Armchair BEA: Blogger Development

This is my first of two items for today, playing along with today’s Armchair BEA topics.

First up: Blogger Development.

The purpose of the conference is to foster “blogger development”–and clearly, that development can go in a variety of directions! Today, we’re inviting you to talk about your approach. Have you branched out into your community? Do you partner with other bloggers? Have you gone “pro” or tried generating some income through your blog? If you’re a long-term blogger, how has your online personality developed over the years?

Tell us about things you’ve done to expand your blogging horizons, and the things you’d like to do but haven’t managed (or figured out) yet. Come back here to link up your post, and then go see what other participants have to say. Let’s foster our development as bloggers and learn from each other!

As a relatively new blogger, still in my first year in the blogosphere, I’m working my way through issues constantly and trying to find the right fit for me. When I started Bookshelf Fantasies, my only goal was to take the scattered bits and pieces of book-related writing I was doing anyway and to put them together in one consistent outlet. I had hoped that writing a blog would give me a good creative outlet, help me find other like-minded booklovers to connect with, and lead me to new and different approaches to thinking about books.

What’s worked for me so far is trying to write or post almost every day; participating in a few — but not too many — weekly or ongoing memes and features; and trying to establish my own rhythms and identity for blogging.

I haven’t thought about blogging in terms of income, and that’s not why I do it. I understand some people find it helpful to become Amazon affiliates, and I could see doing that in order to be able to offer giveaways and other perks that might cost me money. I’m not blogging for money, but I also don’t want to lose money on it!

What have I done to expand my blogging horizons? Well, one thing I’ve done is to start two regular features on my blog. While they haven’t really taken off yet (I get a few participants here and there, but it’s not consistent), I haven’t given up hope! My two weekly events are:

cooltext1045178755Thursday Quotables: Every Thursday, I feature a quote or passage from something I’ve read that week, and encourage other bloggers and readers to link up and share their own quotables from their weekly reading.

Bookshelf Fantasies

Flashback Friday: On Fridays, I highlight an older book that I’ve read and enjoyed, and invite bloggers to post their own Flashback Friday selection and link up!

Of course, the main thing I’ve done to expand my blogging horizons is to visit other blogs, comment, and connect! I don’t think I “got it” when I first started, but now I absolutely do: There’s a whole wide world of amazing bloggers out there, and the number one takeaway for me from my first year of blogging is the wonderful sense of support and community that comes from connecting with other people who care about reading and love to talk about books.

Sure, I’ve had my down days when I’ve felt discouraged: Why aren’t I getting more page views? Why didn’t I get approved for that ARC? Why haven’t more people read that one particular post that I was so proud of? I’ve had to slow down and remind myself that I do all this because I love to read, I love to write about what I’m reading, and I love to talk books with other people who love them as much as I do! All the rest — the stats, the page views, the followers — that’s just icing on the cake!

What I’d still like to do is find new and different ways of connecting with others in the book world, develop new and interesting features for my blog, try to start featuring some guest posts, and overall, continue to be open to new ideas and meet new people.

I’d welcome your input! For anyone who’s visiting Bookshelf Fantasies for the first time, I’d be honored to get your feedback. Thanks for stopping by!

And a final bit of shameless self-promotion: If you’d like to take part in Thursday Quotables or Flashback Friday, I’d be thrilled!

6 thoughts on “Armchair BEA: Blogger Development

  1. Hi Lisa,
    My name is Kerri and I also just started my book blog. I am going through lots of the same thing you have described above-it’s nice to hear someone else has experienced the same thing. When I started my blog, I guess I really didn’t know what I was doing. I would like to join in on your Thursday Quotables. I really like the look of your blog- how did you get those cute buttons on the header (mail, Facebook, etc)

    • Hi Kerri – nice to meet you! I wish I could take credit for the cute buttons — but they came with my blog theme! That’s actually one of the reasons I ended up switching to this design — I wanted buttons! 🙂

    • I’m not actually disciplined enough to do it seven days a week, but between some regular weekly features and a couple of book reviews, I do manage to post at least five times per week, most of the time. I try to give myself some slack during my crazy weeks, though — you know, the ones when real life intrudes!

  2. My blog just reached the two year mark, but I still feel relatively new.

    I’m impressed you’re able to post so often, though! I have a co-blogger and we post most days of the week, but not every day, and sometimes it can still seem like a challenge.

    I also didn’t know much about the community aspect of blogging when we began. If anything, I was rather startled when we got our first comment (irrational, since it’s a public blog on the Internet!). It’s been great becoming more connected, though!

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