Welcome back to Armchair BEA! If you're not sure what it's all about be sure to visit the Armchair BEA headquarters.
Today we're focusing on how we develop ourselves as bloggers. Having blogged since July of 2009, I'd like to say I've seen a lot of things change over the years. I got into blogging right before it became the new way to advertise. I honestly have to say that my style & personality haven't changed much since I started.
This isn't a way for me to make additional income (at the moment) and it's not the most stress-reducing thing I do to relax. My blog is my outlet for my bookish thoughts. While I've tried participating in readalongs & reading challenges, for some reason my brain just felt like it was back in school being forced to read something; it took the joy out of the activity. So over the last four years I have come to figure out that I should read what's calling me at the moment & just express myself as openly as possible.
Once I was fairly well established, I started requesting ARCs and really trying to stay ahead of the game on what were the newest & greatest books. That started to feel like too much work and effort for so little return. I'm not saying I'm not grateful for those wonderful publishers who did send me books and for the struggling new authors who have sought me out as a venue. Words do not describe how incredibly humbled I have been to have people seek me out and choose me as a reader and reviewer. But at the same time there are so many larger bloggers and media outlets to choose from that I didn't feel like I could compete because, to be quite honest, I didn't really want to compete. Now I simply let the public library, Goodreads, & Twitter keep me up to date on what's coming up and currently available.
Another thing that hasn't changed is my stance on e-books & e-readers. I know that a lot of people nowadays work at a computer all day. I am one of those folks. As a cataloger I look from print to screen all day to do my job. At the end of the day my eyes are so tired from looking at a screen that I just want to focus on paper right in front of me. I have a NetGalley account & am participating in the NetGalley Wellness Challenge, aimed at helping some of us struggling users to optimize our accounts, but it still will be a very select few books that I choose to request electronically. One day in the nearish future I'll make the switch, but for right now, I am hooked on what I still call "real" books. ;)
Today's bookish focus is on genre fiction. As you can tell, this is a primarily Young Adult book review site, but that doesn't mean I don't read outside my preferred venue. As I continue to grow as a reader, I am finding myself pulled in multiple directions. Occasionally I will post "What Else Have I Been Reading" posts featuring the outside-my-reading-comfort-zone books that I've read (or at least attempted to read). For the most part though I stick to urban fantasy, paranormal romance, contemporary fiction, & issues books. My preference for realistic, believable characters is my driving force. If I can't get in with the characters or feel anything for them, it doesn't matter what genre they're in. I do love good recommendations both within & outside of the Young Adult parameters, so be sure to sound off in the comments with your recommendations.