Today’s Weekly Geeks seems like just what I need – it is all about The Tools of the Trade…or how we maintain our blogs. I will be out reading other bloggers’ tips for organization to be sure.
Book blogging, as a concept, is essentially pretty simple: If you have Internet access and an opinion about a book, you can be a book blogger. However, actually maintaining a book blog is much more complicated — our blogs are labors of love that require a lot of time, energy and devotion. For this edition of Weekly Geeks, I want to focus on the little things that make your blogging and/or reading life a bit easier. Do you use sites like GoodReads, LibraryThing or Shelfari to organize your books? Do you swear by Book Darts? Couldn’t live without your Book Buddy? Love connecting with other bloggers on sites such as Twitter? Tell us about what makes your blog tick. Is there something specific that keeps you organized or inspired?
I keep things pretty simple, but I do have some tricks to make my life easier when it comes to blogging.
Google Reader: I use the star feature of Google Reader all the time to “bookmark” posts that I want to refer to later when I’m writing a post. If I didn’t do this for the Friday Finds weekly meme (hosted by Jenn at Should be Reading every Friday), I would never remember where I had seen a book featured. I am not sure that using stars to bookmark was Google’s intent (given their extensive help list on the subject of starred items), but it works for me!
Library Thing: I catalog my books at this terrific site and I use tags liberally which helps me do my end of the year post. I tag books for the BEST OF each year, which ones came to me for review or as ARCS, as well as MUST READS and by subject or genre. I also use tags to indicate prize winners. You can check out my library here and see all the tags here (by clicking on a tag, it will take you to a page which lists all the books under that tag). I paid the $25 lifetime membership fee quite some time ago so that I could catalog an unlimited number of books (the unpaid membership restricts how many books you are able to add to your library) and it is well worth it to me. LT has tons of different features and keeps adding to them all the time. If you are a statistics person, you will love LT’s Zeitgeist feature, as well as their statistics page for every person’s library.
Google Spreadsheets: This is another feature on Google that helps keep me organized. I keep a spreadsheet for my ARC and Review books which show where the book came from, when it was (0r is about to be) published and if there is a “deadline” for when I must read it. I also have a spreadsheet specifically for the Read-A-Thon so that I can keep track (hour to hour) the number of pages read, who I visited during the event, the mini-challenges I completed, and the number of hours spent blogging or taking a break. The cool thing with Google is that you can share your documents and spreadsheets with others if you’d like to. For example, here is last October’s spreadsheet for Dewey’s Read-A-Thon.
Reading Journals on my blog/Review page on my blog: These are features I developed after blogging for awhile. I keep both updated regularly and it helps me tremendously when I am trying to either find an old review, or when I do my end of the year post. I also print off my Reading Journals each year and keep them in a loose leaf notebook (I live in fear of losing the content on my blog!).
I also have some low-tech ways to make my blogging more user-friendly.
Sticky Notes: I use these liberally to mark pages in books I am reading. This is how I manage to keep track of passages I loved, or passages that support a theme of the book, etc. Sometimes I make short notes on the sticky notes to jog my memory of why I chose that particular passage.
Lap Desk: I never knew what I was missing until I bought this awesome lap desk last year at Levengers for half price. This allows me to sit wherever I am most comfortable while I am blogging. I love it!
What about you? Do you use certain tools to make blogging easier or more fun? Drop by this week’s Weekly Geeks post to leave a link to your post!