Goodbye 2018 – Hello, New Opportunities in 2019

Colleen’s 2019 Goal Planning

Each year I like to reflect on the highlights from the previous year as I move forward into the new year. 2019 is on the horizon. Are you ready?

On colleenchesebro.com, it was a fabulous year. Here are a few of my accomplishments:

Book Reviews

I read and reviewed 49 books in 2018. I don’t know about you, but that number blew me away! I added each review to Amazon, Goodreads, and many to Bookbub. I can’t tell you how many of the reviews were shared to social media but I know the numbers are staggering.

Check out: Colleen’s 2018 Book Reviews

Today, I would like everyone to gather their thoughts about book reviews. Do you buy a book based on a review from someone’s blog, or do you buy it from an author’s facebook page? Do you find a link on another social media platform which directs you back to their blog post where you end up buying the book?

Please participate in my poll. I want to examine if social media helps us sell books compared to the reviews we post on our blogs.

Book Review Goals for 2019

Starting January 1, 2019, my book reviews will be bi-monthly (only two a month). That is a change from the weekly reviews that I’ve done for the past four years.

As writers, we must also be readers who support other authors in our community. Without reviews, we are lost. The plethora of books for sale on amazon.com is staggering. However, I can’t extol the virtues of writing a review enough.

Be truthful and share what you liked about the book in your review. Remember, these reviews are based on your feelings and viewpoint.

I do not support reviews that tear down another author’s style of writing. We’re all different and our likes and dislikes are subjective. If you dislike a book that much, skip the review. There are nice ways to say you didn’t connect with the writing or the theme.

I once read a review that excoriated the author because they were not someone famous! The reader bought the book in good faith and then proceded to rip the book apart because the writer’s advice was no better than what this person perceived she would have received from a neighbor. They left a one-star review, among the other twenty reviews that rated the same book, four or five stars. I must ask… what good did this review serve?

I’ve spoken to numerous authors who have confirmed that their books sales dropped in 2018. There are multiple reasons for this. Personally, I believe there is a glut of books on the market. I know I’m overwhelmed at the selection.

“I’ll leave you with this question… If you are an author, and if book reviews help to sell books, why aren’t you writing more reviews?”

~Colleen M. Chesebro~

Conversations with Colleen

I started a new author interview feature in the middle of September which has offered a weekly discussion with an author about everything under the sun. This has been a fun way to get to know more about the other authors in our community.

Browse: Conversations with Colleen

Through January and February of 2019, I will continue to host an author each week. Starting in March 2019, Conversations with Colleen will become a monthly feature.

Colleen’s Weekly Poetry Challenge

2018 saw the expansion of my weekly poetry challenge (using synonyms only for the two words I suggest), both in the number of participants and in the number of syllabic forms. The acceptable syllabic forms are:

  • Haiku
  • Senryu
  • Tanka
  • Haibun
  • Cinquain
  • Nonet
  • Etheree
  • Shadorma

This challenge is one of my passions. I love the energy from the participating poets and have loved watching us all blossom and grow.

This year, I will compile a PDF of the poems and the poets I selected for recognition as my Poet of the Week. I will make this available to the participants of the challenge for free at the beginning of 2020 as a download from my site.

Check out the Weekly Poetry Challenge Recaps from 2018

I would like to host a Syllabic Poetry Contest this year around June to celebrate our love of poetry with the theme of the Summer Solstice. I will be looking for judges and for poetry book prize donations. Fill out the contact form on the top menu if you are interested. I will update you with more details at a later date.

Last Thoughts

colleenchesebro.com is my author blog. I’ve cut back on some of the features to free up more time for my own writing. I have three books that I’m currently working on, two of which I will publish this year.

This also means that I will be cutting back on my social media time. My greatest desire is to totally delete Facebook because of security issues and time constraints. And, yes… I’m serious. I spend three hours a day, sharing, reading, and commenting on Facebook. That’s time I could use for writing.

Can I survive without Facebook? Would you miss me or my posts? Probably not. There is no way I can read all of the posts that show up in the groups and on the hundreds of author pages I follow. People only read the headlines. How many times have you shared an article without reading it? It makes you think doesn’t it?

Besides the security issues, it might be too late to leave Facebook. They’ve already sold my information. The ads that hover on my wall are scary. They know what I’m writing, buying, and sharing. At least on Twitter, I’m not inundated with ads every other post. Since the November election, I feel like it has gotten worse. I want to leave Facebook. Can I do it? I’ll keep you posted…

Besides being chased by Facebook ads, I do hope to write more articles on my Sisters of the Fey blog, which is co-written with seven other lovely authors. I hope you’ll stop by there more often to say hello.

Thanks for all of your love and support this year. 2019 will become our best year yet!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

82 thoughts on “Goodbye 2018 – Hello, New Opportunities in 2019

  1. Yes, I would miss you on Facebook, however I completely understand. Making writing your top priority is paramount! After all, you ARE a writer, you must honor yourself. Thank you for all of the wonderful energies you share. Your reviews, poetic challenges and other features are not only entertaining but enlightening. I know we are blessed to have you here. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Have a great Christmas, Colleen, and a fabulous 2019. And thank you for all you’ve done for other authors, we all do best when we support each other, but some go further, and you are one.

    Looking forward to seeing what 2019 brings, I know this year I’ve finally learned not to spend so much time on social media instead of writing, and I should be publishing my next book early this coming year, having spent all last year writing it. I still have to bring my emails under control, but I’m getting there…

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Happy Christmas Colleen, you have certainly read more books than me this year. I do review every book I read and put the review on Amazon, Goodreads and my own blog. I moslty choose books to download on my Kindle if I have been reading about the author and they sound interesting or amusing. I like to choose books about somewhere I know or equally the novel is set in a place I know little about!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. A few years late and thankfully no dollars short, I had finally decided I would join up with Facebook–now everyone (OK, not everyone) is thinking about leaving. I was dubious about the value of Facebook for book marketing and connecting with fellow writers but thought it MIGHT help and would be better than the mess LinkedIn has made of their groups. Facebook possibly worked well keeping up with faraway friends and former neighbors (and select family members). But now–what to do and where to go. Who wants to board a sinking ship. Ironically, most of Facebook’s users are now outside North America.

    Still, 2019 is my year to get WAY more interactive and connected to all of the bloggers and writers I neglected in 2018 for a variety of reasons. So I’ll rely on more direct communication via comments back and forth I guess. Best wishes to you and success on your books.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for your comments, John. I sure appreciate you sharing your thoughts. This social media stuff exhausts me. I spend so much time thanking people for sharing my posts. I’m not sure they even read the post before they share it. I want to connect but in more meaningful ways. I’m exhausted from it all. It just seems so futile. LOL! The security issues really bother me. If I sold a large volume of books from Facebook I would reconsider. I just don’t think that is the case and I believe my survey questions bear that out. Merry Christmas my friend. Have a fabulous holiday. I think I will pull the switch on New Year’s day. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Wow, you are very productive, Colleen. I don’t read many books – only where I know the author from those I follow in blogland, LinkedIn, and beBee.com. I am a fan of reviews, whether book reviews or product reviews. My feelings about reviews are they should be constructive and not destructive. Blasting an author just because one doesn’t agree or like their style of writing is inappropriate and disrespectful.

    I’m not a Facebook fan and don’t spend any time there but I spend a lot of time on LinkedIn and I write for beBee.com.

    I want to spend more time interacting with my followers, as well and I am setting goals in 2019 as I endeavor to restructure my social media time.

    Happy holidays, Colleen! Sharing this post!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Excellent post Sis! Love the ‘review’ story 🙂 and I’m with you on reviews. If you took the time to enjoy a book please take a quick 2 minutes to leave a positive review if you enjoyed it. Simple. ❤ xxx

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Thank you for all you do, Colleen! You are very generous. I’m resigned that all my info is all over the Internet by now. I use FB to keep in touch with friends, not for marketing, but some of my friends only read my blog from there. Social media does take a lot of time–though I think reading blog posts that I’m involved with (people I follow, challenges, etc.) takes the most time.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Happy 2019. I am wondering about most social media as well, although I use Facebook Messenger to connect to qutie a few people… I’m sure you will have, but just a reminder to check if you have signed onto any places using Facebook, in case you decide to leave it…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s probably too late for me to leave. What I need to do is just stay off of it as much as possible. Good points about using it to sign into other sites. I use messenger all the time too. The post sharing is fine if people really read it. There’s so much, I have no idea how anyone could read all that get’s shared. Then, there’s the thank you’s for sharing… LOL. Huge hugs to you and Happy New Year. ❤

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  9. Happy 2019, Colleen you have some great goals and some echo my thoughts …Facebook I never use FB to sign into other apps always use an e-mail address. But I do have concerns and opt out of as much as I can and definitely don’t like the fact they know every site I visit but much of my traffic according to my stats comes from FB so a double edged sword..methinks 🙂 Book reviews I just need to read more and you put me to shame and the culprit is social media which I must limit but I thank you for making me think…Hugs xx

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord Blog Magazine and commented:
    An update on 2018 and plans for 2019 from Colleen Chesebro. They do include you which is a great reason to head over, especially if you are a writer. Colleen is hugely supportive of our blog posts, poetry and books with her insightful reviews much sort after. She is also sharing her thoughts on Facebook and social media in general with some very good points.. #recommended

    Liked by 2 people

  11. An interesting post, Colleen. I must say I enjoy Facebook for the personal information that is shared rather than it’s usefulness as a marketing tool. I don’t believe I have ever bought a book through Facebook but I have bought many through blog posts.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Same here. I know it’s too late to leave FB. What I have to do is stay away during the day. My daughter told me my problem was that I was too popular. LOL! That’s so funny. First time in my life. 😀 I would miss all of you girls for sure. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I always review a book I deem 4 stars or higher. I don’t feel the need to comment on books I give lower grades on, though sometimes I’m tempted- especially when the editing is horrible.
    Social media is necessary in order to broaden your reach. With so many books on the market, the connections you make gain even more importance. There ARE other avenues besides Facebook though, a newsletter being one of the best.
    For buying, author recognition plays a large part in my decision (which circles back to SM) and after that it’s definitely cover art. Blogs are a great way to spread the word.
    Wishing you much writing success, Colleen!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Great plans for 2019. I ditched FB a long time ago, but went back a month ago because a fellow blogger and writer is on there (and I was curious why I suddenly had so many visitors from FB) but I haven’t used it and will be deleting it again. My downfall is Twitter lol. To answer your question about reviews, I write them but have to honestly say that as a reader, I don’t read them or care about them. I will glance at them and read the 1-star reviews just to laugh about them. They don’t make me buy or not buy a book. I know, I am odd that way. My favorite books of 2018 were found through a variety of avenues. Two came from NetGalley, two from the library, and one was completely by random because I was on Linda Hill’s blog post about Indie authors. After I read the post, I liked it and moved on, then figured I could spend a few dollars for myself and bought a few books that were posted after my initial reply. Linda’s book was one of the ones I bought and it became a 2018 fav.

    Good luck with your writing/publishing in 2019!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your methods and for writing reviews. I know my dream of leaving FB is futile. I just have too many connections there. It’s too late anyway. I know they have all my information. LOL! Happy New Year and thanks again for sharing. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Congrats on your reading and reviewing in 2018. Best of luck with your goals in 2019. I agree about reviews. I mention reviews on my blog often and how important they are to us authors. Hugs xx

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I fully agree with not making negative, sarcastic, cruel, and sometimes even snarky remarks (although if the genre is humor, all bets are off on this one) but if an author puts out work that is sold (not ARC) and the editing is so sloppy to be non-existent, I comment on several platforms. Out of 800 reviews, this has happened less than ten times over three years. In two cases I have communicated with the authors and the exchange was positive. Unfortunately, given that it is the start of a new year, one of these times was only four days ago. The novel had huge paragraph breaks in the middle of sentences. Lines of type extended alternately across the page and one-half way across the page. And this sold on Amazon for USD 2.99. The author had requested I review the book and provided a detailed template of what should be covered in the review.

    After abandoning the novel at Chapter Thirteen, I contacted the author and said I would not post a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and BookBub (my defaults) but that I would comment on my blog.

    It is good that I don’t have that many followers.

    And that is my New Year’s rant.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL! I have had a couple experiences like that, too. I won’t review a book that is formatted incorectly. I spend weeks formating my own books. As Independent Authors we must write and compile our best work – especially if we are charging money for it. I think you did the right thing!

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