I guest posted over at TNBBC about my bathroom reading habits. Since I habitually read in the bathroom, I had a lot to say! You can check out that guest post here if you’re so inclined.
I guest posted over at TNBBC about my bathroom reading habits. Since I habitually read in the bathroom, I had a lot to say! You can check out that guest post here if you’re so inclined.
About a year ago, I decided to move IB to being completely self-hosted. When I did, I had about 2500 (or more) subscribers through WordPress.com, most of whom were lost to me when we moved over here.
Then, a couple of days ago, Brian (waves to Brian) emailed me to ask about our move to self-hosted, and what we did about moving our subscribers. For the first time in an entire freaking year, it occurred to me that, maybe, there was a way to transfer subscribers. After about twenty seconds of Googling, I found that, indeed, there might be a way to do just that. I contacted WordPress, and lo–subscribers moved.
I missed you guys. I’m glad to have you back. I’m not even sharing this post to social media–this one is just for you, subscribers. Because I love you.
Words are failing me, so I shall express the remainder of my emotions in the form of gifs.
Before I even start this rant, because I know that comics are SRS BSNS for some people, I do want to clarify that I know there are comics that don’t fit into the problems I’m about to lay out. There are comic books and graphic novels that I’m a huge fan of, like Johnny the Homicidal Maniac and its offshoots by Jhonen Vasquez. Mostly the comics I’m going to be addressing are the mainstream comics–the ones that have been around since forever, the ones that my fellow nerds sometimes arch an eyebrow at me for not being deeply and intimately familiar with when I mention that I love Batman.
See, this whole thing springs from my love of Batman.
I have loved Batman since I was a child. I remember the first time I saw the camptastic 60′s Batman show; I was five or so, and Dad was flipping through the channels (it must have been a weekend, if Dad was home) when he stopped on some live-action show that I didn’t initially suspect was going to be any good. I mean, there were grown-ups in it. And a weird old dude and no cartoons. How could this be a good show? But my dad stopped on that show and said, “Aw, I haven’t seen this in years. I used to watch this a long time ago, when I was about your age.” SIGH. How could I not watch after that? I was Daddy’s little girl, and if Daddy watched it when he was little, I would also watch it.
I LOVED IT.
The crazy costumes! The villains! CATWOMAN! JOKER! THE BATMOBILE! (I maintain that the 60′s Batmobile is the sweetest of all Batmobiles.) I was obsessed. The episode that he stumbled across that day happened to be a marathon; dad threw in a cassette tape (VHS baby) and taped it off of TV. I watched the hell out of that tape. When it started re-running on … whatever channel was re-running it, I made sure to tune in every chance I got.
It wasn’t long after that I saw Tim Burton’s Batman. Probably it was not appropriate for me to watch; I was six when it came out, although I wouldn’t have seen it until it was released to video. (Dad dubbed it and cut out the most violent parts so I could watch it. Aw.) That was a different Batman, but still good. Even though there was no Robin (I loved Robin in the old series, I won’t lie–even though Burt Ward was completely old by the time I ever saw the old series, I had a crush on him), and even though it was dark and Joker was more violent than goofy, I loved this new Batman. It gave the character depth for me–because, let’s face it, the Batman from the 60′s was a little too vanilla to be interesting as a character. Tim Burton’s Batman helped cement what has been a lifelong obsession with the hero.
(My husband tells me that Adam West showed up in his tights to audition for Tim Burton. But my husband makes up stuff all the time and I haven’t been able to verify this story, so I can’t attest to its accuracy.)
The only problem? I always have felt like a fake Batman fan because I never read the comics. Oh, I may have read a few when I was a kid, but I’ll be honest, I was all about Archie and not really about superheroes at all. So even though I’ve seen all of the Batman movies, watched all of the cartoons and shows, and am constantly doing internet searches on Batman-related things as an adult, I’ve always felt like a bit of a fraud.
I recently decided to remedy that and buy some comic books. The Joker, who is by far my favorite Batman villain (in fact, I may be more of a Joker fan than a Batman fan), had what looked like a sweet new storyline with amazing art. I knew the comics were edgier than the cartoons–see also, when the Joker beat Robin to death–so I thought, it being 2013 and boundaries being pushed all the time, this could be a really good story. And it was. I don’t want to–what are the kids saying these days? Throw shade? on the Death of the Family storyline. It was pretty bitchin’.
But fifty-five dollars later, I am reminded why I have never gotten into comic books. I mean, besides the fact that they are FRIGGIN EXPENSIVE JESUS FUCK. I didn’t even get ALL of the comics in that storyline and I spent mad cash, yo. These suckers are going up on eBay shortly.
In comic books, nothing is ever permanent, so why should I give a shit about anything that happens?
Even though I hadn’t read the comics, I had a general understanding of many major events in the Batman universe. I knew that Robin (Jason Todd as Robin, not Dick Grayson) had been beaten to death by Joker with a crowbar. I knew that Joker also was responsible for the paralysis of Barbara Gordon. So I was less-than-impressed to find that, in the reboot, Jason Todd has come back to life and Barbara Gordon is up and around as Batgirl again. So everything that was scary about this:
is not really that scary. I mean, yeah, that would still hurt like a motherfucker, to get beaten with a crowbar or shot in the pelvis–but if you knew you weren’t going to have any permanent consequences, it would be about a thousand percent less scary to run up against the Joker. You would be like, well, okay this sucks and everything, but it’s not FOREVER so I guess it’ll all be okay in the end. It’s like when Marvin the Martian or Wile E. Coyote gets blown up–it’s fine, because you know he’s not really hurt. In fact, it’s meant to be humorous.
But getting beaten to death or shot by the Joker isn’t supposed to be funny to anybody but the Joker.
I just can’t get emotionally involved in a story when I know everything could just be reversed on the whim of a new writer who wants to sink their teeth into the story, canon-be-damned. I can deal with reboots and alternate realities, but not with miracles fixing up problematic plot points.
And actually, I find that I don’t like the idea of superheroes altogether.
The only superhero I give two craps about is Batman. I used to watch some superhero stuff, like the old Superman shows and the X-Men cartoons, but I never developed much of an interest in them. I don’t watch the movies when they come out, I don’t cruise YouTube looking for old episodes the way I do with Batman. (By the way, Batman: The Animated Series? It has excellent art and stands up very well to adulthood.)
Here’s the thing. Let’s say I’m Superman. I have superhuman strength. I have the ability to heal myself, not that I get hurt that often ANYWAY because I am invulnerable to most human maladies. I’m fast as hell, I can fly, I have motherfucking x-ray vision and other superhuman senses. And I’m orphaned off of a planet that was destroyed and raised by humans who took me in despite me being all weird and alien and whatnot. If I don’t turn out to be a superhero? I’m a complete douchebag. For Superman, stopping crime is like regular humans helping an elderly person across the street. It’s not particularly taxing for him, and since he has superhuman speed, he can do it really fast and get back on with his day. It’s probably completely boring for him.
And then you have the humans who stumbled into their superpowers. Bitten by a spider. Born with mutations. Took a serum that transformed them into perfect human beings. That’s all good and fine, I guess, but . . . isn’t it kind of totally boring, as far as story goes (not in real life–in real life it would be AWESOME), to stumble into superpowers? And isn’t it just as boring to stumble into superpowers and then think, “Gee whiz, I’m gonna use my powers only for good!”* I mean, if I stumbled into superpowers, I would probably use them mostly for good, but I’m human, not a saint. I think that’s why I like Batman, but not the other superheroes–Batman doesn’t have superpowers. He has gadgets that had to be invented and then he had to learn to use them; can you imagine him practicing with the grappling hook and falling about a hundred times? heh, heh. He has physical strength and prowess that he has to train to get. And if someone shoots him in the face, no chance he’s gonna deflect that shit.
*I realize that I probably have missed a lot of subtle character development with that because I haven’t read most of the comics, but I still get the idea that the general gist of the superhero is that he’s usually a good guy with a mostly-sterling character, not a dark and conflicted individual constantly fighting his flawed humanity to be good despite the urge to be selfish and revel in his own power. If I’m wrong about this, please tell me.
Also? Comic books are confusing to get into, if you’re new to comics.
I just wanted to read some Batman comics. But where does one start with Batman comics? Does one need to start at the beginning? Because I didn’t really want to start at the beginning. I’m much more of a fan of darker, edgier, more violent Batman, and the early ones seemed a little . . . . . not any of that. Then you have the various reboots and storylines and offshoots and why the fuck can’t they draw a map or something for noobs like me?
I can go to the blogs, but just like every blog, it’s down to opinion. One blogger thinks I should start here, and another says no no no, start there and I have no idea so my brain short-circuits and I grab a novel instead.
Comics seem to be one of those things that are hard to get into later in life. It’s like if you missed the boat as a youngster, it’s a ton of work to get even remotely caught up. I mean, they’ve been making these things for decades now; there’s no series of novels that extends back as far or as widely as even one long-term comic book character. I can tackle Terry Pratchett’s huge Discworld series without a whole lot of trouble, but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to navigating the Batman universe. I’m ill-equipped to jump into this without a team of guides and a map.
And even if I could, did I mention friggin’ expensive? Maybe if I were Bruce Wayne, I could afford to read about Bruce Wayne.
Sadly, I have determined that comic books are not for me.
We haven’t even touched on other things that would bother me if I were to read enough comics, such as the various tropes that women get forced into, or the unrealistic depictions of people (yes people, I mean both men and women here–I mean, fuck, have you seen the size of Batman’s THIGHS? THEY HAVE MUSCLES ON TOP OF MUSCLES JESUS). My recent foray into comics reading is enough to have me sticking to picking up graphic novel collections at the library, should I get the urge to check out any more Batman storylines. Gritting my teeth when I feel dead inside because nothing is happening for keepsies.
What about you guys? Do you love comics, or dislike them? Why? Am I totally being too hard on comics? Which ones do you love? Sound off about comics in the comments!
I was thisclose to shutting down IB this past week . . . and by “thisclose” I mean, I already did it. And then changed my mind.
It’s no secret that I haven’t exactly been feeling the bloggery lately. I have wanted to do anything but blog about books. Anything. Mostly, what I’ve been doing instead has been reading J. D. Robb’s In Death series. The whole series. In order. (For the most part.) I spent a few weeks chain-reading the Robbs and doing very little else–I certainly couldn’t blog about them here, right?
So I just read. Barely left the house. Barely did anything else. I’ve already read as many books this year as I read all of last year.
Taking a few months off from IB didn’t seem to help at all. If anything, the distance from my routine made it even easier for me to contemplate cutting the blog loose. My stars, I thought–wouldn’t it be nice just to read whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted? Or even to take breaks from reading and not feel guilty? Not to feel the weight of books-to-be-reviewed coming down on you all the time, or feel the pressure of getting some, any, content rolling? I know, you guys weren’t putting any pressure on me–and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that, and how much I appreciate the encouragement from everyone. I was pressuring myself, because I wanted to do a good job at this. Then I started to crack under my own pressure.
There were other things. I felt like I’d said everything I wanted to say about books–I had ideas for posts, but no burning desire to put the content out there. I also felt like . . . it’s hard to explain, but I felt like being a blogger was making me a more negative person. Coming up with material for rants, getting irate when people took potshots at bloggers, having scuffles with people over blogging territory. Being a blogger means throwing yourself in with a group that is occasionally targeted by other people–or occasionally targeting other people, to be fair–and getting mixed in with conflicts that you wouldn’t normally give a crap about.
It puts up some divisions between you and other people, too. I’ve met a good many authors and publishers (and editors and other people who work for publishers) through this gig, and most of the time, we get along great . . . but then, sometimes, there’s this awkward wall. Because I’m one of the people who publicly judges their work. And if I like it, great–but if I don’t, then I’m honest, and even if I haven’t had to be negative toward a work, that potential is always floating around there.
I fully decided to quit when I had a fight with someone who is,
or maybe was, a very good friend of mine. No, I’m not going to say who, or what it was about, except that–if we weren’t bloggers, I don’t think it would ever have been a thing. I have no idea if she’s going to forgive me, or if we’re going to be able to go on and be friends from here everything is fine, but I think it fucking stinks that blogging stuff came between me and a good friend.
So, when that happened, all the weight of everything came crashing down at once, and I said, “You know what? Fuck this. Fuck all of this. I hate this. I really hate book blogging. I hate the drama of it, I hate the pressure of it, I don’t even want to do it anymore and it’s not fun anymore. I quit.” And I e-mailed my co-bloggers and I e-mailed a few other relevant parties and told them that I quit. And it felt fantastic.
The more I thought about it, the more fantastic it felt, actually. Who needs to be tied down to the internet all day? I could be out doing other things. I could be out adventuring! I could go back to doing things just for me. I mean.. y’know, sure I missed talking to everyone. But there’s always Twitter, right? Right?!
And yeah, it gave me little pangs when I would get messages from people who just discovered the blog, because they wouldn’t get to read any new content. Mostly, though, I felt savagely glad–which, looking back on the past week and how I felt, tells me that, somewhere along the way, I started doing this shit all wrong.
The other night, I was poking around the internet, looking up Batman stuff. (I do that sometimes. I kind of love Batman.) I remembered that I’d seen that there was a new Joker storyline happening, and I decided that I wanted to read it, because the Joker is my favorite and the art looked really good. In the spirit of doing things just for me and having adventures, I hopped in my car and drove to the comic book store across town. I don’t generally read comics, so I had no idea if I was completely wasting my time; I didn’t know if they would even still have the comics.
They did have most of them. Forty dollars later (and one mournful moment where the employee called me “ma’am”… sigh), I was the proud owner of eleven new Batman (and Batman-related) comic books. Which I then proceeded to devour over iced tea at my favorite coffee shop.
After I finished them, I thought, “Dang, I really want to write a post about this for IB.”
And then I thought, “Are you fucking kidding me? NOW my inspiration comes back?”
I almost let it go. I almost did. I’d already told people I was quitting, and I didn’t want to look like a flake. The last thing I expected was to get my mojo back this soon. It took giving it up completely to get me to do what I needed to do to save it, it seems–I had to break all of the chains I put around myself and around this blog. I had to get out of my rut by reading and experiencing something that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I almost never read comics; finally having read some again, I remembered why I don’t read comics. And I felt a strengthening urge to rant about it.
Expect that post sooner than later.
For the time being, I don’t know exactly what the future holds for IB. That’s fine. I’m tired of planning. I do know that I want to open IB up to be more of an entertainment blog than ONLY books. Because you know what? I like movies. I like TV. I bet you guys also like these things. And if you’ve enjoyed my book rants, just you wait until I get my claws dug into a movie that I hate. (Like this one.)
I’m back, bitches.
And I missed you.
I didn’t want to write this post.
I still don’t want to write this post.
Or any post.
Just typing out the words right now is something akin to pulling a thousand tiny splinters out of my body.
Since about mid-December, I’ve been suffering from what you might call writer’s block. It’s more than a block, though. It’s more like, writing rejection–as in, my brain adamantly rejects the idea of writing. I almost hate writing every time I think about doing it. This bothers me.
I’ve seen many blogs come and go on the internets, and the eventual downfall happens the same way each time: the blogger starts to feel like they’re slogging through posts, instead of sitting down to write them with interest. Updates become fewer and further between. Radio silence ensues. I don’t want that to happen here, but I worry that it’s actually happening right now.
Bloggers: How do I combat this?
I always told myself I would stop doing anything at IB if it stopped being fun, but I’m not ready to let go of the whole damn blog. I rather like it here. I like you guys. I think you’re pretty rad. But I don’t know how to flip the switch back on and want to write again.
(P.S. If anybody’s ever wanted to write a guest post for IB, now would be the time to ask.)
Book: Fakes: An Anthology of Pseudo-Interviews, Faux-Lectures, Quasi-Letters, “Found” Texts, and Other Fraudulent Artifacts
Editors: David Shields and Matthew Vollmer
Published: October 2012 by W.W. Norton, 368 pages
First line: “Disclaimer: nothing in this story is true.”
Rating: 3.75/5 fonts not used in this edition overall, but with some 5/5 apology poems from William Carlos Williams pieces in the book
(cracks knuckles) Well, I think I remember how to do this review thing, so let’s dive in, shall we?
This anthology caught my eye because of a review I read in the LARB (and by “read,” I mostly mean skimmed). The concept of the book revolves around the “fraudulent artifacts” in the title; it reminds me of a cross among blogs like Letters of Note, which contains real artifacts giving us fascinating peeks at people and situations via correspondence, pieces from McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and fake Amazon reviews, the writing of which has become an art form unto itself. (The reviews for Looking For … the Best by David Hasselhoff kept me entertained for literally hours. Also, the three wolf moon shirt.)
The “artifacts” in the anthology range from an irate letter from William Carlos Williams’ “roommate” (“Will, you are a dick. You’re goddamn right I was saving those plums for breakfast”), to an essay from Lorrie Moore on how to become a writer (“First, try to be something, anything, else”), to reviews of Chris Bachelder’s beard, to a series of police reports that unfold a more personal story. Many of the stories have elements of humor, which is to be expected, given the playfulness of the idea of a false artifact; some of the stories also deeply move the reader. My breath caught more than once.
The anthology goes deeply enough into its concept that many of the usual bits of an anthology (acknowledgements, fonts used in this edition, the index, end notes, etc.) were also fakes. Some of these were good, others I found to be a bit tedious. I also had the feeling that the book was actually two separate books, if that makes any sense; continuing the fakes was a neat idea, but it also gave me the feeling that I was in a theatre still watching a play after all of the house lights had come up and people were starting to leave.
A couple of other things that I didn’t love about the volume. One was the introduction, which goes into the whole process of writing a fraudulent artifact (I like reading introductions… but not this one, I found it dry and I didn’t want to peek behind that curtain). The second thing, and perhaps this is just me, is that I felt a few of the pieces were far too long, considering they were written as concept pieces. One early piece, “From Some Instructions to My Wife Concerning the Upkeep of the House and Marriage, and to my Son and Daughter Concerning the Conduct of Their Childhood” (yeah, you can already see in the title, it’s a bit wordy), had me a tad frustrated–because I liked the piece, but when you’re reading a piece in an affected style, it can be mentally taxing if it’s overlong.
But hey, that’s one of the good things about anthologies–if a piece doesn’t suit your fancy, skip it.
I definitely recommend picking up this anthology, especially if you’re the kind of person who reads any of those sites I linked above. While I did have a few issues with it, I know that I will dip into it again and again to read the many pieces that I did like, because they were outstanding.
First things first, I’d like to apologize for this taking so long. I mean, I knew it would take awhile to verify the list, but uh, I’ve also had the fucking flu. I know, right? The flu. Which followed closely on the heels of (men, you may want look away for these next couple of sentences) the worst motherfucking period I’ve ever had in my life. I called it Periodmageddon. I’ve been so fucked this month, I haven’t even made myself a birthday cake, and it’s been twenty-three days since my birthday.
This is what January has been like for me:
Most of what I have wanted to do for the past three weeks has been sleep. And sleep. And sleep some more. But I sucked it up,
and went forward, verifying the list of our contest winner. Which I might not have done totally right? Because, flu. But I did the best I could. I finally decided that I didn’t want to make her wait any longer, cos she’s probably all
(or, at least, I would be)
So, I’m declaring my job checking GOOD ENOUGH. Also cos, it really did all look legit and she’s 100% not shady at all.
Who is the winner of the 2012 End of the World Reading Challenge? Who out-read her competitors and snared herself a VICTORY?
The winner is . . . . . .
JENN, from The Obsessive Bookworm!
Congratulations, Jenn! You have won a $35 gift card to the book retailer of your choice*. Please e-mail me and let me know which one!
*As long as I can purchase the gift card online. Or if for some reason, you want a gift card to a place in Columbus, Ohio.
Thanks to everyone who participated! It was a long ride, and y’all stuck it out, which is rad. We’re all winners for having read more books. (sniffle) (single tear)
SURPRISE. There is an EXTRA PRIZE that I have awarded randomly to one of the people who turned in a page count. The prize is a tote bag with any design from our Insatiable Booksluts Skreened shop. (The tote only comes in one color and style. Sorry, I didn’t have enough credit for an actual shirt.) The winner of the tote bag is . . . .
(man, I wish I knew your name but I only know what you comment as)
THREEGOODRATS of Three Good Rats! E-mail me to claim your prize!
Just a quick post today–and I promise we will resume something akin to our normal update schedule soon! I have a small request. I am getting ready to do a little project, and I need a few photos from people who would like to have their pictures touched up.
Whaaaat? Bear with me!
I’m getting ready to, um, prostitute my services to raise money for something special, and one of the things that I do is touch up digital photos. I smooth out complexions, adjust the lighting, and make them look basically pretty cool. Thing is, I don’t have any before-and-afters that I would be able to display as examples of what I do. Tracking down permission for those photos would be kind of a pain, and some, I wouldn’t even want to ask. (One project that I did was, I touched up an old school photo that was scratched and damaged; it was one of the few photos they had of the person, who had been killed. The before and after makes me feel warm and fuzzy that I could help preserve his memory, but, I can’t exactly display that on a website–way too personal.)
So, I am going to ask y’all if you would like to donate a photo that you wouldn’t mind being displayed on this blog as a before-and-after touch-up photo. It’s not going to be so heavily airbrushed that it looks ridiculous; I try my best to keep it all looking as natural as possible. But if you have a photo that you’d really like, except that the lighting looks kinda bleh? Or you had some pimples and you’d rather just erase those? If you want some special effects like all black-and-white but one element in color? Or maybe you had red-eye, or there’s something in the photo you’d like to have taken out? Send it in!
The photo shouldn’t be tiny. I can’t really work with ubersmall photos and have them turn out very well. It should be at least 500 pixels square (although it can be larger or rectangular, but at least 500 px on a side) for web; if you plan to print the photo, having as close to the original size/camera size as possible would be amazing.
I can do a lot, but I can’t work magic. If the lighting is uber dark, or the photo is originally really terrible quality, I won’t be able to do much with that. I also can’t make a low-res photo into a high-res, printable, amazing photo. I also cannot un-blur photos, or de-pixelate photos that have tons of noise in them. (Please send photos taken by a real camera, and no Instagram photos, please.)
Give me a general idea of what you would like your photo to have done with it. It can be a general “just make it look nicer!” or something specific.
Please only send one photo candidate. I will pick a handful of photos to edit for free for the display–please don’t be mad if I don’t choose yours! I will choose based on versatility of what effects I can do.
You can do whatever you want with the finished photo. It’s yours, after all! (NOTE: Please actually DO send me photos that you have permission to give me permission to display. If it was taken by a professional photographer or if someone else owns the rights to it, don’t send it! Especially if it has a watermark or something!)
It doesn’t have to be a portrait! Have some vacation, travel, or other photos that you’d like to make look more awesome? Send ‘em!
Submit your photos to email@example.com. I will let you know if your photo is chosen.
So, I started this series a little bit ago, and then I became a bit blogging-reclusive. Sorry, gang. I was having some not-so-fun times, and then I went on vacation, and then … I dunno, I just haven’t felt like writing. I’m making myself get back in the swing of things.
In the last post of this series (also the first post of this series), I talked about my general plans for both this blog and the series. One of the first steps to building a blog, or re-designing a blog, is to decide what platform you want to use, and whether or not you want to host it yourself or let another site host it for you. If you’re new to the wonderful world of web hosting and blogging, let me break down those terms for you a bit. The platform for your blog is the software/website that you use to create the blog–basically, it’s the place where you log in, write your posts, approve comments, et cetera. Different platforms have different features that appeal–or don’t appeal, in some cases–to users. Blogging platforms are sometimes called content management systems because they allow you to manage your content (posts, pages, and whatnot) without having to code it directly into the pages yourself. You open up a “new post”, type in your content, click publish, and presto, it shows up on your page, no coding required.
Hosting is all about where your website is stored in cyberspace, and from where users can access your site. You can have WordPress host your blog at WordPress.com for free, for example; Blogger, Google’s blogging service, will also host your blog free, and I’m sure there are other blogging services that will do the same. The alternative is to self-host, which means that you pay a third party to host your site at a web address that you have purchased (like InsatiableBooksluts.com). Monthly fees for hosting can be as low as $3 or $4 a month, or be over $20, depending on what kind of hosting you need. I pay about $9 per month, and that works well for this site.
I decided to make the move to being self-hosted because I wanted more control over my blog. When using WordPress free, you get very little control over your blog; you have to pay for upgrades to give you some control, but to get full control, you have to self-host. (Blogger, I know, gives you a bit more control over your blog, but still not as much as you get with self-hosting.) I also wanted to be able to have full control over my content. As far as I know, you own your content using a free blog host as far as copyrighting, but they also are able to take down posts and even whole blogs if they choose. It’s their site and they ultimately control your blog. I’ve never really heard of this being an issue, but it’s still something I wanted to have control over.
Another advantage to self-hosting is that I have a lot more storage space (not that I probably would have gotten anywhere near the allotted 3 GB storage with just text and images), and I can use that space any way I want. I could also branch out my website if I wanted, including adding pages that aren’t run through WordPress, because I have that space. Hosted at a free blog service, every page I created would have to go through that platform. I have more freedom with my own space to create the site that I want (although, not necessarily the skill . . . heh). I also really love being able to add custom plugins that developers offer; my blog’s functionality has increased significantly.
I gave up a lot of things when I switched over, though. One of the big things I gave up was the WordPress community. Those “likes”, the WordPress.com blog subscribers, the ability to be Freshly Pressed–all of that poofed when I became self-hosted. If I had been self-hosted from the beginning, I’d probably only have about five readers because I never would have been Freshly Pressed. Getting readers if you start out self-hosting requires you to hustle twice as hard because you’re on your own. Another thing I gave up was the quality of hosting and tech support that I would get from WordPress. If something breaks on my blog, I am on my own to fix it; if my blog gets overloaded with too many views (heh, because that is likely… in my dreams), my hosting company may or may not be able to handle it. I know for a fact that WordPress.com hosting can handle over two hundred thousand views in a single weekend without any issues; I have no idea if that would interrupt service to this blog. I doubt I’ll have to worry about it–ever–but it is a difference between using WordPress’s hosting and buying my own.
When you’re looking for hosting, you need to make sure that your host plays nicely with WordPress or whatever blogging platform you choose. (They all should, in theory, but some don’t–especially if you go with a less expensive package.) I didn’t like GoDaddy’s hosting for WordPress at all; I found it slow to load. I use HostGator now, and I’m pretty happy with it. I’ve heard Liquid Web is awesome, but it’s a little more than I want to pay for hosting for this site. Ask around and see who your friends use, and if they’re happy with them. Tip: I would definitely look for a host that will install WordPress for you. Otherwise, it’s kind of a pain. Most bigger hosting companies should offer this.
Whether or not you self-host really just depends on how much control you demand over your online space and whether or not you want to pay to get that control. I figure I pay about $130 per year renewing my domain and paying for hosting. I’m comfortable with that. If you don’t plan to do a lot of blog customization, and you’re okay with having restrictions on what you can control, you may want to opt to have WordPress or Blogger, or your platform of choice, host your blog. If you want a custom URL, you can always upgrade to one without moving all the way over to self-hosting; it might run you $20 or so a year, but that’s much less expensive than paying for decent hosting.
As far as which platform to use, if you’re going to self-host, I highly recommend WordPress. It’s powerful, open-source, and free. I find it intuitive and easy to use. If you’re not going to self-host, I recommend checking out different services and talking to other bloggers to see what they think of the services they use. Weigh the ease of use versus the features offered. I use WordPress for my free blogs because I like the platform; even though I know I could get more customization at Blogger, I find it unwieldy enough that I don’t like to use it. Choose the one that fits you best.
I’d love to hear about your experiences with blogging. Do you have a platform you prefer? Have you changed over from free hosting to self-hosting–or vice-versa? Or changed platforms? Tell me about your blogging experiences in the comments!
Hello, fellow booksluttians,
Welcome to the new year! I’m glad to see that nobody seems to have disappeared due to the Mayan apocalypse, and that America hasn’t descended into chaos over the fiscal cliff hullabaloo. Whew, amirite? I hadn’t yet read all the books I wanted to read, so, I’m glad I’m not in heaven or whatever was supposed to happen when the world ended. (Because I would totally go to heaven. Mm-hmm.)
I want to apologize for the recent radio silence. I was in New Orleans for a week visiting my brother-in-law, and I’ve also just been taking a little mental break. I actually neglected to post our recommended reading for December … eeek …. so you’ll get a bonus recommended reading post this month. Something to use up your holiday gift cards on, I reckon!
Also, I’m turning 30 in two days. So there’s that. (Cough.)
Remember, if you’re participating in the EotW challenge, you’ve got until January 6 to get those lists together (see this post for even more details, in case you missed it). Um, let’s just use this post right here for posting your results; just post your final page count, and whoever has the highest, I will ask you for your list and a link to your reviews so I can go through the process of vetting your list (which may take time). Confession: I didn’t really have much of an exit plan for this challenge. It’s kind of difficult to keep up with something like this for a year! And I think I thought it would be less complicated. Learning experience.
I’ve kinda-sorta started the redesign of IB, but since I lost ALL of my resources and bookmarks when my laptop took a dump, it’s going to be a slow process of re-educating myself. Which I’m really looking forward to. Oh wait, I’d actually rather gouge out my eyes with rusty spoons. I’m going to forge ahead, though; I want the end result more than I want to be lazy, but it’s gonna take extra time. Sigh.
In happier news, I have started taking medication to combat this depression thing that I’ve been going through, and it actually seems to be helping; I only had one travel-related meltdown while we were on our trip to NOLA. It was kind of magical. So, 2013 might see a less angsty Susie. Don’t worry, I’ll probably still have plenty of things to rant about. I’m not that zonked out.
Happy New Year! Let’s make 2013 an awesome one.
Your faithful bookslut,