Friday, August 23, 2013

Book Blogger Hop #32 (8/23 - 8/29): How did you get started setting up your blog?



Welcome to the new
Book Blogger Hop,
hosted by Billy @
He took over this hop from
Jennifer @ Crazy For Books.
I'm so glad he decided to
continue with this weekly feature!
For more information, click HERE.


What to Do

1.) Post on your blog answering this week's
question:

Book blogging is more than
just reading.  Who helped you
set up or run your blog?
Or did you do it all yourself?

2.)  Enter the link to your post in the
Linky list on Bill's blog.

3.)  Visit other blogs on the list and
comment on their posts. 

4.)  Be sure to find out next week's
question when you visit Bill's blog!


My Answer

I got into blogging due to a suggestion from a co-worker, back in July or August, 2010.  I did everything myself, except for the header, the blog buttons, the template, and the background.  The last two are from the Blogger interface, although I did combine them into one cohesive look. 

Sharing the writing of blog posts with one or more bloggers has never been an option for me.  I've always preferred to run my blog myself.  Admittedly, it's very time consuming, but maintaining creative control as much as possible is very important to me. 

Since I didn't have much experience with computers when I started out, I did some online research first.  I soon got tired of that.  I knew I really wanted to get myself a book -- a printed one -- that would help me learn how to set up a blog.  Also, I picked Blogger as my blogging platform, simply because it was free. So this is the book I chose:




This was a very, very helpful book.  It was full of great illustrations and steps that walked me through setting up my blog with the Blogger interface.  This interface has since been updated by Google, so anyone wanting to start out using it would have to get a more recent edition  of this book, which I haven't been able to find.  Fortunately, the new interface is not that hard to use.  Once you've learned the information in this book, you can easily transfer it to the new interface. 

After I was pretty sure I had a handle on the basics, I actually got started.  I went through several Blogger templates, finally settling on the "Picture Window Template".  Of course, with the help of the book, I did some customizing.  I also picked out a background I knew I could love, because of all the blue!  The creator is merrymoonmary, and the image is still available on Blogger.  If you'd like to see it, just click on her nickname.

Another helpful resource for me has been the feature Book Blogging 101, at the blog Parajunkee's View.  Rachel, the creator of the blog, always has wonderful tips, especially for beginning bloggers.  So I'm very much indebted to her, as well! 

This week's post is extremely helpful for us book bloggers.  Just click on this link to take a look: Essential New Tools for Book Bloggers.  Recently, Rachel has added a section to this post, titled "Book Blogger News", which is very interesting, as well. 

I published my very first post on Sept. 22, 2010.  My blog's original title was Twilight and Other Dreams.  I changed that to the present title because I saw right away that people would think this was just another Twilight fan site.  Besides, that title was too limiting.  I wanted to write about several genres, in addition to paranormal romance and urban fantasy.  So, after some thought, I came up with the title the blog now bears, which I think more accurately reflects the content of the blog.  My inspiration came from the Shakespearean play, "A Midsummer Night's Dream".

The problem of the header bothered me for a long time.  I wanted to have the title embedded in the header, like the ones I had seen on other blogs.  I  did try making some headers myself, with Picasa, but I was never completely satisfied with any of them.  I needed the flexibility of PhotoShop, but I have yet to learn how to use this expensive software, and I know it takes time to do so.  I wanted results, fast!

Here are a couple of my early headers:







The present header was created by the very talented Jennifer Johnson, a graphic/web designer I met through her gorgeous blog, Sapphire Romance Realm.  From there I connected with her web design blog, Sapphire Blog DesignsWhat fascinated me about her work was the use of all that blue!!  So I contacted her, and paid her to not only design a header, but also a blog button, in two different sizes.  Of course, I love her work, and highly recommend her to anyone who wishes to have any design work done on their blog.

I've learned a lot from other book bloggers, as well.  The use of widgets to advertise upcoming releases was something I picked up right away.  I also discovered how  to embed a Shelfari widget -- which I saw on some blogs -- at the bottom of my blog.  I'm very grateful to all these bloggers, who are too numerous to mention. 

As for the content of the blog, that has changed over time.  I used to publish chapters of my fan fiction here, but have stopped doing so because this is primarily a book review blog, on which I also present blog tours, author interviews, giveaways, and other things I hope visitors and regular readers will be interested in.  All the fiction writing I've previously posted on the blog is available through a link at the top, underneath the header.

In May of 2012, I started signing up for blog tours, so as to provide some variety to the blog.  I also want to continue to vary my blog content in other ways.  For instance, I used to write "literary musings", and haven't done that for more than a year now.  I'm thinking of returning to them.

Blogging has been -- and still is -- a very rewarding experience for me, and I hope to continue doing it for a long time to come!






 What about you?
How did you set up your blog -- by yourself, or with some help?





8 comments:

  1. A couple of programs that will allow you to do much of what Photoshop does, but which are free are GIMP and Photo Filtre.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Ann!

      Oh, thank you so much for the recommendation! I will certainly check out these programs!

      Thanks for the visit and the comment!! : )

      Delete
  2. Your blog is beautiful. I love the header. It's magical and reflects the dream theme really well. I used a Dummies guide too when I was starting out. I like the hand-holding of a printed page of instructions. My book was blogging for dummies, so it included a comparison of blogger and wordpress. It's also sadly outdated now. But it was very helpful with some of the basics. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Have a great hop!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Susan!

      Oh, thank you!! I've worked VERY hard on it, until I've gotten it to look just right for my taste. As you can see, I LOVE the color blue!! It's my favorite!

      I LOVE the header, too!! Jennifer does very creative, GORGEOUS work, and she hit the nail on the head with this STUNNING header! I was ecstatic when I first saw it!! All I contributed to it was the font, which is called "Jokerman", and is available on Picasa. I did want to keep it. But the image itself was created by her. You're absolutely right about the look of the header. It is indeed magical, and it definitely reflects the dream theme!

      I'm glad you agree about the printed book thing. I detest e-books!! I've seen the book you mention. I never considered Wordpress as an option, though, so I picked the other book, which was specifically for Blogger.

      You're very welcome for my visit! I like your blog, too, and your answer was great!

      You have a great hop, as well! Thanks for the lovely comment!! : )

      Delete
  3. LOL It's always great to get some help, even if it's for dummies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, there!

      Well, yeah, especially if you don't know the first thing about setting up a blog....lol.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting!! : )

      Delete
  4. Wow, your blog has had a lot of development over the years. Mine is only 4 months old - I'm still a beginner.
    Here's my answer.

    New follower on GFC and Google +

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Rosa!

      Sorry for the delayed comment here, but I have commented back on your blog. Still, I always like to reply directly on my blog, as well.

      My blog has definitely gone through some development since I first started out. However, I settled on the current template and background within the first year, if I remember correctly. My beautiful header, though, is a pretty recent addition.

      Good luck to you as you continue to blog! Thanks for the GFC and Google follows!! I'm now following back!! : )

      Delete

THIS IS NOW AN AWARD-FREE, AND TAG-FREE BLOG. Thanks for the compliment, though! : )

Thanks for your thoughts on my posts! I always reply here, as well as comment back on your blog. Have a WONDERFUL day!! :)