As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I was planning to go to Book Expo this year but then changed my mind. However, I’m happy to participate in the “Armchair” version, which I discovered in my first year of blogging and have enjoyed ever since!
- I am … an unapologetic book addict who loves to interact with other bookaholics. I enjoy reading and talking about the classics but I’m not a snob about genre books. I’m fascinated by how our reading experience changes over time, and I wish I had more time for re-reading. I only started blogging four years ago and I wish I’d done it sooner!
- My summer plans … include traveling to Switzerland for two weeks to visit my husband’s family. It’s such a beautiful country and I always treasure our time there. We’re also hoping to make a side trip to Colmar, France to see the Isenheim altar. And though I’ve made some efforts over the years, I really want to make some steps in learning German.
- My current read … is The Path by Michael Puett, a professor who teaches a class on ancient Chinese philosophy that has become the third-most-popular class at Harvard. I received this for review when it came out more than a year ago (oops), but it’s never too late to learn about how to live the good life. I’m also re-reading Seven-Day Magic by Edward Eager, which I bought for my son but couldn’t resist dipping into myself for some light-hearted magical fun. And I just downloaded Rebecca, since it’s everyone’s favorite du Maurier but somehow I haven’t gotten to it yet.
The other topic for today is Best Practices in the Online Book Community: “Let’s talk about our best practices within the book community. This can range from time management to the use of social media to even ethical obligations.” I don’t feel qualified to tell other people what their best practices should be, but I can share a few things that have become important to me over the past four years.
Respond to comments
The conversation that can grow out of blogging is one of the things I enjoy most about it, so I try to show my appreciation for commenters by responding to them. I also use Comment Reply Notification so that hopefully they are aware of my response and can continue the conversation if they wish. I’m not a “comment back” person — I don’t do a one-for-one reciprocal comment on the other person’s blog each time — but I do try to visit commenters’ blogs when I have a chance.
I don’t expect that anyone else necessarily do what I do, but this is how I feel comfortable interacting with my followers. It’s important to me that they know their comments are read and appreciated.
When I started my blog, I decided not to spend time and energy on negative reviews. I only choose to review books that I can recommend, although it may be with reservations or qualifications. I try to find positive aspects in whatever I read, even if the subject matter is depressing. I do not always succeed, but then I don’t write about it.
Mostly I have found other bloggers (and authors and publishers) to be extremely kind and polite, and I try to keep my interactions on that level as well. I’ve never gotten involved in any nastiness, though I know that’s out there.
Know your limits
I have a hard time with this one. I want to read all the books, review all the ARCs, do all the events, visit all the blogs! But I need to be reasonable about what I can manage without feeling undue pressure. This is a hobby, not a job, and it should be fun, not stressful.
Last year I tried to post 3 times a week, this year I’m doing only once or twice, and that has helped somewhat. I also hardly ever ask for ARCs any more, as there are enough older books I want to review already to keep me busy for months. But it’s an ongoing effort for me to find what works while still remaining connected to the bookish community I love.
Please share — what are your best practices?