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2016 Yearly Reflection - The Words

Ahh! The year of 2016 is over! Some might say it's a good thing, because 2016 has been pretty bad. I guess I can agree in some ways, but that doesn't mean that 2016 was completely bad! I mean, it might have had some downs, but let's give it some credit, okay? And let's hope it was alright because this is my first yearly reflection, even though we haven't had this blog or our bookstagram for a full year yet. (Shhh.)

What I plan to do in this yearly reflection is very similar to what I do in my monthly reflections. I'm going to look over everything, see what went wrong and what went right, what could use some fixing or tweaking, what needs to go and what needs to come, etcetera etcetera. I will also show you almost everything that I have planned for 2016, which, frankly, isn't a lot.

But anyway, let's begin! (This might take a bit.)

March - Beginnings

March! It was Saturday, March 12th when Em and I created our bookstagram and blog. We published a welcome post on the blog and some little "introductory posts" on Instagram, but it wasn't until the following Monday that we actually had some good content. These were the days in which our photography and editing skills were certainly something, but the nice thing was that Em helped me out with the blog! (As you can see, I'm not the best at keeping the schedule all by myself, haha.)

We only had 32 followers by the end of the month, at least according to the monthly reflection I had whipped up. (The first one, too! Here comes nostalgia.) There's one line in there that I think is a bit funny. I was talking about having a low amount of readers and followers, how it didn't matter, blah blah blah, that we would "still be doing [it] whether it be with 20 people or 1,000" and that we might "be a bit lucky in the way that we don't have as much pressure put on us!" I just find it funny that we're past 1,000 followers now and I still don't worry much. (Should I...?)

April - Trying to Get Situated 

Next up is April! (Obviously. Whoops.) Emily's decreasing interest in the blog was starting to show. Especially in our April 2016 Reflection, which she wrote. I remember she was not happy to write that, clearly shown in her first goal for May listed in that post ("make blogging less of a chore"). She still wrote three posts for that month, however, I did have to write a post for one of her posting days. 

For those of you who didn't know, Em used to write posts for Fridays. We were also supposed to alternate who wrote the monthly reflections, but April's reflection turned out to be her first and last.

As for our bookstagram, we only posted twice a week, but once we posted - don't get too excited - three times a week! Wow! (If you can't tell, I'm using an extreme amount of sarcasm.) Our feed also wasn't exactly pleasing, as we posted a lot of posts with text. 

May - Slow Progress

By the end of May, we had hit 80 followers, and while Em was not too happy, I was excited. Ah: the simpler days. We had also started to participate in shoutout-for-shoutouts, which helped us in our slow but visible progress on our journey. Journeys also include lows, and for May, that was dropping in pageviews for the blog by about 29%. Em also only wrote one post for the whole of May, with me writing the ones she missed.

June - New Experiences

June marked the start of a lot of new things for us! For one thing, it was our first month trying a photo challenge, and our first month with some pictures from Em's camera! Not that we really knew what we were doing in terms of using it or editing, haha. But we did hit 100 followers, so we must have been doing something right!

June was also a very independent month for me. It was my first month that I wrote all of the blog posts on my own. I also ended up taking pictures on my own with my phone instead of with Em and her camera. As some of you may know, she has another account, and she put a lot of her time testing her camera and such with that account. I still wasn't comfortable with the idea of taking pictures on my own, so we ended up not completing the photo challenge.

July - Big Time Independence

Did I say I was independent in June? Whoops. Talk about July! Once again, I wrote all of the blog posts for the blog, and I actually took almost all of the pictures on my own! While I used some of the pictures that I had once taken with Em, most of the pictures were my own. I couldn't figure out a theme, though, so they were all over the place: outdoor stacks and flatlays, indoor flatlays and stacks and such, props and no props, and good editing nowhere to be found! (I didn't even edit the pictures, haha.)

While I was doing things on my own, it was a good month. Pageviews for the blog increased, we got more followers and likes on our pictures, and I completed all of my goals for the month. A beautiful thing it is: having more time to devote to the blog and bookstagram in the summer.

August - Quickly Escalating 

August was a shockingly amazing month for us! We gained 278 followers in one month, which was a huge increase in comparison to previous months. We were also featured on three accounts, two bookstagram feature accounts (@bookstagramfeatures and @bookworm_insta) and one featuring "what's funky fresh in YA" (@yainsider). Part of this was that Em started to help with the pictures, meaning that we used her camera! We also settled on a theme, and I started to pay more attention to what other people were doing to see what worked. Another thing we did was editing pictures. I settled on a routine of editing pictures so that they looked better together.

Instagram also rolled out it's Instagram stories in August, which allowed advertisement for the blog without all of the clutter from posts with text on our feed.

September - Good Bookstagramming, Bad Blogging

September was a month of goods and bads. On the one hand, our bookstagram was pretty successful. While I was exploring slightly different variations of a combination of edits, we did manage to get 228 likes on one photo (a new record for us at the time) and increased our follower count by 243. We also got our second features on @bookstagramfeatures and @bookworm_insta.

However, the blog...? I was alright at first, but then I sorta kinda missed three posting days? Unfortunately, this was only the beginning.

October - Even Worse Times for the Blog

The blog - oh! - the blog. Did you know I only published two posts for the whole of October? Yep: that's right. Because of that, the number of pageviews to our blog dropped by 77% in comparison to September....

Still, I stayed active on bookstagram. We took pictures, I figured out an editing style that worked and I started to participate in more and mores sfs's, which, by the way, are a great way to gain followers.

November - A Steady Low

I was just riding some sort of wave where things weren't the best but weren't the worst. I missed two blogging days, but it was better than last month. Our pictures were good and all, but I missed a few days and had to finish in the early days of December. We gained less followers than October, but still gained a bit over 100. It was alright. Just...alright.

December - Trying to Repay it All

Beginning of December didn't look good. I tried to make up for my absence on the blog with some posts in the beginning, but then I dropped out of it again. In an attempt to make up for a short absence from bookstagram, I accidentally got blocked from writing captions, so I ultimately created an even longer absence. (Whoops.) But, I regained my footing and promised a good amount of posts come January. December was a month of trying to redeem myself.

So how was 2016 for Reading is Inevitable? Well, there were some lows - bad pictures, periods of absence, disagreements between Em and I - but in the end, it was good. For Reading is Inevitable, 2016 meant building up from nothing, from square one; from literally nothing to 64 blog posts and 288 Instagram posts with 1,277 people to see them. Thank you.

2017 Goals

  1. Work on the blog more! I really don't want this blog to be dead.
  2. Post twice a day regularly on our bookstagram. I've been wanting to do this! We don't have enough pictures in stock at the moment, but by the end of 2017 I want to regularly post twice a day.
  3. Find more great books to read through other book blogs and bookstagrams!


This Month's Popular Posts

Navigating Bookstagram - Stories & Tips From a Small(er?) Account - Feature Accounts

In my more recent Navigating Bookstagram posts, I discussed SFS's, one way that you can increase the amount of attention your page gets. But another really helpful way to do so is to get featured on a bookstagram feature account. I know, I know: it sounds impossible, but it's worth it.

A bookstagram feature account is exactly what it sounds like. It's an account that's sole purpose is to feature other bookstagrammer's work (I say other because, usually, these accounts are run by other bookstagrammers). There are a lot of accounts out there, and they pick pictures/accounts to feature based off of the pictures. Some accounts have certain themes such as outdoor pictures or flatlays. Accounts like these are not only a good way for you to get your content put out there, but also a great way for you to potentially find other accounts with content you like.

How to Participate Okay. So how do you get featured on one of these feature accounts? Usually there are instruction…

Barnes & Noble Haul - 02.04.17

On the fourth of February, Em and I made another trip to Barnes & Noble, and I thought I would share what we got! Together, we got a total of three books and two little blind boxes!

Looking around the store, it was a bit difficult to pick exactly what it was I wanted. I mean, there’s such a large selection! Sure, I’ve seen most of the books before, but there’s always ones that I’m thinking about reading later. And then there’s the question of if I want to buy the book, or give it a try first with my library’s copy of it. (If they even have it!)

There were some sections I knew I could skip over. That’s the first step towards progress. For me, that was skipping the usual fantasy-action-“I must save the world” type of teen book. (Sorry. They’re just not my thing.) I also could pass by this table of popular teen books, which mostly had those type of books.

On my book-searching journey, there was also books that I have read, such as The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne. When I …

Book Review: The Light Between Oceans

Title: The Light Between Oceans
Author: M. L. Stedman Genre: Historical Fiction/Drama Rating: ∞ out of 5 stars Reviewer: Julia

Okay, I'm not sure if I'm allowed to give a book infinity out of 5, but I'm going to do it because this book was that good. I have never cried so much or intensely over a single book. (I cried throughout the book and in one consistent stream for the last 50 pages.) I am so in love with it that I have made a shrine of sorts (still looking for a better term for it) on top of my dresser dedicated to it. (Em even contributed to this shrine by making me a lovely drawing of the cover of the book!)

Navigating Bookstagram - Stories & Tips From a Small(er?) Account - The Truth About Bookstagram

As you, my fellow bookstagramers know, bookstagram can be a pretty tough place to gain attention. While we all love books a great deal (after all, we did dedicate a whole account just to the art of being a bookworm), in the end, popularity might boil down to what you've read or your picture quality. Tough stuff right there.

I mean, we all love books, so why should it matter which ones we read? So what if we don't read the most popular books on bookstagram? Those dystopian YA books with futuristic societies or tons of action? Who ever said that classic books were bad? And, no, I'm not just talking about those Puffin classics with the beautiful covers - but the ones with less visually appealing covers, too.

Who said that our pictures necessarily had to be good? I mean, sure - this is Instagram we're talking about, a social media network built upon pictures - but when did we let that get in the way of what we came here to do? When did we let a less popular style or "…