The past few months have been busy ones here at Novel Novice, gearing up for and then revealing our new blog design — which included a move to WordPress.org and implementing the amazing Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin from Nosegraze. (I’m still updating old reviews to be indexed with the new plugin.)
I had a lot of ambitious goals with the move and redesign: fresher content ideas and fun new features; more downloads and desktop wallpapers; greater reader engagement; the addition of an occasional weekend lifestyles feature. Who knows what else? I also planned to resume our Book of the Month feature in March or April.
Well, it’s mid-March and as you may have noticed … there’s no Book of the Month. And I don’t have one lined up yet for April.
I don’t think I’m going to, either.
The Book of the Month feature has been a staple of Novel Novice since the very beginning; it’s one of the features that defined us very early on: dedicating an entire month to spotlighting a great new book! We’d have interviews, contests, educational posts, downloads, and other fun (often exclusive) goodies. We were at the forefront featuring critically and commercially acclaimed books well before those successes came to fruition: Beautiful Creatures, Divergent, and John Corey Whaley’s Where Things Come Back, just to name a few.
I’ve loved being able to give extra special attention to books I really loved.
But I’ve come to the difficult decision that the Book of the Month feature just isn’t something I can sustain any longer.
FIRST THINGS FIRST: Novel Novice isn’t going anywhere, and I will continue to spotlight and feature the hell out of books that I love — and am always happy and willing to do multi-day/multi-post features for the books that I think really deserve the extra attention.
But over the years, the Book of the Month feature has become a chore. When I started Novel Novice, there was a small team of us behind the scenes to choose the book and put together the content. Over the last few years though, it’s been a solo act. Just me, doing everything. And I’m okay with that — really! — but I’m also only one person, and my life has changed dramatically in the last few years. I changed careers. I got married. I bought a house. I became an auntie. My life is in a very different place than it was when Novel Novice was born in 2010, and as such, this blog has had to — and will continue to — change and adapt in order for me to make it work for me and my life.
I also never wanted blogging to be a chore.
Part of what I love so much about Novel Novice is that it’s a project of passion and joy for me. And when part of my blogging becomes a chore … well, it’s not fun anymore. It’s not rewarding. It’s something to cross off my to do list, like laundry and cleaning the bathroom.
Blogging should not be a chore.
So despite my initial plans to bring back this feature … I am officially retiring Book of the Month. There are six years worth of amazing titles to look back on, and plenty more books to be featured here in the future. Just in a different capacity.
I hope you guys — readers, authors, publicists, etc. — understand my decision. A part of me is still sad to see Book of the Month go. But a bigger part of me is relieved; I feel lighter and freer knowing I can move forward without this burden, and focus on the kind of blog content that makes me happy and joyful.
I hope you can feel that happiness and joy, too.