Beyond the Blurb | Support Bloggers of Minorities and with Disabilities

I always want to come up with interesting topics for my weekly/monthly discussion post. And this topic hits close to home for me. Last month, I struggled with the stress in my life, and I couldn’t blog, so I took a small hiatus. So I’ll come clean: I have mental and physical illnesses. Yes, I have multiple. Past trauma and a chronic illness have wreaked havoc with my life, and I’ve let them control me. And saying that my illnesses are disabilities is hard to admit. I don’t want to accept that they are. But they are.

So, as I write this post, I want other bloggers to know they aren’t alone. Whether they are in a minority or have a disability, this community will support them no matter what they do. And if they need help, we’re here for them. But why should you keep supporting these bloggers?

 

1. They bring a different and unique perspective to the blogging community

Sometimes, people simply don’t understand the struggles they deal with. They show you how we all aren’t completely aware of issues with PTSD, anxiety, depression, racism, sexism, racial tensions, or homophobia.

 

2. They promote diverse books

Not a surprising reason, right? I find more diverse reads from them than anyone else. And I love that. I love that they’re promoting all kinds of books and authors. More importantly, they’re showing their love for them.

 

3. They aren’t afraid to say what needs to be said

Do you know what I look for the most in bloggers? What they’re willing to say. What crap they won’t put up with. If they find something problematic, they’ll damn well tell you about it. And you’ll be sure to listen. I know I do.

 

4. Their voice is needed in a sea of noise

Most of the time, you may not hear a voice that speaks out against a hyped-up book or author. But you should. Their voice deserves to be heard, to be acknowledged. And maybe, we should start listening up.

 

5. They support other bloggers

Networking helps fellow bloggers who are in the same situation as them. If others need help, they offer support when needed. But they also build a connection with other bloggers who need that support system that may not be there in their lives.

 

So where do you find them? Networking and Google. But if you don’t know where to start, here are some of my favourite bloggers:

Merline from Merline Reads

I met her by chance through a Twitter follow post. Merline has opened my eyes with many issues that POC face today. I love reading her reviews. And it’s a pleasure to know her.

 

Cait from A Page with a View

Who doesn’t know Cait? She’s practically a blog queen of book nerds. I’ve read her stuff for years. But I didn’t know she suffered from Lyme disease. She doesn’t let that take away her love for books.

 

Yash, Nafiza, Janet, Jane, and Yuriy from the Book Wars

I’ve followed their blog for several years now. But I know Yash personally. Both she and I took Ryerson’s Publishing program together, and I happened to be in the same course as her. She’s passionate about children’s and YA books.

 

Jeann, Jenna, and Aila from Happy Indulgence

They’ve been blogging since 2012. These three women give you a happy vibe when blogging (really, no pun there). I love when they support a book that deserves recognition and when they tear down a bad one.

 

Giselle from Book Nerd

She, a Canadian blogger, is one reason why I started my own blog, and her blogging tips have helped me over the last few years. Her voice is unique, and she stays honest with her reviews.

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Beyond the Blurb | So You Hate Your Blog Name

Are you in the same situation as I’m in, where you hate the name you picked for your blog? I don’t blame you. I’ve reached my two-year blogging anniversary, and yet I can’t stand looking at my URL. In my defence, I picked it when I couldn’t get the word novelties by itself. And I regret that moment ever since.

I’ve picked a new one. And hopefully, I can still get to keep my followers once I switch over to it. But now, I’ll have to look into a WP subscription in order to keep everything I’ve created. And while that step is annoying, I’m happy to make the change. I need it. And more importantly, I want it.

So what do you do when you’re stuck in this dilemma? Here is some advice that may help you pick a new blog name or find the right one for you when you already have one:

 

1. Research and See What Other Bloggers Have Picked

Before you even decide to start a blog, look at which names have already been taken. A lot of book blogs may have the words read, night/midnight, chapters, spine, reader, paper, or page/pages. While I like them, I think moving beyond them will make yours stand out. However, the word book/books is a perfectly fine option either way. If you want to use those words, go with something unique. Change it up so your name doesn’t blend in with the others. And look into blog subscriptions so you can keep it for good.

Here are some names, while a few are common, actually work:

A Page with a View: I love how this name tells a story. Even though it uses the word page, it’s unique and fresh.

Read at Midnight: Clear and precise, this name tells the readers what this blog is about.

Nose Graze: Unique, highly original and memorable, this name will always be my favourite.

The Reader and the Chef: This one goes with a theme and stands out from the rest.

My Friends Are Fiction: Alliteration will be popular with bloggers.

 

2. DON’T DO WHAT I HAVE DONE. Really. I mean that. Don’t do it.

Don’t pick just a random name because you’ll regret it. I don’t know how many times I need to use full caps, but don’t go down the road I’ve gone. It’s costly and annoying.

 

3. Figure Out What Your Brand Is

This tip is important. Figure out what it is before you move forward. Are you a book, fashion, lifestyle, food, or life blogger? What do you want your name to stand for? Once you find that answer, you’ll have a better chance at picking a name.

 

4. Talk with Other Bloggers and Bounce Ideas Off of Them

I picked my new name by talking with a fellow blogger, Danya @ Fine Print. Sometimes, getting a second opinion will do wonders for you. Trust me. Even now, I’d love to bounce my ideas off of some more bloggers just to see if the name I’ve picked is good.

 

5. Accept That It’s Okay to Change Your Name

If you hate it, change it. And you know what? I know many bloggers who have changed their names several years in. Ashley from Nose Graze changed her name two years in. Don’t be afraid of change. It’ll bring in a new stage to your blogging.

 

6. When You Have Picked a New Name, Announce It Multiple Times, over Multiple Platforms!

And this final step is vital as well. Don’t just change it and forget to tell your followers. They’ll have a hard time finding your blog. And you don’t want that. Break it to them that you want to change your name, and you’re in the process of doing so.

If you want, you can leave your blog theme and design the same for a month or two so they can see that your blog is the same. The name has just changed. And yes, this point is where I say I’m changing my blog name.

So what are your thoughts about changing a blog name? What do you think about doing it? Are you in the same situation as I’m in? Let’s chat!

Beyond the Blurb | Tropes That Turn Me Off from Reading

Happy Saturday!

It’s about bloody time I’ve done another discussion post. I’ve had the ambition to do it weekly, but I seem to have forgotten. 😅 I’ve been wanting to write about this topic for a long time, and Kathy @ Book and Munches is what sparked me to think about tropes that may persuade me to DNF a book.

So how much time do we waste with dealing with annoying tropes? Too many. Yes, some work, while others are overused and drawn out. I don’t know how many times I’ve rolled my eyes at ridiculous avoidable storylines. But I must admit that, if used correctly, tropes can enhance an already brilliant book and series. But I wouldn’t be here complaining about them if all of them were.

Now here are my top five tropes I’d love to see disappear:

 

Abused Woman/Girl Healing by Falling in Love with an Alpha Male

This kind of trope can go either way really. Some authors can pull it off rather well, and others, well, can’t. But some authors, particularly paranormal romance ones, believe a woman must fall in love with an alpha male in order to heal from an abusive relationship. No, she doesn’t. Frankly, she should run the other way and maybe find a nice guy who’s the exact opposite. But most of the paranormal romance industry would keel over and die if it weren’t so dependent on this trope.

 

Biphobia

Apparently, a bi man and a bi woman simply cannot date because their relationship would be seen as a heteroromantic one. Excuse me? Let me all remind you that it is possible and happens all the time. The bi man can get the girl, or he can get the man and vice versa. Frankly, there is no polar extreme in sexuality. There is no “either gay” or “either straight.”

 

Cheating

Do 👏 not 👏 promote 👏 it, especially in YA books. I don’t care if over half of all YA readers are adults. They come from all ages, and we shouldn’t promote that cheating is the best (and only) solution to be with the person we want, while we just happen to be in a relationship or vice versa.

One reason why I am hesitant to read Kendare Blake’s One Dark Throne is that the author bases her story off of cheating. And I couldn’t stomach this arc when I read the first book. It made me sick.

 

Pitting Women against Each Other

Why must we continue using this trope?! We women should be standing up for each other and supporting one another. One trope Victoria Aveyard uses in Red Queen is this one. Evangeline pits herself against Mare. Now their so-called friendship (or mutual agreement) is much better later on in the series, and now, I don’t want to do a facepalm when I read their scenes. But when I first read it, I almost gagged.

 

Normalizing Abusive Relationships

I don’t why I’m stating this in 2018, but let’s not forget that we shouldn’t encourage or even normalize abuse. Whether emotional, psychological, physical, and sexual, abusive relationships should never, ever, be accepted into the book community. I cannot stand when I read it in books.

When I see readers are still shipping Feylin (Tamlin and Feyre) from ACOTAR, I want to smash my head up against my computer screen. Feylin didn’t consist of love. We do not disregard what the abuser does or has done. And we do not make excuses for the said abuser. And let’s be clear with one point: women can also be abusers as well.

Which tropes can you not stand? What ones are you hoping to die off? I’d love to see what your thoughts are on this topic, so let’s chat!

Beyond the Blurb | Criticizing Reviews

Here’s another addition to my discussion post, Beyond the Blurb. I want to talk about criticizing reviews. I find this topic contentious. We bloggers all have different opinions on the same book or of the same author. Sometimes we’ll disagree, and that point is where situations will get dicey. I don’t have a problem with the different opinions. I draw the line when people start harassing others because of their opinions though.

Maybe not all of you have seen the hostility bloggers receive once they post their review. Unfortunately, I have, and I don’t see this trend disappearing any time soon. So when does critiquing a review drift more into criticizing? Making your complaint personal doesn’t help. Yes, we all read the same book, but how we read it and what we see will differ. For example, you may see misogyny as nothing more than a horrible plot device in a book, but I may see it as a way to show how our world is mirroring fiction. When you attack someone, you aren’t helping your side. And you aren’t building up your opinion. Instead, you weaken it.

I’ve seen bloggers attacked for not speaking up. Now I see why those people came after bloggers. But becoming one, I see the dangerous line we walk once we hit the publish button. But we have an avenue to stand up where some people may not have that right to do so.

I would rather have people come to me and ask me why I didn’t talk about these problematic scenes than have them attack me. I’m still branching out into the diverse world. I’m still learning, and I want to support diverse authors and their books. So I may not pick up on something that you may blatantly see. Having an opinion in 2018 has turned toxic. We pit ourselves against each other. And somehow this toxicity has drifted into literature, which has been trying to combat the problem.

Several books have suffered because of this issue. Veronica Roth’s Carve the Mark was one of the most anticipated books of 2017. But when the reviews came out during the release, bloggers were borderline harassed by other readers. They obviously didn’t pick up on the ableism and racism in the book, or they simply didn’t believe they were offensive. Some of the reviews that talked about those concerns persuaded me not to read the book. But what I didn’t expect was the firing squad who lined up those chosen few reviewers and fired hatred.

If you have a red flag about a review, talk about it. Don’t criticize, and don’t belittle that person. Your point won’t come across to anyone. But your anger will, and it won’t help your cause.

 

What are your thoughts on this topic? When does someone cross the line when critiquing a review? When does it become criticizing?

Beyond the Blurb | When Life Gets in the Way of Blogging

Beyond the Blurb is my new discussion post. I’m still figuring out if I want to do it weekly or monthly, so bear with me here. I find a lot of my fellow book bloggers joining in on and contributing to discussion posts. And I love to be a part of them since I get to learn more about my friends (yes, I see you as friends. You have my sympathies 😉).

I’ve never found blogging stressful until I focused on my stats. We all do it. We all want this month to be better than the last, and March is no exception. Thanks to all of you, I had a fantastic month. I haven’t reached past 400 views until now. And I have to thank every single one of you who have supported me. Now I’m onto April, and I’m freaking. Why? Because at the end of March, I needed a week away from blogging, and I’m not sure if I can reach last month’s stats.

Here are my tips for bloggers struggling to find the balance:

1. Decide When You Blog

Unless you’re an influencer (or even if you are), calm down. This is your blog, and you produce posts on your own time. The cosmos isn’t going to care. Your followers will eventually still see your posts, and they’ll continue following you. So plan ahead of time if you feel your life will prevent you from working on your posts. If you can’t do reviews, do tags. And don’t feel guilty for doing tags you haven’t been tagged for. If you don’t want to do them, work on memes or a post about the most anticipated books for the next month. Or you can just take some time away from your site and deal with whatever is bothering you. More importantly, don’t force yourself. You’ll regret every second of doing so.

 

2. Don’t Feel Guilty

With my rough past, sometimes I don’t let the guilt in. I push it away since it’s a difficult and usually dangerous emotion for me to feel. With my blog though, I feel that guilt slithering in and questioning my abilities to be a blogger. Taking time away from your blog won’t kill you though (I still need to remember this part). The book blogging community will understand and can help if you ask. If you take a little longer to work on a post or to reply to comments, so be it.

If you don’t want to do any of those tasks, comment on other bloggers’ posts.They’ll know you’re still around.

 

3. Catch Up Later

Yes, this is an option, one I’m currently working on right now. If you have to work on two Top Ten Tuesdays for next week, go for it. If you have to write a review, set some time away and work on it. As long as that review isn’t a part of a blog tour, you can also postpone it.

I’ve just finished three discussion posts in two hours, and I feel great about accomplishing that task for the week.

 

4. Don’t Always Focus On the Numbers

I truly need to listen to my own advice since I’m freaking out for this month’s stats (and it’s only the ninth day of April). If you have a bad month, accept that fact. If last month was better than this one, deal with it. But now what I’m focusing more on is the quality of the content. Sometimes your followers won’t always see your work though, and you may have a bad stat day, but that’s fine though. Find something you love doing and repeat that if you’re struggling.

If you’re freaking out over the dip in your stats, post a meme and blogger tags, which are big stat makers.

 

5. Take a Break If You Can’t Juggle Life and Blogging

There is absolutely no reason for you to put your blog in front of your health. It’s not worth the pain. So if you need to step away from blogging life so you can handle real-life situations, go for it. We’ll support you all the way. Just like a reading slump, you can fall into a blogging slump. And sometimes you just have to go with it so you don’t burn out.

What do you do when life affects your blogging? What are your tips or tricks that may help out another blogger? Let me know in the comment’s section.