Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Busting the Newbie Blues (2)

Small Review is once again hosting Bustingthe Newbie Blues, an event meant to help put new YA book bloggers on the radar and get old and new bloggers to interact and share their experiences about what it's like or was like to be a new blogger. I participated in it last year and many of the blogs that I follow and comment on regularly are ones that I found through Busting the Newbie Blues. After blogging for over a year, I’m really excited to be filling out the Established Blogger Questionnaire, and am looking forward to discovering some new blogs. The event is running during the entire month of January, and you can find more the information here. 

When did you start your blog? 
I started my blog near the end of August 2010.

Do you ever still feel like a newbie?
Yes! This usually occurs when I’d like to request an ARC or am sending an email asking an author for an interview/guest post.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far? Did you make any mistakes new bloggers can learn from?
The biggest challenge that I’ve faced so far is finding the time to post. When I have school, sometimes even finding the time to read can be challenging; and when I’m on holiday, procrastination kicks in and books that have been read but are waiting to be reviewed kind of pile up. I have no idea how bloggers schedule posts! Someone needs to teach me their tricks.
I still post whenever I want but try to do so now on a regular basis. As a newbie blogger, that's something I didn't do.

What do you find most discouraging about being a new blogger? How did you deal with this?
I think the most discouraging thing about being a new blogger was the lack of comments on my posts. When I started blogging, I kind of dove into it and had no clue what I was doing or how big the YA blogging community was. I just really wanted to share my thoughts on books I’d read and naively figured I’d get a lot of people telling me what they thought about it too. 
I continued to post semi-regularly however and left comments on other people’s blogs and soon enough, people started leaving comments back on my blog.
What do you find most encouraging?
How welcoming the YA blogging community is! Whenever I have a question, I’ve always been able to find someone who’s willing to take the time to offer an answer.

If you could go back in time and speak with your newbie self, what five bits of wisdom would you tell yourself? 
1) Comment, comment, comment! It’s a great way to get people to stop by your blog and start following it.
2) You don’t have to post everyday but do it regularly.
3) If you need advice, it’s okay to ask. Established book bloggers don’t bite and are more than happy to help.
4) Don’t feel like you have to review every book you read. Read books occasionally for fun.
5) Use social media like Twitter to connect with authors, publishers and other bloggers.

What do you like best about the blogs you read? Have you tried to replicate this in your blog?
I love blogs that are funny, post insightful reviews and/or generate discussion. I don’t think I’m really funny and would need to find time to write a post that’s discussion-worthy, but I do my best to post honest, thoughtful reviews.

What do you dislike about blogs you’ve seen? Do you try to avoid this?
One thing I really dislike on a blog are captcha codes and so I don’t have them on mine. I don’t have a huge amount of time for commenting but when I see an interesting post on my Google Reader, I’ll sometimes try to leave a comment. If there’s a captcha code and I don’t know about it, my comment doesn’t get published because I’ve closed the tab on my browser and moved onto another blog.

How did you bring your blog to the attention of so many people?
I tried to find bloggers that had similar tastes in books as me, followed them, and left meaningful comments on their blogs. They would then usually reciprocate.
Another way to get publicity for your blog is through contests. This can become expensive though and doesn’t really translate into people actively following your blog.

When and how did you get your first ARC (or first few ARCs)? 
I got my first few ARCs by winning contests held by bloggers and through Goodreads’ First Reads. 


  1. I still feel like a newbie sometimes too, it's still so easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing and what books their getting and sometimes I just feel a little out of the loop. Then I just have to remind myself why I started the blog, and that usually just takes reading all the wonderful comments from daily readers like you who always make my day by leaving a little note on my posts. I'm such a huge fan of your blog Zahida, it's a blast coming here everyday!

  2. I love learning more about you!!!

    I'm such a n00b when it comes to social media. I haven't developed an intense desire to hang out on facebook or twitter so I know I'm missing out on forming better connections, but I do what I can. Like you said, it does help that the community is so supportive. :)

  3. I don't like captcha things either. Just too time consuming. I like funny posts too. I'm sure you could come up with a discussion worthy post. Time is so hard to find. I think you're doing a great job keeping up regularly with your blogging. We're all in the same boat. I love this community! Great answers!

  4. The YA Community is so awesome. And I have the same problem! Scheduling is tough sometimes, but when I get on a break, I crank stuff out. Luckily I only procrastinate on actual school work during break, not book reading. ;) Lovely post! It was great to get to know more about you and blogging. =)

  5. Wow you actually won a book from Goodreads’ First Reads...I always enter the contests there but never seem lucky to win.

  6. "4) Don’t feel like you have to review every book you read. Read books occasionally for fun." >> Great point!! Otherwise reading starts to feel like work and that is no fun at all.

    I wish I had some trick about scheduling posts, but for the most part, I don't schedule them :( I really should try harder to get posts ready in advance!

    Also, I totally agree about comments - they're great for connecting with other bloggers in a meaningful way :)

  7. You know, I inadvertently had captcha codes on my blog for a while... I think they were the default. When I realized, I took them right off. They should be gone now. But, I wonder how many people have them and don't realize it. It is really annoying, especially when it's so blurry and skewed you can barely make it out!

    I'm always tempted to post on people's blogs how to take them off... but then I figure, it's their blog, who am I to say? Kind of like folks who play auto-tune music, or use white text on black background. I could tell them to stop, but maybe they're one of those weirdos who like such things??? Easier just to click away, and not worry about it.

  8. Great advice. That is how I got most of my followers too :)

  9. I cant stand those captcha codes as they are blurry, I took them off my blog as I wonder if it deterred people away. Im a new follower


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