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Dear Story Siren (13)

Random Blog-ish Questions


Dear Story Siren,

How do you get readers of your blog to leave comments and become more active? I get a ton of hits but comments are few and far between.

Anon

Dear Anon,

I don't really think there is anything you can do... Although there are a few things you could try. Maybe do an interactive post, like a discussion post, where you encourage your readers to leave their opinions, and interact with them that way. Try a top commentator widget. I know that might seem ridiculous, but it's cool to see your name up there! And make it easy for your readers to comment. I know if i have to jump though a bunch of hoops... word verification, sign in, etc... I won't go through all the trouble of doing it.

Story Siren



Dear Story Siren,

Your blog is great!

I am ten years old and have recently started a book blog with YA and tween reviews. I am having so much fun with it.

Do you have any suggestions for someone my age regarding book blogging?

Thank you,
Melina

www.readingvacation.blogspot.com

Dear Melina,

Thank you! My biggest concern for you would be privacy. Be sure that your parents are involved. (From talking to you I know that they are!) Anyone that is online needs to be cautious and not just you because you are younger. If you are getting emails from solicitors offering books be sure to check them out and make sure they are legitimate. Trust your gut reaction.

Read materials that are appropriate for your age group. You are at a wonderful age and there are fabulous titles that are aimed at your age group... find them, read them... devour them! Don't feel pressured to read something to mature for you. There is plenty of time for that. Read books that you enjoy. Don't feel pressured to be something that you aren't. You are at a very impressionable age, stay true to yourself!

Don't be afraid to contact other bloggers or authors! I think it's fantastic that someone your age is tackling such an amazing project! It's refreshing to see young people that have a passion for reading! I think you are already doing an excellent job, so just keep up the great work! I can't wait to watch you and your blog grow!

Story Siren



Dear Story Siren,

You must receive a bazillion review requests so I wonder what's the strangest one you ever got?

Anon

Dear Anon,

I haven't really gotten any too strange. It's always interesting when you get a request about a book that has nothing to do with your blog. Makes you wonder if the person has even visited it. I have gotten a request that didn't include any information about the book, no title, no summary, didn't even include the authors full name. Needless to say I didn't even take the time to reply.

Story Siren



Dear Story Siren,

how do I install that 'thing' that counts the my posts & comments? I know you had it for a while.

Thanks and have a nice day! :)

Anon

Dear Anon,

If you have a blogspot hosted blog there is a really good site called Blogger Widgets/Plugins. I believe there is a tutorial there for that. Plus you'll probably find a bunch of really cool things you'll want for your blog!

Story Siren



Dear Story Siren,

My friend is self publishing a book and I was wondering if you execept self-published books for review because you have loads of followers and that is the kind of publicity she needs to sell her book.

Anon

Dear Anon,

I don't usually review self published books. My main reason being I haven't had much luck with the ones I've tried. I hate to lump every self-pubbed book in that category, but I have so many other books to read, I hate to waste my time trying something that hasn't worked for me in the past. I've also been witness to bloggers getting threats and vicious comments and emails from self-pubbed authors that didn't appreciate getting a negative review. Again, I don't mean to lump them all together, as there are many times this happens to bloggers with authors that aren't self-pubbed, but it's left a bad taste in my mouth regardless. I know there are several reasons why an author chooses to self publish, but personally I feel like there are reasons there are editors, agents and publishing professionals...

Story Siren



Dear Story Siren,

I was just wondering, how do you find out about author visits to your area? I'm in Australia, and I know authors don't usually come here but occasionally they do! I've been on publisher websites (for Australia) but they usually only have authors of adult books...

Wondering,
The Girl from Oz

Dear The Girl from Oz,

Well, most of the time I find out about author signings from their blogs. But there are a couple websites that I've found that are pretty up to date on author signings. (Find Book Signings & Book Tour) Unfortunately they only seem to record those signing happening in the US, but perhaps there is something like that for other countries as well!

Story Siren



Dear Story Siren,

I'm guessing you've read and come across a lot of books in the past few years. I was wondering if you knew of any good fairytale retellings that you would recommend? (Particularly ones like Aladdin, Beauty & The Beast, Little Red Rididng Hood and Snow White)

Anon

Dear Anon,

Hmmm... actually I haven't read a lot of fairy-tale retellings. I've only reviewed three on the blog Ash by Malinda Lo a retelling of Cinderella and Crazy Beautiful & Beastly two retellings of Beauty & the Beast. There are several retellings though... there is the 'Once Upon a Time' series that has multiple retellings. Here is a list of authors that you might want to check out:

  • Jessica Day George
  • Shannon Hale
  • Gail Carson Levine
  • Suzanne Weyn
  • Robin McKinley
  • Cameron Dokey

Story Siren


Dear Story Siren,

What kind of information do you (as a blogger) put on business cards? Just the basics (name, email, website), or are there more things that should be on them?

Anon

Dear Anon,

You can include whatever you want. But you should probably be sure to include your name, email, and website for sure! Some people include their address, twitter information, tagline, etc...

Story Siren



Dear Story Siren,

I know that a lot of bloggers and authors use twitter. I don't know a lot about twitter but would twitter be a good thing to use to befriend other bloggers and authors and just communicate to the community as a whole. So basically what I'm saying is, is twitter a good thing to have?

Anon

Dear Anon,

Twitter is pretty easy to use once your figure it out. Twitter also has a 'help' section where you can learn the basics and a little bit more if you want to learn about it. A lot of people think they won't have anything to say, but honestly it's more like a big chat room then a personal update system. It's a wonderful social networking tool, because a lot of authors and bloggers do use it. Twitter is one of the biggest referring sites to my blog, it's actually number two. Personally I love it, I've been using it since it first started, but it's not for everyone.

Story Siren



Dear Story Siren,

I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, but have you read any Christian fiction YA? Would you read the genre? There are some good authors out there like Melody Carlson, Anne Dayton & May Vanderbilt, Cindy Martinusen-Coloma and Jenny B. Jones that are as good as general market YA authors and are not preachy at all in their books.

Anon

Dear Anon,

I don't think I've read any YA Christian Fiction. I would read it, although I don't like books that are preachy. I've read novels where a character has a strong faith, examples... Donut Days & Taken by Storm and I didn't mind it. I actually think it added a dimension to the character. I guess I don't really go out of my way to find Christian fiction, if the book had an interesting cover and summary, I'd pick it up, regardless. One book that I've been wanting to read, Heartless

, I just found out it was Christian fiction! I will have check out the authors that you recommended. Thank you!

Story Siren


Dear Story Siren,

I'm a huge fan of youtube channels where different people took about books and review them etc. I was wondering, do you know any really great collaboration channels dedicated to books on youtube?

Anon

Dear Anon,

There are several groups on YouTube. There are the Five Awesome YA Fans, YA Rebels (author collaboration), YAFictionFreaks, Seven Book Babes... and more which I'm sure I'm missing, if anyone wants to leave some in the comments please do!

Story Siren



Dear Story Siren,

I am having some serious problems. First the mentor programs seem to be not being kept up. Second people e-mail you rude comments about your blog. Third I am utterly lost when and what to post some-day's. I blog for myself and I feel a bit lost blogging world. Are we supposed to get hate mail?

Sincerely,
Tearing up

Dear Tearing Up,

Sorry to hear about your problems. I'm not sure which mentor program you are involved in, but I'm sure if you notified the people responsible they would try to rectify the situation. Yes, sometimes people do email you rude comments. When you put yourself out in a public domain there is always the possibility of that happening, unfortunately. If you're lost on what you should post someday's then just don't post. I think so many people think you have to post everyday. You don't. Yes, I post everyday, but it works for me. Do what works for you. If you're feeling lost in the blogging world reach out to someone. It looks like you might have tried to get a mentor to do that, so you have the right idea, but you don't have to be a part of a mentor program to email a fellow blogger and ask for help. 'Are we supposed to get hate mail?' well, I'd say no, but that doesn't mean it isn't going to happen. People will make assumptions about you, they will think they know you and the type of person you are, solely by what they see on your blog. You can't do anything about it, so don't worry about it. I know it's easier said then done, believe me I've been in the situation many times, and I'm not going to lie and tell you it get's easier because it doesn't. My advice find a support group of other bloggers. It's doesn't have to be a dozen people, just one or two people who you are comfortable with, that know about being a blogger and that can help you get through the rough times. That's what I do and it's been a life saver! I hope that things start turning around for you.

Story Siren



Check out other general questions from real readers on other "Dear Story Siren" posts:

Dear Story Siren (1) (Contacting Author for interviews)
Dear Story Siren (2) (Asking for ARCs International/US)
Dear Story Siren (3) (Hours spend blogging, personal and Navigation bar questions)
Dear Story Siren (4) (Advance Reader Copies/Reviews questions)
Dear Story Siren (5) (Blogging 101 Volume 1)
Dear Story Siren (6) (Author Interviews Edition II)
Dear Story Siren (7) (Publisher Interaction/Asking for ARCs
Dear Story Siren (8) (The Personal Edition)
Dear Story Siren (9) (Followers Edition)
Dear Story Siren (10) (Contest/Vlogs/Blogger Tricks)
Dear Story Siren (11) (Review Edition II)
Dear Story Siren 12 (Blog-ish Questions)

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Dear Story Siren (13) + TIME