Armchair BEA is coming to a close this year, and I would be remiss if I did not comment on yesterday’s topic and also provide some final thoughts. Yesterday, we kicked off a reading event here at Roof Beam Reader: The Beats of Summer. So, I chose to delay the BEA topic post in order to avoid overwhelming readers with multiple posts in the same day.
Yesterday, there were two topics at Armchair BEA: “Keeping it Real, Fresh, and Fun” and “Genre: From Picture Books to Young Adult.”
Keeping it Real, Fresh, and Fun:
Today, we’re interested in knowing how you address that question, especially if you’ve been doing this for a while. If you have been around for years, how do you keep your material fresh? How do you continue to keep blogging fun? How do you not only grow an audience, but how do you keep them coming back for more?
New projects, redesigns, collaboratives–what do you do to keep blogging fresh for you?
As I mentioned in one of the early posts this week, I have been blogging for a long time – about 10 years. But, I have been blogging specifically about books for about 4 years. I keep my material fresh by joining new events each year and offering up new events of my own. Last year, we had The Literary Others. The year before, I offered up Magical March. This year, it’s about The Beats of Summer (and likely another yet-to-be-announced event this fall).
I also keep it real by reviewing each book fairly and without bias. I developed my own reviewing criteria (which took a couple of years) for this purpose. This, I think, helps my readers trust what I have to say about books and know that I care about what I do and that I never engage in anything that would influence my opinion of a book (such as taking payment, trade-offs, etc.).
I keep it fun by hosting regular, popular events, such as Austen in August and The Classics Club, and by participating in group giveaways, such as The Literary Blog Hop. I have also been hosting a yearly TBR Pile Challenge for the past four years, which comes with monthly check-ins, random giveaways, and a big giveaway at the end of each year. Usually, a few times per year, I also have contests and giveaways that are just for my blog readers – it’s a way of, yes, having some fun, but also of saying “thank you” to those who subscribe and who stick with me through the long haul.
My readership has grown slowly over the years, and I am hopeful that this mix of honest reviews, great events, and fun giveaways has encouraged people not only to subscribe, but also to stick around!
Day 5 Genre Topic: From Picture Books to Young Adult
This is going to be short and sweet, because I just don’t know very much about picture books or children’s books. I do have a few favorites in each category, though, so let me just list a few books that I love:
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by John Scieszka
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary
Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel
The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
The Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan
Stick by Andrew Smith
I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Final Thoughts / What Was Missed?:
Today, we were asked to think of which genres might have been missed. Well, there are so many genres, I think it would be impossible to catch them all in a week-long event, unless there were multiple prompts each day. As a Literary Fiction and Classics blogger, I was thrilled to see those two topics as genre prompts this year. I think one idea for future years might be to have an “Eclectic Reader” or “You Call It!” kind of day – where each blogger talks about their own favorite genre, favorite books in multiple genres, etc. I think this would give everyone the opportunity to share what they love and also allow for one day where those of us hopping around to various blogs might truly discover something new to us.
I want to thank the organizers of Armchair BEA for, once again, doing a fantastic job this year. I have had a great time bouncing around to other blogs, some new and some that I have been connected with for a while, reading others’ thoughts on daily topics and book blogger-related issues. I can’t wait for next year!