Sunday, 6 February 2011

Sunday Salon: Reading roundup

Since this weekend was Unputdownables' 48-hour readathon I've been somewhat pre-occupied with reading this week. Well duh! I hear the audience shout. You're a book blogger! What next? You tell us how fond you are of a good story? Good point but I'm not only talking about the act of me reading books. I've also been very much taken in with the 'being read' aspect of book blogging lately.

You see, at the end of last year I had about 50 followers and an average of about 5 hits per day. I was happy enough with this and most grateful for the 50 souls who liked what they saw on my blog enough to hit "Follow".  I wished I could get past this seemingly magical number of 50 followers but then I wasn't really sure how. So, things were just trundling along until I came face to face with two things:
1) Twitter
2) Bloggiesta

I had long eschewed Twitter for one reason (which remains true today): I just don't care to hear about the micro-details of anyone's day and I'm darned sure they don't want to hear about mine. I was fairly well convinced that Twitter was just a collection of
12.34pm - Eating a sandwich for lunch - yum cheese and tomato!
12.46pm - Yawn I don't want to go back to work.
12.57pm - Ok maybe a cup of coffee will help me do this job without me dying of boredom.
12.59pm - Someone drank the last of the coffee and didn't refill it! Anger!
Etc etc ad nauseum.
But then I started noticing the Follow Me on Twitter buttons on a large number of book blogs that I read, enjoyed and respected. Hmm, I thought. Perhaps if these intelligent folks here are using it, there might be something in it. So I took a peek. And then I realised what the fuss was about. I posted my first tweet in November 2010 and became a serious user after the second of my recent epiphanies, Bloggiesta.

I had seen Bloggiesta happening on the blogosphere but I'd been a bit shy to join in. Why? I have no idea, it's daft I know. However this year I decided to go for it. It was actually kind of perfect timing as I had just been doing a bit of an overhaul of my layout and theme.  So with a bluster of enthusiasm, I signed up for a few mini-challenges and dedicated a good number of hours to sitting in front of my laptop working on my blog. I learned so much. I learned things I knew I didn't know anything about as well as things I had no idea I didn't know about. Huge shout-out to Maw Books for organising it.

So armed with a new Twitter account and a much increased knowledge thanks to Bloggiesta, I turned to blogging with renewed enthusiasm and determination. I'm reading and commenting on more blogs, spending time on dreaming up post ideas and generally putting a lot more time into this bog. So far so good - my hit rate has increased to an average of 30 per day within 2 weeks and I've got 8 new followers. Yay!

In terms of real life, nose in a paperback reading I've been making my way through Orhan Pamuk's Snow for Unputdownables' Readathon. My progress has been something akin to trying to walk through a thick fall of fresh snow - slow, hard work but brilliantly beautiful. It feels like a novel that needs to have time taken over it so I'm honouring that, even though I'm very aware that there are more people in the Bookcrossing ring after me who are waiting to read this!

Snow progress:
Friday 5th (evening): Snow (Orhan Pamuk) 101 - 177 or nine chapters
Saturday 6th (evening): Snow (Orhan Pamuk) 177 - 211 or three chapters
Sunday 7th (day):  Snow (Orhan Pamuk) 211 - 277 and counting (I'm writing this in the afternoon)

Wow, that ended up being quite a long post. If you made it to the end, congrats! Out of interest.... Bloggers: what have you done/do on a regular basis to increase the readership of your blog? Readers: what makes you come back to a blog?


  1. My friend Alison is a Montreal based social media consultant and she posts a lot of links to valuable how-to sites.
    I think the single most important factor is to post a lot of valuable content, as often as humanly possible.
    I find it also helps to google whatever you're writing about, and post comments to encourage cross-pollination.

  2. I haven't joined the Twitter craze. I'm kind of intimidated by it. I don't really do much to increase my readership. I'm fairly new and I'm still a little self-conscious of my content. I've been making more of an effort to comment on blogs that I find interesting.

    I love reading blogs that have a little more of a personal touch. I love discovering what books are being enjoyed by bloggers, but I love hearing about their reading process too.

  3. @Daikeongmom,
    Thanks for the comment and the link - I will check it out.

    You're self-conscious about your content? You so shouldn't be. I think it's brilliant and love reading your blog. Honestly.

    I agree with the personal touch comment. If it's just a slew of reviews it doesn't really interest me so much.

  4. So glad you're enjoying Twitter! I just began to use it a couple of months ago and have found it a wonderful source of meeting new bloggers, engaging conversation and just having a lot of fun.

  5. @Coffee- I really am! It's proven to be far more valuable and fun than I ever thought it would! Plus I get to make new friends! Fun!

  6. I just try to be active on the internet generally - commenting on blogs, using Twitter and Flickr, adding lots of hyperlinks to my blog posts. My readership is gradually increasing, though I don't know how many subscribers I have (every time I look into how to find out it sounds horribly complicated). I've heard that doing a giveaway is a common way to boost readership but that requires organising myself in some manner :-)

  7. @Nose_in_a_Book - Have you tried something like Google Analytics or BlogPatrol? That way you can see how many visitors you have to your site, where from and a whole bunch of other info. It's fun to look at!

    Anyway, I'm pretty sure you don't need to do anything more than you are to boost readership - your blog is brilliant :)

  8. @Kath Thank you! And yes, I use Google Analytics so I know how many visitors I get but that doesn't include stats on the RSS feeds. I'm reasonably sure a few people are subscribed to me that way and therefore only go to the site itself when they want to leave a comment. There are methods like Feedburner but I think that changes the URL of the feed...I need to look into it more.

  9. Ah yes - feedburner. I only just cracked that one myself and got an email subscription widget in the sidebar. So far no subscribers but one day! :)