Armchair BEA ~Growing as a Blogger & Fiction~

May 29, 2013 Uncategorized 52

armchairbea21 Today Armchair BEA is asking a really cool and important questions:

What have you done to get better as a blogger…and what do you want to do? Post about your experiences, link up, and go check out what other bloggers are doing!

For me, the biggest thing I’ve done as a blogger is let go. I try not to obsess about my numbers, or freak out if I don’t have 2 new reviews up for one week. I just try and go with the flow and have fun.

When I first started blogging I had a few “unhealthy obsessions” with a few “big” blogs out there. I wanted to have all the followers, all the ARC’s, all the blogger contacts. It didn’t take long for me to see that putting them on a pedestal was only tearing down the hard work I’ve put into my blog! So I said screw that mess!

The second biggest thing I’ve done to make myself a better blogger is SCHEDULE! While I try and keep it loose I still like having a frame for how things should go on the blog. When I started blogging I thought it was going to be this super easy and quick hobby. I had no clue about all the outreach, networking and tweaking I would have to do to be, what I consider, a successful blogger. I forgot that I still had to make time to read, work my full time job and most importantly take care of my family. Scheduling has helped me see where I need to focus on content and I love that!

The last thing, and probably the hardest for me to actually acknowledge, is stepping up and meeting people. I’m not shy by any stretch of the imagination, but I have a horrible time making new friends. I literally start to shut down when I have to go off by myself and make new friends. But, I’m slowly learning that the book blogging world is the easiest place to make friends. Most bloggers are super nice, and typically authors are accepting of you twitter gushing. I can honestly say that without my blogger friends I probably would have stopped or slacked off from blogging a while ago.



Oh where do I begin with this one?

This, like me as a blogger, has evolved so much! I remember a time where I would only read one genre, all because of my “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mentality. I didn’t grab my first true fantasy novel until last year! And I even have a few books I’m sort of ashamed to admit that once upon a time I truly loved. It took a while but I finally know what kind of reader I am, and it’s such an amzing feeling to pick up a book, read it and then accurately and intelligently share your likes and dislikes. Your thoughts, your feelings! Fiction goes so much deeper than it’s Webster definition.

You have horror, that scares you to the point of hoarding night lights!

Anna Dressed in Blood

Then there’s the fantasy, that takes you to a time & place that you never knew was possible!

Shadow and Bone

The adorable love stories that make you giggle out loud!

Significance Cover

The steamy “adult” reads that require a fan ;)!

Beautiful Bastard

And the one’s you can’t really categorize, but know you loved more than chocolate!

Sanctum                     Written in Red

Fiction is my 5th love! Right behind my daughter, my boyfriend, chocolate and Chrys of Oh Chrys! (hi wife!!!). Besides, it’s a hell of a lot more entertaining that non-fiction. 😉

52 Responses to “Armchair BEA ~Growing as a Blogger & Fiction~”

    • Octavia

      It definitely can get overwhelming fast! I just wish I had done some research before hand so I wouldn’t have had to learn that lesson the hard way lol. 🙂

  1. tanya

    Scheduling is one of the most important things you mentioned. I like to post reviews consistently twice a week. That way my followers know when to check up on me. But it also means I have to schedule time to get the books read and the reviews written. Everything you do for your blog takes time, and often more time than you think!

    tanya recently posted…A Brief Hiatus for Armchair BEAMy Profile

    • Octavia

      Who would have thought blogging took so much time? I love it, so I don’t mind the time or hard work, but goodness I wish I had some kind of clue before I started blogging! 🙂

  2. Heather

    Shadow and Bone was a great book. I can’t wait to read the sequel.

    I agree that letting go and writing what interests you on your blog is most important. I don’t have a gazillion readers and that’s ok. I write for me and am happy for anyone who wants to read it. Trying to promote myself would take a lot of the fun out of it for me.
    Heather recently posted…Armchair BEA – Genre FictionMy Profile

    • Octavia

      I know! I’m kind of obsessed with the Darkling! I LOVES HIM!

      I just made it to that point where I write for me first and anyone else second. Funny how that one thought can relieve so much stress!

      Do you use Twitter? Not only is it an awesome promotional tool, it’s where I’ve met my bestfriends, and that means so much to me.

  3. Melissa @ Harley Bear Book Blog

    I used to be obsessed with numbers too, but it gets tiring very easily. Plus some of those bloggers with lots of followers have been blogging for years or do a giveaway every other day. And scheduling is so helpful. I love organization haha. I just got the audiobook of Beautiful Stranger and I’m excited/nervous (is it going to be weird listening to that genre book?) haha. I’ll let you know how it is.
    Melissa @ Harley Bear Book Blog recently posted…Armchair BEA 2013: Development & FictionMy Profile

    • Octavia

      Ha! I can’t imagine listening to Beautiful Stranger! I loved the book but I can easily see myself laughing at all the wrong times!

      I’m a bit of an organizational freak. I try to have all me meme’s typed up and scheduled a month in advance, when I plan a vacation I do it forever in advance ( seriously, I have a spreadsheet of possible hotels for BEA14 O_O ), I even map out my driving route for errands! I may have issues now that I think about it….

  4. a barmy bookworm

    I’m still in a fairly obsessive place: not necessarily comparing mine to anyone else’s blog, just constantly checking number of followers, page visits, etc. Not healthy, I know. I need to get out more. I’m going to venture further into the blogging community with a Twitter account, methinks…
    a barmy bookworm recently posted…If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking – Haruki MurakamiMy Profile

    • Octavia

      Yes you must read Anna!!

      And thanks! It took a lot to let go of that stress and its funny how much happier I am with my blog because of it.

  5. Stormy @ Book.Blog.Bake.

    I think it can be so easy to be caught up in the numbers and the big bloggers and a whole competitive side to the culture of book blogging. I don’t think it’s *bad* to look at the big bloggers as bloggers to model & learn from, but there’s definitely a balance. And I agree about scheduling–being able to schedule things in advance is probably the MOST helpful thing to me in all of blogging, since I tend to binge-blog(aka write a week’s worth of post in 1 day.)
    Stormy @ Book.Blog.Bake. recently posted…Armchair BEA day 2: Favorite GenresMy Profile

    • Octavia

      I wish I could binge-blog! So far all I can do is make sure my meme’s are done the month before. :-/

      And I totally agree with looking at the big bloggers to learn from but I went a bit farther than that, and completely threw that needed balance out the window. But it’s all good now, I know my limits and I know not to tip that scale. 🙂

  6. Tanya Patrice

    I’m a huge fan of scheduling too, but I love how you said you had to let go, and actually I think change and experimenting is a huge part of blogging. Demands for my time changed, so I had to go down to one book discussion post per week – but better that than to stress and try to do more, and then burn out. And while I do schedule, if something happens and I get behind, I try not to stress about it.
    Tanya Patrice recently posted…How I Plan a Monthly Blogging Schedule In AdvanceMy Profile

    • Octavia

      My thoughts exactly! I figured it was more important to have content I was happy with than trying to have new post up every single day! Thanks a bunch for dropping by!

    • Octavia

      Aww thanks! I obsess over planning everything but I still have a hard time following through! I’m horrible some times!

  7. melissa @ 1lbr

    I love your thoughts on letting go. I find myself going in cycles on this – letting go and then getting weird about it again. Right now I’m in the WAY letting go phase, since life is pretty much getting in the way. And yeah for sticking to your schedule! I’m terrible about that.
    melissa @ 1lbr recently posted…Armchair BEA, Day 2, Genre FictionMy Profile

  8. Trish Hannon

    Scheduling is my saviour, I would be a gibbering wreck without it, freaking about trying to get posts up. But with the god that is scheduling, I do the work at the weekend and can relax and just read and comment during the week.
    Trying hard not to let the numbers control me but its hard!
    Love your fiction picks 🙂
    Trish Hannon recently posted…Armchair BEA : Fostering Blogger DevelopmentMy Profile

    • Octavia

      I didn’t think of that strategy. Compose on the weekends and comment during the week…IT’S GENIUS!

      Thanks for the idea and for dropping by. 😀

  9. Helen @ The Fiction Conniption

    Ugh – definitely agree on the scheduling part. That’s totally what I always mean to do… and then I get so distracted. This week of Armchair BEA is the first time I’ve had even a week’s worth of scheduled posts ready in like… forever.
    It’s a nice feeling to just be able to blog crawl/stalk and comment and not worry about getting my next post ready.

    My boss may not agree, as sometimes my tweaking gets done at work, but hey – oh well. lol.
    Helen @ The Fiction Conniption recently posted…Armchair BEA 2013: Blogger DevelopmentMy Profile

    • Octavia

      If they did’t want us tweaking our blogs at work we wouldn’t have computers! At least that’s what I tell myself. 😉

      I’m actually feeling pretty bad about my current lack of post ready. May have to pull an all nighter soon. :/

  10. Adam @ Roof Beam Reader

    I think a lot of people make that early mistake of trying to be the big, bigger, biggest! What’s really important is just to be the best that you can be. As you said, “I just try and go with the flow and have fun.” Unless this is your “job”, then having fun is the most important thing! Why else do we do it, other than for our own personal fulfillment and enjoyment?

    If you like what you do, if you’re having fun, and if you’re putting out good content… the followers will come.
    Adam @ Roof Beam Reader recently posted…Armchair BEA Day 2: Blog Development & Genre FictionMy Profile

    • Octavia

      I have a paper planner that helps me keep track of tours, read-a-thons, reviews, and meme’s. I don’t always stick to that planner but it helps me keep things somewhat in order. 🙂

  11. Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know

    Relaxing is huge. I personally find that hard because I’m such a control freak of a person, but it definitely helps some when I can relax about it all and not allow myself to get stressed out. Stress does nothing but shut me down. And exactly like you said, scheduling helps me stay relaxed while maintaining my need for control. Great post!

    • Octavia

      I’m the same way when stressed. I shut down and have a mini meltdown before I remind myself that fun comes first!

      Thank you for dropping by!

    • Octavia

      Aww thanks! Anna has easily become one of my favorite books. Everything about it was amazing!

      And woohoo to scheduling!

  12. Tanya @ Mom's Small Victories

    Great post. I agree with you about wanting to be like the big bloggers. I learned I had to find my own voice and do things in my own way to not get overwhelmed. I…oh heavens! I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to write in advance. Hope you have a great ABEA Week! New follower here. Here’s my Blogger development and favorite books by genre post if you’d like to stop by.
    Tanya @ Mom’s Small Victories recently posted…Armchair BEA: Blog Development and Favorite Books by GenreMy Profile

    • Octavia

      Thank you! I think that’s the key for any blogger, doing what works for you. And believe me scheduling in advance is a pain in my tush! But if I don’t do it now I’ll have a panic attack later. 😀

  13. Tamara @ Shelf Addiction

    Great post Octavia!

    I totally understand scheduling! I’m a very organized. I make check lists, calendar entries, color coding, the whole nine. I really try to schedule weeks ahead because when I know what coming up and I see it on paper it makes me feel better. Then I don’t have to stress about it!

    BTW, did you read the The Girl of Nightmares yet? It’s the 2nd book in the Anna series. I haven’t yet, but I’m curious as to hear if it was just as good as Anna Dressed In Blood.

    Tamara @ Shelf Addiction recently posted…Armchair BEA 2013 | Paths to Becoming a Better BloggerMy Profile

    • Octavia

      Ah a girl after my own heart! Color coding!!!

      And yes I’ve read Girl of Nightmares and to be honest it was nowhere near as good as Anna. I have the review scheduled to go up in June, but I gave it 3.5/4 stars. So I still liked it, but Anna just had so much more action!!

    • Octavia

      It’s hard I know, but book bloggers are totally accepting and ready to be friends with everyone! And believe me I speak from experience!

      You loved Anna AND S&B?! Hello new bestfriend! 😉

  14. Laurie C

    I very rarely have posts written and scheduled in advance. Somehow, I’ve just never been able to get ahead even a week. Maybe I should make that a priority. I’m a natural-born procrastinator, is the problem. I want to read most of the genre fiction books you featured!
    Laurie C recently posted…Armchair BEA: Developing as a BloggerMy Profile

    • Octavia

      I just started scheduling in advance! It’s a real pain to do because it’s so time consuming (I’ve stayed up till 4am sometimes!) but it feels so good to just be able to relax and go connect with other bloggers! Not to mention the amount of reading I get done! When/if you start on any of the books I listed let me know! I’d love to hear what you think about them. These are some of my all time faves!

  15. Michelle @ In Libris Veritas

    Anna Dressed in Blood was fantastic! I really need to read Shadow & Bone though . I have anxiety issues, and one of the major problems I have is social anxiety. I’m actually social on the internet, but in person I am extremely quiet and I probably look really stoaic…though I’m probably panicking on the inside, lol. Blogging is a nice outlet, and I’m tackling a bit of social interaction one step at a time though it’s still hard for me to make friends here as well. But everyone is really nice and pretty understanding.
    Michelle @ In Libris Veritas recently posted…Armchair BEA Day 3: Literary FictionMy Profile

    • Octavia

      That’s the joys of the book blogging world! Most of us are socially uncomfortable so we totally understand someone who is too. 🙂

      Before you read Shadow and Bone READ MY REVIEW! That’s the only warning I’m going to give. 😉

  16. Christine @ Oh, Chrys!


    I can relate to the whole thing with obsessing over big blogs and tearing down yours in the process. I mean, while I am admiring these blogs and all their success, I am wasting time! And the thing is only some of them interact with you! Like WTH. Why should I obsess over your blog when you reduce me to nada. Lol.

    I so need to read Shadow & Bone!!

    • Octavia

      Your the Husband on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday remember?! 😛

      And yep that was me to a tee. I’d nit pick at my blog because “the bigger blog” did XYZ. Or I’d go all creepy stalker and comment on ALL their things! And I wouldn’t even get a response! Like are you kidding me?! So I said screw you I’m awesome and you suck eggs! Or something like that. 😀

      *YOU MUST READ IT!!*

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