Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Developing Blogging Mojo AND Genre! (Armchair BEA, Day 2)

Image cred: Book blocks! via artist Daniel Speight
It's Day 2 of the wonderful-fantastic, Armchair BEA. If you're not sure what I'm talking about, it's a virtual conference held in conjunction with Book Expo America. Which is held in New York City. Which is why I'm virtual and not on the scene.

Today's topics are "development" -- as in, how we have developed, or choose to develop ourselves, as bloggers. And there's also a discussion of genre fiction today, which I'm tickled about.

On Development...

Have you branched out into your community?
Oh yeah. In the early days of my blogging...8 years ago...there were not the scads of us that there are now. I was fortunate enough to come up with a crop of bloggers who really valued community. Some of those bloggers are still with us, and sadly, some are not. Namely, Dewey of The Hidden Side of a Leaf, was one of the leaders in community building and went on to found a host of bloggy events like the ever-popular Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon, which Heather and I have been fortunate enough to take over as hosts. Many others are still with us and still inspiring community. Many new(er) folks are coming up and driving community building, too. A few of my fave community leaders who come to mind: Florinda, Trish, Natalie, and so many more.

Heather and I also founded the Estella's Revenge E-zine back in '05 and subsequent incarnations, like The Estella Society, in the spirit of community. We currently hold regular read-a-longs, "challenges", projects, and the #Estellagram Bookish Photo a Day Challenge via Instagram.

Have you gone "pro" or begun supplementing your income through your blog? 
Ha! Nope. I make little to nothing on ads. I'm totally ok with that. I put them here to help pay for shipping costs and other little items that crop up from blogging if they could. And they probably do in a year's time. I also wrote a paid column for Bibliobuffet.com for a while but had to let it go because of time constraints. I've made a bit of money from being syndicated at Blogher.com. But, truthfully, adding a professional glaze to blogging makes it less fun for me the majority of the time. If my life was different and I didn't have to work a full-time job, I might be more willing to put more energy into professional blogging activities.

Are you a long-term blogger, and how has your online personality developed over the years? 
I've always been quite honest in my reviews, opinion posts, and whatnot. I'm just being me in any and all  content here. I've also become quite outspoken about freedom in blogging. That is, blogging how you want to and not succumbing to the pressures of anyone. Read freely, blog freely. Do what makes you happy. That's all.

On Genre...

I've had interesting entanglements with genre through the years. When I was a teen, I read horror novels almost exclusively. From juvenile authors like L.J. Smith, R.L. Stine, and Christopher Pike, I graduated to Stephen King and the like.

As I branched out into my high school years I had some fantastic teachers who made me love the classics.

As a young adult in my 20s I fell in love with graphic novels.

As I've aged into my 30s I will read just about anything if the blurb is something I find attractive, but I would say that most of my reading -- even if it's marketed as generic literary or contemporary fiction -- usually tends to have a genre slant. That is, I love books with an element of the historical or the fantastic. Or both! Or others! From the last three years of blogging here are some of the most memorable books that incorporate genre...


Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness


Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Wicked by Gregory Maguire

I'm looking forward to hopping around to your blogs today! 

36 comments:

  1. You did not just branch out you are one of the main branches by now.
    I really like your "Do what makes you happy" I think that is often forgotten. Thanks for sharing your development.

    I just love A Discovery of Witches ;)

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    1. LOL, I am gathering quite a few "rings" (tree rings, age, get it?). And yes, it can be very easy to forget to make oneself happy in the blogging process. Especially with the lure of ARCs which are very easy to get buried in (I speak from experience). I'm just now getting to a point that I would even consider pursuing specific ARCs after a long break from them.

      I loved Discovery of Witches, too. Was not as crazy about the second book. There was much eye rolling.

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    2. Strangely, I liked Shadow of Night much better. I felt like there was too much description of what Diana wore, ate, or drank in A Discovery of Witches. Shadow of Night did that too, but since it was historical it was at least interesting.

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  2. I love your blog and partly because you have not gone pro. You have a freedom of voice that I admire. Entanglements with genres! Cool word. I branched out years ago when I had to teach kids who were reading all kinds of things I had never heard of.

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    1. Thanks, Barbara! The freedom is what it's all about for me. While I love a wide range of blogs, I think there is a certain freedom and variety that diminishes just a bit when a blogger goes "pro."

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  3. I love your use of the word mojo. Time for me to get my blogging mojo back. Ha!

    tanya

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    1. Ha! Thanks! I use mojo a lot. Such a useful word!

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  4. \m/ Here's to not going pro! And amen to all of that.

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    1. Amen sister! Freedom writers we are!

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  5. Dear Andi, I already knew I loved you, but this post makes me love you a little more. How? "Do what makes you happy." That is the best advice I could hear today, what with my current money lust and all. Also? Outlander. Love love love.

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    1. Awwww, thank you, dahling! It is something that gets lost in the bloggy pressures at times. Mostly self-imposed, I admit. From experience. Aherm! And OUTLANDER! My favorite.

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  6. Did you read all the Goosebumps and Point Horror books in school? I loved those, couldn't get enough of them!
    I agree with you about freedom in blogging. I love blogging, but its a hobby and if it ever starts to feel like work that would be a big warning sign, as I already have enough work in my life!

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    1. Sam, I did not read Goosebumps! I know, I don't know how either, except that they came out after the Fear Street books, and I was totally caught up in Fear Street. Older, more romance, more gore. Right-on!

      And yes, I hear you. If it feels like work, it's not nearly as much fun. I work enough!

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  7. I remember that e-zine from way back when! :) Wow, time flies. It sure has been fun though.

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    1. Doesn't it??!! It's been ALL the fun!

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  8. Oh, Fear Street. How I loved thee. Genre fiction has always held a special place in my heart and always initially sounds more attractive to me than literary fiction (even though I adore both). I think the best is when a book can incorporate both and become literary genre fiction which is a thing I made up that is filled with sunshine and ponies.

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    1. Same here, Brooke. But like I said, it's so dang hard to delineate between pure genre and literary fiction. There's just so much crossmojination. Trademarked! Amen to incorporating both.

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  9. I still need to read Wicked. I keep meaning to pick it up and then I forget that I want to read it.

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    1. It's SO GOOOOD. I expected fluff, and I got SUPER mind melty awesome.

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  10. Your blog was one of the first that I found when I started reading book blogs - before I started my own - and I seriously love it! I haven't been commenting much, but I read just about everything you write ... but yu know, can't comment all the time and let you see what a blog stalker I am :-)

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    1. That means SO MUCH to me, Tanya Patrice! I admire your blog so much -- your creativity and forward thinking. Just awesome!

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  11. I've never read any Stephen King, but I've always wondered about his books. I'm not a big horror fan, but I like to read them around October and Halloween time!

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    1. Same here! I haven't read much of him since I was 15. In fact, I tried to read IT a few months ago and it scared the stuffing out of me at 32 while I would've eaten it up at 15.

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  12. I really liked both A Discovery of Witches and the sequel (though slightly less than the first book) and Wicked! :)
    And OOH R.L. Stine! That author is a huge part of my (scary) childhood memories!! I still get chills thinking of his Fear Street Cheerleaders series... *shudders*
    And I'm so with you on 'do what makes you happy', it's what it's all about!

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    1. Admittedly, the sequel made me roll my eyes a lot. I buddy-read it with Heather from CapriciousReader.com and we both felt the same about it. But I'll still read the last one. Gotta know how it ends! :)

      And YES, those Fear Street Cheerleaders scared and disgusted me. Loved those books.

      Amen! Be a happy blogger!

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  13. I read Stephen King in high school and kind of got over him, but now I'm kind of interested in picking up some of his work again.

    I love Anna Dressed in Blood! I read whatever seems interesting to me, too!

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    1. He's one of those authors I would like to re-read or read more of as an adult to catch all the things I missed as a kid. The thinkier stuff.

      And YES re: Anna! Can't wait to read the sequel...Girl of Nightmares. Have you read it?

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  14. Loved this post. Love you. Love your blog. *full of love*

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    1. I love you toooo, Nancy! Thank you, my friend.

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  15. Love this post!! And haha I had a dream last night that you, Trish and I met in person and were talking about your reading/motherhood post (the one you linked yesterday). We kept wanting to talk about it but couldn't because we were too emotional about it. LOL! (Apparently Armchair BEA is waaaay on my mind this week)

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    1. That is BEYOND awesome!!! I wish I'd had that dream because the one I had was boring and maybe scary at the end. lol

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  16. I can't believe that I haven't read any of the books that you have listed! I'm pretty sure that they are all on my TBR list (seriously). I'm a huge fan of all different kinds of genre...I like to mix it up to fit my moody reading :)

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  17. I've never really been a fan of horror, books or movies, but I loved Anna Dressed in Blood. I love snarky characters, and Cas's sarcasm helped balance out the scarier parts of the book for me (I frighten pretty easily!).

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  18. "Read freely, blog freely. Do what makes you happy. That's all."

    Yes! It makes me so happy to see you say that, I look up to you.

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  19. I can imagine us just miles apart about 20 years ago, curled up under our covers, simultaneously reading Fear Street Saga by RL Stine. :) Um, also thank you? I'm not sure I'd consider myself a leader. Though I do very much subscribe to the whole "read freely, blog freely. do what makes you happy." Even though it still stresses me out sometimes. ;)

    I keep forgetting that I have Anna Dressed in Blood on audio.

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  20. I love overall how long you've been blogging. It gives me hope, because it seems so many bloggers peter out after a couple years.

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Thanks for taking the time to comment! Blogger has been a beast lately, so I hope you do not have any troubles leaving your thoughts.

 
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