Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Designing Blogs

Today on the blog please welcome Belle and Bryan as they discuss their viewpoints on blog design.  Stick around and add your viewpoint, too!  

Now, introductions! 

You can find Belle at  http://msbookish.com and http://msbookish.tumblr.com.

You can find Bryan at http://stillunfinished.com and as a moderator for the Book Bloggers Discussion Group.


Belle Wong  Belle's Take:

For me, a blog design is all about the header. I use Wordpress, and the selection of themes is really quite amazing; most of them can look quite distinctive just by adding a custom headerYou can end up with quite a nice look just based on the theme alone, but a customized header makes it distinctly yours, and lets you pull everything together, by picking social media icons and colors (for links, sidebar headers, post titles, etc) that match the colors in your header.  So when I decided I wanted a redesign for my blog, MsBookish.com, I was already using the Thesis theme, which I'd bought a while back, so all I was looking mainly for a well-designed header and a set of social media icons that matched the colors in the header.

I can't remember exactly how I found my designer, Don Naylor. I think it was on Twitter - someone had tweeted about the quality of his design work, and intrigued, I'd clicked over and checked out his site. At the time, he offered Wordpress designs and worked specifically with Thesis, so I took the plunge and contacted him about a design for MsBookish.com. (Unfortunately, shortly after he completed my design, he took on a large design project and I'm not sure whether he's doing much, if any, web designing these days.)

I am probably the world's worst website design client. I had no real idea what I wanted, other than the colors I liked (greens and blues). I was really amazed at the header he produced for me. He had me write him something about myself, so I told him all about what I liked to write and read. Then he actually drew/painted the picture and background for my header. I remember looking at the jpg he sent me in amazement - it turned out I did know exactly what I wanted, and the header Don designed was it! 

I got my new design early last year, and since then I've switched over to a different theme. The beauty of my header is that I can use it with any Wordpress theme that lets you use a customizable header. I'm proficient enough with HTML to change things like link and text colors in a new theme, so I managed to get my post titles and link colors the way I wanted them. In order to create consistency between my blog and my Tumblr, I also used the header in the Tumblr theme I chose. I probably should figure out how to use a part of it as my Twitter background, but that's a long way down at the bottom of my to-do list!



Bryan G.   Bryan's Take:

What do I think is good blog design? Less.

In my life recently, I've been attempting to do away with the clutter: physically, mentally and spiritually, well, more physically and mentally so far, but the spiritually will come. With my blog, I think I've tried to do away with the clutter too. The theme I use in my attempt to accomplish that...well...thematically...is the Shelf Theme via The Theme Foundry.

The most distinctive difference is that when you visit my blog, you scroll horizontally to see more posts (and to comment) instead of vertically like you would on most other blogs. However, that's not the only difference. As a result of the theme, there are no sidebars. A menu bar and social media icons are at the top, but along with the posts themselves, which I tend to keep short in keeping with the minimalism of the theme, a photo of me, the title and subtitle of the blog, that is all you see when you visit my blog. For me, it helps me not to get distracted and the idea is that hopefully you won't be either.

Speaking of which...

Oooh! Shiny!



We've heard from Belle and Bryan.  Now, I would love to know what YOU think. What kind of blog design captures your attention?  What kind of design makes you drop everything and read that blog?  What is YOUR take?  Share in the comments!  Inquiring minds what to know!




Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Book Blogging and Giving Back

give back


Please welcome Ashley LaMar, founder and manager of Closed the Cover. Today Ashley has a great post about how she uses book blogging to give back to charities that support literacy. Welcome, Ashley!



When I first started book blogging (in 2010 under a different blog name) I didn’t have any eReader device so I could only accept paperback ARC’s and novels for review. It didn’t take long before my home was overrun with books! I knew a lot of bloggers would run giveaways for the books they had read but I wanted to do something else. I ultimately connected with a few local organizations (Friends of the Library, the prison library in the neighboring county, and youth programs) and developed a donation list. I donated specific genres to each place as my piles became too large to manage (prison libraries won’t accept books with violence, crime, sex or language and obviously youth programs have equally strict requirements). The system worked out great and I felt good about what I was doing. I was reading ARC’s and other novels, reviewing them and promoting them online then sharing the literary love with organizations that needed books. It was a win-win…until my husband bought me an iPad and I converted from my old site to Closed the Cover.

Once I was able to read eBooks the requests for eBook ARC’s started to outnumber the physical books. I didn’t mind but I felt guilty that I was no longer able to be charitable and donate books to places that I had built relationships with over the last year. I struggled with a way to fix the situation when one day an idea hit me “Wham!” right in the face. For years I have been a strong supporter of a literacy charity called, “Room to Read”; I could ramble incessantly about them and how incredible they are but instead I’ll just encourage you to check them out at http://www.roomtoread.org/. I ultimately decided on a new set of book review submission rules: physical copies of books are accepted for review at no charge however authors, publishers, publicists, must understand that the book will most likely be donated to charity after review and eBook copies are accepted for review but require a minimum of a $5 donation to the literacy charity, Room to Read. My thought process was that either way books were being shared, authors were gaining reviews and publicity, and charities and organizations were being supported. I was a wee bit apprehensive when I first implemented the new policies; concerned that authors may be offended or irritated by the request for a donation. It has been my policy for over two years now and I have not heard a single complaint from anyone. I have received a lot of eBook submissions, raised over $700 ($400 so far in 2013), and heard a lot of positive feedback from people who support the idea.

As Closed the Cover gained more followers, increased in traffic, and expanded services I started to see a (small) profit earned from the blog site. The advertising started to raise a little bit of money (only coins per month really), Amazon affiliate purchases began to rise, my Amazon bookstore began to reflect purchases and authors were hiring me to promote their virtual tours. Once again, my guilt began to rise. I started to question how ethical it was for me to ask authors, publishers and publicists to donate to Room to Read in exchange for submitting an eBook when I was earning money (albeit very little) through other avenues and not contributing myself. It simply wasn’t the right way to operate so I changed my policies again. I have now started to donate 15% of all money raised by Closed the Cover and CTC Virtual Book Tours to Room to Read. Every year I choose a new Room to Read program (build a library, build a school, fund the Girls’ Education program, publish books in a small village’s native language, etc) to support. This year, in 2013, I chose to support the Girls’ Education program. According to Room to Read $250 will fully fund the education expenses of one girl for one year. Our goal was to raise $500 to fully fund a year of education for two girls. We have already raised $400 and are definitely on pace to hit our annual goal. It’s an incredible feeling!



Thanks, Ashley! I just came across another charity run by Dolly Parton called Imagination Library, which mails books to children every month. If you know of any other charities that support literacy, share them in the comments!


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Priscilla from Priscilla and Her Books

Today please welcome Priscilla, who blogs at Priscilla and Her Books.



What's the meaning behind the name of your book blog?

Priscilla and her Books. It's pretty straightforward, I would say.


How long have you been blogging?

I'm a newbie book blogger. I've been in the blogosphere since late November 2012.


Tell us a bit about your book blog. What makes it unique?

I include memorable book quotes.


What genres do you write about most, and why?

It varies. I've been reviewing a lot of fantasy books these days.


What's your earliest memory of reading?

I was 10. My parents enrolled me in a day care centre. I wasn't too fond with the idea at first, but when I spotted the mini library at the recreation room, I changed my mind. The rest of the kids were more interested in the computers games (neopets, sonic), so I had the library to myself.


What was the first book you read over and over, or the book you've reread the most?

Matilda by Roald Dahl. I misplaced (the worst thing a reader could do) the copy so I plan to buy a new one. The Third Eye by Lois Duncan has a special spot in my heart, as well.


Writing in books: Yes or hell to the no?

If it's in pencil, I think I can handle that. Ultimately, it's the content. Your feelings, opinions, favourite characters etc...


What's your favorite place to read?

A comfy couch in a quiet room. With hot chocolate or honey lemon tea!


Do you have any reading accessories you can't do without?

If I'm reading on my tablet, my glasses.


Finish the sentence: My bookshelves are...

my buddies.


My TBR pile is...

increasing day by day. I really want to read S. by J. J. Abrams and Doug Dorst!


What's a book that's changed your life?

I haven't found a book like that. I look forward to reading it.


One book you like that no one else seems to, or vice versa?

I didn't enjoy Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.


To DNF or not to DNF?

Gosh, I had to google this stands for! It depends. If it's a badly written book, stop reading it. I always say that life is too short for crappy books.


What's one book that intimidates you?

Any book that has horror, gore and/or violence.


If you could go to any literary destination, where would you go?

This is a fabulous question, though, can I get back to you?


How about non-book related hobbies? What do you do when you don't feel like reading?

Writing or basically just scribbling thoughts in my journal. I also enjoy blogging and hunting for vintage apparels and music on spotify.


What's your favorite book to movie adaptation?

The Help is probably my favourite. It's different, but in a good way. The entire cast especially Jessica Chastain (my bias) did a beautiful job.


What are 3 of your must-read blogs?





What is your reading personality? (via quiz at http://www.bookbrowse.com/quiz/)

All-Rounder!


Thank you for joining us today, Priscilla! Remember to check out Priscilla's blog, Priscilla and Her Books, and leave a comment or question.



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sherrey from Found Between the Covers

sherrey from found between the covers


Today please welcome Sherrey, who blogs at Found Between the Covers!



What's the meaning behind the name of your book blog?

That's where my parents could always find me if I had snuck off to read -- between the covers. My mom thought reading was a waste of time so I hid in my bed between the cover with a flashlight. Today I no longer have to hide, but I thought it was a bit catchy and after all it's how I remember reading as a kid.


How long have you been blogging?

Since 2006, when I retired from keeping attorneys happy almost 24/7. I love to write, and blogging was the answer to that initially. Found Between the Covers is only about a year old, but I have had other blogs over time and still do.


Tell us a bit about your book blog. What makes it unique?

I'm not sure I consider Found Between the Covers unique. But if pressed I would say it's the number of memoirs I review. As a memoir writer, I find them interesting as well as educational from the writing perspective.


What genres do you write about most, and why?

Historical fiction, memoir and Christian fiction, because of my links to certain publishers whose interests lay in these areas as well.


What's your earliest memory of reading?

Likely my first memory of reading is linked to my first library visit. Can't remember who took, but most likely my dad because he loved books. That would have placed me in the simple chapter book category because I don't remember having much more at home than the Little Golden Books.


What was the first book you read over and over, or the book you've reread the most?

Definitely Anne of Green Gables! My dad surprised me on my 11th birthday with the first in the series and then thereafter each birthday or Christmas, I would receive the next until the series was complete. I still have all of them tucked away safely. Perhaps I should get the out and read them again.


Writing in books: Yes or hell to the no?

In self-help or instruction, yes. In something I might want to share or donate, no.


What's your favorite place to read?

Curled up in my recliner in the family room next to the fireplace with Maggie, our tuxedo kitty, curled up in my lap. If she beats me to the chair, then I take the overstuffed sofa on the other side of the fireplace. And I'll be found heading off to bed with a book in hand.


Do you have any reading accessories you can't do without?

My Might-Brite book light if we're traveling! And my Kindle unless I'm reading something bound. I always said I'd never have a Kindle, but something changed.


Finish the sentence: My bookshelves are...

overstuffed!


My TBR pile is...

on an Excel spreadsheet for sanity's sake but also stacked around the house between my office, bedroom and family room. It isn't really stacked; it's sort of sprawling.


What's a book that's changed your life?

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway


One book you like that no one else seems to, or vice versa?

Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski


To DNF or not to DNF?

Here I waffle. If I'm really not enjoying a book, it's DNF. I did this recently on a book I agreed to review for an author. I had to email and say it just wasn't working for me. The author was very understanding. I can't see wasting my time on something I can't enjoy when there are so many other books waiting for me.


What's one book that intimidates you?

Anything by Stephen King (I don't like the genre) and I am definitely intimidated by Don Quixote. I've tried -- honestly.


If you could go to any literary destination, where would you go?

I would love to to Paris. I don't know if it is still a literary hub as it was when Ernest Hemingway wrote there, but that was a high and intense time of writing for several well known authors. For me, having read A Moveable Feast by Hemingway, I just like to see the places included in that work.


How about non-book related hobbies? What do you do when you don't feel like reading?

I'm a knitter and a quilter, and I should be a more committed domestic engineer but I'm not.


What's your favorite book to movie adaptation?

Not much of a movie-goer, so I'm going to pass on this one.


What are 3 of your must-read blogs?




What is your reading personality? (via quiz at http://www.bookbrowse.com/quiz/)

My quiz result was "All Rounder," meaning I fit equally into all four categories. Pleasantly surprising result!


Thank you for joining us today, Sherrey! Remember to check out Sherrey's blog, Found Between the Covers, and leave a comment or question.



Thursday, November 14, 2013

Angelique from Angel Reads

angel reads banner


Today please welcome Angelique, who blogs at Angel Reads!



What's the meaning behind the name of your book blog?

The meaning being Angel Reads the name of my book blog is pretty simple, My names Angel and I post about the books I read. Haha. It not that creative.


How long have you been blogging?

I have been really blogging for about 4 months but i have had my blog going for about 7 months.


Tell us a bit about your book blog. What makes it unique?

I don't really know what makes my blog unique. I just post true reviews about the books I read.


What genres do you write about most, and why?

I post a whole heap of genres, but i think the Supernatural/Dystopia/Fantasy is what I mostly write about. I have always liked these types of books so they are the books that I mostly read.


What's your earliest memory of reading?

My earliest Memory of reading was probably after Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone come out in the movies. I watch the movie and loved it, so my mum brought the book and she read it too me. I think I was about 4 or 5.


What was the first book you read over and over, or the book you've reread the most?

Any of the Harry Potter Books. I love them the most and I just can't stop reading them.


Writing in books: Yes or hell to the no?

If they are for school then I'm kinda ok with it, but I try my best not to. 


What's your favorite place to read?

My favourite place to read is in my bed under the blankets in the winter especially. I just love cuddling in my blankets. In Summer i love sitting outside on the chairs in the backyard.


Do you have any reading accessories you can't do without?

A Pen and paper or my laptop, so I can write notes how I feel about the book and write quotes that hit me. I love quotes so if I read one that I love I need to write it down.


Finish the sentence: My bookshelves are...

full and I need more.


My TBR pile is...

Big! opps haha. There is just so many good books out or coming out they just keep on bringing so many good books out.


What's a book that's changed your life?

I have said this Series alot but Harry Potter it was my Childhood, I grew up with it.


One book you like that no one else seems to, or vice versa?

hmmm I can't think of any.


What's one book that intimidates you?

The Inheritance Cycle they are just so big and bulky.


If you could go to any literary destination, where would you go?

The Wizardry World of Harry Potter haha. I just love Harry Potter.


How about non-book related hobbies? What do you do when you don't feel like reading?

I like to draw or paint. I'm not the best but it's fun.


What's your favorite book to movie adaptation?

Hmm My favourite Harry Potter or the City of Bones I thought that was done pretty goof. Least favourite Percy Jackson.


What is your reading personality? (via quiz at http://www.bookbrowse.com/quiz/)

All-Rounder!


Thank you for joining us today, Angelique! Remember to check out Angelique's blog, Angel Reads, and leave a comment or question.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Follow-Up Survey: Guest Posts & Themes

At the end of October, our team posted a survey to get feedback from our readers.  We have examined your responses and are listening to your thoughts!  In fact, because of your answers, we have one more quick follow-up survey for you to share some additional ideas with us!

Two specific topics in particular stood out:  Guest Posts and Themes.

Many of you had indicated that you are interested in reading more guest posts.  It is now time for those of you interested to share with us what type of guest posts you want to see!

A large number of you also indicated that you are interested in seeing theme months here on Book Bloggers International.  We also want to hear more of your ideas of which themes you are particularly interested in seeing featured.

In addition, we want to know if you are interested in working with us, either by writing a guest post or contributing to a themed month ... or even writing a guest post for a theme month!  Afterall, Book Bloggers International is a way for book bloggers to connect around the globe, so what better way to connect than over a wonderful bookish conversation!

Please take a few minutes to share your ideas with us using the survey below.  If you are interested in contributing, please be sure to indicate yes in the appropriate box and you will be taken to additional questions to share your contact information with us.  We will be in contact with you for more information once we have reviewed and discussed the information we receive.

Thank you for your feedback thus far as well as in advance for completing yet another survey for us here at Book Bloggers International!

Becca, Tasha, & Tif

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Shay from Required Reading

Today please welcome Shay, who blogs at Required Reading!



What's the meaning behind the name of your book blog?

When I find a really good book, I often say that it is so good that it should be required reading.



How long have you been blogging?

Required Reading just celebrated its first birthday.


Tell us a bit about your book blog. What makes it unique?

I'm an eclectic reader, and I include both fiction and non-fiction, as well as adult and young adult books and graphic novels, so I've got something for everyone. I also try to review the books in such a way that even if I didn't like a title, those who would enjoy it can recognize its appeal factors.


What genres do you write about most, and why?

A significant number of the books I read get tagged as speculative fiction, which encompasses everything with even a touch of the supernatural from science fiction to fantasy to magic realism.



What's your earliest memory of reading?

I can't remember a time when books and reading weren't a part of my life, even when it meant asking my parents or my grandmother to read aloud to me because I couldn't read to myself yet.


What was the first book you read over and over, or the book you've reread the most?

I read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire so many times that my first copy fell apart and I had to replace it, but the entire series is a touchstone for me, and I reread it frequently.


Writing in books: Yes or hell to the no?

I generally only write in textbooks or books I'm reading for school, and even then, only in pencil, never pen or highlighter. I keep a review notebook for writing down my thoughts about books I plan to blog about. However, sometimes when you're doing a lot of intense close reading for school, it is just to much trouble to copy everything over.


What's your favorite place to read?

Anywhere that contains me and a book. Bonus points if there's coffee.


Finish the sentence: My bookshelves are...

Overflowing. My husband had this crazy idea that if he didn't let me buy any more bookshelves, I would stop buying books.


My TBR pile is...

Overflowing, just like my bookshelves. It seems like barely a day passes that I don't find a new book I want to read. I have piles of ARCS, piles of library books, and piles of books I've bought or been given. I recently suspended all the holds on my library card because I have so many books out at the moment! 


One book you like that no one else seems to, or vice versa?

I've learned the hard way not to waste my time on best sellers if they don't sound appealing to me. I'm always tempted to see what the hype is about, even when premise doesn't grab me.


To DNF or not to DNF?

It kills me not to finish a book. I have two books on my currently-reading shelf on Goodreads that have been there for over a year, and I can't bring myself to admit defeat and create a DNF shelf. 

What's one book that intimidates you?

Anything by David Foster Wallace. Everyone is always talking about how dense and impenetrable his books are.



If you could go to any literary destination, where would you go?

Until recently, I would have said the Lakes District, or possibly Scotland, but having visited both those places this summer... I'd probably just go back to the UK and see some of the places I missed, like Oxford. 


How about non-book related hobbies? What do you do when you don't feel like reading?

Hiking in the summer, and crocheting in front of the TV in the winter, but reading is by far my biggest hobby.


What's your favorite book to movie adaptation?

I am fascinated by adaptations even though I am frequently disappointed by them. A&E's Pride and Prejudice miniseries is fantastic, and I love what the Game of Thrones TV series is doing with A Song of Ice and Fire. I think in many cases, TV is a better medium for adapting books. 


What are 3 of your must-read blogs?





What is your reading personality? (via quiz at http://www.bookbrowse.com/quiz/)

Apparently I'm an Involved Eclectic, and I enjoy the thrill of the hunt, which might explain why my TBR pile is so huge. I'm always looking for new books, even when I really shouldn't be.


Thank you for joining us today, Shay! Remember to check out Shay's blog, Required Reading, and leave a comment or question.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

GIFs—Why How and What Of

wink


GIF response reviews. They're the LOLcat reviews of 2013. But how, when, and why should you use them? What are the plus and minuses? Let's take a quick look at GIFs with our words and our eyeballs.


What are these "gifs" I keep hearing about?

According to Jezebel, a GIFs are:
"graphics interchange formats"... unique to the internet, in that they utilize a short loop of soundless video-like motion to convey thoughts, feelings, memes, or retorts. 
In other words, moving pictures that show more than still pictures ever can or would. Like in Harry Potter! Sometimes the emotions, they're just too much to express in language. Or, well, you COULD express them in language, but this is more fun:

feelings


How do you pronounce GIF?

no one cares

Does anyone really care about this? Apparently they do. Look, this is 'Merica, pronounce any word however you like, I don't care. However, if you pronounce GIF with a soft g, like in gift, be aware that the Someone's Wrong on the Internet-ers will climb on you like a pack of dogs and rip your vocal cords out.

wtf?

See what I did there?


Pluses and Minuses of GIFs

On the plus side, GIFs are fun! And shiny and interesting. They can get whatever point you're trying to make across very quickly. And, let's face it, no one reads on the internet anyway, so unless you use pictures all people will see is a jumble of letters! What does it mean?!

wtf words
The words, the mind-boggling words.

On the down side, they can be TOO distracting and hard on the eyes, especially if used gratuitously. They also take a long time to load, which can be frustrating when all you want to do is get to the point of the post, as was recently pointed out in this discussion at Book Bloggers Do it Better. Because of this, it's nice to warn people their eyes are about to be assaulted by putting GIF somewhere in the title your post.


What are some examples of these GIF reaction posts you speak of?

If you've never seen a GIF review or reaction post, here are some links to get you started:



Okay, I want to do a GIF post. But how do I find the perfect GIF to express my feels?!

Ah, the quest for the perfect GIF. It has led many bloggers astray. In an ideal situation, you know the exact GIF you want to use, either from a specific scene in a TV show or movie, or a GIF you saw on another site. In that case, it's relatively easy to find GIFs—either go to the site, or google "blah-blah-TV-show gif." Tumblr is your best bet when looking for GIFs from specific shows or movies. And, if you can't find the exact scene you want, you can make your own GIFs, either from a series of images or from video. It's actually pretty easy (says the woman who hasn't done it. But I did read the instructions!).

In a slightly-less ideal situation, you know what emotion you need a GIF for, but don't know where to find it. In this case, you can google the emotion, then go to the images tab and click on search tools>type>animated. Whether or not the images that come up have anything to do with what you're searching for is purely a matter of chance, however, and in my experience a small chance at that. You can also search for GIFs on Reddit, Reaction GIFs, GIF Soup, and Tumblr (talk about being overwhelmed by GIFs).

In the worst possible situation, you decide to do a GIF response to something and you really have no idea where to even start. Three hours of searching later, your eyes are crossed, you have a massive headache, and you're like:

too much

All of this is to say that having a cache of GIFs you like on hand at all times is a very good idea. If you like it, download it!


How do I get these suckers into my post?

In Blogger, you can insert GIFs as you would any other image, either by downloading them (right click>save as>title.gif) or by copying the image URL (right click>copy image url), but I recommend downloading them in case the image URL goes dead.

With Wordpress, it's mostly the same, but you must insert the GIF at full size in order for it to animate. Then you can resize it once it's in the post. I don't know why.

The GIFs should be animated in the editing windows of both WP and Blogger before you publish. If they aren't, your GIF isn't working—sometimes this happens for no reason. Try re-downloading it or using the image URL.


Do you have any tips on using or finding GIFs? Share them in the comments before this cute duckling falls asleep.

so sleepy



Thursday, October 24, 2013

Special Survey

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming this week for a special survey.  
Help us out and answer these few, quick questions!  

Thanks so much!  

Becca, Tasha, and Tif


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Back-up Your Blog: Wordpress Edition

A few weeks ago, I shared with you a step-by-step tutorial to back-up your Blogger blog to ensure you don't lose all that hard work.  Today, I am excited to introduce Rebecca from Love at First Book as she shares with us the details for backing up your Wordpress blogs.  Please give her a warm welcome and soak up her wisdom!

-------------------------------

Backing up your blog on a monthly basis is soooo important! You spend so much time creating each blog post – and what if one day they were all gone??? Backing up your blog prevents that potential disaster from being an issue.

Tif from Tif Talks Books and I (aka Rebecca from Love at First Book) were chatting about backing up our blogs recently. She’s a Blogger gal and I’m a WordPress user so the backup process is a little different. 

Blogger user? Check out Tif’s post about backing up your blog.

WordPress user? Stay right here! I’ll walk you through the backup process.

Step 1: Go to your Dashboard.


Step 2: Highlight Tools and scroll down to click on “Export.”


Step 3: It should automatically be on “All Content” but if not, make sure you click on “All Content.”  Then click on “Download Export File.” 


Step 4: Mine automatically downloads to my Download folder, but I don’t want to keep it there, because I always want to know where my backups are.  Create a new folder for Backups (mine is in my “Blog” folder in my Documents). 


Step 5: Move the file there.  I keep my last 3 backups and delete the older ones.


Step 6: Use a reminder and back up your blog monthly. 

I’m a paper person, so my backup is written in my planner on the first Monday of each month (which you can see below, with another note to myself for that day). 


You can also set a monthly alarm on your phone, add it to your Google or Outlook calendar, whatever works for you. But set a reminder so that you can make sure to follow this step monthly and protect both yourself and your blog.

Do you backup your blog on a regular basis? What’s your system for remembering? 

Thanks for reading,

Rebecca @ Love at First Book

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Come Meet Gaele, from I am, Indeed.

A photo ButtonNEW_zpsf5cd5ef6.jpg

Today please welcome Gaele, who blogs at I am, Indeed.


What's the meaning behind the name of your book blog?
It's a play from 2 different quotes - the first -
"Cogito ergo sum" is a philosophical postulation from Descartes that means "I think, therefore I am."  

The other is a quote from Pietro Aretino:
"I am, indeed, a king, because I know how to rule myself."


How long have you been blogging?
I've been blogging / writing for about 10 years now - a review blog is a relatively new concept for me, and I started that in July 2012.  

Tell us a bit about your book blog. What makes it unique?
I'm a non-genre specific reader, if a book gives me that "ooh moment" when I read the blurb or a sample, it's likely to end up on the blog.

My reviews are always geared to encourage readers and introduce new authors to the public.   

What genres do you write about most, and why?
My personal preferences are for more literary fiction titles, but I've been in a historical romance kick lately. I don't know that I have one particular genre that appears more often than another - I do participate in more tours that are romance-heavy, and I've added audiobook reviews into heavy rotation as well. 


What's your earliest memory of reading?
I was sitting on my grandmother's kitchen floor reading one of her cookbooks - when I started gathering ingredients for my favorite cookies. I was about two and a half, and from that point forward I was never without a book in my hand,


What was the first book you read over and over, or the book you've reread the most?
Anne of Green Gables - and I still read it when I need those comfort moments - along with Paddington, Charlotte's Web, Winnie the Pooh and Babar. There is something both relaxing and comforting in those titles that are so well known and remembered. 


Writing in books: Yes or hell to the no?
nope. I won't even bend pages, and I take the dustjackets off my hardcovers when I read them. 


What's your favorite place to read?
I have a chair that I curl up in - but I can (and do) read anywhere. 

Do you have any reading accessories you can't do without?
Depends. If I'm reading for pleasure - the book and the right lighting is enough. If I'm in my review-reading mode - I need post-it stickies or the highlight notate feature on my ereader, and a notebook and pen or my laptop handy. I don't take notes as I read, but I do highlight important pieces and I always write my rough review as soon as I've completed a book. That way I can pick up another review read and move on - then edit/polish reviews after I've read my daily quota.  


Finish the sentence: My bookshelves are...
all over the house and at least 3 layers deep.


My TBR pile is...
growing daily.


What's a book that's changed your life?
probably any of the multiple titles of Thich Nhat Hanh that I have read on centering, mindfulness or finding peace. 


One book you like that no one else seems to, or vice versa?
I have never (one of my only DNF titles) been able to read Fifty Shades of Gray. The writing was, in my opinion, horrible and the plotting and characters are just meh. I've read a quantity of erotica, and much of it is far better quality. I actually returned the book to the bookshop the same day I bought it after getting through a few pages. 


To DNF or not to DNF?
I hate to DNF - there are only a small handful of books that I haven't finished. If it's something I picked up for review - I will let the author know why I didn't finish it and what the problems were. If it was something I grabbed for myself- I try to give it to a friend I know who may like it. 


What's one book that intimidates you?
Walden by Emerson. I've tried several times to get into it - but I just can't appreciate it at all. 


If you could go to any literary destination, where would you go?
I actually want to go to the Clava Cairns which are quite near Culloden Battlefield - one of the set-up scenes in Gabaldon's Outlander series. 


How about non-book related hobbies? What do you do when you don't feel like reading?
I knit, embroider and sew or I cook - I love to cook and bake so I do lots of it. 


What's your favorite book to movie adaptation?
I was really pleased (and surprised) with the Harry Potter series. The new Wuthering Heights release was amazingly good as well. 


What are 3 of your must-read blogs?
bubbles. deux. 
The Jeep Diva
Caffeinated book reviewer 

What is your reading personality? (via quiz at http://www.bookbrowse.com/quiz/)
As if there was any question - I came up as the Eclectic Reader.
"You read for entertainment but also to expand your mind. You're open to new ideas and new writers, and are not wedded to a particular genre or limited range of authors."



Thank you for joining us today, Gaele!

Remember to check out Gaele's blog, I am indeed, and leave a comment or question below, too!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Blogging NaNoWriMo

nanowrimo button

We're only about 3 weeks away from National Novel Writing Month, more popularly known as NaNoWriMo. If you've never heard of NaNoWriMo, it's where people from around the world try their hand at completing a novel (at least 50,000 words) in 30 days or less during the month of November. It's crazy and tons of fun. You can chat with other NaNos on Twitter using the hashtag #nanowrimo, meet up with fellow NaNos in your area for write-ins, race in "word wars" with other NaNos to boost your word count, follow writing prompts if you're stuck, and read excellent "pep talk" essays by established authors. I've participated in NaNoWriMo for the past two years and highly recommend it to anyone who's thought about writing a novel, because there's so much support available that you won't get during the rest of the year. Plus, it's a freaking blast.

But. What if you don't want to write a novel, but still want to get your writing on? You could turn NaNoWriMo into NaBloPoMo, or National Blog Posting Month, by challenging yourself to post to your blog every day in November.

Sound crazy? Worried about how you'll think of a topic every day? Don't be intimidated. BlogHer hosts a NaBloPoMo every month of the year (including November) with writing prompts and themed topics. You can also use one of the many random topic generators found on the interwebs, including the three I recommended in Tips for Dealing with Blogging Block.

If blogging every day of the month sounds intimidating, just imagine how the people about to write a novel in a month feel! It is overwhelming and sounds nearly impossible, but that's the point: to challenge yourself to something you're not sure you can do. Whether you succeed or not, you'll have fun and learn a lot about yourself along the way.

Are you participating or have participated in either NaNoWriMo or NaBloPoMo? Let us know in the comments!



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Meet Kay of What Me, Read?

Today please welcome Kay, who blogs at What, Me Read?



What's the meaning behind the name of your book blog?
It's a play upon Alfred E. Neuman's "What, me worry?"  My friends and relatives know that I read all the time.  "What, me read?"


How long have you been blogging?
Since January 2012


Tell us a bit about your book blog. What makes it unique?
I read all kinds of things, fiction and nonfiction.  I mix it up to keep my various readers interested.  I also try to write reviews for ordinary people while still mentioning concepts that a person with a background in literature might be interested in.


What genres do you write about most, and why?

I don't purposefully read and review in any one genre, but I do tend to pick up a lot of historical novels, not usually the romances, and mysteries.  I also love the Victorian novels.  Lately, I've been picking up more postmodern novels.

What's your earliest memory of reading?
I don't actually remember this, but my mother said I used to try to read my books upside down in my playpen.  I remember distinctly when I was about four thinking I couldn't wait to find out what all those mysterious marks were in a book.


What was the first book you read over and over, or the book you've reread the most?
The Secret Garden


Writing in books: Yes or hell to the no?
No, I don't write in books.  When I was in college, I thought for awhile that I was supposed to highlight things, but then it bothered me too much that I was marking up my books.  So I stopped.


What's your favorite place to read?
Anywhere


Do you have any reading accessories you can't do without?
Special bookmarks.  I have one beaded one that my ex-sister-in-law made me that I especially like.  Otherwise, I just need the book, or my iPad!

Finish the sentence: My bookshelves are...
loaded.


My TBR pile is...
Huge.


To DNF or not to DNF?
I usually finish books, but as I've gotten older, I refuse to invest that much time in something I am not enjoying.

What's one book that intimidates you?
Moby Dick was one, but I read it this year!


If you could go to any literary destination, where would you go?
The Brontes' house


How about non-book related hobbies? What do you do when you don't feel like reading?
Genealogy, cataloging family pictures, writing novels and plays


What's your favorite book to movie adaptation?
Sense and Sensibility, or To Kill a Mockingbird


What are 3 of your must-read blogs?
Vulpris Lupris 
One Little Library
You're History


Thank you for joining us today, Kay! Remember to check out Kay's blog, Who, Me Read?, and leave a comment or question.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Emma from Words and Peace

Today please welcome Emma, who blogs at Words and Peace.


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What's the meaning behind the name of your book blog?

I love puns and words. Reading is a great source of comfort and peace to me. So having a pun with all this and a masterpiece of Russian literature was fun. I think it came to me in the shower!!

How long have you been blogging?

Words And Peace officially celebrated its 3rd blogiversary at the end of September.  I had started a year earlier, but nothing really serious.

Tell us a bit about your book blog. What makes it unique?

I read a lot of different genres, including religion topics. It's getting more and more historical fiction reviews, and mostly, it has a strong French focus, with a meme and a reading challenge on books set in France or written in French.

What genres do you write about most, and why?

Historical fiction, which I have come to enjoy more and more recently.  I also especially enjoy historical mysteries.  I love history and I admire how some writers manage to insert lots of very serious homework into a great novel or mystery.

What's your earliest memory of reading?

I believe I started reading around 4, in the newspaper! There were not many kids' books available in the tiny French village I grew up.  I enjoyed the series on Martine by Marcel Marlier, but I had to be a bit older.

What was the first book you read over and over, or the book you've reread the most?

The book I have reread the most is Le rêve [The Dream], by Emile Zola.

Writing in books: Yes or hell to the no?

Absolutely not!  I have been used to read books from libraries, so even if I own one, I prefer to write down favorite quotations. I have a whole bunch of notebooks full with books' passages that I wrote down by hand!

What's your favorite place to read?

On a chair on our tiny porch, with bird songs in the background.

Do you have any reading accessories you can't do without?

Paper and pen, to copy favorite passages, or to take notes. When there are lots of characters, I need to make a diagram of who's who and how they are related. Otherwise I'm lost or confused to write my review.  My Nook Color is getting also close to indispensable, as I receive a lot of egalleys - thank you publishers!

Finish the sentence: My bookshelves are...

full of books received for virtual book tours or won at giveaways - thank you fellow book bloggers!

My TBR pile is...

My Goodreads TBR is insanely high - 600 today, but could be much higher by tomorrow, lol.

What's a book that's changed your life?

The Rule written by Saint Benedict in the 6th century.  I lived trying to follow its directions for many years.  Benedict also has recommendations on how to read: slowly, and from A to Z, so no, I'm not peeking on the last page of the book when I start a book, lol!

One book you like that no one else seems to, or vice versa?

I would not say that no one likes The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver, but I have read a lot of severe reviews of it. I loved it a lot, like all the books by Kingsolver.  I hate Jane Austen, and many book bloggers seem to enjoy her writings.

To DNF or not to DNF?

Yes I DNF some books: there are too many awesome books waiting for me out there to waste my time with a book that I find sloppy in its writing or plot.

What's one book that intimidates you?

War And Peace, though I usually enjoy very long books.

If you could go to any literary destination, where would you go?

Shrewsbury Abbey, in western England (Brother Cadfael's abbey, in The Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, by Ellis Peters).

How about non-book related hobbies? What do you do when you don't feel like reading?

I always feel like reading! It must be a kind of disease, lol.  But I also enjoy Birding, Hiking, and Painting on rocks (and I can listen to audiobooks when I paint!)

What's your favorite book to movie adaptation?

Favorite book to movie adaptation:  A Beautiful Mind, about the life of John Forbes Nash, Jr. Because for once, the film is much nicer than the book, embellished but less nasty than real life!

What are 3 of your must-read blogs?

Devourer of Books
Caravana De Recuerdos
A Guy's Moleskine Noebook
Under My Apple Tree
Roof Beam Reader
Reading The Past

What is your reading personality? (via quiz at http://www.bookbrowse.com/quiz/)

the exacting reader and the eclectic reader.

They must have spied on me to write their descriptions, they fit me so perfectly:

"The expression 'so many books, so little time!' sums up your life. You love books but you rarely have as much time to read as you'd like - so you're very particular about the books you choose."

"You read for entertainment but also to expand your mind. You're open to new ideas and new writers, and are not wedded to a particular genre or limited range of authors."



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Thank you for joining us today, Emma! Remember to check out Emma's blog, Words and Peace, and leave a comment or question.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Lady Vowell Smith from The Snail on the Wall

Today please welcome Lady Vowell Smith, 
who blogs at The Snail on the Wall.

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What's the meaning behind the name of your book blog?

The Snail on the Wall comes from Virginia Woolf's essay "Mark on the Wall." In the essay, the narrator sees something on the wall of her drawing room and then lets her mind wander on all the possibilities of what it could be: a leaf, a nail hole, or a crack. And this makes her reflect on some serious subjects, from war to history to life. At the end, the mark turns out to be nothing more than a snail. So, basically, one small snail on the wall can inspire some unexpected thought and conversation.

Tell us a bit about your book blog. What makes it unique?

I used to teach literature and writing to college students, so blogging is an outlet for the teacher in me. I use my blog as a place to share ideas about literature, from contemporary fiction to classics and poetry, and I hope it opens mental or emotional doors for people who may not have read a particular book, or may have even read something and not liked it. Rather than doing book reviews, I tend to explore personal or cultural connections with what I'm reading and writing about.

What genres do you write about most, and why?

When it comes to genres, I don't discriminate. One day, I might be writing about Modernist poetry, and another I might be posting about my kindergartener's favorite picture book. As a longtime student of literature and a former professor, I love what we've come to call the classics. So I can't resist trying to get people to share my passion for Victorian novels, the Romantic poets, or Elizabethan drama. But I mix it up at The Snail—you never know where the discussion might lead.

What's your earliest memory of reading?

I can remember reading my mother's cookbooks while she made dinner, and I wrote in the margins then as much as I do now!

What was the first book you read over and over, or the book you've reread the most?

The Awakening, by Kate Chopin. From my first reading in college, the ambiguity of the ending hooked me: in drowning, does Edna accidentally let herself slip from life to death, or does she selfishly choose to leave her family behind and willfully commit suicide? I love that several different people can read this book, and have several different opinions. And I love that even the same person could read it at different stages of life and reach different conclusions.

Writing in books: Yes or hell to the no?

Absolutely yes—I believe books are meant to study and interact with. But I do practice more restraint these days. When I look back to my copy of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein from my days as an undergrad, about half of the text is underlined. There's such a thing as too much.

Do you have any reading accessories you can't do without?

Sticky notes and a pen. I know I've enjoyed a book when it ends up a colorful mess of sticky notes on important passages that I want to return to, reread, and write about.

Finish the sentence: My bookshelves are...

Embarrassingly organized. I keep my books in sections by geographical region (British, American, world), some by genre (poetry has its own section, as do anthologies), and, of course, alphabetical within each section. I confess to being type A, below!

My TBR pile is...

Big and growing bigger all the time. Now that I've entered the blog world, I spend my time reading many, many other book blogs, which means I discover books I never would have known about before. Thanks, fellow bloggers!

What's a book that's changed your life?

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain. It's been on the bestseller list for a while now, and for good reason: it's a validating book for the one-third of us who are introverts, who feel like we spend much of our lives swimming upstream in an extroverted culture. (It's worthwhile reading for extroverts, too, because it will help you understand all those quiet people in your life.)

One book you like that no one else seems to, or vice versa?

Anything by Henry James: Portrait of a Lady, The Ambassadors, etc. Most people don't like his style of using 100 words when you could use 10, but I feel love to get lost in his long, convoluted sentences.

To DNF or not to DNF?

Until recently, my type-A personality always made me a book finisher; even while hating a book, I would insist on finishing it so that I could offer educated reasons about my opinion. But after I hit the age milestone of 40 a few years ago, I've noticed that I can put a book down in the middle. That old cliché about life being too short is true.

If you could go to any literary destination, where would you go?

Although I spent a year in Dublin studying Irish literature, I didn't have the chance to visit England. British literature is my specialty and my passion, so I have a whole host of sites in England to visit, from London to the Lakes District.

How about non-book related hobbies? What do you do when you don't feel like reading?

Singing, playing the piano, listening to music of all kinds, acting (only occasionally), cooking, eating, raising my three kids, being active in my community.

What are 3 of your must-read blogs?

The Millions 
Book Riot
Bookslut
Fuse #8

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Thank you for joining us today, Lady Vowell Smith! Remember to check out Lady Vowell Smith's blog, The Snail on the Wall, and leave a comment or question.