don’t even plan on attending, I help people put together awards, I offer my design services for free when there is a good book blogger related charity. I’m not saying this to toot my own horn, but I’m just saying, I’m not a book blogger that just sits back and doesn’t try to help out other bloggers. I don’t think I’m selfish. I try and help authors get exposure. I try and help other book bloggers get exposure. I don’t think I’m better than anyone else because my blog might get more recognition than newbie bloggers.
This being said, it really upsets me when people email me and tell me, I’m selfish, a snob and think I’m better then everyone else.
My initial response is to email them back with a even more vulgar pun then the one listed above.
So, I get an email from an author – because I didn’t respond to a review request – telling me that I have to respond to email requests, because it is my duty. And because I didn’t respond I’m ignoring them and think I’m better then them…and now they are going to tell everyone what a jerk I am.
The next one was from a blogger who had petitioned me, about a month ago to “check out their blog” and give them design recommendations and because they were broke, could I maybe design the blog “in my spare time” and my reward would be that they would review my services. On their blog. And when I didn’t respond to that email, they emailed me back this morning, that they wouldn’t be using my services or following my blog anymore because I ignore people and my BB101 is a farce (yes a farce) and I don’t really help people.
Then, the next email was a blogger that did want to hire me, but I had obviously missed the email and a comment made on my blog. So, again this was taken as intentionally ignoring them. So, I’m mean. Mean.
Finally, I actually had a few of these, from casual observers of my NAUGHTY GIRL’S GUIDE post yesterday. Basically calling in my judgement of letting a blogger like the “author” post on my site. That this will give new bloggers the wrong impression, etc. etc. I’m lax in my responsibility as a book blogger role model…etc. etc. I suck. I have no response to this, only that a small percentage of the population of the world does not own what we call “a sense of humor.” I just don’t know why, if you don’t have a sense of humor do they have to PP all over my parade? Does it not register that it’s supposed to be funny? Is that it – it seems too real? Because then, I guess I did fail. *sigh* How do people like Stephen Colbert make so much money?? Well, I should probably not compare myself to Colbert – it’s probably because I’m really not that funny. Oops.
The first two emails, and the last ones, yup I was ignoring them intentionally. So is that mean? Maybe – but, really – do I owe anyone anything? Should I feel bad for not having the time to respond to every request that comes into my inbox. I literally get 400 average emails a day. About 300 of those emails are trash, just delete and forget, but about 100 need to be looked at, deleted, saved for later or responded to. I guess until I get a clone, I’m stuck being mean. Or I’m just making excuses.
I guess I’m writing this post, fishing for compliments. Or at least my subconscious is. But, I don’t want compliments. I want to know honestly, as a blogger with a sort of a well-known name – does that mean other smaller bloggers and authors are entitled to something from me? Should I stop what I’m doing when every request comes in? I really don’t think so. Even people that really need help, can’t always be helped. Because there is just not enough time in the day.
So, all I’m asking. If you are a start-up blogger and are petitioning help from a more established blog – don’t be upset if your email doesn’t get answered. Maybe say hi on twitter…there is usually only one of us behind the blog doing all the administrative work. Don’t ruin a bloggers day. It’s my freakin’ birthday week and I was having a good week, even in light of the recently busted knee and the sunburn…you see?? I was trying to be positive.
The point of this? As a book blogger, when you request things from other book bloggers – don’t believe you are ENTITLED to anything. With the stupid ARC requesting BS – and these few emails. All I want to do is bang my head and put another check in “Affirmation of Entitlement Society.”
I might be in a bad mood. I do really appreciate you guys. If I’m grumpy and offended anyone, next drink is on me.
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