DISCUSSION: Book Blogger Me Then VS. Book Blogger Me Now

In the past few weeks, I’ve been doing a crazy amount of updating on the blog, redoing buttons, themes, headers, signatures, and all of that fun stuff. I’ve been on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, and rifling through my Google Reader. I’ve read –not nearly enough, but that’s okay, since I’m getting things done — and I’ve had ups and downs.

One thing that I got to thinking about as I was doing ALL THE THINGS was how different I am as a book blogger now than I was when I first started.

Did you know that I have TWO starting dates as a book blogger? I first started this blog November 13th, 2009, though I consider its true birth to be October 10th, 2011 (and, ultimately, the celebration month for the blog). Even though I started at that latter date, I still don’t think I was doing everything I could as a book blogger. Heck, I still don’t think I’m doing everything I can, but the steps I’ve made have been HUGE!

Here are my lists to break it all down:

Book Blogger Me in 2009

  • Read the books – random books, but still read.
  • Posted “reviews” – more like rehashes of what happened in the book.
  • Didn’t know of the “community.”
  • Didn’t know about Google Reader.
  • Didn’t know about Twitter.
  • Bought random books, instead of knowing what kinds of books I actually liked.
  • Was okay with being in my own private bubble.

Book Blogger Me in 2011

  • Read the books — read quite a bit.
  • Started to get more of a sense of what book styles I liked.
  • Found the community!
  • Found Twitter, but didn’t utilize it as much as I could.
  • Entered ALL the giveaways.
  • Tried to be like everyone else.
  • Didn’t have a style or a “look.”
  • Tried to do ALL THE MEMES.
  • Never replied to comments made on the blog.
  • Very concerned with getting followers.
  • Put other book bloggers on a pedestal — thought I could never be as good as them or have as many followers as them.

Book Blogger Me Now

  • Reads the books — a lot of books!
  • Does the odd meme — realizes they’re not the be all end all to the blog.
  • Uses Twitter. A lot.
  • Tries to make meaningful friendships with bloggers.
  • Has found a style for the ¬†blog and have streamlined that style elsewhere.
  • Does a lot of commenting.
  • Replies to all comments made on the blog.
  • Not afraid to be myself & post content that shows who I am.
  • Always working on ways to improve the blog & its content.
  • Tries to post more than just reviews — more meaningful content.
  • Not so concerned with LOTS of followers, but with getting followers who enjoy the content and leave meaningful comments.
  • Tries new features, nixes new features — sees what works and what doesn’t.
  • Enters the odd giveaway, but would rather spend time READING than fussing about online.
  • Gets excited about reading and finding new reading people — even started the Edmonton Book Bloggers group for book bloggers in the city!
  • Have realized that book bloggers are people, too — I find it easier to talk to them and reach out when I need to.

I think it’s interesting looking over the years at how much I’ve changed and how much I accept that things WILL change on the blog. I don’t think I’m ever going to be 100% happy with everything — even if right now I feel like I am completely happy with everything on the blog. There are still little things I always want to change up, but they’re minor.

I also feel that, as a blogger, there are so many other things I could be doing. I could comment on more blogs! I could be more active on the Book Blogger site! I could talk more on Twitter! I could do more vlogs! I could do more to promote the authors I love!

There are just so many things!

I think the hardest thing for me in this whole book blogging journey is remembering that it’s okay to do what I want on my blog — it’s MY blog. Just because other bloggers are doing tons of promotion and vlogs and reviews doesn’t mean I have to be exactly like them. One of my favourite things about my blog is that I think it shows a lot of who I am as a person, with the discussion posts, music posts, and all the other little things that are poking around. That’s something that will NEVER change.

Look back on your book blogging journey — how have you changed? How has your blog changed?

© 2012, Reading In Winter. All rights reserved.

35 thoughts on “DISCUSSION: Book Blogger Me Then VS. Book Blogger Me Now

  1. Wow it is amazing to see how far you have come as a book blogger. I just hope I can end up where you are. I started my blog in January then thought it was to much and deleted it. Then this month i decided I missed it and brought it back.

    I am trying to get back in the swing of things. I had to start over from scratch. At least I had goodreads to look back at which had some of my reviews. It seems I am about where you were in 2011. Hopefully my blog can grow and i can become the blogger I want to be. Thanks for sharing.

    Sara

    • That was how I thought this past October, though I never did delete my blog — I just never updated it.

      I hope your blog can grow, too! It’s fun to look back at all the changes. :)

  2. First (since I’ve been under a rock for awhile!) I love the look!!

    Second? It’s so fun to see how we grow as bloggers – I remember when I had a meme for nearly every day and I freaked out if I missed a single day of posting. LOL!!! I find myself a mix between you last year and you this year – but I’m finding my own skin in this blog-o-sphere and loving it still! (Which makes it a good hobby, in my opinion!)

    I’d love to do more Vlogs, but I feel like I look like a stroke victim on video (seriously – my face looks half frozen… I don’t know what it is because even my husband said I look goofy on videos!)

    • Thank you, Jac! I love the look, too … it’s been quite the journey, but I think I might be happy with it now!

      I was the same way! I thought I had to post every.single.day. Of course, I have so many freaking reviews stockpiled that I’m trying to get my draft folder cleaned out — hopefully by September! That’s great that you’re finding your own skin … it’s nice when you finally break out of what you think you should do, to what you WANT to do.

      Ha ha … I just look like a crazy person in my vlogs! I hope you can post one sometime. :)

  3. Really interesting post – and the new look is so good! I think the most important thing about blogging, whatever its subject, is to be true to yourself and not worry what everyone else is doing. You have a unique voice and it’s one people want to listen to :) I’m trying to make a few changes to the way I conduct mine and that includes making more comments on other people’s book blogs, so here goes!

    • So true. I think it’s too easy for bloggers to try and be like all the other bloggers that their own voice gets lost.

      I hope your changes go well! I do love commenting on other blogs … I try to do as much of it as I can! :)

  4. I like the new look, fresh and streamlined, glad you left a picture of you :-)

    Blogging changes so much so I feel we can never keep up and if we do it seems that it takes away from reading time. I am a slow reader so I am not going to start FB and Twitter, commenting is it for me. You read so fast so I like that you have dived in it all.

    You do share a little of all which is great. Nice post.

    • Thanks, Marce! I don’t know why, but I have a lot of whimsical snowy pictures of myself … probably because it’s my favourite time of year. :)

      The changes do indeed take out of reading time … I spent a lot of time in the past few weeks on blog stuff that it’s nice to spend this week doing more reading! I do think I spend more time on Twitter with blog stuff than Facebook … I always seem to forget about Facebook.

      I wouldn’t say I’m a fast reader … I just have a lot of time TO read right now. I figure I might as well take advantage!

  5. We have very similar transformations as book bloggers. I officially started my blog in April 2011, but I consider September-October 2011 when I really started taking it seriously. I went through many of the phases you did – entering so many giveaways, feeling intimidated by other bloggers, posting as many memes as I could – and I’ve passed them all now.

    I think it’s great that you’ve finally established what you do like to post, and what you don’t, what you feel is unique to you and so on. I feel the same way about my blog now – I’m totally in love with it, because it’s truer to who I am than ever before.

    • Aww … we’re like blog twins! I’ve enjoyed the journey so far and I’m glad you have, to. I think we all have to go through that awkward blogging phase, where we’re not really sure if we WANT to post more of what we want to, or if we want to keep trying to be like everyone else.

      I love that you’re in love with your blog! I think I’m in love with mine now, too. :) I’m happy that it’s a fun thing now and less stressful!

  6. This was a really good post. I aspire to be like you. I really try hard to be a better blogger. I always see people with like a two page review and mine are a couple paragraphs. For one thing I have never been good at explaining the book’s plot in my own words. So I just go on here and write what I felt about the book and that’s it. I post a goodreads blurb so if someone wants to know what the book is about they can read that!!!

    • Reviews can be hard to write. One thing that helps me — though I don’t do it all the time — is taking notes while reading. Mark down characters, what you’re liking, what you’re not liking, etc. I tend to leave writing reviews until I have some piled up, so the notes really help! Or, have certain things in your head while writing them — What are your thoughts on the characters? How was the world building? What are your thoughts on the writing style? Who would you recommend the book to?

      Thanks for commenting!

  7. I am still a work in progress. I started on goodreads until I realized thru YouTube that I could not only blog but also, have a vlog. I still need to work on my blog because I am not very computer confident. I have decide to check out some blogging for dummies books so that I can become a better and confident blogger.

    • That’s definitely a way to go about it! I find a lot of the platforms, like WordPress and Blogger are very easy to use. I hope you can figure it out! I wasn’t very confident when I started, but I learned a lot over the years.

  8. I love your discussion posts!! Even though it’s been 4 months since I started, I remember doing exactly what you did in 2009, explaining the book out and not really putting my opinions into the reviews. It took me a while to really think of what I could put into a review when I realized that it’s just my own opinion anyways. Now, when I like something in the book, quotes or passages, I put a sticky note there. I usually remember what I didn’t like about the book, so I don’t have to make a note. For some reason, I think that blogging actually helps me in SCHOOL, because I can develop a better writing style, have better grammar, and things like that.

    I’ll probably be changing the blog quite a bit throughout the following school year because I want the blog to be representing me and also just what I do.

    Thanks for these discussions Kristilyn, like I said, I love them!!

    • I love that blogging helps you in school! I think if I had blogged while in university, I might have had a bit more confidence.

      And I love your sticky note idea! I really should do that … I have a hard time remembering particulars.

  9. You’ve changed so much! I can only hope my blog grows like yours, I’m trying to come up with more feature, but sometime’s it’s a bit difficult, especially where I’m so busy at the moment. Hopefully things will slow down a bit and I will catch up soon.

    I quit my job last week, total relief at that. It feels so good to know that I only have until next Friday left! I can’t wait to be home with my baby..lol

    • Aww, thanks Jenn! I love coming up with features … some have worked, some haven’t, but it’s all about TRYING. It’s definitely hard when life is busy.

      Oh wow – congrats on leaving the job! I know how you must have felt, though I do want to find something part time.

  10. It’s great to see your progress as a blogger. I’ve been thinking about this topic since you messaged me on twitter a couple days ago. I am in process of trying to decide how I want to redo my blog. I am seriously considering no longer accepting requests and just reading the books that I want to read or requesting via edelweiss and netgalley. I’ve found recently that I’m not as happy as I once was with requests. I’m seeing that I feel more obligated rather than really wanting to.

    I’m liking the idea of doing read alongs of books I enjoy (your participation is a big part of that), focusing on my classics club project, and focusing more on library finds. (Honestly, typing this out makes me feel like a weight has been lifted.)

    • Requests and review books are definitely nice, but I’ve been reading a lot of the books I WANT to read this week rather than the books that I’m REQUIRED to read — it’s been WONDERFUL! I’m pretty sure that once I’m finished my current review books, I’m going to hold off for a while, or maybe request only a few a month, if that.

      I’m glad a weight has been lifted! I want mine to, as well — I can’t wait to read more of the books I buy as well as take more advantage of my library. :)

  11. Well, I didn’t know you back in 2011, but I’m definitely a big fan of yours now! I think you’ve really found your stride in your blog, and I honestly love visiting it (even if I’m having trouble keeping up with your posts this week! – two jobs is no fun!). It’s neat to see how far you’ve come in really, a short period of time (not counting 2009). You’ve inspired me to be a better blogger and I’m thankful that I’ve met some great, supportive bloggers lately, thanks to you! My favorite blogs are the ones where there’s a nice mixture of content because then I feel like it’s a true representation of the person behind the blog. Review after review after review gets boring and I feel the “reviews” don’t have as much merit when you don’t get to “know” the blogger…if I wanted to read reviews all day from strangers, I could do so on goodreads or google.

    Anyway, great discussion, as always! :)

    • Thanks, Brie! I love being an inspiration to other bloggers. :)

      I love having a mix of things on the blog — though, in the next few weeks there’s going to be a LOT of reviews since I’m trying to clean out my drafts folder. So be warned!

      I do like it when bloggers add personal things to the blog. Not like I’m going to reveal everything I do, everywhere I go, and every single detail, but it’s nice to show a bit of personality and have something OTHER than reviews. Sometimes reviews are inevitable, but I like including the other things. :)

      • Haha, don’t get me wrong – when it’s a book blog, obviously I expect book reviews (and want them!)! I just like bits of the other stuff, too- like your discussion posts! :D

        I’m just jealous of your stash of reviews you’ve got going on ;) ;)

  12. Thanks so much for this, I am new to the blogging scene, only been blogging aggressively for the last 4 months. So I loved to see the progression of your style and how you made it work for you, and how you changed over the years. It has opened my eyes to some of things I have been thinking are important, that might not be as important as I think they are at the moment, so thank you for this post. For new bloggers like me it gives us an insight into the community and the relationships that can be formed over time.

    • You’re welcome, Siobhan! It was definitely interesting looking back at how I was last year. Made me shake my head a bit. :)

      Even if you’re a newbie blogger, there’s nowhere to go but up! There’s ALWAYS room for improvement — even for bloggers who have been around for a while.

  13. This is the first time I’ve been on your blog on the computer, not the phone, in a while, so it’s the first time I’m seeing the design changes. It looks fantastic! I want to improve the look and feel of my blog now too!

    I haven’t changed much in my blogging, other than trying to post more frequently, but I do feel differently about it now, and I’m sure that’s because Ive found a little community, thanks to you, Brie and others!

    • I felt the same way when I started befriending some bloggers and spending more time on their blogs … I’m constantly seeking improvement!

      I’m here to help with whatever you need. :)

  14. Ooh interesting! I didn’t know you’ve been blogging for so long! You’re like a veteran!! It’s cool to see how much you grew as a blogger too and how much things changed!

  15. Love it! I think I’m still working on doing more discussion/personal posts… I feel like they get a really good response, but for some reason they take me a long time to think about and write… which I guess is why I do more reviews than anything else. And I definitely want a new look. I guess it’s just about making time in order to make things the best they can be. But I definitely agree with not trying to compete… just doing your own thing and what you feel comfortable with always seems to work out the best. Glad you’ve found your stride. =)

    • I try to note down ideas for discussion posts whenever they come to me … it helps! Sometimes there are weeks when ALL I post are reviews, but then I hope to change the week after up with fun posts.

      I think once you start blogging just for yourself, not competing with anyone else, it just comes easier. I’ve also found that accepting less review books makes it a whole lot more fun!

  16. It’s amazing how much can change within two years! You really can’t prepare yourself fully for blogging. I never imagined I’d be so immersed in the community and so glad for Twitter! I loved reading this post and seeing how you progressed as a blogger. I hope one day I get the hang of reviewing too!

    • I’m so happy for Twitter! :)

      Blogging is something where there’s always room for improvement — especially book blogging. It seems there’s always something new to do or something to learn!

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My home is where my books are. - Ellen Thompson

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