Monday, January 5, 2009

Goals for 2009

The first task for the Blog Improvement Project.

Edited to add: More thoughts about the Blog.

Before I can look forward to 2009, and create some new goals for the new year, I have to reflect back on where I've been.

I started Young Readers in July of 2007. And that first year I had 101 posts in six months. Not horribly bad. But not quite what I wanted either. I don't know if I was naive to think I could do a post every day or not. In 2008, I posted 232 times. There were four months out of the year--July, August, September, October--where I seemed to have everything under control. Averaging five or six posts a week. I was comfortable in my routine. The other months I was still struggling a bit to find time to post.

I suppose I have several issues going on:

a) I'm not ever quite sure if Young Readers should remain Young Readers or if I should merge the content back into my main blog, Becky's Book Reviews.

On the one hand, I like having all my board books, picture books, early chapter books together. If I were a parent, I would find it convenient to have only reviews of books appropriate for kids. Without having to wade through all the other content on Becky's Book Reviews--my challenges, my YA novels, my reviews of adult books, my memes. Having a specific focus--book reviews for kids age 0 to 10--can be a good thing. You know what you're getting each and every time you visit.

But on the other hand, I'm not seeing much payoff. I just don't think that Young Readers has even a tenth of the readership that Becky's Book Reviews has. My stats are dismally low comparing the two. And there aren't as many comments either. Now I know that there are a few readers--hey Cynda--who keep up with Young Readers. But I don't have much "proof" that readers are out there. That they care.

Because I feel invisible, I feel okay slacking off. I feel like no one will notice if I miss a day or two or three. Hence why there are great big gaps in my posts.

I don't know if the lack of readership is because

a) I'm not consistent
b) I'm not providing quality content
c) less interest overall--more readers care about books for older readers 13-to-adult
d) parents with young readers have less time for blog reading in general, so they only follow one or two
e) parents with young readers don't have a clue about blogs to begin with, let alone mine
f) people who visit my main blog aren't aware of this one
g) people who click on blogger profile name, Becky, only visit one of the blogs I'm author of...and most likely it isn't Young Readers. It's Becky's Book Reviews. Which I suppose is as it should be. After all, it is my main blog, my baby.
h) maybe they can sense that Young Readers will never be "my baby" the same way that Becky's Book Reviews is.
i) My main readership (BBR) is not from the kidlitosphere, but from the challenge crowd and/or the general book bloggy world.

b) Do I have the time and energy to divide my time into thirds? What am I getting out of keeping everything separate? What amount of time should I be spending here?

I have a problem with balance. Technically speaking, it only takes a few minutes to read a picture book. Each book is read at least twice--that is if it's a board book or picture book--and sometimes I even take it to another person for feedback--mom, sister, friend, Sunday School class, etc. I'll then review it. Sometimes reviews take ten minutes to right. Sometimes they take a bit longer. Theoretically speaking, I should be able to set aside thirty to forty minutes a day. But for some reason, I'm not able to make myself do it every day. I don't know if it's lack of discipline or lack of motivation.

So is it realistic to set a goal for four books a week? I don't know. I know I have a problem with delivering 7 a week. Sometimes, I'm lucky to get in 2 or 3 a week.

I don't know how to do outreach. I think my blog is meant for parents, teachers, librarians, grandparents, aunts and uncles, godparents, anyone and everyone who has a "young reader" or two in their life and wants to know which books are being published, which ones are good, which ones are great, etc. How do I bring in new readers? How do I let others know about the blog?

I'm clueless as to how to go about that.

So my goals: to get a clue! Does that count? No? Okay, how about these:

To determine once and for all which direction I want Young Readers to take. Should I keep this one separate from Becky's Book Reviews?

To be more consistent in blogging. To have twenty posts per month at least.

To try to give equal time to books reviewed for this site.

To create/maintain a blogroll for this site.

To feature more books by baby reviewers.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers


  1. Well, I enjoy this blog very much. I like that it is specific. At this time, I'm not much interested in YA fiction. I find it difficult to wade throught some blogs in the kidlitosphere because of books I'm not reading right now.

    I don't write as many reviews/recommendations as I could because I just don't get comments from those posts. My following is from readers with children close in age (most homeschoolers but I've decided to send my dd to school next year).

    In terms of outreach, wouldn't it be great if booksellers that work for large chains could read some of your valuable reveiws. For many years, I worked at a children's bookstore. I was knowledgable and I often heard from customers that they didn't like going into BN etc because the booksellers generally didn't understand children's books.

    Also, it is sad but I don't think parents care enough about reading. It drives me crazy that blogs with pretty photos of crafts and food seem to draw so much attention and appreciation.

    Just some thoughts. I hope you can keep writing this blog. I appreciate it very much.

  2. If I had a child I would read this site. I have purused it several times, and it seems very well written.

    Tony Peters
    Kids on a Case: The Case of the Ten Grand Kidnapping

  3. Wow. I think you have a lot of extremely good points up there and I can see that you have been doing a lot of pondering. I am very familiar with your BBR-blog, and have it on my blogroll, but you are probably quite right in saying that if I click your name, I do not go to this page but to your "main" page. I am making a blogroll of participant's in Kim's Blog Improvement Project and is putting your kid-lit blog on there as well and look much forward to read about your progresses.

  4. PS. I actually think you are doing an important job here providing reviews and insights into kid-lit, reasons to read aloud to your child etc. Very important issues, and I can see why it is a good idea to have a separate blog for this.

  5. I think this blog is adorable! If I had a kid I would definitely read it.

  6. I'm one of those people who didn't know this blog existed! I do read your other blog, but have somehow missed this one. It looks like it's a great resource for parents and grandparents and even teachers -- oh and baby-sitters!

    I'm thinking that keeping a readership here is different from your other blog because kids eventually grow out of these books, thus you have to have a way to create a constant flow of new blog readers. Doable and worth it, but that is one of the things that makes Young Readers different from Becky's Book Reviews. I'm not sure if I expressed myself clearly.

  7. Hey Becky. I'm among those who didn't know this blog existed either! I think promoting this blog on your other blog could attract readership you may normally be missing.

  8. I read both Becky's Book Reviews and Young Readers and love them both. Don't stop! I am constantly looking for new picture books that I can use for storytimes at my library. The pictures need to be large and the text not too long. It's a great way to "show off" stories. If there is a picture book you come across and you think would make a great large group read-aloud - please say so!

    I'm in charge of the collection for the teens and the children at my library, and that's why I use both blogs. Most librarians I know do not cover both areas, and read only the reviews in the area they are in charge off - unless they have children who are in the other age group. It's a better idea to keep the blogs separate, but crossover in both blogs if there is a book for ALL AGES. I'm so not following my own advice for separate blogs. I don't know how you do it. Thanks for all your thoughtful reviews.