The first time I learned of this week’s book blogger was not through her blog.
Once I decided to bring back Sunday Serenade I knew I had to share Kate’s Ultimate Blogging Series. She has created a tremendous resource for new and veteran book bloggers – I know I’m learning lots from the series, and I’ve been blogging over six years!
Tell us about your Ultimate Blogging Series. What has surprised you most in writing the series?
The Ultimate Guide to Book Blogging is a twenty-week series in which I lay out pretty much everything I’ve learned in the last 5+ years of book blogging. I’m covering blogging basics like finding a web host and choosing a domain name, creating content and using scheduling tools, networking and making the most of social media, as well as topics that are more specific to book bloggers like writing book reviews, interviewing authors, requesting review copies, and more.
I think what has surprised me the most about this series is just how much fun I’ve had writing it. I think it’s been good for my creativity to temporarily switch gears and blog about something different.
Name 3 tools you cannot make do without (anything from Starbucks to WordPress plugins to everything in between).
The first thing that comes to mind is my beloved MacBook Pro. Blogging involves running a lot of apps at once, saving tons of large image files, and generally pushing a computer’s capabilities to the max. Upgrading to the Pro is the best thing I ever did. It’s an absolute workhorse.
This is sort of a three-for-one, but I would say the combination of WordPress (self-hosted) + the Genesis Framework + the Foodie Pro theme by Shay Bocks. When it comes to blogging platforms, WordPress is bar-none in my opinion. The Genesis Framework makes all of the behind-the-scenes stuff (adding snippets of code, editing themes, etc.) so much easier, and the Foodie Pro theme is the most customizable Genesis child theme I know of. It took me four years of trying out different designs, frameworks, and themes before this particular combination made my little corner of the web truly feel like home. Plus, I finally have total control over my own webspace, which is a great feeling.
There are so many tools that I feel are essential, but if I had to pick just one more, I would say Evernote. I use Evernote to keep track of everything from blog post ideas to Instagram tags I frequently use. The interface makes it super easy to organize my thoughts and ideas.
Between writing for Book Riot and your own blog, I would imagine life can be quite busy and stressful. How do you keep all of your projects organized, plus stay on task?
That’s a great question because it’s taken me a long time and a lot of experimenting with my schedule to reach the point where I am able to blog consistently. My situation is unique in that I have a chronic illness which, among other things, causes me to get tired and burn out really fast, so optimizing my time is super important. The two things that are key for me are accepting my limitations and prioritizing my daily tasks. Pushing myself too hard may result in a temporary upswing in productivity, but every action has an equal and opposite reaction, so instead of blogging in spurts I try to pace myself and be consistent. I make a list of tasks for the following day every night before I go to bed. I always write blog posts first thing in the morning when my mental energy is highest and save simpler tasks like scheduling tweets or making Pinterest graphics for later. This helps me use my limited energy in the most efficient way possible.
What advice do you have for book bloggers who want to branch out. . .create . . .innovate?
I think creativity and innovation happen when you strike a balance between seeking inspiration from others and being true to yourself. During my first couple of years as a book blogger it seemed like the community was dominated by bubbly personalities talking mostly about fiction (often YA or romance) and I felt a little out of place with my propensity for nonfiction and more analytical style. I was (and am still) inspired and learned a lot by observing those bloggers, but it wasn’t until I was able to fully embrace my authentic voice that the ideas really started to flow.
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As Kate mentioned above she tends to focus on nonfiction books, making her blog my go-to for good non-fiction recommendations. She has also mastered the art of sharing all kinds of bookish goodness and resources with her readers. Truly an innovator amongst bloggers and a current must-read in my book 😉