Saturday, February 1, 2014

An Apology to Followers and Fellow Bloggers, and My Bookish NEW YEAR!

Unabridged Andra's has officially been live more than three years. That's right. YEARS. Way back in January of 2011, when I was just a book-loving college kid who was tired of reading textbooks and wanted an escape, I created this blog with one intention: to meet authors and bloggers who loved to read just as much as I do, and to share that love of reading with the world. I made some amazing blogger friends, who I had way more in common with than my room mates, sorority sisters, even classmates in the same major (English...duh). We would have read-alongs, and support each other's special events, and have amazing bookish conversations that always revolved around our common frustrations at Love-Triangles and that weird "insta-love" that was sweeping YA fiction.

For a while there, I did more than even I can believe, actually reading and reviewing 4-5 books A WEEK. BY MYSELF.  Obviously, if I wanted to actually graduate college, that didn't last long and I slowly started to drop off of the face of the blogosphere. Reviews became more of a weekly, then monthly thing and interviews seldom happened. Instead of talking with authors and bloggers, I just kept churning out my own thoughts, my own comments and not really trying to engage with other bloggers. I then wondered why no one was coming to read my awesome reviews, and kept talking to other bloggers instead of was because those other bloggers talked back, and I had gone silent. Now, when I tweeted about a giveaway, it was lost in a sea of other similar tweets, by bloggers who really talked to their readers, so mine slowly sank from view.

Then, starting around 2013, something amazing happened: BLOG TOURS AND TOUR HOSTS! Now, all the "Big Bloggers" had turned their blogs into a business! Authors got promotions and reviews, and bloggers could get pre-packaged interviews, guest posts, and giveaways, all without having to do any of the work! Sometimes, authors didn't even want you to review their book...just to promote it. Let me be clear, there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with participating in tours. Tour hosts are amazingly organized people who I can't even imagine how hard they work, but for the bloggers like me who just copied and pasted posts and stopped generating their own content...our blogs have become generic and boring.

Can I say something at the risk of offending some bloggers and authors who I hold in really high regard? I'm sick of blog tours. As a once in a while treat to follow an author around and really get to know them, they used to be really fun and interesting. You could get inside an author's head, know their books, practically memorize their family trees, and hear personal anecdotes about them, their families, and how they write. Now, every Blonde, Brunette, and Red-Head has a tour company, which means that there is almost NOTHING but book tours going around in the blogosphere. They aren't special anymore. Most of the time, the content is pre-generated, with the same excerpts, guest post topics, and generic "So, Describe your new book for me..." interview questions that I'm sure the authors are as sick of  writing as we are of reading. I barely remember if I've hosted an author on my blog anymore, let alone what their book was about. This is depressing. I miss my author friends, and my blogger friends, and the actual conversations that would come up when we talked about books-whether it was the author's books or not. Most of all...
So what is the point of all this then? Am I just a jaded blogger, longing for the "old days" where we would have to walk 15 miles in the snow, up-hill both ways in order to reach a computer to blog on? Well...I hope not. I'm going to consider this post my reflection on how I have slacked over the years. I am letting everyone know that I have given in to the easy content generation of blog tours, and have stopped actually having discussion, creativity, and PERSONALITY in my blog. I miss a lot of the bloggers who used to be my friends and have since given up blogging to move on with their lives, but there are so many new and amazing faces around here who seem to want what I do- TO TALK about books and our ideas and to be creative.  I also want to consider this post as my apology to readers, both those from the past who have left to find more interesting blogs, and those who have stopped by only to find pre-produced content in the form of blog tours. I'm going to make February 1st MY BLOGGING NEW YEAR. I will make it my RESOLUTION to rededicate myself to creating real content and to talking with each and every person who wants to talk about books. This is the new Unabridged Andra's- Edition #2 as it were :) and I am going back to the basics.

Since there is a tradition surrounding most New Year's celebrations to make goals, resolutions, etc for a better year. I will take the moment now to go over my resolutions, goals and commitments this year. Hopefully, looking back one year from now, we will have a reinvigorated and amazing crowd of bookish people all discussing the latest trends, books, and authors we love. HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

  1. Really bring the focus of Unabridged Andra's back to the community of the Bookish. I will host Read-Alongs, discussions, and most of all really respond to readers and followers in the comments, twitter, Facebook, etc! 
  2. Revamp the site: By the time this is posted (I'm writing it on January 30th) my goal is to go through all of the pages, make updates and changes, and to clear out the clutter and upgrade my links. I haven't updated my review databases in MONTHS ( Even I'm scared!) Everything that I have been letting go out of date while I just cut and paste from blog tours, I'm going to go through and clean house! If I have no broken links, and the buttons on the sidebar are current, you will know that I have been successful! 
  3. Beginning this month, I will work hard to maintain Features and Specials that have gone slack. LGBT Tuesdays are BACK ON and will be better than ever, with links to relevant LGBT articles and news, and of course, a review of a great LGBT centered book next Tuesday! Are you a Steampunk fan? I wasn't able to coordinate a Let's Get Steamy this year ( My typical celebration of Steampunk during February), but I will put all my effort and energy into launching Steamy Saturdays so that Steampunk can be a focus year-round. Who knows, if I stay on top like I want to, we can look for Let's Get Steamy in an even hotter month this year ;) 
  4. While this post is pretty negative on blog tours, I still love promoting authors and the tour hosts who put in so much hard work and time to organize them. So my goal, will to schedule blog tours ONLY on days when I am not featuring a review, author, or interview, and no more than once or twice a week. I will make sure that the authors I host are ones that I really can support and get to know, and will make sure my interview questions are NOT the generic trash that they have been. 
  5. I will put my Event Planning classes to use, and make the attempt to schedule posts AT LEAST one week in advance, if not more. I will plan out big events like Let's Get Steamy so far in the future, the entire event will be scheduled and written by the day it begins, and then I will have time to provide additional "surprise" content if I want to. 
Thank you guys, for sticking with me during this post. It was a little down, a little whiny, but I hope that you guys are with me still and will continue to hang out, socialize, and talk bookish things with me as we move on through 2014. I love my readers, my authors, and my bookish friends. My life would not be at ALL the same without you guys in it and I'm so grateful for all of you. Here's to a bigger, better Unabridged Andra's this year! 


  1. courage and believe it or not^^ most of your followers are still here you know^^

  2. Thanks Miki :) I'm going to do my best to be someone worth following from now on! Hope you'll be right there along with me!

  3. Congratulations on your new change of direction, and best of luck! Sounds interesting.

    1. Thank you! Hope the direction is a good one! :)

  4. You made so many good points, I have been working on a plan for new features and a more personalized blog versus generic content too. I am cleaning up some of the old stuff and working out a new schedule as we speak. I cannot wait to see how you implement the changes!

    1. Thanks so much girl! I can't wait to see what you come up with for new features :) I'll definitely be stopping by more often!!!

  5. Welcome back!

    I struggled with blogging (& reading) for most of last year. I feel like I'm back on track and not worrying about things so much. It's starting to be fun again.