19

Taking a Step Back from the Bookish Community: A Semi-Hiatus Announcement

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Hello everyone! ♥

It’s been a while since the last time I’d been FULLY active here. My life is undergoing a big change and I was planning to tell you this on my March recap, but unfortunately I didn’t even have the time to write a March recap 😂

You might remember that I just started a new job in February, but recently I… got another job 🙈 It was totally unexpected! I wasn’t even looking and out of nowhere a recruiter approached me and asked if I’m interested to work in their company. Here’s the thing : I loved my previous job, it’s close, it’s in line with my major, the people are fun, etc. But there’s one thing I didn’t mention, it didn’t pay well. And this job is so much more promising and still in line with my major. I signed the contract mid March and started working last Monday ♥ which brings me to the second point.

I moved out of the house! My new office is located in this industrial district pretty far from my house so I had to move. One of the reasons why I took the job was because I could live on my own, hehe. I’ve mentioned a few times that I feel confined to live back at home after 4 years of living on my own. So when the first chance of getting out of the house came to me, I took it. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family to bits and pieces and enjoy being with them. It’s just, living back with them feels like a step back from my independence.

However… moving out this time isn’t as smooth as I expected. I’ve lived away from home twice, so I know the drill. It’s difficult but doable and I’ll get through it. But this time… well, my place isn’t as good as I expected. When I first saw it, I loved it! Large room, modern furnitures, cozy. What I didn’t know was it is EXTREMELY HOT. It was hot when I first came, but I thought the temperature will drop when I install the air cooler. But nope, did not happen.

It’s also kind of humid that it is hard for me to dry my hair inside! I’m not joking, I washed my hair at around 6 and went to bed at 10 and my hair was still very damp I just?? While at home I wash my hair at 9 and it’ll be dry in about an hour.

But the worst thing from my place is it has a really shitty internet connection! </3 it’s even so difficult to get a decent cell reception. I thought that was the only issue so I bought a wifi device, I figured I’d be able to use it for both my laptop and phone buuuut it doesn’t work. I couldn’t get any signal from inside my place so whenever I want to use internet connection I have to step out and that’s just too much work.

To top it all off, I can’t use internet connection in the office. It’s STRICTLY for work that they block any access to the internet aside from e-mail and other work related stuffs. The only social media I could access is Linkedin and that is for professional purpose.

That being said, it’s so difficult for me to blog or even schedule a post. I tried posting from my phone wordpress app but that didn’t work well. I can’t reply to comments, let alone blog hop during weekdays. And with so many things happening in the bookish community, I’m sad to say that I just can’t keep up.

So, it’s time for me to take a step back and take a semi-hiatus from the book blogging community. I’m gonna look for a new place soon, the one with better air circulation and internet connection, but until then, I’m stuck with this situation 😦 so here’s what’s going to happen in the next three weeks.

  1. I won’t be posting according to my regular schedule. My only post of the week would be reviews every Thursday because I have a lot on backlist
  2. I won’t be able to reply to comments and blog hop. I’ll probably read it from my phone, but I won’t have time to engage 😦 I’m gonna try to catch up as much as I could during weekend
  3. I won’t be able to engage in Twitter and Instagram as much as I liked to
  4. I’m gonna have to push The Diversity Corner #3 to a later date. This post always requires so much time and effort and I definitely don’t have those two right now 😦
  5. If you need to contact me, Twitter DM and e-mail are the fastest method. Obviously I might not reply right away (because of cell reception—or lack there of) but they’re still the best ones 😂

And thaaaat’s it! It’s kind of sad for me and I know that my stats will probably hit rock bottom but at this point I just can’t do this. Please don’t forget me and I’ll be back before you know it 😛

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57

Reviewing on Goodreads and on the Blog: is There Any Difference?

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Hello everyone! ♥

Welcome back to another discussion post 😀 today we’ll talking about reviewing books on different platforms and if there’s any difference between them. A few weeks ago I stumbled across a blogging tip post that talks about the difference between reviewing books on goodreads and on our blog and the blogger said that it should be different. It surprised me a little because I’m that kind of reviewer who practically copies-and-pastes my goodreads reviews to my blog 😁

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Basically this is what I usually do : 

  1. I write review as soon as I finish a book and post it on goodreads (and netgalley if I get the book from them)
  2. I copy-paste the review to my blog, add star ratings, add links too Goodreads, Amazon, and TBD, and break up my review so it won’t seem as long.
  3. Add pictures of the books
  4. Check for typos or offensive critiques and make sure they’re gone before I hit publish. This is probably the ONLY difference because I almost never proofread my goodreads reviews. They’re full of typos and I don’t really care
  5. Post the blog review according to my schedule (every Thursday)
  6. Sometimes if I remember, I put a link to my blog on my goodreads review

But after reading that blog post I started to question my credibility as a reviewer and whether I’ve been doing the wrong things all along :’) so I did some google search for everything I need to know about this topic.

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The first result landed me on Kourtni’s post about reviewing on different platforms. On her post, Kourtni talked about a reviewer who posts significantly different reviews on her blog and on goodreads in which her blog reviews are way nicer than her goodreads reviews—which are pretty harsh and brutal. Kourtni than said that according to that reviewer, it’s because different kinds of reviews are popular on different platforms. I quote :

She felt that Goodreads reviews were more popular and taken more seriously if they were extremely critical, but noted that this was not a good strategy on a book blog, where readers expected a more fair and balanced but honest review. She seemed to change the wording of her review (and sometimes completely change the content) based on what she thought readers were looking for.

It’s probably a truth widely acknowledge that on goodreads, the harsher you get, the more popular your reviews become. If you haven’t noticed that, try scrolling through the review section of some of the popular books, you’ll see the top results are mostly harsh reviews. I did more google search and it landed me on Goodreads Review Guidelines. According to the guidelines, goodreads is for expressing our honest opinion about books. Harsh critical statements that apply to the book or the writing in it, such as “This guy can’t write a lick,” or “This book is absolute trash,” is allowed on Goodreads review—as it is an honest opinion.

Now let’s think about reviewing on the blog. As far as I know, there’s no guideline or rules about it. We are free to review the books however we want to, but everything we write is on us. I can’t imagine myself saying harsh things like “this book is absolute trash” on my blog just because it has messy plot or immature characters, that’s just… too brutal and I don’t have the nerve, or heart, to do it. We can’t forget the fact that behind every book, no matter how awful it is, there’s a person who’s done a hard work to write it. I’m not gonna bash them on my blog.

I guess my point is that on the blog, everything we write is our responsibility while on goodreads, we are still protected by the rules and guidelines. Also, I noticed that a lot of goodreads reviewers strive for popularity, that’s why the snarkier the reviews, the better.

HOWEVER, I wasn’t sure if the difference in reviews is simply because of popularity, so I did more research and it landed me on Ashley @ Nose Graze’s post : Goodreads Reviews Can Outrank Your Blog Reviews. I suggest you read Ashley’s post because she understands and explains this better than I could possibly do but bottom line is :

1) If you post identical reviews on goodreads and on your blog, your goodreads reviews will beat your blog in search ranking. This means that if you google your blog/goodreads username and the title of the book, your goodreads review will show up first on google search results. The first thing Ashley did to win back her blog SEO was to change her goodreads username so it wouldn’t be identical to her blog name. In my case, I’d have to remove “Sparkling Letters” from my goodreads user name so if anyone google Sparkling Letters reviews, they will be directed to my blog.

2) If you post identical reviews on goodreads and on your blog, Google would recognize it as duplicate content and pick only one result to display. In which case, see point number one. I admit that this never even occurred to me before! I post identical reviews on goodreads and my blog and the problem is, I post my goodreads review first and then post the same review on my blog a few days/weeks later. So by that logic, google would consider the review on my blog as the duplicate and the review on my goodreads as the original one, right? Scary! I don’t want google or people thinking that I’m the plagiarist one :’)

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Now we’ve reached the point when I ask myself the question : what am I gonna do about it? Based on the discussions above, we could see that there are a few things we could do.

The first is to change our goodreads username so it won’t match our blog name. I already did it. In fact, my goodreads username has always been ‘Puput’, without my blog name behind it. I don’t know if there’s any other consequences if you do this (e.g. branding, recognition, etc) but I think I’m good so far.

The second is to not post identical contents. If you post different kind of reviews on your blog and goodreads, you could kill two birds with one stone. 1) google won’t recognize your contents as duplicate and 2) if you could make your goodreads review a little snarkier, you have the chance to be more popular there. Now this is the problem.

I really don’t have the time to write TWO different reviews for a book. I mean, it’s time consuming enough to have to write one review. There’s other solution to this problem, that is to write a shorter version of your review on goodreads, and then link it to your longer and more comprehensive blog review. This way google won’t recognize the contents as duplicate. The thing is, I… don’t want to do it. I love having my full reviews on goodreads so people (or at least my goodreads friends who don’t follow my blog) could still read my full thoughts on the book.

I’m honestly concerned about the duplicate issue, so I still haven’t decided if I’m gonna post a shorter review on goodreads or not. As for popularity, I don’t really care if my goodreads reviews are popular or not. There was the time when I did care but now, not so much. I’ve accepted the fact that I wouldn’t be famous there and that’s okay. Plus I use goodreads mainly to track my reading 😛

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Alright everyone, those are my thoughts and research results about reviewing on different platforms? What do you usually do? Do you post similar reviews, or do you make certain changes so they’re not the same? Do you care about popularity, stats, SEO, and the duplicate issues? I’d love to hear your thoughts! ♥

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77

Figuring Out Your Perfect Blogging Schedule

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Hello everyone! ♥

Today we’ll be talking about blogging schedule. I know a lot of you must have had your own schedules, but when I talked about it on my wrap up post last month, a lot of bloggers said that they still haven’t figured out their own schedule and they really want to change that. So here I am, sharing what I learned so far about things to consider when you want to create a blogging schedule 😀 

Before we start, let me make it clear that there is no one right way to blog. You can post whenever you feel like it. Any schedule (or no schedule at all) could work, as long as you’re happy with it. But if you’re a super organized, perfectionist bean like me, here are some suggestions that might help ♥ Continue reading

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Sparkling Letters 1st Blogversary : A Statistical Analysis & Lessons Learned

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Hello everyone! ♥

Last week Sparkling Letters just celebrated its first year blogversary on March 2. YAYYY!!! However, I had no idea how to celebrate and was swamped with work, hence the late celebration. Plus I already had an ARC review scheduled for March 2 🙈

I know everyone says this on every blogversary post of ever but I never thought I’d be here for a while. Blogging has always been my hobby since I was 14 (I’m 22 now) but I did it sporadically. I thought this time would be no different. I thought it was gonna be just another phase that I’d outgrow soon. But last week I hit another big milestone : 1st year blogversary. I mean, IT’S HUGE! A lot of things had happened in a year and I’m proud of myself and my achievements. Continue reading

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The Diversity Corner #1 : February News, Muslim Representation, and March New Releases

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Hello everyone, welcome to the first edition ever of The Diversity Corner! 

You might remember my post about my stance as diverse book blogger and the introduction of my feature. I’m a bit nervous but HERE I AM, with its first edition ♥ Today I’ll be talking about Muslim representation. I chose this topic because this is the one topic that is so close to my heart. I’ve been living and learning it ever since I was a baby, so this is the topic that I’m most comfortable talking about. I promise you, I won’t be preachy! I won’t sell or promote my religion to you. I just want to talk about its representation in book–or rather, the lack there of 😂

But before we get there, let’s start with the first two sections : diversity news & updates and diverse book bloggers spotlight ♥ Continue reading

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For Some of Us, Libraries Might NOT Exist

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Hello everyone! ♥

Last week I got busy and didn’t have the time to blog or reply to comments so I’m so sorry for being kind of missing 😛 but now I’m back with another discussion post. You probably realized that I’m usually super organized with my post but today, I’m not sure where I’m going with it so I’m just gonna wing it 😛

A couple weeks ago, I stumbled across some similar conversations about library. Continue reading

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Blog Hopping: For Fun or Necessity?

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Hello everyone! ♥

Welcome back to another discussion post! Today we’ll be talking about a topic that has been on my mind for a while but haven’t really talked about to anyone, blog hopping. Since the second half of December, I feel like I haven’t been able to properly blog hop. Sometimes I blame time and my hectic schedules but really, most of the times I’m just not in the mood for. I’m simply lazy, and I feel bad for it 😦

Before we discuss it further, let’s define blog hopping. Continue reading