Features are something I think about a lot. I just can’t help it. I like having a variety of features to use to share my bookish love (and of course they all have to start with the word “Bookish), and I’m constantly brainstorming and reflecting when it comes to features I want to use and already use. And sometimes, well… I just feel like a feature isn’t working out.
A couple of months ago I talked about Trying New Features when it comes to blogging. Not only did my post directly inspire some bloggers to start new features that they had been thinking about, but other bloggers have also started features that are based off the same ideas I suggested in the post! Now, funnily enough, some of these bloggers who have started feature ideas similar to the ones I provided did not say that they were inspired by me. Does that mean they stole my idea and just aren’t giving me credit? Not at all. The funny thing about ideas is that anyone can have them. Just because I posted about an idea first, doesn’t mean that same idea wasn’t already festering inside someone else’s mind.
The same thing works in reverse. Sometimes when I come up with a feature, I may think it’s original but then suddenly realize… Nope, it’s out there. Maybe it’s not done in the exact same way, but it’s still there in some sort of variation. And it’s something I’ve noticed a lot lately. As a result, I’m breaking up with some of my features.
Deciding to break up
Just like with a real relationship, it can be hard to make that decision to break up with a feature. You don’t want to hurt their feelings. What about all the hard work you’ve put into it already? I thought we had something special?
You know the deal.
But sometimes, it’s good just to evaluate whether or not what you have with a feature makes you happy (wow Asti, are you sure you aren’t getting carried away with this relationship comparison?). You have to ask yourself, what am I hoping to achieve with this feature? If you’re just doing the feature because you enjoy doing it, then rock on! For me, it’s not that simple. I want my features to make me happy, sure, but I also want them to offer something unique to the blogosphere.
Now, I know that this can be done through voice. Bloggers can have similar features and yet provide something different just by inserting their unique personality, style, and perspective. This can be seen throughout the blogosphere, and there are many amazing bloggers out there who may not have the most original features (or no original features at all!) and yet still attract readers because they know how to communicate their thoughts and ideas in a way that is engaging and fun.
While I’d like to think I could fit into that category, I find it incredibly hard for me to do when I’m not excited about my features. And nothing takes away my excitement more than realizing my feature isn’t as original as I had thought. It’s sort of like a sucker punch in the gut when I have a feature I like but then suddenly see various iterations of it around the blogosphere, whether mine was first or last. Just knowing my feature is one that can be found on a variety of blogs, even in different ways, just makes me lose my motivation – especially when I think the other bloggers are doing it better.
When this happens, I can’t help but think it’s time to say goodbye to these features. And as I only post two days a week now, instead of daily as I did at A Bookish Heart, why not make it official? It’s time to officially change to my status to Single when it comes to the features below.
Splitting Up: Now, I don’t even think people know this feature existed on A Bookish Heart (and it obviously didn’t carry over to Oh, the Books! as I don’t have a pretty purple header for it). When I started my blog, I thought it would be good to have a feature where I talk about some of the publishing- and book-related news I came across online. It would force me to keep up with what’s going on in the industry, while allowing me to think critically about it. But… I just never felt quite inspired to do these posts (and in the end, I think I actually one did one post under this header!).
Moving On: I’m quite happy that my attempt at Bookish News was so pathetic and short-lived. There are some bloggers out there who already do an amazing job at keeping bloggers and readers up-to-date with book- and publishing-related news. The following are my favorites, which I recommend you check out if you don’t already:
- Buzz Worthy News by Cuddlebuggery – Seriously, it’s the perfect combination of humor plus news.
- Christina Makes the Bookish Rounds by Christina Reads YA – This post has EVERYTHING! A list of all major news articles, cover reveals, blog posts, etc.
- YA Interrobang – I actually don’t read this as much as I should, but what better place to get news about the YA book industry than a YA digital magazine dedicated to it?
Splitting Up: Let’s be real, I’m pretty sure the only reason I wanted to create this feature was so that I could try to be evil and prove my ability for world domination by beating others in a face-off regarding book topics. Of course, once I realized that not everyone agrees with me that The Darkling is better than Sturmhond, Zombies dominate Vampires, and Katsa is the best YA heroine, well… There’s obviously no point in me continuing on with a feature where I don’t get my way!
In all honesty though, I just never could quite figure out what wars I wanted to fight. What’s a good battle where I could pit up something I like against something someone else likes? And do it in a way that isn’t mean or steps on people’s toes? I just felt it didn’t work for me, unfortunately.
Moving On: There are other features though that do a good job or sharing multiple points of view on a topic, though not necessarily in a battle-esque style. Some that come to mind include:
- Chat Between Chapters by ChapterBreak.net – Rose and Julie regularly have bookish discussions where they each answer the same question.
- One Window, Two Views by Reading with ABC – Self-explanatory, I think.
- (S)he Said Discussion by Confessions of a Book Geek and Thoughts and Afterthoughts – Unlike the previous two, this feature takes on a conversational aspect where both bloggers go back and forth on a topic.
Splitting up: Oh, my most recent (and most painful) break up. I actually quite enjoyed my Bookish Parades post. I’ve always wanted a feature that focuses on book covers and I like my little graphics I make for this. But seriously… have you seen how many features there are that compares book covers? Whether it’s a bunch of international editions or just two? I can’t seem to escape them lately, and every time I see them it just makes me question what I’m bringing to the table that’s different from anyone else. I mean, you can find all these covers on Goodreads and I really do run out of things to say when sharing my opinions on them. So… meh. It’s time for this one to end.
Moving On: Like I said, there are TONS of features that focus on comparing different book covers. Here are just a handful that I can think of off the top of my head:
- Civil War at The Paper Sea – Focuses on the cover differences between US and UK covers.
- Book Cover Culture at Word Revel – Compares book covers for translated books, looking at it from both an analytical point of view as well as personal preference.
- Who Wore it Better at The Book Babe’s Reads and Book Badger – Weekly meme that asks participants to choose which international cover they like best for a certain book
NOTE: After reading everyone’s comments about Bookish Parade, and seeing that it is still a valued feature even though there are other features that are somewhat similar… Well, I’m thinking this may only be a temporary split. Instead of breaking up completely, we (this feature and I) may try to work towards a compromise. I’ll probably keep the graphics and the overall idea (comparing international covers), but try to do something different with the actual content/text of the post, as that was what I was having difficulty with. So… sorry for the scare? But thanks for re-motivating me towards this feature? Something like that. >.>