By the end of this post, I hope to have successfully answered the following questions: What’s new? What’s next? What’s gone? And my god, Shealea, what took you so long to finish? (On second thought, I can’t promise anyone a proper and valid answer for that last question.)
Let’s start with the essential elements of a good book blog (or any blog, really): ‘About’ page, ‘Contact’ form/page, archives, and indexes. Of course, a (constantly updated) index for book reviews is a must-have for any book blog. For the most part, I completely rewrote and re-coded the content. I am particularly pleased with the brand new content of my About page as finding the words and crafting sentences to describe myself has always been something I hated doing. Introductions, whether written or verbal, make me feel noticeably insecure and uncomfortable. I am always at a loss for the right words! I have a hunch that this one will probably remain unchanged for a long while, though.
When I started That Bookshelf Bitch, I initially used the Independent Publisher, a free WordPress theme, as the base for my blog’s layout. I admittedly fell for its promise of “a beautiful, reader-focused theme”, and for a while, it was an all right fit when it came to my blog posts. Honestly, however, I was never quite satisfied with its appearance because I have an incomparable love for minimalist designs and large white spaces.
The concept I wanted my blog to have is that of a blank canvas. This is mainly because that’s exactly what it is: a personal, interminable space I can shift and mold as much and as often as I wish. Furthermore, I’ve never been a flashy, sparkly, frilly kind of person; in other words, I like to keep things simple and neat. Extravagance is nice and all, but simplicity is undersated elegance. Easy navigation and accessibility are also key priorities I keep in mind when it comes to layout design.
Originally, I intended to use bold, vivid hues such as black, red and white for the color scheme. Red was a go-to choice as it definitely suited the edginess of my blog’s name. Eventually, I decided against using overpowering hues and opted to make use of purple and blue pastels. Purple has always been regarded as a royal color, hinting at both sophistication and quiet power. I love how it is simultaneously classy and calming. Pairing it up with soft shades of blue certainly created the vibe I wanted my blog to have.
From there, I was able to come up with these main color palettes:
Pretty, aren’t they? Thought so.
In line with my goal of redefining and formally establishing the actual brand of That Bookshelf Bitch, an official logo ultimately felt necessary. With that said, many thanks to my friend, Jan, for creating this gorgeous logo! It is leaps and bounds beyond my expectations and wildest dreams! I have always been a sucker for lovely typography, and this one is obviously no exception. I am in love with my logo!
My hiatus has allowed me to gain additional insight and fresh perspective regarding my book reviews — the manner in which I write them, the time it takes to write them, their effectiveness as promotional material, and their overall quality. I’ve arrived at a conclusion that my book reviews need to be trimmed, allowing me to better highlight the strengths and weaknesses of elements. In addition to this, by writing more concise reviews, I am consequently lessening the likelihood of another massive book review backlog — something I’d rather not experience again in the future, thank you.
For the most part, the original content of my review policy has been retained with only a small slew of revisions, such as unfinished reads and their corresponding star ratings. Furthermore, I decided to implement the “no spoilers in book reviews” rule more explicitly. In fact, I created an altogether separate category for spoiler-ridden posts. But more on that later (or rather, the next section).
Under the ‘Features’ option on the navigation bar, you can find a drop-down list of my blog’s main features: Shealea asks authors, Shealea reacts, Shealea says, Shealea struggles and Shealea writes. You’re probably asking, “What even do these ‘Shealea + [insert seemingly random verb here]’ features mean?”
Yes, yes, I will elaborate.
What’s with the self-named features? To be fully honest, I struggle with being witty. One of the things I’ve noticed in the book blogging community is that most, if not all, features and memes have insanely catchy names(!!!). Just check out The Broke and the Bookish‘s Top Ten Tuesday meme, Joey’s Think Aloud discussions on thoughts and afterthoughts, Listen to This by Jonas from Other Things (I don’t know about you, but the names of his features are so cohesive with the overall vibe of his blog), or Ari’s weekly feature on The Daydreaming Bookworm called Rants & Rambles. Cait @ Paper Fury, in particular, always (and I mean, always) comes up with the wittiest, most click-bait-able (
this should be a legitimate word) post titles ever. But Cait is essentially a blogging queen so this shouldn’t come off as a surprise.
Anyway. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that I do not have the skills (or any kind of patience for that matter) to sit down, waiting for a divine intervention to graciously hand me a wittier brain. Nope.
Before my hiatus, I already had a low-key feature which I promptly named “Shealea writes“. I consider it low-key because I rarely wrote anything for that category. Regardless, I somehow grew sort of attached with the name. When I was trying to come up with other features I wanted to include on my blog, I patterned all of them after Shealea writes. Eventually, I realized that this was probably the best course of action to take as it was in line with my primary goal (i.e. further personalizing my blog’s content) and one of my stranger quirks includes referring to myself in third person and liking it. So really, it could not be helped. (Too long, didn’t read; I’m low-key vain.)
a) Shealea asks authors
This one is pretty self-explanatory, I guess. Author interviews and the like fall under here.
b) Shealea reacts
As I mentioned earlier, my book reviews will now be completely free of any spoilers — a declaration I find imperative to live up to. However, as I was rereading my reviews for Gifted Thief and Not Just Another Romance Novel, I realized that I, just as any other person, find pleasure in writing rants. This prompted me to create a separate feature wherein I can talk about books in a no-holds-barred, completely unfiltered way with as few or as many massive spoilers as I want. And ta-da, Shealea reacts was conceived!
c) Shealea says
To put it simply: a feature for all discussion-type posts. As I am a book blogger, I will, more often than not, write about issues, concerns and reflections that deal with books and blogging. I will probably discuss more serious matters as well such as misogyny, discrimination and/or whatever’s currently fucked up in epic proportions in my country (sorry not sorry, Philippines). If I’m not feeling lazy, that is.
d) Shealea struggles
Also known as: the only main feature without an index. How come, you ask? Well, basically, Shealea struggles consists of life updates and whatever personal shenanigans I have going on in the real world. That’s hardly interesting enough to warrant its own index, yes?
e) Shealea writes
As I said (or rather, wrote) earlier, Shealea writes is the first feature I came up with. Moreover, it is arguably my favorite one. This feature is a personal project I started to encourage myself to write more. Write more of what, you ask? More poetry, more original content, more musings, more of myself, more free-style — more of everything, really. As of now, Shealea writes has been broken down to three main categories: entries, excerpts and poetry.
Honestly, I’ve wanted to try my hand at beta reading for (what felt like) the longest time. I kept hesitating because I was intimidated by the responsibility that came with it. Amazingly, a few months back, I was contacted to peruse and criticize an author’s work. (Thanks for believing in me, Tom!!!) It was the push I needed to pursue beta reading. Well, that and the fact that I’m a financially struggling college student.
Regardless, more details about my beta reading services can be found on this page. Check that out if you can.
And, you know, hire me and stuff.
I’ve been wanting to launch this for quite some time now! It’s still currently a work in progress, but rest assured, Project IDEA will definitely be up and running soon. To get a better idea of what Project IDEA stands for and what it’s actually about, read this.
Making money out of blogging is a somewhat controversial topic; personally, however, I don’t see anything wrong with making a few additional bucks. Provided that aforementioned bucks are earned through honest means, that is.
Aside from beta reading, I decided to effectively monetize That Bookshelf Bitch through affiliations. It took some time, but I eventually found a number of products and services I’m comfortable (shamelessly) promoting. Out of principle, all the promotions made through my blog will be as honest and as transparent as possible. I will only feature goods and services I genuinely believe in, regardless of how big or quaint the commissions are.
For everyone’s information, That Bookshelf Bitch is a duly approved and recognized affiliate of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, The Book Depository, Nose Graze Shop and Grammarly. With that said, a number of my posts contain (and will continue to include) referral links. Additionally, should you choose to avail anything from my tools for book blogging page, I will receive a humble commission.
I can assure you, however, that the commissions I earn through my affiliations will not, in any way, affect you or your purchase. (So don’t hesitate to use my links, yes? Help this financially struggling college student out.)
A few other changes and updates I’m too lazy to make separate headings for:
a) I personally want to emphasize on honest endorsement and plugging by restricting the amount and kind of promotional content on That Bookshelf Bitch. This means that I will no longer participate in book blitzes, publish excerpts from books I’ve never read and any other similar forms of advertising. I find it strange and mildly unethical to actively recommend books I haven’t even read. My primary means of book and/or author promotion will now be limited to Project IDEA, giveaways and author interviews. I will still occasionally sign up for blog tours; all books given to me through blog tours will warrant an honest review.
b) The number of tags/awards posts will be strictly limited. I’d rather reveal more of myself through my writing.
c) Not all book reviews will be posted on my blog.
And that’s basically everything, I guess. If you’ve made it this far (in this extremely lengthy blog post), then congratulations!!! You are officially, unbelievably wonderful! Don’t forget to check out my blog relaunch + 20th birthday giveaway. I’d love for you to participate in it. Also, and more importantly, let me know what you think about the blog changes in the comments below! Like the revamp? Love it? Hate it? I’m dying to know.