Tag Archives: book blogs

New Kids on the ‘Blog’: Promoting New Book Blogs

When I first started my life blog back in 2007, I was posting for almost an entire month before someone left a comment.  My daily stats were in the low single digits and I was discouraged.

I learned, trial by fire, how integral connecting with readers through my writing, tagging posts, and commenting meaningfully on other blogs was to helping grow my blog.  I eventually developed friendships and my stats and comments grew.  Blogging became more fun because of my friends, their feedback, and a sense of community.

When I decided to launch Book, Line, and Sinker in early 2009, I contacted a wonderful book blogger who I’d gotten to know through my life blog.  I asked her for some advice and she went above and beyond, writing an entire post promoting my new venture.  

With her introduction, my neophyte book blog’s stats spiked and I found myself warmly welcomed into the book blogging community.  That introduction made all the difference between my book blog languishing for months without an audience and my book blog finding a niche in such a great community.  While I do think that it’s marginally easier to break into book blogging than life blogging*, starting a new blog can be daunting no matter what your niche. 

Recently, this same blogger tweeted about a new book blog and asked that we pay a visit to welcome the new blogger.  All of these things, and BBAW, got me thinking about building community and engaging new (or under exposed) book bloggers who might not have the encouragement (through comments, chats, tweets, and emails) that others in the community enjoy. 

I’m not sure how (or if) promoting new book bloggers is a viable idea.  While developing Book, Line, and Sinker’s new layout and design, I’m toying with a widget for New Book Blog Promotion.  Here are other things I’m considering:

  • Have other book bloggers submit new book blog links to me via email and then host the links in my sidebar for a week
  • A monthly or bi-monthly post on my site with links promoting new book blogs 
  • A blogroll on my site devoted to new blogs 
  • Other bloggers hosting links or adding new blogs to their blogrolls 

As the book blogging community continues to grow, I’d love to give back by offering new bloggers  encouragement and exposure.  If you’d like to be a part of this, please let me know.  Have any ideas or suggestions?  Drop me a comment or email! 

*In my experience, book bloggers are, by nature, avid readers and are more willing to read posts and comment on them. 

BBAW Interview: Proust Questionnaire starring Amy from Amy Reads Good Books

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“Since July 1993, the back page of Vanity Fair has been devoted Proust Questionnaire, in which a noteworthy person answers a series of personal questions.  The questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust (1871-1922), the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature.” —Vanity Fair magazine

To spice up our BBAW interview swap, Amy and I decided to use Vanity Fair’s format.  Amy’s interview is below and you can read all about me at Amy Reads Good Books.  Enjoy!

Amy from Amy Reads Good Books

Amy from Amy Reads Good Books by Gina (Nat's sister-in-law)

Meet Amy of Amy Reads Good Books.  She’s an English professor at a small college in Ohio and enjoys memoirs, women’s fiction, and books about food and travel.

What is your most marked characteristic?

I can get just a wee bit obsessed about learning something new

Which talent would you most like to have?

I’d love to be able to sing well

What do you most value in your friends?

Ready smiles and ready comfort

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

A cozy dinner with people I love, candles, and a nice wine

Which living person do you most admire?

My mom

Where would you like to live?

In the woods, near a nice hiking trail, with a cozy studio for reading and writing

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Procrastination

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Grief, experienced alone

Who are your favorite writers?

Virginia Woolf, Jane Austen, L.M. Montgomery, Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella, Jennifer Weiner

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

Nick Carraway

Who is your favorite heroine of fiction?

Emma Woodhouse

Who are your favorite poets?

Elizabeth Bishop, Louise Gluck, Wallace Stevens, Sylvia Plath

How would you like to die?

Unaware

What is your motto?

Okay, I confess that I don’t have one.  After a little googling, however, I was charmed by this one: Amor tussisque non celantur–Love, and a cough, are not concealed. (Ovid)

Thanks to the organizers of BBAW for putting together such a wonderful opportunity for book bloggers to meet and greet.  Amy and I hope you liked our spin on the book blogger interview swap.

For more information on Vanity Fair’s Proust Questionnaire, or to review the complete list of questions and answer them yourself, visit Vanity Fair.  If you’re a fan of Vanity Fair’s Proust Questionnaire, look for the coffee table collection, coming in October.

BBAW: Gratitude is My Attitude

bbawThank you so much for the warm welcome into the book blogging community.  The last six months have flown by and I never knew just how rewarding niche blogging could be.  I was thrilled to be nominated (Mom, did YOU submit my name?!) for several categories and was over the moon to be shortlisted in two.  I appreciate the recognition but know that no matter how comprehensive, there’s no way BBAW could shine light onto every book blog out there.  That said, I’d like to add a few of my favorite book blogs that didn’t make the shortlists.  A visit to these blogs would be time well spent!

Amy Reads Good Books: Not only is Amy my BBAW interview partner, but she’s also a talented writer and lover of books.

Heather at Book Addiction:  Heather is at the top of my feed reader for alphabetical reasons AND she’s always one of my favorite go-to blogs for reviews that are honest and concise.

Lisa at Books on the Brain: Lisa was the first person to ever leave me a comment on my life blog, nearly two years ago.  For that reason alone–the encouragement to keep blogging when NO ONE was reading my ramblings–is enough for me to highlight her.  But Lisa also has great discussions, is cohost of TLC Book Tours, and has a real-life book club that I’d love to join–just a few more reasons to love her!

Jennifer at Literate Housewife: Not only do I adore Jennifer’s layout but I also enjoy her posts and reviews.  Learning that she started her blog to help give her life some balance was also impressive to me!

Vivienne at Serendipity: My go-to blog when I need a hearty dose of England!  V always has great pictures–of her books, scrapbooking pages, and tourist sites she visits.  She’s always quick with a comment and very friendly!

Steph & Tony Investigate: Not a books-only blog but worth a visit if only to read the wonderfully erudite book reviews. 

Write Meg! I love Meg’s blog–she and I have really similar tastes in books so this might be why I enjoy stopping by so much…but to be honest I think it’s really because she’s so friendly and nice–always leaving funny comments! 

And here are a few of the over 85 book blogs on my reader–I’m only sorry I couldn’t include them all!  I hope you’ll enjoy these blogs as much as I do. 

Thank you to everyone who visits, comments, or links Book, Line, and Sinker.  You help to make this blog what it is!

Review: Two Years, No Rain by Shawn Klomparens

norain

Title: Two Years, No Rain

Author: Shawn Klomparens

Genre/Pages: Fiction/320

Publication: Delta Trade/Random House;  6/23/09

Rating: 3 BOOKMARKS

 

Weatherman-turned-children’s television host Andy Dunne has been living a literal and figurative 580-day drought, with no relief in sight.

Shawn Klomparens’s Two Years, No Rain, tells the story of Andy Dunne, a man in his early 30s who, to borrow one of his weather terms, is a ‘desiccated’ husk.  His personal life and job reporting weather for a satellite radio station parallel the parched weather and landscape of San Diego. 

Andy excels at repressing emotions and spends a good deal of the novel denying himself the right to the most basic and primal emotions.  He buries grief over personal loss, ignores the pain of his wife’s infidelities, stands idly by as their marriage disintegrates, and patently ignores his health.

Andy applies for and gets a job that propels him to television fame.  The job opens the door to a trip to Hong Kong and the unburdening of Andy’s guilt and regrets.  While on the island, a typhoon strikes and, ironically, the weatherman isn’t conscious to see a good part of it.

Relationships, loss, avoidance, regret, and infidelity are strong themes in this novel and each is weaved throughout.  Klomparens pens a realistic world for Andy with well-developed friends and family, though I thought the characterization of Andy’s love interest, Hillary, was a bit soft.  I learned more about his niece than I did about Hillary.  Their relationship was based mostly on hundreds of text messages and illicit late-night phone calls because of their respective marriages. 

After Andy’s marriage falls apart, Hillary’s marriage to Jason deteriorates.  It’s no coincidence that Hillary’s husband shares a name with Andy’s twin brother–Klomparens uses Hillary’s Jason as Andy’s foil–reflecting the unspoken competitive relationship that Andy and his twin shared. 

The novel is chock full of symbols and metaphors—stormy weather, withering plants that flourish with proper care and attention, the text messages between Andy and Hillary, dry weather, an empty house, ‘new’ and ‘old’; page has depth and more to offer than meets the eye.

Darkly humorous, I enjoyed several laughs during the novel.  Ultimately, Two Years, No Rainis really a quest on which Andy struggles to finds peace with his losses, regrets, career, and relationships–only then can the literal and figurative rain come.  This would be a great read for a book club and there’s a discussion guide on Klomparens’s website. 

Thanks to Lisa and Trish at TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to review this novel!

Book Blogs + Book Reviews=Book Sales?

As my book blog is poised to turn 6 months old, I’ve been reflecting on its purpose and potential.  People are visiting, reading, and commenting on my posts, but does that translate to book sales?  Do book blogs generate enough buzz to actually sell books? 

The book blogging community is such a supportive one, but are we reaching the masses?  Recently, I started posting my reviews on Amazon to reach a wider audience.  But is this enough?  Are their other avenues that I’m missing?

I read about 60 book blogs during the week.  In six months, I’ve read 13 books that were either reviewed or suggested by other bloggers (five of which were for my Summer Reading Challenge).   In total, I’ve been motivated to read eight books purely on bloggers’ reviews.  But my reading of these books didn’t generate new revenue for the authors because I  borrowed them from my local library.

I would love to know if book blogs, reviews, and tours have a quantifiable impact on book sales.  Do authors notice a spike in sales and interest if they market their books through blogs?  Do you think your blog (and book blogs in general) help sell books?  Inquiring minds want to know!

Review: Don’t Call Me a Crook! by Bob Moore

crookTitle: Don’t Call Me a Crook!

Author: Bob Moore

Genre/Pages: Memoir; 255 pages

Publication: Originally published 1935; republished by Dissident Books, Ltd. 2009

Rating: 2.5 BOOKMARKS

Originally published over 70 years ago, Bob Moore’s memoir, Don’t Call Me a Crook! is part sensation, part confession. 

Bob Moore lived a wild and wicked life–he was a cad and a scoundrel and who tried to rationalize his criminal hi-jinx. 

“…I thought of the guy waiting in the Shellman Hotel for me, and I thought how he had meant to fool me nicely by making me take all the risk, and then paying me off with a paltry hundred dollars while he made thousands of pounds (on loose, stolen diamonds).  I reckon he deserved to lose those diamonds…”  (Moore, 28)

He explained that when opportunity presented itself, he didn’t have to think twice about stealing.  I imagined him as a moustache-twirling villain who managed to charm most everyone–and was I ever right! 

I’m no Puritan over here, but even I was a tad scandalized by the blase manner in which Moore glibly told of swindling, bootlegging, and murder.  He amazed me by dodging one proverbial bullet after another.  He traveled the globe, often at a moment’s notice–especially when fleeing from the scene of a crime, something he did with alarming frequency.

The direction of Bob Moore’s life was led by the Grand Theft Auto moral compass–theft, adultery, and cheating were his cardinal directions.  Despite his shortcomings and criminal lifestyle (or maybe because of them), the book is an entertaining read.  As he goes from one improbable adventure to the next, the reader is left questioning how one person could live so many lifetimes in one life.

This book was not widely received after its original publishing in 1935 and was recently re-released with an introduction, afterword, and footnotes–some  superfluous and distracting.  There were many nautical references footnoted (crow’s nest, galley, stateroom, purser, list) and though I’ve never captained a ship, I’ve watched enough episodes of The Love Boat to understand the lingo.  Other footnotes, however, were necessary and helpful.

Perhaps because this book was penned so long ago (or because Moore just didn’t give a damn), prejudice is evident in a few of his interactions.  I understand that they aren’t themes of the novel, but intolerance turns me off.

Overall, Don’t Call Me a Crook! is an entertaining, albeit scandalous, read.  Moore can really tell a story–and he has the details to support his tales.  People who enjoy this genre and are interested in reading about the life and times of this Glaswegian shouldn’t hesitate to pick up this book! 

Thanks to Lisa from Online Publicist for sending me this memoir!

Off The Deep End: My Summer Reading Challenge

It’s official: I’m finally doing a challenge!  Thanks to everyone who suggested titles–I’m still accepting suggestions (until I have 35 books)–for my first Reading Challenge.  Clearly I won’t be mistaken for a graphic artist, but I tried my best!  I may tweak it a bit before it’s finally ‘done’.

book challenge