Thursday, July 16, 2015

Time Turning Reads Turns One! + Giveaway

Aaaah I finally made it to my first ever blogoversary! Some of you know that I've been blogging since I started high school, and I've had five blogs since then. Maybe some of you have followed me over from Keeper's Book Reviews and/or Swimming Through Thoughts, and if so, I'm glad to see you guys again! Not once have I made it to a blogoversary before, so this is a very special day for me :D I guess the real question is: what made this year's experience so difference that I didn't run away to start a new blog again? Well, that was a combination of several things.

1. You guys! I've met so many more people this year than I ever had before. I started commenting on more blogs and commenting back more frequently on mine, and I've formed so many new relationships while also strengthening older ones. This was also my first year on social media, and this - especially Twitter - is the best way I've found to talk to other bookish people. This way I get to talk to everyone even if I'm on a hiatus or am simply too lazy to go blog hopping.

2. Learning to love my blog design. The main reason I used to switch blogs every now and then was because I was never accepting of my blog design. I would switch back and forth from Blogger and Wordpress because sometimes I felt my design was boring or not good enough, and other times I craved a professional design that only Wordpress blogs seemed to have. This year though, through several hiatuses (as you probably noticed) and other such mental struggles, I convinced myself that I was okay with this design, and if I was that desperate I could pay for a professional, custom design when I'm older. For now though, I'm proud of this design; after all, what could feel better than knowing you created everything on your site?

3. Taking it slow with ARC's. One of my biggest problems time and time again was that I went crazy when requesting ARC's. I got better with it every year, but every time I looked at my review pile I'd feel this huge weight on my shoulders. My mistake was that I requested popular books and books that sounded vaguely interesting instead of only the books that I knew I would reach for with eagerly grasping fingers. I've gotten so much better this year, which is why nowadays I have less early reviews on the blog. Of course, in the same way, you know that if I'm reviewing an ARC, you know it was a book I was super excited for.

4. Making it personal. When you look at some of my other blogs, all you see is an abundance of reviews with a few weekly memes thrown here and there. Now, that's not too different from what I do here at Time Turning Reads, with one exception: on my other blogs, I could be anyone. I tried to write professionally and by doing that, I lost my own voice. Here, I don't reign my crazy in - I let it roam free. I feel that you guys have a certain idea of who I am based on the way I write and the nonsensical things I sometimes say, and I hope that it's an accurate representation of who I am. I think that makes the blog feel more me that simply another site in the world wide web.

5. Everyone is super nice and supports my hobby. This kind of goes with #1, but it's an important reason of why I keep blogging, so I think it deceives it's own point on the list. Sometimes I don't always know why I continue blogging and wonder what would happen if I just stopped. Other times I'm curious as to whether anyone even reads the blog (people who are genuinely interested in the things I have to say, I love you). But every once in a while a friend or a stranger complements an aspect of my blog or tells me they can see my love of books shining through my reviews, and it makes me smile. It makes me want to keep on doing what I now realize I love doing best: blog. I hate to sound needy, but hey, no one's perfect ;)

Speaking of no one being perfect, I bet you have a ton of suggestions on things I could do better on the blog, so let me get to the constructive criticism part of today.

What I Need To Work On

I'm going to be working on a few major things this next year as I try to make Time Turning Reads more reader-friendly and in general, just more awesome XD. Here they are:

MORE GIVEAWAYS. Clearly I haven't been doing enough giveaways this year. It's not so much a problem of a lack of books so much as I'm not always sure which books you guys would like to have as giveaways. I should probably do polls or something to see which books you would prefer, but I'm not sure how many people would actually respond haha. Either way, there will definitely be more giveaways on the blog going forward.

More discussion posts, and maybe even some Back in Time posts about what's been going on in my life. Most of what I do on this blog are reviews and memes such as TTT and WoW. I may have to bring back Stacking the Shelves this year, we'll see. I'm also eager to work on some discussion posts to, well, discuss books with you guys. Now, I see some bloggers churning these out every week, but unfortunately, I'm not that skilled. Brilliant thoughts/ideas rarely go through my head, so I will be forcing myself to think of some discussion topics, though hopefully they just come to me like bees do to honey. Hopefully. I'm also thinking of bringing back Back in Time posts so that you guys know what goes on in my life outside of the blog and reading - the only problem is that I don't have much of a life outside of these things...

Try requesting some physical ARC's? This is the scariest thing ever, but I think I should try it during my second year of blogging (gosh, I love saying that). Now that I know for sure I won't be spontaneously leaving the blog and I've had a solid year of blogging experience, it might be a good time to start reaching out to publishers. It's just so life-affirming getting a physical advanced reading copy in your possession and knowing you're trusted to take care of it and review it and love it forever, you know what I mean?

Participate in way more book tours. Book tours are always fun, but you can find them on other blogs more than you can on this one. I'll have to take part in many of those this next year, especially since they're a nice break from reviewing and add something else to the blog. If any of you have any blog tour tips for me, please tell me below in the comments!

BEA 2016. Please. Though my first year on the blog has been great and I've met several authors through Twitter and such, I have yet to go to a bookish event, author signing, BEA, BookCon, etc. I'm hoping this will change next year. As many of you know, next year's BEA and BookCon take place in Chicago, which is relatively close to where I live. Also, thank goodness I'm a college student now, because school now ends early enough that I could go. I just have to get my dad on board and I may actually be able to go and meet you all. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

I'm sure I'll find many more things to work on as the year goes on, but for now, these are the main aspects I want to improve on Time Turning Reads.

And Finally, The Giveaway

For those of you who skimmed or skipped everything before this and went straight to the giveaway, I can't blame you. I hope you'll like what comes next.

This is going to be a unique giveaway in that it's not actually one giveaway, but several in one. There will be several different book packs to win, and each set will have one winner. To make it fair, one person can only win up to one book pack. The first winner chosen will win pack #1, the second pack #2, and so on. Since there are four packs of books, by the end of this giveaway, we will have four different winners. Below are the different packs you can win.

1. Contemporary Love Pack (4 books)

The books in this pack are all a part of my favorite Contemporary Romance series by one of my favorite authors, Jennifer Probst. This is the Searching For series, and the books are below. Click on the covers for the Goodreads.

2. 2015 Favorites Pack (2 books)

True, this pack doesn't have too many books, but if you asked me what my two favorite books of 2015 were, they'd be ACOTAR and ADSOM. If you haven't heard of them, the books are below and you can click on the covers for the Goodreads.

3. Mental Health Pack (9 books)

Those of you who read a lot of YA novels probably noticed that this year has been a bit heavy in the mental illness sub-genre. Though I was unsure about the popularity of the genre at the beginning of the year, I've come to realize that these are actually some of the best books I've read. The mental health books in this pack are listed below - click on the covers for the Goodreads.

4. LGBT Reads Pack (5 books)

I haven't read a ton of these, but I have read one and it was adorable, so in this pack I'll be sharing some other popular LGBT books that have been hyped up around the blogosphere. As always, click on the covers for the Goodreads.

And that's the last of the packs! I'm hoping that at least one of these packs, if not all of them, catches your eye, hence the diverse nature of the packs. This giveaway will be going on for two months, so make sure you enter as many times as you want by then! I'll be picking winners and sharing them over Twitter, but I will also email the winners whether or not they follow Twitter. Good luck, everyone!

Giveaway - The Fine Print

• The giveaway begins today, July 16th, and will end two months from now at midnight on September 16th.
• This is an international giveaway.
• All giveaway prizes are ebooks and will be sent to the winners through email.
• By the end of the giveaway, there will be four distinct winners.
• You can tweet about the giveaway once each day, and each tweet will get you another entry into the giveaway! Remember, the more entries you have, the more chances you have of winning one of the packs.
• Anyone who has already done some of the giveaway entries in previous giveaways I've hosted - such as following this blog - just fill in your information, you've basically got yourself an extra free entry!
• Full contest terms and conditions can be found on Rafflecopter.

The Most Important Part!!

So if you guys don't mind, it would be a HUGE help if when you're entering the giveaway, you could write whether you want the kindle formats of the books (.mobi) or the tablet formats of the books (.epub) next to your name, each time you enter. Just so you remember...


Thank you!