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P is for Poetry #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I'm discussing different book genres/categories. Each day, I will give a few details about the...

January 19, 2012

Tips on Thursday - Memes

Last year I did a series of helpful blogging posts about various topics that were of interest to book bloggers. You can see all of them here. I want to pick this series up again this year. I'm hoping to post weekly. If you also want to share tips, let me know and I will set up a linky tool. I'm also wanting to expand the topics a little to include all bloggers who talk about books (meaning, publishing people, authors, reviewers, etc.). If there is a topic you would like to see me cover, please leave it in the comments.
I've now been blogging for a year (my blogaversary was Sunday, January 15). As everyone knows, getting noticed in the blogsphere can be difficult, but unless you only want to talk to yourself, it's very necessary. Twitter has been extremely helpful in spreading the word about my blog to authors and readers. However, a great way to connect with the blogging community has been participating in memes.

What is a meme? 

According to "a cultural item that is transmitted by repetition in a manner analogous to the biological transmission of genes."

Yeah... In the blogging word a meme is a posting that many people share. It involves a shared theme or topic. For example, Tips on Thursday could be a meme if other bloggers participated by writing a post on their blog giving advice on blogging. Everyone participating links their post to the hosting blog.  

Why do a meme?

There are several reasons to do a meme. Mostly it's about exposure. It is expected that those participating in the meme will visit the other participating blogs. It can be a great way to discover new bloggers that either share your taste or maybe your total opposite. You should also leave a comment so not only are bloggers discovering your blog, their readers can discover your blog when you leave a clickable link back to your post in the comments.   

There are so many memes that you could do one (or multiple) meme each day. I don't recommend it. Memes can be great to provide filler content when you are behind in reviews, not sure what to blog about, or already blogging about the topic and want to link it to a larger group. In small doses they can be fun, but do too many and they lose their appeal.

Other information on memes:
Memes can help you build community or establish relationships with bloggers. Anyone can participate in a meme. Things to keep in mind to be a good participant:
  • Link back to the hosting blog within your post. Many will have a graphic you can "grab" and will already be coded to link back to the blog.
  • Follow any instructions that are stated by the hosting blog
  • Remember to link directly to the post and not just your blog in general when adding it to the linky tool on the host blog.
  • Visit as many participating blogs as possible. You probably won't be able to visit all the blogs as some memes have 100s of participating blogs. Try to at least visit 10 blogs and leave a comment! 
Each meme has a purpose, so you will need to decide why you want to do a meme and then that will help you decide which one to do. In the beginning I wanted to drive traffic to my blog and meet other bloggers. I did Follow Friday at ParaJunkee's View and Book Blog Hop at Crazy for Books (this one is on hiatus). These were great because there was a question prompt for you to write on, a kind of get-to-know you question. Also they have a lot of participants. 

After doing these a couple of times, I decided that I wanted to do a little more book related memes. I've occasionally participated in What's in your mailbox? at Story Siren. I liked this one because you didn't have to post on a certain day so if I needed to fill a day, I could slip this one in.

I still participate in It's Monday! What are you reading? at Book Journey. I use this one to provide summaries of the books I'm reading each week since I don't include summaries in my reviews. This meme really encourages bloggers to visit other blogs. If you visit 10 blogs you send an email to the host and she does a drawing each week for a cool prize.

I did Waiting on Wednesday at Breaking the Spine once. I had a book that had just released its cover and I really wanted people to know about the book. I was hoping that by participating in the meme that I would draw a bit more attention to it.

Other memes:
Like I said there are gazillions of memes available both to those who are strictly book bloggers, but also those who are authors. Here is a short list of the more popular memes (or the ones I see often). I welcome you to leave your favorite memes in the comment section.

Six Sentence Sunday This one is for authors to share 6 sentences for a WIP or published work.
Teaser Tuesday You share a two sentence tease from the book you're currently reading.
Flasher Fiction Friday This is more for writers. You get a picture prompt then write a 100 word story.
5 Best Books A category is given and you come up with your own list of best books. I participated here.
Cover Crazy Share those book covers you love.
Top 10 Tuesday A theme is provided each week and you create your top 10 list (similar to 5 Best Books).
Whether you are needing a topic for a post, wanting to tell the world about you favorite book, or just want to meet other bloggers, memes are a great resource. Remember to adhere to the rules, visit as many other blogs as possible, and above all have FUN!

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January 17, 2012

A balance? Gotchyaa

Gotchyaa by Steven Stiles, D. Min.
paperback, 146 pages
Published July 2011 by Createspace
ISBN13: 9781463738310
Read January 2012

Over the last several years, many Christian authors have come out with books about living simply and helping the poor. These books on social issues have resonated with the Church. I myself have participated in a couple of studies on the subject. Inevitably, the question is raised about what about the person preying of the generosity of Christians. It comes in various forms, with people wondering if it is being a good steward of the resources if they are given to someone who squanders them. 

I have been going through Gotchyaa for a while. I read a chapter a week to see if it would be good to use in a group study. A few weeks after I started it, I encountered a woman in a parking lot as I left a restaurant for lunch. I make eye contact with everyone, so it isn't unusual for people to stop me to ask for assistance (it happened 4 times while I was on my Europe trip, which was funny because I was usually lost myself). She approached me, explained she was out of gas and had a 7 month old baby in the car. She didn't care if I gave her money or put gas in her car, she just needed gas. I don't usually have cash on me and as I didn't drive myself to lunch wasn't sure how I would get to the gas station. We happened to be a block or so from my church and it was also the day that we had benevolence workers available. I told her that my church could help her get a gas voucher. Before I could give her directions she was already saying she didn't know where that was as she was new in town. I explained it was within walking distance and she could cut through the parking lots to get to it. She thanked me and headed that way. I watched her for a bit, she passed a group of businessmen but didn't stop. I don't know if she went to the church or not. I don't know if it was a scam or not. I did wonder about the baby. Why wasn't the baby with her, particularly if the car wasn't nearby?

After the encounter, I thought about what I had read in Gotchyaa. Now I probably wouldn't have given her money, but I still feel that I was obedient to God's command to serve the least of these. By sending her to the church, not only were people trained to help her, but she may have been able to receive more assistance that she was needing if indeed she needed assistance.

While I don't think Gotchyaa would make a very good weekly study. It did provide some good information and things to watch for when dealing with people who are seeking assistance or offering deals. If a study leader is looking for scenarios for role playing, there were several good ones provided. I wasn't really sure of the role Tripp was suppose to play and often thought he wasn't really needed.

Even after reading Gotchyaa, I'm still left with the question of whether I should give assistance to all who ask. If it's a con artist then they are taking resources that could have helped someone truly in need. But at the same time, maybe there is a greater purpose at work. I wonder if people hadn't fallen for the schemes of Bud and Teresa would Bud and Teresa ended up how they did in the end? So while I'm a bit more armed to spot scams (a lot of the information I already knew), my decision to assist those who ask will continue to be decided by this one question: Am I being obedient to God in my action?

*I received a free copy of Gotchyaa in exchange for an honest review. 

If you would like to purchase a copy it can be found at the following stores:

Powell's books
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January 16, 2012

Video Blog #1: What I'm reading

I'm back with a video blog today. Last year some of my most viewed posts were my video blogs. I'm hoping to do them weekly. If you have any suggestions about the videos, want to ask me a question or want me to talk about something specific (related to books, publishing, authors), either leave a comment or send me an email. I would like to expand this feature, but I'm limited by my editing skills. If anyone is interested in volunteering their video editing skills, email me!

My Reading List:
As you can see I didn't post a review last week, which means I'm still reading the same books as last week. I'm getting closer to finishing them so hopefully will have a new review or two this week.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens (completed by David Madden). I'm finally to the section that Madden wrote. It is reading a bit quicker. The writing doesn't seem as dark and dense, but still has the same attention to detail.

The Egyptian by Layton Green. If I wasn't trying to finish up the Dickens novel, I would be totally consumed with this book. I think I might be a bit attracted to the main character, Dominic Grey, and wishing I was more like Veronica.

I forgot that I was still working through Gotchyaa by Steven Stiles. It is a suppose to be a study guide for Christian groups. I can't say it's a Bible study since there is little to no emphasis on Scripture. It is still interesting and I have 3 "weeks" left. I'm thinking I will just read through the last few chapters to finish the book up.

What are you reading this week? To check out what other bloggers are reading this week check out Book Journey's It's Monday! What are you reading?