Inquiring minds wanted to know! (A’s for your Q’s)

In my Blogiversary post last week, I asked you had any questions you wanted to ask me – and some of you did! Thanks for playing along, and please read on for the Q&A.

BUT FIRST…For my Blogiversary Giveaway, I committed to donate $1 for each comment on my Blogiversary posts, plus an extra $1 per question asked in comments, and $1 for each sign-up to one of my two Read-Alongs, to Writers for the Red Cross. Here’s the final tally:

Comments: 32
Questions: 10
Read-along Sign-ups: 6
Total: 48

I rounded it up to $50 and sent the donation yesterday. Thanks to everyone who helped with this fundraising effort! A portion of the donation will remain with the Red Cross chapter in Nashville, Tennessee, which is hosting this event, but the rest will go to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund and its work throughout the world, including current recovery efforts in Japan.

And now, back to our regularly-scheduled programming…

What do you miss the most about the South? What team does your son pick to win the NCAA tournament?
Kathy (Bermudaonion)

1 – The food, the change of seasons (but not the humidity), the way people talk, and the food.
2 – Chris, aka My Son the Sports Blogger, says: “Kansas in the men’s, Tennessee in the women’s” (as if a UT Knoxville grad would say anything else – GO LADY VOLS!).

What’s the biggest change you’ve noticed in blogging (I’m particularly interested in book blogging) in the past four years?
Jeanne (Necromancy Never Pays)

It’s hard to single out one thing, partly because of one thing – the huge growth in the number of book blogs out there! Meanwhile, the growth in the number of bloggers who have incorporated use of Twitter and Facebook into their blogging may have outpaced the growth of blogs themselves. I’ve noticed that social-media activity seems to have overtaken or essentially replaced blogging for some people, but that’s been more common outside the book-blog niche.

But regardless of the form that growth has taken, some of the changes are partly just due to MORE – more giveaways, more events and memes, and more books being made available for review more readily. Bloggers have acquired more acceptance as part of the book industry’s publicity machine, and I think that has both positives and negatives for us.

How are you liking the Intense Debate comment system?
Jill (Rhapsody in Books)

I’ve had ID in place for about a year, and found it quite glitchy at first, but their support team has usually addressed my issues pretty well and, for the most part, I’ve been more happy with it than not. I know it doesn’t play nicely with some users, and I don’t know why – browser/operating system conflicts of some kind, I suppose? I do miss the people who rarely comment any more because of those issues, but I really don’t know what I can do fix them, if anything.

But having said all that, if Blogger were to improve its native commenting system and give it some of the functions and features I’m getting with Intense Debate, the odds are good I’d dump ID pretty quickly and go back home to Blogger comments.

What got you started blogging in the first place back these four years ago?
Suey (It’s All About Books) (my Blogiversary twin!)
What got you to start a book blog in the first place?
Helen (Helen’s Book Blog)

As I said in yesterday’s post, if I’d known about sites like LibraryThing first, I’m not sure I would have started blogging at all. My initial motivation was that I just wasn’t remembering much about a lot of the books I read, so I thought recording them in an online journal would help. It definitely has. But I discovered pretty quickly that blogging was also an outlet for anything else I wanted to sort through my thoughts about, too, and now I really can’t imagine being without it!

I was wondering how your blog and blogging, for you, has changed over the four years?
Amy (The House of the Seven Tails)

Since I talked about changes in blogging more broadly in answering Jeanne’s question, I’ll focus here on my blog more specifically. The biggest change for me is that it’s definitely become more structured and organized; I pretty much keep to a posting schedule now, and it works for me. I think my review-writing has improved over time, and I like that I’ve come up with several regular/recurring features here.

Have you consistently been blogging 5-6 times per week through all four years, or has that fluctuated and you have just found that that’s the best number of posts for you and your blog?
Wallace (Unputdownables)

I only blogged twice during my first month, and wasn’t terribly consistent for the first several months; sometimes I’d post twice in a day, and sometimes I wouldn’t post at all for several days. I participated in NaBloPoMo for the first time in November 2007, and discovered that I liked posting every day…but I didn’t want to feel obligated to do so.

Blogger didn’t have the functionality for scheduling posts when I first started using it; when they put that in place, it really helped me establish a posting calendar for myself. I write most of my posts at least a couple of days ahead of when I intend to publish them, and ideally I have posts scheduled out for at least a week. (For the record, that is not the case this week.) I like to keep posting frequent because I’m mildly paranoid that my readers will disappear if I don’t update at least every few days; I’d like to be OK with 3-4 updates a week rather than 5 or 6, but I’m not quite there yet.

How do you decide what to read next?
Sherry (Semicolon)

My first consideration is my calendar – blog-tour commitments and other scheduled reads, usually with other people, such as read-alongs and the Faith and Fiction Roundtable. If I’m current on those, I’ll go to the books I’ve accepted for review without scheduling a specific posting date: ARCs get priority among those, but my mood and interest level at the time play heavily into the choice I’ll make. My most recent reading patterns also factor in; if I’ve read several novels in a row, I’ll often go to non-fiction as a change of pace, and vice versa.

And sometimes I just won’t feel like reading any of the books I’ve committed to, and I’ll go the the general TBR collection or my e-book archive and read something just for myself. The fiction/nonfiction recent-reading pattern usually plays a part in the choices I make from there as well, but aside from that, I tend to go with whatever draws me at the time. Sometimes those reading decisions are the hardest to make, though!

Thanks again for the questions, folks – you made me think, and you helped me get yet another blog post together!

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