Armchair BEA, Day 2 – Blogger Development

armchairbea21

Day two of Armchair BEA is about blogger development.  The question seems simple enough.   As a blogger, how have you expanded your horizons and what would you like to do but have not?

Expanding my horizons has meant getting more involved with the community of great bloggers.  I host the Kid Lit Blog Hop twice a month.  This is a hop for middle grade books started by Renee at MotherDaughterReviews.  It is a great way to meet fellow reviewers and children’s authors.  Adding new followers has not really panned out as I thought it would, but maybe time will change this.

I take part in two challenges.  The first is Tara Lazar’s Picture Book Idea of the Month in November.  PiBoIdMo.  Coming up with one picture book idea a day may seem simple enough, but try it.  It is not that easy.  The great thing about this challenge is the great picture book authors and illustrators Tara gets to guest blog during the month.

Last year I took part in the A-Z Challenge but did not have the time to devote to it this year.  This is a full month of writing a post beginning with the letter A and progressing through the alphabet.  April goes by fast when you are that busy.  The goal is to get 100 new followers, but not everyone made that goal.

My biggest goal is to get new followers who will participate and comment.  My little–though he is not that little anymore–friend Erik, who does a great job reviewing middle grade books at ThisKidReviewsBooks.com, consistently gets between 20 and 40 comments on each and every post.  Am I jealous?  You bet I am.  Who wouldn’t want that many comments–sincere comments–on every post?  If you are a blogger and say you don’t, my friend you are lying to yourself.  Everyone wants comments and that is the hardest thing to get.

One problem may be that my reviews are always longer than 400 words.  Usually twice that word count.  I like to be thorough.  A poll last year asked about review length and the long, detailed review easily won out.  The illustrations break up the text and give your eye something new to focus on, plus the illustrations are part of the story and therefore should be reviewed.  I just hope they help retain readers and give everyone a good idea of the book and its story.

The last thing I have been struggling with is paid reviews.  Many sites are now charging from $15 to $30 for a 400 word count review.  Would I like to get paid for my efforts here?  Sure.  I don’t know that charging for a review is the answer, but it is an option.  On the wordpress.com platform, one cannot sell ad space or do affiliate marketing.  I do have the book titles monetized to Amazon and so far this year I have made a whopping $11.82.  Woo-hoo!!  I really do not expect anyone to click through and buy the book, though it would be great for the author.

The biggest goal I have for Kid Lit Reviews is to keep on reviewing and trying to get some of the best books released each season.  I have no intention of abandoning this site, at least not for the next three years–which is when the domain name will expire if not renewed (which it will be).  So there is time to figure all of this out.  Right now I want to continue making new friends, finding great sites, and do more commenting on other sites.

Please also see today’s review: Animal Fairy Tales: The Kitten Who Cried Dog and Goldiclucks and the Three Bears.  Click HERE!

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24 thoughts on “Armchair BEA, Day 2 – Blogger Development

  1. Wow!! And look at all these comments!! My problem is getting the Mom Person to the computer. And by the time we read everybody’s blogs that we like to read everything has been said that we wanted to say. I do like your reviews. You always review different interesting books and with some honest criticisms. I like that. And you can be pretty funny sometimes. I like that too! Keep up the good work! And thanks for all the thoughtful insights!

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  2. Pingback: Armchair BEA 2013: Final Day | Kid Lit Reviews

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  4. $11.82, wooo-hoo is right! Don’t worry about going over 400 words, I do that all the time too 🙂 It’d be nice to have 20-40 comments per review, maybe someday that will happen for the both of us.

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    • I hear the key is to read and comment on other blogs, but with a few exceptions, it doesn’t — or rather hasn’t yet — worked for me. I keep at it. One of these days I will find those bloggers who have the time to comment in return and then stay because they love the reviews. I do that that is the key to comments — having time Many of us do not have the time to comment on every blog we read.

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  5. You made $11.82!! Woot! Woot! I think that all book bloggers experience the things you are discussing at one point or another. I want to comment about what you said about Erik and commenting (that is the weirdest sentence – perhaps I should not be typing this late at night?). First of all…Erik is awesome! I think he is a great kid. What he does so well is visit other blogs and leave comments and he always responds to every comment on his site. I think you do a great job of responding to comments. The benefit of the Kid Lit Blog Hop (in my eyes) is that it is an opportunity to visit other Kid Lit blogs and see what they are talking about and sharing. It builds the reciprocation. Reciprocationg is soooo important. To get people to regularly make comments on your site, you absolutely have to go out and make comments on other people’s blogs. I expect a visit and comment within the next 24 hours. 🙂 Thanks for the mention, btw.

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    • I totally understand what you are saying. I do comment on several blogs a week, usually different ones, but do go back to the original also. Sometimes I just do not have the time or energy to comment.

      Erik is lucky. He has his teachers commenting. He is a kid, an adorable kid, a kid who can actually write, and people want to encourage this – hence many comments. I am past most of those things. I think Erik deserves all the attention he gets. I used him as an example because he is one reviewer who consistently has connected readers. I am one of those connected and I love to comment on is work. Erik, for his part, rarely misses commenting on one of my posts. I adore him and think he is a richly talented writer.

      Thank for the BAM! Now . . . ready . . . set . . . GO! 24 hour deadline!

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    • I am on my way! The A-Z Challenge was not as hard as I thought it would be. I did the day’s posts the night before and didn’t miss any. The problem was using the letters Q, X, and Z. You can always plan ahead and put the posts on a timer. There was always one day a week off, which helped. Definitely try this challenge. If you don’t make it through it is really okay. The point is the trying. Doing this has helped me get more posts up each month.

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  6. Wow, you participate in many challenges. I always find it hard to do those. I like the one on creating picture book’s idea. Have you read the one “The King’s Beard”, i love that book!

    Don’t worry about getting paid for reviews. I don’t think that will work out the best. And comment numbers, my suggestion is to focus on blogging friendships less than gaining an incredible number of comments. And keep writing reviews that you enjoy writing!

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    • I agree with you about the comments, fees for reviews and writing to enjoy what I write (or something like that. I didn’t enjoy that sentence.) I will check out The King’s Beard. I had not heard of it, but with hundreds of picture books published each quarter, who could honestly keep up?

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  7. I guess my first question would be if you’ve asked Erik what his secret is? My second question would be how many blogs to you read their posts and comment on? The one sure thing I’ve found is that I must be the change I wish to see. So if I want comments, I visit other blogs, read their posts and leave sincere comments. Just something to think about. Good luck.

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    • I know Erik’s “secret.” He is an adorable kid with excellent writing skills, who us adults like to encourage. Read one of his posts and you will be a regular just as I am and several others you have commented here today. The kid is addictive!

      Plus, he does do a lot of commenting on other sites (I also do commenting but maybe not as much or as consistently as Erik does). He is a fireball! I no longer have that kind of energy. But not to make excuses, I do need to comment more and more consistently.

      I agree I must be what I want. Time is a big factor. Commenting is my biggest goal this year. I need to be more aggressive and go back to the same sites more often than I normally do. These events, like ARmchair BEA and blog hops help a lot. It is easier to find blogs I like and people with the same goals.

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  8. Spot-on about the comments–my big goal when I started blogging was not about a follower count, but it WAS about the percentage of followers that comment. I think it’s a much better metric of reach because then you know people are really ENGAGING with what you’re saying, and not just reading.

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    • I agree. I know how many unique visitors I get each day. I know how many pages they click onto each visit. What I do not know, most of the time, is what they think about the site, my reviews, my writing in general, and most anything else. I, too, think it is a better metric of my reach and if I am connecting. What is the point of doing this if no one is liking it? So, yes, I want comments. You hit the reason I am all for comments.

      I love the loyal readers who comment and I have gotten to know them and I like each one. When one misses a post I actually miss them. But life gets in the way for everyone.

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  9. I like your goals. And it’s so true about comments! It feels like people vote for you when they leave a comment. I will say, This Kid Reviews Books is very polite to his commenters. Maybe that is the secret? (I’m kidding but only kind of. I would love to know the secret.)

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    • Thanks!

      I do not think there is a real secret to Erik’s quick success. He is a kid who has figured this stuff out faster than us. That isn’t a surprise. Young kids treat this technology and social media stuff like a second language. But I think the best thing Erik has going for him is his youth and his talent as a writer. Hopefully, those that follow him now will be there later. I plan to. I think he has a grand future ahead of him whatever he does. I hope he decides to write. What I have read of his story writing (and his reviews), Erik has talent, moocho talent!

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  10. Thanks for sharing your thoughts – I love seeing how other bloggers approach their blogs. It can be hard to get legit, engaged followers, but it first starts with good content that you’re passionate about, and that seems to be why your word count for reviews is +400 – so I say go with it 🙂

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    • Thank you. I cannot see my reviews getting to the 400 word count. Even now I trim a lot from a post, even as I post it I am trimming again. I could not say what I really thought of a book and all that a story entails with only 400 words. I’d want a review that will help me get better. I’d want to know what is good and what is bad and why. I am hoping that others want the same. That is my reasoning for going near 1000 on each review. Of course, I’ll want the glwing review too. 🙂

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  11. I think your biggest goal is the best: keep going. I’m learning that gaining readers takes time. Like anything good, methinks. But as long as you’re enjoying what you’re doing, the process leading to the goals will be fun.

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    • I agree. If this were not fun for me – reading the books *all free*, and then writing about them, then finally replying to comments – I would not have lasted three years. I do enjoy all of this. More than I ever thought I would. But more than what I do is who I meet. The people I come in contact with is the real prize!

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  12. Great post and so true. Getting followers isn’t too difficult, it’s the followers that read and participate in your posts that are hard to come by. Your reviews are wonderful and I hope you don’t change them. They are so beneficial to the prospective reader. My belief is to keep doing what your doing as best as you can and to give back (which you are already doing). There are so many wonderful bloggers, readers, and authors out there that it is a pleasure to work with them. Have a great day!

    Paul R. Hewlett

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    • You may be the first to comment – Thank You! – and thus now at the bottom, but you have said it the best. “There are so many wonderful bloggers, readers, and authors out there that it is a pleasure to work with them.” Amen.

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