Armchair BEA 2014: Expanding Blogging Horizons

I’ve been blogging in various forms for over 7 years but I’m still trying to get it right. My list of achievements is relatively short but I’m very proud of it:

Own my space

I own my domain name and I self-host the site. It’s not that big a deal but it’s nice not to be subject to the various terms of service of other blogging sites. My platform, my rules!

More posts

My original content used to be even more erratic than it is currently. In my early blogging years, half of my posts were apologies for not posting. No more! I have several ongoing series now so I have steady stream of content ideas. My next challenge is posting consistently.

DiverseCanLit chats

In January I started hosting weekly twitter chats about diversity in the Canadian publishing and literature. I really enjoy talking to new people about a topic that is so close to my heart. As the network of people grows, I think we can form a strong community that can change the industry for the better.

“Hire me” tab and Review policy

These are steps I took to move this site from personal blog, to respectable website. The Hire Me tab makes it clear that people need to pay me for my writing. No more free labor! And the Review Policy was in response to the many unsolicited pitches I would get from authors. I generally don’t review books and I had trouble turning them down politely.

Here are a few steps I want to take to continue to expand my site:

Add more pictures and/or re-design

I’m not completely in love with my site design yet. It’s getting there but it’s not quite as snazzy as I’d like. One way I can jazz it up myself is to add more images to my posts. If I’m still unhappy after that I think I’ll hire a web designer to give it a make-over.


Related to my “Hire Me” tab, I want to start earning money from my site. However I’m not comfortable with ad networks because I want full control over which ads appear on my site. I don’t want the ads to be contrary to my convictions or the interests of my readership.

I also don’t like the idea of writing sponsored posts. A company can pay me to write content for their site. A company can also pay me to post their content on my site (as a guest blog for example). But I am not comfortable being paid to write content on my own site. Does that make sense? Anyway. No sponsored post for me.

The option I’m giving serious considerations is affiliate programs. I already include many links to buy in my posts because when I love a book I want to make you love it and buy it so the author can make money! If I were part of an affiliate program I would just continue as usual, and potential make a tiny bit of money if I were particularly convincing my enthusiasm for a book.

Is that okay? It doesn’t niggle at my sense of ethic so I think I’m going to try it. Have any of you had experience with affiliate programs? Share your ideas in the comments!

4 comments for “Armchair BEA 2014: Expanding Blogging Horizons

  1. Stephanie
    May 31, 2014 at 6:32 am

    Owning your own space is very important if you don’t want to be a minion to one corporate webby or the other. I have tried many a service and I do love my self hosted WordPress.

  2. May 30, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    I’m totally behind having a review policy. But I’ve found that 75% of the review requests I get haven’t even looked at my policy. Even though I state exactly what I will and will not review, I get daily requests to review books on my no list. I love your list of goals. With how great everything looks now, I think you’ll have no trouble attaining them!

    Kristen @ Pretty Little Pages

  3. May 29, 2014 at 9:59 am

    It sounds to me like you’ve had some great accomplishments! I’m also self-hosted and while I’d like to take advantage of that more with a new design soon, I’m already enjoying it quite a bit :)

  4. May 28, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    You should be very proud of your accomplishments to date! And it looks like you have some clear and attainable goals for the future. Will have to try and catch your canlit discussions!

Join the conversation!