April was a bit of a hodge podge… Not too much was going on and yet I feel like I didn’t get anything done! I actually DID spend a lot of time on behind-the-scenes stuff like updating ALL of my reviews from the old graphics to new, switching to UBB format, and cross-posting them to Goodreads, Amazon, and Edelweiss. WHEW. It was a ton of work but I also feel REALLY glad that it’s done and out of the way so maybe I can focus on more reading and coming up with posts now instead of formatting & updating!
Number of Books Read: 7 — not great but also not too shabby!
Popular Search Terms: “lunar chronicles character quiz” // “books to read if you liked divergent” (and similar terms) // “where she went ending” (how many times // “we were liars discussion questions”
More Amusing Search Terms: “a good book is the best friend” (truth) // “to love a scoundrel” (I do!) // “lunar chronicles like star wars” (high five!)
I got to see Melissa Gray, Rachel Hartman, and Arwen Elys Dayton on April 24th! I went to mainly see Rachel Hartman since I hadn’t read the other authors yet but they were such a fun group! They were all so funny and I had such a lovely time!
I’m heading to BEA but only for one day! Because of my honeymoon being only six months ago, I couldn’t really afford to stay the whole week (time off and money) so it’s just one day of BEA for me! But I hope to see you on Friday if you’re going!!!
I’m excited for a few spring/summer reviews like THE DEVIL YOU KNOW, THE SUMMER OF CHASING MERMAIDS, and LAST YEAR’S MISTAKE!
Welcome to the Book Blogger Organization Challenge!
If you haven’t heard of this challenge and are interested in finding out more, check out the intro post! But basically the concept is simple: Whether you want to dedicate a lot of time to this challenge or a little, I’m here to help you get organized and work on blog maintenance in 2015! Everything is broken down month-by-month so you only have to focus on ONE idea at a time. January seemed to kick us off GREAT! Let’s get ready for March!
APRIL 2015 ORGANIZATION CHALLENGE Graphics, HTML, CSS
April is a SCARY month. Even more daunting than blog maintenance, I think… but it’s a good thing to work on! I make all of my graphics on my blog and have always done my own layout myself…… but it also usually takes me HOURS to do these things (maybe even days) since I’m not graphically inclined. Graphics and CSS are really, really hard work for me but it’s also very rewarding when things finally turn out the way I want them to! So take April to work on some of the scarier things and give yourself the whole month instead of a short time span.
Pick a program to create your graphics: I bought Photoshop Elements a couple of years ago and it’s really my go-to for everything. I KNOW I do not use it to its full potential because I simply just don’t know how to do everything so I’m going to try to familiarize myself with a couple online tutorials to see if there’s any way I can improve! Photoshop Elements is also cheaper than the whole big package of Photoshop and (I think?) it’s a bit more newbie friendly. A lot of bloggers use PicMonkey to create images for their blogs and I actually use it here and there too! It’s a web-based design program so you don’t have to download anything and can visit it anywhere you can get onto a computer. There are some things that are only available in the Pro version which does cost money, but there’s a lot in the free version too! Another nice option is Gimp which is essentially designed to be like Photoshop but a free version. I used to use it for a while but it did get a bit tricky because I didn’t really understand how it worked BUT if it’s a free download and you don’t want to pay for Photoshop, it’s worth a shot!
Grab some design inspiration: I’ve learned I don’t exactly have the kind of brain that can come up with design ideas out of nowhere so I’ve created Pinterest boards to help me come up with ideas. I’ll pin a logo I like, search for design inspiration, grab a nice color combination, etc. A lot of times we just need a kick start to an idea and you make the rest of it your own. Just don’t totally steal someone else’s artwork, of course. (Honestly, I couldn’t steal a design if I tried. I’m not that good with Photoshop either way haha!)
Not a do-it-yourselfer? Research some blog designers! Bloggers like Stay Bookish, Hello, Chelly, and Parajunkie offer blog + graphic design if you’re not up to trying your hand at it. Other companies include Designer Blogs and Creative Whim — bloggers, what do you say? Any other design companies you’ve used or love?
Make plans to update: If you want to update some of your blog graphics, try to figure out what kind of styles you want beforehand so you don’t start a graphic and totally switch the design five times because it turns out to be nothing (clearly speaking from experience). If you’re not doing it yourself, make sure you make a nice list for whoever’s doing it for you with desired color schemes + possible ideas (although I’m sure they’ll ask you for that anyway)!
Honestly, I can’t believe how much CSS I understand at this point in time. I really can’t do any major blog design but I have learned SO much from working on it myself and I’m so proud of what I’ve done with my blog on my own! You CAN learn how to code and navigate CSS if you put the effort into it!
And I apologize in advance that most of this stuff probably applies more to WordPress and WordPress self-hosted users since that is what I’m familiar with! If you use Blogger, you may need to consult the interwebs for a few more tips!
If you’re a total newbie to CSS, try websites like w3schools.com, HTML Dog, and CSS Tricks. They can help you get an understanding of how CSS works and why things appear the way they do.
If you’re going to modify ANYTHING in your Stylesheet on your blog, create a child theme first. WordPress has a tutorial on how to create a child theme and then you can start working on your CSS modifications from there. This is important for many reasons but one of which is that when your themes update as WordPress tweaks them, you WILL lose some of your CSS functionality. I modified on my parent theme and not my child theme and had to do a lot (all? I don’t remember) of my CSS coding allllll over again. It was not fun.
Ashley from Nose Graze is an AWESOME resource. She uses her coding knowledge to create many, many helpful things for bloggers. She has:
I say this every month, but really. REALLY. WHERE IS 2014 GOING?! I can’t believe it’s already May! Four months have just zoomed by and it all seems like a blur.
So what’s new with me this month? Ohhh, lots more wedding planning, as usual! Things are coming along nicely. I actually bought my wedding dress the other day (!!!!) and booked our photographer! Of course there are TONS more things to do, but things are going well so far! I decided to finally sit down and write up some blog posts on my wedding planning experiences. They won’t get too crazy, but I’ve had a lot of general thoughts about the process so far (of course) and it’s incredible how much help my blogging & Twitter friends have been, even with the little things! It’s nice to have support and advice as well as more people to the experience with!
It was also my blogoversary! I’ve been officially blogging for over two years now and I am still so in love with it! I’m also all signed up for BEA and cannot wait to go!!
Number of Books Read In April: 8. This was definitely a slower month AND I was reading some BIG books!
Popular Search Terms: “lunar chronicles character quiz” and “the lunar chronicles test” (leads you back to my Lunar Chronicles quiz!) // “books from male pov” // “beauty queens libba bray”
More Amusing Search Terms: “does thorne love cress?” (:D 😀 :D) // “didn’t like tfios that much”// “scott lynch interview hogwart houses” (ummm YES what is this?)
Well, what I’m most excited for is BEA! I will be ALL OVER THE PLACE this year and I’m so excited for it! I’ll be rooming with Alyssa from Books Take You Places and Amy from Tripping Over Books and I can’t wait to spend some more time with them too! If you’re going, make sure we say hi!! I was so shy last year I barely said hello to anyone. If you’re a first-timer, I also wrote a post based on my first time experiences at BEA last year. Give me a shout if you have questions! I may not be an expert, but I love to help! 🙂
I created a brand-new page for all of myTop Ten Tuesday posts, really getting into the organizing and archiving spirit!
I decided to start writing up a few posts about my wedding planning experience. They’ll be posting on the weekends so if you’re interested in a bit more personal posts, be sure to be on the lookout for them!
On the Same Page will be featuring The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire LeGrand! We’re so excited to be helping out with the Middle Grade Author Carnival on Saturday during BEA and working with Claire so we really wanted to read and feature one of her books!
The Selective Collective will be featuring We Were Liars by E. Lockhart and I will be hosting the interview & giveaway! Keep your eyes out for that post coming later in May!
I’m on the blog tour for Monument 14: Savage Drift by Emmy Laybourne! Post coming at you Sunday, May 4th!
Reviews coming for Something Like Normal, The Chapel Wars, Gameboard of the Gods, Sean Griswold’s Head, and many more!
That wraps up April! I cannot believe how quickly it went by and that it’s already MAY! How is my wedding already six months away??? This is just crazy! I’ve been doing okay with my reading progress but things have slowed down again… Oh well! Life is happening and it’s all so exciting!
It’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the wonderful blog at The Broke and the Bookish! This week’s topic:
Top Ten Books On My Spring 2014 TBR List
It’s been a while since I’ve done Top Ten Tuesday but I am BACK and ready to talk about my most-anticipated spring releases! Since I don’t really plan a reading schedule, I’m going to go with books releasing this spring!
REVIEWS TO COME
There you have it! My most anticipated reads of this spring! LOTS of series enders. Four of them, actually! Looks like my heart may be breaking this spring…