27 Jan

Bitter Gertrude

My theatre company is in heavy season planning mode, so I’ve recently read dozens of new plays. I’m always reading new plays, but this time of year, I’m reading a lot of plays, all day long. We’re making an effort to find more plays by women playwrights. We get between 300-400 unsolicited submissions each year, as well as submissions from agents and theatre professionals (playwrights, other ADs or LMs). 75% of those plays are by men, without fail. Unsurprisingly, 75% of the plays we’ve done over our 17 seasons have been by men. So we’re making an extra effort to find women playwrights and ask them to submit.

My company does new plays by “emerging” playwrights (I understand the controversy around that term, but this post isn’t about that, so let’s move on), so I’m reading unpublished plays, many (if not most) by early career, relatively inexperienced playwrights. I noticed…

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Welcome back!

24 Jan

Hello guys! I just wanted to stop in and give you a heads up. I truly dropped the ball last year with this chat and that has to change! #bblogchat is a valuable resource for the community of book bloggers and I want to see it shine.


So chats are moving to every Wednesday at 3pm EST and last one full hour.


This weeks chat will focus on blogging ethics. I hope you are able to spread the word and join us!

Recap: Branding your Blog

7 Jul

Last week, our Twitter chat focused on branding your blog.  What is branding?  What does it mean for a blogger?  Why is it so important?  How does a brand differ from a niche?  The conversation was fast and furious and lasted well over the scheduled hour.  In case you missed it, here are some of the key points discussed that night.

@whatsheread This has been a hot topic for a while. So it begs the question – why is branding your blog so important? #Bblog

@whatsheread And more importantly, what does branding your blog mean to you? #Bblog

@callista83 @whatsheread So people recognize you around the net #bblog

@myfriendamy @whatsheread I think branding your blog is important to help your readers find you and know you #bblog

@deadwhiteguys Branding sets your #bblog apart from the masses and gives your readers a coherent message

@SueySays @whatsheread Branding is important because there’s so many book blogs out there now! #bblog

@coconutlibrary I agree with @callista83 I find that it’s easier to see who’s who when you know their “brand” #bblog

@bellareads #Bblog branding your blog is important for consistency. I think it gives your blog more credibility, more professionalism

@brokeandbookish #bblog I think it’s the same as branding a business. It’s who you are. It’s your face of the blog, company, org..

@mjmbecky @whatsheread I think branding adds a comfort factor to following your blog. It gives you uniformity. #Bblog

@whatsheread @SueySays I agree. But why is it so controversial? Why do people protest when told to brand their blog? #bblog

@brokeandbookish #bblog It sets you apart and gives you a sense of culture and community.

@vasilly @whatsheread To me branding means being a dependable source for book reviews. I want people to know what to expect from my blog. #bblog

@mjmbecky @whatsheread Uniformity in a good way though, so you’re easily recognized among all the others. #Bblog

@whatsheread @brokeandbookish No, that’s great! That is exactly what branding is. You are establishing how you want others to portray you. #bblog

@SueySays @whatsheread I think because it makes them feel uncomfortable to promote themselves #bblog

@brokeandbookish #bblog I guess because maybe people don’t want to come off too pushy and make it too much like a business?

@myfriendamy @whatsheread people don’t like to think of their blogs in business terms and the word “brand” is associated with business/money #bblog

@deadwhiteguys @whatsheread it’s controversial because some make it more about brands than content #bblog

@chrisbookarama @whatsheread Maybe because people don’t like being told what to do. It feels false to them. But it doesn’t have to be. #bblog

@mjmbecky @whatsheread It also makes it into a competition in some people’s minds. #Bblog

@whatsheread @deadwhiteguys But a brand is about content. A brand is how others perceive you. #bblog

@BookingIt @whatsheread It’s become too trite, The concept is sound, but the words are batted about the net in ways that annoy. #bblog

@coconutlibrary @whatsheread I think it can be overwhelming when you’re new. You already have so much to do getting started #bblog

@whatsheread So, if I am reading what others are saying, there is a misperception of what a brand actually means. Do others agree? #Bblog

@whatsheread @coconutlibrary I think the thing to remember is consistency. Same gravatar, same user name, etc. #bblog

@rainydayreading @whatsheread I believe it’s important to have your own identity online, through which people connect with you. #bblog

@deadwhiteguys @whatsheread disagree. A brand SHOULD be about content, but is often more about logos, memes, buttons, design, etc..#bblog

@coconutlibrary @whatsheread I’m getting the hang of it now & was never against it in the 1st place) but think that may be a reason people are anti #bblog

@whatsheread @deadwhiteguys It’s about all of that. You need content to back up everything else. #bblog

@whatsheread @SueySays According to what I was reading today, yes. Your blog’s overall personality is your brand. #bblog

@whatsheread @coconutlibrary Do you think people are intimidated or do not understand what it is? #bblog

@rainydayreading @whatsheread I think every1 has his/her own definition on branding. What I look for in a blog may be diff from what someone else does #bblog

@Chrisbookarama @whatsheread It’s one of those ‘buzz words’ that is losing all meaning. #bblog

@whatsheread @SueySays I’m coming at this from a marketing perspective, but everyone has a personal brand automatically. #bblog

@whatsheread @Chrisbookarama It is, unfortunately, but I believe that it is more important than ever to create a brand as publishers notice us. #bblog

@mjmbecky @whatsheread It’s easier to follow a blog that sticks to a brand too. You can change in some ways, but throws me if all the time. #Bblog

@whatsheread How is a brand fit into your blog goals? #Bblog

@whatsheread @Chrisbookarama That’s the trickiest part of a brand, but you can influence it through content and interactions on social media. #bblog

@mjmbecky @coconutlibrary Yes, I agree. You learn what you like or not,& then include in your blog. #Bblog

@deadwhiteguys Having a consistent brand gives you the freedom to be creative/define or redefine your niche to a specific audience #bblog

@myfriendamy @mjmbecky it’s like @LizB once said….blogs are kind of like different magazines #Bblog you read one expecting one thing

@whatsheread @rainydayreading So you do not think that you should establish a brand if you blog as a hobby? What do others think? #bblog

@whatsheread @deadwhiteguys Doesn’t redefining your niche change your brand then? #bblog

@SueySays Branding has never really been a conscious part of my goals, so that’s why I am here to see what I need to do! #bblog

@coconutlibrary figuring out how to incorporate it with what i’ve got going #bblog

@Lavender_Lines I find that I’m still trying to find my voice. Don’t want it to seem fake or contrived. #bblog

@the1blacksheep doesn’t entirely fit what I now want to do with it. Only I’m reluctant to change because, as you say, branding is important. #bblog

@callista83 I thought brand was more the look and name then what I blog about. I thought that was my niche. #bblog

@Chrisbookarama @whatsheread Yes, but it’s difficult to step outside yourself, you know. I guess you just have to be yourself. #bblog

@rainydayreading @whatsheread I think if u are just focused on putting up ur bookish thoughts, u don’t *have* to worry about branding, unless u want 2 #bblog

@whatsheread @bellareads It takes time and insight. It’s what you want to be remembered for at the end of the day. #bblog

@Lavender_Lines The concept of branding confuses the heck out of me. Seems to be about content & uniqueness & look. I think? #bblog

@rainydayreading @whatsheread I like blogs that tell what niche they review, it’s an essential ingredient of any book blog, whether they brand or not. #bblog

@whatsheread @Lavender_Lines A brand is what others think of you. It is how they describe you when you are not in the room, so to speak. #bblog

@myfriendamy A good example of a blog maintaining a brand over different subject matter would be 5 minutes for mom and all their spin-offs #bblog

@mawbooks Branding to me is being easily recognized, easily found, consistent & portraying the reputation I want to be known for. #bblog

@vasilly @SueySays I think if you review all kinds of things then your blog is eclectic. That can be a brand. #bblog

@whatsheread @mawbooks A niche is a form of branding because you are recognized as being an expert in that niche. #bblog

@thereadinglife I found what I wrote created my brand sort of-it was not until I had blogged for several months that I got a sense of wanting a brand #bblog

@whatsheread @SueySays Maybe. But a niche does not make a brand. Your brand may be something else. #bblog

@whatsheread @thereadinglife Your brand should not change based on what you read. For example, I read everything. The one thing that stays the … #bblog

@whatsheread @thereadinglife …same is the idea that I will give a brutally honest but fair review. That’s what I want to be known for. #bblog

@mawbooks @coconutlibrary It goes back to the question: why are you blogging in the first place? #bblog

@myfriendamy: I think even eclectic bloggers tend to have a kind of book they read more. The “niche” may not be seen as easily, but it’s there #bblog

@whatsheread @myfriendamy You make an excellent point. Others might be able to see it better than you, which is again the definition of a brand. #bblog

@SueySays So to brand, should we pay more attention to content or to the overall look? #bblog

@myfriendamy @SueySays i think having consistent names and images across social media helps and I think being true to yourself (cheesy but true) #bblog

@vasilly @SueySays More attention to content. That’s what keeps people coming back. #bblog

@mawbooks Is niche and brand really that closely intertwined with each other? Lots of niche talk going on. #bblog

@whatsheread @SueySays According to marketing research, both, but content is most important because you need to be back up your goals. #bblog

@bookladysblog @Vasilly I do think my blog has a strong brand, and voice is a huge part of that. It’s about more than making all your designs match. #bblog

@whatsheread @mawbooks I think a niche is a form of a brand IMO. You want to be recognized as an expert in XX genre. #bblog

@mawbooks @SueySays I think consistency like @myfriendamy said. Easily recognizable & reputation you want to be known for. #bblog

@whatsheread A brand is how you want to be remembered. Do u want to be known as a 1-genre expert? Then your niche is your brand. #Bblog

@whatsheread As book bloggers, we are automatically in a niche. We need to define who we are to separate ourselves from others. #Bblog

@myfriendamy @LizB I generally think if you have a niche, it’s because that’s what you like…but it makes others looking for same thing come back #bblog

@vasilly I think my brand on Twitter is different from my brand on my blog. I get asked for a lot of recommendations on Twitter #bblog

@myfriendamy @chrisbookarama I don’t think voice or brand can be imitated @whatsheread #bblog

@whatsheread @mawbooks @sueysays The beauty about a strong brand is that your followers know what to expect and will be more forgiving. #bblog

@coconutlibrary @myfriendamy I agree, nor would we want to… that’s when it’s no longer a brand. I think brands make us individuals #bblog

@rainydayreading I agree both look and niche contribute to branding. Your look is how a blogger imagines you and your niche is how they remember you. #bblog

@whatsheread @bellareads It is, but it also takes patience to establish yourself. A strong identify & consistent, strong voice helps. #bblog

@whatsheread @myfriendamy @chrisbookarama Nor should it. A brand is unique to an individual. #bblog

@LizB #bblog not fan of term brand, but I think blogging purposefully matters. Being aware of how one presents oneself.

@whatsheread @Chrisbookarama @myfriendamy Voice. Conviction. Consistency. #bblog

@mawbooks Start with little things. Consistent avatar, name, color scheme across blog & social media sites. Have an authentic voice. #bblog

@bookladysblog @chrisbookarama I think it’s voice. That’s what keeps people coming back. Design is great and all, but content makes a brand. #bblog

@Chrisbookarama @bookladysblog I think so too. It takes time to get voice right. I’ve changed gradually since I started blogging. #bblog

@pussreboots Here’s a post I wrote on blog branding last month: http://bit.ly/cvXlyI #bblog

@bellareads @whatsheread that’s what I figure. I’d rather voice & consistency then be popularity. Matches my reading choices. #bblog

@pussreboots Separate blogs or separate dedicated parts of a website… a blog, a gallery, a portfolio … they might need different approaches #bblog

@myfriendamy Fantastic question RT @TequilaReader: What exactly does everyone mean by voice? Is it just personality? #bblog

@wordforteens And for me, that is EVERYTHING. @Vasilly -@TequilaReader Yes! Voice is personality. #bblog

@whatsheread @TequilaReader It’s how you come across in your posts. Are you direct? Are you honest? Do you go for humor? Do you overshare? etc. #bblog

@whatsheread @aartichapati That’s where other aspects of a brand come into play. Images, designs. If done well, you remember the individual. #bblog

@bookladysblog Disagree with the idea that good branding happens by luck. Requires thoughtful, deliberate work…and lots of it! #bblog

@pussreboots No. If you have distinct things to talk about… or distinct audiences… brand accordingly #bblog

@BookingIt @myfriendamy I consider voice to be your choice of words, how you say things, as opposed to content of what you say. #bblog

@whatsheread @bookladysblog Branding is not about luck at all. It is a deliberate process. #bblog

@myfriendamy @bookladysblog I think that people getting noticed can happen by luck. Sort of like how some great books just don’t sell. #bblog

@bellareads @whatsheread I remember some bloggers by their reading choices and design. Some header images stick in my mind more than others #bblog

@pussreboots @whatsheread It’s a deliberate process but it needs to be a flexible one. The brand(s) should grow as you and your blog(s) do #bblog

@Chrisbookarama @pussreboots Yes, don’t be a slave to your brand. #bblog

@whatsheread @Chrisbookarama @bookladysblog Followers do not happen by luck either, IMO. They are attracted to you for a reason. You fill a need. #bblog

@callista83 It’s hard to have consistent colours, name etc when you still aren’t sure you’re happy with your look or name. #bblog

@whatsheread @the1blacksheep @mawbooks That’s the freedom of a blog. It is your voice, your words, unencumbered, uninhibited (if you want). #bblog

@toofondofbooks @BookladysBlog and it’s not over when the brand is created, it has to be maintained, woven into fabric of blog #bblog

@LizB #bblog re design: majority of reading is via reader. Content, voice, originality is what keeps me reading.

@whatsheread @callista83 That is part of developing your brand. And it is okay to change it if it is not working for you. #bblog

@thereadinglife @coconutlibrary one of the great things about blogs is the freedom it gives us #bblog

@renay @Vasilly I never realized brutal honesty could be a brand, but hey, surprises every day! #bblog

@Chrisbookarama @wordforteens But is voice part of a brand? Look at Dooce. She has a distinctive voice. #bblog

@whatsheread @wordforteens Voice is part of branding, and a very big part because it is the part that people should remember. #bblog

@wordforteens @whatsheread @SueySays @chrisbookarama – For blogs? You ARE your brand. Yes, voice is a part of it. But it’s everything. #bblog

@mawbooks @wordforteens Voice is most important but other “branding stuff” helps that voice be heard above noise. #bblog

@whatsheread @wordforteens Your brand is”the way that your blog is perceived and described by others.” #bblog

@wordforteens @whatsheread – It’s not ‘selling yourself’ so much as just presenting yourself and what you’ve got. #badanalogy #bblog

@wordforteens @whatsheread – But in some cases, like mine, you are your blog. Yes, it’s an object, but your voice, the words – they’re yours. #bblog

@whatsheread @wordforteens The trick is to remember that ultimately, your brand is what others think of you. You can say one thing but others can..#bblog

@whatsheread @wordforteens perceive it differently. It’s how others perceive it that is your brand. #bblog

@thereadinglife what is the best way to see how others see your blog-if you ask you will mostly get compliments-how do you get real feedback ? #bblog

@mawbooks @thereadinglife Anonymous survey? I admit, I’m too scared to do one myself. #bblog

@kimthedork @thereadinglife I suggest finding a few blogging buddies, people you trust for honest critique. Support each other. #bblog

@whatsheread @thereadinglife Go to people who you really trust for their honesty and ask. Developing a brand for anything can be a painful process #bblog

@mawbooks I didn’t wake up one day & say “I’m going to brand my blog today!” I’ve just always done what made common sense to me. #bblog

@myfriendamy @thereadinglife make the survey anonymous. TRUST ME people will let loose #bblog

@myfriendamy Next #bblog is July 8th 10 AM EST on the subject of developing a feature for your blog. I’ll be hosting

Book Bloggers Need a Time to Talk

3 Jun

The book blogosphere is a vibrant growing place and our numbers are added to daily.  With the growing visibility of book bloggers in the publishing industry and the continued desire to simply be the best we can be,  issues consistently come up.  Sometimes we hash them out on Twitter spontaneously but not everyone is around.  Bblog (#bblog) will give us a chance to have scheduled chats about issues that are important to book bloggers.

#Bblog will take place every other week and will have alternating hosts.  The schedule will be updated regularly and you can sign up to host a chat yourself!