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How To: Be the BEST Book Penguin EVAR (so basically, how to be me!)

I’m sure you’ve already figured this out (I mean, you guys are all so soopah smart!) but… I’m a pretty rockin’ book penguin.  They should totes make a movie about me in the future.  Working title:  The Beak and the Bookshelves.  Featuring me, obvs–12 full hours of me in a chair, READING!  Wouldn’t that just be the bestest movie EVAR?!  Of course it would.  I’m pitching it to producers this weekend.

But I digress–let’s get back on track here!  Do you all know the movie The Pebble and the Penguin? (no, nooooo, I toooooooootes don’t want to go shove it in my DVD player now, c’mon that’s just crazy talk…) If you DON’T know this movie, you need to drop everything right this second and go find a copy–it’s super adorable.  If you DO know this movie, kudos!–you’ll better understand the next few sentences!

So the ENTIRE plot of the movie…is to find the most perfectest prettiest pebble in the WORLD in order to attract the most perfectest prettiest penguin mate, basically.  I mean, obvs I’ve left some things out, but basically this is the movie.  WHY does this matter?!

I’m here to tell you, being the bestest most perfectest book penguin evar?!  Is preeeeeeeeetty much exactly the same thing, except with books.  And, well, the only one you really have to impress is yourself.  Isn’t that GREAT?!  I think it’s GREAT.  I’m totes making this work for me.

“BUT BETH!”  I know you’re saying.  “You’re the greatest most epical book penguin I know!  How could I possibly compete?!”

To which I say…. Welcome to my newest blog post!

HT Be a Book Penguin

Disclaimer:  I do not guarantee you WILL, following these steps, be just as awesome sauce a book penguin as I.  I will always be better, because I will always be the first.  But…you can come close!

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Not every book penguin is the same, and that’s both A-OKAY and exactly the way it should be!  Can you imagine a world full of ME?!  That’s a scary idea, and one I never ever want to experience EVAR.  Seriously, one of me is almost TOO much for this world to handle!

Now, finding your nesting niche means a great many many things.  Let’s walk through them:

–the types of books you want to read
–the types of posts you want to produce
–how you want your blog to look
–who your target audience is
–how you want to come across to your readers

Of course, this may not be ALL the proper penguin-dance steps, but…well, a lot of it comes down to breaking it down.  So let’s shall, yes?

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Now, I’m not saying you HAVE to have your ice igloo all built and pretty going into this–sometimes, figuring out your theme is the MOST DIFFICULT PART!  I mean seriously, it took me almost an entire year to figure out how I wanted my blog to look and implement the penguin army.  So if you only have a vague idea, or you’re not sure where to start, don’t panic!

Some things to keep in mind, though, when you begin seeking out your forever (or yearly, or monthly, or weekly, or EVERY OTHER DAY because you get bored quickly like I do) “home”–

–is the text readable?
–is the background too bright, or too dark?
–is your page TOO cluttered, or too sparse?
–are you going to have a bio on a separate page, in the sidebar, or both?
–are you okay using graphics, or have you decided to not?

In the end, this is honestly ALL ABOUT YOU and driving your personality home, but certain things might drive your readers away.  Clashing colors, text that is too intricate or too tiny, a very cluttered and eye-heavy backdrop… These things DO matter, so wander around the blog block a little and figure out what things you like and what things you don’t about other people’s pages!  Trust me, this helps!

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No matter WHAT, you want your blog to BE another part of you.  I mean…think of it like muscle building.  Are you the type of penguin who puffs out their chest and loves to be noticed?!  You’ll probably mold your blog more toward your unique and individualized personality.  For instance, my blog?  is FULL of penguins, bright colors, and fun graphics.  I also fill my posts with shouting, snark, and silly wordplay, because those are all the things that make me, ME.

You don’t have to be flashy and loud, though–if you’re more reserved, the type of penguin who holds their wings close to themselves and keeps their beak down, that’s cool too!  Try to put yourself into your posts where you can–even quiet penguins can and should be noticed, after all!

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Now, this is where it starts getting a bit more difficult–and much more based on your own personal preferences!  I, personally, chose early on to post ALMOST.  EVERY.  DAY.  Of course, this can–and IS–exhausting.  Some days, I come home and all I want to do is crawl into my ice cave of darkness.  Some days, I just don’t have the energy.  Scheduling posts ahead of time helps with this immensely–I don’t always get all the posts done that I WANT, but I can at least get some done ahead of time and be sure I’ll still have something posted up.

I also chose to participate in memes almost every day of the week.  This may change in the future–there are, of course, some that are less popular than others.  But right now, the memes keep my bird-brain busy, and I personally enjoy putting those posts together.  Not everyone does, though–and a lot of authors/publishers, when seeking out people for reviews, tend to avoid blogs who put out MORE memes than they do reviews/unique posts.  You’ll notice, even though I post a lot of memes, I ALSO post a TON of reviews and original blogs as well–it balances out.

You don’t HAVE to do memes, though, just like you don’t HAVE to post reviews, or make up your own unique flavor of blogs… It’s really all up to you, and what you want out of your blog!

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If you ARE in the book reviewing field, you’ll realize RIGHT AWAY that people want to know what to expect out of your reviews.  Again, don’t worry if you don’t have this all figured out when you start up!  This is, like almost everything in life, a learning/growth spectrum–life changes, and so will you in the course of your blogging career!  (Trust me, my reviews haven’t always been as web-toe spectacular as they are now!  That, like my blog theme, took almost a year to perfect, and I’m sure they’ll change again in the future!)

It helps, though, to have a general idea the sort of things you most want to read.  When I started this blog, I was still sort of “stuck” in the same old things I’d always picked up–I hadn’t yet expanded my reading circle, so instead was focused a lot on the authors I grew up reading.  Soon after discovering goodreads, though, I noticed a drastic shift in my reading habits.  I started by picking up ALL THE YA OF EVAR, especially dystopian novels, because that’s what kick-started my obsession.  And then, after several months of experimentation, I branched out again… and AGAIN… and AGAIN!  Now, you can expect to see a ton of different genres–romance, erotica, steampunk, thriller…

and a TON of indie books!  This year especially for me has been ALL ABOUT the indie authors, and guys, let me tell you–it’s the best decision I’ve ever made for my reading life.

If you LOVE a certain type of book and only want to focus on books like it, DO IT!  If you’re more like me and get bored SOOPAH easily (and therefore need some spicy tuna in your life), DO THAT!  Go out there and pick up a few different genres.  Experiment, let yourself try new things, figure out what you most want out of your reading world.  Trust me, this will go a long way for you!

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And of COURSE, blogger penguins NEED other blogger penguins to yell at, to recommend things to, to hold discussions with, to sob over those crazy characters with…. which means you need to figure out what type of READER you most want on your blog!

Now, there are several ways you’ll probably want to go about this one.  First, READ OTHER BLOGS!  Seriously, penguins, you can’t figure out for sure who you’re yelling at if you’re not seeing how OTHER people yell first, right?!  Reading other blogs will help you figure out your tone, your post personality, your…literally pretty much everything.  I, for instance, tend to ADORE other blogger penguins who use copious amounts of snark and humor–and therefore, I use over the top amounts of this, myself!  (my cup runneth over with sass, guys.  so much sass!)

Second…figure out WHO you want to be yelling at.  Are you aiming for a specific type of reader?  Are you seeking to be a book blog and a book blog ONLY?  Do you want to throw in other types of communities (chronic illnesses, for instance, or movies, or video games, or…?)  All of this will help you narrow your telescope in on your target audience, and (hopefully, web-toes crossed!) bring more readers flocking to your page!

So what are you waiting for?!  Get out there and find your niche!  Once you do, build yourself an ice-shard nest, sit back on your tail feathers, and watch the penguin-ing commence!  You won’t be QUITE as good at it as I am, but hey–at least you’ll be close!

What do you guys think?  Does this post help you at all?  Did I skip or forget any tips?!  Feel free to share your thoughts with me below!

Until next time, happy book-ing!

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How To: Freak Out Over Books Professionally

If you’re anything like me, you’re an obsessive, addicted book penguin.

No, no, don’t freak out, it’s okay!  The page police aren’t waiting to book you on charges of compulsion and need.  Stand tall!  Admit it loudly!

“I. AM. A. READER!”

Doesn’t that feel SO much better?  It’s unhealthy to hold things like that in, you know–and there’s nothing to be ashamed of!  (at least, not here among friends and book penguins.  Here, you’re safe)

This isn’t, of course, the only step–when it comes to book obsessing like a professional, there are RULES to follow.  Want to know if you’re on the right track?!  Keep on reading–I’ll outline a few of the most important steps for you.

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Because this could be messy.

For instance:  you’re in a bookstore!  YAY, BOOKS!  Your arms are already over-laden with pretties–hardcovers, box sets, paperbacks…you don’t care, you don’t discriminate, they’re all pretties!  When GASP OF ALL GASPS, you spy a signed edition of your most favoritest baby in the whole entire world!

Commence freak out mode.  You’re dancing foot-to-foot, heavy book stack swaying precariously, when you realize the entire store has stopped browsing to watch you do the pretties dance.

Whatever you do, DO.  NOT.  STOP!  You run the risk of all those books going flying.  Small children and innocent bookworms are bound to be hurt.  Do everyone a favor and avoid the mess–sudden stops are NOT a dancing book penguin’s friend.

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If you’re surrounded by loud, screaming people, you probably don’t want THAT to be your moment.  They won’t hear you over themselves!  And you WANT them to hear you–you have books to freak out about!  You have possible penguins to convert and bring over to the book side!  No, loud noises and chaos?  NOT a book penguin’s best option.

Instead, go for something more along the lines of:  the kids are sleeping soundly (I mean, it is after midnight, BUT THIS CAN’T WAIT!); your husband’s on the toilet or in the shower (bathrooms?  privacy?!  WHAT EVEN IS THAT NONSENSE when it comes to books?!); your family is in the middle of the most climactic plot twist of the most epic movie EVAR (just…watch out for sudden flying objects.  You can’t freak out about books if you’re unconscious)

These, penguins.  THESE are your moments.

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Don’t give me that quiet-as-a-church-mouse, head bowed in respect crap–we don’t have time for that!  There are too many books to freak out over!

MAKE IT LOUD, penguins!  Shout it from the rooftops in that “proclaiming your ever-lasting love, let the whole world hear” voice I KNOW is lurking deep within you.  It might hurt.  You might permanently damage your vocal cords, but your job will be well-done, and that’s all that matters!

Also, bonus points if it sounds dirty taken out of context.  Life’s too short to miss out on a good laugh at everyone else’s expense, after all!

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Facebook?!  No, no…it’s BOOKbook now!  Instagram?!  Suuuuure, post your face…covered up by books!  Twitter?!  There are TONS of hashtags for that, if you’re brave enough to look.

It’s like chicken pox, penguins–scratch it once and suddenly it’s ALL you think about for the rest of EVAR.  So go on!  Tear those oven mitts off.  Sharpen your nails.  Scratch until it BLEEDS ink!  Dig out your hammer, build yourself a book fortress, and POSTPOSTPOST!  Other book penguins will find you eventually, I promise…and you might convert the world around you in the process!

What tips would YOU give blossoming book addicts?  Do you agree or disagree with the above?  WHY?!  Feel free to let me know your thoughts below!

Until next time, happy book-ing…and don’t forget to get your freak (out) on!

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The BEST Ways to Organize Your Bookshelves

We’ve all been there, browsing tumblr or scrolling through our twitter feeds.  Innocently going about our days, when suddenly we stumble across the most gorgeous bookshelf set-up to EVER grace our internet.  Cue the jealousy demon, all red-eyes and dramatic turmoil–complete with annoying, heavy sighs.

How, we find ourselves asking, can I get MY shelves to look like that?!  What must I do, book gods; what must I sacrifice?!

Immediately after which, we spend an INSANE amount of time–eight hours, three weeks, so long we forget when we even started this crazy project and when was the last time we ate?!–completely and utterly FAILING to replicate the gorgeousness that was those shelves.

What, OH WHAT, is a book penguin to do?!?!

Well, worry no longer!  Allow me to introduce you to

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Don’t.  Buy.  Books

I mean, this is obviously the easiest solution.  You don’t have to stress about how to organize your bookshelves if you don’t have BOOKS to put in them!  So go out, buy whatever style bookcase you want (there are some gooooorgeous ones, if you’re brave enough to look!)…

And then tell everybody they’re statement pieces.  Give them long, artsy titles if you’d like–circa This Is Just To Say That We, In General As People, Own Too Much Stuff And Not Enough Space, So I’m Collecting It Here.  It’s a mouthful, but it works.

Alternatively, you could fill your shelves with things NOT books.  Need more closet space because your wonderful significant other has FINALLY decided to move in?!  Bookshelves.  Have a growing collection of Funko! Pops and no place to put them?  Bookshelves.  Developed a strange obsession for all things penguin and want to show them off (and, possibly, traumatize your guests?)  BOOKSHELVES!

See, problem solved!

Switch it Up

And by this, I mean every shelf is different, because we aren’t confused enough already. Maybe the top shelf will be a book spine rainbow, the middle dedicated to that one author who for some reason FAR out numbers all the other authors even if they’re maybe no longer your FAVORITE author…and the bottom to all the pretty covers of ever!  Pick a system–pick several!  Switch it up!

Forget remembering where certain books are–and penguins help you if you need to pull something off the shelves!  There’s no taking it back once it’s organized, so don’t even THINK about it dude.

Also, book avalanches?  Are a thing.  And they HURT.  So pull gently, if you pull at all.

Don’t Shelve ANY of Them

Better yet, get rid of your shelves completely!  You have plenty of unused floor space, right?!  Start stacking!  I recommend starting with books inching up one wall, and then expanding (like skin fungus!) from there.

Make yourself a maze of spines and release your guests/family to the chaos like lab rats solving puzzles for cheese.  I mean, you don’t HAVE to give them cheese…you could use Twizzlers, or more books!  But some incentive is probably a good idea, otherwise people start to smell a bit funky.

Running out of room?!  No problem!  Just dump aaaaaaaaaall the pretties on the floor and learn how to swim.  It’s just like a ball pit, really…except with books!  So, you know, watch the sharp edges, and try not to belly flop–I can’t imagine belly paper cuts feel good.

And there you go!  Three (possibly just slightly insane) ideas on saving yourself the hassle of bookshelf organization!  Because who has TIME to figure out a cleaner way to do this shizz, right?  Penguins knows I don’t.

What do you guys think of these genius suggestions?  Would you ever (or do you already) employ any of them?

(If I’m being 100% honest…we have a whole bookcase worth of books stacked on our dining room table right now, because two bookshelves totally stuffed to the brim does not a lot more room left make).  Feel free to share your thoughts/comments in the down-below, please!

Until next time, happy book-ing!

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