The Book Blogger I Am

I guess it´s time…

For countless weeks I´ve been yapping about making blog changes. Well, I can proudly announce that I´m one step closer to the blog I want to be. A blog that represents me visually. A blog that supports my purpose as a book blogger much better.

After already making subtle changes I decided it was time to upload my blog header. This was without a doubt the most nerve-wracking part of my apocalyptic blog make-over. Why? Well, I´m showing my face. And I don´t mean I´m using a pic of me with sunglasses or an image of me taken from a 2-kilometer distance. I´m talking about ” Here´s my face.” So, without further ado… Here´s my new book blog header image.

Am I happy with the new header image? Absolutely. Even if I had my doubts in the beginning.

There´s a positive and negative side to revealing one´s face on the internet.

The pros

  • I´m not a complete faceless voice anymore. My followers now know who they´re following.
  • A face gives the opportunity to connect on a different level.

The cons

  • My followers/blog visitors can and will judge my appearance before they judge my blog content.

Even if the pros outweigh the cons, it´s the cons that can make blog life a challenge.

I´ve thought long and hard about putting my face on my blog header. At first, I was advised to do it. My internet guru friends convinced me it was the best approach.

You´re not selling books. You´re selling yourself.“, they said ( sounds a little like prostitution. * sigh * Oh well ). I agree. As a book blogger, it´s my opinion I´m sharing. I´m not a business owner who can advertise and connect my business with objects. It makes sense for a Café to have an image of a cup of coffee in its header. It makes sense for a barber to show scissors & combs/a mirror/products in a header image. That´s somehow a given. The visuals help to drive the point home.
But what about book bloggers? We don´t have much to work with, to begin with. From what I´ve seen, many book bloggers go for typical graphics or ideas. A stack of books, books & a mug, an open book, cartoon self-images… Which is perfectly fine. I´ve never had anything against what fellow book bloggers use for their blog headers. Whatever works, am I right?

That´s my problem- None of the typical images used by others felt right for me. I don´t have a flashy style and I don´t classify as any type. The natural thing to do was to think about who I am and what I can bring to the book blogger table.

That´s when it dawned on me that I have nothing spectacular to offer aside from my opinions. My words are my tools. I work with my tools. So, it made sense to me to include my face in the header image. Keeping things simple is the way to go for me.

The biggest challenge will be having to deal with additional judgments ( should there be any ). It´s one thing when someone judges a book blogger´s opinions. It´s another thing when you give people one more reason to judge something about you.

I´ve heard quite a few bloggers talk about the hate they receive for their appearances. Online hate for the stupidest things is real. Do I want to add more online hate to my plate? 2019 wasn´t the kindest book blog year for me, and that was without my picture. I guess we´ll have to see what happens in 2020.

As uneasy as this topic has made me feel, I don´t feel uncomfortable enough to not upload a header with my face on it. I´m all for giving new things a try. Should this book blog header image bug the crap out of me then I´ll just change it. Nothing is set in stone.

My idea was to use a header that represents me, my book blog and the content I have on my blog. No pink flowers or butterflies, stars, cartoon self-images, coffee mugs, books, or overly wild and/or cool designs could ever do that for me. What you see is who I am. The everyday me. The book lover who´s constantly tired. The 37-year-old book blogger who loves to wear hoodies 24/7 ( comfort is everything, y´all ). The book blogger who´s just your everyday plain Jane with strong opinions.

Me. The book blogger.


That´s it for today, my dear book-loving-tribe. I hope you enjoyed. If not then at least I hope any part of this blog post made sense.

Before I go I´d like to know:

How did you pick your book blog header ( or blog header in general )? What was your thought process behind your choice? Are there blog header images you love/like/dislike? Let me know in the comments below. I´d love to chat ❤


Many bookish hugs,

What I´d Like To See More Of In Book Box Subscriptions

`Subscribe!`

`Get your box of bookish goods!`

I like book box subscriptions. They´re a wonderfully fun addition in our corrupt and twisted little bookish world. The stuff you receive with these boxes… Wow. It´s book mail extraordinaire! And they bring us book lovers together.. in a way… in a way that´s unknown to me.

Jess @Fiction No Chaser published a wonderful post titled Why Are We Obsessed With Book Boxes? and in her post, she made some really great points regarding these subscription boxes. If you haven´t already I´d recommend checking her post out as it´s great food for thought. While I was reading Jess´s post I couldn´t help but think of the actual purpose of these boxes and what the included items do for us book folk ( aside from giving us temporary joy ).

Unfortunately, many of these book subscription boxes don´t have a lot of useful bookish items. At least not for me. I´m sorry to say that, despite all the bookish goodness being sent out in cute little colorful boxes, I find it hard to use 90% of a box´s content.

This doesn´t mean book boxes are totally worthless. I´m sure many book-lovers are 100% satisfied with their monthly subscriptions. I mean- what’s not to love about a possible book, fan art, bookmarks, tea samples, candles, postcards, fan bracelets, and whatnot?

From what I´ve gathered, most book boxes are little bundles of book swag and the highlight is a book. Possibly a book and a mug. The rest is just swag- Promotional pieces.

Possible book box content ( seen from various providers ) for 1 book box

  • 2 bookmarks ( usually author/book tied = swag )
  • 1 magnet ( swag )
  • tea sample ( loose tea or bag tea )
  • bath & body product ( ? )
  • fan art ( in the form of a postcard or bookmark )
  • jewelry ( swag or fan art )
  • stickers ( swag )
  • buttons ( swag )
  • A book ( limited edition, hardcover, signed paperback )
  • A candle

At first glance, this looks like a shitload of products. Things appear to be worth the $ 29.00 + shipping.

When I see these items above I think of their practicality. I have no use for the majority of these items because I know for sure they´ll land somewhere where no one will ever admire them. I appreciate fan art from a distance. Having it in my home, though- I´m not the type to display fan art. Same with book tied jewelry. I´d never wear it. Stickers and buttons? Meeh. Not for me.

I´d never be able to fully appreciate a book box (anymore). I´m clearly not the targetted audience. Although, I wouldn´t mind purchasing one or two boxes a year if there were items I could use.

  • A mug. Not book tied but bookish. Seriously, this is something that will most definitely get used in my house.
  • A book. I know-shocking. But sometimes book boxes don´t have books. Just book swag and other things I don´t need.
  • A journal/notepad. Book people make notes, too. Why not throw in a cute journal?
  • A reading log. Because, why not?
  • Pens. This is something a person can never have enough of.
  • Tote bags. Always a fav. They come in handy.
  • Book sleeves. Now, that´s something a few could use. If not for a book then definitely to keep fragile objects from breaking.
  • How about bookmarks that aren´t book-tied?

The reason why we´ll never see book boxes with these items is because they´d be extremely expensive. Another reason why this type of book box would never roll is that they´re too specified- Put together to satisfy my personal bookish needs.

So, here´s a different solution:

Why not offer a book box shop where readers can put together their own boxes? This could excite more people and engage a larger book-loving crowd.

Unless someone actually offers this type of book box to the masses I´m better off purchasing a book online and buying bookish items on sites that offer more than what´s in an overpriced box.

Willow Winters Online Shop is a great place for readers if they who to purchase bookish products.

`Let me drink my coffee and just read.` mug. & Book Lover Office Bundle

Or, if you need more selection you could always lose your literary heart over at The Literary Gift Company – The one place where you can find A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G your bookish hearts desires.

I think you´d have to be a real dedicated book box fan and a fan of whatever bookish goods in those boxes to be able to appreciate everything.

P.S. 
The `Book Box` topic isn´t over yet! I´m sure you´ve noticed how I mentioned that book boxes are overpriced? Be sure to stick around for my upcoming post Are Book Boxes Worth Their Money? to find out if book boxes are overpriced or not.


What are your thoughts on Book Boxes? Are you subscribed to a book box company? Which boxes have you received? Would you order another box? Or, do you think this is bookish absurdity at its finest? Let me know in the comments below. ❤ I´d love to chat.


Thank you for reading this post. I truly appreciate it. Hope you enjoyed.

Have a wonderful day,

Much bookish love,

Morgana

Typical Book Blog Posts I Don´t Do

Book hauls, monthly reads, weekly themes, cover reveals, author interviews, blog tours, reviews, lists, How-to´s, discussions, creative posts, photography,… There´s an impressive list of things book bloggers can use to make their blogs a fantastic place to visit. That´s what every book blogger wants – To attract an audience with their awesome features. Everyone wants their work to be seen. Why else offer your platform to the public, right?

Just the other day, as I was sitting here rethinking my whole book blog concept, I thought about all the fun stuff other book bloggers do on their blogs- Basically the stuff I don´t do.

So many have monthly blog recaps at the end of each month. Quite a few have book haul features where they show off their newest book purchases and talk about them. While nearly 99% of all bloggers I´ve checked out basically do the same type of book blog posts I somehow can´t be bothered to jump in on the fun and do exactly the same things everyone else is doing.

 

Monthly Blog Recaps? They´re popular, sure. And clever, too. You talk about every post you uploaded in the last month and link each post to the recap. This generates more views by helping people ( who missed out on the posts when they were originally uploaded ) find your posts. Makes sense. I tried to include this feature in my blog concept but can´t seem to warm up to it. It´s just so chewed up.

 

Book Hauls? Another popular thing many book bloggers do. The main reason why I´ve never included a book haul post in my concept is: I don´t see the point. To me, when someone does a book haul post they´re basically showing off what they bought. If you´re anything like me you don´t necessarily care if someone purchased 10 books or not. The worst book hauls are the YouTuber book hauls.

 

Weekly themes. Hold up! I´m actually a fan of these although they´d have to be original to make me appreciate them. Once I see a Manic Monday, Topic Tuesday, etc. I´ll move on.

 

Cover Reveal Posts.  ( and this is coming from a book cover judge extraordinaire ) I don´t think these are necessary. Many book bloggers make a point out of revealing book covers for upcoming book releases ( oftentimes months ahead ). Some have a whole category dedicated to this feature while others reveal covers sporadically. This is just another boring marketing strategy from authors and publishers to stir up the hype. They´re popular but they do absolutely nothing for me. Think about what happens to these cover reveal posts after a book´s been on the market after 2 years. But hey- this is just my take on the feature. NOTE: I used to do this feature a loooong time ago. Too bad I can´t remember when I last did a cover reveal post.

 

How-Tos. Gotta love a helpful post, right? Especially the book blog How-To posts about How To Blog, How To Gain More Followers, How To Write A Review, etc

The reason why I don´t do these types of posts is that I don´t feel I´m in the position to give advice. Book blogging isn´t something that comes with a manual. This is more of a trial by error sort of thing. Because what worked for someone doesn´t mean it´ll automatically work for you. I get that there are people wanting help and that people are willing to lend a hand but at the end of the day, it´s still trial by error. I also see another problem with this: When you receive advice from a book blogger who already has a decent following you can quickly become frustrated when you follow their directions to the T and don´t see immediate results.

The only positive thing I can get out of a How-To book blog post is when it´s something for how to build a book castle ( or something like that ).

 

Book Blog Tours… * Clears throat * I hate to bring this one up again ( since it gave me a good batch of gray hair when I first posted about this ). Many book bloggers love to add these posts to their blogs. I don´t. You´re welcome to read my reasons in my Why I Don´t Join Book Blog Tours Anymore blog post.

 

My greatest ( and only ) goal as a book blogger is to be original. And by this, I mean adding my personal touch to my book blog. I want to be transparent. Show the good and bad sides but still include the essentials. Weekly themes are a great way to show off creativity which is why I would always include something creative such as photography, discussion posts and maybe something that´s associated with reading e.g music, food…

I´d rather have someone read about my bookish experiences and maybe take something from that instead of giving direct advice.

As for book reviews– I´m not going to lie- I hate typing reviews but I still do it because I believe it belongs to a book blog. So, I´ll continue to publish reviews. * sigh *

 

This is not me saying other book bloggers are idiots for using these typical popular book blog features. No. I believe everyone should use whatever they think suits their purpose. If you´re a book blogger who´s been doing monthly blog recaps and you enjoy them then I´m more than happy for you. Everyone has their own agenda, including myself. I follow book blogs who are dead set on working the popular features and I think they´re doing a wonderful job. It works for them but not for me.

 


 

What about your blog? Do you use weekly or monthly themes? Do you include any of the blog post features I´ve mentioned above? I´d love to know your thoughts on the subject and to find out what special features you have.


 

As always… Thank you for taking the time to read my post. I hope you enjoyed. ❤

 

Many bookish hugs,

Morgana

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Charity For Children Gone Weird

 

Today I´d like to dabble into something hardly anyone knows but something that I feel very strongly about- Book charity.

Just recently, something happened that got me in such a mood.

As none of you know, my daughters and I give secondhand and new books to children around the Christmas holidays. Sometimes we pick a random family from the village we live in or we pack boxes and bring them to children´s hospitals, orphanages, schools or Kindergartens.

I make an announcement in a few village Facebook groups asking for people to dump their unwanted children´s books at my doorstep ( to which many gladly do ) and I take a few days off to sort them out by age groups before making small bundles and driving them to their new homes.

The most crucial part of all this is reassuring the families ( who´ve donated books ) that their hand-me-downs truly reach their destinations. So, every step is documented via pictures and journals. I even invite the families over to see how we prepare the goods ( which they often decline ) and even encourage them to accompany me when I make deliveries. Some families don´t bother with the evidence anymore because I´ve won their trust. Others… Sometimes I don´t know why I even bother anymore.

While quite a few trust me, many families don´t and really want to know where their books go. Not that big of a deal. I´ll give you all the information I have. I create little info folders where every step is documented, even my private costs ( a copy of my driver logbook). I figured these people want to see if I´m just looking for a way to sack the books for myself, which I´m not. All this is 100% non-profitable. I´m actually spending money rather than making any off of this. So, the more information I provide the better. This year, for the very first time, I found out that one particular family didn´t care about the donation process. They only had one worry.

 

“Which kids are getting my books?”

 

I admit- This is a question I wasn´t prepared for. Which kids? Well… kids. The small people who look so vibrant and full of energy. The ones who scratch their asses with toys as they put curses on adults ( a little description of my own kids ). I replied with my standard answer: “Kids who need them.”

 

“That´s not what I asked. I want to know what type of children are receiving my books.”

 

At this point, I hadn´t the slightest clue what they wanted to hear. Or, my mind simply refused to acknowledge the hidden message behind their words. But don´t worry. I caught up eventually.

 

“You´re not giving my books to foreigners, are you?”

 

And there we had it. The old racist topic. In all honesty- I´m not interested in having this discussion with anyone, ever. I´m a foreigner in this country, too. All I want is to give children in need a chance at having great books. Before I acted out of tact I pulled my “be nice” card. “I can assure you, all books will go to children living in this country if that´s what you´re asking.”  The power of careful wording.

My reply was enough to pacify them. They graciously handed their used children´s books over and left, but not without telling me they wanted a full report on which `children ` received their used books. I was a little dishearted after having had such an encounter. A case of wine was what I needed to dull the pain in my chest.

My husband and I had a long chat about this afterward. He said I should´ve told them to shove their books up their asses. Trust me, I was close but I couldn´t. I thought misleading them would give me more satisfaction. The truth is- It didn´t. I´m still fuming at the unfairness of the situation. So, people don´t want a foreign kid to have their used books but every other kid in need is allowed? A child is a child. Last I checked, books aren´t racist.

This year I planned to donate two boxes to a Safe House for women and their children who´ve fled their abusive homes. I don´t know if there are foreigners there or not. There probably are. Do I care? Not one bit. To be honest- I don´t always have the pleasure of seeing children unpack the boxes. Most of the time the boxes are taken and brought to an extra room due to security reasons. Which is okay.

But sometimes I´m able to see kids unpack a box and when I do there´s nothing more heartwarming than being able to see their smiles.

Book charity for children is a wonderful thing. It helps the community. It gives children a chance at reading the latest release or a popular book if their families can´t afford them. I´m not feeding the world but I´m giving what I can and that is a good book.

Now that a few more days have passed I still can´t say I´m over this issue. It´s still dishearting. This one encounter feels like a setback in so many ways. I´m questioning everything.

Could I have handled the situation better? Should I have refused their books? Americans aren´t popular over here at the moment so if I had acted as I had originally wanted and said the things that needed to be said – What would´ve been the outcome? Worst case scenario: My kids could become targets. I don´t want that. Not over books.

Is all this book charity worth it if I have to deal with these people? Do I want to put up with this? Oddly enough, I do. Not because of the parents but because of the children receiving these books.

I´m a firm believer that everyone should have easy access to books.

 

Sorry for the long rant. I´m just saddened by all this. Let´s hope I won´t have to deal with these people next year.

 

Thank you for reading my blog post. I really appreciate the time you just invested.

 

Hope you all have a wonderful day.

Morgana

 

 

 

 

 

My Book Blogger Deal Breakers

Be kind.

Be respectful.

Be humble. Be fun. Be yourself because no one else can. The sky´s the limit. Book blogging is just a small area in a niche that´s overwhelmingly large so make the most of it. I preach this. What I also preach is that every opinion matters. You have something to say? Go for it.

What´s the worst a book blogger can do, am I right? Worst case scenario: A book blogger will hunt you down and beat you with a hardcover.

Turns out that wouldn´t be the worst thing a book blogger could do. The reality is- Book bloggers have a sneaky, quite dangerous power and their weapons are opinions and words.

Words sting and once said, can’t be taken back. People don´t forget words because they´re our form of communication and our brains register negativity better than anything else. But what the hell am I talking about?! Book bloggers are wonderful humans. Some just forget to be respectful and kind and humble. Some haven´t the slightest clue when to distance themselves from the internet. All they know is that they have an opinion and couldn´t care less if their opinion is nasty or inappropriate. Because it´s okay to share your thoughts. * face palm *

Absolutely mind-boggling for me. I was once told that an Aquarius is a humanitarian. I´m an Aquarius. They supposedly have a deep sense of justice and fairness. They don´t do petty shit. Normally, I don´t believe in zodiac signs but I have to say- Those traits fit my bill. Many things become deal breakers for me because I can´t stand injustice. Being petty is for me the lowest of all lows. For me- disrespect within the book blog community is a deal-breaker. Some things can be forgiven but other things- Things some book bloggers do or say are unacceptable.

You may have your opinion but think before you act as you never know what kind of impact your opinion will have on others and yourself. Trust me when I say I hate to unfollow a book blogger. But I will if shit hits the fan.

Alas! My top book blogger deal breakers. The things that make me remove myself from other book blogger maps.


#1 Deal Breaker

LGBT Hate. “I don´t like to read M/M or F/F romances.” It´s not nice to see this line in a book blog post in 2019 but it happens. Fine, don´t like a M/M romance. What´s worse, though, is when someone gives a 2K word explanation. “I´d wish authors would stop trying to shove gays down my throat. I´d wish people would stop wanting me to accept homosexuality. I belong to a minority but I am not afraid to share my opinion. Authors need to include LGBT in their warning labels.”
Jesus Christ. We got the picture.

Whether this is your opinion or not- Does this need to be shared? This says a lot about a person. In no way, shape or form do I want to be associated with people who hate on others for their sexual orientation. Although I´m all for speaking your mind freely, I can´t stomach this unnecessary hate towards human beings. To ask for LGBT warning labels is going too far in this time and age. Mention this little tidbit in the synopsis but not as a warning label. This is a huge deal-breaker for me.

#2 Deal Breaker

Publicly shaming others. I´m for giving every friendship a fair chance. I even give second chances when there´s a hiccup. But when things start to go downhill then you´ll see dust clouds where I once stood. I remember having a friendly convo about sex in romance novels with a befriended book blogger and in between she told me I was being unfaithful to my husband because I was “lusting” after fictional characters. * sigh * At first I thought this was a joke. I quickly found out the book blogger wasn´t joking because she mentioned in quite a few blog posts that I´m a shining example of why you shouldn´t read any romance novels with sex scenes as they lead to adultery. And adultery is a sin. * hangs head * Because adultery starts with a fantasy.

The book blogger had a few screws missing because who in their right mind would accuse someone of cheating when all they did was admire a well-written scene IN A BOOK?! Try to prevent that wildfire from spreading. Impossible. In the end, I had to live with the fact that missing-screws-lady and her dedicated following believed I was a sinner. This was a deal-breaker for me. I immediately cut off all ties and even avoided bloggers who followed that one book blogger. Don´t point your judgemental finger at me.

To this day, I check to see if a book blogger I want to follow follows missing-screws-lady.

#3 Deal Breaker

Queen Bee Book Bloggers. These are the book bloggers who like to set up their own etiquette and force it upon others. I was once involved in a conversation with a fellow book blogger about the importance of Queen Bees in the book blog community. “Someone has to call the shots.” This book blogger thought very highly of herself because she mentioned that she was the Queen Bee of all book blogger interactions and rules.

I´m not a bee. Neither are you. The book blog community isn´t a bee colony and book bloggers aren´t workers or drones. This is what I told her before I unfriended and unfollowed her.

Sadly, there are many book bloggers out there who think someone died just to leave them in charge. This is the type of book blogger I just know I won´t meet eye to eye with, despite our mutual love for books. Hierarchy doesn´t exist in the book blog community. Should you give the impression that you believe you have any kind of authority in this branch then you won´t gain me as a follower. And if I´ve been following you you can bet your ass I´m going to unfollow. I don´t like bossy people.

#4 Deal Breaker

Social Justice Book Blogger Warriors. Yeah, these folks won´t ever win any plus points from me. Ever heard of “No two persons ever read the same book.” ? Let´s say SJBBW and I read book X- A romance filled with fluff, hearts, and rainbows. I´ll bet my house and car on the fact that SJBBWs will hate the Hero and Heroine because the Hero is a “typical” guy and the Heroine doesn´t have that golden backbone a woman needs these days. Even if the MCs are portrayed as equals… it´s not enough. The Heroine has to be superior in order for SJBBWs to accept a romance. “It´s 2019. Authors need to stop hanging onto traditional relationships where the male lead is dominant.” * sigh *

What do these people expect when reading a stink normal romance? Want a badass Heroine? Go write your own damn book if you´re so God damn unhappy.

It´s pointless to start any discussion with SJBBWs because no matter how often you tell them traditional relationships in romances aren´t outdated and that they´re perfectly fine ( even IRL )… they´ll always find something to nag about. It´s a book. Get over it. Now, kindly fuck off. I will most definitely unfollow SJBBWs because their hate for the male population is too bogus.

#5 Deal Breaker

Sensitive Book Bloggers. These book bloggers are easy to spot as they´re the ones who´re constantly offended by minor actions. They´re also very unhappy and seem to have a hard time finding the beauty in many things. They feel the book world is against them. They create drama and attract drama. Thankfully, I don´t have to unfollow these book bloggers because I usually don´t follow them in the first place.

Now, don´t worry. Despite my enormous dislike of certain book bloggers, I still follow quite a few book blogs. Mainly the people who treat me with the same amount of respect I give. Because at the end of each day, it all comes down to acceptance, respect, and kindness ( along with interesting blog content ).

I´m also aware that I might come across as someone who´s super judgemental. I won´t deny that I question actions and ideas. If I´ve been treated with disrespect or have seen others being discriminated for no good reason I´ll react and handle the way I feel is best. If that means I´m judgemental then so be it.

You can have opinions and dislikes. Just offer these things without being a dick.


What are your deal breakers? Do you have any? Let me know what they are ( if you have any ) in the comments below. I´d love to chat. ❤


Thank you for reading this blog post. I totally appreciate it. Hope you enjoyed.

Have a wonderful day.

Much bookish love,

Morgana