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I’m going to toot my own horn and wish Novel Visits a Happy Birthday! (Or, is it Happy Anniversary?) In either case, it was one year ago today that Novel Visits was launched with a review of Laura Barnett’s The Versions of Us.
I’d privately toyed with the idea of turning my love of books into a blog for nearly a year. I’d done a little guest reviewing and I liked it. In the winter of 2016 I finally shared this dream with my sister and a few friends. Once the idea was out in the open, it became real to me, and in the spring, I began to prepare for a summer start date.
I started by secureing the Novel Visits name and got Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook accounts for it. Next, I found help with designing the blog (thank you Robin Bennett @gritsdesigns) and with using WordPress (thank you Lori Lange @recipegirl). Then, I wrote a backlog of reviews to get me started until I got into the swing of things. So, it seemed like I was all set. I was so naïve! When the blog started, I thought I knew THIS much. I actually knew THIS much. Really I needed to know THIS much. It’s a process! I’ve learned a lot in the last year, but still have a long way to go.
Aside from all the “technical stuff.” Having a blog has taught me a few lessons, some wonderful, others tough.
- I hadn’t realized just how much I longed to connect with other readers. Blogging about books opened that door and I love it! Talking with other book lovers makes me happy.
- The book blogging community is much, much larger than I’d realized, but also so much more welcoming and encouraging than I ever could have imagined.
- Comments can feel really good. When someone leaves feedback that they read a book because of my review, it’s awesome!
- Having a social media presence is a lot of work and I’m lousy at it. At this point, I’m not sure I’m willing to dedicate the time to getting good at it. It stuns me when I see a new blog that has thousands of followers after only a couple of months. How does that happen?
- Writing reviews is at the core of what I do here and the part I enjoy the least. To that end, I’m going to be playing with reviews. I’ve been working on a way to (at least partially) write reviews as I read. I’m just starting to test that out. I’ll also be tweaking my reviews over the next few weeks, trying out a potential new format. My goal is to make the reviewing a little simpler for me AND more user friendly for you. So, please let me know what you think.
- Most importantly, I’ve learned that my capacity to love books just keeps growing!
A huge thank you to everyone who has, in ways big and small, supported Novel Visits and me over the last year. I couldn’t do it without all of you.