Sharing is Caring (and Blogging)

I stumbled across this old blog post at about writers blogging. Mary’s advice, in very short: don’t feel like you have to blog. If it feels like a chore, don’t do it. Another interesting point she makes:

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned about the Internet from actually working for it for all those years, it’s that users come to the Internet to see, “What’s in it for me?” They want valuable content that speaks to them. They Google: “How do I get this stain out of my white carpet?” “Is it okay that my baby is turning sort of purple?” (It’s probably not.) “How do I stop the hiccups?” “What’s a great summer BBQ recipe?” Most writing blogs — and most blogs in general — are about the writer of the blog, not about the user.”

Very true. I think this is also what stops people from actually blogging, too. I’ve seen friends start blogs with great enthusiasm and gradually blog less and less, and eventually their most recent post was from months ago. Part of it comes from lack of interest in the project, but I think part of it is also that people don’t really want to craft a post about their thoughts or lives. It’s hard work and doesn’t necessarily add much to the internet.

For me, blogging is about sharing. I don’t post a lot about what I’m working on or who I am. I blog because there are so many awesome things to share (here, mostly about writing and reading young adult/children’s literature), and it’s way easier to collect and share these things in one place. Hopefully that means something close to good content. If I can share these things with my friends, awesome. If I can also share them with people I don’t know but who have similar interests, even more awesome.

Launching the Stars

Last night was the launch event for John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars book tour, and I was lucky enough to go. The kick-off was hosted by Wellesley Books, a fantastic local bookstore. (Thanks to them, I’ve gotten to see Shannon Hale and Suzanne Collins, too.) Since John and his brother Hank are kind of internet superstars, the event was ticketed and was held at the Wellesley Middle School due to size.

I was toward the back of the line into the event, so by the time I made it inside the auditorium was pretty full. But it was so exciting to hear the cheers of the crowd before the event even started. Usually you get this kind of reaction at concerts or sporting events. Hundreds of teens and young adults were bouncing around at the thought that soon John and Hank would take the stage. The vibe was electric.

Since these are the vlog brothers, this obvious wasn’t your average reading. The event opened with a sock puppet show, followed by a brief reading of The Fault in Our Stars, included a couple of funny question-and-answer rounds (one of which ended with punishment–sorry Hank) and a couple of song sessions. Audience members sang along, shouted out questions, and cheered whenever the Katherine appeared. I went to a Green Brothers event a few years ago–for Paper Towns, I think–and the energy was even stronger here. It’s so awesome to see so many young people who are so excited by books, by making the world a better place, by connecting with one another, and by funny songs about Harry Potter.

Since I forgot my camera and my phone refused to be functional, I borrowed my husband’s phone and took these very sad pictures. I like to think that the problem was with my lack of knowledge about his phone’s camera feature, but I don’t think that’s really the problem. In any case:

Here’s John reading from the first couple chapters of The Fault in Our Stars. He wore a suit when he first came out but changed into jeans and a t-shirt later. Does that mean John suits up for his novels? Is this a comment about the sartorial aspects of the literary life? Am I thinking too much about pants?


Here’s Hank and his guitar. One of his songs was written for The Fault in Our Stars and it was really lovely. When he played “Shake-a-Booty” everyone got up and danced. It was a-dor-a-ble.

The line for signing was insane, so I got to read about half of The Fault in Our Stars before the evening was over. As a mini-review, so far it’s great. It might be my favorite of Green’s novels so far–a nice combination of witty dialogue, depth of character, and big ideas about life and death.

A few other fun things from the event:

  • Lots of people talking about Doctor Who. My heart!
  • Hearing other Nerdfighters befriend each other.
  • Talking to people in line for the signing.
  • John liked my scarf. And he says he doesn’t notice fashion!
  • I think one of the Wellesley people hosting the event went to the same summer writing camp I did when I was in high school. Enter awkward book stalking?

I didn’t get home until almost midnight, but it was well worth it. I’m sure all the subsequent book tour events will be just as fun; Nerdfighters across the country are in for a treat.

Maybe a The Fault in Our Stars 15-word review on Friday forthcoming?

Start Thinking of Your Thoughtful Comments

You know that feeling of hope when you craft a new blog post and hit Publish? Ah yes, you say, this will truly get them talking! This will be the post all my readers love! Viral, here I come.

And then you wait. And wait.

That’s the nature of blogging. For the most part, you put it out there without any kind of response. That’s why it should be something you find personally fulfilling, not just fulfilling because it gets you attention.


The Fourth Annual Comment Challenge is all about spreading the blog love. The details: you comment on (at least) 5 kid lit blogs everyday for 21 days. Get conversations started. Let bloggers know their work is appreciated. Maybe they’ll even comment back!

Head over to MotherReader to sign up. I’m excited to find lots more awesome children’s/YA blogs to add to my rss feed. Please share any cool blogs you think I’d like!

Guten Tag, Liebsters!

In college, my roommate took a semester of German just for fun. She’d come home and teach me phrases she’d learned. I’m not great with languages, so all I could remember was “Guten tag!” which we would say cheerfully as one of us entered/left the room.

But now I know another German word: Liebster, meaning “dearest.” Why? Because Lisa of Writer’s Block Party so kindly nominated me for the Liebster Blog award. Thanks Lisa!

The Liebster is designed to encourage bloggers who are new or don’t have a huge following, which I think is awesome. There are a lot of lovely bloggers out there, so let’s get them followed! Some Liebster rules:

1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog. Check. Lisa, you rock!

2. Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you. Also check.

3. Copy and paste the blog award on your blog.  Check #3.

4. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed. (some say just 3 or more blogs of less than 200 followers each). Man, 200 followers? You have to be a celebrity for that, right? Honestly, I have no idea how many followers these blogs have, but I’m trying to avoid some of the huge ones. If you guys all have 1,000+ followers or have gotten book deals based on your blogs, just pass along the love to smaller blogs.

5. Let them know they have been chosen, by leaving a comment at their blog. 

Onto the blogs! In no particular order:

Lots of wonderful thoughts on reading and writing by a librarian/bookseller. (Who better to get book recs from?) Add in some Sherlock clips and I’m sold.

Lollygag Blog
 A Chicago playwright/nanny/awesome-er shares the hilarity and joy of everyday experiences and challenges.

Looks and Books
Jill combines the best of literature with a sharp fashion sense. I love her outfits based on characters/covers. It makes me want to dress up everyday.

Girl Meets Formosa
Kim went to Taiwan to do research for a book about her family. Lots of great info on living abroad, finding family/self, and the writing process.

Emily Kaye Lazzaro
Emily is a playwright and is so funny that I have to hold back from commenting on her blog because otherwise I might look like a blog-stalker.

Please check out all of the above blogs. They’re awesome and written by fantastic people. And keep spreading the blogger love, no matter how many followers you have.