Friday, 3 December 2010

Busting the Newbie Blues

Busting the Newbie Blues is an event hosted by Small Review which runs from December 3rd to December 31st.  Here's a short rundown of what it's all about and what you need to do, but for full information, please visit this post at Small Review.

The event is designed to:

  • Put new YA book bloggers on the map
  • Increase blogging interaction
  • Start a discussion by sharing our experiences as new bloggers
  • Learn about what it was like for all those impressive established bloggers when they were newbies.

What you need to do is select a questionnaire that best applies to you and answer it on your blog, put your link on Small Reviews page and visit as many blogs as you can.  Take a look at their answers, but also have a look at their blog and a bunch of other posts and leave them some comments!

I chose the New Bloggers questions as I've only been blogging since mid October:

1. When did you start your blog?
I started my blog in mid October this year.

2. Why did you start your blog?
I discovered Goodreads in June this year and started writing reviews for the books I'd been reading.  I got some really great feedback, and by then I'd also found book blogs on the interwebby too and loved them.  My family kind of nagged me to get out there with my reviews too, so here I am!

3.  What has been the biggest challenge you've faced so far?
Probably trying to decide how many stars to give each book review.  Did I love it enough for a 5, am I letting people down by only giving a decent book a 3?  I'm actually trying to decide at the moment whether to stop giving a star rating and just leave my posts with the review ...

4.  What do you find most discouraging about being a new blogger?
I have over 120 blogs in my reader and get about 90+ feeds a day, so I can just imagine how many feeds some of you more established bloggers get.  But what I find discouraging is when I spend hours reading posts and commenting every week, but not getting many return visits.  This tends to happen more from established bloggers.  I understand why.  If I've got so many blogs to read after such a short time then established bloggers probably have enough to read already and aren't able to comment on everyones, but it makes it so hard to network with them.

5. What do you find most encouraging?
The positive comments I receive to my review posts!

6.  What do you like best about the blogs you read?  Have you tried to replicate this in your blog?
I really enjoy reading all the reviews.  That is my favourite part and I do try to comment on as many as I can.  I haven't really tried to replicate anything from other blogs apart from entering memes, challenges and events I come across.

7.  What do you dislike about blogs you've read?  Do you try to avoid this?
Some blogs have so much in their sidebars that it's take forever to load up on my computer.  I find it a little distracting too when I'm looking at the blog.  Yes, I have tried to avoid this by keeping my sidebar low key.

8.  Any advice for new bloggers?
I don't really know.  I'm still learning myself, but I would say make sure you keep a good balance between reviews and memes.  Too many memes and no reviews doesn't keep my interest in a blog, so maybe it wont keep others interest either.

9.  Anything else you'd like to share about your experience?
Only that I'm loving my blogging and reviewing experience!  I just wish I had more time :-)

10.  Is there anything you'd like to tell us about your blog?
I don't want to tell you anything.  I want you to go and explore and find it all out for yourself :-)

Well I hope you enjoyed my answers and don't forget to visit Small Review and so who else is taking part in the event!


ComaCalm said...

I love your blog - it's really clean and clutter free! *Follows*

Small Review said...

Ah, you are such an organized blogger! Look at this post? So neat and organized. That may sound kind of hokey (like getting socks for Christmas), but I'm the type of person who literally swoons over organization, so that's a big compliment from me. :) I also fully appreciate your non-cluttered sidebar.

I liked that you mentioned how you find it difficult to assign ratings to books. I agonize over this, and the way you described your worries exactly echoes what goes through my head. I find it most difficult when I think a book was objectively good, but I didn't personally like it. Do I rate based on objectivity or based on my own personal response?

Even with that, I still prefer it when blogs have ratings. I can quickly look at it and it gives me at least a frame of reference when reading the review. Reading the review is crucial, because that's where you find out all of the "whys"

Thanks for participating! I hope this event helps you. Your answers have certainly helped me. :)

Jamie said...

This sounds AWESOME! I'm going to go check it out!

I have trouble doing ratings too. I also have troubles sometimes putting what I felt about the book into words.

Jenny said...

I just want to say that I adore your blog! I feel frustrated sometimes as well when you make a point to comment as much as possible on other blogs but they don't always return the favor, but then I just think about the people that do comment and how much I appreciate that they took the time to do so and I feel a bit better. I don't comment on blogs to elicit a comment in return, but it is nice when it happens:) And I'm with you on the really cluttered sidebars, I like when everything I want to look at is easy to find:)

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

how cute is that pic of the ducks?? love it!

Caroline (Bon Bons and Reveries) said...

Thank you for visiting my blog. I'm now following you. I too find it difficult to rate books. And I know exactly what you mean about established blogs and hoping they will comment back. I'd say keep doing what your doing-your blog looks great. Your header is adorable.
Have a great weekend :)
Caroline @ Bon Bons and Reveries

Alice Dwyer said...

Great questions. Completely agree with number four. I find it very hard to network with more established bloggers, and though it is understandable I do sometimes feel slightly dejected by it.

danya said...

Thanks for dropping by and commenting! I sometimes have trouble deciding how many stars to give a book as well (and I do half stars too, LOL). Some bloggers don't use a rating system at all, and some use a very detailed system that breaks it down into various components (plot, characters, etc.) and an overall score...ultimately depends on what works for you! Personally I like a rating system just to get a sense of what the reviewer thought of a book overall, but that's just me :)

As for your question, I do often feel obliged to follow back when someone follows me, but whether or not I actually do is another question. I'll take a look at their blog, and if it appeals to me, then I'll follow. Sometimes I won't follow right away (for instance if they've just started out and don't have much content yet), but if their blog keeps popping up on my radar (eg. in memes) then later on I may start following them. It's probably the case for most bloggers that as they become more experienced and the number of blogs on their Google Reader increases, they start being a little more selective in the blogs they follow. Also, I can't speak for other bloggers, but it always puts me in an awkward position when a blogger asks me point-blank to follow them.

Anyway hope that helps a little! :)

Alison said...

I have loads and loads of blogs that I follow. I like randomly commenting on blogs - especially newer ones without many followers, but it's impossible to get them all.
That being said, I try to always comment back on someone's blog when they comment on mine. Occasionally, I don't have time to return a comment, but I really try to do so.

Nina B. said...

Hi, I'm also a newbie blogger, and now, also your newest follower!

Yeah that's what's difficult, when you try to get traffic for your blog but you don't get as much as you expect, but not to worry, there are a lot of bloggers out there who still find the time to comment us! Let's make a promise that we will always try to comment back. And I hope we can share great reviews in the future!

Check out my answers here

Gina @ My Precious said...

Really enjoyable post. Its great to see all the answers to the questions in this event. I'm learning a lot about newbie bloggers, a category which I fit into too. I wish some of the more seasoned bloggers where participating too.

As for your ratings, I enjoy them, hope you don't plan to ditch them anytime soon. I'm in a rut of rating every book I've read lately a 3. Haven't really found anything I've REALLY liked.

Melissa said...

I'm so glad you joined this little event! It's great to hear how other bloggers tick - both new and old bloggers! I'm glad you're having fun and that you enjoy reading reviews. Even as an older blogger, I worry my reviews won't be viewed that well.

It's all a process, and we're all here to help! Keep up the good work :)

Aylee said...

OMGosh I just found you blog and I adore it! Your design is so pretty and perfectly organized. This is what I aspire to on my blog, though it'll probably be awhile yet. I'm such a noob when it comes to html and such.
I know what you mean about having to juggle so many blogs and trying to leave meaningful comments on them as much as you can. It's definitely tough sometimes when you don't always get the same response back. I guess I can understand where they're coming from as well though.

Laura said...

Hey, thanks for following my blog! I'm following yours as well :o) I agree that if you're following a lot of blogs it is really hard to keep up with everyone's posts! It can be very discouraging when you leave comments on many different blogs, but don't get as many comments or visits in return.

I couldn't think of an answer for what I dislike about blogs, but I have to say, I completely agree with what you said about too much stuff in the sidebars! On my breaks at work I will try to look at other blogs and leave comments, but if the page has too much in the sidebars than it takes forever to load. I only have so much time before my break is over!

Have a great weekend and I look forward to reading your future posts!

Anonymous said...

Rating gives me fits too! Sometimes I look back on my reviews and think : Oh, I should have given than a higher rate, or a lower one. it all depends. it also happens to me a lot with series.

Awesome advice!

Jen said...

I also find it discouraging when I leave a comment on a blog and the blogger never responds. Especially if I'm asking a question or responding to a discussion post. I understand everyone has different things going on in their life so it can be hard to respond sometimes...but it seems to happen a lot. I think I spend about an hour a day just going through my Google Reader and commenting on posts and its frustrating sometimes.

Steph said...

That's an awesome post :) I keep track with the blogs I follow with Bloglovin'. It's SOOOO much easier than the Blogger thing here because it's like a whole website dedicated to following blogs. It might increase interaction too ;)

AngelicNytmare said...

I adore your blog it's so simple and cute to me. :) I love your answers to some of the questions. Especially the rating system too. I find it hard to rate to sometimes because I'm thinking "Ok so it was really good to a point then this happened but then it got better. So what do I do?"

Also, how some blogs take time to load I get alittle frustrated, but maybe that's just my slow interent. *shrugz* :)

Brooke said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier! I'm just catching up with comment! I totally understand about what you mean about comments/return visits. Me, I usually check my blog roll for updates when a few days a week, but sometimes blogs can get lost in the chaos!

Shannon the BookStalker said...

You've given some great advice and I'm so glad Small Reviews created this event so all us younger bloggers could find each other.

T.B. said...

Hi fellow Newbie! Wow your answers were so meaningful and I loved them!

I feel the exact same thing when it comes to rating books, and I always have to mull it over before I'm sure. I also feel the same way about memes and reviews. Sometimes I want to participate in so many memes and challenges, but I feel that if I do it will take away from the review side of my blog. Plus, I want to make my blog, From The Bookshelf of T.B., my own and not just participate in memes and such just because everyone else does. However, I enjoy events such as Busting The Newbie Blues as I get to meet other bloggers who have just started out, like myself!