We Need to Talk About… promoting books to teens #Discussion

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We Need to Talk About…is my new discussion post where I ask the blogosphere (that’s you guys) for opinions/advice/rants on anything from ‘how do some bloggers read so many books?’ to ‘how do you rate books?’. 

This week I want your thoughts on teen magazines and why they don’t seem to have book review sections…

A few weeks ago I was in my local large newsagents and decided to have a look through the teen magazines to see if any of them featured book reviews, and I didn’t find one. I was completely shocked! Sure, some of them promote good body image and safe sex practices which is good, but not one of them promoted reading. Considering how huge the YA market is, that really confuses me.

Many of you will know by now that I work in a prison library. Part of my job is to promote reading to reluctant readers and I get to see first-hand the undeniably strong links between crime and illiteracy. So many of the guys in prison that can read, read only non-fiction and when I ask them why they don’t like fiction, the general consensus is because ‘it’s not real’, ‘too unbelievable’ and they ‘can’t follow it’. I wonder why they’ve never enjoyed a good fiction book and why they can’t see what a great escape (pun intended) from prison life it could be. 

There seems to be a lot of focus on reading to babies and children which is vital too, but where do teens get their love of reading from if it hasn’t already been passed on? I’m not knocking schools at all, but I never wanted to read anything the school set me, and reading definitely wasn’t seen as cool. I went through a good few years of not reading because I thought my friends would think I was sad or a geek or whatever. 

One thing sticks in my mind though. I remember that one of the popular girl magazines that me and my friends read religiously often had a free book attached. I still have my copy of Secret Vampire by L.J Smith from that. And that one little freebie made reading cool again. 

Looking at today’s teen (11+) magazines, it saddens me that they don’t seem to promote all the amazing things going on in the YA book industry. 

Is it simply because the internet has taken over and is a better place to promote reading and bring fangirls (and boys!) together? Or are magazines missing a trick here? Maybe they think reading isn’t cool but endless make-up ads are. It’s sad if that’s all that sells. 

What do you think? Should books be featured in teen magazines more? Or do you think they are and I’ve just not seen the right ones? Do any of you write YA reviews for magazines?

We Need to Talk About…how to choose a new blog layout! #discussion

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We Need to Talk About…is my new discussion post where I ask the blogosphere (that’s you guys) for opinions/advice/rants on anything from ‘how do some bloggers read so many books?’ to ‘how do you rate books?’. 

Lately I’ve been thinking about changing my blog layout…

But there are so many to choose from. How do I decide? I’ve only changed my layout once in three years and it feels like a big deal to change it so please excuse my neurosis!

I want a simple layout, but one with a wider body of text and less space on the sidebars and stuff. Any suggestions?

Also, if I change it (I don’t have WP premium btw) is it easy to change back if it doesn’t work? It’s been so long I’ve forgotten how it went down last time. 

I’m also interested to know how often you change your layout, and why?

We Need to Talk About…backing up blogs! #blogging #discussion

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We Need to Talk About…is my new discussion post where I ask the blogosphere (that’s you guys) for opinions/advice/rants on anything from ‘how do some bloggers read so many books?’ to ‘how do you rate books?’. 

Today, I’m interested to know if you have your blog backed up… 

OK, so… despite running this blog I’m not very good with computers. I’m good at certain programmes and know some basic HTML but on the security side of things I’m pretty lacking. 

I’m the kind of person that doesn’t think about things until it all goes wrong. I’m reckless with paperwork, passwords, saving things. I ignore signs of viruses. My computer is really unorganised and I don’t understand this whole iCloud business. 

The other day I logged into WordPress (actually, I didn’t have to log in because I have all my passwords saved – see, reckless) and when I went to view all posts, there were no posts. Zilch, nothing, nada. I was pretty panicked. But when I logged out and in again it was fine. Phewwwww. 

Obviously, this is made me wonder if I should be backing my blog up somewhere. I mean, it’s just a silly blog, but I’d be really sad if I lost three years of hard work. What if WordPress collapses? What if it’s just gone and you have to start all over again…? It’s possible, right? 

So I ask you, Blogosphere…do you back up your blog? If so, how/where/how much and is it easy? And no, I don’t have any kind of external hard-drive thingy if one needs such a thing….lend me your thoughts below!

 

We Need to Talk About… ARCs #Discussion #BookBloggers

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We Need to Talk About…is my new discussion post where I ask the blogosphere for opinions/advice/rants on anything from ‘how do some bloggers read so many books?’ to ‘how do you rate books?’. 

When I first started blogging -over three years ago( !)- I used to do a lot of discussion posts, and I never meant to stop, but somehow it just happened. Hopefully, with the introduction of this regular post I’ll get back into the habit. I have so many burning questions and ideas to get opinions on, so please get involved!

This time, I want to talk about ARCs

There are two very different things that have been bothering me about ARCs:

  1. Do You Count ARCs as books you own?
  2. Why are some ARCs formtted so badly?

1. I’ve been thinking about this for a while. In my monthly round-up posts I do a breakdown of the books I’ve read into books I own or have borrowed, as well as which format I read – paperback, hardback, or digital, and I never know whether to include ARCs as books I own or not.

What do you think? Do you count ARCs as books you own? 

I kind of feel like ARCs should only ever be ‘owned’ by the author & publisher, and that we as bloggers get a sneak peak before anyone else can own that book. So going on that theory I guess I should include them in the borrowed books bracket. But that would just confuse people, right?

2. Bad formatting of ARCs can seriously dampen the reader’s enjoyment of it, I’m sure a lot of you will agree with me. I always try my very best to not let it affect my opinion of the book, but sometimes ARCs are so bad they’re impossible to read…why are they released like that?

I mean, I understand spacing issues and typos and all of those things that might not have been picked up on on early edits, but for example, I recently read one where there were no capital letters at the start of sentences, or hardly any punctuation which made it really hard to read.

At first I wondered if maybe that was a style choice by the author because surely the original manuscript would have had capitals and full-stops? But it really wasn’t the kind of book that would do that on purpose.

So what I don’t get is what happens to manuscripts that alters them so much when converted into an e-book format? Insights, anyone?

What bothers you about ARCs? Let’s rant….