Tuesday, 25 April 2017

[article] Three Months of Blogging

I went back home for the holidays to the glorious countryside

Three Month Blog-versary

Today is the three month anniversary of my blog, Atlas Rising Books, which is super awesome for me. I'm not very good at picking up new hobbies, to be honest. I'll get very excited and passionate about something for a couple of weeks - like going running or taking up embroidery - and then my interest will drop off and I'll try something else. So it take a fair bit of perseverance for me to cement a new interest into my day-to-day life. And blogging definitely takes up a fair chunk of time and managing my ARCs even more so - there's writing reviews, writing other reading articles, a touch of research, taking (not great) photos, cross-posting reviews to Goodreads, Netgalley, and Amazon; it all takes a good bit of my time. But I've also found it super rewarding!

So in honour of my three month blogging milestone, I'm going to write a little about a few of the things I've learned whilst blogging, a couple of tricks I've picked up, and a few things I'm excited for. 


I was exceedingly lucky to get an ARC of Robin Hobb's latest book, Assassin's Fate. Robin Hobb has been an author dear to my heart since I was twelve years old and first picked up a book in the Realm of the Elderlings universe, Assassin's Apprentice. It's classic fantasy, a young orphaned boy has skills that can save a kingdom and there's betrayal and big struggles in his future, etcetera etcetera. But it's also got beautiful prose and there's all these amazing characters and interweaving stories. So whilst I've been busy recently tackling some ARCs that were published this month, I'm super excited to get stuck into Assassin's Fate.

I'm also thrilled to be finally posting my unboxing of the March Fairyloot box and to receive my May box, themed Warriors and Legends with a Lord of the Rings themed item! I skipped the April box because the theme didn't really appeal to me, but Lord of the Rings in May had me sold. I am also really looking forward to digging into Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. I read her A Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy which I thought was alright and I'm hoping that this will be better! 

Then there's my preorders of Derek Landy's Skulduggery Pleasant Book 10: Resurrection (with a tagline that is just on point: you can't keep a dead man down) and, obviously, A Court of Wings and Ruin.

A new series I bought that I'm excited to read, apparently it's very good

Blogging Tips from a novice

Use the queue: I started off just writing reviews and publishing them whenever I felt like it. This sort of worked until I got into Netgalley, when I started receiving books that wouldn't be published for another six months! So I started scheduling them for reasonable times, and then after a while realised that this would make sense to do this for all my reviews. Whilst I don't stick to a schedule, I roughly post once every other day and try and intersperse my "article" posts between my review ones.

Write reviews quickly: Or at the very least jot down some notes or initial impressions, otherwise I end up mixing up the mothers from the last three books I've read, or can't remember if Grendel was Jewish or if that was his best friend, whose name I can't remember. Then I have to spend time looking it up. When I've finished a book I like to jot down a couple of bits of basic information about the book and a few of my thoughts. 

But not too quickly: Sometimes I find that, upon reflection, a book was actually more forgettable than I had thought. All too soon the main character as pretty much faded from my mind, so I had better bump that book down from a 4 to a 3 - which is much easier if your review isn't already live. This is something I do with my university essays - leave it alone for a couple of days and then come back to it and see if my thoughts have changed. 

Take pictures: It's nice to have a couple of pictures handy that you've taken to put in your reviews. But alas, you've already given the book back to the library and so have to take a picture of the cover off of Goodreads. Even if I don't think I'll use it, I always try and snap a semi-decent picture of a book before I do anything with it that means I might not be able to get my hands on it again. The same goes with quotes - type them up before you let the book out of your grasp, otherwise you might never remember what inspirational thing was said on page 192...

The Unexpected Rewards of Blogging

There's a bunch of things that you expect to get out of blogging: some interaction with new people, better writing skills, read more books, some free books/ARCs, perhaps some controversy, fame, glory, etcetera. I've experienced most of these things (fame and glory all in good time ;) ) but there's also some unexpected rewards. 

For example, I recently brought my blog up in an internship interview. Obviously, it got embellished a bit from "I write about YA books and sometimes have a bit of a moan" to "literature review blog wherein I have serious adult conversations with publishers and exchange literature services". But honestly, there's lots of good skills that blogging gives you that are great to talk about: commitment, social interaction, writing, representing a brand, advertising a service (if you review ARCs or similar). This is a nice little something to drop under your "interests" section of your CV!

I know about more books! Writing a blog has made me more aware of the book world. I have a rough idea of up and coming books and authors, I have a to-buy list that stretches into the future instead of simply having a poke around on Amazon every time I want something new to read. And I'm reading better books because I'm reading and absorbing recommendations from other bloggers and readers! 

So that wraps up everything I have to say. Basically, running a blog has, so far, been a really great experience for me. Thank you very much to all my readers! 

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