Thursday, June 29, 2017

What Makes a Blog Successful?

You're in for a treat today! The amazingly successful bloggers Carrie, Rachel, Annie and Beth Erin are here to tell us how to start and develop a successful blog... in a time when blogs are falling off the map, these gals reach out to people through interviews, book reviews and have begun a marvelous annual readers' retreat, gathering readers and authors in one venue. (Christian Fiction Readers' Retreat, August 2017) Grab some coffee or sweet tea and enjoy the conversation!

What Makes a Blog Successful?

The four of us love what we do. We love fiction (particularly Christian fiction) and we love blogging (most days). But we also know that staring at a blank blog can be intimidating. We’ve all been there. We all had that first moment of “I think I’ll start a blog….. Umm… could someone please tell me how to do that?” That’s why we’re here today - to be that someone for anyone who might be stalled out at the ‘Ummm’ moment.

And because we’re word nerds, we came up with an acronym.


SOAP (Start. Organize. Advertise. Promote.)
 
START
Getting started in blogging is a twofold endeavor: motivation (mission and goals) and logistics (platforms, domain names, hosting, income sources, etc.) Choose a motto, tag line, quote, or verse to motivate you and tell your readers what your blog is all about. Do your research and figure out what choices are right for you and your blogging goals.
Why do we blog?
Rachel (bookwormmama.org): "Sharing my love of books with the world." When I got back into reading, it started as my escape. Now, I still enjoy melting into another world through the pages of a book...But my main focus is to encourage and promote both authors and readers.
Annie (justcommonly.blogspot.com): For me, blogging about my world, be it books or food or travel, is a way for me to release the thoughts that take up my mind. Books tend to do that a lot, and when I connect with a kindred soul on a shared love of a book, a character or whatever, it’s God’s blessing to me, and I’d love to share that blessing with others.
Beth (faithfullybookish.com): My tagline at Faithfully Bookish is "Connecting and encouraging readers and authors" and the verse that drives me is 1 Thessalonians 5:11.

Carrie (readingismysuperpower.org): After I'd been blogging for a few months, I decided on the tagline "Introducing You to Your Next Great Read" because the thing that thrills me the most is when I can connect a reader to an author or a book that they've never read before! ESPECIALLY when the author or the book becomes the reader's new fave!
How do we blog?  
Annie: I use Blogger, and it's just easy for me. It's owned by Google, so everything is connected. I started reviewing library books, and then connected with a publisher when I was asked to review a book, and that's how it all started. Then it was signing up for publicity tours and review programs to continue on.
Rachel: Bookworm Mama is powered by Blogger (I LOVE using Google for everything). Through Google Domains I purchased my domain a couple months ago for a very reasonable price. I need my wiser and more experienced blogging sisters to guide me into the realm of affiliate links etc..
Carrie: I use WordPress.org (paid platform). The initial cost went into a theme that I could customize (Tweak Me from NoseGraze) and the domain name/hosting costs. I use Amazon affiliate links to cover the costs.
Beth: Faithfully Bookish is a WordPress blog with paid hosting so I use affiliate links to offset some of the costs.

ORGANIZE
In addition to scheduling posts through our blog platform, we also use organizational tools such as Trello, Google Calendar, Hootsuite, etc. and varying amounts of self-discipline!
Beth: I'm a Google calendar fanatic. Several color coded calendars for everything from review posts and author spotlights to reminders and real life appointments are displayed on my computer & smartphone at all times. I also use Hootsuite to promote each blog post on social media and I love Buffer for Twitter because it is so easy to reuse posts.
Carrie: Google Calendar and Trello together keep me sane! I think I’ll always be perpetually behind though lol! Color coded calendars for what's scheduled (at least in my head) on the blog plus like Beth said - real life - makes sure I have my schedule on hand no matter where I am. As long as my phone is nearby :) Trello I now use mostly for blog ideas (lists) and big group posts that I have to coordinate.
Rachel: Find a program that works for you, but don't be afraid of change. Carrie introduced me to Trello....And my life has never been the same! (YAY for color coding!)  Self-discipline is ESSENTIAL for making a blog successful. I treat my blog like a job. There are times that I  tell my kids, "Go play for a little bit please, Mommy has to work now." Also, instead of watching TV now when the kids have their quiet time, I “work”.
Annie: I'm still fairly old school. I use a monthly planner so I can see the full month to schedule my posts. Usually 2 weeks to month ahead of schedule, I'll start scheduling it on my blog (even though the post is not complete). For dates that I really need to keep track of (for example, CFRR deadlines), I'll use Google Calendar with the different color coding.
 
ADVERTISE
Social media has become one of the driving forces behind connecting people all over the world. As much as I have a love/hate relationship with it in my personal life, these sites really are key to spreading the word about your blog, the authors you are promoting, and meeting new people in the bookish world.
Rachel: Facebook is the #1 traffic generator for my blog and the platform I like the most. Connecting with different groups has helped a lot. I also enjoy posting my graphics on other sites. I NEVER thought I would be one to use "hashtags"...But they really do help your reach. It is important to use ones that are pertinent to your post. #Giveaway #Books #amreading #romance and #bookblogger are my top ones.
Annie: It's a given to share on Facebook Pages for me, and then onto my personal timeline and groups. I personally LOVE taking Instagram photos and posting them. I see the trend for "bookstagrams" hitting more, so it'll be a great way to advertise books or our posts.  I have it synced up that most Facebook & Instagram posts will tweet as well. 
Beth: I'm a visual person so I also keep an album of book covers for reviews and author spotlights on my Facebook page and on Pinterest. Albums and boards are a great way to give readers easy access to my past posts.
Carrie: I tried keeping up regularly with ALL the social media but after a while I noticed that Facebook and Twitter were what generated the most activity for me back on the blog. So, I still use Pinterest and Instagram and Google+ but not as much as I do Facebook and Twitter. I had to select something to focus on and those two were the best uses of my time. For others, it may be different.

PROMOTE
As our (and your) blogs grow, we have the privilege and power to share, build, and encourage. While a larger audience is great for promoting books and events, we are also building relationships with readers, authors, fellow bloggers, publishers, and publicity groups. (P.S. - you can see by our answers that THIS is where we are most passionate!) 
Annie: My dream is to see CF head towards mainstream market. I think it's important to share our posts in order to promote, but also to do each of our best to be advocates of the books we love and review for. Even if it's a bad review, it can spark discussion, and I think that's also key. Relationships I've built through this blogging community have been a true blessing. Fellow readers, bloggers, authors and publishers, many have become friends, and that's just amazing!  Joining publicity tours is a great way to get your blog going, and it also helps with traffic flow, especially tours with giveaways.
Rachel: It's never been about the numbers for me. My goal, my heart, is to build relationship with authors, bloggers, readers, etc...THAT is why I do what I do. I long to see CF become known for what it is. Good, quality books that leave you encouraged, speak to your heart, challenge you, build your faith...And make you swoon at the romance that is portrayed in the RIGHT way...the way that God intended. Events like Facebook parties are FUN! And a great way to connect with others. My hubby makes fun of me for these "virtual parties"...But I mean, who wouldn't enjoy a party in your PJs, curled up on your comfy couch, steaming cup of tea (coffee), and chatting about books...
That "little" thing that has brought us all together and connects us across the miles. Community is essential. Our blogging journeys are all very different and we can learn so much from each other.I have people in my inner circle, giving me advice, asking for MY advice and supporting and encouraging each other.
Beth: I love seeing that invisible wall between authors and readers come down. Building relationships is the most rewarding aspect of blogging for me. Brainstorming and collaborating with other bookish people is great fun!
Carrie: Relationship, relationship, relationship. Blogging takes so. much. time. lol but the RELATIONSHIPS I've built - with authors, readers, other bloggers, publishers, and even publicity groups have made it FUN and meaningful. And I love what you all have said about being an advocate for Christian fiction - that's why I do this! One of the most fun things EVER is getting to be a steward for the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat with Annie as well as Bonnie Roof. I think that collage of pics taken at CFRR2016 show how the relationships we've built through blogging and reviewing are some of our most treasured!

  
THANK YOU, Seekerville, for letting us chat about what we love doing! Do y'all have any burning blogging questions that we can help answer? We promise to tell you everything we know - or make something up! πŸ˜‰


Annie, Beth, Carrie, and Rachel are book bloggers and reading addicts with a passion for Christian Fiction and connecting with readers and authors. 

Follow the links below to learn more.

Oh my stars, these amazing women have not only sent us the perfect blog, they've sent us the perfect blog about blogging.... WITH FOUR BOOK GIVEAWAYS!!!! Thank you, ladies!!!!!

I brought coffee and tea, scones and fresh jam, some sweetened cream and curd... and toasted, salted almond biscotti because it seemed somehow correct to do so! Leave a comment to be entered into the drawing for one of these delightful books....





   One lucky winner will get all four books.... but make sure you leave a comment to be entered, my friends!!!!

313 comments :

  1. If you see the glazed look in my eyes you'll know that my brain simply can't comprehend any more information on blogging...lol!! I ONCE and only ONCE considered starting a blog just for book reviews. No giveaways (I would have no idea). No contests. No book tours. Just sharing my take on the books I read with the cyber world. But then the more I thought about it, the more work, time and devotion I saw in really making it work! I had to "count the cost" if you will on how much I realistically had to do to make it work. It was much too overwhelming for me to even fathom! So for now, I just stick with promoting and helping out authors who's street teams I'm on, leaving reviews all over the place (I personally love Goodreads & pinning the book on my Pinterest book review board), and sharing anything the author posts on social media about their book releases & etc. That right there takes up time, which I love doing. I simply can't add any more to my plate :-)

    Annie, Carrie, Beth & Rachel, I admire you gals so much! You all have wonderfully informative and fun book blogs. I just don't know how you do that AND take care of your families at the same time...lol!! :-) I really do enjoy each and every one of you through the world wide web, whether it's through Facebook or interacting on your blog. You gals ROCK in connecting me as a reader to the authors I love!! Thank you for all you do for readers and authors alike!!

    Please toss my name in the book giveaways, thanks so much!

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    1. Oh Trixi! THANK YOU!!! You are such a valued reader friend. Thank you for your support of not only our blogs, but of the amazing authors in this bookish world!

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    2. Yes! TRIXI! What Rachel said. Times 1000 :)

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    3. Trxi! Thank you! You really are such an encouragement to us bloggers, as well as authors and fellow readers. ❤❤❤❤❤

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  2. Thank you, THANK YOU for having us here today. I am so blown away and honored. HUGS!!!!

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    1. Yes, what Rachel said! (We agree a lot, it saves time and we're nice like that!)

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    2. Am I allowed to say "What Rachel said" again? I mean, I know Beth just did. And I just used that in a reply to TRIXI but she says it so well lol

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    3. Ok..what they ALL said! πŸ˜‰

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  3. Trixi! Thank you! I consider you reader royalty, my friend! Blogging IS time consuming and dedicated reader reviewers like you are essential worker bees just like us bloggers, just like these super talented authors! We're ALL using our gifting for His glory and blessing one another in turn and THAT is what makes me so excited to be a member of the Christian fiction hive! Now I'm snagging a scone and diving back into a book because everyone except Rachel is probably sleeping!

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    1. Ok, so I hope you are sharing those scones because they are my ultimate most favorite desert-ish type food in THE WHOLE WORLD!!

      I was just thinking the other day that berries are coming in season and the farmers markets are open, so maybe I need to make a trip there to buy blueberries to make homemade scones. Which I've never made, but baking is one of my passions so it can't be any harder than anything else I've ever made :-) Yeah, now I'm craving fresh blueberry scones...

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    2. We can definitely share! I wouldn't dare sneak more than one of Ruthy's scones while she's sleeping!

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    3. I blame my tired, way-past-bedtime brain, I didn't even see where it said Ruthy brought food....haha!! I think I need to turn my light out now...OY! :-)

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    4. TRIXI - what Beth said - reader royalty. Yes!!! We love you :)

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  4. I LOVE YOU BETH!!!! I think will save the goodies till morning hehe!

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    1. I LOVE YOU, RACHEL!!!! WE'RE ON SEEKERVILLE!!!

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    2. Aaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!! #FOAFA

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  5. Ooooh this was timely! I probably won't ever start a blog review blog, but I am in the process of starting a writing blog. I.e. I'm writing. It's kinda a therapy thing but I'd love it to grow into an encouragement and blessing to others.


    Thanks for all the advice and those books look Amat!

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    1. BUFFY - yay! I'm glad it was timely & (hopefully) helpful!

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    2. Hi Buffy! Good luck and any questions, seek any of us out. We'd be happy to help answer questions.

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  6. Ahhhhh so so loved seeing these lovely ladies featured! They are such a huge blessing to so many authors both personally and through all the amazing work they do with their blogs to get the word out about great books!

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    1. Kara! We're chatting on the same day (which means it is past my bedtime) Thank you so much for your encouraging words!

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    2. KARA - thank you so very much for your encouragement! I am honored <3 We love you!

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    3. *blush blush* Kara, thank you! We love you!!

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    4. Oh my goodness! Kara!!! Thank you!!!!

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  7. As a reader book blogs are a great favorite. I prefer them over FB etc.

    A great post thank you.

    Count me in thanks.

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    1. I feel the same way, Mary! Carrie, Annie, Rachel, and so many more made it look like so much fun I couldn't resist and now I'm hooked (I don't get around to reading all my favorite book blogs very often these days but the love and support is there for sure!)

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    2. Yes! Gushing about books is my favorite thing to do! Thank you!

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  8. As a blogger, this was great motivation to rethink how I do things. Thank you all for your insight on blogging.

    Blessings,
    Cindy W.

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    1. I would also love to be included in the giveaway. Thank you for your generosity.

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    2. Hi CINDY! Thanks so much! I'm very glad this was helpful :)

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    3. Thanks! I hope this was somewhat helpful!

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    4. Yay! I'm so glad it was helpful for you, Cindy!

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    5. YAY! Thank you Cindy. I have found that blogging is always changing. There are always new things to discover!

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  9. Welcome Annie, Beth, Carrie, and Rachel! It's great to see you all here. Blogging is my favorite form of social media. When I started my blog in 2012, I never imagined I'd meet so many wonderful people who have become great friends. It's a commitment and can often be time consuming, but for me, it's worth it. Thanks so much for stopping by to share your tips! In my next life, I'd love to be a book blogger. :)

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    1. Haha! We would welcome you into the fold, JILL :)

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    2. Hi Jill!! Everything you said about blogging! Ditto! Loving it! Thank you!

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    3. Blogger friends are a great bonus!

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    4. Thanks for stopping by Jill! Book blogging is so fun and rewarding! #booknerds

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  10. Yay!! You guys deserve recognition for your hard work and overall awesomeness. :)

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    1. Awww.. thank you. I truly believe the "force" behind the blogging and CFRR is God. So may HE get all the credit! πŸ˜‰

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    2. Toni, YOU my friend are a pleasure to collaborate with and y'all should check out Toni's brain child at http://diversitybetweenthepages.wordpress.com

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    3. TONI, everything Beth & Annie is my heart's reply as well. They said it so well!

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    4. Ok, it is my turn....What they said^^^ HEHE!

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  11. Welcome to Seekerville, Ladies! So delighted to see you here.

    I salute your ministry and contribution to inspirational reading.

    Thank you!

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    1. Thank you, Tina! ❤❤❤❤❤❤

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    2. Hi Tina! We're tickled pink to be here and hopefully we can inspire or encourage fellow bloggers or an author or reader who wants to make the leap into blogging.

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    3. Hi TINA! Thank you for the warm welcome!

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  12. Goood morning, Seekerville! Early riser I am not but I AM SO EXCITED to visit with all y'all today!

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  13. Hi Seekerville! Thank you Ruthy for allowing us to join y'all (and for the pastries). I'm honored to be included. Hope everyone have fun and a blessed day!

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    1. Oh yes, I forgot about the goodies! Yummy! Thank you, Ruthy!

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    2. You mean you didn't eat them all last night Beth?

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    3. Hahaha! *shhhh!* no, I just snuck one!!!

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  14. Hello Ladies, it's good to see you all here!

    As a reader/reviewer I find all that's involved in a blog so interesting.

    I've talked with Carrie about reviewing before on her blog, but I still like hearing different points of view.

    It's so easy to write a review for a book I love, but what do you do when, well, you run across one you don't love. Do you ever read a book you've committed to review then get surprised you aren't really a fan of the story or the writing?

    This has happened to me numerous times, even with authors I thought would be a sure thing. I always want to be honest and forthright in what I say, but sometimes it's near impossible to come up with anything positive. As a Christian reviewer, I don't ever want to say anything negative, or discount a writers hard work. I've seen a few "Christian" reviewers say some things that just make me cringe.
    I've become even more selective in what I choose to review, but as bloggers who read and review a lot, this must happen to yall too.

    I don't mean to put yall on the spot, but does anyone have any thoughts or words of wisdom on writing a challenging review to share?

    Thanks for sharing your methods to blogging today!

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    1. Btw: no need to include me in the drawing, I've read two of the books and have a third waiting in the wings.

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    2. Tracey, great question, since I'm sure we've run acrossed this dilemma more than once as bloggers/reviewers. Personally, I'm the type that will finish a book, no matter how uninterested I am. I feel that if an author put forth effort to write a book, I should finish it and thereby give it a chance. If I really don't like it, I will try to find positives and give constructive criticisms on the negatives in my review. At least why I didn't like it. I really do think even a "negative" review can induce conversation. It had for me in the past and I've purchased books that had negative reviews too. If I find a book totally offensive, I would not review at all on my blog, but if it's part of a tour, I'd explained why I can't participate.

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    3. Also, prior to every "negative" review (1 or 2 stars type), I pray for words.

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    4. Yes Annie, praying for the right words is so important! Books and how they make us feel is so subjective. A book I love may not appeal to someone else and vice versa. I try to choose books that are upbeat, but there seems to be a trend lately in books with subject matter of a more stressful or tragic nature, these are the ones that stump me.

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    5. Exactly what Annie said and if I can think of a reader who WOULD enjoy the story, I might even share their opinion on it as a little side note. I'm picky about what I read so usually I can spot books that might not be my cup of tea and send them on their merry way.

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    6. Hey Beth Erin, like you I can usually spot books that aren't for me, but once in a while when I see a lot of people raving over a book I want to see what I'm missing..I have discovered I should just stick with my first instincts. Reading is my happy place, I don't do angst well that lasts for an entire book.

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    7. Oh goodness! This is the nightmare of most book bloggers I think. THANK YOU for addressing this: "As a Christian reviewer, I don't ever want to say anything negative, or discount a writers hard work. I've seen a few "Christian" reviewers say some things that just make me cringe." I will not read reviews on retail sites for this very reason. This is CHRISTIAN FICTION. We should be building authors up and not tearing them down and ripping them to sheds. There have only been 2 books that I have been unable to complete. I sought for the good qualities, whether that be the writing style, the unique setting, engaging characters...And then explain what aspects I just couldn't move past...sometimes it is the storyline itself. It is important to be truthful, yet kind. And prayer...and having a friend you trust read the review before you publish it.

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  15. Wonderful post highlighting these awesome blogging friends! I started my blogging journey this past February and these ladies have been so kind offering tips & advice. I'be learned a lot from them! ((Hugs)) ❤️

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    1. Awesome Trisha! Welcome to the blogging world! ❤❤

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    2. Trishia! It's our pleasure and we're delighted to have you as a blogger buddy! HUGS!

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    3. TRISHA! You're so sweet! Thankful for you :)

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    4. So glad you have joined this wonderful blogging world!

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  16. Thank you for sharing! I always wondered about blogs, and this answered sll of my questions. :-)

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  17. Love the blogging post but the thought of putting all my thoughts onto "paper" for all to read is terrifying! Yay to you women that can do it. I enjoy reading your blogs and keeping up to date on new releases and new to me authors. Arletta
    tmkgrup2soon(AT)hotmail(DOT)com

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    1. Hahahha. I was like that for awhile too...but having "someone" (even if it's a blogl to take my thoughts is soothing!

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    2. Oh YES, it can definitely be scary. Writing has never been something I'm comfortable doing. I'm a reader first and blogging is just an extension of my love of books (and authors and other readers) Thank you for being a faithful blog reader, Arletta!

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    3. I hear ya Arletts! I jumped into blogging knowing NOTHING and NO ONE....and I was terrified that people would actually read what I wrote. But now, it is so freeing and FUN!

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  18. Hi friends, Carrie, Rachel, Annie and Beth Erin!! I'm so thankful for you ladies and your hearts for Christian fiction! I love seeing you here at Seekerville which was the first writing/reading blog I found when I started this journey! Blessings & prayers for all of these wonderful ministries!
    Big hugs to all!

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    1. Hugs & kisses to you too Janet! Thank you!

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    2. Hi Janet!!! Thank you so much! HUGS!!!

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    3. Thanks, Janet! Thankful for you!

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    4. Thank you Janet! So glad our paths crossed!

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  19. It is 8:41 and there are over 50 comments!!!! I love this!!!!

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    1. Hahha. I think I took up a lot! πŸ˜› we bloggers tend to talk a lot if we're not face to face! *introvert Annie here....πŸ˜‰

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    2. We are so excited to be here! Ruthy, thanks so much for having us!

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  20. Let me just add here that I have loved working with these ladies... and getting to know them... over the years. Their hearts for Jesus, faith, fun and fiction... with a solid dash of romance.... are simply amazing! And I love that they're spreading the word near and far, and that folks respond so beautifully to them.... It's an absolute joy to have them here today.

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    1. ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤ Love YOU Ruthy!

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    2. Oh Ruthy, you are truly one of my favorite people. Love you!!!

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    3. All the feels Ruthy! You are so dear to me!

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  21. Thank you ladies - what a great post. Kinda makes me want to go write a blog post, which brings me to my number one blog problem. My blog is more personal instead of about a subject such as reading or writing because most of my followers are personal friends. I usually think I have nothing blog-worthy to write about, as in, "why would anybody want to read this?" so I don't blog very often. Anybody have good advice how to get out of that rut?

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    1. Cindy, I know exactly what you mean. My blog really started in 2011 as a personal blog as an outlet for my thoughts and interests, but I didn't feel motivated at all. I had like 1 post every few months type. Then I started putting my reviews of books I've read on it in 2015...and wala! I wanted to continue to write. Granted, there were no one reading my blog then. Nada. Zilch and I didn't advertise or anything. But I kept writing more each week. A couple of months later, I realize this makes me happy and I want to continue. And there goes Just Commonly blog...

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    2. Oops.. didn't finish. Ok. That's why my blog name is nothing "bookish". My advice is if you want to blog (doesn’t have to be about books), find something or an area that you LOVE to talk about. And then it will go from there.

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    3. That's great advice. Thanks, Annie. And a good idea too. I write lots of book reviews so why dont I make them a part of my blog? Thanks again!

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    4. Great question, Cindy! I'll just echo what Annie said, share what you love!

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    5. Cindy, when I started my blog I honestly did it just as a way to sort my thoughts on the books I was reading. I really didn't expect anyone to read it except maybe my mom & my husband. So my advice would be write what's on your heart. And then find ways to share it so ppl who need to read your heart will find you.

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    6. ^^^What they all said! Mine started as a book review blog...and now sometimes I will post other stuff...or add in personal things (like our kitchen remodel or birthday parties) with First LIne Friday or Top Ten Tuesday...

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  22. Thanks for spending time here and sharing so much useful information. Like someone else noted, I enjoy reading a blog that is not on the person's FB page. Seems like I can concentrate on what someone has written easier! Lovely advice and suggestions from you today. Blessings.

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    1. Oh, we are QUITE familiar with Facebook as a distraction *ahem* sometimes friends run friends off Facebook so the blogging happens ;)

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    2. SQUIRREL!!!! Yes...Our group is great for accountability hehe!

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  23. The FAB FOUR are in the house! Welcome Ladies! You are EACH such a delight! Thank you for ALL you do to promote Christian authors!

    ((((((HUGS)))))))

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    1. CARYL!!! You are reader royalty, my friend!!! Thank you for your faithful encouragement *HUGS!!!*

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    2. Haha, Caryl! I love you! Thank you for your encouragement today & every day!

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    3. CARYL!!!! You are SUCH a HUGE blessing!!! Your dedication to supporting us crazy bloggers (and you keep coming back to read what I write...hahahaha) just blows me away!

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  24. Good morning ladies, Wow what a wonderful and concise blog. Thanks for joining us here today on our blog. We love how you support authors and the idea of getting authors and readers together is so much fun. Thank you and thanks for the book giveaways also. Have fun today. Looks like you are super busy already.

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    1. Hi Sandra! We had so much fun collaborating and putting it together for y'all! It's a joy to be here!

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    2. Thanks so much, Sandra!!

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    3. Thank you! We make a great team! The Fab Four hehe!

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  25. Welcome ladies! We love talking blogs here in Seekerville! Thanks for the tips and the terrific giveaways. Especially thank you for all you do to support Christian fiction and authors! I have lovely memories of the first CFRR! Know the second will be as good or better.

    Janet

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    1. Hello Janet! Thank you so much for having us! Can't wait to see you again at CFRR :)

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    2. Beth, I can't make it this year. But wish you every success!

      Janet

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    3. Hi Janet!!!!! Can't wait for CFRR!!!!

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  26. Hi Bloggers:

    I've been to all four of your blogs and it looks like you either don't have comments or if they are allowed don't seem to be readily evident.

    Do you not want an interactive community of commenters or do you see the blogs as billboards pointing the way to your interactive sites like Facebook?

    Vince

    P.S. Please place me in the drawing. Every time I see Rachel Hauck's "The Wedding Shop" it reminds me I have to get to the "Rosetti Curse" that's been too long in my TBR pile! I'd just like to read both of them at the same time!

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    1. Hi Vince! We definitely stay active in the comments. The comments don't appear on our home pages but each post has a comment section (I think this is accurate for everyone's layout) I also don't have comment sections on my about page, disclosures, etc. but folks are welcome to use the contact page or social media to get in touch with me!

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    2. VINCE!!! You haven't read The Rosetti Curse yet??? That is a fun, fun story! Don't put it off any longer!

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    3. Hi Vince. Not sure where you're looking but we all have comments enabled on our blog posts & we love interacting that way with our readers!

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    4. Hi Vince! Thanks for your question. Beth is correct in the fact that my home page only lists the recent posts that I have published. If you continue to the specific blog post the comments option is available. I also have a contact page. Thanks!

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    5. Hi Myra:

      It know I should have read "The Rosetti Curse" by now. However, I think I was the first to buy it on Amazon! I keep thinking that Rosetti is going to be Joe Morelli and I'm not sure how I'd react to that. Besides I bought your three 'horse' books right away but then waited for them to come out as Kindle books and read them all in two days. I'm kind of a spurt reader. I think Mary does this too. Any way, the cover also makes it look like a ghost story...and I kind of stay away from paranormal...except the ones I write. We all know about quirky characters but I'm actually a quirky reader. I thought perhaps I could use the buddy system, figuratively, by reading "The Wedding Shop" at the same time as the "Curse" , alternating each chapter, which is very easy to do on a Kindle. You can actually do this with as many books as you want letting the books compete with each other for your attention. This tells you a lot about the page turning power of rewarding the reader on each page. Of course, I'm not sure authors would be to much in favor of doing this. :)

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  27. Hi Bloggers:

    I like your acronym SOAP and since I have a somewhat differ take on blogging, I'd like to suggest a secondary set of ideas which might also be helpful to aspiring bloggers.

    S O A P

    Steadfast... stay on topic, stay reliable, post often and on time...

    Objective ... have an objective...don't be a wandering generality...keep you eye on the prize

    Affirmation... always be affirming your Moral Premise (even a blog should have one)...stand for something greater than yourself

    Position... try to position your blog so that it holds a prominent place in your reader's mind when it comes to your unique niche in the marketplace of ideas.

    Well, that's just a thought. Love acronyms!

    Vince

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    1. Yes this is all very true!

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    2. Hi Bloggers:

      I have a suggestion to up your traffic counts. Place a comment section on your home page asking visitors something like this: "What are you reading? Are you reading anything you can't put down?"

      Reader involvement is one of the most important elements of a selling advertisement. I still remember a great ad that ran in the old days that seemed to run for decades: "Which Twin has the Toni" Even as a little kid I was trying to figure that out!

      Instead of just looking at a page, this feature asks people to do something. It also can be a feature that people will check each day if it is updated each day.

      Get your visitors involved the second they come to your home page. I think almost all fans are looking for their next new "auto-buy" author. A column like that is one way to find her, quickly.

      You all sure feature a lot of books I've read. I need to visit more in the future.

      Vince

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  28. I am still so very new in the blogging realm, and these are all great tips! Thank you for sharing!!

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    1. Hi Sammi! Nice to meet you! I'm the "baby blog" of the bunch, nothing wrong with being new! Enjoy your blogging journey and reach out if there's anything we can help with :)

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    2. Hi Sammi! Nice to meet you :)

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    3. Welcome Sammi! What is your blog address? And definitely let us know if you have any questions!

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  29. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeekkkkkkkkkkkk!!! Four of my favorite bloggers AND people all in one place??? WOW, feels like CFRR all over again, which gives me SUCH a good feeling!

    And what a WONDERFUL blog, my friends, chock full of good things to know about blogging, so THANK YOU, not only for this blog today, but for all the work you do on behalf of Christian fiction. We are blessed to have you guys!!

    ANNIE SAID: "My dream is to see CF head towards mainstream market. I think it's important to share our posts in order to promote, but also to do each of our best to be advocates of the books we love and review for."

    Oh, girlfriend, do our hearts beat in time with each other or what?? It has been and continues to be one of my top desires for Christian fiction -- to erase the barriers between it and the rest of the reading markets, making it as mainstream as all the secular books that preach the world's amorality. I hope (and pray) to see it in my lifetime! :)

    Annie, Beth, Carrie, & Rach -- LOVE the acronym, LOVE the pix, and LOVE you!!

    Hugs and more hugs,
    Julie

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    1. JULIE!!! MY FAVORITE CDQ ❤ HUGS!!!
      YES!!! Let's take CF to ALL the readers!!!

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    2. Julieeeeee!! Hugs, hugs and more hugs!

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    3. I may be fangirl flailing over here....I will try and get this out before I swoon....JULIE! Thank YOU for what you contribute to CF! Your books, your style, your testimony, your HEART speaks so loudly and I am so thankful and honored to know you! <3 All the love! (And commence flailing)

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    4. JULIE, I'm with ya! I SOOOOOOO agree. Where's the LOVE button????

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  30. Welcome, ladies!! I'm so glad you're here with us today. Thank you for all you do to connect readers and authors!!

    I have to say this quote really cracked me up: "In addition to scheduling posts through our blog platform, we also use organizational tools such as Trello, Google Calendar, Hootsuite, etc. and varying amounts of self-discipline!"

    That last part made me laugh out loud. I'm one with...ahem...variable self-discipline. :)

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    1. Hi Missy! Well some of us are a hot mess and that's okay ;)

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    2. Hahahahaha! I'm one of the hot messes ;)

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    3. I think we are all a hot mess at LEAST once a week! Thankfully Carrie breaks out the "Bossy Chicken"(it is actually a turkey) sticker when we should be blogging or reading........hehe

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    4. LOL! I love the Bossy Chicken sticker. :)

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  31. Thanks specifically for the info on the blogging platforms. I'm on Blogger and have wondered if I should stay. This helps to hear some of you use it.

    Of course, I haven't blogged on my personal blog in ages. I really should focus on "S" of your SOAP and maybe start blogging again.

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    1. There are definitely pros and cons for different platforms. It really boils down to what works for you and your blogging goals. :)

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    2. We are here to help in any way we can, Missy!

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    3. I am Virtual Assistant to Pepper Basham and she uses wordpress. Using BOTH platforms....I honestly couldn't tell you which one I like better. They both have good aspects that I love....and things I don't like so much. It all boils down to personal preference.

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  32. Welcome, ladies! Excellent tips--and many of them not just for blogging. The whole "organize" section could be applied to many areas of the writing life--professionally and personally!

    Echoing Missy's sentiments, thanks so much for all you do to promote Christian fiction and bring readers and authors together!

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    1. Definitely! We could ALL use a little organization in our lives! Thank you, Myra!

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    2. Thank you Myra! This is so true!

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  33. I'm supposed to be writing, but I just had to pop over to Seekerville to say hi!

    You are some of my favorite reviewers and bloggers, and now I see why! None of you sleep, do you? Between reading, reviewing, promoting, blogging... you have your plates full. :)

    I am so bummed that I'm missing CFRR this year - last year was a wonderful time, and it was so much fun meeting all those READERS! Thank you for the opportunity!

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    1. Hi Jan! Priorities! Sleep comes right after reading and eating ;) We hope to have you back at CFRR in the future!

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    2. Sleep? What is the meaning of this word? Haha! BUt as Beth said...Sleep always comes after Reading and Food!

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  34. Welcome ladies! I'm stoked to meet all of you and explore your blogs. I'm in the process of figuring out what I'm going to do on my new blog/website once it goes live. These are great ideas and I love SOAP! I need to focus as my time for actual writing is at a premium - well, who's isn't, right? Please put me in the draw as I've got all those books on my TBR list! Have a blessed day!

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    1. Hi Laurie! Checking out other blogs is a great way to figure out what you like and don't like for your own blog.

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    2. ^^^What Beth said...And it is OK to try something new...And if you don't like it...revert back to your original way. I like to spend one day a week and bust out several posts for that week and sometimes the following week. Makes everything run much smoother throughout the week.

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  35. Such a great post, ladies! I know a couple of you have answered my many questions trying to get my blog off the ground. It's great to see your hearts.

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    1. Hey Katherine! Great to see you here!

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    2. Hi Katherine! Always happy to help!!!!

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  36. Great post : ) love all of your blogs and it was so fun seeing you all at CFRR! I cant wait for August to meet more bloggers/authors!! I have been so blessed with the people I have met and relationships started with blogging and books.

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    1. YAY! See you in August, Michelle! Book blogging has been a HUGE blessing to me too ❤

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    2. YAY!!! #CFRR2017 here we come!

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  37. You used so many words I don't know. Trello?
    What is Amazon Affiliates? Do you mean we could sell ads on Seekerville and make money on this place somehow?
    TINA!!!??? Are you listening???

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    1. Rachel's post on Trello (linked above) will spell it all out for you ;)
      As far as affiliates go... operating in the black is a nice goal. I'm not there yet but goals are important, right?!

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    2. Trello Mary....Seriously AMAZING to keep me organized!!! Hehe!

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  38. I'm used to blogger here and we use Wordpress for our Petticoats and Pistols blog and that's also the background of my website, which makes that pretty easy to use (easy in the sense that I haven't actually got a mushroom cloud over my house!!!)

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  39. I LOVED CFRR last year. I'm so sorry I can't get to it this time. So So So sorry. It's right no top my my family's annual fishing vacation.
    But I thought it was the greatest thing. WTG ladies. You've truly invented something unique and wonderful. I hope you keep it going and I hope I can be part of it in the future. I'll certainly try.

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    1. You and Ruthy were a hoot last year! It was so wonderful to meet you and I hope to see you at CFRR in the future!!! I'm so thankful God brought Annie, Carrie, and Bonnie together!

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    2. Awwww so sad! But So glad I got to meet you last year!!!! You are incredible!

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  40. PS Ruthy is coming to CFRR right?
    You'll probably find out she's majorly boring without me to heckle her.
    I was also tempted to heckle Julie Lessman and Tamara Alexander...but managed to keep my mouth shut.

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    1. Bahahahaha!!!! Oh you crack me up!

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    2. Hahahaha!!! Mary, I do agree that putting you two together magnifies just about everything. ;)

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  41. Saw this on my FB news feed and I couldn't pass up a chance to say hi. I found you at the CFRR last year and my world was enlarged. I truly admire your kindness and joy. I'm sure it isn't always peaches and cream to do what you do, but having you guys in a corner feels like having a someone champion you. A rare thing. A powerful thing. I've both experienced and watched what that does to an author. There truly is ministry in what you do.
    Thank you for staying the course even when you want to purse-whomp your computer and your TBR pile.
    Four big crazy hugs around.

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    1. Hi Cara!!! CFRR is quite an experience, isn't it?!!! Blessed my socks off! I LOVE HUGS!!! Make sure you get my attention in August, we'll do an in person hug!

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  42. Sqqqqueallll -- Review Rock Stars all in one place!!!!! I'm cheering even though a lot of the technical talk went way over my head. Way, way, way over! LOL

    Your blogs are so pretty (I signed up to follow -- except I couldn't find a sign up for Annie's blog? But I get her updates on facebook.) I have a very Plain Jane kind of blog but it works for me 'cause I don't have the know how to fancy her up. Like others have said -- I love the people I've met in the blogging community. And I adore talking books and since no one in my 'real' life reads Christian fiction (gasp!) I'm ever so grateful for bloggers who share their thoughts.

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    1. I love your plain Jane blog, Kav! You review like a boss!!! You definitely do not have to focus on the pretties or bells and whistles to be a successful blogger and your blog proves that point perfectly.

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    2. Totally agree with Beth! Thank you for supporting authors!!!

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  43. Thank you ladies for all the helpful information. I am always reading something and love to write, so I think a blog would be something I would enjoy doing. Unfortunately, my computer skills are more than a little lacking! I have been thinking about taking a beginner class. What would you all recommend? My main method of learning right now is to call one of my girls into the room and ask "How do I do this?" Thanks for any help you can offer!

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    1. Hi Julia! Before I started blogging I ordered two books from the library, "Blogging for Dummies" and "WordPress for Dummies" (I am not kidding)... beyond that I've learned by asking other bloggers, trial and error, or searching for answers on the internet. Daughters with know-how are definitely a plus!

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    2. A basic understanding would be beneficial. You don't want to get into it all and get so frustrated that you want to toss in the towel. I think Beth had a brilliant idea reading those first. Everyone is different though. I learn by trial and error a lot...and I like to push buttons....But that doesn't work for everyone.

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    3. Thank you! Great suggestions! I will see if our library can get those. I tend to avoid random button pushing because it usually results in my children saying, "Mom, what did you do now?"

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  44. What a great post to reenergize us to work on our blogs. Thanks so much ladies! Hugs to all of you!

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    1. Our pleasure, Jackie! We had so much fun!

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    2. Oh yay! Thank you Jackie!! Happy blogging!

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  45. All four of these blogs are "must reads" for me. They feature terrific books and interesting topics that draw in their readers. I rely a lot on their reviews, especially of books whose authors are new to me. Thank you Beth, Carrie, Annie, and Rachel for your work.

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    1. Oh Pam! You have put the BIGGEST grin on my face! THANK YOU!!!

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    2. Thank you SO MUCH, Pam!!!

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  46. WELCOME TO SEEKERVILLE, Rachel, Annie, Beth, and Carrie!

    Wow! SO much great stuff here today and all excellent points!

    I'll just dive right in. I LOVE blogging. Over the six or so years since I began blogging, there's been a lot of change. As with any platform, there will be a need to take an occasional break, especially for writers because that's how stories get written, and it's also good to focus on R&R for a season.

    I will, however, always say this. FB, Twitter, Pinterest are not ours-- but our BLOGS are. That fact, alone, spells tremendous potential, and blogging allows us to communicate with our readers in more of a personal way that other mediums just don't. PLUS, we're in the driver's seat and not at the mercy of those other mediums' algorithms.

    Annie, on your point about your desire to see CF head toward mainstream? Hear, hear, my friend! I believe the market is ripening in that direction, though we have much work to do. Enlarging our territory (*ahem, nod to Jabez) means building on an already great thing and reaching untapped areas where readers would so love to tread.

    Thanks so much for visiting us, ladies! What a wonderful conversation today.

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    1. Hi Cynthia! Oh you are so right about social media algorithms (ugh, they really burn my biscuits!)

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  47. I'm late!!! Family is arriving for the Fourth and I had to shop till I dropped this AM for food and fun stuff for the kids!

    Such a joy to have you ladies with us today on Seekerville. You all have a special place in our hearts. Tina mentioned ministry, and that truly is what you're doing...ministry...getting good Christian reads into the hands of readers. Woot! God's smiling, I'm sure!!!

    Can't wait for this year's CFRR!!! Last year was amazing, a joyous day in every way. I know 2017 will be equally as good, if not better.

    As an aside, Carrie, I mailed two boxes of SWAG and 140 Reader's Prayers that should arrive tomorrow.

    My question...what can authors do to help each of you? Send books for you to review? Stop by your blogs and comment? Share your FB feeds?

    Hugs to each of you!!! Love and prayers too!

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    1. Debby! I'm so glad you're sending Reader's Prayers again this year, I love it!

      To answer your question, it definitely depends from blogger to blogger so I'll just answer for myself. Obviously, we all LOVE to read and review books so the limiting factor is usually time!

      If authors are able to give me advance notice for a review request (2-3ish months), I can get them on the calendar. (that said, I do keep an eye on new releases and put books I HOPE to read on there too, so it doesn't hurt to ask... your book might already be on my calendar)

      We all LOVE to chat with our favorite authors and fellow readers anywhere so YES we all welcome blog comments, sharing, social media interaction, etc. it's all encouraging and helpful. We also enjoy doing author interviews or spotlights so that's another option.

      I'm sure the other ladies will have some good suggestions as well, thank you for the question!

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  48. Wow, so many comments already. I won't be able to read them all, so hopefully you haven't already answered my question. Will you be doing the CFRR every year? If so, will it be moved around to different parts of the country? I really hope I can come someday.

    This was a great post and I am going to follow the links to check you all out!

    Please enter me in the drawing for the books!

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    1. I'll let Annie or Carrie answer your CFRR question.

      Thank you, Sandy! I hope you are able to attend CFRR sometime, it is a wonderful experience.

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  49. Omigosh, Yes! I'm in awe of these bloggers and their abilities! Congratulations, ladies! You are amazing. And YAY! I get to see so many reader and author friends in Cincy! (okay sneaking back to work) Thanks for recognizing these gals, Ruthy!

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    1. Aww, Debra! You are too kind! See you in August, YAY!

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  50. Welcome to Seekerville, Rachel, Annie, Beth, and Carrie!!!!

    May God bless you and our community here!

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  51. What a great article!!! I sure do love these ladies 😘 Not only are they awesome bloggers, but they are awesome people!!! Well deserved recognition ladies. Keep the blog posts coming!

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