Thursday, June 10, 2010

Branding and Me

With blogging sometimes its funny how topics align. Over at Chasing Ray, Colleen Mondor has two recent post up about online branding be it authors or bloggers, inspired by a recent manifesto by author Maureen Johnson The first time Colleen brings up branding its with a few other things of interest. She follows it up with an entry solely on branding

I feel not branding as hurt me. When I started my blog I knew was going to focus on diversity but I wasn't going to only talk about or review books with kids of color. I like what I like don't think I should have to make various categories. Though there was a time when I considered starting a sports centered blog. In the end I didn't because I thought it would take the fun out of reading sports novels. I figured I would always be looking at sports novels and feel like I had to read them. Must reads quickly take the joy out of reading.

Over at the Shelf Talker there is a new article by Elizabeth Bluemle called The Elephants in the Room. Its about the lack of diversity in children's literature. She list a few blogs of interest.

I believe my lack of branding or not only reviewing books with kids of color kept me off this list.
My blog first and for most is about the books. If it ever gets to the point where I want it to be about me I will stop blogging. Though, I would be lying if I said not being listed didn't bother me. I am not a bells and whistles type of girl but I do work hard on my blog.

I like working at a bookstore. I have a lot of regular customers I always enjoy helping. Anyone who has worked retail knows there will always be customers you want to avoid. I've mastered the dip, dodge and pass so I don't usually have to deal with unkinds.

I am good at what I do and like it but some day I want to find a job with a publishing house. I don't know if my blog being a link of interest would help my chances. Though not being one must hurt. I mean how good can I be if there aren't that many children's blog's that focus on diversity ( though I have seen more children's books with kids of color being reviewed this year) and yet I don't get linked.

If I had to do it all over again would I brand? No, because, that is simply not me. Though recently I have been thinking about making my blog more searcher friendly. So people can access old reviews and interviews easier.

I thought my talking about books I like no matter the race, ethnic, religious or sexual orientation of the characters was what the publishing industry was striving for. Maybe I did brand myself unknowingly. Good writing is good writing. It is written by authors of all nationalities. Recongize it, love it and enjoy it. That is my brand.


rhapsodyinbooks said...

I may be naive but I don't think you're right. I think it's just that there are a gazillion blogs out now, and people don't always know about all of them. One way to get known is to leave lots of comments; then people click over to see who you are. I think not commenting more is probably much more significant than not reviewing *exclusively* poc books. In other words, it's more about promotion than branding. In my opinion anyway. You need some more self promotion because you do work hard and you have a great blog!!!

Colleen said...

Commenting does let folks know who you are but the problem with that is you could treat commenting as a full time job and still not do enough. Personally, I don't comment that much because it reduces my already limited time to read blogs. Sometimes I send someone an email about their post which I think the blogger likes, but certainly doesn't help me in promotion. But I can't worry about promotion all the time.

Heck - it takes enough effort just to blog!

I do think that if you fit into a niche - any niche - it is easier for people to know who/what you are. My blog is also all over the place (as you know) and I think there are plenty of people who would prefer to be able to categorize their reading. As to whether or not this prevented you from making that article, only the author knows for sure. It doesn't make it less frustrating for you though and I do wish everyone knew where you were.

Mardel said...

Is Shelf Talker a place where comments could be made? If so, comment over there on your blog, letting people know a little about you and your blog.

I first found out about your blog because of Color Online; I asked about some diversity suggestions and they (she) steered me over here.

I myself don't comment much (it's a self-esteem thing) but I would be happy to mention your blog. I'm going over to Shelf Talker right now, to check it out. I understand too, how you might feel left out - I wonder where she got the info about other blogs.

Charlotte said...

You have a brand to me, Doret, one I value very much, for what that's worth!

I just went over to ShelfTalker to recommend you, and found someone already had, so I just seconded it.

Charlotte said...

Looking back, it was Mardel who left that comment!

Kaethe said...

I ran over there to add your address in comments, and two other fans beat me to it. I rely on you all the time, to keep me informed about new books that might be overlooked elsewhere. Doret, just know that your readers love what you're doing. Eventually you'll be a brand if that's what you're hoping for. As it is, I think more people are thinking and blogging about what they chose to read, and how they are perpetuating racism and sexism and cetera by not seeking out more diverse choices. Change is coming: look how quickly whitewashed covers are getting changed thanks to bloggers.

Terry Doherty said...

I'll second Charlotte's points ... you are a brand to me and a go-to resource for good reads. You walk the talk in diversity - both in what you read, whether it's by genre, author, character, or content. You're in my reader's shortlist, and I love *leaving* with something to think about ... just like today.

elisabeth said...

I know what you mean. I had blogger's block for two years after I created my blog because I couldn't decide what kind of blog I was writing. All the blogging advice I read said I needed to have a narrow focus for my blog; I needed to identify my niche and work that. Branding, basically.

I don't think I would post very regularly if I limited myself to writing about one kind of book.

The blogs I like best tend to be hodgepodges--exactly the kind of "all over the place" blog that Colleen describes.

Anyway, all of this rambling is really just to tell you I appreciate what you do on your blog. I find a lot of the titles on my ever-growing to-read list here!

MissA said...

I LOVE your brand!

I do agree with rhapsody that a good way to get your blog out there is through comments, you have to put yourself out there. But Colleen also has a point, becuase I use to try to comment on 5 posts a day and it became a chore so I gave up. I try to leave at least one comment a day on posts that interest me and there are usually a lot of posts that do! I also check out new blogs (well new to me) when I can and comment. I always go check out the blogs of my commentors so I hope they do the same.

As everyone else has said, you are my go-to resource for books of all kind. I love that you don't fit into one category; YA or MG, you also post about nonfiction and early readers and POC lit and lit that has white main characters. That's awesome and as long as your blog is around, I will always have a towering TBR pile :D

I admit, I would like to see at least labels for YA, MG and interview. I want to go back to all your early posts!

Anonymous said...

I think bloggers have to have a purpose. We have to uniquely do our thing, and do it well and that gives us a brand. Some people will like us and our blogs, others won't. There's a whole of of behind the scenes work that goes into being accepted by the larger blogging community and you do much of that, certainly more than I do! It's the emailing, the commenting and participating in the events. It's building relationships, and you do that.
I feel even more an outsider than you and I think I've been doing this longer! I know, however, that I don't build the relationships.
I think you have to define what you want your blog to do and decide how you will judge it's success.
To the rest of us, you're quite successful!

Anonymous said...

@Colleen: I'd rather have a comment than an email! My comments are so few and far between that it leaves the impression that no one follows my blog! Because I'm not on Blogger, I don't have a side widget that shows how many followers I have, so no one has any idea (not even me!) So, if you do stop by, leave a comment! :)

Unknown said...

Hi, there! Am adding your link pronto. I have visited and enjoyed your blog many times -- I was making my links list late at night and left off a few treasures I meant to include. Should be fixed now! Elizabeth at ShelfTalker.

Zetta said...

almost every day I get a visitor who came to my blog through YOURS, so don't feel you're not reaching people, Doret, b/c you ARE!

Anonymous said...

Doret, I just read your post! Girl, you're my brand! (i.e. I look up to you!) Are you kidding?

When I started looking for blogs about multicultural books, I found yours almost right away (I think thanks to Reading in Color) and though I didn't comment in the early stages, I got hooked and followed you. I was in desperate need of reviews on these books, and you happen to review quite an extraordinary amount of really good multicultural stories.

Regarding the Elephant in the Room, many blogs got left out (dunno why), and I believe they are all essential (I got to update the multicultural blog roll on MR as well). Our voice about PoC books gets louder the more people join (and are acknowledged), but I personally consider your blog a reference.

I hope you're not doubting yourself, because you're such a juggernaut and strong advocate for multicultural books. You're a rock, both on your blog and at Color Online. You're also a joy to collaborate with. I keep learning from you.

Anonymous said...

By the way, Doret, Elizabeth updated the list in the article. Hope you look at it... :)