We book bloggers are a rare and strange breed, are we not? We come from all walks of life, from all over the world. We come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and colors and backgrounds and states of being. We are united by one thing – a love for the written word, and our platforms. We may not all be on the same platforms, and we may not all read the same sorts of book, but there is that common chain. And the bookish community is a force in itself. We have our ups and downs and drama and explosions… but we’re all made of individuals who have made the choice to be here in the community.
And that’s why I picked up today’s book tag!
I stole the Secret Life of a Book Blogger Tag from Meeghan Reads early last year. Many tags circulating in the community are about the books we read… but this one is about the bloggers. This tag has been around for years. After a bit of digging, I think the original was created by Trey @ Trey Schnarr Books. Their blog is private, so I can’t link directly to the post, but good for Trey on creating a tag that’s still circulating five years later!
How long have you been blogging?
My oldest post on The Literary Phoenix is from 2009, and I know I’ve been playing around with a book blog since about then. But if you want to go old school, and I mean really old school, I started online journalling in 2004 with LiveJournal.
I don’t think there was much book talking back then though. There was a whole lot of boy drama because high school is fun. That page no longer exists – don’t even look for it. XD
At what point do you think you’ll stop blogging?
The reason why I have posts so old as 2009 is because I’ve come and gone on this blog many times. Sometimes, I’ve gone and only stopped back in to say: “Hi! I’m doing NaNoWriMo again!”. Fact of the matter is, books and writing are so central to my life that I’m as devoted to this space as I am to my personal journalling ventures. They’re embedded habits.
That doesn’t mean my posting will forever be consistent or good. It doesn’t mean I won’t disappear for a year someday. But I’m fairly confident that if I go… I’ll come back.
What is the best thing about blogging?
Guys, the correct answer to this question is “all my blogging friends!”. Which is true, but I’m also not a social beast, not even online, so I’m not as entrenched in the community as I ought to be. While I do specifically drop in on some of my favorites on a daily basis, for me, there’s more to blogging than just the community.
I love the act of typing, of putting words to the screen. I love having a cozy nook on the internet where I can scream about the things I love. I love knowing that the community in all its glory is out there and I am not alone.
What is the worst thing? What do you do to make it okay?
I hate marketing and I’m rubbish at it. Give me a topic and I’ll write about it forever. I’m good at making time to blog and coming up with topics. But I’m absolutely rubbish at popping up and saying “HEY GUYS COME SEE MY BLOG IT’S PRETTY”.
I wrote a whole post about this last year. Some of you commiserated with me. You guys are awesome.
To make it better… I just… don’t? I ignore the spotlight and cower in a shadowy corner and let other people have 20,000 followers. Can you imagine having 20,000 people relying on you to create original content? That’s so much pressure. If you have 20,000 followers and are rocking it, I’m so proud of you, keep up the good work! Also thank you for coming to my wee little, insignificant corner of the internet.
I do want to hop more. Comment more. And as you guys know, I’m working on my branding.
How long does it take you to make/find pictures to use?
I actually handpick my GIFs when I use them. It’s important to me that the GIFs I choose not only express my point, but feature movies, TV shows, or celebrities that I enjoy because my blog is an extension of my personality and I want to include things I enjoy and not something random that has nothing to do with me.
Also I get super excited when someone recognizes a specific GIF from an obscure/generally unloved film and gets excited and then we can get excited together.
As far as the images I use regularly, when they’re ones I’m creating, it depends upon the stage of the journey. Since I just rebranded, the images on my blog were all created by Waffley Cute Designs and Kat swallowed a lot of the work for me. All I need to do is add text to the featured images. I do this on Photoshop CS6, which I’ve been using for years, and it take me all of about one minute from editing -> compression -> upload.
When I am creating a new image from scratch, I could easily spend an hour on each one. I know this seems like a super long time, and most of it is usurped going through art and images and trying to find the *right* one. Once I have a template created, though, I use it over and over and it’s quick to add text, etc.
Headers are a whole different thing. Creating headers takes me forever and are filled with indecision and frustration that I don’t have the skills to create the thing I’m envisioning.
Who is your book crush?
Man, I dunno.
I was obsessed with Ron Weasley when I was growing up, but the old flame has died forever ago. This is an awkward question for me because I’m 30 and I read a lot of YA and all I can think is “these characters are so young and that would be so inappropriate”.
I think that Richard Gansey III and I could be friends though. We share an interest in treasure hunting and adopting lost causes and history and magic when everyone else thinks you’re crazy so you mostly don’t talk about it except to the right people.
What author would you like to have on your blog?
Well that’s a terrifying question.
I am decidedly not good at talking to people I don’t know (I’m barely able to talk to people I do know without weird awkward silences), let alone people I don’t know who are impressive to me. So realistically, if authors started being like “WHY YES! I’D LOVE TO GIVE AN INTERVIEW ON A SMOL BLOG!” I’d probably still hide.
Maggie Stiefvater, V.E. Schwab, or Mackenzi Lee.
Not because of their books. Or, at least, not specifically. I follow all three of them on social media and honestly, I just like them as humans. From as far as I can tell on social media, anyway. Can we talk for a minute about how Maggie works on fantastic cars, Victoria has a second home in Scotland, and Mackenzi keeps introducing me to new musicals?
Oh, I should add Amanda Foody to this list, especially because she lives closest to me (that sounded creepy. I’m not stalking – we’re both just Boston/Boston-adjacent). I just want some of her recipes, honestly.
Authors who are more than authors are my favorite.
What do you wear when you write your blog posts?
Writing up actual content posts like this comes on the weekends, and I resist leaving home on the weekends because I hate humanity and don’t spend enough time with my cats SO good morning I am writing this post on January 25th, it is 9:17am, and I’m wearing Cheshire Cat PJ bottoms and a tank top, plus my “Accio Books!” hoodie from the HPA (in purple obviously) because it’s chilly in my office.
For bonus points, I will also tell you that I’m listening to Redwall and I’m burning Book Cellar by Frostbeard Studio. I’m not 100% sure they still sell this one, but it smells like musty old books in the best way and it’s great for the mood.
Writing reviews happens either the morning or evening after finishing the book… so I could be wearing anything. Blog posts are a pretty consistent formula, though. PJs + hoodie + audiobook + candle.
How long does it take you to prepare?
Prepare a post?
I mean, I am not really a drafting person? The NaNoWriMo term for people like me is “pantser”, meaning that I fly by the seat of my pants. I have my topic, then I free write. I’m quite good at following a train of thought, which may possibly be a superpower.
In all fairness though, people who online and plot tend to have a more solid story. Or, in this case, blog post.
How do you feel about the blogging community?
The community is SO BIG and SO VARIED but generally, I really love it. I still stand by my opinion that Twitter gets hella toxic, but the blogging community and the Bookstagram community are so nice and so passionate and I love seeing what people are up to and how creative and kind and supportive everyone is!
I am not as involved in this community as I should be. Want to be. I always feel like I’m on the outside edges of things. I’d like to be deeper in the trenches, and get to know more of you. Someone point me to bookish hot spots!
What do you think one should do to create a successful blog?
Hah, this is hilarious.
While I’m content with the general success of my blog, realistically, I am not a successful book blogger. I’ve only just recently started getting +50 views daily. So, so many of you are well into the thousands and I think that you’re amazing, and the line there is marketing and community involvement. Like anything else in the world, the more you talk about awesome things and the more awesome people you spend time with, the better your blog will do.
So do as I say and not as I do. Make friends! Do book tours! Blog hop!
Tag! You’re It!
I apologise if this tag is redundant for anyone – like I mentioned at the beginning, this has been around for longer than most tags I’ve seen and it’s quite possible that some of you have done this before.
I’d love to see your posts if any of you take up the challenge! Of course, if you’ve been tagged and it’s just not your jam, that’s totally fine. 🙂
What is your blogging timeline? Are you a newbie blogger, or have you been in and out of the community for years, like me? Do you think that you’ll keep blogging for the foreseeable future, or are you burning out? I’d love to hear about your blogging timeline – let me know in the comments!