I Want to Blow the Roof Off Chew & Dig in the Upcoming Year!

 

Explosion

Photo Credit- DavidRphoto Flikr

So, BBAW is pretty much leaving me as pumped up as ArmChairBEA did. I am filled with motivation and ready to make some changes. I don’t know about you , but I cruised so many blogs, made new friends, and got loads of ideas for how I want to kick it up a notch around here.

Me thinks it be time for a Bloggiesta of sorts in a couple of weeks. Anyone with me?

Here are some goals that I want to work on:

  • Make my reviews easily searchable by author
  • Maybe add some cover art to my books read list
  • Actively work on selling ad space to book related items (this is to cover host costs)
  • Toying with the idea of splitting off into two blogs, one for nonfiction, one for fiction
  • Working on a few new series ideas and have lined up some great author interviews
  • More giveaways, I am drowning in ARCs and the library is starting to give me the evil eye!
  • Put on my new snazzy robe to judge the Indie Lit Awards with a great group of panelists.

My question for you is this, What is Chew & Digest missing? Are there ways you would like to search that you can’t? What plug-ins, buttons, or whathaveyou  do you really use on other sites that you would like to see here?

My other question for you ………..how did the whole BBAW experience make you feel? What are you really excited about? Are there any changes that you want to make? Anything I can help with?

I love these events because they get me all pumped up! Move over Arnold, cuz I am the one that “will be back”!

Viva BBAW!

 

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Put Your Hands Together For Write Meg!

The following is a fun question and answer session with Meg from Write Meg! . The silliness of the questions is totally my fault. Her answers, however, are all on her. Allow me to welcome the blogger that was shortlisted for the Best Eclectic Blog for BBAW, the wonderful, the amazing, the crafty and dog loving………..MEG!

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1. Why book blogging? I mean you write for a living, and I see that you even have an etsy store for your crochet pieces, what drew you to book blogging?

I’ll have to admit that I fell into book blogging! Back when I started write meg!, I was working full-time as an editor with a part-time job as a bookseller. After I got tired of the long hours working two shifts a day, I quit Borders — and desperately missed having an outlet in which to socialize and talk about books. I started my blog as a way of talking about my life and chatting about random stuff, but quickly discovered that many other bloggers were writing about books exclusively. That really piqued my interest and, once I was familiar with the whole community, write meg! became pretty book- and writing-oriented. (But I still love to crochet a good scarf and talk about myself, for which I now get paid. And that’s awesome.)

2. I was recently doing some major maintenance on my blog and realized that my reading selections have REALLY changed thanks to becoming an active book blogger. Has it changed you? If so, how?

When I started blogging, I rarely read anything from the young adult genre — and still clung to the misguided belief that YA was “just for teens.” That couldn’t be less true, of course! A good book is a good book, and it doesn’t matter in which genre it’s categorized. Reading about so many great YA authors and books on other blogs, I developed a new taste for them through the course of blogging. Having a forum in which to write about books, and get feedback from other readers, has really opened my eyes to all sorts of wonderful reading out there — and so many of the books I’ve loved, like Justina Chen Headley’s North Of Beautiful, aren’t ones I would have picked up on my own.

3. What do you find most challenging about book blogging?

Probably having to write a lukewarm or negative review of a book when I’ve developed a personal repertoire with an author. It’s against my nature to hurt anyone’s feelings, and I really dislike having to say anything unkind about novels — especially since I write myself, and know how tough it is to put your heart out there and have someone reject it. Still, my primary obligation in book reviewing is to be honest; I owe it to myself and anyone who comes across write meg! to tell the truth. It’s just tough telling the truth and then having to email an author or publicist and say, “Hey, I read your book – and it was horrible! I posted my gut-wrenching review here for the whole reading world to see!”

But, you know, that’s the way it goes sometimes.

4. You predominately review Women’s Literature on Write Meg! Do you ever cheat & read other genres, but not review them?

Good question! With very, very few exceptions, I can honestly say that I review every book I read. I know which book genres and authors tend to get the most hits and comments, though, and sometimes know ahead of time that my review of a certain book, particularly non-fiction, won’t grab the interest of many readers. But it’s no worries; those reviews are still fun to write!

5. What was your absolute favorite part/moment of the Book Blogger Convention?

Oh, goodness — it’s probably cliché, but getting to meet so many bloggers face-to-face! I’d well publicized the fact that I would be wearing my “Power Dress,” a little fuchsia number I wear when I need to empower myself, and many people called out, “Meg! Hi! I knew you were from your dress!” That made me feel awesome. And everyone was so kind and interesting, just the way you’d expect them to be from reading all about them on their blogs.

6. Your posts on online dating not only made me laugh, but also brought back a lot of memories. Why do you think that it is so hard to meet the right person these days?

We’re all busy these days, I think it’s just tough to meet anyone in a “traditional” way — at school, a bar, church, through family, etc. — because we don’t always have the time and energy to put into exploring those avenues. For me, online dating became absolutely necessary when I realized that most of my “traditional” avenues just weren’t going to work out. I love my coworkers, but most of them have children my age — or are already in committed relationships. I knew I was going to have to do something different to meet someone, and online dating was the logical step. And like so many others, my dating story has a happy ending — and for that, I’m very thankful!

7. You recently tweeted “I just petted my first cow last weekend, so I’m feeling pretty good about the whole farm fest thing!” My question is…..did you like it? Would you do it all over again?

You know, I did like it! I was pretty scared at first, having never been around livestock, but this cow in Chautauqua County, Pennsylvania was pretty friendly. I’m a big animal lover, too, so getting to meet any new friend is all right by me.

8. Tell me about Rudy. Are you still having to save him from the Zombie-Vampires in your dreams thanks to The Passage?

Rudy is my loveable, dopey, hilarious and sleepy golden retriever, and a dog I affectively refer to as my “bud bud.” We got him from a horse and dog rescue group in Delaware when he was about a year and a half old and severely undernourished by his previous owners. Considering he came home right before Christmas and has a pink nose, we named him “Rudolph” — or “Rudy” — and he’s definitely a part of the family! And about 50 pounds heavier than his terrible low weight when we brought him home. I’m also happy to report he hasn’t been the star of any zombie-vampire dreams lately, though I’m going to never read The Passage to ensure he’s kept out of harm’s way. It’s the least I can do.

Meg not only has a blog that was new to me, but she held my hand through this whole process. She made it easy. If she wasn’t on the other coast, I would give her a high five….maybe I will just have to send Rudy a dog treat. Thanks Meg!

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A Thought Provoking Question Asker, a Crochet Artist and a Writer in the Making ~ My First Treasure

Welcome one and all to the first day of BBAW. This is the day that we are supposed to share blogs that are new to us since last year’s Book Blogger Appreciation Week.

While Chew & Digests Books has in fact existed for more than two years, I really didn’t get involved in the book blogging community until the last year, so I have had a wealth of choices from which to pick from. So ya’ll are new to me in many ways.

The problem lies in choosing from this plethora. What sort of guidelines or criteria did I use to pick the following? Why are ye trying to ask me to explain the unexplainable? I have no clue why I do anything, but here we go.

First up, the “thought provoking question asker”, A Little Bookish. Carin has a wonderful Friday feature called Coffee Chat and it never fails to inspire me to write a book of a comment in response.

Carin is also a hero of mine because she is super involved with her blog and the community. I swear the girl is always on twitter when I need her and in the know.

Then we have Danielle and There’s a Book. She has been a major reason why I am as active as I am today. We “met up” during Armchair BEA and while we read totally different genres, she keeps me actively coming out from behind my reviewer persona with her meme, A Bit About Me(Me).

She is also a writer, not just a blog writer, and I enjoyed hearing about a writing workshop she went to recently at Catherine Ryan Hyde’s home.

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Then there is Meg of Write Meg! I was lucky enough to get paired with her for the interview tomorrow and I have to tell ya, I like her style.

Like Danielle, we don’t really read similar genres, but we do have something in common. She likes to crochet and I have been known to pick up a J hook or two in my time.

Another great thing about Meg is that she isn’t just all about reviews. She often steps out from behind the book to share what is going on in her life. Her reviews are much like her other posts, honest and open.

It must be said, all of the blogs are I read are treasures. You all have something special and deserve a huge award for keeping me coming back. All of you are a huge part of my excitement about book blogging. You give me a purpose, focus and get me to come out of my shell. That isn’t an easy thing to do to this anxiety filled swiss cheese brain. Thank you!

Gwen


Have You Read Nonfiction in 2010? I Want You! I Need You!

 

I WANT YOU

 

Have you heard about the Independent Literary Awards? Wallace from Unputdownables is rocking the house with this project and asked me to be the judge for the Nonfiction category.

What does that mean for me? Honestly? I am still trying to figure that out, but I am sure that it means that I get my own TV show in the afternoons or something. No, Wallace just said no TV deal in the works yet. It does mean that I need to put panel of people much smarter than myself to be on the panel with me.

My question for you is this, do you have any book suggestions published in 2010 for our long list? Enter them at the Independent Literary Awards by December 15th.

Do you have what it takes to read a few nonfiction books in January with me? Come on, you will get a cool badge for your blog and get to hang with the cool kids.

 

Want to get away? How did that get in there?! Forget that question.

Know someone that would love to help? Tell them to drop me a line.

oie_canvas-1 Non-Fiction Judge Badge

Seriously, you need to be a part of the first ever book awards by bloggers. Here comes the Judge and the panelists!

Was that too hard of a sell? I suck at selling. Did I ever tell you about the time that I took a job telemarketing…….

 

Anywho, be a player or keep sitting on the sidelines. You know you want to:)

 

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Are you listed on Pressfinder.com?

A couple of weeks ago The Book Lady’s Blog featured a post on a feature of Booktour.com called Pressfinder. The concept is grand and I thought that since my readers might have missed it or, horror of horrors, not subscribe to Rebecca, I would talk Kevin into telling us a bit about it.

You have the floor Kevin….

My name’s Kevin and I run a company called BookTour.com. We have a tool calledPressfinder, which is a database enabling authors and media makers who care about books to find one another. If you’re a book blogger, I’m assuming “media makers” includes you.

PressFinder’s a pretty simple idea. A big pile of names, titles and email addresses of folks in the literary media, sorted and searchable by medium and location. A typical scenario where authors and their publishers use Pressfinder might be…

“My book came out earlier this summer and I’m visiting my sister in Chicago next weekend. I’d sure love to have coffee with some local book bloggers while I’m in town. Who might be interested?”

Same scenario for a bookblogger…

“I live in the Chicago area and just started publishing my blog ‘Literary Fiction and Strawberry Jam: For those who love books and breakfast, often together. I’d like to start interviewing authors when they come through town. How can I know what writers will be in Chicago when and if like to be interviewed?”

In both cases, if that blogger is listed on Pressfinder, their blog will appear in  a search on “Chicago” and “Book Bloggers” (Pressfinder has a dedicated section for them).  Within their listing, a blogger may indicate what sorts of books turn them on, how they like to be contacted, by whom, etc.?

Authors and publishers can search Pressfinder free three times. After that, it costs 5$ a month or 50$ a year. If you’re a listed media contact in Pressfinder, you may use it all you want for free.

Signing up as a blogger is easy.

1. Go to Pressfinder’s homepage. See that big orange button mid-page that says “Click to Add a Contact” Click it.

3. Fill in the blanks (the “notes” section is a good place to mention a little about your blog, the kind of books you like and the kind of author’s you’d like to interview/feature.) Then click the “Save Changes” orange button.

And you’re done! Your blog is officially listed in Pressfinder. To edit your listing, click the “edit contact” inside your listing’s box.

Pressfinder’s been around for just a few months and I’ve already been asked several times why we built it. Truth is, There are a ton of authors with books (good ones) to promote and only so many inches in the New York Times and only so many guest spots on The Colbert Report. Major media outlets–understaffed and bombarded–increasingly rely on smaller media–book bloggers, Indiebound newsletters, the literary minded on twitter–to gauge what books are gathering steam in the culture. An author’s appearance on “Fresh Air” is not their book’s birth in the marketplace  but its bar mitzvah. That book has probably already had its first “big break” by getting handsold, physically and digitally, by the readers of this blog and writers like my humble hostess. And if you’re a book blogger, someone like you.

Thanks Kevin for stopping by creating a very useful site for authors and book bloggers.

When I added Chew & Digest Books, there was not one other listing for my area and I know of at least 4. What are ya’ll waiting for?

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