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Wednesday, January 4, 2023

2023 Here I Come

 

I can't believe it's the beginning of a new year already, which has me questioning, what is time? Typically I would hit you with my goals and bookish bullet journal spreads but this year I'm going to change it up a bit. This post is going to focus on the next phase of the Weekend Reader blog. 

Dun, dun, dunnnnnnnn!

What to expect?

Throughout 2022 I really took a critical look at my content strategy. I changed the formatting and delivery to see what worked and what didn't. Let's just say there were more things that didn't work than did, but I learned a lot along the way. With that being said, I made the decision to move a lot of content to my social media platforms, specifically Instagram. This means the blog will become a place for long-form projects. 

Why and what does long-form projects mean?

Long-form projects are lengthier post (stay with me). I want this blog to be a resource corner, helpful, and mostly intentional. So moving to long-form projects will give me the space to be thoughtful and perhaps educational. Don't worry, you can still expect author interviews, and blog tours (my schedule is updated now), but the bulk of blog content will become reading projects. So expect listicles, book recommendations, book cover pairings etc. to primarily be on Instagram (make sure to follow me @weekendreader_). Yes, I've finally ripped the bandaid off and come to terms that I need to focus my energy there because that's where most of the engagement is generated. Don't worry there will be some cross-posting but I think this makes the most sense and, I will still make appearances on Twitter here and there.

What long-form projects will there be?

Here are the tentative projects. Yes, I'm saying tentative because life be lifing sometimes and I want to be transparent I will adjust if need be...

Project 1-  Read-the-backlist challenge. This project has a list of 50 authors I'm hoping to prioritize throughout the year. This project came out of the tweet below that I'm cheekily referring to as 15 Below. Do you get it ?...authors with 15 or fewer published books ๐Ÿ˜‚

The plan is to have 4 updates/once per quarter. I have organized the authors into the following categories:

    • Starter 1-2 books
    • Weekend Sprint 3-4 books
    • Level Up 5-9 books
    • Pressure 10-15 books

Simultaneously, I will be working to FINALLY finish reading Katrina Jackson's entire catalog. I am dangerously close! Since her catalog is 30 books this category will be known as the Diamond status.  

I will continue to pull from this list as I read books. It's an ambitious project but I think it will help me find more new-to-me authors and also cleanup my Kindle. So stay tuned for the first round at the end of the month. 

The first 10 authors are...

๐Ÿ’•Lady Marie | Lauren H. Mae | Cat Giraldo | A.H. Cunningham | 

Ruby Lang | Jodie Slaughter | Kema B | Lucy Eden | Dria Andersen ๐Ÿ’•

๐Ÿ’— Katrina Jackson ๐Ÿ’—

***Disclaimer the goal here is to give me a lot of flexibility so at a minimum I plan to read at least one book from the list. If I'm digging their writing, I will slot them into a spot once I finish a round. Also, I recognize that authors will be publishing more books, so it's their catalog as of December 2022. 

Project 2 - In My Opinion where I will break down 3 reoccurring bookish discourse to get to the bottom of why the conversation (from my perspective).  Topics/titles are subject to change but these 3 stood out to me last year.

    1. Romance is Feminist
    2. Authors in Reader Spaces
    3. What's the beef between IR and Black Romance readers?

I don't always weigh in on topics so this project will give me an opportunity to say my piece and keep it moving. Not sure if I'm going to be canceled but hey what do I have to lose. If it doesn't work or causes too much additional discourse I will immediately trash the idea.  

Project 3 - Reading and content creation TIPs. Recently I've been getting a lot of questions about my strategies so I figure why not just share out. If there are specific tips you want me to focus on, drop a comment. 

While some of the projects are more provocative, I'm really looking forward to targeted blog content.  Also, my goal really is to be educational with a small dose of get it together. Either way, wish me luck to trying something new.

Are you doing anything different with your content in 2023? Happy Reading!






Wednesday, December 21, 2022

2022 Best of Instagram

 

Talk about building a plane while flying it. Instagram has been and continues to be my Achille's heel. Once I think I figured something out there's an update and the algorithm feels like it's always working against me. Sigh, I keep trying though ๐Ÿ˜ž 

On the flip side and a very interesting thing is that once I started posting content that I liked, my account grew (go figure). Mid-year I cleaned up my grid and made the decision to show more of my personality, which worked. It only took me 4 years to figure it out. While it's exciting in some aspects to grow, I'm happy that my growth has been slow so that I can figure out these pieces along the way. I'm also really grateful my recent content seems to be resonating with so many of you. Here are the top 3 posts:

Number 1 How I read 200+ books -this conversation pops up a lot and I shared a few tips on how I read at the rate that I do. Big picture folks should read as many or as little as their time permits. No reading number shaming! 


Number 2 Series Wrap-up -friends Eastside Brewery and The Family made 2022 bearable. Yes, I know I'm being dramatic, but kinda felt that way.



Number 3 How to Read Romance -give me an opportunity to convince readers to read romance and I will take it.




I can't talk about IG without including reels, the bane of all of our existence. 

Number 1 Boo Spooky Recommendations I was very confused about why anyone would take spooky recommendations from me because I read mostly romance but y'all liked it so I love it. 


Number 2 Thick Thighs Save Lives  showing love to thic MMC characters.

Number 3 Fictional Boyfriends Part 2 we love book boyfriends and so I get it ๐Ÿ˜

Well that's a wrap for my best of 2022. Thank you for indulging me as I looked back on my year. While, I remember mostly the tough this blog series really help reminded me that it wasn't all bad ๐Ÿ˜ 

Happy Reading!


Wednesday, December 14, 2022

2022 Best of Twitter


I certainly did not have Twitter imploding on my 2022 bingo card. I guess that's the way of the land. I'm still holding out hope that it will have a resurrection or something similar because there is something special about that space. I say that fully acknowledging it can be the wild wild west. One day having great conversations and another it's a shit show of another recurring hot take. I've had to definitely alter my time on the space because of the latter, but I do pop in from time to say my piece. Either way, while Twitter is still semi-functioning here were my top 3 moments on the bird app.

Number 1 Authors with 15 or fewer published books thread

    • I was hoping to find a handful of authors that I could read their backlist for a 2023 blogging project. Well, I did not expect the tweet, to yield as much attention as it did. More details to come but I'm very excited about this project and will be doing regular updates. The name of the project is still TBD but I have a little over 40 names.    

Number 2  Readers calling authors thread

    • Another tweet that I didn't expect to get as much traction because I was just musing about how much emotional labor it is for readers of color when they call out an author. It requires a lot of stamina to keep up with the responses on the timeline or DMs, but we don't often talk about the vitriol that comes along with it speaking up. In this thread, I wanted to take a different approach and provide some tips to help with the discourse. Idk if it helped but it certainly got folks talking. 

Number 3 Aaron Pierre book cover thread

*I figured let me jog your memory of what e looks like but also you can scroll through the thread for the book covers*

                                            

    • This was my first leading man and romance book cover thread of the year. I forgot how much I love working on them but they are sooooo time-consuming. I did 3 other threads but Aaron Pierre got the most retweets.  

Honorable mention New vs Established relationships thread 

    • This thread is really a good example of how I like to use Twitter. I have a question/thought and I get to hear different perspectives. I learned a lot about writing perspectives and why or why not relationships work on page. It was inconclusive but such a great conversation.

Happy Tweeting (for as long as we can)!




Wednesday, December 7, 2022

2022 Best of Blog Posts



I can't believe it's the last month of 2022. The year was slow and then at some point sped up to the point that I'm not sure I knew what day it was and here we are now. 

Like every other bookish content creator I will be doing a series of wrap-up content but this year I wanted to take a slightly different approach. I want to forego the worst lists and disappointments. I'm just not in the headspace to actually spend the last few weeks thinking about the content I didn't enjoy. But that's not going to stop me from watching/reading your lists. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

So throughout the month of December, I will be posting my best ofs...
  • December 7th Best of Blog
  • December 14th Best of Twitter
  • December 21 Best of Instagram
  • December 31 End of the Year Wrap-up
Yes, I'm going to post 4 blogs this month, I will either love it or hate this decision, but I will only have myself to thank or blame. Let me start by saying, this year was a turning point for my blog. As I was looking at my data analytics my readership numbers dropped (like tanked), so I was feeling a little bummed about this reality. I spent a lot of time wondering if I should abandon this space to focus my energy strictly on social media. When I was about to pull the plug, platforms started going haywire so I'm so happy I waited. While I'm still figuring out what this blog will look like in the new year, it was fun to take a trip down memory lane; here are the 3 blog posts that give me hope to keep going.

Number 1 Social Media Experiment - I spent the month analyzing the algorithm and social media advice blogs so that I could give recommendations. I posted this blog in August so most of the recommendations might need to be updated but it was really interesting to take a deep dive. One huge takeaway though was having a solid content strategy that you can shift as the platforms update. 



Number 2 2022 Holiday Gift Guide - is always my favorite blog post and consistently has good readership numbers. This blog post will continue no matter what changes I make to the blogging content. 



Number 3 Favorite Author - post came out of someone asking who was my favorite author. I was stumped. I mean, I thought I knew, but it got me thinking was the answer purely anecdotal. So I did a little math and came up with a list to calculate a list of favorites. I already have some ideas on how to update the math so this blog post might return in the new year with some additions.     


So what's next? Blogging was my entry into this bookish community and as new platforms rise and fall in popularity, I know I will have to keep the blog as relevant as possible. For the next few weeks, I will really put the time into what it could look like. Regardless, thank you for your taking the time out of your schedules to read this blog and showing your support. I know you have lots of options so your support is much appreciated. Thank you for including Weekend Reader in your blog reading lineup.

Happy Reading! 



Wednesday, November 23, 2022

2022 Bookish Holiday Guide





I have to tell you, working on the bookish gift guide has to be one of my favorite blogs to write. Not only do I get to suggest gifts for the reader on your life, but I also get to highlight small businesses. This year I have 15 (ish) new shops that I hope might make it easier to shop this holiday season. Oh and a lot of these businesses have holiday sales running now. 

Reading Supplies- whether you need tags to annotate or a journal to keep track of your reviews check out these shops

Girl of all Work was founded in 2007, Girl of All Work creates innovative office/lifestyle accessories that bring joy and whimsy to everyday tasks. For work, school, travel, and home, our products help to organize and inspire. We love designing and constantly exploring new ideas.

My favorites ๐Ÿ’–washi tapes and page tags to annotate my books. The quality of the page tags and stickiness is so good. What I love the most is that the price point is really affordable for such beautiful unique designs. 


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Two Weeks on Mars is an Etsy shop with out-of-this-world planner & book accessories. 

My favorite ๐Ÿ’–winter knit mini hat yard pom bow- doubled as a bookmark in my planner or books. I used this bookmark in my planner but like I said it can be used as a bookmark. I will say the paperclip might not be long enough for some readers but I loved seeing the little hat stick out of my planner. 

 


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lylajuneco is an Etsy shop that sells custom & unique reader merch 

My favorite ๐Ÿ’–Choose your fate reader trope cards. Let's just say I got these cards for when I'm in my mood reader phase and idk what to read. ๐Ÿ˜… I got 4 decks, did it cure my mood reading, no; but the cards are very cute. 

 


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Dreaming of Celie is a repeat but this Etsy shop just added some really cool reader merch so it deserves another mention ๐Ÿ˜Ž

My favorite ๐Ÿ’–book sleeves that I use for my kindle, books, and my stickers, and notepads.

 


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Rose Colored Daze has lots of beautiful stationery products and stickers.

My favorite ๐Ÿ’– the translucent sticky notes and colorful page tags to you guessed it annotate my books. I've used pens and markers on these transparent sticky notes and they work perfectly. Oh, and they are reasonably priced. I typically purchased my transparent sticky notes from Staples but there's an upcharge for the colored ones. 

 

 



Stickers- I'm sorry but you can never have too many stickers!!!




eboniismoon is an Etsy stationery art and prints shop!

My favorites ๐Ÿ’–stickers, washi tape, and the stamp. When I tell you the stickers are so adorable love, love this shop. As soon as I saw this sticker sheet I got it. The washi tape is also brown girl friendly and gorgeous. I almost don't want to use it, it's so pretty. 



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ShopCocoMichele is an Etsy shop that has journals, stickers, prints, and cards.

My favorites ๐Ÿ’–the journal and stickers. For the reader and planter in your life again I think you might enjoy the variety of sticker sheets from this shop. 

 


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Bklyn Post is a small shop with art prints, stickers, bookmarks, & more

My favorite ๐Ÿ’–stickers!!! The sticker sheet I purchased is no longer in the shop, but the new releases are super cute. I mean hello, did you see the Beyonce stickers. 

 


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TawanaSimone is a glam Etsy planner, sticker sheets & stationery shop

My favorites ๐Ÿ’– sticker sheets and notepads, both options come on matte paper. 

 


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Zella & Co. is the place for stationery goodies!

My favorites ๐Ÿ’–mood tracker sticky notes. I know, I know not a sticker BUT I love using these in my journal and even in my books so I'm counting it because of the sticky component ๐Ÿ˜…



Specialty- if you're looking for something special and perhaps very niche, check out these shops!!

Pride Road Farm is a family-owned and operated food manufacturing company that produces all-natural locally grown hibiscus-based products. 
My favorites ๐Ÿ’–hibiscus chutney and jelly, but the absolute star was the sparkling drink. You can have it on its own chilled or in a cocktail. It's the first hibiscus drink that doesn't taste artificial and I loooove it. 

 


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Mayhara Ferraz is an illustrator. If you ever wonder who captured my avatar this would be your answer. 

๐Ÿ’–Mayhara was easy to work with and took a random stream of ideas to make an illustration that I absolutely love. A friend of mine did a custom family photo and word on the street is she does book covers so...tell her I sent you. Here's another image she custom-made for me. Isn't it adorable!!!! 


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Good Girl Chocolate is gluten-free, dairy-free, and naturally sweetened. It will appeal to your sweet tooth, and satisfy your chocolate craving. Listen I promise you that these chocolates are so decadent and delicious. You know I'm a snacker and I would not stare you wrong. 

My favorites ๐Ÿ’–cookie dough and almond praline (to die for)

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Calabash Tea & Tonic is a tea bar based in Washington, D.C.

**I gifted Teyonce to a friend and she loved it! I mean come on the name itself is wonderful. 



Facade's Seasonings small batch seasoning

My favorites ๐Ÿ’–all purpose seasoning and the cajun blend. I put the all-purpose seasoning on everything and the cajun seasoning has the right amount of heat. hope

I hope this year's list had enough variety for you to shop small this year. 

Happy shopping!