Books Magazine

Sunday Serenade with Aloi from Guiltless Reading

By Anovelsource @thenovellife
Sunday Serenade with Aloi from Guiltless ReadingI'm thrilled to bring you Aloi of Guiltless Reading for Sunday Serenade. Aloi is tireless in her dedication to getting the Nobels into everyone's hands, sharing incredible tips and resources and being a great blogging friend to many, including me! Truly, Aloi is a sweetheart and champion of books. I hope you enjoy getting to know her as much I did!You've got several resources and activities on your site for both the reader and the blogger. Can you share a bit about Read the Nobels, Author Reader Connect, Travel the World in Books and all the additional extras you share?

When you list everything out like that, it seems like such a lot! All these "resources" pretty much evolved out of my own interests, which to say the least, are eclectic and numerous. I get inspired by so many things that my blog seems to go off on many tangents. But since book bloggers and authors come by the blog, it was only natural that everything revolved around reading, literature, and anything even remotely bookish.

Bookmark Monday has been around since 2009. I simply started posting pics of my bookmarks or anything fun, creative, or quirky that I came across online. I later decided to make it a meme since I know that a lot of readers love bookmarks too! Despite it not having too many participants at any given time, bookmarks fascinate me too much for me to put an end to this meme. I also enjoy graphic design so when I get the urge to make something ... be careful, I'll put up a free printable bookmarks.

Author Reader Connect had its beginnings in 2013 but I only gave its name in 2016. Now I'm trying to more actively promote it. Basically, it's a self-organizing book list that both book bloggers and authors can access - authors can offer up a book for review or a book blogger can get contact info of authors to request a book to review. Years ago I was getting so many requests from authors, the pressure was on and I didn't know what to do. (In retrospect, I just had a hard time saying "no." I was on crazy one-review-a-week sked as I barely turned anyone down. Obviously all this fizzled out. I couldn't sustain that level of reading and reviewing.) Hopefully this resource gets some more love!

Read the Nobels is another very old idea - 2007ish. At the time, reading award-winning literature like the Booker, the Pulitzer, the Newbery, etc. was a thing. I dedicate the idea of the blog to Gabriel Garcia Marquez who I was surprised to learn is a Nobel Prize in Literature laureate. Since there was no blog specifically for reading Nobel Prize-winning literature, I decided to start one. It's a perpetual challenge so it has people coming and going. I'm pretty dang proud that despite a small following, it attracts very keen, focused readers. And when I read others' reviews, it only inspires me to seek out more Nobels! (my TBR for Nobels alone is pretty ridiculous). As a side project, I started creating Nobel wallpapers because I couldn't find any existing to feature. Besides, I get to pick who to feature that way!

Travel the World in Books wasn't my brainchild (yo, special shout out to my awesome co-hosts Mom's Small Victories , I'm Lost in Books , Savvy Working Girl and Fictional 100) ! In practice, I had always been attracted to stories set all over the world, written by authors from different countries, and exploring other cultures. I have a wunderlust in reading (and life, if I had the money!). It was only a matter of time that I discovered this particular reading challenge (yet another perpetual one - do you see a pattern here?). I joined the challenge in 2014, even hosting a mini challenge (with full tutorial ) that encouraged people to create their Google Book Map to keep track of their reads. I loved the whole experience, particularly interacting with such an eager group of readers ... and I was over-the-top excited when the hosts invited me to co-host! It's great to be part of a project with some wonderful people. It adds a more personal and fun dimension to the reading experience.

I can see where the Author Reader Connect would be immensely helpful - especially for newer bloggers and authors. The ability or rather lack thereof, to say 'no' is something I think us readers are all cursed with! I know I have such a hard time saying no, especially after I read a pitch then I'm a goner for sure!On your site there are strategically placed ads and affiliate relationships featured as well. How long have you worked with ad agencies and affiliates? Are you pleased with the results? What advice would you give to other book bloggers about branching into ads and affiliate marketing?

Ok, this is a no-holds barred admission: I have a love-hate relationship with monetizing. There are a few book-focused bloggers out there who have delved into this rather laden topic. One particular post is by Ashley of NoseGraze (read Making Money from your blog - it's nothing to be ashamed about ) which got me thinking about this whole dilemma of book bloggers being treated differently from other niche bloggers (say, lifestyle blogger). The post challenges the "norm" of book bloggers practically "working for free" promoting books.

I can't remember when I first started dabbling with affiliate marketing, it's been on and off because the payback is so small that it is disheartening. I've contemplated not monetizing at all, then I swing to the opposite. Despite being in the blogging scene for such a long time, I am in limbo at the moment and it's a little embarrassing to admit it since I probably should've figured this out early, right? This recent slew of sign-ups with affiliates (only products or services I personally like, use, or willingly buy) is an experiment-of-sorts to see if I can meet this simple goal: make enough to cover the cost of a domain name, hosting and internet fees for a year.

To be totally honest about it, given my current setup, I can't even cover my basics. That's why I am still on a free platform, I haven't bought my own domain and I pretty much do things by myself. The few dollars here and there usually covers a book giveaway or a new blog theme. Definitely cannot quit the day job!

So why do I still do it? I'm hoping that if I stick to this for a full year, I may just make my goal. If I don't try it, I'll never know if I can actually do it. I'm sorry to disappoint every book blogger out there who hopes to makes truckloads of money reviewing books they love! If there is anyone out in book blogging also struggling with this, or if anyone out there has advice for me, I'd love to chat.I'm obviously the worst person to give advice on this topic. Although, one thing is clear to me: you have to be very clear about the goals for your blog.

Ashley's post is one I go back to often - she's right. We are basically unpaid marketers for publishers and authors. I've struggled with that as I am on a self-hosted WordPress site and I do pay for my domain. I've also vacillated between having ads and not running ads. I'd love to talk with you more about this topic! Anyone else want to chime in on the topic please do so!Time management. Such a huge topic. How do you find the time to read, blog and 'live this thing called life?' {sorry, just had to throw in a Prince reference}!

I just go for it. I love to read so I make the time for it, even if it's little pockets of time in my week. The same goes for blogging - I enjoy it so I make the time for it. Obviously I have obligations like everyone else so those always are top priority. I think what helps me is that I don't overthink things and I never overschedule myself if I can help it. Also if things don't go over as planned, I don't dwell on it. Somehow it all works out. There is no magic formula - if work and family take up more time, something else just has to give, so sorry, reading and blogging. Or, I just go to bed later, once in a while. 🙂 (Sidenote: Aww, I know we're all going to miss Prince!)

That's fantastic you work at not over scheduling yourself! It's something I struggle with always! You make a great point, though, about loving to read and blog, so you make time for it. That comes through in your blog. I've also been so impressed at your dedication to the blogging community. Your passion for reading and blogging are admirable!What advice would you give to a blogger who wants to expand their focus as you did with starting Read the Nobels and Author Blogger Connect?

Wow, Stacy, you make me sound like I have this grand plan! My blog in its present form came about pretty serendipitously. I guess what I'd suggest is if you have an interest, or are itching to do something, pursue it in the way that makes sense to you. If it works out, you'll reap the rewards. If it doesn't, at the least you learned something. So either way, take the risk and enjoy the ride!

Wait, don't you have a grand plan Aloi? I swear I read that somewhere "Aloi's Grand Plan" 😉Thank you Aloi for your candidness and time and being willing to talk monetization! I've long admired your blog, and I'm so thankful to be getting to know you better!Friends, you can find Aloi at Guiltless Reading | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest |If you're new to Guiltless Reading, check out the fantastic free digital wallpaper Aloi shares here!
Sunday Serenade with Aloi from Guiltless Reading

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