12 Years of Blogging

Last month Kaggsy celebrated her 9th blogaversary by actually remembering it! I made some smart comment about always forgetting my blogaversary. But then I decided, NO!

Blogs have this marvellous, amazing technology that allows one to schedule posts. Why not use it to make sure I actually remember to celebrate my own blogging anniversary on time this year!

On the 5th July 2009, with very little idea about what I was doing or what I was letting myself in for, I created a Blogspot account and wrote my first review on Brona’s Books.

The book was Gone by Michael Grant and reflected that this blog started life as a review vehicle for teachers and parents about children’s books. Gone was also an example of one of the lows of this blogging life. My very first comment…was from me!

For two years, I reviewed children’s books, in fits and starts.
However I had very little interaction with the blogging community and I felt like I was writing into a vacuum.

It was during my summer holidays in January 2012 that I had a revelation.
I had read several fantastic adult books over the break and I was brimming with things to say about them…and I suddenly realised… I could blog about adult books too!

I also began to google and read stuff on how to be more interactive in the blogging world and how to get more comments and interested followers.

The brave new world of memes, blog hops and readalongs suddenly opened up before me! I discovered The Classics Club and numerous Australian bloggers. I joined events, participated in memes and left hundreds of thoughtful comments in the blogosphere.

In November 2013 I started my first AusReading Month, to coincide with AusMusic Month on Triple J. For a few years I hosted (the now defunct) Wharton Review. I continue to host and join in numerous readalongs. I was an editor for the Australian Women Writers Challenge for about five years and I’m now a moderator for The Classics Club.

Six months ago I made the huge decision to move my blog to WordPress. I have not regretted the move, although it has been a steep learning curve. An ongoing one.

In twelve years I have written 1680 posts.

During that time, I have learnt that being a book blogger is more than just reading books and writing about them. It’s also about committing ourselves to reading the blogs of other book bloggers and engaging in a community of fellow bloggers and readers. People just like us, with time constraints, personal issues and good intentions that don’t always come to fruition.

Many years ago I read Daniel Pennac’s The Rights of the Reader.

Pennac lists 10 reader’s rights that tonight I will subvert for my own purposes.

1. The right not to read (or blog or read other reviews).
2. The right to skip (or skim read).
3. The right not to finish a book (or a review).
4. The right to read it again (or blog about it more than once).
5. The right to read anything (or nothing or eight books at once).
6. The right to mistake a book for real life (or real life for your blog)!
7. The right to read anywhere (or check your latest blog comments from any device).
8. The right to dip in (or browse without leaving comments).
9. The right to read out loud (or curse your device when it eats another comment)!
10. The right to be quiet (or not like a post).

However, the constant high point of blogging has been all of you.

Yes, YOU – my dear readers – my followers – and especially those of you who take the time regularly to leave thoughtful comments. Over the twelve years, bloggers have come and gone. I’m so very grateful to all of you who are still here and to all the newer bloggers who have stumbled across my blog.

A HUGE thank you to all of you who have shared readalongs, readathons, photos, spins & other book events with me.

I feel blessed to have met you all.
You have enriched my reading (& blogging) life.

Thank you for travelling with me this far – here’s to many more shared book journeys!

66 thoughts on “12 Years of Blogging

  1. Congratulations Brona. You are two years – blog-speaking – younger than I am. I published my first post on 2 May, and my first actual review on 5 May. (Would you believe it was The pea-pickers!)

    I can relate to all you say … and I am very glad you moved to WordPress. I don’t know about blogger people, but I am enjoying how easy it is to now comment on your posts, and see when you reply.

    Oh, and keep up the good work!

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        1. My first adult books was called ‘A Swag of Book’s’ and briefly described my love for Bereft, Flock, The Distant Hours and Caleb’s Crossing. Three AWW books!

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  2. 07. Strangely, I can read your blog on my phone but I can’t comment. Which means when I’m away from home I have to wait until I can fire up my laptop.
    10. I’m not sure about the right to be quiet, but I have been surprisingly tactful about posts I don’t like.

    I too am glad you are now on WP. And like you, I am immensely grateful, both for all the friends I have made here, and for the depth and insight of our bookish discussions.

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    1. Thanks Bill. I’m certainly enjoying the longer exchanges that are easier to hold on WP.

      Do you use the WP app on your phone?
      I had it on my phone, but never really used it until I made the move. It has been a revelation. But if I try to comment on blogs that I have opened from twitter or insta, then WP & I guess my default search engine, wants me to log in every single time to comment. I believe that Kim even writes her posts using the WP app!

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  3. Lovely – congratulations! I have no idea how long I’ve been following you and I’m not sure I know how long I’ve been on WP – I migrated from LiveJournal! I have been going for 16 years next month, apparently, but I had to look at my archives to check that! My opening words were, “OK so I have this thing and I thought I would actually use it as well as read other people’s journals. I’m not really happy sharing all my thoughts and feelings and doings, so I’m just going to use it to record my reading.” and I proceeded to tidy things up by noting the two books I’d read that month so far. I’ve been keeping a book journal for 26 years, but paper-only for the first ten …

    Anyway, I really enjoy your blog and I hope you’re here for many more years to come.

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    1. I love your origin story. It’s interesting to hear how we all got to be where we are today.
      I haven’t forgotten about your Anne Tyler project either, even though I’ve missed a couple of deadlines. The Wolf Hall trilogy took more of my time than I anticipated…
      but the books are still on my TBR waiting to be read, and I know where to turn for company when I do get to them 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think the Wolf Hall trilogy takes everyone longer than they anticipate!! As you know, my Anne Tyler project is there for when you want it, and I’ll look forward to reading your thoughts once you’ve read the books!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy Blogaversary. I’ll be doing 11 years in October. What a great idea to celebrate.

    May I ask where you got the lovely meme?

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    1. Thanks Marianne!
      I simply googled blogaversary (a number of years ago now) and this was one of the images on offer. I’ve used it a few times now – in the years I remember my blogaversary. By all means borrow it for your post 🙂

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      1. Thanks, Brona. I hardly ever find nice images that are free. Even then, I like to link back to the originator. I thought you might have a nice page where you can create this kind of pics. I used to have one but that doesn’t work anymore. Still, I might get back to your offer one day.😁

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        1. I like to acknowledge images now too, but this one came from a time before I did that. I spent some time last night trying to find my original source, but I couldn’t find it.

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          1. I will buy into this Images issue. My first blog post was on my name, my third was a review, but my second was about book cover images. Rights on images has been important for me from the start, which is why, until I sorted out my understanding of fair use (which is still a bit fuzzy), I didn’t use book cover images on my review posts, unless I had express permission from the publishers. It’s a long story I won’t go into now, but I still think publishers should make clear what images can be used and how (even though practically we assume they want us to use their covers because they want their books promoted.) I love NAIDOC because for some years now they have made very clear how you can use their logo or banner: https://www.naidoc.org.au/resources/naidoc-logo-and-banners I wish more organisations/weeks/etc would do this.

            Wikipedia also makes clear on every image what the rights are – whether you can reuse the image or not, but it’s tricky because rules vary from country to country.

            A few years ago, I put a statement in my sidebar re images, and I applied a Creative Commons licence to any images of mine on my site.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Thanks Sue. I should give this more thought, especially when reusing older images. We get stuff from publishers all the time at work with images and such that we can push out on socials, including covers. Which is why I now always source my covers from the publishers website.
              I’ll check out your second post to get myself better in the loop.

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            2. And thank you, Sue, for that information. I am always very wary of using pictures I didn’t make myself, even book covers. I always link back to Goodreads for them and hope nobody will ever complain. 😦

              Still, you have given some good food for thought and some helpful information. Thanks for that.

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              1. Thanks Marianne and Brona. To be honest I’m always glad to talk about it because I think it’s too often forgotten. Most of us wouldn’t want our text taken willy nilly without recognition, but often forget images have owners and creators too.

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            3. True, Sue. And it’s often hard to find a picture that goes with my blog in my own archive. I try to do that as often as possible but with book covers it’s different. And I wish copyright would be marked better, I have spent hours searching whether a picture has a copyright or is free.

              I always try to do my best and hope I won’t publish a picture I’m not allowed to and get into trouble.

              Liked by 1 person

  5. I came back and noticed you also transitioned or moved to WordPress. I did that a while ago and don’t regret anything other than having done it earlier. It’s a learning curve but WordPress is more complete and I love their reader app on the phone.

    I absolutely love your rules, and I am stealing them for myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Congratulations on remembering your anniversary this time and using the opportunity to write such a lovely post. Your blog is one of the first book blogs I connected with when I began my own book blog and it remains a favorite go to.

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  7. Well, I just lost my comments due to my slippery fingers. So I will start again.

    Congratulations and this is a lovely post, expressing what you have learned over the years. I agree that meeting other bloggers and getting their thoughts is the best part. And I like that list of the Right of Readers (and bloggers).

    I have been forgetting my anniversary the last few years but hope to remember it in 2022, because that will be my 10 year anniversary.

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    1. Thanks Tracy.
      As I learnt with this one, it’s never too soon to schedule that post!
      Start a post now and put the publication date in, then just save draft. It should then stay at the top of your draft list to remind you every time you log in!

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      1. I’m sorry! I don’t think it showed me the comment will be visible after moderation thing it usually does so I just wondered where it had gone. All good – and how nice for you!

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  8. 12 years! What an achievement Brona and I’m so glad that you didn’t forget about the anniversary because this is definitely something to celebrate. I appreciated your insight into your blogging journey – I suspect most of us evolve as we learn how it all works and that very few bloggers actually know exactly what they want to do, when they start out.

    Here’s to the next 12 years…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m a fan of origin stories. I suspect we all have our own diverse paths to blogging and where we have ended up today is no doubt very different from what we thought at the start.

      Your blogging a-z posts have been a HUGE help to me over the past year or so, especially as I transitioned to WP. So, thank YOU!

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        1. I’d love to see how other bloggers are using some of the block editor features. I’ve just discovered one of the benefits of reusable blocks for instance. And I’m still playing with some of the many image options to work out if they’re for me or not.

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          1. I think you’ll find that you are ahead of many bloggers with your use of block editor (so many people are still hanging on to classic mode). You’ve given me a good idea for a future topic though: Re-usable blocks

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            1. I second Brona here! Reusable blocks.

              Also, do you have problems editing blocks. Sometimes they lock me out, and sometimes I can only edit if I get my cursor in there, change it to edit html, then change it back to edit visually. Only then will it let me edit. It’s infuriating. It may be just a safari thing, but thought I’d ask. It seems to happen randomly, but maybe there’s some trigger I’m missing.

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              1. I’ve had that same issue with blocks too and as you say it seems to happen without any evident reason. The other solution I’ve found is to save the draft, exit the post, then come back to it. seems to clear whatever the issue was.

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                1. I’m glad I’m not the only one. Which browser do you use? Any how I think I have saved and closed in desperation because sometimes I haven’t been able to get the cursor in the block to do my method. I tried googling the other day but didn’t seem to find anything.

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                  1. I have never had this problem (fingers crossed!) but I always use either chrome, or duck duck go as my browser. I’ve even downloaded these two apps on my phone as I find safari really unsatisfactory and incompatible in lots of ways and with lots of other programs.

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                    1. Safari and Firefox are my two browsers. Safari suits me fine except that some businesses/organisations don’t test their sites to work with it. It sounds like this might be an example, depending on what Karen says!

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                    1. No, I don’t use my iPad either. Hate using the app for post creation. I have rarely for editing and have found on a couple if occasions that it hasn’t “taken”.

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  9. Congratulations 🎉 I’m so pleased you moved to WordPress… it means I can actually comment here and read your words on the WP app at my leisure (usually at lunchtime or before I head to work). Here’s t many years more!

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  10. I had to open the vaults of my archive to find the very first
    Austalian book I read (…on your recommendation) for #AusReadingMonth 2014
    “The Harp in the South” by Ruth Park.
    That book started me on my Australian reading journey.
    Thanks for hosting and all you reading friendship!
    Happy Anniversary!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Congratulations! That is a long time. I really enjoy reading your blog, always interesting and a variety of subjects. Keep going.

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  12. I loved this post! You captured the essence of book blogging, and your contribution to it, so beautifully. I remember those early years of memes and hops and read-alongs, all of which were so joyful to me. As I slow down after fifteen years, I am so glad that you continue to brightly shine!❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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