An introspective post on the occasion of my blog's third birthday

As of today, I have been blogging for three years, and I am beginning to think I almost know what I am doing.

Here's what I did this past year:

I decided to focus on my favorite genre---fantasy and science fiction, with a particular emphasis on middle grade books. Having this focus made blogging seem more pointful; it gave me an identity in my own mind, a little niche that I could fill. I've enjoyed blogging more than I ever had before. And my blog hits doubled.

This past May I made a choice to look for more books that featured characters of color--this is an ongoing process.

This year I added two new regular features--announcements of new releases of science fiction and fantasy (sff), and weekly roundups of blog posts about middle-grade sff. These are huge time sinks, but I like doing them 1. because I like to feel helpful 2. because they are interesting to me. Thanks to everyone who has left me comments saying that these are, in fact, interesting and helpful posts!

I added header art, featuring a nebula in the shape of a mysterious orange space snail, which helped give me a Distinct Brand, at least in my own mind....I think I am the only blogger with a mysterious orange space snail in their header art.

But despite my new focus, I still feel a tad schizophrenic, because I write for three audiences.

There is the audience of people who like the same books that I do, for whom I write posts that essentially say "go read this book right now because it is really good." Those posts are the most fun to write, because I don't have to think much at all, and because it is so very satisfying to urge others to read beloved books. I'm also thinking of this audience when I write reviews that say why a book I thought I'd love didn't work for me, which is not quite so fun...

Then there is the audience of adults who might be buying the books, or putting them into the hands of kids. This is a harder group to write for, because I have to justify to a greater extent why I think a book works, or doesn't work. This is the audience I am thinking of when I review books I've gotten from publishers, and so the stakes are higher and I try (with mixed results) to be more professional.

The third audience I have in mind is parents of nine year-old boys who are picky readers. I don't write for this audience all that often, but it sure is satisfying when I am able to type: "and my son sat down and read this cover to cover."

But in the end, I'm writing for myself. As much as I want to be a Useful Resource, of a Source of Good Books (and I do want to be these things, very, very much indeed), I also want to enjoy the process of blogging. Which means trying to stifle the voices in my head with their messages of what I Should be doing (ala Liz's post today at Tea Cozy), and just doing the best that I can.

And part of that includes continuing to work on my spelling and proof-reading, which is very hard for me. Here is the comment I got on my very first college paper: "There are so many typographical errors that it is difficult to assess the severity of your spelling disorder." This, very sadly, continues to be the case. Even with Spellcheck, bad things happen, and I quite often hang my head in shame....It is especially sad that post titles live forever with their mistakes in them (and I can't believe I just did it again with this post. SIGH). It is also very sad indeed that Technorati doesn't let people edit the descriptions of their blogs, and so I am stuck blogging forever about fantasty and sciene fiction :) - that is a brave smile.

But thank you everyone who reads the blog despite everything--readers and bloggers and publisher and writers and all, and thank you especially to those of you who have left encouraging comments, the sort that lets me know that there is a point!

And if anyone has any Useful Thoughts about things I could do to make my blog a better place, I'd be happy to hear them (if they are tactfully phrased....).


  1. I think your blog is great the way it is. It seems that most who blog about science fiction & fantasy focus on YA. So I think you have a niche by focusing more on mid-grade, which I really enjoy reading & writing.

  2. Congratulations on your three year anniversary, Charlotte! I wish you many more years of blogging about books.

    I find it interesting that by focusing your blog on what you enjoy the most, you've made blogging more enjoyable AND increased your stats (which makes sense, since people looking for what you focus on will be more likely to find you). Something to think about ...

  3. I really enjoy your blog! I'm a new follower, but so far it's awesome. You seem to put so much effort into it. =] Congrats on 3 years!

  4. Happy Anniversary! I think you've got a great niche, and I appreciate all the effort you put into the round-ups, posts about new releases, etc. I am glad you focused on something you enjoy, and hope you continue to enjoy it. Because really, this ought to be as fun for you as it is for us blog readers!

    (and also, yay for the orange space snail!)

  5. Happy anniversary. I love the new round up review feature.

  6. Congratulations on turning three! I think that any time you write about what you love, you will be more successful. Your interest shines in your writing.

    I find this especially important with the conversations happening right now in the kidslitosphere about blogging with others in mind. Definitely a blog post in there somewhere...

  7. Happy Blogoversary, O You of the Mysterious Orange Space Snail. And sheesh did you have a brutal college English teacher. I've never thought you had spelling issues. Ever. I link to your reviews with pride.

    And you're also my weekly go-to for what's coming out. You're amazing, with the amount of SFF you read, and I crossly wish I was in the U.S. so I could keep up!!!!! It's so not fair!!!

    Although, if you were here, you'd probably be on top of the market here as well.

  8. Happy Anniversary! I enjoy your blog and I've found many great mg fantasy books to add to my tbr list both for my own reading and for read alouds.

  9. Happy blogoversary Charlotte!(Okay, so I'm a bit late.) All I can add is keep up the good work. I love coming by here!

  10. Your roundups and what's new features are very useful--especially since I'm a fellow sci fi-fantasy fan. Plus you pick the most intriguing things to review; I find myself buying books because of your reviews, links, and lists. In case I'm not making it clear, I LOVE your blog (and can't remember noticing a single typo or misspelling). Happy #3!

  11. Happy three years, Charlotte! I enjoy the science-fiction/fantasy focus AND the orange space snail.

    I struggled with spelling, too. I ended up having to over-memorize.

  12. Задумались о гостинцах на юбилейчик ребенку, ему 4 годика, всевозможные-роботы-конструкторы у него уже есть много, он любит мышонка Тич. Я выискала типа такой игрушки, только медведя -интерактивный мишка Куби, кто-либо покупал такого? Стоит покупать? Или порекомендуйте что-либо еще. Не дайте малышу остаться без подарка от папы с мамы с папой.


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