Blogging, Giveaways

My Fifth Blogiversary!! With a Giveaway, Of Course!

As I was lying in bed last night, it dawned on me that I’d missed something important–the anniversary of my very first blog post! Yesterday marked five years of blogging, and I completely forgot to mark it. Oops! And the funny thing is, I completely noted it last week and planned to pull together all my statistics in time for Tuesday, but it slipped my mind with the lack of internet on Monday. So it’s happening a day late. Here are some fireworks to celebrate!

One of my favorite things about my blogiversary is pulling together statistics about my top posts and searches for my blog. I don’t know if anyone else cares, but it’s fun for me, so stick with it, because I’m doing a giveaway at the end. Since I want you to at least skim this post, I’ll make you wait for it. (I may have a bit of evil in me.)

Top 10 Posts/Pages in the Past Year

10. MMGM: SAMMY KEYES AND THE HOTEL THIEF – I wrote this review ages ago. It’s the first book in a series of middle grade mysteries. I think perhaps it gets assigned in school. Great book, though!

9. Subjectivity and Why You Should Get Multiple Opinions – One of the only writing posts that made it on this list, but it’s a very important point–get MANY opinions on your manuscripts!

8. Series Recommendation: DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth – I think perhaps because of the movies, this series review was visited a lot.

7. YA Series Recommendation: The Selection by Kiera Cass – LOVED this series, and a lot of other people do, too, apparently, as they’re searching out reviews.

6. Before the Draft: Outlining in Scrivener – An older post, but it’s linked to on a Scrivener board somewhere :).

5. MMGM: ONCE UPON THE END by James Riley – The finale in Mr. Riley’s HALF UPON A TIME series. I highly recommend it!

4. What I’ve Learned in Five Years of Querying – My annual roundup of what I’ve learned from the querying process. Still hoping to avoid a six-year post in July :).

3. A Glimpse at My Agent Spreadsheet: Middle Grade Books I’ve Read – The post that started my page listing middle grade and young adult books agents represent (see No. 2 below).

2. MG/YA Agents & Their Books – I created this page a few years ago because I couldn’t find anything like it, and apparently others can’t either since it’s so popular. I maintain it as a resource for writers who want to read up on agents’ books before querying.

1. Remembering a Friend Lost Too Soon: Ashley Gammon – A year ago January, my friend and former colleague Ashley passed away unexpectedly. I wrote this post as my own tribute to her, and for the second year in a row this post has been the most visited on my blog. Sadly, I noticed a spike on a particular day this year and discovered it was because another young woman who shared her name died unexpectedly and people who were searching for answers ended up on my blog. My heart goes out to the other Ashley’s friends and family.

Top 10 Posts/Pages of All Time

Many of these are the same, but humor me :).

10. MMGM: WHEN THE BUTTERFLIES CAME Trailer Reveal, Interview and Giveaway! – Oh, a different one sneaked in! An excellent MG book!

9. MMGM: ONCE UPON THE END by James Riley

8. Series Recommendation: DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth

7. MMGM: THE UNWANTEDS: ISLAND OF SILENCE – Another popular MG series.

6. About – Thanks for reading about me :).


4. Before the Draft: Outlining in Scrivener

3. A Glimpse at My Agent Spreadsheet: Middle Grade Books I’ve Read

2. MG/YA Agents & Their Books

1. Remembering a Friend Lost Too Soon: Ashley Gammon

Top 5 Searches of the Past Year

There were 615 unknown search terms. I really want to know what those people searched for to land on my blog, but oh well. Here are the top five searches WordPress can tell me.

5. Writing/Querying – Although it didn’t show up in my top posts for the year, several people were searching for answers on re-querying agents after a major revision. You know, I still can’t give you a definitive answer on that one, but you can check out my post.

4. Searches for me! – And I think they actually were all for me this year, since they tagged blog on the end or put an I in the middle, but who knows for sure?

3. Books I’ve reviewed – I’m sure you can tell which books top these searches based on the books listed in my all-time stats above.

2. Agents who represent middle grade/young adult books – Agent searches edged out searches for books I’ve reviewed this year. Most were searches for particular agents, but there were several searches for agents who represent YA fantasy, and they definitely can find that on my list of MG/YA agents and the books they represent!

1. Searches about Ashley – While some of these searches were for my friend, mainly they were for the other Ashley.

So that wraps up my statistics. On to what you’ve been waiting for–the giveaway! Since I don’t have a pile of books–signed or otherwise–sitting around this year, I’m giving away a $25 Amazon gift card! Because all anniversaries deserve celebrating! Yay! (Is that enough exclamation points yet?? To enter, simply click on the Rafflecopter link below and follow the instructions. Easy peasy!

And as always, let me know if there’s anything in particular you’d like me to cover on the blog. I’m open to suggestions!

Blogging, Writing

A Year of Blogging, Including My Top 10 Posts

So I should have done this post a couple of weeks ago. I started my blog on May 2, 2012, in order to participate in The Writer’s Voice contest. I’d debated for about a year whether to start a blog, mainly because I wasn’t sure what value I could add to the conversations already out there. The Writers Voice forced me to do it because I couldn’t participate without a blog. I’m so glad I did! Here are a few of the things I love about blogging.

The relationships. I’ve met a number of new people, especially through contests and Marvelous Middle Grade Monday. I might have met some of them on Twitter or in forums, but through this blog we can have conversations we couldn’t in 140 characters or might not in a forum somewhere.

A forum for my thoughts. There are so many times before this blog I had something I wanted to share and didn’t have a way to do it. And I mean this in reference to my publishing journey, because in general I don’t use the blog or Twitter for personal opinions. They might slip in every once in a while, but mainly I want to talk about my path to publication–a path I’m still on. It helps to talk about what I’m going through and hear from others who are in the same boat.

The record. I like being able to look back and see what I’ve read and where I was earlier in this journey. Like when I was about to blast out DUET queries and then received the R&R that changed my focus for months. Or what I thought about querying a year ago versus now. It shows how I’ve grown, and the blog has become its own body of work.

The reference. I love that when people ask me about where I am in this publishing journey I can say, “Go read my blog!” Or when friends ask me about books for their kids to read, I can send them here. It gives me a way to update people without having to repeat the same thing a million times.

So, I was curious about what posts received the most views over the past year, and here are the top 10 with some comments from me about why I think they were so popular.

10. MMGM: SAMMY KEYES AND THE HOTEL THIEF – This book is popular in my searches, too, so I think kids must be reading it for school.

9. MMGM: KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES with a giveaway! – Obviously, it was a giveaway, and it was for Shannon Messenger, who started MMGM, so that makes perfect sense.

8. MMGM: THE UNWANTEDS: ISLAND OF SILENCE – I also see a lot of searches for this one. Either they’re reading this one in school, too, or readers are trying to find out what happens in the sequel. No spoilers here! Well, unless you haven’t read the first one…

7. Why It’s So Hard to Get Your First Novel Published – I think this must be a very popular search term. Someone’s starting out and wants to know why it’s so hard. I’m always hopeful someone will learn from my mistakes, although I’m not sure you really can.

6. What I’ve Learned in a Year of Querying – I’m only two months away from doing a What I’ve Learned in Two Years of Querying post. Come on, agents! I’d love it if one of you prevented me from writing that post :).

5. My Thoughts on SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN (Spoilers!) – A rare rant about a movie, but it gets so many hits. At least once a week I see “what happened to the huntsman’s wife” in the list of searches that led to my blog. Clearly that movie left too many things hanging.

4. MMGM: THE WESTING GAME – My highest rated MG review, and since it’s a classic, I’m sure in this case that kids are researching it for reports.

3. 10 Tips for Titling a Manuscript – This is the most recent post on the list of top 10. Another blogger linked to it, and she gets a lot of hits, so now I do, too. Thanks!

2. The Writer’s Voice – When you enter a contest that requires people to go visit all the blogs involved, you’re bound to get a lot of hits. I’ve had a bump recently with the current contest going on. By the way, best contest ever! Half the people from #TeamKrista are now my CPs or betas.

1. YA Review and Giveaway: PERFECT SCOUNDRELS by Ally Carter – This one is a no-brainer. Ally Carter retweeted my giveaway, and her fans flooded my blog.

Even though it’s interesting, knowing what gets the most hits won’t affect my blogging efforts too much. I don’t host this blog for the purpose of getting followers, although I love all of you who do follow! I do it to connect with other people and to have an outlet for my opinions about the books I read and what I’m going through. That being said, if there’s a topic you want me to cover, let me know! I’m always open to suggestions.

If you’re a blogger, why do you do it?