Armchair BEA! Day 2: Blogger Development, and Genre Fiction

Good morning all my lovely bookish readers! How ya doin?

The topics for today’s Armchair BEA post are Blogger Development, and Genre Fiction. I actually have quite a few thoughts on both of these topics. Let’s attack these bad boys one at a time, mmkay?

Blogger Development: Becoming a Better Blogger

So, I’ve been blogging for almost 4 years now and I feel like I’ve come a long way, but maybe still have a long way to go. I’ve definitely become a lot better at interacting within the book blogosphere – I do memes (mostly Top Ten Tuesday, but the occassional other random one as well), and a LOVE readalongs and readathons. All of these things help me branch out and find new bloggers to chat with and get to know. I go through periods when I’m just too busy to get online much (including just checking in on Twitter on my phone), and that bums me out but usually just can’t be helped. I refuse to stress about it or burn myself out completely. No matter what, I want blogging to remain something that I love doing.

One thing I DO want to change a bit about my blog is make it more MINE by switching to self-hosting on wordpress.org (instead of what I do now, which is use the free wordpress.com). I’m going to do this probably next week, and I know it’s probably going to be confusing and rough, but I’m hoping that I’ll be able to figure it out as I go. Lately I’ve been frustrated that I can’t use whatever plug-ins and whatnot that I want, and that I can’t monetize or become an Amazon or Book Depository affiliate because of the restrictions of wordpress.com. I plan on blogging for many, many years to come, so why not switch to self-hosting now?

(Has anyone else made the switch from wordpress.com to wordpress.org? Any tips you can give me?)

For those of you who already follow my blog – don’t worry, I’m not going to make my blog an annoying ad-packed mess. I just want to add some little things, because why not see if I can earn just the tiniest bit of money off of something I spend so much time on anyways? And I REALLY look forward to the day when I don’t have to work full-time anymore, and I can focus a bit more time and energy on reading and blogging. I have so many ideas, just no time to implement them. I also need to work on letting my own personality shine through just a little bit more. I still find it a little hard to convey that to the internet world sometimes. What about you guys? Do you have any blogging goals you’re working on? What are things that you still struggle with? What are things you’ve changed or accomplished?

Genre Fiction

You know, I used to be a big book snob when I was around 17 to 19. I would only read non-fiction, or literary fiction. I’ve slowly branched out over the years, and genre fiction is my JAM. Literary fiction has tended to disappoint me more often than not lately, which is kind of sad.

I’ll  read pretty much any genre – romance, westerns, mystery, and so on, but sci-fi/fantasy is probably my favorite genre right now. There’s just a never-ending well of potential within it, and a whole lot of books that are actually shelved in regular fiction actually have sci-fi or fantasy elements (for example, Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series, Deborah Harkness’s All Souls trilogy, Christopher Moore’s novels, etc.)  And I think that sci-fi and fantasy still leave room for a whole lot of character development and exploration of deeper issues and topics.

If you want to try out some truly awesome sci-fi or fantasy, here’s my recommendations:

  • The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
  • Feed by Mira Grant
  • Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
  • The Postmortal by Drew Magary

Alright, I’m wrapping this up so I can come visit some other blogs! You know, before the day just gets away from me completely (still have to go to the gym, do laundry, celebrate my brother’s birthday, and more today. Phew.)

~Sarah

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28 comments

  1. It’s really exciting that you are going to self host. That’s something i would like to graduate to in the future. It would be great if you could keep us posted on how the change over goes.

    tanya

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  2. You know, I’ve been thinking the same thing. I haven’t been blogging nearly the same length as you (going to be hitting my second birthday in December), but I’ve been thinking of making the switch from .com to .org in order to potentially generate some revenue from my blog. I’d love to host more giveaways and such, but can’t do that if I’m not making any money from it. Maybe I’ll do that in the fall…
    As for fiction, I’ve never read a single mystery or 100% sci-fi book before. Sad, huh? I bought my sister Ender’s Game and she loves it so far, so maybe I’ll have to steal it from her once she’s done. And I’ve got a ton of Michael Crichton books at home that I’ve yet to pick up too.

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    1. Exactly! If earning even just a tiny amount every year leads to me being able to do more giveaway-type stuff, it would totally be worth it! I really want to try it out.

      Ender’s Game is REALLY good! It’s awesome for discussion too, so you and your sis could chat about it.

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  3. Love your recommendations. I’d also like to self host my blog but it seems a little overwhelming right now- figuring everything out and working out the kinks. But that’s a goal for the future. I’ll look forward to seeing how it works for you.

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  4. I should really put down some plans and goals for blogging itself. Sometimes it’s a bit overwhelming all this juggling between actual book-reading, reviewing, trying to write about other stuff, commenting, etc. I have another TBR pile now – to be reviewed pile. Maybe I’ll just do mini-reviews for those so I have strength to start writing properly again.

    Anyhow, four years is such a long time, I wasn’t aware you’ve done it for that long! If you feel like switching over, I think you should do it, sure there will be a bit of bumps on the way but surely it’ll be fine in the end, and you’ll probably be happy for having done it 🙂

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    1. It can totally be overwhelming trying to juggle everything that relates to blogging. I love it though 🙂

      Yeah, I’m sure the switch will be fine in the end. I’m just nervous about it because I’m not great at all the technical bits.

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  5. You have one busy day! Glad you find time to join in on Armchair BEA as well 🙂
    And you’re absolutely right about readathons! It’s such a fun way to connect to other bloggers! Also, if you can make some money off your blog, more power to you!
    I really should get started on reading Feed! It sounds so good!

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  6. I don’t think that I’m going to be making the switch to self-hosted anytime in the near future. The free version gives me the convenience that I need to have more time for reading/blogging, even though I know that figuring out WordPress.org would be a lot of fun. I also like knowing that if I neglect my blog for a while, it’ll still be there, and that I won’t need to pay any annual fees to keep it up.

    I’ve had a similar experience with literary fiction (that isn’t historical and/or doesn’t include SF/F elements). It might just be that a lot of the literary fiction I’ve read is sad/depressing, when I prefer slightly happier books.

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    1. Yeah, the money makes me a little stressed – but I already pay $26 a year just for my domain name, and so far with the switch it looks like I’d pay $4 a month but my domain would be free, so it might balance out to what I pay now. I’ve kept up on my blogging for a long time though, so I’m feeling confident about it.

      I feel like a lot of literary fiction today is a bit too existential crisis / life truths kind of themes, and that’s not really my jam right now.

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  7. I keep thinking about self hosting. But then I chicken out! When you make the move you’ll have to blog about it all…the good and the bad 🙂

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  8. I loooove readalongs, especially our GIF-filled ridiculous ones. Clearly it’s the best way to go.

    Good luck with the self-hosting. I have no idea how to go about doing that but I’m sure you will figure it out and it will be awesome and you can start making some money from this thing 🙂

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  9. I’m definitely curious about the whole self-hosting process. I’m especially wondering how much extra time it requires versus wp.com.

    I love science fiction, too, when it’s done well. I actually just finished Ender’s Game a couple days ago, and I still haven’t decided how I feel about it.

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    1. I’m thinking that there will be more time in getting my blog all sorted out after the switch, but once it’s all settled it probably won’t require much extra time.

      Ender’s Game is a fun one to talk about! I really liked it for a few reasons… I liked Ender a lot as a character, and it was entertaining, and the end totally shocked me (I never see these things coming, lol.)

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