Bloggiesta Mini Challenge: Buttons and Banners!

Callista at SMS Book Reviews is hosting a mini-challenge for the Bloggiesta. She has some wonderful links to sites that can help us create our own buttons and banners for our blogs! Here are her instructions on her original post:

How To Do Mini-Challenge
To do this mini-challenge, you must make a logo, banner or button and put in on your blog, then come back and comment with a link to the post it’s on. It can be something you actually need such as a reading challenge button or blog logo or it can just be a quick one for fun to show you tried it out.  All registered Bloggiesta participants who comment with a link to their logo/button/banner will be entered to win a publisher sponsored prize!

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While the websites Callista mentioned are great, I tend to use the general Paint program and also PowerPoint 2010. But there is a website I discovered when I was in university last year called Wordle (http://www.wordle.net). It’s really cool! All you do is type in a bunch of words and it’ll create something like this:

If you want a word to appear bigger than others, just type it twice. You can choose what directions for the words to appear, the font, the colors, etc. I just put each of these in once–they’re the titles of the books I read last year. I can already see that I made a few mistakes because you can’t leave spaces in the words or they will split up. Unfortunately for this site, you can’t copy the image, so just take a screen shot (the Print Screen button on a PC does this), paste it in PowerPoint and crop it and save it as a picture.

While I don’t use websites to make my buttons or banners, Paint and PowerPoint have pretty much let me make the mediocre buttons I have on my blog that are good enough for me 😀

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Don’t forget–if you participate in this challenge leave a comment on Callista’s original post as well as on this post. Happy Bloggiesta!!

Bloggiesta Mini-Challenge: Organize Thy Books!

There aren’t really too many guidelines for this mini-challenge about how you organize your books 😀

Essentially the challenge asks about how you organize your books. But to help that along, I came up with a few questions to guide your thinking. So consider these questions when taking part in this challenge:
-How do you keep track of what books you own?
-How do you organize your books on the bookshelves?
-How do you handle ARCs and reviewing them? (If you do that. I personally don’t, but I know lots of you do.)

So, to answer these questions for myself…
I keep track of the books I own in an Google Spreadsheet (that’s like an Excel document that you can access online through Google Docs anytime, anywhere!) I update it every time I buy a new book. They’re alphabetical by title, but I also keep track of the: author, the publisher, the price, when I bought it, and a Y/N column for if I’ve read it. (I’m ashamed to say that most of those are Ns.) I also have the Bookshelf app on my iPod which keeps track of all of this, but also the ISBN numbers, something I for some reason never put in my document. Oh, and boy am I glad that I keep track of the price. I only have a bit over 200 books, but it accumulates to $2700-worth (something I actually needed to know for insurance purposes 🙂 ).

As for organizing my bookshelves, my system is certainly obscure. To begin with I have all of my Jane Austen and then Jane Austen-related books together. Then come the series, such as Harry Potter, Septimus Heap, and the Pink Carnation series. Following is the non-fiction, the classics, and then this is where it gets weird. I organize my fiction by where the story takes place. So there is Britain, Canada, China, US, etc. I don’t know why I decided to organize this way, but I like it. It lets me know where to go in my bookshelves if I want to travel outside of the US via books. At the very end, though I have my social studies-related books. That includes some non-fiction and some fiction. So I basically take what I deem worthy as educational resources–what I’d use when teaching–and have that at the end. Whenever I actually get a teaching position, those books will of course actually go to my classroom, but they are at home for now 🙂

As I mentioned above, I don’t take ARCs because I don’t review books like that. I mean, I review books for my own pleasure so I can think about how the book made me feel. But I don’t review review them. But if you do, feel free to share how you organize your review books and how you go about organizing your reviews of them.

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This mini-challenge is hosted by Jenn at Jenn’s Bookshelves. If you participate in this mini-challenge, please leave a comment about how you organize your own books and/or a link to your own post for this mini-challenge on Jenn’s original post here and also on this post 🙂

Happy Bloggiesta!!

Bloggiesta Mini-Challenge: 10 Things Bloggers Shouldn’t Do!

The Challenge

  1. Read the post, 10 Things Bloggers Should Not Do. (This is a guest post by Onibalusi Bamidele on Daily Blog Tips.)
  2. Rate yourself (on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being muy excellente) on each point. How are you doing?
  3. Brainstorm examples of what you can/will do to improve your ratings in those areas that could use improvement. And/or:
  4. If you feel you’re doing particularly great in one area, share examples of how you’ve reached such excellence.

Once you’ve done that, post it on your blog and go to Word Lily’s blog and leave a link on her original post about this challenge. And hey, might as well leave a link here, too! 😀

My Rating

Points 1-2 get a rating of N/A, as I don’t blog for others, therefore it doesn’t make sense that I expect any success. And, also, as I blog for fun (meaning for myself), that means that I don’t really have to “write for my readers”. I try to reply to comments people leave, but that’s about it.

3. You Must Not Scrape Another Bloggers Content
3/5 because I do take some things from others, but I give credit where credit is due. I don’t copy often, but when I do it tends to come from Michelle’s My Books. My Life. blog. And what I copy are more or less organizational things rather than content. I hardly ever read the same book as what I see in current posts on other book blogs, so that sort of content doesn’t even make sense for me to copy. And, luckily, Michelle so far hasn’t minded that I borrow stuff, as I give her credit.

Points 4-5 also get a rating of N/A. I don’t need to promote because I don’t need any sort of success. As for being “another blogger”, what would be the point of my writing about my thoughts and feelings towards books and bookish things if I pretended to be someone else?!

6. You Must Not Fail To Update Your Blog Regularly
5/5 because, and I don’t like to brag, I probably post at minimum 3 posts a week, even if those are just weekly memes. If I’m reading quickly and getting through lots of books, those reviews get posted before I even start another book. But, I’m sure this will all change when I find a job and don’t just sit at home reading/blogging while the hubby is at work 🙂

Points 7-8 again get a “N/A” rating. I don’t need networking, although I do love seeing a link to my blog on other bookish friend’s blogrolls 🙂 And I don’t care if my blog becomes popular, so SEO isn’t important to me.

9. You Must Not Have An Unreadable/Unnavigable Site
4/5 because I’d like to think that my blog is pretty navigable. I try to not clutter it and I only have the one sidebar with different widgets on it, arranged in a manner that seems good to me. And my blog doesn’t have background images. Except for a few pictures on the sidebar, there are just plain colors–no patterns or anything. I don’t know what it’s called when you have the background image stay still and when you scroll down, only the text moves, but I hate that! It makes me feel sick when I scroll down and some stuff moves, but other stuff doesn’t. And while that might not have anything to do with a readable or navigable site, it still bugs me 😦 But I give myself a 4 because there might be aspects of my blog that others don’t like–obviously I like it 🙂

10. You Must Not Throw Mud Around
5/5 because I don’t do that. Yes, I will be honest if I don’t like a book and I’ll say as much. But I don’t do it for attention–I do it so if someone else reads my blog, they know my honest feelings about a book.

Bloggiesta 2011!

I have never participated in the Bloggiesta–in fact, I hadn’t ever really heard of it. However, when I was going through my blogroll, I came upon a post about it by Michelle at My Books. My Life. and thought to myself, “Huh, I’m a book blogger and I have nothing to do this weekend. Maybe I should participate!”

So I’ve decided that I’m going to partake of the Bloggiesta this year. Since I’m currently unemployed and, therefore, keep my blog pretty up-to-date, I don’t exactly have anything to work on. (In fact, it was just the other day I added a new feature that took me a few hours–a timeline to show others the time periods of the books I’ve read during the year.)

Therefore, I’ll mainly be participating in the mini challenges–new and “flashback”–and connecting with other book bloggers during the weekend.

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The Bloggiesta is a blogging marathon for book bloggers hosted by Natasha at Maw Books. It runs from now until Sunday, the 23rd. It’s not too late to sign up using the Mister Linky on the original blog post, located here. The goal is to use the 72-hour time period to see what you can do with your blog. You don’t have to post a certain number of updates or separate posts for each challenge–that’s at your own discretion. But, whatever challenges you participate in, make sure you link everything to original posts, etc.