Things Learned Online

I was able to attend this amazing Online Blogging Convention a couple of weekends ago, not only did I learn some incredible stuff, I got to meet some amazing bloggers.  I thought I would share with you some of the things I learned from the conference.

The only thing holding me back is me.

NovelReaction.com has existed for almost a year now (make sure you help me celebrate in June with some amazing give aways and contests) and I had some ideas about postings, contacting publishers, and contacting authors but I have kept myself from doing any of them.  I kept telling myself, well, when I have *blank* number of followers, or *blank* number of regular readers I will do *this*. Since the conference I have implemented two of my ideas with great success, thereby proving that the only thing hurting me was me. If you (or I) have an idea, go for it, the worst thing to happen is they will tell you ‘no’.

Consistency is the key.

My cat gets grumpy when his routine is interrupted, people are the same way.  They like to know that they can count on a specific event happening at the same time.  My postings should be something my readers can count on. Right now I post about whatever I want on Mondays and a book review on Thursdays.  I need to keep consistently posting, regardless of what I post to help me stay organized and so my readers know what to expect.

Content is very important.

Some bloggers post everyday and when I started my blog I worried that I wasn’t posting enough but I felt like I just didn’t have that much to say that people would want to hear.  Now that my one year blogiversary is approaching I have realized how much work and effort goes into consistently blogging.  For me, posting everyday would make the content of the postings less than stellar but by posting at the rate I am, I can focus and make sure the content and writing style (grammar, punctuation, etc) are well thought out.  Focusing on the content first and getting readers second will improve the first and bring in the second.

Do what you love.

If you don’t love what you write about, stop, because others will be able to tell that you aren’t writing because you love it.  Every blogger at the convention posts on their site in their spare time, given the numbers of hours put into the their sites, it truly is a labor of love. So only do it if you love it! The unofficial mantra for the convention was “I blog for books” which is what most of us do. 🙂

The conference spanned three days and was online (so I was able to stay home in my pjs to attend, hooray!).  There were numerous panels with a moderator that spoke via phone to each other and I was able to listen to it live on the internet.  While they were discussing things live, I was able to comment in an online forum, with the panelists answering any questions I posted.  I was also able to have an ongoing conversation about the panel with other listeners.  I have been able to access all of the panel discussions to listen to the panels since the convention ended.  I also met some incredible bloggers, some who have been at this for a while and some who are newbies.  It was great to be able to listen to what worked for them and what didn’t. All for $20.00, well worth the money. They will be doing a mini-conference in 6 months and then another full conference in a year.  I encourage anyone who has a book blog to attend. (Also, a bunch of publishers donated Advanced Reader Copies of books so I got my entrance fee back in free books, photos to follow when they arrive.)

I left the conference feeling engerized, optimistic, and intimitated! There are some amazing people out there doing amazing things online, leading the way for the rest of us to follow.  The marketing of books is changing and bloggers/individual websites are leading the way with the change.  Some publishers are realizing that the market is changing and are adjusting accordingly and some publishers refuse to change what they are doing.  It will be interesting to look back in five years and see how much things have changed.

Winner of Ima Nobody Becomes a Somebody!

The winner is….wait for it……Megan!

Some of the great comments submitted:

Megan: The worst I was called was in middle school they called me big nose. It’s that blasted Cottam nose I was blessed with and have passed on to 2 of my kids! Other than that there weren’t any names that rhymed with Megan other than Reagan.

Lauren H: When I was younger, my mom worked a lot so my dad got me ready in the mornings. Needless to say, I had my hair in a slicked back ponytail almost every day because that’s what my dad knew how to do, or I would try to wear it down. Being that my hair is very thick, wavy and naturally frizzy, I quickly earned the nickname of “puffy head” if I ever tried to wear it down. It made me cry, but eventually I learned how to deal with my thick, wavy hair and now I love it. Now the only people who call me puffy head are my dad and my brother because it’s all a big joke now and we laugh.

Erika: Mine was “Hiny” since my last name was Hiniker.

The winner was chosen using Random.org and the book was courtesty of AuthorHouse Publishing.  Thanks to everyone for leaving comments and joining the contest!

Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

I have books that I reread (Georgette Heyer) and I have books that I own more than one copy (Jane Austen) but there is only one book in my collection that I have a paperback copy, an ebook copy and an audio copy.  That book is Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett.

In honor of April Fool’s Day, I am going to share with you one of the funniest books I have ever read.  Terry Pratchett is the king of humor! I giggle so much when I read the books that my husband has banned the books from our bed because I keep him awake with my laughter and shaking the bed with my body giggling. I love all Pratchett’s Discworld books but the Guards line is my favorite.

Guards! Guards! takes place in the fictitious city of Ank-Morkpork, a large city where all the crime is legalized and each branch of crime has their own guild that pays taxes and limits the number of crimes that can occur.  For example, once you have been robbed the thief gives you a piece of paper that you can show to the next person who tries to rob you because you can only be robbed once a year.

The novel focuses on Sam Vimes, the Captain of the small group of men that form the Night Watch.  Vimes has spent the last couple of years staring at the bottom of an alcohol bottle, ignoring what is going on in the city.  That changes when Carrot, an adopted dwarf who is 6’4″ tall, joins the force and actually starts arresting people.  To further complicate matters, a dragon (a mythical creature even in their world) has appeared, causing problems and taking over the city.

Sam Vimes is my favorite Discworld character, winner of a close competition since Discworld also has Death (who speaks in all caps), luggage (a vicious protector of owner and property) and Moist von Lipwig (the greatest con-man who ever lived). Vimes is a pragmatist in a world full of crazies, he has a deadpan sense of humor, and a strong love for his city and its citizens. “If there was anything that depressed him more than his own cynicism, it was that quite often it still wasn’t as cynical as real life.”–Sam Vimes in Guards! Guards!

Terry Pratchett is the wittiest writer I have ever read and never deteriorates into cheap shots at others that some people use to be funny.   Pratchett has a sparkling humor and an amazing grasp of human nature.  If I am ever a quarter as funny as Terry Pratchett I will count myself a success and a riot. Read, Read, Read! (I can’t say that enough!)

Terry Pratchett Books

Rating: One

Title: Guards! Guards!

Author: Terry Pratchett

Format: (paperback, hardbound, ebook): paperback, ebook, audio

Page Nos.: 384

ISBN: 0061020648

Publisher: HarperTorch

Release Date: July 31, 2001

I highly recommend reading everything by Terry Pratchett, for those interested in reading the Watch series in order:

Guards! Guards!

Men at Arms

Feet of Clay

Jingo

The Fifth Elephant

Night Watch

Thud!