Book Events & Blog Events

Busting the Newbie Blues Survey

I’ve had a personal blog for a couple of years, but this year I decided that I wanted to make blogging more of a priority, and I wanted to focus on book reviews.  So I made this shiny new website, and while I’ve only got one review so far, I hope to review most of the books I read this year.

Before I started this blog, I started following a whole host of other book blogs, and came across Small from Small Review, who is hosting a great event throughout January, just for book bloggers, called Busting the Newbie Blues.  New and old YA book bloggers can sign up, meet other bloggers, and get advice and tips on blogging.  This is perfect for me!  I’ve been blogging for a while, but this blog is brand-spanking new, and I’m pumped to actually become a part of the book blogging community!

So here are my answers to the questionnaire for this event – I have chosen the one for new bloggers since my book blog is at its start-up stage.

1.  When did you start your blog?
Just two days ago – January 14th!  But I had a personal blog for about two years.

2.  Why did you start your blog?
I had my personal blog for a while, and this year I wanted to blog more, and focus on book reviews, mostly for YA books.  I love reading and I enjoy writing reviews to share my thoughts on the books.  It’s also a great way to keep up with my writing – I write fiction, but blogging is a great writing exercise.

3.  What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
It was hard to decide what to do with my old blog.  I thought about making that into a book blog, but ultimately decided on making this new, separate blog.  Getting it all set up was fun, and it was great to look at all the other wonderful book blogs out there and get inspiration and kind of get the hang of things.  I’m still getting the hang of things, though.  I suspect that will continue for some time.  But I think the biggest challenge for me right now is to get a good number of book reviews up so that my blog can become somewhat established.  I don’t really want to go back and review books that I’ve read in the past, because I feel like the reviews will not be high on quality, because I will lack the feeling you have after just finishing a book, and I don’t think I’ll remember too many details to make a descriptive, thoughtful review.  So now I just have to get to reading so I can get those reviews up!

4.  What do you find most discouraging about being a new blogger?
Feeling like people will take a look at my blog, see that I have one review, and immediately leave the site.  I know that some people will do this, and it can’t be helped, but I would like my blog to grow and believe me, I will try to post a lot of reviews each month!

5.  What do you find most encouraging?
On my blog – comments.  It lets me know that at least someone is reading what I’ve written!  I’ve really been trying to leave unique comments on many of the blogs I’m following, and I know that will help my blog grow and to find some other blogger friends.  In the blogging community – other book bloggers are really encouraging.  I see all these great sites with wonderful reviews and great humor and it makes me feel like one of these days my blog could be like those.

6.  What do you like best about the blogs you read? Have you tried to replicate this in your blog?
I really enjoy the humorous reviews, and ones that are really honest without being too negative.  I always try to put humor into my posts (and in my life), but sometimes that might not always come across.  And I always give honest reviews, and I try to make them positive even if I didn’t like the book. I am a writer myself and someday when I have a book published, I’d like to read kind reviews, even if the reviewer really didn’t like my book.

7.  What do you dislike about blogs you’ve read? Do you try to avoid this?
Spoilers!  And yes, I really try to avoid this.  I’m crazy about spoilers – I only read the description of a book once, then put it on my to-read list if I want to read it, and then once I have the book I don’t read the back or the blurbs again.  I know with reading others’ reviews sometimes I’m going to find out more than I wished to know before reading the book, but I’m okay with it as long as it’s not a major spoiler.

8.  Any advice for other new bloggers?
I’m not sure I have any advice, because my book blog is so new that I still don’t know what I’m doing and feel like I might be doing it wrong.  But I guess I can say that if others feel this way, just know that you’re not alone! And we’ll get the hang of it eventually!

9.  Any questions you’d like to ask newbie or established bloggers?
Of course I’d like to know how to get ARCs.  I’ve gotten one through Goodreads before, and I know of some of the ARC tour websites, and I know that many bloggers get them by requesting them from the publishers, but I don’t know how to go about this.  But I think for now I’m going to stick with reviews of books that I’ve purchased or borrowed, and in the future I’ll try to tackle the whole ARC thing.  And also I’d just like to know how they keep themselves posting on a regular basis, and just any other tips and tricks of the trade that they can pass along.

10.  Is there anything you’d like to tell us about your blog? Feel free to link a few of your favorite posts or posts you wish had more comments.
It’s a new blog – an infant, really – but I hope to write some insightful reviews this year and hopefully my blog will grow.  I really am enjoying reading all the great book blogs out there that I’ve seen so far, and I hope to become a part of this really awesome community.

So there you have it.  Please let me know if you are participating in this event and I’ll check out your blog, too!


  1. Juju at Tales of

    January 17, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    2 days? You're kidding. You look so good!

    I hate spoilers too!

    I don't request ARCs. But I say, hang in there. As you grow people will start offering them to you.

    Good luck and welcome to Blogland!

  2. Jac

    January 17, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Welcome to the bookish community! I'm still pretty new myself (since July).

    I despise spoilers – I had someone leave a pretty huge one in my comments one time, it spoiled the entire series for me. I'm still a bit bitter.

    As for ARCs? I don't request them either, I know some people do. I occasionally do from NetGalley, but otherwise? I like to read on my own schedule, so unless someone sends one to me? I typically just read books I purchase.

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

  3. crystal

    January 17, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    Hii! Thanks for visiting my blog! It is always nice to meet other book blog newbies :) I must say you are off to an awesome start! I love your layout, I am very jealous its cute!

    Like you I wasn't sure If I should keep my personal blog or not, but I decided that I enjoy to just blog about whatever so I kept mine and use it for everything not book related :)

    && I would love to read some of what you write!

    Crystal @

  4. Hanna

    January 17, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    Sorry, I thought I'd clicked 'follow' last time I was here, but obviously not. Ahh well, I've definitely done it this time!

    Don't stress about getting millions of reviews up. When I visit a new blog I don't even look at how many reviews they've got up, I just tend to look at what they've posted recently and maybe check out the 'About Me' section. It's quality not quantity :)

    Unique comments on other blogs are definitely the best way to get visits back. I always check out who left good comments on other blogs and then I usually visit them afterwards.

    I do request ARCS, but the major publishers have literally only just started sending them and I've been going for nine months. You'll get a lot of indie book review requests before long, so stick to those for a while. Maybe start requesting the major ones after six months or so. The Story Siren has a massive section on how to get them though.

    Oops. I've written an essay, haven't I? Sorry!

  5. andreamantis

    January 18, 2012 at 2:53 am

    Thanks for the comments, guys! I really appreciate it! And all the advice! I'm loving all of your blogs and it's great getting into this awesome community!

  6. pagesunbound

    January 19, 2012 at 5:31 am

    I like humorous reviews, too, but unfortunately I myself am not very funny while writing! I really admire reviewers who can pull it off.

    I dislike spoilers, as well, but so far I haven't really come across anything major in a review. It can be hard to discuss a book in depth sometimes, however, without referring to a major plot event. And then it sounds silly if you write, "And the climax was so ridiculous and unbelievable, but I can't say what it was!"

    We posted some answers for this event, too. This is the link, since the survey is currently at the bottom of the home page.

    Thanks for sharing your answers! Your blog is definitely so pretty and well-organized that it doesn't look new at all. Your previous experience really paid off!

  7. Giselle

    January 20, 2012 at 4:46 am

    Welcome to book blogging! It can be a bit intimidating a first but keep at it. People will NOT leave only bc you have one review. Your blog looks great I love the design. In no time you will have a great following and have made wonderful friends! :)

    Xpresso Reads

  8. Jacinda (The Reading Housewives)

    January 20, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Oh my gosh! Your blog is so new! Congrats on the new blog! It must be exciting! Let me know if you need help with anything EVER! I'm always here to help!

    You're blog is PRETTY!

    You're a writer!

    I <3 comments too!

    me no likey spoilers either!

    I've been around for longer than a year, and I still don't request ARCs from publishers. The way I get books I review on my blog are either by: winning books/arcs through GR, blogs, Librarything, or another way; library; bought; borrowed from a friend or blogger; Netgalley; and I used to take advantage of book tour sites. I think the best way for you right now while you're still getting established are the tour sites and you're own books. Plus, always enter giveaways!

  9. GinaD

    January 21, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Welcome to the world of blogging!! I'm relatively new as well, started in septemeber so i know how hard it can be to get your blog out there :)
    I'm currently promoting mine! If you want to stop by then you can

    P.S. I am now following you :)

  10. Leanna (Daisy Chain Book Reviews)

    January 21, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Welcome to the book blogging community! Your blog is so pretty. I hope you have lots of fun times blogging!

    New follower! :)

  11. Varsha Dinesh

    January 22, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Damn, this blog is BEAUTIFUL.
    New follower here too, and hope to see more from you soon :)

  12. andreamantis

    January 23, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Thanks, everyone for the comments, kind words, and advice! I really appreciate it! All of your blogs are really inspirational and encouraging! I'm beginning to feel like a part of this community, thanks to all of your welcoming wishes and comments! Thanks again!

  13. Small Review

    January 24, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    Thank you so much for participating! I hope you find this event helpful :)

    I LOVE your blog design, btw. It's so clean and pretty with very attractive colors.

    I totally agree with you likes and dislikes. I like nice reviews, too. I'm not a fan of meanness.

    I wrote up a post about How to Get ARCs that I hope will help answer some of your ARC questions. :)

    1. andreamantis

      January 30, 2012 at 9:27 pm

      Your event is SUPER helpful! Thanks so much! And it's so nice to meet other newbies that are in this with me! (And older bloggers as well!)

      All of your posts have helped – I've bookmarked all of the tip posts and have been going back to them when I need to! Thanks again!

  14. Erika

    January 25, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Welcome to book blogging! I agree with a lot of the same things you said. I rarely read the back of the book cover after getting my hands on it. I was finding they often make you think the book is going to focus on something that actually is very minor to the story. It was getting frustrating so now I just read the book with a general idea of what it's about.

    As for ARCs, I tried for a long time. I did get a couple but it was so much work I decided it was taking the fun out of blogging for me. Now I just read from the library, my own shelves, and netgalley (and books I win from giveaways). Sometimes authors ask if I'd like to review their books.

    For posting on a regular basis – I make a time for myself during the day. Early morning or late at night after my daughter goes to bed. If I know when I do have time to blog, then I'm more likely to. I'm also finding having a schedule helps tremendously. You can use an agenda and write out when you are going to post certain things (it helps to know what you are going to do before you sit down and blog and give yourself plenty of time to think through first). Or you can post a schedule on your blog if you think that would make yourself more accountable to it. Doing a theme event every once in a while also gives me motivation since it requires more organization :)

    Hope that helps. Happy blogging, Andrea!

    1. andreamantis

      January 30, 2012 at 9:30 pm

      Thanks so much for the advice! I'm thinking of holding off on the ARCs for a while – I have so many books on my shelf to read right now, anyway! ;)

      I haven't really made out a schedule yet, but I do have some books organized as to what I'm going to read next, and I've started a few review posts before actually finishing the books so that I can get the reviews done in a timely manner, so that is helping!

      I've been blogging/reading/networking while my son is taking a nap and that doesn't always work (he fights naps a lot) but it is a nice time to myself when I can get a lot done!

      Thanks again for the advice and I'm enjoying your blog!

  15. Debz

    January 25, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    I'm going to start of by saying that I think your blog is so cute, especially considering how new it is! My blog was a wreck for the first couple weeks it was up.

    Sorry I'm no help when it comes to ARC's. I've had my blog for nearly a year, and I haven't received a single book to review. Hopefully things will be better for both of us in the future.

    As for posting regularly, you just need to get yourself in a pattern. Something that helped me get going at first were the memes. They gave me something to blog about when I didn't have a review to post. If you decide to do memes, don't over do it. It can become overwhelming and take away from the quality of your blog. Just pick stuff that interests you and have fun!


    1. andreamantis

      January 30, 2012 at 9:33 pm

      Thanks for the kind words and advice! I really appreciate it!

      I hope you get some ARCs soon! :(

      I'm enjoying your blog – I don't read much MG, but I've seen a few on your blog that I think I'm going to have to check out!

      Thanks again!

  16. Lisa (Adventures of 2.0)

    January 28, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Welcome to the club! :D Your blog looks fantastic for being so new. Don't worry about your one or two reviews, everyone has to start somewhere and we all love a baby blog! :)

    I don't go out of my way to request ARCS and we live outside the US so NetGalley is my friend and the tool I recommend the most to get some awesome review copies.

    Posting regulary… hmm. I'll second some of the other comments and say, make yourself a general schedule. Something that works for you and is flexible. I aim for 3 reviews a week, a sunday salon post and a weekend cooking post. Anything more than that is just icing on top of the cupcake. We also participate in and host a lot of events with fixed structures (readalongs and book clubs) and I have a calendar which helps me keep it all straight.

    Good luck and have fun!!! :D

    1. andreamantis

      January 30, 2012 at 9:35 pm

      Thanks for the welcoming words and the advice! I really appreciate all these wonderful comments!

      I don't have an e-reader so NetGalley is out for me right now, but one of these days I think I'm going to have to get one and sign up for that! It looks like a really cool program!

      Thanks again!

  17. LHughes

    January 28, 2012 at 7:22 pm


    I agree that your blog is super cute! I love the color scheme of soft pinks, melon, and teal :)

    I write fiction too, and agree with you that blogging is great writing exercise! I also think that doing book reviews helps my writing. I have to identify what writers have done well in their book and if there's something I didn't like, I like to think about how I'd go about as a writer to improve it.

    I'm looking forward to following you! :)
    Lauren @ Hughes Reviews

    1. andreamantis

      January 30, 2012 at 9:37 pm

      Hi! Thanks for the kind words!

      I'm enjoying your blog – all your posts on writing and your resolution updates! It's nice to meet other bloggers who also write fiction!

      Thanks again!

  18. Mackenzie @ Oh, For the Love of Books!

    January 30, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    Welcome to blogging!

    I'm new too so one of my big questions was about ARCs too! But, since I'm so new, I think I'll stick to books I already own until I get a hang of this thing and can get on a schedule :)

    And I agree! I adore comments! they make me feel special :D

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and I look forward to following (stalking ;D) you and reading your reviews!

    1. andreamantis

      January 30, 2012 at 9:39 pm

      Hi! Thanks for the welcoming words!

      Yeah, I'm with you – I have too many books on my shelf right now – I don't need to be getting any more! Although, that really doesn't stop me! ;)

      Hahaha, stalking! That's how I feel sometimes! But I'm really loving looking at all these new blogs and getting inspiration from them! I'm loving your blog, too, BTW!

      Thanks again!

  19. Nicole

    January 31, 2012 at 7:41 am

    Thanks so much for visiting my blog, and yours looks beautiful!

    Don't worry so much about people seeing one post on your site and wandering off. As you build up more and more posts people will start to return more (an older blogger's words of wisdom, not mine :P).

    About the ARCs–you can get them from a website called netGalley and you can also sign up for book blog tours that provide exposure for your blog, AND the tour host usually gives out review copies or eARCs to all the tour participants. One that I joined was A Tale of Many Reviews Book Blog Tours, and Bree from The Awesome Magic Attic also does book blog tours. You should check them out. :)

    1. andreamantis

      January 31, 2012 at 7:35 pm

      Thanks for the advice!

      I currently don't have an e-reader so NetGalley is out for me, but I hope to buy one soon – it sounds like an awesome program!

      I've seen some of those ARC tour sites, but I hadn't heard of the ones you mentioned. I'll have to look them up! I think I'm going to focus on the books on my shelf and library books for now, but a little later I'll start trying to get ARCs.

      Thanks again for the advice and for visiting my blog!

    2. Nicole

      February 1, 2012 at 4:58 am

      No problem. In fact, you can read NG books on your laptop/computer. I'm planning to sign up within the next few months. Tell me how your ARC hunting adventures go!

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