Sunday Salon 11/22: Bookkeeping, Bookmarks, etc.

The Sunday

Audience Participation: Blogger Input Requested!

This is a new one:
I’ve been contacted by the author of an in-progress book on blogging professionally who would like to include interviews with some book bloggers who have found business success with their blogs.  She’s actually looking for book reviewers here, not people who’ve used a blog to promote their own books, and “success” can be defined as meeting whatever income and/or recognition objectives you’ve set (acknowledging that very few blogs make tons of money).

That’s the dream, isn’t it? If you’re someone who has achieved it – or you know of someone else who has – please e-mail me at 3.rsblog AT Gmail DOT com and include the blog URL. I’ll write back with more info and, if you’re OK with it, refer you to the author!

This is an encore from the past week:
If you’re a Southern California book blogger or author, have you given your input on a new site to help build up our connections to each other? If you missed the post about that this past Tuesday, or just haven’t responded yet, please read all about it and take our very short survey!

It’s the season to find Reading Challenges for the coming year, and I seem to come across a new one every day! You can try looking both inward and outward on one of the four paths in Bibliofreak‘s World Religion Challenge, or looking back to re-read a book you’ve read before (liked it or not) in Aarti and Kristen M‘s Flashback Challenge.

And then there’s the challenge that might be the most challenging of all…unplugging. This may be the one I need to join more than any other. Jen of Devourer of Books is hatching this one:

I was talking on Twitter with Candace from Beth Fish Reads about the need for all of us to take a break now and then.  A lot of people chimed in that they had a hard time stepping back from their blogs, Google Reader, and Twitter.  Part of the reason for it is that many of us have become good friends, but we don’t live near one another and don’t talk on the phone, so we need blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and the rest of it to keep up with one another.  I know that more than one person said that they felt like they would miss out on something if they turned off the internet.  Maybe we all just feel like we need permission to unplug ourselves.

Well, Candace and I are GIVING you permission.  More than that, we’re CHALLENGING you to unplug sometime between now and the end of the year.  The holidays are a great time to spend with family and, even though I know sometimes the blogging community feels like family, take some time off to spend with your IRL (in real life, for those of you who don’t know) family.
Here are the rules: there are no rules.  We’re just suggesting that you pick a time between now and the end of the year (or anytime, really!) to unplug.  Turn off Twitter, don’t blog, etc.  If you need to give yourself a Twitter limit instead of turning it off, sure, whatever works for you.  Choose a day, a week, evenings, whatever, but unplug, relax, and fight blogger burnout.  Also, don’t worry about having posts go up when you’re unplugged!  If you have some and want to pre-schedule, okay, but don’t kill yourself trying to get some up, that defeats the whole point!

It seems appropriate that there’s no official sign-up for this, since it’s more like an “un-challenge” – but this is where I’m letting you know that I’ll be participating.  Here’s how I plan to unplug:
  1. Reduce posting during the coming week and through Thanksgiving weekend, and again between December 20 and New Year’s weekend
  2. No Twitter except for morning and mid-day check-in; no Twitter at all on weekends (if there’s something you really need me to know about, e-mail me – the address is in my profile!)
  3. Use the “mark all as read” button in Google Reader daily/as needed to clear posts and get offline no later than 8 PM
I can totally picture myself fudging #3, but that may be the thing I need to unplug from the most. so I need to make the effort to stick to it. Regarding the second item: I do enjoy Twitter, but if I spend more than a few minutes at a time there I start feeling stressed, constantly refreshing and looking for new @replies. I’ll miss some fun conversations, I’m sure, but the bigger things eventually get blogged about anyway (which goes back to #3). My built-in hedge for #1 is that I normally get posts written ahead of time as it is; I’ll just be able to spread them out a little more. (Besides, for me, “reduced” posting is probably going to be more like 3 or 4 posts  in a week instead of 6.) However, since I actually don’t have one ready for tomorrow yet, this comes along at the perfect time – if I don’t get one prepared today, I’ll feel a lot better about it!

BOOKKEEPING: The Reading Status Report

No reviews this week, and still multi-tasking on my reading – yeah, I really do need to get unplugged for a bit!

BOOKMARKS: Reading-related Reading

Overnight sensations are rare in the writers’ world

Thoughts on the relative literary merits of young-adult literature as reading for “regular” adults

The Amazon Vine review program, as discussed in Publishers Weekly: this may be the only time I’ve seen concern that “free” books may be reviewed too harshly. Hmm. (via @mawbooks on Twitter)

It’s been just about a year since the book-blogging community lost Dewey, and Kailana proposes marking that anniversary with a community-building challenge.

The book club meets the bad apple; the book blogger addresses the self-published author

Just in time for your holiday wish list: reading-themed jewelry at The Well-Dressed Reader! (via Booking Mama)

“Black Friday” and the official start of holiday-shopping season are just a few days away. (But with online shopping and stores open seven days a week, isn’t every day between now and December 24 a “shopping day”?) From the blog for the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, via Shelf Awareness, here are a few reasons you might want to get an early start on Buy(ing) Books for the Holidays:

1.  We have not yet started playing Christmas music.
2. That feeling of self-righteousness over starting so early translates into treating yourself to something as well.
3.  You can make a list of all the things you want, so that you can hint liberally at Thanksgiving.
4. If there’s a hardcover you’ve been eyeing, you have time to read the whole thing before giving it away.
5. We have free gift wrapping.  By Christmas, you’ll forget what it was you bought.  Aren’t surprises great?
6.  It’s much easier to stick to your budget when we aren’t serving you eggnog like we do the week before Christmas.
7.  All versions of The Night Before Christmas are still in stock.  You won’t have to settle for that one weird one left over on Christmas Eve.
8.  You’ll bring smiles and joy and a twinkle to the eye of your favorite local, indie bookseller.

Bunch of Grapes is located on Martha’s Vineyard, but if you can’t make it there, some of these might apply to your favorite nearby independent bookstore, too!

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  1. Kathy (Bermudaonion) – I need to back away from Twitter. I hate backing away from blogging, but it'll be nice not to give myself as many deadlines for a bit.

    Jackie (FarmLaneBooks) – So would I! Actually, for the purposes of this inquiry, play money may be fine; the author is interested in broader definitions of success, too.

  2. You've added some nice books to your library this week, Florinda. I'd love to 'talk' with you about THE WIDOW'S SEASON after you've read it.

    unplugged = it's a good thing!
    I'll be posting less often during Thanksgiving week and over Christmas/New Year. It's really with my time on Twitter that I need to instill some discipline 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement and the 'no rules' approach.

  3. Marie – The more I think about it, the more I start feeling OK about it :-).

    Lisa – I'm not sure I can either, but I'll definitely try. Baby steps…

    Dawn – We can definitely discuss that book whenever I get around to reading it, but no promises about how soon that will happen :-)!

    I'm hoping I'll feel OK about not posting 6 days a week. And Twitter has been taking over lately, so stepping back from that is a good idea for me too! (And thank Jen and Candace for the inspiration.)

  4. I'm with you on the unplugged challenge. For me, the time thief is Facebook. I haven't set up specific times yet, but mostly in evenings and on Wednesdays, I'm unplugging so I can read more than I have been.

  5. Bryan (JaRF) – I need to spend less time with GReader and more time with my family in the evenings. Otherwise, my time sink is Twitter – and that's mostly because I have chosen to avoid the time sink of Facebook as much as possible :-).

  6. I have such a hard time following conversations in Twitter. And I'm rarely successful at jumping in. I tend not to spend too much time on Twitter as a result.

    Good luck with the Unplugged Challenge. I had to laugh when I first heard about it. I reminds me of the challenge that was set up to read books spontaneously–we bloggers get so involved with challenges and such that we need challenges to get us off the hook now and then.

    I will be reading When She Flew this weekend as part of the Thankfully Reading Weekend event. I'm not part of the tour, but did get a copy for review through a publicist. I really enjoyed the book I read last year by the author and this one sounds even more up my alley.

    Thanks as always for the links, Florinda.

  7. Wendy (Literary Feline) – I got When She Flew for the tour AND won a copy from LibraryThing Early Reviewers. I think I'll be having a giveaway :-).

    The thing about Twitter conversations is that you do pretty much have to stay glued to it to get involved – they move so fast. And that's when it becomes a time suck.

    The Unplugged thing really IS a challenge for me :-). I've been successful in spurts, I guess – not entirely unplugged, but somewhat "untethered," at any rate.