Yay! I did it - I completed the challenge! Phew. It was hard. The hardest part was checking out all the new blogs as they kept clocking up in Google Reader. Just when I thought I was getting on top of them, I'd find new blogs to follow and the number of posts would increase again.
I didn't get as far through the list as I'd hoped, so I hope - over the next few weeks - to stop by a few new ones. Finding new blogs is a fantastic experience!
I had almost 3000 page views last month which is double what my blog usually receives (apart from a very anomalous March which got a random 4600 views ???), I've gained 46 new followers and I'm following roughly 60 new blogs. That's not bad, is it?
My theme was the books that have inspired me, which I thought was a good theme for my first time - pretty easy. I also assumed everyone would know the books I was referring to - how wrong was I!
Apparently the books and authors I've taken for granted, the books and authors that I've known about almost by osmosis since I was a very young wannabe author are books and authors that lots of people haven't heard of before.
Few people had heard of Fay Weldon; fewer still knew that Daphne du Maurier wrote short stories. Even Margaret Atwood and Toni Morrison were new authors to some - and I thought they were standard! Quite a few people were astonished at the variety of my choices, and I learnt a lot about my own reading habits, as well as everyone else's.
I don't know if this is the correct use of the reflections post, but I thought I'd explain how I choose new books and maybe inspire you to read slightly outside the genres you're used to.
- Avoid bestseller lists and award winners
- Visit a bookshop if possible. Browsing on Amazon inevitably leads you to the same authors and genres, especially with their recommendations list based on previous purchases
- When you're in the bookshop, look at the covers - choose a cover that doesn't look like any of the others (you'll recognise the covers of books in the genre you usually buy, avoid them)
- Be curious about unusual titles
- Look for authors you've not heard of before. First time authors are you in a year's time, you now, or you five years ago. Wouldn't you love the thought of someone stumbling across your book without prior knowledge and be drawn to buy it?
- In the UK, Waterstone's employees hand write recommendation cards which are useful. Is there the same scheme at Barnes and Noble maybe?
- Give yourself a time limit. You want to buy a book, you've got the money in your hand - look around for ten minutes and then pick one up. Do not second guess!
- Read the last book your partner/best friend/sibling bought.
I would love to hear from anyone who tried a new author based on my A-Z posts. I'd also love to hear if you go out tomorrow and buy a new book. Mostly, though, I hope some of you enjoyed the books I recommended!
I'm really looking forward to next April!