Author: kristendimitrov-kuhl

Monetization

If I had to choose one way to monetize my blog, I would try to get ads for newly released books so that up-and-coming writers can advertise their work on my blog. I have seen this done on the blog Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. The whole right side panel of the blog is advertisements for romance novels and special deals for e-book downloads. Obviously this makes the most sense for them since the whole blog is devoted to reviewing romance novels and interviewing novels. The other day, they posted a thank-you note to all of the companies who put up ads for the month of April, so I’m pretty sure small publishers and independent writers contact them to put the ads up because it is a pretty popular blog. Since my blog is not nearly as popular as SBTB, I would use Google Adsense to get started.

I’ve also seen book bloggers do sponsored posts where they get sent books of a specific genre by a publishing house and they are paid to review them. I feel like this would be great for me as long as I didn’t feel obligated to give only glowing reviews for everything they sent me.

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Blogging and Anonymity

The only anonymous blogger I keep up with is someone named Teacher Girl, who I found a few months ago because I was considering a career in teaching and she definitely has an interesting perspective. Since she usually blogs about events that happen in her life both in and outside the classroom, it is especially important that she keeps her identity a secret because her career could be in jeopardy if her employer ever found it. She doesn’t routinely bash her students or anything, but since she spends a good deal of her time at work with them she does mention things that her students did or said if they’re noteworthy.

There were a series of posts she had a few months ago about “the kid that broke me” that could have been very incriminating if anybody from her real life ever found them. They described a few particularly stressful incidents at work that required a series of conferences between her, her higher-ups, and the parents of an ill-behaved child who insisted that she was in the wrong and wanted to see her disciplined. Obviously, this caused her a great deal of distress so blogging became an outlet for her to vent her feelings since she wasn’t really at liberty to share them with anybody in her “real” life. Still, if the parents or administration got wind that she mentioned the child in question on a blog, even anonymously, I have no doubt that she would have gotten in a lot of trouble and possibly lost her job.

I can’t say that I’ve really had any desire to figure out who Teacher Girl “really is” because it isn’t necessary for the enjoyment of her blog. I think I can guess where she lives (general region, not specific town) based on context clues in her post that are specific to certain areas. I do enjoy how anonymity allows her to write about her life as if it’s a story to tell, and she has pseudonyms for just about everybody that makes an appearance in her posts. She even has a page that outlines her vast “cast of characters” and says a little bit about her relationship with each person mentioned. I think it’s an interesting way to think about blogging about your personal life.

Pitfalls of Live Blogging

When I was in high school, I used to make an effort to watch film award shows. Since I’ve started college, I haven’t had the time since I work every Sunday night and that’s when they usually air. Live blogs are a good way for me to catch up on what’s happening minute by minute without having to sit and watch for 3 hours. If I’m too busy to watch, I can simply check my phone every now and then and get all the highlights.

I have noticed that since I started following live blogs I don’t even have a desire to watch the show anymore because it’s way simpler to just check my phone to see who won what or what everybody’s wearing before the show starts. I think this lacks the enjoyment of watching the show since the suspense over wondering who won is part of what makes you interested in watching in the first place. Not to mention that these shows also have performances, speeches, and interviews with actors that just don’t have the same weight when delivered via live blog. Then again, I’m sure there are plenty of people like me who just simply don’t have the time to sit on the couch and watch. Live blogging means you don’t have to miss out entirely.

Getting information through someone else’s perspective is also completely different from watching the show yourself. Since bloggers don’t have any obligation to be unbiased, there’s no way to filter what’s going on from how they feel about the situation. I remember that after last year’s Oscars, there was a lot of animosity towards the actress Anne Hathaway in celebrity gossip blogs. I didn’t watch the show, so I didn’t really understand where all the hate was coming from (I know now that some felt she was stuck up) but it felt like the general consensus was that she was annoying and bloggers would fuel it by bashing her. It seemed a unfair that she got hate for simply attending awards shows and acting in a way that is vaguely disagreeable to some. I’ve noticed this happening lately with Jennifer Lawrence–last year, her whole girl-next-door and falling down at the Oscar’s schtick was considered cute and relatable, but this year I’ve heard bloggers accuse her of faking clumsiness and candidness it for publicity. I feel like this sort of animosity wouldn’t exist without live blogging.

 

 

Blogging Network

I think if I had the option to join a blogging network of sorts, I would definitely do it. I think having more than one person involved makes the content better because collaboration can be a good thing. Not only does it mean more eyes to improve posts, but many good ideas can be hatched in a group setting that may not be thought of individually. As the article mentioned, having a blogging network would also increase traffic to all the blogs involved by linking. Having parters also means more motivation to write. Of course if this was my career then I would have plenty motivation, but if I was writing a blog on the side then it might be challenging to keep up without a little push. Not to mention that I would want to keep up with the other bloggers and publish content as good or better.

I feel like my blog’s topic is easy to incorporate into a network because there are so many genres of books out there and even more niche groups that like very specific types of books. I’d probably stick to general fiction/literature because I’m not married to any particular genre, but given the popularity of young adult fiction, romance, mysteries, and thrillers, I don’t think I’d be able to adequately cover all the bases on my own. Having people dedicated to specific genres would also lead to better posts. Someone who absolutely loves, say, modern romance would probably have a more comprehensive review than someone who isn’t really up to date it.

As I mentioned earlier, having a group of bloggers could be beneficial because the group can motivate, improve on each other’s writing, and provide inspiration and ideas. This can be achieved through workshopping or simply feeling the desire to compete with each other.

Blogs and Social Media

In short, social media is a way for people to interact with their friends and family (or strangers) on the internet. Usually this is done through a website where people have the ability to create accounts with avatars and personal profiles (Facebook, Twitter). Many times they also have the option to display their personal profiles to other users. Others may prefer forum-type websites where users post in threads (Reddit, 4chan). Using these accounts, they can communicate with other users, post personal information, and share other types of media.

Blogs can be considered a form of social media because many platforms allow readers to establish a presence on the blog. For most blogs that are hosted by an individual or an organization, this usually means that readers have the ability to comment on posts, either anonymously or not. Those who host their blogs on websites like Tumblr and WordPress can interact with and follow other bloggers. This type of social media can lead to users making connections more than something like Facebook because they have the ability to bond over common interests without revealing personal details about their non-digital lives.

Annotated Bib #6

Evans, Angeline. “5 Steps to Turning Your Blogging Hobby Into a Job.” The Daily Muse. Daily Muse, inc, 2014. Web.

This source was unique in that it offered another way to becoming a blogger as a career: writing for a corporate blog. Of course, a huge draw for becoming a professional blogger in the first place is that you can be your own boss, but sometimes it just doesn’t work that way. As a freelance writer, you could write for multiple jobs either regularly or sporadically. A personal blog could be a good way to improve on your resume and portfolio so that you can land a corporate job. This can show that you’re not only a good writer, but that you know about the other elements that make up a good blog–like layout, media, customization, etc.

Startup: Book Binds and Dine the bookstore

Our business is a small bookstore that also caters to our customers’ interests in all aspects of culture–from wine and food to theater and music. In order to compete with Amazon, we will have many events for our customers to get them to come inside the shop. We will also emphasize the importance of supporting your local community’s businesses and authors. Examples of events will include wine tastings, movie screenings, book readings/local authors, taste testing of local food shops. Also we will participate in community service events like book/food drives.

Facebook

  • creating event pages to promote cultural events at the store.
  • since many customers are probably older and not that familiar with more obscure social media, we will really focus on Facebook
  • polls to reach out to customers and determine what they would like to see more of at their book store

Twitter

  • info on new releases
  • appealing to younger people to get the latest updates on what’s available at the bookstore
  • broke college student lending library–updates on what books are available at the store for students to borrow

Tumblr

  • book reviews/promote the best books
  • pictures of events
  • reposting other cool stuff to appeal to audience–motivationals, author news, etc.

Social Media Policy

Since we’re a small, community oriented business, we imagine that our retail-level employees already have some presence within the community outside of the business. While we encourage them to be smart and safe on the internet, we’re not too concerned with what our employees do on their personal social media accounts so long as they’re not doing or promoting anything illegal or misrepresenting our business in any shape or form. We will only interfere with our employees’ online activities if they somehow interfere with our normal business routine.

For those who are in charge of our social media presence, we require that they be respectful of the diverse backgrounds of our customers, not overly opinionated, maintain decorum, and adhere to the spirit of the bookstore.

Annotated Bib #4

Goddard, Joanna. “Blogging as a Career.” A Cup of Jo. A Cup of Jo, 2012. Web.

In this post on her blog, Goddard explains her career beginnings and how she unexpectedly became a full-time blogger. She explains how when her blog became popular, she put up some ads to earn pocket money and realized that she could make a lot more money than she ever anticipated. Her advice for aspiring bloggers is to develop a unique voice, though she does express doubts that blogging has the same job security as other professions. After all, she never dreamed of making a living by blogging a mere 5 years ago, so it is hard to say for sure whether it is a lasting medium.

Annotated Bib #5

Bram, Thursday. “Your Blog is Your Portfolio: Landing Blog Writing Gigs.” Daily Blog Tips. Daily Blog Tips, 2010. Web.

Thursday Bram’s guest post outlines a few ways that writers can utilize their personal blogs as portfolios in order to secure more writing gigs. She points out that it is not only important to have a blog to impress potential employers, but exhibiting good blog behavior is essential to getting  the job. The main three rules to follow are to post consistently, interact with your readers, and to do whatever you can to increase traffic. Bram obviously oversimplifies the process, but she makes an interesting point that how you blog is just as important as the content of your posts.

Annotated Bib #3

Warner, Janine. “Writing a Good Blog.” For Dummies. Wiley and Sons, 2014. Web.

Warner runs over a few of the ways blogs are utilized at the individual level–they can be personal diaries or impersonal subject blogs reaching out to a particular audience. Either way, they differ from professional writing because of their often informal tone. She offers a few basic tips to gain a readership. This can be done by developing a unique writing voice, writing posts that people want to read, and utilizing social media the right way. Of course, since this is “for dummies”, Warner gives a very broad overview without delving into specifics on how aspiring bloggers can gain a following. Still, it’s a great starting point for someone with minimal understanding on how the blogosphere works.