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Archive for December, 2010

Josh Fruhlinger: the Comics Curmudgeon makes fun of the funnies

by susie
Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

comics-curmudgeon-logo

Josh Fruhlinger has been reading the daily funnies for as long as he can remember. In 2004, he launched his blog, The Comics Curmudgeon, as a way to capture a wide audience for his critiques of comicstrips ranging from Archie to Ziggy. In 2007, he appeared as a contestant on Jeopardy where he ended up in third place with a final total of $1 after incorrectly answering “Who is Dubcek” (the correct answer was Golda Meir). In addition to updating his site daily, Josh also tweets frequently, having built up a loyal following ranging from his local newspaper, @baltimoresun to fellow comics enthusiasts like @comicsaddict. Josh has lived in Buffalo, San Francisco, and Germany, but currently resides in Baltimore with his wife Amber and cat Hoagie.

Josh Fruhlinger, Owner of The Comics Curmudgeon

Josh Fruhlinger, Owner of The Comics Curmudgeon

Q: In your “About Me” section, you say that you have been reading the daily comics every day for as long as you can remember. What made you decide to start blogging about the daily funnies?

A: I’ve been making the sorts of jokes I make on my blog kind of forever. When I was in graduate school, my roommate and I would send emails back and forth about the day’s Curtis strip or whatever. When I moved to Baltimore in 2002, the paper had all these bizarre soap opera strips (Mary Worth, Rex Morgan, etc.) that I had never seen before but which I instantly fell in love with. The immediate impetus came from my wife. I used to read the comics over breakfast with her and crack wise about them and then say “I should have a blog where I put this stuff up.” Eventually she got sick of me saying it and made me actually do it.

I also had made a couple of abortive attempts to start blogging in the early ’00s, but these were unfocused, hey-this-is-me-and-these-are-my-Important-Thoughts blogs. They flopped because they lacked direction. I do think the more laser-beam focused your blog is, the easier it is to get into the mindset necessary to write it. So, doing a comics blog was a way for me to motivate myself to do the writing that I wanted to do.

Q: How did you decide on the name “Comics Curmudgeon”? Were there any other names you considered for your blog?

When I first launched the blog in July of 2004, it was called “I Read The Comics So You Don’t Have To.” Unbeknownst to me at the time, there had been an intermittent but longrunning feature in the local Baltimore alt weekly called “Funny Paper” written by Tom Scocca (who now blogs for Slate) and Joe MacLeod that covered much of the same ground, and appeared online as well as in print; it had stopped running mere months before I started my blog. Their tagline was “We read the comics so you don’t have to,” and lots of my early readers thought that I was them, starting up in a different place.

Four or five months into my blogging career Tom Scocca wrote to me asking me to change the name, which I did, and the Comics Curmudgeon was all I could come up with on relatively short notice. At first I sort of resented it, but ultimately I’m glad I did. I sort of like having a noun as my blog title — “Josh Fruhlinger *IS* the Comics Curmudgeon!” — rather than having to me the “IRTCSYDHT guy”.

Q: Are there ever days when you have a difficult time picking something from the daily comics to blog about?

A: Sometimes, yes! I really try to do at least two a day, and sometimes it’s hard to find something funny to say other than “Boy, Funky Winkerbean sure is depressing!” Other times there’s an embarrassment of riches, of course.

One thing doing to blog every day has done for me is given me respect and sympathy for the comics artists I make fun of. It’s hard coming up with something funny to say every day. I have even less control than they do, though, since I depend on other people’s stuff to bounce off of.

Q: Do you always to stick to commenting on comics on the day they come out? In other words, are there ever days when there is such a wealth of great comics that you spread them out over two or more days?

A: The thing about the comics is that they happen every day! I don’t want to spread them out too much because who knows what the next day’s comics will bring. And actually, I like the fact that my site follows the natural rhythm of the comics section.

Q: How much time do you spend on blogging each day?

A: Depends, but it’s generally about an hour or two. The whole week’s comics actually go up all at once over the weekend, if you know where to look, so sometimes I try to spend an evening doing several days’ worth of comics in advance, so I don’t have to worry about it later. And then there’s the time spent keeping up with the commentors during the day, which happens in brief chunks.

Q: How does blogging fit in with your family life?

A: Oh, pretty well. I work at home in front of the computer so it just reads as more “work” at this point (though it’s definitely fun work!).

Q: When did you decide to run ads on your site? Did the inclusion of ads make running the site more like a second job and any less like a fun hobby?

I started running ads on the site really early in its existence — I think I put Amazon referral link ads almost as soon as I started running it, and I had BlogAds on the site by Spring of 2005, less than a year into its existence. But the first couple of years it was only a few hundred dollars a year. In 2007 the income started going up (and some of my other freelance income started going down) and I decided I had to treat it more like a job, which primarily meant that I tried to post comics every day. Before, I sometimes went days between posts; now I could afford to make time for the blog every day. I think posting daily boosted readership, which boosted income, which got me to treat it more like a job — a feedback loop.

I don’t regret this transition from hobby to job at all though! I feel very lucky to not ony entertain people but to make part of my living off of my writing. And my sense of professionalism compels me to try to do a good job, with satisfying results.

Q: You have some big-name followers on Twitter. What does Tweeting add to your blogging experience?

A: My Twitter feed isn’t just a “blog” feed — I put up links to my other work, links to things I find interesting, jokes I come up with, etc. there too. I do link to every blog post, though, and I try to put up a bonus joke when I do so it doesn’t just feel like an automated feed to readers. I sort of started as an experiment, and I was suprised to find that Twitter quickly became my #2 referring domain after Google. It’s also a quick and easy way for me to communicate with readers who tag me in a Twitter post — less intrusive and more manageable than e-mail.

Q: How often do you correspond one-on-one with your readers? Do you post regularly on the Discussion Forum on your site?

A: I do try to read all of my comments, and I probably post comments myself a two or three times a week, especially in reply to comments that are asking me something directly. I get plenty of email and try to get direct responses to everyone in a timely fashion (though I don’t always pull it off). I do think remaining accessible is important for a site like a blog that is very strongly identified with its owner/writer.

Q: What is your personal favorite blog post and/or corresponding comic strip?

A: Man, after 2,600+ posts, it’s honestly hard for me to pick! I have to say that one of my favorite sequences — which also corresponded to an uptick in my traffic — came in the summer of 2006, during a bizarre Mary Worth storyline in which a Captain Kangaroo lookalike who had fallen for Mary was literally hounded to death by Mary and her friends. After the strip where we learned that he died, I somehow managed to put together a passable W.H Auden spoof of which I am still proud.

But, to prove that I’m not just resting on my laurels, I was actually pretty pleased with the post I just put up this morning, for maintaining a theme across discussion of several strips.

Q: Have you ever thought about branching out to cover comic books in addition to newspaper comic strips?

A: I haven’t, for a couple reasons. One is that quite honestly I’m not a big comic book reader, and haven’t been since I was a kid. The other is more strategic: there are *lots* of comic book blogs out there, but I’m pretty much *the* newspaper comic strip blogger. One of the things I think is key to success in blogging is to find your own niche. What’s the thing that you love that nobody else is writing about?

Q: What is something about you that your readers don’t know?
A: Hmm, there are actually very few things I don’t talk about on the blog, actually! I don’t make it all “me me me” — it’s not that kind of blog — but I’m a big believer in transparency.
Q: Where did you go to grad school? How does this influence your blogging?

A: I went to grad school at UC Berkeley and got a completely useless master’s degree in history. The original plan was to stay through and get a PHD and become an academic but after a couple years I realized it wasn’t for me and beat an honorable retreat when I got the master’s. The subject matter didn’t really affect my blogging directly, but getting a humanities degree involves learning how to very closely read cultural products (writing/art/etc.) both in and of themselves and in a larger cultural contexts, which is more or less what I’m doing with Mary Worth, bizarrely enough.

Q: Do you have a go-to blogger who inspires or provokes you?

A: Not a specific blogger, but I have a huge blog-crush on all the folks who write The Awl.

Q: You were on Jeopardy! While you were going through the process, were you thinking about how you would write about the experience in a blog post?

A: Yes, I did! Even though it had nothing to do with my blog per se, which is why I made it a standalone page.

Josh would like to extend the following discount code to advertisers. As a throwback to the days when he wrote under “I Read the Comics so You Don’t Have To,” use the code irtcsydht to receive one free week of advertising on the Comics Curmudgeon between 12/24/10 and 1/2/10. He would also like to extend an offer to any Comic Artists or Owners of Comic-Related Websites for 50% off banner ads during the month of January! Send Josh an email for more information.


How one blogger sold more than 50 ads in just three days

by susie
Monday, December 20th, 2010

“Hey small business owner! Let’s make some magic!”

Earlier this month, fashion and lifestyle blogger, Gala Darling, generated such a big buzz around new Blogads ad units that it tripled her monthly revenue! She did this by taking innovative steps that can work for your site, too.

Her pitch? Offer affordable ad space to small businesses including boutique owners, artisans, and Etsy shop owners. Gala’s site generates more than 1 million pageviews per month. The modestly 125×125 ads reach her loyal fanbase over the profitable days and weeks around the holidays. Gala Darliing priced the ads at $2 a day. That price is easy for any advertiser to understand and opens up a whole new tier of potential buyers.

Open 25 hours

Gala Darling extended discounted advertising rates to small business owners who read her blog

Her promotion? Making a dedicated blog post featuring a huge pink image, testimonial, and clear instructions about advertising. Gala put to use the knowledge that her readers “LOVE to buy handmade” and are “ALL Etsy addicts!” Her goal wasn’t necessarily to make a killing on the ad sales, but to expose these small business owners to the ease of online advertising and to help them find an interested audience. She even created a “Support Small Businesses” header for these ads, and changed her “Advertise here” link to say “Advertise your independent business here!”

In Gala’s words: “I created a space on my site designed exactly for people like you. You know that promotion is important—but it can be expensive. Allow me to remove that obstacle!”

“My aim was to make it INSANELY affordable, and I think some people are going to think I am nuts for pricing it so low… I don’t care, though! I know how hard it can be to find an audience which matches your own, and I want to make it easy for you to make a mint!”

It’s clear that Gala pulled out all the stops in order to make these advertisers feel encouraged and welcomed to utilize the precious real estate available.

The response? Over the course of three days, readers bought more than 50 ads.

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Gala Darling's promotional post generated over 50 ad purchases over 3 days

How can this work for your blog?

Your readers are your biggest fans. They know the unique value your blog delivers. Get them to help you get the word out. If you haven’t done so yet, add one of our new ad units to your blog. There are sizes to fit every layout, from small squares to large marquees. Because ad spaces are not “one size fits all,” it is important to offer a range of options attracting a broad spectrum of advertisers to increase your revenue.

Promote your new spaces with a catchy blog post. Use images and testimonials to entice advertisers. Provide simple directions for first-time buyers. In Gala’s words, “remove the obstacle” between business owners with a small advertising budget and their audience.

Know your audience. If your readers love Etsy shops, direct this offer to Etsy shop owners. If you are located in an urban area, this is a great way to get businesses in your city excited. If you write for a food blog, extend an invitation to restaurant owners.

Make the offer too good to pass up. Try reducing your rates for a specified amount of time or provide a discount code. Share a testimonial from a former advertiser who can vouch for the success they achieved by advertising on your site.

Dust off your “Advertise Here” page and add some spice! It might seem like a minor detail, but adding aesthetics such as an attractive header, demographic information, and a snazzy sales pitch for your site could really secure the sale!

Congratulations to Gala Darling on her success! We hope other bloggers can learn from your experience.

A slippery tale of viral success

by henrycopeland
Thursday, December 16th, 2010

This morning I watched a fun video about snowboarding the slopes and alleys of Montmartre, the big hump of land on the north side of central Paris. The video is called “Montmartre.First Historical Snowboard Ride.” Dropped on Youtube on 12/09/10, the video already has 413k views.

When I got to the video’s end, Youtube recommended another video, “Snowboard Freeride à Montmartre Paris.” Posted a year ago (12.19.09), that video had only 24k views.

Clearly the “First Historical” video wasn’t first. That set me to thinking, why is the second video’s pull so much bigger than the first?

Some of this difference may lie in luck, the mother of all viral success. But you usually have to be good before you’re lucky. And this year’s video succeeds not only because of the juxtaposition of snowboarding and the city of love, but because it’s a great video. Watch the videos, then read my hypotheses below.

Here’s what I think. Last year’s video (top) failed/fails to hit it big for a bunch of reasons: it’s tightly focused on snowboarding. The music is targeted to thrash-loving snowboarders. The title is in French. The humans aren’t visible as distinct individuals. The same scenery is rehashed multiple times. There’s no development of character or location.

Even though this year’s video (bottom) is 50% longer (a viral no-no, right?), it has a lot more going for it. The biggest advantage are the video’s human characters and its implicit narrative. There’s the faux documentary title frame with a date and “first descent.” Even if you don’t speak French, you can tell that this is the tale of a couple of guys going out for an adventure. “Hey, a tram, that’s almost as good as a ski lift!” There’s lots of good-natured banter and chuckling. Some change-ups in camera perspectives. Varied scenery, including swoops among startled pedestrians and parked cars. And the whimsical music appeals to a far wider audience.

In short: narratives rule, even when they’re implicit or conveyed in words the audience doesn’t fully understand.

Candy Kirby: Full-time family humor blogger

by susie
Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Candy Kirby, a Pennsylvania-born Los Angeles transplant and former writer for “The Bold and the Beautiful,” added Blogger to her resume in 2006. Three years later, she added Editor, Founder, and “Chief Waste Management Technician” when she created The Laughing Stork, a blog dedicated to unveiling the unpredictable and humorous nature of parenting. The blog’s tagline “Home is where the humor is” also applies to the antics of her crazy cats who happily pose for holiday photos, and Candy’s desire to turn a diaper genie into a beer keg. Her good-natured tweets appeal to a wide audience ranging from @BarackObama to @AmyGrindhouse. You can also friend her on Facebook to stay up to date with Candy’s zany updates or check out her fun game for expecting mothers: Pregnancy Bingo!

Candy Laughing Stork

Candy Kirby, Founder and Editor of The Laughing Stork

Q: When did you start blogging, and what was your inspiration to start?

A: I started blogging on a whim – like so many other people – back in 2006 when I was “on a break” from TV writing. At first I thought, “Oh, it will be nice to do this on the side as another outlet for my writing.” Then blogging became my passion. I originally poked fun at pop culture and eventually segued into family humor, a much more rich area for material in my opinion, when I become pregnant in 2009.

Q: What do you think makes The Laughing Stork unique compared to other parenting blogs?

A: The Laughing Stork is not a resource for parents and does not provide one iota of credible information. It is pretty much all humor and satire, all the time.

Q: How much time do you spend each day on blogging?

A: Four to ten hours, which also includes working on advertising, marketing, responding to readers, etc.

Q: How often do you correspond one-on-one with readers?

A: Every day. I make a concerted effort to respond to every e-mail, because the site wouldn’t exist without readers’ support.

Q: Were there any unexpected joys or pains associated with blogging when you first started out?

A: Oh sure. When I wrote about pop culture, there were “trolls,” some of whom were actually other (oddly competitive) bloggers, that would leave vicious comments and try to drive my other readers away. That was certainly stressful. But you learn how to closely monitor comments to keep the community somewhat cordial and, even more importantly, how to develop thick skin! Also, there was – and is – the addictive nature of blogging. It is tough when you’re unable to really take a vacation day. On the flip side, that’s exactly what makes certain blogs successful: that need to post every day and connect with your readers.

Q: What is the meaning behind the name of your blog, The Laughing Stork? Were there other names you considered using?

A: Yes, I had a whole list of pretty terrible names, including – I kid you not – “The Bottle Lines.” Can you imagine? But, hey, there are no bad ideas in a brainstorm! *AHEM* I knew I wanted something different from many other parenting blogs, something that didn’t have the words “mom” or “baby” in it so, with the help of my brand management consultants (AKA my cats), I ultimately decided on The Laughing Stork, which is a play on the phrase “Laughing Stock.” Think it captures my brand well.

Q: What is something your readers do not know about you?

A: I eat everything out of a bowl. Even pizza.

Q: Would you mind elaborating on that a little more?

A: Oh boy. How to explain my many quirks? There is not much logic behind my affinity for bowls (or behind most of what I do, for that matter). I think it all started because I’m a messy eater and I discovered bowls contain my food and crumbs better than plates. And now, well, I feel compelled to eat almost everything out of a bowl if possible. I will eat off a plate at restaurants. But I’m not happy about it.

Q: What is your own personal favorite blog post?

A: Sounds cliché, but it’s hard to single out just one. There is a column about the time I was tragically defeated by an umbrella stroller, Woman Versus Stroller, to which many mothers can relate. And, even more importantly, my mom thought it was funny. I also created a fun new game: Pregnancy Bingo!

Q: Has your approach to blogging changed over time, and what motivates you to continue?

A: It is no longer a hobby; it is my livelihood. So I have to approach it as a business without making the site feel that way.

Q: Since blogging is now your livelihood, is it less fun than it was when it was a hobby?

A: Well, sure, because there is more pressure to keep increasing traffic and, therefore, advertising revenue. And anything becomes a “job,” eventually. But getting to write whatever I want for a living and having the schedule flexibility that I do…? Ain’t too shabby.

Q: What recommendations would you give to up and coming bloggers who wish to make their own blogs their full time jobs?

A: Be sure that you’re passionate about blogging. Don’t quit your day job until you’re generating enough revenue on which to live. And, most importantly, invest in plenty of sweatpants and Red Bull.

Q: You have some big-name followers on Twitter. What does Tweeting add to your blogging experience?

A: Not only does it broaden my community and offer a marketing tool for my stories, but it also gives me an outlet for thoughts or ideas that aren’t necessarily blog post-worthy. In other words, I post a lot of nonsense on Twitter.

Q: You mentioned that a successful blog is one that has daily posts; do you ever take days off?

A: I don’t post much on the weekends anymore because I think it’s important to recharge the creative batteries. However, I rarely take weekdays off – and usually find myself writing during vacations, as I did recently in Hawaii. I make it up to my husband by buying him a couple of fruity umbrella drinks. He’s easy like that.

Q: Do you have a go-to blogger who inspires or provokes you?

A: I regularly go to blogs that celebrate the absurd, such as AwkwardFamilyPhotos and CakeWrecks.

A gift guide for bloggers and gadget enthusiasts

by susie
Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Too busy blogging (or buying ads) to pick out gifts?  Here are suggestions for the seasonal gift-hurl:

Agloves

Agloves maintain connectivity between your fingertips and touch screen while keeping your hands warm.

How often do you find yourself waiting at the bus stop, sitting at a stoplight, or taking the dog out in chilly weather when *beep beep* you receive a text? You can’t very well take your hands out of their cozy gloves to respond. The answer to this scenario is Agloves! These gloves allow conductivity to pass from your fingers right to your digital device! Touch screens can’t even tell the difference between Agloves and bare fingers, so you no longer need to worry about frost bite.

Twournal

Twournal compiles tweets into a book you can display in your home library

Twournal transforms Twitter’s tweeters’ tweets into tactile titles. This gift is great for the Tweeter who uses Twitter as a personal diary or the Tweeter who has always wanted their work to be printed.

bench cookie

Bench cookies are great for keeping laptops cool

Why spend over $20 on a cooling station for your laptop when you can buy the Bench Cookie? Bench cookies provide an adjustable gripped surface. Place four under a laptop to promote air circulation, which makes your machine safer and more energy efficient. As an extra bonus, these handy little discs are multi-taskers! When not under a laptop, these handy Oreo-like discs can be used for various home projects. Create a steady surface for your kitchen’s cutting board or incorporate them into your woodworking projects.

Etch A Sketch

The Etch A Sketch faceplate turns an ordinary iPad into a classic toy

Looking for a way to make your iPod feel more like a childhood toy? Affix the Headcase Etch A Sketch® faceplate to your iPod for that classic 1950s nostalgia. Also available for iPhone!

matias folding keyboard

The Matias Folding Keyboard fits into a laptop bag for easy travel

For laptop lovers who prefer a full sized keyboard, the Matias Folding Keyboard provides a great option for traveling bloggers. This slim peripheral has a number pad for efficient spreadsheet entry, volume controls, and is specially designed to reduce the long-term fatigue sometimes associated with prolonged keyboard use. Whether your recipient is an iPhone, iPad, Macbook, or PC laptop user, the Matias folding keyboard is a solid pick.

iBoo

iBoo will scare up your favorite tunes

The blogger whose inspiration comes from pumping out tunes might be interested in the iBoo. Available in red, white, and blue, iBoo scares up your iPod’s library through a 9 W Subwoofer and 15 watts of total output. If your blogger does not sync with these Pac-Man reminiscent ghosts, check out the iPig or iPanda instead.

Prank Boxes

Hide your expensive gifts in one of these prank boxes

For those of you who have already found the perfect gift and want to present it with gusto, hide it in a prank gift box. The Prank Pack Fake Gift Boxes include two phony product boxes: The iArm (“Forearm Mount”) and a PetPetter (“Never touch your pets again!”). Simply insert your high priced gift in the box, wrap it up and stick it under the tree. Your sweetheart will never suspect the diamond ring you’ve hidden inside!

Larrys Holiday Blend

Add some pep to your day with some NC roasted organic fair trade coffee

Caffeine motivates the masses. There are plenty of fabulous local coffees available, but here are a couple of North Carolina brands that are near and dear to our hearts. Both Larry’s Beans and Counter Culture offer environmentally sustainable organic, fair trade, shade grown beans, so you can feel good about supporting these roasters while you get your coffee buzz on. Check out their online stores for seasonal flavors like Larry’s Rockin’ Holiday Blend and Counter Cultures 2010 Holiday Blend. And for coffee drinkers on the go, get them the Photojojo. This clever portable coffee mug poses as either a Nikon or Canon lens and keeps your coffee toasty warm for those cold commutes.

photojojo

Finally, a mug for the shutterbug coffee enthusiast

For more fabulous gift ideas, check out these sources:
Techno Claus from Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood
Wired’s Gift Guide for Geeks on the Go
The Think Geek Holiday Gift Center
Mashable’s 2010 Holiday Gift Guide

Book advertising on blogs

by henrycopeland
Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Have you checked out our new page summing up how to promote your book online with ads on blogs?

Liking advertising on blogs with Facebook functionality

by henrycopeland
Monday, December 13th, 2010

Now advertisers and fans of a particular blog can give a Facebook “like” to the ad order page for individual blogs. For example, here’s the order page for GalaDarling.

Likable advertise here pages

New flash discount codes for advertising on blogs

by henrycopeland
Monday, December 13th, 2010

Sale Want to do some chumming to get advertisers excited? Try our new one-time-only, first-come-first-serve discount for advertising on your blog.

We’ve just added a new twist to our discount code functionality that allows a blogger to create a discount coupon that can only be used by one buyer. Log in to your account, click “adstrips” then click “customize adstrip.” Create a code, set the validity to “one-time use,” then click “proceed” at the bottom of the page. You’re ready for a flash sale!

Discount code blog advertising

Next, just tweet or blog about the discount. As the folks over at Woot have proven, buyers LOVE a flash sale, particularly if the quantities on offer are limited.

Here’s a post about discount code functionality.

Finally, don’t forget to tell your advertisers to “like” your advertising order page while they’re there.

(Sale photo credit: timparkinson.)

Rebecca Joines Schinsky: The Book Lady

by susie
Thursday, December 9th, 2010

The Book Lady’s Blog, written and edited by Rebecca Joines Schinsky, features reviews for a range of book genres as well as coverage of industry news. Rebecca is a self described “panty-throwing, book-loving, wild woman” as well as a member of the National Book Critic’s Circle. Some of her favorite things include parentheses and author John Irving. When she isn’t busy reading, composing blog posts, or recording the Bookrageous Podcast, she can be found updating her Twitter feed (followed by tweeps including writers like @susanorlean and publishers like @simonschuster and @powerHouseBooks) and Facebook account from her home in Richmond, VA.

Rebecca Joines Schinsky, writer and editor of The Book Lady's Blog

Rebecca Joines Schinsky, writer and editor of The Book Lady's Blog

Q: When did you start blogging, and what was the inspiration that got you started?

A: I started blogging in July of 2008. I had just recently discovered book blogs and LibraryThing, and I was so pleasantly surprised that people were using the internet to create a literary community. I was bored at work one day and thought, “Well, I could totally do that!” and I just did it the way I do pretty much everything else– I jumped in head first and learned as I went.

Q: Were there any unexpected joys or pains you experienced when you started blogging?

A: There are unexpected joys all the time in the form of new relationships and book discoveries and hearing that I’ve turned someone onto a great book or new genre. That’s incredibly rewarding. In terms of pain, well, blogging is like everything else in life: it’s only as painful as you make it. The Book Lady’s Blog is a drama-free zone, so the pains have been relatively few and far between.

Q: What keeps you motivated to continue blogging?

A: What? You mean besides the millions of dollars I… oh wait… Really, it’s the people! I love books, but what I really love are book people. They’re the reason I started my blog, and they’re the reason I continue. Blogging has allowed me to connect with people who share my passion for literature and whom I would never have met otherwise, and it’s opened up all kinds of exciting doors into the world of publishing and bookselling. Access to books before they come out isn’t too bad, either.

Q: How much time do you spend on blogging each day?

A: It varies. I write about a thousand words a day, but it takes me much longer to reach that total when I’m writing a book review than it does when I’m writing a piece about publishing, an event I attended, or my reading life. In general, I spend about two hours writing my blog each day and another several reading other blogs and engaging in social networking.

Q: When your blog transitioned from a hobby to a part-time job, did it lose its novelty (forgive the pun!)? Does it ever feel more like “work” rather than fun?

A: Sure, at some points it has felt more like work, as I’ve felt increased pressure to have new content every day and to utilize social networking with more focus in order to attract new readers, but the flip side is that it is also more rewarding. Now that I have income from something that began as a labor of love, I see a way in to making this part of a career, and I’m taken more seriously for being able to reach a wider audience.

Q: How does blogging fit in with your family life?

A: When I started blogging, it fit into my family life (which is just my husband, my dog, and me) the same way any other hobby did– I did it in my spare time and focused on it when my husband was engaged in his own hobbies. Now that it’s more of a part-time job, I dedicate time for it– and for reading, can’t forget the reading– each day, and I fit other things in around it, instead of the other way around.

Q: Do you ever worry about running out of things to blog about?

A: No– as long as there are good books, there will be things to blog about. What I worry about is running out of writing mojo.

Q: What do you think makes The Book Lady’s Blog unique compared to other book blogs?

A: Blogging is all about voice, and I think mine is a bit snarkier and more irreverent than many. Publishing has been so doom-and-gloom for the last few years, and I think it stands out that I’m working to make reading fun and sexy and not quite so serious.

Q: What is something your readers do not know about you?

A: I can sing every last word of REM’s “End of the World As We Know It.”

Q: What is your personal favorite blog post?

A: It changes every week or so… there are several that I’m really proud of, but I really don’t have a favorite.

Q: What is your current favorite? Do you have a couple of top posts that you are particularly proud of?

Right now, I’m loving my end-of-year series. In the past, I’ve done one big round-up post, so this year I decided to shake things up and create several “best of” lists. I’ve released the “genre busters” and literary fiction lists so far and look forward to sharing my selections in narrative nonfiction, memoir, and “the best of the rest” next week.

Q: You have some big-name followers on Twitter. What does Tweeting add to your blogging experience, and how do you decide who to follow back?

A: Tweeting makes the room bigger. With blogging, the conversation is limited to the blogger and the people who comment on a post. Tweeting opens up a much wider audience for making connections, growing the conversation, and driving new readers to my blog. And it’s fun! Some of my best ideas and projects (including #pantyworthy and the Bookrageous calendar and podcast) began on Twitter. If you can work the room at a cocktail party, you can get something out of tweeting.

Q: You mentioned that you also have a podcast. Is there a lot of overlap between the podcast and the content of your blog? Is it difficult to find enough content to keep both of your projects fresh?

A: There’s a little overlap in terms of the books I discuss, but the podcast (Bookrageous Podcast on Podbean and Bookrageous Podcast on Tumblr) is a project with two friends (Josh Christie of Brews and Books and Jenn Northington, event manager at Word Bookstore in Brooklyn), and our collaboration keeps the conversations new and fresh. We record every other week and choose themes to guide our discussions, many of which are initially born on Twitter, so in the way that three brains are better than one, it’s a whole lot of fun and the new content seems to come naturally.

Q: Who are your go-to bloggers, whether for inspiration or provocation?
I follow so many blogs– and they span books, feminism, music, photography, cooking, and general life-y stuff– that I feel like it’s both impossible and unfair to name favorites. I love what Jessica Valenti has done with Feministing; I always learn something and walk away feeling inspired, and they are nothing if not thought-provoking over there. The Pioneer Woman validates my opinion that it’s not a meal if it doesn’t involve real butter. The Millions, The Elegant Variation, Largehearted Boy, and Beatrice (among many others) remind me what blogging can become and what it can do for books and readers. And the hundreds of passionate, talented bloggers who introduce me to new books every single day are nothing short of amazing… but I’m not naming any names on that one. :)

Rebecca is offering a discount code for 50% off a one week ad. Fittingly enough, her code is bookrageous. Simply enter this word into coupon field when you buy an ad on The Book Lady Blog.

Advertising on blogs with video from Youtube or Vimeo

by henrycopeland
Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Advertisers can now insert Youtube or Vimeo videos directly into their Blogads and Adverposts.

You can see an example of a video blogad in the adstrip on the left. And if you’re on the front page of the blog, you can also see video in the Adverpost right below the first post.

Video advertising on blogs

To submit a video blogad, just click “video” on step 5 of the upload process on any upload form.

We’ve known for a long time that blog readers prefer to click on ads that contain interesting content rather than just raw promotions, so this seems like a logical next step.


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