Today’s topic of discussion for Book Blogger Appreciation Week: BBAW #3–How Do You Do Community?
The world of book blogging has grown enormously and sometimes it can be hard to find a place. Share your tips for finding and keeping community in book blogging despite the hectic demands made on your time and the overwhelming number of blogs out there. If you’re struggling with finding a community, share your concerns and explain what you’re looking for–this is the week to connect!
As a relative newbie, starting this blog in January, I was a bit surprised at what worked and what didn’t for finding community.
Challenges. When I started in January, everybody was signing up for annual challenges and that looked like where the action was for community building. Turns out, most of the community aspect happens right then, at the sign up. As the year winds out, the challenges have motivated my reading but my challenge posts generally yield no more comments than regular reviews. And, my behavior doesn’t help — I generally don’t comment on other people’s posts who are doing the same challenge unless I happen to see them the day they are posted. It feels kind of odd to comment on posts that may be weeks’ old by the time I see them on the challenge page. I suppose I should just get over that and maybe that would help my experience. Does anyone else feel this way about challenges? I’m still likely to do them next year, but not as many and I won’t count on them as a community-building activity.
This does not seem to apply, by the way, to the newest challenge I’m participating in, RIP VI, which seems all about community. Partly, I suspect, that’s due to the shorter duration, making it feel more like an event than a challenge.
Memes. I initially thought of memes as a way for a newbie blogger to generate some content, but it turns out they are superb for developing community. The two smaller memes, Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads and Wondrous Words Wednesday at BermudaOnion’s Weblog, I participate in are especially good for this. There are few enough posts each week that I can comment on all of them and most of the participants do the same. Over time, these two memes have really helped me repeatedly connect with bloggers with similar interests.
The larger meme that I participate in, It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? at Book Journey, also helps build community but not in quite the same way. Sheila encourages everyone to comment by hosting a giveaway for every 10 comments left on the participating blogs. With the larger pool (she often gets over a 100 participants), I often find new-to-me blogs to read while completing my quest to leave 10 comments.
Here’s a plug for the Bloggers’ Alliance of Nonfiction Devotees which acts a bit like a meme, only it’s monthly instead of weekly and the host duties circulate among the participants’ blogs. We’re doing our September discussion late so that we don’t conflict with BBAW, so watch for it next week!
Events. Events were another pleasant surprise since I hadn’t really thought of them until I noticed other bloggers participating. The large events can be completely overwhelming. For me, the only way to go is to follow the hash tag on Twitter. This is a great way to jump into the conversation even with people that I don’t follow in Twitter — and, often, I get both new blogs to read and new Tweeters to follow.
Besides A Novel Challenge which often also lists events, check out the newly updated Book Blogging Events page at the Book Blogger Appreciation Week site. That page has the memes listed by day of the week and the events that occur less often.