blo Teens Read and Write: It's Small Reviews BUSTING THE NEWBIE BLUES

Monday, January 2, 2012


This event is designed to:
  • Put new YA book bloggers on the map
  • Increase blogger interaction
  • Start a discussion by sharing our experiences as new bloggers
  • Learn about what it was like for established bloggers when they were newbies

So how does this work? Simple:
  • Be a YA book blogger (oldie or newbie)
  • Select the questionnaire that best applies to you (there's no "wrong" choice, so just pick whichever one you feel most comfortable answering)
  • Create a post on your blog with the questions and your answers
  • Grab the button below to include in your post or sidebar
  • Link back to my post here so more people can join in
  • Sign the linky list below so we can all come and visit your blog!
  • Spread the word!

Established Bloggers:
Pick this questionnaire if you've been blogging for a while, have a decent sized group of followers and people commenting on your posts, and get a decent amount of traffic. Basically, you have some experience blogging and you've seen positive results for your efforts. You can define "decent" however you'd like. 

1) When did you start your blog? 
We started in the summer of 2009. Mom wanted us to have a summer project and she won't let us quit! Just kidding. She did have us start but we're happy and going strong.

2) Do you ever still feel like a newbie? 
All the time because we see so many fantastic bloggers doing such amazing things. There is always more to learn.

3) What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far? 
Mostly just being organized and finding time to do everything we want to do. 

Did you make any mistakes new bloggers can learn from? 
We were very intense over everything and felt like we had to post every day. But it's much better to post something that's interesting and relevant rather than just getting something up. People - especially book bloggers - can spot crappy content a mile away. 

4) What did you find most discouraging about being a new blogger?
Wondering when, oh when, people would start to comment and interact with us!

How did you deal with this?
It's the simplest thing in the world. You just start interacting with other bloggers, commenting yourself, and suddenly there they are. Okay not suddenly. It takes time but reaching out to others is a whole lot of fun and what will bring others to visit you. But you have to be genuine. If you just leave something like "Love your blog. Come visit mine!" it won't work. Be thoughtful, interested, and engage in a personal way.

5) What do you find most encouraging? 
The love and generosity of other book bloggers. They would answer any question we had or send us in the right direction. Everyone was awesome!

6) If you could go back in time and speak with your newbie self, what five bits of wisdom would you tell yourself? 
Relax, calm down, be patient and put out quality over quantity. And don't be afraid to reach out to anyone, even if they're "big." It can be intimidating but 99.9999% of the time you'll meet a fantastic, down to earth person who'd love to help you out!

7) What do you like best about the blogs you read?
Humor. When posts are funny, make us laugh out loud, and full of energy, we're in love!

Have you tried to replicate this in your blog? 
Of course, but we never think we're as funny as our favorite humorous bloggers. Although Jake's pretty funny. Weird, wacky and original. Also annoying. Very annoying.

8) What do you dislike about blogs you’ve seen? 
We steer clear of blogs with lots of whining and complaining. Anyone can have a rant now and then but when it's a regular thing, we say good-bye. And anything negative about authors or bloggers, especially on a personal level.

Do you try to avoid this? 
Absolutely. We see no use for that sort of thing. Our dad always said, "You're here to help push people up the ladder of life, not drag them down." We focus on being positive. And wish we were funnier.
9) How did you bring your blog to the attention of so many people?
Mostly commenting and communicating with other bloggers. Contests are always a good way to get buzz but they can be expensive and not everyone can afford to do that. Then there's Goodreads and Twitter. Social media is a great tool. Getting out and connecting with others works every time! And honestly (this was something we've learned) it's more important to have the fewer number of loyal people that keep coming back day after day, rather than the big numbers of people that may sign up to follow but you never hear from again. It's the regular interaction with your favorite folks that make all this work worthwhile!

10) When and how did you get your first ARC (or first few ARCs)?
When we started blogging we had no idea what ARCs were or that they even existed. We happened to comment on a blog that was run by a bookstore owner. She had a bunch of books that she offered to send us because she couldn't get to read and review them. In that batch were ARCs and we were amazed. We had a book that the public didn't have access to yet? Wow. We felt like super spies!


Tales of Whimsy said...

OMG I love alll your answers. I feel the same way about almost everything you mentioned.

Jenny said...

Completely agree with you on the commenting! Once I got out there and started leaving comments on my favorite blogs, everyone started commenting back and it made the blog so much more fun since it was more interactive then and not just me sharing my thoughts:) I'm with you on the rants/negative or whiny posts, those just don't sit well with me. I'm all for posting a negative review when that review is constructive and supported in opinion, not when it's a lengthy diatribe on why the book and author are complete crap. And I think you guys are plenty funny, I adore your blog!

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Such great answers! I think you all are so creative. With the reviews and the vids I love this blog!

I love what your dad said about being positive. Such good advice.

Natalie said...

Wow! I can't believe it was that long ago that you guys (and me) started book blogging! There was a big crop of us that started around the same time then, and can you believe it's going to be three years already this summer?

Lea (YA Book Queen) said...

Love your answers, especially for #5 & #6. I remember being completely amazed by how helpful and generous other bloggers were whenever I had a question about anything.

You guys are totally funny, by the way. It's one of the many reasons why I love reading TR&W - this website always makes me smile :)

A Canadian Girl said...

Totally agree with #3! It was discouraging as a newbie blogger not getting any comments and wondering when I'd start getting them, but when I commented on other people's posts, eventually they started coming to my blog too.

I think you guys are funny, and I like that you not only post about books but share your thoughts on movies and TV :)

Aylee said...

Excellent, completely agree with all your answers! I, too, needed to realize that it was okay not to post every day and to realize that using filler posts to accomplish this was not the way to go. Quality over quantity, definitely! And once I came to this conclusion, I felt I could relax and enjoy myself a lot more.

Kelly said...

Lol super spies!

I love when a blog can make me laugh. I'm a very expressive person, and I feel like I can be funny, but it requires hand gestures and voice changes - it doesn't translate well into my writing unfortunately.

I love when a blog is active daily, but only when the content going up is meaningful - it's true that posting every day just for the sake of posting is not worth the work!

I'm also participating in Small's event, and if you're interested in checking out my post, you can find it here!

Radiant Shadows

Small Review said...

Thank you so much for participating!! I love the tone of your responses. TR&W is always such an upbeat, happy place. And very funny (how do you wish you were funnier?! Have you SEEN your videos? Read your posts? You are hilarious!)

You and Aylee both gave the same advice about quality over quantity, and I'm LOVING this. In February I'm rearranging my schedule to only about three posts a week, and a part of me is terrified that everyone will disappear if I post less often. Your advice is going to be my new mantra :P

Missie, The Unread Reader said...

I love that your blog is something you do as a family. I think that is so amazing. Good thing your mom pushed you into a positive project and that is great advice from your dad.

Alexa S. said...

It's awesome that the three of you are dedicated to doing this blog. But what I like even more is how you refuse to allow any negativity to come your way! I also tend to avoid blogs that just whine, rant, complain or give bad reviews all the time. I've always believed in the power of positivity :)

Lesley said...

Loved your answers. As a relative newbie I've realised in a short space of time how much unnecessary pressure bloggers put on themselves to post everyday and some post more than once a day. I'm going to stick with the quality not quantity mantra too!

The Phantom Paragrapher said...

I love your blog background and header. It's very enticing :) I'm a new follower and I agree with steering clear of those blogs that rant and rave and whine. I can't stand it.

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