- Finding this blog's niche in life. I'd originally started this blog to document putting together a library from scratch, but got so busy with actually doing that, that the writing never happened. Then last summer, I started writing reviews of what my students enjoyed reading. This endeavor blossomed from there.
- Finding a use for Twitter. This amuses me. I've actually been on Twitter for several years, but completely forgot about it, including the fact that it was connected to my Goodreads account. Then my email notified me that I had a new follower. Confused, since I hadn't posted to Twitter in ages, I logged in ... and found that Goodreads updates my Twitter feed when I note what page I'm on, or rate a book. The proverbial light bulb when on above my head, and I realized that Twitter is an awesome way to do social media advertising for this blog. It also leads to ...
- Connecting with authors. This is pure awesome-sauce. Authors are the biggest celebrities to librarians, and that some have sought me out through Twitter is simply amazing. With some, it's as simple as hoping that I like their book that I've marked "to-read" on Goodreads, or re-tweeting my links to reviews of their books. Others follow my blog. And some offer my really cool things, like free Skype visits to my school library (I should think about scheduling that - my sixth graders suddenly took an interest in the books by the author that offered this), to links to free prequel/sequel scenes, to free review copies of books.
- Getting free review copies of books. This is pretty epic. I was already able to get free uncorrected proofs from Snowbound Books when I'd stop by. And as a librarian with a meager book budget, I could get some new books for free from the Superiorland Preview Center, many of which have been reviewed here. But lately authors have begun to contact me. I was offered a PDF copy of Ugly to Start With in exchange for a review, which was posted last week Monday. Yesterday I received in the mail a copy of The Jinson Twins, Science Detectives, and the Mystery of Echo Lake from the author, who had contacted me through Goodreads due to an overbooked giveaway he was hosting. (Here's a link to the Goodreads description, until I review the book.) In 2012, I'm hoping to start contacting publishing companies for advanced reading copies; that will probably be in this item's place this time next year.
- Connecting with other bloggers. No man (or woman) is an island when it comes to blogging, especially when writing book reviews. A librarian also relies on book reviews to know what to select for the library collection; we cannot read every book under the sun (nor do we want to, believe it or not). There's no reason to stick to the "expert" opinions of the New York Times Book Reviews, or Publishers Weekly, or the School Library Journal. Book bloggers could well be our patrons. Often, they are other librarians. Beyond the practicality, though, there's quite the community out there. I haven't featured any memes on my blog (yet), but there's a ton available to help bloggers to connect with each other.
Besides, I wouldn't have started blogging book reviews if not for my friend Michelle over at Never Gonna Grow Up! Happy birthday, by the way. ;)
Happy New Year! I should have at least one more review up before the end of 2011.