New Years Resolutions/Survey Results

I love the beginning of a new year. So, here’s to new beginnings, fluffing off all the excess crap that has happened in the last year, and starting over fresh. I love that new blogger smell!

I’m one of those people that likes to make resolutions personally and blog-wise. I think it’s important to set goals and try to achieve them. Something I’m always interested in doing, is making the blog more enjoyable. I blog because I like to, but it’s still nice to get some feedback from the people that visit.

You might remember I did a survey earlier this month and I do want to share the results of that survey with you. Address some of the issues and ultimately make some goals for 2010.

The first question I asked was:

What do you like about The Story Siren?

The majority of you were satisfied with the blog over all. Lots of readers appreciated the honest, short and to the point reviews. Contest were often mentioned as a good thing, as well as In My Mailbox and Books to Pine For.

Here are a few quotes from this section of the survey:

“I like the reviews are short, sweet, and to the point most of the time. I can always go to The Story Siren.com and find new updates on the things I am looking for. New Author books, new releases, and anything upcoming in the Young Adult litereary world.”

“I love the variety of books that you review, the contest, and the information that you share about blogging and the blogging world, whether it’s directed at new or more experienced bloggers. I like that you get good conversations going in the comments of your posts and are not afraid to address tough issues (I’m thinking of the great ARC debate here.)”

The second question I addresses was:

What don’t you like about The Story Siren?

Most of you mentioned that you’d like more detailed reviews. I try to keep my reviews from being spoiler-y so I tend to leave details out, but if that’s what you’d like to hear about, I’ll definitely try to work on that for the new year!

I really enjoyed the comments in this section, it was really insightful and I really appreciate the constructive criticism.

There where some comments that mentioned the same basic theme. Because of that I’d thought I would bring those to light and address those issues.

“Sometimes I feel like Kristi accepts far too many books for review when she knows she can’t possibly read them all. She should consider that the authors give her the ARC to review, even if she doesn’t promise reviews, she should still review most of them.”

My response: I do get a lot of books. I know, I do. I’m not denying that. But here’s the deal…. I don’t request books. I mean I have… I may if I really want a book, but I can honestly say I cannot remember the last time I sent an email requesting a book.

Authors email me and publishers email me, and yes I do accept books that I would be interested in reviewing, but I don’t guarantee a review. Most of the books I get for In My Mailbox are books that I don’t even know are coming. Books I haven’t request, nor accepted for review. This is the case with, I’d say more than half of the books I receive.

In addition to my blog, I also have a full time job and a husband. I do try to review most of them. I think I do anyway. But I’m always hoping to read more, so I’ll work on that.

Not so welcoming to new bloggers ie. the post about arcs being received by newbies.”

My response: Ouch… I try to go out of my way to be welcoming to new bloggers, well I thought I did anyhow.

The ARC post wasn’t a jab at new bloggers, the arc post was meant to be an informative post for all bloggers. In addition to the information, I did want to stress that new bloggers shouldn’t be worried about getting advance readers copies. I don’t recommend starting a blog for the sole purpose of receiving advance readers copies. I didn’t mean to be unwelcoming, but I can see how it may have come across that way. I apologize.

“That you earn money from your reviews.”

My response: I don’t earn money from my reviews… I wish I did though! LOL! I definitely wouldn’t be going to work everyday if that was the case!

“It’s hard to find back dated posts, I have to click ‘older posts’ all the time which gets a bit tedious. There’s no labels list so I can choose to read a certain post.”

My response: If you are looking for something in particular, I would suggest going to the search bar in the upper left sidebar. That search bar only searches within my posts so you can find what you are looking for. The reason I don’t have labels is because I have about 200 of them and I don’t like looking at that huge list on my sidebar!

“That’s tough. I’d have to say that what bothers me is most of the contests are for US only. I understand why, postage and shipping costs so much and the majority of readers are US, but maybe every once in a while allow Canadians to enter too?”

My response: This was a frequent comment! I understand that it can be discouraging when you can’t enter a contest, but I really can not afford to make every contest an international one. It can cost over 10 to send one book! I can send four or five books within the US at that price. A lot of the contests I host are also for publishers or authors that send the books out directly. The majority of publishers will not send outside of the US, so I have no control over that.

Would international readers be interested if I made an option for you to pay for shipping?

On another note… there will be announcement tomorrow for those participating in the 2010 Debut Author Challenge, and you international participants are included!

Here is some more information gathered from the survey:

Most of you visit a few times a week or daily.

Your favorite feature is Reviews! Followed by In My Mailbox with Books to Pine For close behind. The least favorite feature is Fresh Face Friday.

Top three favorite genres were Paranormal, Fantasy and Love & Romance. Biographies, Memoirs and Manga scored low.

As far as contest go, the majority of you agreed that the amount was just right!

I’m always unsure of what people think about personal content, but it seems that most of you enjoy it! Something I thought was funny was a comment from someone that they wanted to see what my husband looked like… maybe I can work a picture of us into a blog post. I guess it never crossed my mind that you guys would be interested in that aspect of my life!

And you’d like to see more personal content.

I asked you to rank my reviews, and I have to say I’m surprised by the results. Happy with them of course, but still surprised. I wasn’t expecting that good of a score. But from the looks of it, I’m not doing too bad a job.

I also wondered about comments, if you left them or not. It looks like the majority of you do. I also asked, if you said no, why didn’t you comment. Most of you said there was a time issue, which I completely understand! Some said they were just lazy…. I understand that one too! Some of you said you just don’t have something to add, or slow internet times.

I do want you to know that even though I don’t respond to every comment. I do read every single one! Most of the time, if you have a blogger account, I reply to the comment through email, since I have every comment delivered to my inbox I have the option to do that if an email address is provided. Most of the time when I respond to comments I do it that way.

I really appreciate you all taking the time out of your busy schedules to participate in this survey. You’ve given me a lot of things to work on for the new year!

Here’s what I’m hoping to implement in the next year… or MY BLOGGER GOALS FOR 2010!

  • write more detailed reviews. work on my reviews period! 
  • read more books!
  • more discussion posts…. i need some topics!
  • more personal posts
  • try to comment more!
  • answer my emails in a timely manner
  • write my reviews sooner rather than later
  • just try to be a better blogger in general
  • avoid drama
Personal goals:
  • eat healthier
  • start working out again
  • spend more time with J & X
  • save more
  • be a better friend
  • start taking better care of myself
  • appreciate the things I have
I think that’ll do for now. I hope everyone has a wonderful time ringing in the new year! I will be spending the evening with my family and gorging myself on a smorgasbord of junk food! See you all on the flip side!

Book Review

My Soul to Save by Rachel Vincent

My Soul to Save by Rachel Vincent

Release Date: December 29, 2009
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 288
Source: Publisher
Interest: series
Other Books in the Series: My Soul to Take
Buy the Book/Associate Links: Amazon/Indiebound

The last thing Kaylee needs right now is to be skipping school, breaking her dad’s ironclad curfew and putting her boyfriend’s loyalty to the test. But starry-eyed teens are trading their souls for a flickering lifetime of fame and fortune in exchange for eternity in the Netherworld — a consequence they can’t possibly understand. Kaylee can’t let that happen, even if trying to save their souls means putting her own at risk….

Three words: one unique series!

I just love the whole premise of this series. The soul screamers. It’s such an unique element, and I can’t wait to see where Rachel takes us next!

Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy My Soul to Save as much as I did it’s predecessor. I enjoyed the story, it was excellently written and there were plenty of twists and turns to keep you on you toes. I just didn’t enjoy the characters as much this time around.

My favorite character from the first novel Todd, was sullen and closed off. He didn’t have the smart-ass quality that first captured my heart! Also, I was not a fan of Addison at all. I didn’t understand why Kaylee and Nash were risking so much to save her. I guess I’m just not a very compassionate person, but I didn’t feel sorry for Addison, there was just something about her that rubbed me the wrong way. Rachel did an excellent job portraying her character so that you’d be empathetic toward her, but I just wasn’t. I did enjoy the relationship between Kaylee and Nash, I thought it was a little rushed in the first book, but it seemed to be better developed this time.

I so enjoyed the more in depth look into the Netherworld, what a creepy place! Looking forward to seeing more of that world!

Overall, story was fantastic, writing was great… I just didn’t enjoy the characters this time around.


Author Interview

Mini Author Interview: Kristina Springer

Today I have an interview with author Kristina Springer. Her novel The Espressologist was released October 2009. You can see my review, here.

What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?

One of my favorites was from a teacher who interviewed me for his blog. He asked me to tell him about himself from his drink (he’s a peppermint mocha). I said:

“I’d say you are a pretty fun and friendly person. Most often happy. Young at heart. I’m sensing you have a He-man, GI Joe, or Star Wars collection.”

He wrote back and said he had ALL THREE collections!

What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest?

Most challenging? Revising. Easiest? First draft.

What’s the most rewarding aspect?

Seeing the book in the stores has been pretty awesome. And I looooove get mail from readers!

What’s next for you?

I’m super excited about my next book– MY FAKE BOYFRIEND IS BETTER THAN YOURS. It’s about two 7th grade BFFs who each think each other’s “boyfriend” is a fake. It becomes competitive (like if one says her boyfriend sent her carnations the other says her boyfriend sent her roses) and hilarious. It will be out in the fall of 2010.

Thanks so much Kristina for stopping by! And be sure to check out The Espressologist!


Blog Advice

I’m going to use this post to compile and list some of the posts I’ve done on blog advice and blog how to’s. I’m planning on keeping it updated and adding links as I have more posts on the blog.

If your just starting a blog, or maybe you’re just interested in reading some blog tips you should check out the following series I conducted about blog tips. I’ve also went back and updated some of the information on the posts.

Blog Tips (1) This goes into detail about how to start a blog, where you should host your page, getting a design, etc.
Blog Tips (2) This post has tips about content and getting visitors.
Blog Tips (3)  This post discusses reviewing books on your site and where to get them. Having a book blog does not equal getting advance reader copies.

If advance readers copies are on your mind, you need to read: Advance Readers Copies: What You Need to Know or Advance Readers Copies: The Mash Up

I also have two posts about the how and why I get “review” books. They are a little dated… so I’ll need to update those soon, but they still have some reliable information in them: How Do You Get All Those Books? & How Do You Get All Those Books Part Two.

Treat others how you want to be treated! Check out my Book Blog Etiquette post!

General Questions from real readers: “Dear Story Siren”

Dear Story Siren (1) (Contacting Author for interviews)
Dear Story Siren (2) (Asking for ARCs International/US)
Dear Story Siren (3) (Hours spend blogging, personal and Navigation bar questions)
Dear Story Siren (4) (Advance Reader Copies/Reviews questions)
Dear Story Siren (5) (Blogging 101 Volume 1)
Dear Story Siren (6) (Author Interviews Edition II)
Dear Story Siren (7) (Publisher Interaction/Asking for ARCs
Dear Story Siren (8) (The Personal Edition)
Dear Story Siren (9) (Followers Edition)
Dear Story Siren (10) (Contest/Vlogs/Blogger Tricks)
Dear Story Siren (11) (Review Edition II)
Dear Story Siren (12) (Blog-ish Questions)
Dear Story Siren (13) (Blog-ish Questions)
Dear Story Siren (14) Blog-ish Questions)
Dear Story Siren (15) (Publisher/Author Q’s & ARC Questions)
Dear Story Siren (16) (Bloggish Questions: Reviews, Link Spam, What to do when you didn’t like the book, Giveaways, Balancing Life & Blogging, Blog Tours, Copyright, Stats…..)
Dear Story Siren (17) (International covers/Request Follow-ups/Mean Comments/Book Trades/Signed Copies/Negative Reviews)

Dear Publisher Edition: Questions about ARC’s and Reviews.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Bloomsbury & Walker
Egmont USA
Random House
St. Martin’s Griffin
Simon & Schuster
Harlequin Teen
Little Brown Books for Young Readers



I need some HELP!

I’m looking for a blogger that would be willing to help me maintain the YA Book Blog Directory!

Basically you’d be helping me add YA book blog urls to the blog page and add author blogs and sites to the author page. Double checking the links present to make sure they are still active…. things like that.

I’ve been getting a lot of requests lately and I’ve been having a hard time keeping up with it. You will need to have a blogger account, so that I will be able to add you as an author.

If you’d be interested, please fill out the form below. I’ll leave the form up until Wednesday morning, December 30 and will contact my assistant later that day.

Thank you so very much! If you have any questions please feel free to email me!

Comments Off

Featuring Recent Posts WordPress Widget development by YD