Saturday Selects #23: The blogging community

Saturday Selects is a series of posts I write on the first Saturday of each month to discuss something outside the general bookish theme of the blog. Today’s topic is the blogging community.

I first thought of hosting my own reading challenge way back in January of LAST year. I saw how popular the PopSugar challenge had become and wanted to see what I could do with my own readers and followers. Maybe some would even want to participate, right? Well I completely forgot about the whole thing throughout most of 2015. I was more focused on building the blog up to its highest potential. I was quite a bit more successful in the first half of the year than in the second half. But eh, that’s how things go sometimes. But then just a few weeks ago I wrote down a list of 20 things and called it my 2016 challenge. But I didn’t tell a soul until I told my girlfriend about it less than a week ago. Then I wrote about it here. And THEN I told all of my coworkers about it. I mean, I do work in a bookstore.

And I’ve been overwhelmed with the response in just a few days. I honestly thought I could get anywhere from 5-50 people to participate. Sure I have over 3,000 followers, but a small number of them actually read my posts. Maybe it’s because I don’t follow their blogs or comment or I don’t even know. But it’s fine. This week I’ve seen a different side of the blogging community. I’ve had dozens of people tweet, post, or tell someone in some way about my 2016 challenge. Mostly bloggers. I’ve completely lost track of the number of people who’ve vowed to take part in my challenge. But I can tell you the number is in the hundreds.

Think about that. I’m just some guy who blogs about books. I don’t read as much as I should. I don’t write at all. But I’ve stayed true to my promise of posting everyday on here. Always something new. I’ll hit on topics multiple times, but I try my best to offer something new each and every day. But that’s everyone on here. Who isn’t trying to offer something new and different each time they post? But in the last week I’ve had people who have been reading my blog for many months do their part to get people to do my challenge, and I’ve had people I’ve never heard of do the same.

And you know what, I think that’s pretty awesome. So if you’re reading this and you’ve just recently started your blog or you’ve been blogging steadily for months now and haven’t seen much traffic, don’t worry. I’m certain there’s someone out there searching for the kind of posts YOU do. Just keep on posting. Because the blogging community will always find blogs with high quality content. And that’s all I’ve tried to produce in my nearly three years on WordPress.

All I can say is thank you. For reading. For reposting my challenge. For making blogging a nice part of my day-to-day routine. What’s your favorite aspect of the blogging community?

PS: You can find information about my 2016 reading challenge here.


On this day in 2015 I published 2014: What do I think of you?.

 

A new Name!

I’ve had this blog since June of 2013. Many of you know I originally started it to chronicle my journey writing my first book. My first six months was a whole lot of nothing. 1200 views. Like 80 followers. No interaction. Now I’m a little more stable in the world of blogging. And it’s time for a change.

The name of my blog was thought up in seconds. I didn’t ponder it for hours or days. I just thought of something and went with it. I think it’s a nice name. But this hasn’t been a writing blog for some time. And I fully intend to expand my other social media accounts directly related to the blog in the coming year. So it’s time for those accounts to all fall under the same name. Johnny Reads. I think it’s also a nice and simple name that’ll serve me well into the future. I won’t change the name until later tonight so y’all can get a little heads up.

Nothing else is changing on the blog. I want every person doing my challenge to be able to find me. Like everyone at work.

So that’s all I have for you. I don’t think this is a shock to most of you because my Twitter background is the name of my YouTube and Instagram accounts. This is something I feel is really necessary.

Feel free to tell me your thoughts!

Don’t Quit Your Day Job

I may come across at times as being aggravated by something I read or say on WordPress, but I’m really not. I only lead you to think that because of how I write my posts and/or comments. There isn’t much anyone on WordPress can do to get me remotely close to angry. Because we’re all strangers on here and if you want to get upset over nothing, then that’s your choice. I’ll just nap like I always do and forget about it. BUT there is something I’ve seen more frequently in recent weeks than I’ve seen in my previous two years on WordPress, and it’s getting to the point of almost pissing me off. Almost.

You might know a writer who decided to quit their day job after a year or two or 20 to pursue writing full-time. I don’t know anyone who’s done that, but I know it happens. I have no issue with that, because it’s their life and they can do as they please. What I do have a problem with is when someone makes the choice to do that (if they were working at all) and then writes a sob story about how they’ve put off their writing for so long and now it’s time to pursue their dream of becoming an author….AND would I please donate my money to help them along the way. UH, WHAT?

What the hell did I just read? So YOU made the choice to quit YOUR job and now you’re asking ME to give you money that I worked for so you can get by while you work on your next great novel? I must be on a prank show. This can’t be real and you can’t be serious.

No reasonable person would outright quit their job if they couldn’t afford to do so, or didn’t intend to try finding something better. Think about that. And there are actually people on WordPress who are doing that and then immediately asking for money from strangers. I guess WordPress has turned into GoFundMe.

I once launched a Kickstarter campaign to help with my first book. But it was NOT a campaign to fund a “writer” lifestyle, it was meant to help make my book better. The book was written already. And you see things like that everywhere, but this is different. What people are asking now has nothing to do with their writing. They’re essentially asking people to be a source of income. And that’s just ridiculous.

Have you come across this kind of thing? I’d say I’ve seen it maybe 7-10 times in recent weeks. I’ve yet to comment on one of these posts, but I think the next time I find one I’ll just link back to this without anything further.

It’s Been Two Years

Two years of what? Two years of Write me a book, John!. And I’ve been fortunate enough to have nearly 3000 people hit follow, which isn’t that impressive since most of them read one post and never came back. That’s fine. But in the two years I’ve been doing this I’ve interacted with A LOT of people. People I agree with. People from other countries. People with similar interests. People two or three times my age. People with life experience. People I’d like to meet one day. And people like you.

I’ve had people attack me. I’ve had people tell me how rude I am. I’ve had people write posts all about something I said or wrote. I’ve had people cuss me out. I’ve had people get to know me and then proceed to call me names as soon as I say something they disagree with.

There are a number of individuals who I consider great friends of mine, and it’s only possible because I decided to start this blog two years ago. To every person who has ever come across my tiny piece of the internet, I thank you. And to those who haven’t yet stumbled upon my piece of cyberspace, I welcome you. But to all of you who have kept coming back week after week, I’m just getting started.

I can’t put into words how much fun I’ve had over the last two years, but I look forward to several more years to come.

PS: I didn’t record my first video yesterday because of some minor technical difficulties, but I’m all set now! It’s happening TODAY.

PPS: I’ve already received SEVEN guest posts, so you better get yours to me before I just go ahead with the ones I have.

PPPS: Today is the last day for you to vote on which book I read next from the Amazon list. It’s a close vote, so get to it! You can vote here.


On this day in 2014 I published First Year Blogging Anniversary and May Recap.

 

Stick With it

During the course of my time on WordPress I’ve discovered that my opinions about many things are often in the minority. Let me just list off a few things that I’m talking about.

I could probably go on and on, but the point that I’m making is that at least I’m honest. It’d be easy for me to just say and do what everyone else does, but why should I? And why does my opinion matter so much? I’m asking because just yesterday I discovered multiple bloggers write posts specifically to talk about my post on book hangovers. They weren’t happy about what I had to say. I didn’t read either of them, but I noticed that they basically went line by line down my post to dispute or disagree with something I said. That’s fine. Go, them. But it really got me thinking about why my opinion is such a big deal, because it shouldn’t be. Imagine going into a grocery store and asking for a stranger’s opinion on something and then immediately disputing what they had to say. It sounds ridiculous.

My opinion is my opinion. Sure I’m more direct than most bloggers on WordPress, but so what? If you don’t like what I have to say, then don’t comment or Like or unfollow if you must (I think someone did yesterday). But don’t sit there and act like I’m attacking you personally. Think of ALL the worse things I could do, but I’m blogging about books.

The point of this is to say that my opinions are my own and yours are yours. I can guarantee that you won’t be changing mine, no matter what you say. And I don’t set out to change yours. We’re strangers over a blogging platform, or did you forget?


On this day in 2014 I published Reading Multiple Books at Once.

 

Not all Writers are the Same

People on WordPress like to describe themselves as writers. These same people also like to describe writers in general. One of the things they do most is lump all writers together into this group of people that does everything exactly the same way. I’m not talking about writing styles or writing at all, I’m talking about the actual person.

It seems everyone on WordPress is operating under the impression that ALL writers are introverts. And they all state this as common knowledge and fact. It’s annoying that all these people are making assumptions about people they don’t know and never will. I don’t consider myself an introvert at all. And obviously I’m not the only one. Two different professions, but this reminds me of all the people who say all police officers are _____. It’s a joke. What if I said all Christians are _____? Or all college dropouts are _____? See how ignorant all of those sound? But it’s perfectly fine for everyone on WordPress to throw all writers into the same basket? Just stop.

All writers are writers. How’s that?


On this day in 2014 I published The Mother’s Day Post.

 

Supporting Writers

Every blogger on WordPress is in the business of telling everyone else on the site what they SHOULD do about something. It’s a little funny at times. Anyway, one of the things I see discussed over and over is how you’re supposed to support other writers.

Some would have you simply give encouragement. Some would have you beta read for them. Some would have you buy their books. Some would have you buy and review their books. Some would have you use your own social media accounts to drive attention toward the writer in question. Some would have you attend a book signing. Do you see what’s happening here? There are a number of ways to support other writers. You don’t have to do one thing or another just because that seems to be the consensus among random bloggers. That’s absurd. And just because someone is more forthright with their opinion doesn’t make it any more right or reasonable.

If you want to beta read for another writer, then you should. If you want to buy another writer’s book to show your support, then you should. If you want to launch a mini social media campaign for another writer, then you should. But you should never feel obligated to support any writer in any way. So what if they have a nice little blog? That alone isn’t grounds to go off and support them like they’re running for president.

Support other writers how you want to because there is no “correct” way of doing so. No matter what others would have you believe. And don’t forget that the number of writers you’re obligated to support is zero. It’s all up to you and not everyone else.


On this day in 2014 I published A Letter to my Character.

 

Writing Pet Peeves #7: Lose/Loose

This is another of those mistakes that I’ve only seen since getting on WordPress. During my years in high school and college I never once heard of people mistaking these two words. Never. But the WordPress community has a life of its own and these two words seem to be a major part of it.

I don’t typically see “lose” written in place of “loose.” But I see the other way around ALL the time. And I just want to pull my hair out. I”m really starting to think that everyone on WordPress went to the same school and had the same teacher who never adequately explained some of the mistakes that I see made all the time. Because there are some mistakes that one would expect to be made every so often just as mistakes, but just about every post in this series is a mistake I would not expect to see made over and over again by bloggers who are constantly writing on their blogs. Sure not everyone writes well, but this isn’t about writing well. This is about elementary level mistakes that people seem to be completely unaware of.

I guess I’ll just have to keep “loosing” my mind about it to bring about some change and awareness. Do you ever see these two words used interchangeably?


On this day in 2014 I published Finally Overcoming the Inability to Write.

 

2500 WordPress Followers and Surprise!

The following will be a short letter to you. And then I have a great surprise for all of you! Seriously.

To you,

Just recently Write me a Book, John! surpassed 2500 WordPress followers. I know so many bloggers talk about not caring about followers or site views and all of that and that’s fine, but I’m very open about the fact that I do. Think about it. There wouldn’t be any reason for me to post just about every single day if it weren’t for you. Maybe you read half my posts or a quarter or a tenth, but it doesn’t matter. You read them. You may disagree with some of what I say and I may have even offended you at some point along the way, but you’ve helped me reach this point.

And I understand that plenty of people (bloggers included) don’t take blogging seriously. I know of bloggers who will post a week straight and then not again for a month, and that’s fine. But it’s just not what I want from this whole experience. What I really want is to keep you constantly entertained and informed as much as I possibly can. I want you to wake up each morning looking for what I post each day. I want you to share my posts on Twitter or Facebook of whichever social media site you prefer. I want you to have to think before posting a comment on one of my posts. I want this little spec of the internet to become a little part of your day-to-day routine. And maybe all of that is me wanting too much, but you’ll never be able to tell me that I don’t take you, your opinion, and your blog seriously…because I do.

All I’d like to say is thank you. For reading my rants. For disagreeing with me. And mostly just for reading. It means the world to me that you spend your valuable time on this little blog of mine.

Your fellow blogger,

John


Now for the surprise.

I want to ask you something. And in return I want to GIVE you something even better! I realize that a great many of the 2500 followers on here don’t hardly interact with me, if at all. But many of you do. And many of you have been around here for many months and several have been here since early 2014. And for every one of you I’m talking about there’s a reason you’ve stuck around. Maybe it’s my direct nature of writing my posts. Maybe you think I’m sometimes funny. Maybe you just like books and put up with me. I don’t know, but there IS some reason you read my blog.

And I want you to tell me! I want you to tell me why you like my blog as much (or little) as you do. And I’d like for you to really think about it before posting your response because the person who I determine writes the best response will get to name a character in my WIP! You can name he/she after yourself or after your dog or after whatever you want (within reason) OR if that isn’t enticing to you, then I’ll buy you two paperback books of your choice (and throw in a signed copy of mine).

What do you think?! All I want to know is what you think I’m doing right. That’s it. I really hope you’ll take a minute to comment.

PS: You’ll get the two books or the opportunity to name one of my characters ONLY if I get at least ten individual responses.


On this day in 2014 I published 200 WordPress Followers!.

 

 

Terry Pratchett has Died

I have to be honest. I don’t know anything about him. I couldn’t tell you a single book he wrote. I couldn’t even tell you the name of any series he wrote. Now I bet you’re wondering why I’d write about him if I know nothing about him. Well, because every time I opened WordPress yesterday I came across posts written about him. I’m talking dozens. And it would appear to me that he made a lasting impact on a great many people.

I’m not going to talk about his death. I’m not going to talk about some of his best books that have been mentioned countless times over the last 24 hours. I want you to do that. I want you to tell me about this man who is so beloved by so many. Tell me anything you want. Maybe you have a favorite book of his? Maybe you have a story about how one of his books helped you during a difficult time? Maybe you were lucky enough to meet him some time ago? Anything. I just want to know about the person who has now left the literary world at a loss.


On this day in 2014 published You’re Currently Reading Something…Tell me About it!.