The Book Blog Changes

So it begins…

 

I´ve had a good few weeks to prepare for this moment. Many hours of brainstorming were invested into this pimp-my-book-blog project. Now, I think I´m happy with the end results.

Thanks to the harsh critique I received from close friends regarding my blog ( which can be read in my It´s Time For A Book Blog Change blog post ) I was able to see why I was not feeling my online baby. Even if I didn´t like most of the critique that was thrown at me I still understood each point and decided to sit down and think about my blog´s future.

As much as I appreciated the feedback… not everything I was advised to change truly needed a makeover. Which made this somehow a more difficult project than it would´ve been if I were to start from scratch.

Here´s a quick rundown on what the professionals thought needed improvement:

  • everything ( including my blog name ) except my blog content

What a way to kill a book blogger´s mood. So, I began thinking about my blog structure. Since I won´t be changing my blog name I figured I could rethink my setup. The features I currently have are:

Monday:  Mug Monday

Tuesday:  Book Reviews

Wednesday: Discussion Topics

Thursday: Simply Book Covers

Friday: Random

This isn´t a popular book blog schedule as many of the most used themes done by other book bloggers aren´t included ( and probably never will be, but more on that in a future post )

I think uploading five times a week is a lot so I´ve decided to remove a few days. This not only gives me more room for spontaneous posts but also allows more time for research ( should I need to do my homework on certain topics ). Without further ado, my new upload dates will be Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The goal here is not to become overwhelmed by my hobby and to not spam the hell out of everyone.

Good to know is that whatever I deem worthy of uploading on my blog- There will always be a book involved just to keep the connection with the book blog. This means there won´t ever be a post that doesn´t show or at least mention a book.

So without any delay… The new uploading days ( with their touched up features/themes ) will be:

Monday – Mug Feature with either a book-related topic and/or hot beverage & book talk, and/or mentionable stand-out line from a book.

Wednesday – Book reviews. This day will be dedicated to standalone reviews, collective reviews and DNF´d reads. Also, I´ll include a review in a foreign language once a month.

Friday – Book Discussions & Book Findings.

I know. This doesn´t seem like anything ground-breaking. But as I said… This is a touch-up. A rearrangement that fits my schedule a little better. I can preschedule posts better and spread these out more. This, in turn, also gives me more time.

Of course, there will be uploading exceptions every now and again in the future. I´m planning on doing some more Bookstagram recreations and even including book blogger interviews before each major holiday.

Another critique point was the Bitmoji images I´ve been including, with the addition of my self-made graphics. * takes deep breaths * I was told they´re shit. As in shittier than shit. If you want to see me curl up in the fetus position and watch me cry my eyes out just tell me the hours I spent creating banners have been for nothing. Okay. Critique noted. This is why I contacted a photographer friend of mine to help me out a little.

Let´s all bid the Bitmoji´s and self-made banners a farewell and welcome creative book photography ( not the Instagram kind ). I´ll admit that this is the weirdest change for me because these new images that are supposed to represent my book blog will have my face on them. Not every picture but a few for sure. I figured that not many book bloggers like to expose themselves this way so I might as well stand out. If my book blog is going to be judged for its appearance then I might as well expose the face behind it all and have that judged, too.

Now for the blog appearance. I was told that white is the way to go. Simple layouts that offer easy readability. Nothing too flashy. Nothing too dark. Personally, I don´t think I can get things to be simpler than they already are on my blog. So, my layout will remain. The white will stay. The only thing I´ll do is rearrange the menu and clean up the sidebar.

My greatest goal for my “new” book blog is to be as transparent as possible. Aside from spilling a little bookish Tea, I´d love for my book blog posts to help others.

With all this having been said- I think I´m good to go for now. I´m liking the changes I´ve made so far ( they all look fab on paper ). I´m excited to see how they´ll be received. Should all go downhill for whatever reason I can still go back to the same old, right?

Here´s to changes!

 

 

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. I hope you enjoyed. Get in touch!

Warm book blogger hugs,

Morgana

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mug Monday & My Week

Hello and welcome to another beautiful Monday! I hope y´all are doing great.

Today I´m gonna give you a quick rundown on how my bookish and non-bookish week has been. But first… Let´s do a little mug feature.

 

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Yupp. You´ve seen this mug before. I´ve featured this probably half a dozen times by now. With good reason, though. It, weirdly enough, color matches quite a few of my books. Which I find absolutely satisfying ( I´m a weirdo when it comes to colors ). The books, on the other hand, are unread treasures I decided to pull out from my bookshelf and dust off. * sigh * Let´s move on before this post becomes another TBR list rant, or worse… a TBR sob fest. I´m looking forward to reading these, though. Maybe now that I´ve removed the thick layer of dust… Maybe if I keep them on the coffee table I´ll feel compelled to read them ( That clearly didn´t work out. They´re already back in the shelves. ).

 

On to the non-bookish news:

Last week husbutt and I celebrated our 19th anniversary. Not our wedding anni ( that´s in March ) but the day we officially started dating. Hmm, I mean- The day I declared him my boyfriend. The weird part: He was the last to know. The whole village knew before he did. I fondly remember him calling me while I was at work, asking if we were dating because a friend of mine told him he was excited for us. I told him we were most definitely dating ( because you don´t kiss me without a reason ). He didn´t say much after that. I like to think his silence meant he was excited about having a long relationship with the unknown love of his life. Now, 19 years later, I know there can´t be any other guy who can love me more. If you ask him he´ll say he sensed that I was desperate and went along with everything and now it´s just too expensive to file for a divorce. Couple goals, y´all!

 

 

I won´t bother you with the rest of my non-bookish week. T´was uneventful, unless you´d like to read about my failures as a mom. That´s a whole other can I don´t think many are prepared to have opened.

 

Now, for the bookish stuff:

My blog changes are in the works. With any luck, I´ll be able to do a smooth and swift blog change by the end of the month/beginning of December.

Much to my regret, I haven´t been able to read much. Three books so far. But hey… I´m slowly getting back on track.

What I did manage to do was get rid of all the author swag I had laying around the house. I had countless buttons and stickers and bracelets and whatnot… All gone. After having read a post by Jess @Fiction No Chaser it dawned on me that I have a stupid amount of bookish swag I don´t use. Jess´ post Why Are We Obsessed With Book Boxes? gave me that final push and also gave inspiration for a new blog post: What I´d Like To See More In Book Subscription Boxes, which will possibly be uploaded this month. ( Thank you, Jess ❤ )

Speaking of blog posts- I might not have been busy reading ( I´m still ashamed ) but I was able to type up a few blog posts that felt awesome to write. This is definitely linked to the book blog changes I´ve been doing. My aim for the future is to be transparent in all bookish areas and to talk about anything book related I deem worthy of uploading. While I´m 100% positive I´ll be stepping on some people´s feet I can´t say I give a hoot anymore. Fun shouldn´t be held back by opinions.

Due to the pre-written blog posts I was able to pre-schedule more posts. From the looks of it, I won´t need to work much on the blog until after New Year.

 

 

That´s a wrap! I have nothing left to share. My main goal today was to not bore the living Hell out of you. My apologies if that didn´t work.

 

I hope each and every one of you have a wonderful Monday.

No matter where you are or what you´re doing… Feel hugged. Feel the bookish love.

 

Morgana

 

 

 

 

 

It´s Time For A Book Blog Change

 

Here are a few questions I´ve been asking myself about my blog.

  • Why am I not feeling my blog?
  • Should I change my blog´s theme? 
  • Should I just keep my theme and give my blog a decorative make-over?
  • What about my weekly themes?

 

Was I asking myself these questions because I was slowly getting bored with blogging? No. That´s impossible. Or, maybe it´s not such a far fetched thought. Maybe, deep down, I don´t like my blog. I needed answers. I needed some opinions.

Over the past months, I´ve spoken with a few people about this little first-world problem of mine. People whose opinions I highly value. Some are book bloggers, some are internet gurus who´re basically married to their MacBooks. I wanted to know if they were able to see why I wasn´t feeling my own creations. I asked for each to take a look at my blog and point out what they think needed to be tossed. I asked for them to not hold back with their opinions on my design, my graphics, my layout, and even my weekly themes.

 

I was ready for critique. I wasn´t ready for a full-on bash parade. 

 

What everyone agreed on was the header.  “That´s gotta go.” Of course, I was butt hurt after having heard their critique. “You´re running a book blog. I don´t see any books.”, a few said. I immediately went into defense mode:

“The books are in the content. I have the word `book´ in my blog name.” 

Which brings us to the next critique point. One that had me wishing for a bucket of Ben & Jerry´s chocolate fudge brownie ice-cream.  My blog name.

” Morgana´s Book Box is long. It´s not easy to remember.”, three people kindly pointed out. Okay, fine. I saw their point. Not saying I liked what they said but I got the picture.

“What´s with the bitmoji images?”, a few asked while they took my blog apart. Well, that´s just a smoother version of myself. You know, sans wrinkles, dark circles under my eyes, pimples, skin discoloration, scars… Need I go on? Photoshop is my second worst enemy so… Why not use bitmoji, right?

Needless to say- There was a long list of get-rid-of´s. But why? All I asked for was for them to help me figure out why I wasn´t feeling my blog´s makeup. I took their opinions to heart. My ego was bruised. I bought myself a pint of cookies & cream from Häagen Dasz because I had an emotional emergency. I thought I´d never recover from their honesty. Be honest but don´t fucking slay me.

Six out of six people told me my concept was outdated. Copied, chewed up and dull.

“You´re basically doing what everyone else is doing.” * nod * So is everyone else. Which isn´t a terrible thing. You can only do so much with a book blog.

In hindsight- they were all right.

  • Weekly blog themes work but they don´t work for everyone.
  • Animated selfies are not the real deal.
  • Blogs are personal.

 

The worst part, for me, was when all said they wouldn´t follow my blog if we weren´t close. Which says a lot, if you ask me. They all agreed that my content was decent but that everything else needed more life.

Yes, I´ve been doing this concept for years. It´s a system that´s always worked. Why shouldn´t it continue to work, you know? They had an answer for that, too. One I don´t want to repeat or else I might feel the need to get another pint of ice-cream.

I asked for opinions and that´s exactly what I got. Now, I had two options:

  • Ignore the critique and suggestions on how to improve my blog
  • Think about everything and maybe make a few adjustments

I decided on giving the suggestions that were given to me a try. Some of my friends had great ideas I´d love to try out. Maybe the harsh critique was necessary.

Maybe I have been stuck in an endless book blogging loop. Maybe I need a break. Or a drink. Ice-cream would be good right now.

So, with all that being said, I guess you´ll see some crazy blog changes in the future. It´s definitely worth a try. I´ll probably remove some themes, change my reviews, add some new features… Who knows. Maybe I´ll start feeling my blog again. What I do know is that I won´t be changing my blog name.


 

Let´s chat: Do you think your blog needs a make-over? Have you ever asked for someone´s opinion regarding your blog? Let me know in the comments below. I´d love to discuss this. ❤


 

As always, thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. I hope you enjoyed.

Have a wonderful day and don´t forget to share the book – love.

Morgana

 

 

Book Signing Review: RARE ´19 London

On September 21st, 2019, RARE was able to add another book signing event under their belt. With the location set in London, U.K. and the promise of 150 attending authors from the romance genre ( including fantasy romance writers ) there was no doubt the signing was going to make many literary dreams come true. As a dedicated RARE event hopper, I was ready to have my literary mind blown away.

 

RARE ´19 London is going to be epic!

 

That´s what the finger-lick-worthy author line-up promised.

Was the event as special as I hoped it would be?

Weeeell, let´s put it this way: If I were to treat the event ( and everything around it ) the way I review the books I read then I´d definitely give RARE ´19 London a 3 out of 5 rating.

RARE rating

 

A few weeks have already passed since the event happened and I can´t say if I´m happy or disappointed. It´s a 50/50 sort of thing. I had a great time in London, but I´m not able to give the RARE event much credit for that. My biggest highlight was being able to spend time with my book bestie, the incredibly awesome, Sabrina @Brina and the Books. This was our first time meeting in person and I can, without a doubt, say that she´s one of the loveliest human beings I´ve had the pleasure of hanging out with.

Also, the few authors I met and chatted with at the event were lovely. Kandi SteinerT. L. SmithStylo FantomePoppy J. AndersonDevney PerryDylan Allen,  Jeannine Colette and Lesley Jones were all dolls. Each took their time. Each author I spoke to made my day. I guess you can also say my book purchase was a success, as well.

 

RARE haul

 

I didn´t go home empty-handed. 12 books in total, including swag. My tiny suitcase was stuffed at the end of the event. I spent a total of 90 GBP.

 

Some books cost only 5 GBP.

Other books cost me the standard 10 GBP.

I paid the proud amount of 20 GBP for one paperback.

A few books were given to me by very generous authors.

 

So, those were my positive bam-bam-bookish-glam highlights of the RARE ´19 London event. Not so many, huh? I know. I wish I had more positive things to share about the 4 hours I spent there.

As for the things that disappointed me: I think it´s safe to say that it wasn´t the event alone. My disappointment started right after the tickets went on sale and that feeling lasted throughout the whole year leading up to the event.

  • Tickets weren´t cheap. At first, I thought the 48.42 GBP per general admission ticket was a lot but then I thought about the author line-up. 150 authors for that price? It´s actually a decent price.

 

  • The easiest way to get any info regarding the event was through their Facebook page.  I have a FB account but don´t really have the nerves or energy to spend much time there. Same with Twitter. So, this made it difficult for me to be up-to-date with any news or changes because people were constantly publishing posts… Posts that buried the significant stuff I needed to know. I ended up not knowing much of anything until it was too late. I would´ve loved to have been able to check a website out- if there had been one. There probably is a RARE homepage somewhere on the internet but I wasn´t able to find it. I spent a year looking for a proper homepage that provided regular updates. All links directed me toward the Eventbrite site which looked like a hot mess.

 

  • The finger-lick-worthy author line-up? It changed. Not once, not twice… In combination with the buried posts on social media, I found out too late that the authors I wanted to see ( the authors I paid good money to see ) had canceled. I´m the type who´ll visit every author table if possible so I knew I´d be discovering new authors at the event. That wouldn´t have been a problem. The issue I had was: I saw the names of my favorite authors on the attendee list, purchased a not so cheap ticket to see them, then eventually saw that their names had vanished from the attendee list. And this happened after I booked my flight. So, fat chance of ditching the event. This issue has been touched on in the RARE Facebook group and the event organizer kindly provided their apologies along with positive encouragement to give other books by the remaining attending authors a go. The organizer took action appropriately, in my opinion. How else would one handle a bunch of disappointed people? Exactly.Despite the friendly video message from the event organizer, I remained disappointed. And I don´t feel I´m wrong for feeling bothered by this, either. I´m allowed to feel crappy when I specifically want to see authors and find out they canceled. And I´m allowed to bitch about it, too.

Then there were minor issues with a few volunteers who helped out at author tables.

  • The `Only I take pics` people. Yeah, sweet-cheeks, I heard ya. And I´m not handing over my phone to a stranger. You ain´t touching my phone. If not giving you my phone results in me not getting a pic of the author then so be it.

 

  • The table- sitters. Bless them, for they had the exclusive job of fending off people who dared to look at an author´s table while the author was at lunch break. Okay, I get it. Don´t go snooping around an author´s table when they´re not there. Someone could steal the goods. Gottcha. But… the tables had table-sitters. I made the mistake of getting to close to a table and was asked to keep my distance.

 

 

You mean to say you willingly signed up to be a volunteer and accepted whatever role you received ( in this case table-sitter ) and can´t watch over the table?

What´s the job of a table-sitter? To watch over a table, I´d assume.  I´m sure I´m allowed to look. I mean- I´m the one interested in spending money. I would´ve returned after the author’s lunch break and would´ve bought a few books if I hadn´t been shooed away.

 

  • There were 10 ticketed authors. Not a bad idea if you think about it. To skip waiting in line for hours you can get a number and wait until that´s called out. This would´ve been brilliant if it hadn´t been for the fact that people still had to wait.

 

So, with that being said… The event was eventful on all levels. I´m hesitant to say this but, RARE ´19 London didn´t feel like it had much structure. As an outsider, it all looked very chaotic. Many volunteers gave the impression that they were overwhelmed ( which they had every right to be ).  The RARE table ( which I assumed was also the info table ) was often not occupied.

146 tables.

2 tables for narrators.

2 tables for Passionflix.

3 tables for the RARE team. 

That leaves a total of 139 authors. 

 

I paid:

48 smackers for a ticket

131.00 Euros for my flight

90 GBP on books

I don´t believe I´ll be visiting another RARE event. Personally, it´s not worth all the hassle I put myself through. It would´ve been easier if I had stayed at home and used the money to purchase books online. It would´ve been easier to drive down to Sabrina´s place and visit her where she lives.


 

On a kind note: I´m aware of how much work goes into these types of events. I´m not sure how large the RARE team actually is but my guess is that it´s not large enough to handle an event without the help of volunteers. I actually applaud the RARE team for their efforts. Every event ( bookish or not ) has hiccups- Things that can´t be prevented sometimes. Shit happens when you least expect it. I´m not mad at anything or anyone- Just a little disappointed in how things went. The main goal of any event organizer is to have people leave at the end with the best experience ever. My experience was okay, but not okay enough for me to want to attend another event.

 


 

So, that was RARE ´19 London. I hope everyone else who attended had a fabulous time and got to see their unicorn authors. ❤


 

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post. I really appreciate it.

Share the book love,

Morgana

 

 

 

 

Mug Monday & What I´ve Been Up To

Literally me every Monday

 

Hey, everyone! Welcome back to Friday´s unbeloved sister, Monday.

It´s been a minute since I sat down and did a Mug Monday feature. But I have a good reason for having neglected my favorite blog feature.

 

I´ve been mingling with the book crowd. 

 

As in- actually ditching my laptop and leaving the house to meet up with some bookish people.

I know. I know. Unthinkable, considering how much I love to stay in my PJs all day and do nothing but read. Oh, by the way- Mug feature ahead!

 

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Granted, not the most original mug to feature, but it´s still one, even if you can hardly see it.

So, yes. I´ve been busy with book socializing.

Somewhere around the end of September, I teamed up with my book bestie Brina@Brina and the Books to visit the RARE ´19 London book event. Then had the pleasure of being spontaneously invited to a book blogger meet up in Frankfurt shortly after the London event. And last but not least ( as I´m hoping this socializing train will continue to roll ) I went to an author reading.

I´ve noticed my need to nap has been greater than ever before. Damn, I forgot how much fun, yet exhausting socializing is.

With that being said- I´ve collected enough info on all accounts and am now able to present my observations and the things I´ve learned, plus to share the experience I had from the author reading. Let´s just say I have many many things to share with y´all.

As for being a tad blog absent: Thanks to the pre-scheduled posts I´ve worked on weeks ago I don´t feel the least bit guilty about having been offline for a few days/weeks. So, YAY for that.

 

 

I guess that´s it for this week´s Mug Monday. Be sure to stick around to find out how my bookish socializing went. All I´m going to say is: Be prepared. It´s been an enlightening ride.

As always, Don´t forget to share the book love because Lord knows there´s too little of that making its rounds. ❤

Enjoy your Monday, dear bookish Padawans.

Take care,

Feel hugged,

 

Morgana