A More Personal (and Flexible) Approach to Blogging

How to add personality to your blog

I can’t quite believe it, but Lectito is celebrating its second birthday this month! The time has absolutely flown and I’m in a pretty different place to where I was when I started blogging (literally—I’d just moved to Perth when Lectito went live and now I’m back home in Adelaide). And I’m soon going to be in a very different place (or at least headspace) again when the mister and I welcome our little bub in September.

This year has been full of surprises, some excellent (we bought a house! We’re having a kid! I signed a publishing deal!) and some not so fabulous (here’s looking at you, morning sickness). So I’ve been using Lectito‘s upcoming b’day to have a good hard think about where the blog’s at and where I want to take it. And I’ve decided to make some changes!

In the past, Lectito has been fairly impersonal. When I first started blogging, I envisioned it as a resource more than anything, a place where readers could find reviews and get recommendations, and later book blogging tips. Full stop. It’s only in recent months that I’ve even started adding my name to my posts! I told myself I was being super profesh in this approach, but honestly? I’m just shy. And looking back over my early content, it’s utterly snooze-inducing! In hindsight, I don’t know what I was thinking. The blogs I love and most look forward to reading are those where bloggers let their personality shine through, in addition to providing great information.

So, moving forwards, I’m going to be brave and give Lectito a little

More Margot

Pic: @hkforever82

What does that mean, exactly? Updates on what I’m cooking for dinner? An unfiltered stream of baby pics come September? Shower thoughts and lengthy interior monologues? No. (Really, I promise.) It’s still going to be book talk, just with a slight shift in focus. I want Lectito feel a little more human—like there’s an actual person behind the screen, rather than some anonymous bot churning out reviews. Here’s the plan:

Fewer ARCs (for now) and more #LoveOzYA

With a manuscript to edit, another to finish writing and the bub arriving in just three months (hyperventilates), my reading time is somewhat diminished. And once bub joins us it’s probably going to be more limited still. So I need to be picky.

In the past, much of what I’ve reviewed on Lectito has been ARCs from publishers. And I’m still going to be doing a bit of that, but I’m being much more selective in the titles I request and, for the next little while at least, my priority is catching up on some of the older titles I’ve been meaning to get to and haven’t quite had time for. In particular, I’m excited to make headway on my very long (and rapidly expanding) #LoveOzYA wishlist. Recently, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology edited by Danielle Binks, The Things We Promise by J. C. Burke, The Boundless Sublime by Lili Wilkinson and Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley (review coming soon). I’m currently falling under the enchantment of Fairytales for Wilde Girls by Allyse Near, and I have Ballad for a Mad Girl by Vikki Wakefield, Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland and Remind Me How This Ends by Gabrielle Tozer waiting on my shelf. Plus there are a bunch of other recent and forthcoming titles that I’m itching to get my hands on. Stay tuned.

I’ve also been stockpiling non-fiction these past few months—stories of pirates, eccentric heiresses and explorers (all my favourite things)—and I’m excited to read and gab about those too.

Basically, I want to show you guys a little more of who I am as a reader and talk more about the books, new and old, that really excite me, as opposed to just weighing in on new releases.

More discussions about reading and blogging

Books work all kinds of magic in our lives, and I want to spend more time talking with readers about how our reading habits shape us, why we’re drawn to certain kinds of stories and also about the reading communities we participate in (blogging, Instagram, book clubs, etc.).

In the past, I’ve published a fair few blogging tips posts, which I really enjoy writing! But I’m also still making mistakes and figuring things out, and moving forward, I’d like to be more open about that process. I’d love to be able to ask for advice and suggestions and talk about bloggy challenges (and victories!) as I work through them.

Snippets from This Author’s Life

I was going for a play on This American Life there. …They can’t all be winners. In the past, I haven’t shared much about my writing on Lectito, or, to be honest, anywhere. I feel a bit shy talking about it (because impostor syndrome), but I meet a lot of aspiring and emerging writers who have lots of questions and find the whole process a bit daunting and mysterious. So I want to start offering occasional snippets into my writing life, and to speak with other authors and industry peeps about their experiences too.

With my first YA novel, NEVERLAND, coming out in April next year, I’m particularly keen to share what I can about the publication process. Right now, I don’t really know what to expect but suspect I’m in for a massive learning experience.

I’m also not really sure how becoming a mum is going to affect my work, both short and long term, or how I’m going to go balancing the roles of ‘mother’ and ‘author’. So I’m keen to offer some transparency around that too. My study opens onto the nursery; it’s going to be interesting.

A flexible posting schedule

Finally, I’ve had to rethink how often I post. When I first started Lectito, I had a lot of time on my hands, and could afford to keep a strict and frequent posting schedule. This year, I’ve had a whole lot less time, certainly not enough to achieve everything I’ve wanted to here, and my initial reaction was to give up. I’m a bit of a control freak and if I can’t do something perfectly, I lose all motivation. I fell way behind on my reading and reviews and ended up in a bit of a rut that resulted in several months without posting. But Lectito is my digital baby, and I missed it!

I’ve realised that if I want Lectito to survive the giant question mark that is the next twelve months, I need to be a little more flexible in how I approach my blogging. My posts may not be as frequent, but I’ll do my darndest to make sure each one offers something special. Please bear with me!

And now over to you:

Has your blog changed over time?

What are the biggest missteps you’ve made/lessons you’ve learned?

Do you let your readers ‘see’ you?

—Margot XO 

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