My new author site is bethstillmanblaha.com.
March 22, 2021 would have been six whole years of blogging as Donovan Reads.
Six years on a project that I started just to get my feet wet in writing internet content. March 2015 I had a two and a half year old child and my doctorate and it was time to start thinking about what exactly was on my writing bucket list. How was I going to fulfill the writing dreams I had since I was a kid, dreams that were waylaid when I decided to spend my formal schooling opportunities becoming a Psychologist?
I spent years either not writing or writing some nonfiction because academia numbed out my creativity. My creativity had to be dormant or I wouldn’t have made it so far in my professional healing career, which is just as much what I feel called to do in this life as be a writer. But we got to 2015 and I had finally recouped enough sleep to make sentences and have an interest in what was next.
The easiest writing advice, for me, in the entire world, came next: read read read, and read with intention. Read what you’d like to write and notice what works and what doesn’t. Read with a new lens. And since reading was the first thing I turned to when grad school slowed enough for hobbies other than mindless internet games, and reading got me through the interminable first few months as a new and slightly ambivalent mom, it was the perfect place for me to start.
And then writing about what I learned from books, all these years with you, has helped tremendously, exposing me to all sorts of writing with reading challenges, and building my empathy, structure my reading and help me really think about what I want to write, and the blog keeping me consistent, and keeping me supporting and reviewing indie writers because now I am at the brink of becoming one myself.
This is where I wanted the blog to get me, but it’s really not ending here. I’m just moving to a more formal author website and I hope you’ll come with me. It will be more YA reads and not as much of the wide reading I’ve done here, but it will still be talking about books, and my love of audiobooks, and magic, and diversion books as well as the ones you really gotta work for but you’re glad, in the end, that you did it. Books have just been my survival, and with the life I’ve chosen, been blessed with, I’ll always be more of a reader.
In case anyone has been thinking of becoming a book blogger, here are some of my favorite hacks:
wordpress, obviously, for it’s extreme user friendliness in all aspects.
canva.com for graphics, for someone with no knowledge of graphics and only limited need for them
pexels.com is my favorite place for stock images. I have been using completely open license for my author site because of the commercial nature but since I made zero dollars from this blog I used pexels.
NYPL card for ebooks and audiobooks, if you’re a resident of New York State like I am. The Simply E app sometimes gives me a hassle with audiobooks but the selection is so much bigger and I send money to the NYPL out of guilt because I definitely do not pay NYC taxes.
Librivox is good for public domain stuff, more so when I was reading the older classics from which to build a base. I’m not so drawn now to the stories written that were more from people with the means to write and not necessarily the same editorial context of today. I’m having an increasingly harder time spending hours and hours on stories and coming to care about characters who end up like unnecessarily dying in poverty. I’m looking at you, Edith Wharton. But, Librivox is freakin awesome when I’m thinking about reading some older classics to brush up into something modern.
Honestly, though, my authoring karma has caused me to spend more on books, not less, as I’d like people to do that for me when my time comes. I’ve pre-ordered some books this Spring to support authors, and I don’t always stalk prices before buying. Sometimes I’ll be excited enough an author to just buy something I want. If someone has made my reader’s heart sing, they deserve to be paid for it. If someone has made it as an author, they deserve to be paid for it. It’s so hard. So, so hard. I have to cheer for others who have gotten there.
Book blogging has been a great side project and I entered it with a do-it-and-see attitude. Not attaching to outcomes has become easier as I get older and I hope it will continue to do so. Because of this starter project I’m confident I can generate content for my author page.
New author site: bethstillmanblaha.com. I have a post over there today too. Please hop over 🙂 I have not worked out how to be followed yet, wordpress makes a nice “follow” button but I moved to Squarespace because someone I’m considering hiring prefers to work with Squarespace and can guide me with it.
Please go check out my skeletal site, where I’ll be blogging to begin making content as the details of my book, that will be launched this year, are worked out. Title and graphics are still in progress, as well as magnet material and other decisions I didn’t exactly anticipate.
I am so grateful to everyone that has taken the time to read and especially comment on my content. You know how important you are to me and I want to keep you. I anticipate this is my last post on here before the domain expires in a month. I need to start populating and learning my author site, as much as it would be nice to continue on here.