15 September 2014

Six Years of Beth Fish Reads: Thoughts

Over the weekend I passed my sixth year blogging as Beth Fish Reads. As I often do, I like to take the time to reflect on where I've been and where I'm going in the blogging world.

First, however, I have a question:

Is there any point in trying to find a balance between my online and offline life?
Seriously. I have spent six years chasing this elusive dream. I'm beginning to think there is no such place, and yet I haven't quite given up. Still, something always suffers. My current issue? I'm reading blogs on my tablet, which means I haven't been clicking through to leave a comment. No big deal, until I realize that I've barely been commenting at all. I'm going to work on that.

To make it worse, I've been spending Sundays offline (for the most part), which means I'm missing the immediacy of everyone's Sunday Salon posts, which are always so much fun to read. By Monday morning, I feel that I'm already behind. What to do, what to do?

If anyone has tips, suggestions, answers, or stories, I'd love to hear them.

Looking Back

The biggest change over the last year is that I've gotten over my need to have a new post up on the blog every single day. This has been a huge relief. I love having that self-imposed pressure off my back. Going by my steadily rising stats and traffic, my readers seem to be fine with this too.

The other major change is that I've written many fewer serious book reviews. Although I intend to return to longer, more in-depth analyses of at least some of the books I read, I needed the break. My reviews had lost a bit of their personality because I was falling into a formula instead of letting the book guide my writing. I have embraced my Bullet Review format, which sometimes appears as Today's Read (with Quick Facts and a teaser) and sometimes as a straight bullet list. Judging from my stats, you like the shorter format too.

Weekend Cooking has lost some its original contributors, but other bloggers have stepped in, so although the group has changed, the intimacy and camaraderie are still there. I love that it attracts book bloggers, photography bloggers, and food bloggers. I look forward to my Saturday post every week and love reading all of yours. For those of you haven't participated yet: Remember, you don't have to cook--share a food-related quote from a novel, a photograph of the farmers' market, a great meal at a restaurant, or whatever is remotely foodie. Note too, you do not have to post on the weekend, just link up on Saturday.

I have posted more than 300 Wordless Wednesday photos and have never missed a week since I started. I'm still very active on Instagram and love the photography community. (All the photos that appear here were originally posted to Instagram.) I even had the nerve to write a camera review post.

Looking Forward

I have a couple of new regular features in the works for Beth Fish Reads. There are so many great books out there I want to talk about and write about, even if I can't manage to read everything that comes into my house. I did some brainstorming and am excited about the results. I've also decided to revive some features I've let lapse, like Stacked-Up Book Thoughts.

The new format of Imprint Friday (which also recently included a look at a small press), is my first step in this direction. For example, I simply couldn't wait to tell you about some of the 2014 releases from Twelve Books (posted last Friday), and I liked writing about them even though I haven't finished reading (or even started) all of the books yet. Why wait?

So look for more book talk in the coming year to supplement my reviews.

You may have noticed an abundance of book-to-movie posts lately. This is a reflection of movie industry trends on the one hand and the fact that I'm now working with several publicists who deal primarily with movies, both theater and Blu-Ray releases. I hope to have some more great giveaways and other movie news in the coming year. Note that some of my movie posts are going up on my Tumblr blog and Facebook page.

You can also expect to see more Sound Recommendations, reviews of graphic novels, entries in my The Emerging e-Reader series, coverage of the Scholastic Mother-Daughter Book Club, and--of course--plain old reviews of what I've been reading.

Big Thanks

It's been said hundreds of times, but it never gets old. The very best part of blogging is not the opportunity to do fun things but the friendships I've made both online and in real life. Through those friendships, I've gained much more than expanding my reading horizons. The connections are real and strong, and I thank you all for more than I ever thought possible when I hit that publish button on September 13, 2008.

I plan on being around for a long, long time and I hope you all will be too.


Karen 9/15/14, 7:20 AM  

Happy Blogiversary, and many more! I used to kick myself if I missed a single day of blogging, and I'm much happier and more relaxed now that I cut myself some slack. :)

Bookfool 9/15/14, 7:51 AM  

Things change constantly as you blog, I've found. Happy Bloggiversary!

Unknown 9/15/14, 8:11 AM  

Happy Anniversary!

Back in 2009 when a friend told me I should start a book blob, I answered her with, "What's a book blog?!?" I never imagined that years later I would have a book blog and, through it, made such good friends like you! What a journey it has been! Congratulations! Thank you for sticking with blogging - I say this both as your friend and as a fan of BFR!

Anonymous,  9/15/14, 9:03 AM  

Happy blogiversary! The balance thing is so so hard. Do you think any of us will ever really get it figured out?

(Diane) bookchickdi 9/15/14, 9:22 AM  

Happy Anniversary! I always look forward to seeing your posts in my email, I know they will be informative, thoughtful, and fun and that I will find a new book to add to my growing TBR pile. I also enjoy catching up with you at BEA and can't wait to see what you new ideas you have coming up in the future.

grammajudyb 9/15/14, 9:24 AM  

In the months before I retired, my life took some turns from where I thought it was headed. I turned to blogging as a newbie and a need to express myself. Yours is the first blog I happened upon and I immediately realized that there were people out there that shared my love of reading. So that is the direction my blog turned. I thank you. I continually strive to write reviews that are up to par with yours, but it is forever a goal to reach. Please keep up the good works.

Heidi’sbooks 9/15/14, 9:32 AM  

Happy Anniversary! I blog only four or five times a month. I guess we can only do what we can do, right? Here, here to a creative blog that changes with the author and the culture. Keep up the great work.

Kelly Simmons 9/15/14, 10:09 AM  

I always enjoy your posts. Happy Blog-o-versary (would that fit on a cake?)

Nise' 9/15/14, 10:14 AM  

Congratulations on six years! We bloggers have to find what works for where we are right then and be okay with it. I look forward to what happens next at Beth Fish Reads.

Beth Hoffman 9/15/14, 10:55 AM  

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY and congratulations on a whopping six years!

I know what you mean about trying to find balance. Though I'm not a blogger, I've had to drastically cut back on social media because it carves too big of a chunk from my writing time.

Whatever you do, please don't discontinue Wordless Wednesday. I love your photos so much that even when I was touring, I'd look forward to firing up my iPad to see them!

Daryl 9/15/14, 11:01 AM  

i have an anniversary approaching or maybe it happened and i missed it … i now take some of the weekend off with my wordy blog but post a photo on the artsy one … i love your blog just keep on keepin' on!!!

shelleyrae @ book'd out 9/15/14, 11:35 AM  

Congratulations on your blog birthday. I don't comment as much as I should but I am a regular reader and want you to know I enjoy your posts and . Thank you for sharing your bookish life!

Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

Unknown 9/15/14, 11:48 AM  

Happy Anniversary! I enjoyed reading your reflections about your blog. Thanks for sharing.

Col (Col Reads) 9/15/14, 12:18 PM  

I am so glad I did that first What's in a Name Challenge and found your blog. And it's even better that I get to see you in the real world every once in a while. Happy Anniversary, my friend!

Anonymous,  9/15/14, 1:04 PM  

Congratulations on six years! I am glad you are still finding joy in blogging. :)

JoAnn 9/15/14, 3:25 PM  

Congratulations on six years! My visits here are always a pleasure.

SuziQoregon 9/15/14, 3:31 PM  

Ah yes - that elusive balance thing. It takes neverending adjustments.

Congrats on 6 years. Glad you're planning on sticking around. I just paid for three years of hosting so I don't plan on going anywhere.

Melynda@Scratch Made Food! 9/15/14, 3:36 PM  

Here is to 6 (or more!) years. I really enjoy coming here. thank you for your dedication.

Tina 9/15/14, 3:38 PM  

Well first off, happy anniversary! I think our sites are ever changing according to how we grow and how our interests blossom and then wane. I am looking forward to more Book Talk!

I started in 2007 with one site, now have 2 sites, and both are different from my original intent.

Looking forward to participating in many Weekend Cooking events with you and the others I have come to know.

Sandy Nawrot 9/15/14, 4:17 PM  

Happy anniversary! I know that we were in the same large class of bloggers that started at the same time (my 6 years is coming at the end of October). I feel a sort of kinship with this group, although many aren't around any more. I've definitely been hanging on by my fingernails because I just don't want to give it up, even though I cannot keep up with the pace I had. This is a part of me, you know? And Sundays are the only thing I do now, but I read all week and I do miss the Wordless Wednesdays and the Cooking Saturdays. Maybe someday I'll get back to it, or maybe not. So...here is to another 6 years perhaps!

Unknown 9/15/14, 6:06 PM  

Happy Anniversary!! Six years down...many years to come I hope. While I've noticed your evolution I do enjoy your blog so much. I'm having similar issues with commenting, something to work on. I've enjoyed following you and learning from you, so thank you for being Beth Fish Reads!! :)

TP 9/15/14, 9:33 PM  

Happy Anniversary!I really enjoy your blog - and although I might not always comment, I always read it :-)

Tanya Patrice

Vasilly 9/15/14, 11:25 PM  

Happy blogiversary! I like how you're finding new and interesting ways to keep your blog going. Balance is so hard when it comes to blogging. I haven't figured it out yet either. I'm always too heavy in one area.

Carole 9/16/14, 1:49 AM  

6 years - a great achievement - I am so glad I stumbled over your Weekend Cooking about 2 year ago - and it inspired my Food on friday series - so a big thank you! All the best for the next years. Cheers from Carole's Chatter

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 9/16/14, 7:26 AM  

I love your Weekend Cooking posts and I never miss your WW photo. These expansions of book blogging help keep us alive, I think.

One of these days I'm going to start a meme of my own.

Julie P. 9/16/14, 7:55 AM  

What a wonderful post! Congrats on 6th years of blogging. I totally understand your frustrations and concerns. I have the same ones! I think sometimes we have to take a step back to get our bearings!

Margot 9/16/14, 11:11 AM  

Congratulations on a successful six years. I've been with you all the way.

I also don't leave comments as much as I did in the past. But - I still love reading your blog. I also miss not participating in Weekend Cooking every Saturday but, it really is time consuming for me. I've slowed down a lot.

Thanks for leading the way in so many areas within the book blogging community. That's why your ratings continue on a high level and why I love to read your blog.

Literary Feline 9/16/14, 11:41 AM  

Happy anniversary! Ah, that ever elusive balance . . . I think it will always be a juggle for me, like with anything else in life.

I love your review format. My reviews are definitely not what they once were, and that makes me sad sometimes. But then I remind myself that something has to give and blogging and reviewing are just not top priorities as they once were for me.

I look forward to following you into the future!

Florinda 9/16/14, 5:59 PM  

I know what you mean about commenting--I'm in the same boat. Sometimes the only comments I leave for days at a time are the replies on my own blog--better than nothing, I guess, but kind of pathetic at the same time. And I'm starting to think "balance" is whatever feels right at any given time.

Happy Blogiversary--congratulations on 6 years, and here's to many more! Glad you're not going anywhere. Some of us need to stick around and hold down the fort :-).

jilllora 9/16/14, 10:59 PM  

Happy blogiversary (however it's spelled)!!

Debbie Rodgers 9/17/14, 8:13 AM  

Congratulations, Candace! I always enjoy your posts but confess that I don't always have the time to read the longer ones so I do appreciate your shorter reviews. Makes me feel that I'm not missing something. :-)

All the very best in your blogging future.

Laurie C 9/20/14, 8:15 AM  

Happy 6 years and many more! When I first discovered your blog (however long ago that was) I was so impressed by it, and continue to be every week! I'm glad you've relaxed a bit, for your sake, although your number and quality of posts still put me to shame! ;)
I've been commenting less lately, too -- too busy with work and other things -- and am missing Bloggiesta, but had to stop in and say congrats and thank you for Weekend Cooking and all the rest!

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