Thursday, January 5, 2012


A couple of days ago, I decided that I wanted to make my blog more of a priority in my life this year.  I also decided that I wanted my blog to focus on book reviews, mostly YA.  And I wanted to make my blog grow.  So I set out to do that.  I signed up for a few reading challenges, along with my own goal of reading 80 books this year.  Then I started browsing other book blogs, and started following quite a few of them.  My Google Reader is extremely full right now, but I'm steadily pecking away at it, hence the new comments on many bloggers' older posts.  

I'm reading blogs, following, commenting, getting ideas for my blog and learning a few dos and don'ts along the way.  But I still feel like I'm doing all the newbie things that older bloggers roll their eyes at.  Yes, I know I'll make mistakes.  And yes, I know it's a learning process.  But I still feel way, way behind.  

Luckily I signed up for the event Busting the Newbie Blues, hosted by Small Review.  It's a way for us new YA book bloggers to meet others like us, and get advice from old and new bloggers as well.  And I guess that's exactly what I'm going through - the Newbie Blues.

So here are the things that I'm questioning with my blog, and I'd really like your opinions and advice.

  • Do I really want to go full-throttle with this thing, and make a fancy Review Policy where I try to get publishers to send me their books, and list what I will and won't review, etc.?  This seems like the thing to do if you're serious about book blogging.  So far I've only been reviewing books that I've bought or borrowed (with the exception of the Glow ARC I received from a Goodreads giveaway).  I also haven't had very in-depth book reviews, which I definitely plan on rectifying in the future, no matter if I do the whole Review Policy thing or not.  I'm still going to stay away from anything that might be spoilerish, but my reviews will be much more than just saying if I liked the book or not.  But I'd also love to become more of a part of this community, and I'd love to be able to someday go to conferences and meet other bloggers (and authors!).  That would be awesome!
  • Should I change my blog name?  I really think this should be done.  The Mantis Connection conveys nothing about books, and so I feel like the name should be changed. Of course, if I simply change the name of the blog the URL would stay the same.  Unless I made a completely new blog, in which case I feel like I would lose those old posts, which I wouldn't be happy about (unless my husband or others know how to fix this!).  Just the reviews, mind you.  I wouldn't take all my soap-box rants over there.  Nor would this post make its way to the new blog.  It would be all reviews, reader challenges, and book related memes.  Maybe a bit of writing.  Or maybe I could keep this blog as a personal blog/writing blog and then the new one could be book reviews.  That sounds like a pretty good idea.  Also, I have NO idea what to name the blog.  Something book related of course, but I don't know...  
  • I think, even if I just change the name and the URL stays the same, I would need a new layout.  I can draw, but boy do I fail at art on the computer.  At one time I thought I would like to be a graphic designer, but once I took a class in high school I realized that it was not for me.  So I'd need someone to fancify the blog...
These are all things that can be done, of course.  This is just a problem of mine - I jump into things before I think them out sometimes and then I get overwhelmed with everything.  And I go over everything in my head, but writing/blogging about it helps to figure it out.  Plus, I'd appreciate the advice from my friends and followers.

Some people might wonder if I have the time to commit to something like this, and believe me, this has crossed my mind.  I am a stay-at-home mom of a 2-year-old, so I don't have a typical 9-5 job, but that doesn't mean I have tons of time to sit in front of a computer.  Basically I have a few hours during the day to read, blog, shower, whatever, while he's taking a nap.  And then I have my evenings when my husband comes home (and weekends, of course).  But we love to watch TV and I enjoy spending time with my husband.  Then I also have Reviews in 5 (a movie blog), which is also time-consuming.  I also write fiction, and while I'm not writing so much right now, I'd like to write more this year.  And then there's my social life. 

But I think, because I read so much, that I have time to take a few hours after finishing a book to write a thoughtful review post, and also to occasionally participate in a few memes.  And I feel like this year can be a sort of trial period, and if it's beginning to seem like too much, I can take a step back.

Anyway, what do you guys think?  Should I go all out for this?  Or just continue to do what I've been doing, but focus more on book reviews?  Any ideas for new blog names (I'm looking at you, Kate.  You came up with that awesome name for Courtney's blog - Abducted by Books - and yours is great, too - Midnight Book Girl.)?  Any other advice or sage wisdom you'd like to dispense?  Thanks in advance!


  1. I have asked myself one or all of those questions you asked above, and as a newbie myself, I get where you're coming from. : ) So here's my advice as I'm working through similar issues.

    Yes, you should go full throttle. If book blogging is something you want to do, then do it! But not half-way. Give it all you can, even with your limited schedule.

    You can change the blog name AND URL if you want. In the editing and organizing of The Daily Bookmark, my URL changed twice before I finally settled on the one I've got now. A warning, however. If you decide to change the URL make sure all of your links and such adjust. For instance, if you linked somewhere in a post to another post or page, you'll have to fix with the new URL, but that's a quick fix. : )

    As far as the look and feel of your blog, that's all up to you. There are people out there who will design you a custom blog, but at a price. Or you can go to the several different blog design sites that exist and choose one they have for you. I got mine from Nymphont and tweeked it just a bit here and there. Just in case you want to have a look at her stuff, I linked it.

    The good news is this: whatever you decide to do/change/alter/take on, it's totally up to you. It's meant for you and your opinions.

    Best of luck and I'm excited to see where your blog leads. : )

    Jessie Marie, fellow newbie
    The Daily Bookmark

  2. Thanks for the great advice, Jessie Marie!

    UPDATE: I have decided to do a new book blog. My husband and I brainstormed for a new name and we found one that wasn't taken! Soon I'll be posting at theoverstuffedbookcase [dot] blogspot [dot] com.

    Now I'm looking for a new template and my hubby is going to help me with all the behind the scenes web stuff. Woohoo!

  3. Wow, that is so exciting! It does sound like you are taking on a lot, but if it is something that you love doing then it shouldn't be a problem to make time for it.

    I know one thing that a lot of people do is they pre-schedule a lot of reviews. You could set aside one day a week to just write a few reviews and then schedule them to post through out the week. And that should be easy for you to do, especially with your meme posts.