But before I get to my resolutions and goals for this year, I'd like to take a look back at those goals I set for myself last year and evaluate how I did, what I implemented, what I found didn't work for me...that kind of thing. It just makes sense to review last year first and see if any of those same things still need work because, as in real life, I'm sure I didn't meet 100% of my expectations. I'm a perfectionist, but I'm not that good. =)
So, here are last year's resolutions:
Take better notes Schedule more posts Post less promotional spots (book blitz, excerpts, tours) Review books immediately upon completion- eh, at least it doesn't normally take me a month anymore! No new memes
- Create an archive of reviews for the blog
Update blog at least 2x per week Attend more book signings& conferences
- Visit/comment on other blogs & return blog comments
Keep track of blog stats
Okay, so, I see some room for work there, but that's to be expected. #1 is kind of null now because I've been better at #4 and because I'm actually using my Kindle's highlight and note features. I am definitely way better at scheduling posts, though it may only be a day or two ahead of schedule. Still...progress is progress, right? I've also been better at only posting promotional material for books that really spoke to me as a reader, or that I was very much looking forward to. I did only a handful of cover reveals and excerpts, and usually only for authors whose work I already knew and enjoyed. I think I participated in less than ten blog tours, and the same goes for those. No new memes...hmm...I think I quit doing one at the beginning of the year or maybe at the end of 2012, but I do occasionally participate in Top Ten Tuesday now, which I never did prior to this year. Oops. But I really like that one. And don't those two cancel each other out, anyway?
Unfortunately, I still have not completed -- or even started -- my review archive yet. That probably should have been something I worked on over vacation/the holidays, but I've been sick, so nothin' doin'. I am much better at updating my sidebar and menu bar items, so there's that. And I do plan to work on my archive soon. I have so many things I want to add to the blog. 2014 is my year y'all!
Oh, I attended the Maggie Stiefvater signing for The Dream Thieves tour and had her sign every Maggie book I owned...which was all of them except the anthologies. And I attended Victoria Scott's signing/release party for The Collector at the beginning of the year. Still didn't make it to any conferences, though. I wanted to, and I kind of had the opportunity, but I'm shy and had no one to go with, so...
For awhile there, I was very social, commenting and visiting everyone daily, but in the summer, work got a little chaotic, and that severely cut into not only my social time but also my blogging and reading time. Still not sure how I managed to read over 200 books, but I did. Imagine how many I would have read if work had been great!
As for keeping tack of blog statistics, I think I meant in the reading sense, not traffic-wise or anything like that. I don't really do this for the traffic...I do it for myself and for those who love to read the same stuff I do. Traffic's nice, but I'd keep doing it anyway. Back to my point, though...I definitely stepped it up in this respect. I had a spreadsheet I used in 2012 to keep track of what I'd read, what I had to read, etc., but I think I added another ten columns to that sucker and it has really helped with my stress level. You just wait till you see the charts and graphs because of it!
I'm just going to go back up to my little list and mark out the ones I feel I've mastered. Hang on a sec. Okay, done. And now on to 2014.
2. Create a review archive - For real this time. Like I said before, I search for my own reviews sometimes looking for this or that, and I have the darndest time sometimes trying to find what I'm looking for. So, this resolution is as much for me as it is for you.
3. Force my co-blogger to actually do some blogging - Yeah, Mendy got busy with real life and forgot all about me...I mean, us. A commitment is a commitment, am I right? Okay, I'm sorta kidding...I understand completely, but I miss having her brand of humor and review style on the blog. It's so different from mine and I liked what it brought to the blog.
4. Add a schedule tab on the menu bar - I stopped participating in challenges. I didn't sign up for any new ones this year, and the only one I kept track of was the Goodreads challenge. And that's probably only because GR does it for me for the most part. So, I don't need a Challenges tab. I've been brainstorming what to put in its place, and I think having my reading schedule on my blog would come in handy. Others can see what I'm going to be reading soon, maybe we can schedule buddy reads and what-not. I don't know, I just think it'll make me feel even more accountable than I already do having the spreadsheet sitting on my computer.
5. Stop focusing on reading "deadlines" - I know this is counterproductive to what I'm doing here, but I've usually been conservative?...cautious?...when posting reviews. Meaning, I try to keep it within the six weeks surrounding a new release (three weeks prior/three weeks following). But I see so many reading what I desperately want to read NOW and then immediately reviewing it with little consequence that I can tell. The benefit to me is that I won't have everyone else's opinions clouding my judgment when the book finally does pop up on my schedule and I finally get to read it for myself.
6. Be more social - I was better in 2013, but I wasn't stellar, by any means, at being social and approachable, whether it was on Twitter or Goodreads or even here on the blog. I need to make myself available, put myself out there. In real life, too...I really need to make an effort to get over my introverted-self and meet some of you beautiful book bloggers, you. But also, I need to make time in my busy schedule to visit you all on your own blogs and spend time each week returning the comments left for me. I feel like I've lost a few good friends over the last couple of years because I wasn't able to do this. You get what you give, am I right?
7. Start using Overdrive - I managed to really cut back on how many physical books I bought this year, but I ended up giving Audible all of that money instead. I have a membership, but my purchases on that site are probably unrivaled by most due to sales, new releases, and trying to catch up on back-listed titles I missed. But people keep reminding me of Overdrive, which can be accessed through your local library. I've yet to try it out, but I have to or I'm going to go broke with my audiobook addiction.
8. Stop hoarding books - Especially those that probably won't ever see a re-read. Like, I bought each of the Matched books by Ally Condie as they were released because that's what I did back then. But I highly doubt I'm ever going to read those books again. I need to start donating more books to the library and giving them away here on the blog. I'm constantly running out of room, and I can't fit another book shelf in my office. There really is nowhere else to put one. (P.S. I'm participating in the Clear Your Shelf Giveaway that technically starts on the 4th, so check back for that soon!)
9. Cross-post reviews - I already do this to Goodreads and obviously to Netgalley and Edelweiss, but I often neglect adding reviews to Amazon and Audible, where applicable. I just wish there was an easier way to do it than cutting and pasting everywhere. Like, a button on Blogger that said "post to Amazon", etc.
10. Post more discussions - These seem to be the posts that get the most attention, but that's not why I want to do more of them. I just really like seeing what everyone else has to say. I like to speak my peace and then listen to everyone else chime in. It's interesting to see how varied we all our on different topics and I think it keeps this space fresh. It can't all be memes and reviews, right? I am definitely open to suggestions for topics, too. I already have a couple in mind: do you even care about memes anymore, or is that just for us book bloggers? Are there any plain ole readers out there anymore, or did we all turn into bloggers along the way? Things like that. ;0)
And that about does it. I have other goals for 2014, but those are the major ones. I feel hopeful about my ability to conquer these feats of book blogging, too, especially seeing what kind of progress I made on last year's resolutions.
So, what are some of your resolutions for 2014? Bookish or not. We ain't picky around here. =) Seriously, though, I wish you all the love and support you need to accomplish whatever goals you've set for yourself in the coming year. We all need a good support team.
Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate each and every one of my readers, and I wish you all a prosperous and happy new year!