Calling all smart guys and gals…

Hi everyone! Sorry for the long post, but I need your input. Because I value your opinions, I’ll be giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one of the kind people who manage to wade through the jabbering ahead and give me some feedback in the comments or through the contact form (button in upper right, below search bar). I’ll be taking comments through midnight Thursday (April 21).

The SGSF blog is now nine months old (yay!) and as the one year mark looms, I’ve been thinking a lot about the future of the blog. In many ways the blog, or your response to it, has exceeded my expectations. Thank you!

I had two goals when I started:

  1. I wanted to connect with other SF, SFR, and PNR fans. I feel like I’m doing pretty good there. It is hard to be sure how many regular readers are out there, but (based on page views and subscribers) I’m guessing more than 50 and less than 100. Some of you have become friends and feel like kindred spirits. My life is enriched just knowing all of you are out there. I also feel like I get a fair amount of interactivity and conversation going on here and to me that is an essential part of making that connection—so thank you for commenting!
  2. I also wanted to pull together the world of SF media and the world of SFR and PNR novels. Maybe cross-pollinate a bit.  I know there are some of you out there from each of these worlds, but you’ll have to let me know if this sort of blend is working for you. I also know the blog is getting a good number of hits based on internet searches, so the reach of the blog is going beyond word of mouth. I just don’t know how many of those searchers are sticking around and becoming regular readers.

So, I’d love to hear how you found the blog and technical things that are working or not working for you. You may have noticed I’ve been playing around with the look and operation of the blog. It is far from settled, so please weigh in. Especially on the subject of showing full posts or partial posts. I will always make full posts available for feed readers and email subscribers, but for those of you who visit the site, does full vs partial make a difference? Do you hate having to click through or do you like being able to choose from several posts?

And what do you think of the new odds and ends posts? The new template let’s me add these brief posts with links to other content I think you might like to know about. I used to save these up for the Potpourri posts. I like getting them to you right away and I think the new way is good for site visitors, but I’m worried those frequent super short posts might be annoying for subscribers.

Content-wise, I’ve been doing less author interviews and guest blogs than I’d originally planned. I really want to do more of this, but more importantly,  I’d like to hear what you’d like to see (or see more of) on the blog.

I’d also like to know how you all feel about the name of the blog. It is not exactly as catchy as I’d like, but it was the best I could come up with at the time.

Finally, I’ve noticed lately that I’m having two time management issues. First, I’m not reading and commenting on as many new SFR releases as I’d like and second, it has gotten harder for me to participate in conversations on some of your blogs. I do check in and read, but sometimes I decline to comment because I know I won’t be able to follow the conversation. I really hate this. I think the only solution is to this might be to make this a group blog. Maybe recruit a few people to do regular “columns” like a SFR reviewer, an SF movie reviewer, someone to talk about comics or games. Do you think this would change the nature of the blog too much? Or ramp up the fun?

I hope you’ll comment on any or all of the questions jammed into this rambling post. Thanks so much for being a part of the SGSF blog!

20 thoughts on “Calling all smart guys and gals…

  1. Charlie,

    My comments for each question: Partial vs Full

    I prefer partial so I can quickly skim to see what interests me most. I have ADD, so yeah. LOL

    Odds n Ends:

    See above. LOL I like skimming pages to see what jumps out, but as long as the layout is orderly. If it’s too crazy busy, I might meltdown 🙂

    Like to see more of:

    For me, one of things I love about your blog is the mixing of books with all the other relevant media, including films and such. I love pop culture, so the blend is especially attractive to me. I also love trope descriptions and all things related to the theme of your blog. So I guess more of the same!

    The blog name:

    Yes, this could be changed to reflect the site better (tho I like the smart-girl part because it means were discussing things, if that makes sense–and don’t worry, I’m under no misapprehension that I’m smart!)

    More the merrier:

    I’m part of a few blogs where we share duties. It’s a BIG help and gets lots of different points of view. Just make sure you pick those who share your enthusiasm/thrust of the blog.

    Hope this helps! I’m trying to remember how I found you and can’t. But I’ve sure enjoyed it and always take a moment to read the latest!


  2. I am fine with how things currently are done Charlie, you are much more informed and certainly more motivated with your particular blogging preferences than I could ever hope to improve on!

    I found you on one of Maria Zannini’s blog post links when she was talking about people who had Sci-Fi blogs, have been a fan ever since!

    • Thanks, Jackie! I know a lot of people found me through Maria, or Heather, or Tia. I owe a lot to those great ladies! And everyone else who has been kind enough to link up.

    • Thanks, Steph. Too many emails – that is what is worrying me on the odds and ends. I wish I could just exclude them from the feed.

      Thanks for mentioning the lack of PNR. You’re right and I need to do more there. A lot of the stuff I like straddles SFR and PNR or is branded PNR when it is really SFR. But I do love PNR and could easily highlight some favorites. I’m also reading Viper Moon, right now. A UF coming out this summer. I think you’d love this one. I’ll definetly be posting on it soon.

  3. I love the current layout of the blog, Charlie!

    Maybe instead of having permanent columnists, you could open it up to guest blogs. That way you still have some control and your readers are getting a good dose of ‘Charlie,’ but also takes some of the work off you.

    I do like your title, but… hmmmmm. Alt title suggestion: ‘Smart Girls in SciFi’? I don’t know if that’s any better, though.

    • Hi Darcy! I fully intended to have guest bloggers, but I just kept putting off seeking them out. I have a few bloggers who’ve agreed to guest in the future but are too busy at the moment. I just need to be better at organizing this. Oh, by the way, would you like to guest blog? 😉

  4. Partial vs full: I’m a feed reader so when my internet behaves, I usually catch most posts and click through individually. As for visiting on-site, I’m not a fan of partial posts. I just don’t like clicking more than I have to.

    Content: I love the mix of media reviews. Not too many people do that and that makes you unique. I’ve found several good shows through you and narrowly avoided a bad one. 😀 So I’m grateful for the movie and tv reviews.

    Format: The format is fine by me. The graphic at the top is a little too plain vanilla, but I don’t visit blogs for their graphics so it’s a moot point.

    Blog name: You could update it, but I kinda like it. It’s campy.

    The only thing that might hurt your reach is that the passing visitor might think it’s geared more toward feminine tastes. But you could play around with the word ‘smart’ which I think is pivotal to the title.

    Maybe: “Smarties’ SF”, “Smart Tart’s SF”, “Smart Mouth SFF Log”, or get down and dirty and call it “The Smart-Ass Report”. 😀

    All in all, I think you’ve done a great job. I enjoy reading your blog and try to stop in and as often as I can.

    • Thanks, Maria. The title is tough. Especially since I want to do the mix of media. I went through gobs of titles last time around, because most of the simple and cool names were already taken. Smart-Ass could work–I’ve certainly been called that before!

  5. you know how you get used to something and then it changes and you hate the changes even though they might be better? I’m still in that phase. *grin* I like the full posts, and at first I got confused with the odds and ends because I didn’t realize they weren’t part of the original post. Hmmmm… maybe I shouldn’t be reading a Smart Girl blog, then. 🙂

    but give me time. I’ll forget the original format ever existed.

    • To be honest, I’m having trouble adjusting, too. Thus, this post. 😉

      When I picked the “smart girl” name I was worried that I don’t qualify, but figured it is more an aspiration than a requirement.

  6. I don’t use feeds; still an old-fashioned blog surfer. 😉

    I like the odds and ends.
    I’m the last person to give advice about blog names. 🙂 However, I like the current name.

    I’m not a romance reader so I’m interested in SF reviews. I don’t live in US so I can’t follow the shows you review. I like the movie reviews. I don’t really care about interviews unless I’m already a fan of the author and would like to find some inside info about the books.

    If you feel that the blog takes up too much time, I think it’s a good idea to bring in other bloggers before you burn out on blogging.

    • Thanks, Mervi. It isn’t so much that the blog takes too much time. More that other things (like the day job) take up most of my time and I never have enought left to do all the things I’d like to do on the blog.

  7. I like your site. I like your links. I remember finding your site by accident and being very grateful you existed! Time constraints – don’t worry about it, do what you can. I think it’s most important that you focus on your site first.

    • Thanks! And thanks for all the mentions you’ve done for me. I hate that I’ve become such a lurker on your site, because you get some fabulous discussions going.

  8. Hi,

    I found this site via either the Galaxy Express or the SFR Brigade. I don’t remember which.

    I like that your content is usually different than those other two, who sometimes feature the same book.

    I like the partial posts with the links. I like your format and colors and graphics.

    Having guest bloggers or a columnist would be nice. Covering some of the visual media or sf convention news sometimes would be interesting. I’m also always up for reading book reviews–particularly if they aren’t only the new-releases. A lot of newer SFR fans don’t know about the older books.

    You are doing a good job.

    • >always up for reading book reviews–particularly if they aren’t only the new-releases<

      Great to know! Not being able to keep up with the new releases is one of the things I feel a bit guilty about. I can always recommend old favorites!

  9. Drum rolllllll…. And the gift card goes to Bella. Congrats! I’ll be in touch shortly to confirm where you would like it sent.

    Thanks to everyone who provided feedback. Comments are still welcome.

  10. Happy 9 month anni!

    I subscribe via email which is partial for me so I click to see the full. I like a partial layout on the front page so I can dive in to read more if a topic interests me. I do love your layout though.

    I remember hearing about your blog from another site and I think it was from Heather’s Galaxy Press page or another SF blog site I frequently check out. From that first day I’ve been hooked ever since!

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