Sunday, October 2, 2011

This Heroine's Journey: How Book Blogging Has Changed My Life

To celebrate her 1000th post, Rachel over at Parajunkee's View decided to share how book blogging has changed her life. She also encouraged others to join in.

So Here's My Post:

The dreamer awakes, the shadow goes by,
When I tell you a tale, the tale is a lie.
But listen to me, fair maiden, proud youth,
The tale is a lie, what it tells is the truth.

I love books. But then, that shouldn't come as a surprise. I was reading before I could walk. The pages of a book have always proven a potent means of escape, excitement and adventure to me. (I was born with cerebral palsy and did not walk properly until I was nearly five.)

As someone who loves books and who believes strongly in the power of story, being a book blogger is simply a natural extension of something I already love. What makes it really cool for me is the fact that now I get to share my passion with others who are just as excited about stories and characters that live within them as I am. Honestly, I can't believe I didn't think to start doing this sooner. But as they say, better late then never.

We've Only Just Begun...

I had to pause for a moment and decide whether this was really an appropriate topic to have here on I Write, I Read, I Review. My blog was created in June this year, but I only started to focus in on what I wanted to do with it at the start of August. In short, the blog is still in its infancy. But after a few moments of consideration, I think I can safely say that my blog has made some pretty big strides in that small span of time. And I know that I have learnt a lot along the way.

Five Things I Love About Book Blogging:

1. It's An Awesome Outlet for Creativity

Everything that is related to my blog says something about my love of books. But I also feel that it says things of me and my preferences as well. I think this is important, because it means that my blog is free to be unique. Whether we're talking about how I set up my reviews, the fact that I use hearts to rate things, the design elements I'm using at any given time, the events or articles I am sharing ... None of them could exist the precise way they do if I was not involved. I believe this is true of all of us, and that is fantastic because we all need some way to show others what we love.

2. It's Something I Am Proud To Be Part Of

I come from a gaming background. I am use to taking part in social and competitive activities via the internet. I am also use to collecting awards because most of my time has been spent either on Xbox Live (where games have achievements) or playing MMOs (which are all about advancing an online avatar in some way or another.)

Book blogging has come with its own unique set of milestones: new followers, blog awards, the first time taking part in things -- memes, challenges, writing a guest post, doing a giveaway, winning something in a giveaway, or (and this one is vital, to me) just getting an awesome response to a post that makes me laugh, think, discover a new book, or feel that someone "gets" what I was talking about.  Unlike gaming, within the book blogging community everyone has a chance to succeed and everyone cheers each other on. Because one person's success does not arise from someone else's failure. (What a refreshing concept!)

3. Hello? Is There Life Out There?

Yes. Yes, there is! I have been trying to get involved in something big and exciting and fun and social via the internet for years. If I had a dollar for every website or blog that I've started that hasn't caught on I could probably buy The Iron Daughter, The Iron Queen and still have enough for The Iron Knight when it releases.

You can write, and draw and design until you are blue in the face. But if no one is reading or responding it can feel like its not worth the time and effort. I notice every time that I get a new follower. I read every comment that I receive and often try to respond to those that entail some type of question or conversation. The on-going discussion between my blog and those who read it is extremely important to me.

4. It Has Become My New Favorite Hobby

This has been a lousy year for gaming. But it has been a fabulous year for books. I find it funny how differently I need to approach reading and blogging then I approach gaming, and I also find it funny when certain ideas and mentalities overlap. With gaming, the hobby is super expensive. Games range from $30 or so for a hand-held title up to $70 or $80 if you get a collectors' edition console release. Books aren't pricey. They lure you in with $10 here or $15 there. What they do that games can't do so easily is they stack up. Both from a physical standpoint as well as a time management one. I am still earning to master that.

But the time aspect, between the reading and blogging and visiting and designing is actually a good thing for me since I have tons of free time anyway. It gives me things that I can spend my days doing that make me feel like I am accomplishing something that I truly value, and that is a great feeling.

5. We Have A Fantastic Community

As far as blogging and communication, this is where book blogging and gaming are like night and day. Book bloggers, from what I have witnessed at least, tend to build each other up. We hold giveaways where fellow readers can win prizes. We tell each other about the fantastic books we have read so that great books spread through the community like wildfire. We share knowledge, tools and resources so that new people learn from those who were already here.

Gamers don't tend to work like that. I'm not going to say that we book bloggers aren't opinionated -- if we didn't have opinions I don't think we'd be doing this. But I think we are far more tolerant and classy when we disagree with each other. Instead of trying to tell others what they should think, I have noticed that most book bloggers focus on making it clear that their opinions are strictly what they think. If you agree, great. If not, no big deal.

Five Things I Didn't Know When I Started Blogging

1. GoodReads is awesome. If for some reason you don't have a GoodReads account you should really get one.

2. If you want to link a tweet there is a button near the TimeStamp on the bottom that will let you link to it directly. (Yes, that means no more telling people I'm Katallina and letting them search.)

3. Visiting other blogs and reading and commenting is just as -- or possibly even more -- important as posting on your own blog.

4. NetGalley is awesome and you don't need 20,000 followers to use it. (Now I need to find out how I know when I can post the review for what I read...)

5. When you find blogs you like, join them via Google Friend Connect. When you go to your Blogger dashboard and scroll down you'll find a feed of all your friends latest posts that you can click and view at your leisure. (Seriously. I didn't know this when I started, I kid you not.)


So what do you love about book blogging? What have you learned? Got any memorable moments to share? I'd love to know, so feel free to leave a comment or write your own post. :)


  1. My blog is still essentially in its infancy as well, and I really didn't think anyone would ever read it - and then I did some searching, and found out there was already such a HUGE community of book bloggers, and that has made this such a fun and wonderful experience for me!

    I just checked out NetGalley for the first time today, but I don't know how much I will use it, honestly, because it confuses me a little. *shame*

    I understand basically how to use it, but first, I prefer to only read print editions of books, but it is turning out that every book I've requested is only available from the publisher either in PDF download or to an e-reader. I don't have an e-reader (not really interested in getting one, either) and a lot of my reading is done away from home (in between classes, in waiting rooms, and such), so I feel like I'd be missing out on a lot of my prime reading time.

    I don't want to email to request print editions, because since they were not offered initially, I don't want to be pushy or rude. But I won't lie, that was something of a let-down for me (especially for children's books, which I was hoping to be able to pass on to my niece or any of my friends' kids when I was through reviewing them).

    I'm also not entirely sure if I'm obligated to read the books that I've been given access to.

    I LOVE Goodreads, though, and I've also been on Library Thing for a few years now (and they also have an Early Review program).


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