Somehow it’s already been a full year since I launched 100 Story Reviews. I started this project to keep myself engaged in the literary world, to help me stay consistent with my reading and writing, and simply because I wanted to build something.
Now, a year into this blogging journey, I get to celebrate my work.
At times, it’s been difficult to keep up. Devoting yourself to a blog is a massive time commitment. This is just one of my side projects (in fact, this side project has often been a huge tool to procrastinate working on an even bigger project — my novel. Yes, I know that’s probably a bad excuse.), and so I haven’t always been able to do as much with it as I’ve wanted. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t enjoyed the experience.
Over this year, I’ve fallen in love with reading even more, and I’ve never felt more up to date on what’s happening in publishing. Being a blogger gives an entirely different perspective on the industry than my publishing internships, and I’ve loved experiencing it. It’s also been wonderful promoting the work of authors I love (and it’s incredible whenever they respond to the posts I’ve written). So hopefully this is just the beginning of 100 Story.
Even in just one year, this blog has changed a lot. I’ve changed the design, I’ve added TV to the list of topics, and my review style has started to change. Check out a few of my highlights from the year, as well as some of my goals for the next year of 100 Story Reviews.
Exploring Diversity in Literature
As a gay man, diversity in literature has always been important to me. But my eyes were never quite as in focus as they are now; diverse lit has become so much more important to me this year. I’m reading much more diversely than I ever have. Before, I was mostly searching for myself in books, but now I’m learning to empathize and enjoy reading about other kinds of people as well. I hope to dive deeper into different kinds of characters and stories in the future.
I’ve also loved keeping up with Twitter’s #DiverseBookBloggers hashtag and seeing the work other book bloggers are doing. Check out my list of #DiverseBookBloggers for some examples of these bloggers (let me know if you want to be added to the list).
New Website Design
I spent hours trying to figure out how I wanted 100 Story Reviews to look. I couldn’t quite get the logo right (thankfully my sister came in clutch with that — check out her portfolio), and I couldn’t get the design structure right. Eventually I settled on the old design. It wasn’t bad, and I was certainly happy with it for a time. But its functionality was limited. When I wanted to expand my content, I felt like I needed a change. So I switched to the website’s current design. Hopefully you all like it as much as I do, because it’s here to stay for a while!
Pretty much since the beginning of 100 Story, I’ve been going back and forth on adding TV. I watch way too much TV (check out my first monthly TV Check-in to get a taste of just how much), so it only made sense that I write about it too. In September, when I launched the new design, I started writing TV posts. I’m back to reviewing shows like I did for my college newspaper, and I’ve done a lot of new show lists too. I’m hoping to expand my TV content in the future. But one of my favorite parts about my TV coverage is my focus on diversity. There aren’t a lot of sites that take diversity in account for every show. To start doing this, I’ve been including diversity statements on every show when I do lists and check-ins. Expect this focus on diversity in TV to get much more thorough in the future!
More Social Media
I started with just a Twitter for 100 Story. I already had my own social media to keep up with, so I wasn’t quite ready to have several new accounts. But over time, I added a Facebook page, and then an Instagram. I’ve only just recently become active on Instagram, but I’m quickly realizing that bookstagramming is one of my favorite areas of social media. It’s a different style, and it’s helping me diversify my content a bit more. Plus, I missed photography. I have plans to do more on Instagram soon (and on the other social media in the future), so look out for that. Feel free to follow all of 100 Story‘s accounts!
One of my greatest fears when I started this blog: no one will want to read it. Thankfully, I was wrong. The blog’s viewership has steadily climbed month to month, and it more than doubled last month. So I have a lot of hope when it comes to increasing viewership. I want to do my part in this big world of books, and being a bigger part of the conversation is part of that. So thanks to everyone who has taken the time to visit 100 Story!
Join the Conversation More
I’ve absolutely loved following #DiverseBookBloggers, but there’s so much more I can do. For a while, it’s been a goal of mine to start actively visiting and commenting on other blogs. I’m hoping to get serious about that very soon. There’s a lot of great content out there, and I’m excited to read it and promote the work of other bloggers.
Continue to Improve, Diversify, and Expand Posts
There have been a ton of ideas bouncing around in my head for different kinds of posts and series that I can start doing. It can be hard to keep up with the book and TV reviews as it is, so other posts have been pushed back lately. But as I start to plan ahead with the blog more, I should be able to include a ton of additional content. I’m considering adding some sort of “Misc.” category to allow me to expand the scope of my blog a bit more. There are a lot of things I want to write about that don’t quite fit in with the book and TV categories, but may fit with the idea of diversity (for example: I watch a lot of LGBTQ movies, so I’m eventually planning on making a list of films with strong representation). But I also want to try some new things with my book and TV content. At this point, even I’m not sure how 100 Story Reviews will evolve over the next year.
One thing I do know: I want to individualize my review style more. As I write more reviews, I’m gradually slipping in more of my personal voice. I was so concerned with reviews sounding professional before, and as a result, the reviews don’t quite sound like they’re coming from me. I hope to weave in more of my experiences and my voice in the future. You’ll see I’ve started this in my posts in January. That’s just the beginning.
Push Even More for Diversity
This goes without saying. Yes, I want to push for diversity more on this blog. But elsewhere too. In all aspects of life. In times like these, embracing diversity is more important than ever.
What I’m most excited about is how this focus on diversity will have a massive impact on my career in books. In addition to influencing my reading, now my writing is so much more focused on diversity. As an aspiring author, it is even more important to me to bring a variety of characters to life, and to accurately and genuinely represent those people.
Thanks again to everyone who has been part of this journey with me. Here’s to another year of 100 Story Reviews!