Tag Archives: Blog Business

Should I Bring Back the Reader Questions Series?

Years ago, I occasionally answered reader questions about all sorts of topics. This is something I originally began doing because a friend of mine started doing it first.

The post that began this series on his site as well as some of the entries in it are no longer online so far as I can tell, but reading his answers to all of the questions people have sent in over the years has been fascinating.

My friend blogs about all sorts of topics: his chronic health issues, raising a (now-adult) child who has Down syndrome, photography, memories of his youth, U.S. politics, and the many theological and other changes his family has been through over the decades. The questions his followers send to him generally fit into one of these buckets, although sometimes people throw wild cards into the mix that probe parts of his mind he generally doesn’t share with the world.

Reason #1

One of the things I really like about my friend is how open he is to discussing just about anything with his readers. While I completely respect the wishes of some bloggers to stick to specific topics or to keep a firm line drawn between their online and offline selves, I think it’s interesting when they’re willing to open up to their audiences and talk about random things occasionally.  This is the first reason why I’m considering answering questions again.

Reason #2

This site has grown and changed so much since the last question in my series was published in 2015.

I know that most of my current readers weren’t following this site four years ago. With all of the new followers who have shown up over the last six months to a year, answering questions you come up with instead of what I think my readers are most interested in checking out might be a fun way for you to get to know me a little better.

What could we talk about?

  • Meditation (and how not to fall asleep during it)
  • Reading habits
  • Genres I love like science fiction
  • Genres I generally avoid and why
  • Stories from my life as a preacher’s kid
  • Life as an immigrant and dual-citizen
  • The writing process
  • Self-publishing
  • Demisexuality
  • Bisexuality
  • Polyamory
  • Fitness for people who aren’t athletic or good at team sports

Or anything else you’ve wondered about while reading my posts.

I’m a little nervous about sharing the link to some of my old reader question posts because of how much my writing style and choice of topics have evolved over the years, but click here or do a search for the term mailbag if you want to look through what people have asked in the past.

Reason #3

Change can be a good thing. As much as I want to go back and revamp some of my old posts, I’m proud of how willing I’ve always been to try new things and see what works. There have been times when certain types of posts flopped when I expected them to succeed. At other times, a post I didn’t think would do well still continues to draw in readers years later.

The Internet can be an unpredictable place at times. I’m ready to roll the dice again and see who is interested in reviving this series with me.

Respond

If you have questions, I’ll have answers. Leave them as a response to this post, fill out the contact form, or email them to interviews AT lydiaschoch DOT com.

I’ll Tell You About My Drafts Folder If You’ll Tell Me About Yours

Robot fingers gently touching human fingersIt’s been a long time since this blog published a lighthearted writing post, so let’s change that.  Lately, I’ve been gently poking my drafts folder and trying to decide which posts in there, if any, are ready to finish and share with the world.

On a related note, finding an appropriate stock image photo for this post was tricky. It turns out that there is not a lot of demand out there for picture of draft folders!

I’d like to think that if draft posts literally had hands, they’d have five digits just like people do. Yes, I anthropomorphize everything. It makes life more interesting, and also gives me a better reason for using a photo of a robot and a human gently touching each other’s fingers.

But before I get too off track here, let’s talk about draft folders. Most of the time, I have half a dozen or so finished posts sitting in the queue waiting to be published. I also have dozens more posts in various stages of completion. Some of them might consist of a couple of words thrown into my list of ideas. Others have grown large enough to warrant a draft post in the backend of my blog.

Not everything on my ideas list becomes a post, story, or book, but their chances of being written into their final form jumps once I create a draft post for them. This can happen because I need to publish that post at a specific time of the year, or finish reading a book for it (in the case of reviews or recommendations), or have some other experience that would enrich my words.

I thought it would be entertaining to give all of you a peek into my drafts folder for my blog. There are fourteen posts there in various stages of completion or contemplation.

 

1. Title: Book review for Chesya Burke’s “Let’s Play White” (I’m sure I’ll think of a better title for it by September)

Publication Date: September 5

Why: Earlier this year, Apex Magazine asked for volunteers to participate in a huge blogging bash that’s happening in September. I chose to review this book as my contribution to that bash.

 

2. Title: Autumn Worlds I’d Like to Visit

Publication Date: September 23

Why: This is the final part of a short series of posts I’ve done on books that remind me of specific seasons. It feels right to wait until autumn has officially began to publish it.

 

3. Title: Characters I’d Never Invite to Thanksgiving Dinner

Publication Date: October 14

Why: The idea for this post came from reading my search engine log. I thought it would be great for Thanksgiving (which happens in October in Canada).

 

4. Title: Mindfulness and Difficult People

Publication Date: December 2 (tentative)

Why: It’s a great topic, but I think it would have an even bigger impact during a time of the year when some of us may be spending time with folks we may not normally associate with.

 

5. Title: Fitness and the Holidays

Publication Date: December 16 (tentative)

Why: This is one of those ideas I’ve been playing around with for years. Maybe 2019 will be the year I actually publish it? Every December, I take a two week blogging break. I generally write lighthearted roundup or similar posts well ahead of time for that break, so you’ll see a lot of entries from late December and early January on today’s list.

 

6. Title: Search Engine Questions from 2019

Publication Date: December 26

Why: I need to wait until as late as possible in the year in order to make this post as funny and as accurate as possible.

 

7. Title: My 20 Most Popular Posts of 2019

Publication Date: December 30

Why: Obviously, this is a post I can’t put together or publish until the end of the year.

 

8. Title: What I Read in 2019

Publication Date: January 2, 2020.

Why: It’s not January yet. Unless someone has a crystal ball, I don’t see how I can write a post about what I’ve read ahead of time.

9. Title: 5 Places You Should Visit on a Trip to Ontario for Canada Day

Publication Date: Unknown.

Why: As I was writing it, I realized that my answers were very Toronto-based because I spend so little time outside of my city. I think I need more experience visiting other parts of this province before I can say for sure where everyone should go.

 

10. Title: Modern Classics Series (tentative title)

Publication Date: Unknown.

Why: Eventually, I hope to start recommending science fiction and fantasy books written in the last 20 years that I believe will be considered classics in the future. I need to do a lot more reading before beginning this series, though!

11. Title: 3 Benefits of Taking a Yoga Class

Publication Date: Unknown.

Why: Earlier this week, I had originally planned on taking a yoga class and then blogging about it. I woke up with a sore, spasming muscle that morning and decided it was better to rest my body and try again at a different time. Maybe someday you’ll see this post go live!

 

12. Title: How to Find Your Way Home in Minecraft

Publication Date: Unknown

Why: I’m an intermediate Minecraft player, so I’m still deciding if the Internet needs another post about how to get un-lost in that game.

 

13. Title: Mindfulness Exercises for a Bad Mood

Publication Date: Unknown

Why: People keep finding my blog with phrases like this one. Eventually, I do hope to write a full post about it once I’ve tried enough exercises.

14. Title: The Various Sock Choices of Harry Potter Characters

Publication Date: Either never or ASAP. There is no middle ground.

Why: I’ve gotten multiple hits on my blog about Harry Potter characters wearing socks, Harry Potter characters who won’t wear socks, socks that feature Harry Potter characters, fuzzy socks, hand-knit socks, and just about any other sock-related query you can think of that so much as glances in the direction of the Potterverse. I am so tempted to write a full-length post on this topic. Would you write it?

 

Okay, you’ve seen my long list of drafts. I’m editing this post to include links to other people’s draft lists as they share them with me.

Patrick Prescott’s Work on Hold.

If You Love Speculative Fiction, I Want to Interview You

I’ve decided to try something new on my site. This was loosely inspired by what Downright Dystopian started doing with her interviews earlier this spring. I’m hoping I’ll be able to tap into a new audience since I’m focusing my questions on people who like speculative fiction and have multiple social circles that don’t seem to overlap much with Krystianna’s sphere of influence at all.

What do I mean by speculative fiction? Well, if you read about, watch, listen to, or write about:

  • Fantasy
  • Science Fiction
  • Fables, Fairy Tales, and/or Folklore
  • Alternate History
  • Superheroes
  • Myths
  • Horror
  • Monster Movies
  • Utopians
  • Dystopians
  • Magical Realism
  • Supernatural/Paranormal Tales

Or any combination of these types of stories, I want to hear from you.

Yes, this includes people who prefer, say, paranormal romances that only have the slightest touch of fantasy added to them or mysteries that are pretty hardboiled until the final scene when the audience discovers the killer was an 900-year-old vampire. TV shows and films count, too, especially if they are in any way tied to a book or graphic novel.

Everyone is welcome.

If you’re interested in being interviewed, I’ll need the following things from you:

 Answers to the Following Questions

  1. What was the first speculative story you ever remember reading?
  2. Who is your favourite author? Why?
  3. What do you like most about the genre(s) you read?
  4. More and more authors seem to be writing cross-genre stories these days. How do you feel about this trend?
  5. If you could name a pet after one character, which character would you choose? Why?
  6. What fictional world would you never want to visit?
  7. What fictional world would you want to visit?
  8. Sharing spoilers with people who haven’t read the book or seen the film/show is a hot topic on Twitter and across many fandoms. How do you feel about sharing or overhearing spoilers?
  9. Which series do you think should be made into a TV show or film next?
  10. Which TV show or film do you think should be turned into a book?

If you are an author or other creative person, feel free to substitute some of these questions for a few of the ones above or answer them all for extra credit:

  1. What is the most unusual or interesting way you’ve come up with an idea for one of your creative works?
  2. Sometimes characters don’t do what their creators want them to do. If this has ever happened to you, how did you deal with it?
  3. What is your favourite trope?
  4. What tropes do you try to avoid in your stories?


A Short Biography 

Tell us who you are in a few sentences. Feel free to drop links to your website/blog, social media accounts, or similar pages if you’d like to.

A Photo 

Send a photo of yourself, the cover of a book you’ve written (if applicable), the logo from your site, or any other bookish subject matter.

Submit your answers through the contact form on this site.

This post was edited on September 24, 2019 to change the submission instructions. The email address I had originally provided for this purpose has been inundated by spammers and shady marketers, so I’m trying a different approach now.

There is no time limit on this offer. I will share your submissions once they begin to arrive and continue on for as long as there continues to be interest in this project.

These interviews have tentatively been assigned to Thursdays, although this may change depending on how many of them are sent in.

I’m looking forward to seeing what you all come up with!

Questions That Have Recently Brought New Readers to This Site

This blog has seen a surge in visits over the past two months. Welcome, new readers! It’s nice to meet all of you. I thought I’d answer some of the questions that some people typed into search engines in order to find this site. Hopefully, the things you might have been wondering about will be included in the list below. If not, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll answer you directly.

Lydia Schoch Toronto

Yes, that is my name and I do live in Toronto. I’ve never met anyone else with this name, so the probability that you’ve found the correct Lydia is quite high.

Lydia Schoch Universalist

No, I am not a Universalist. I’m an Apatheist/Atheist who takes a strong live and let live approach to life, so it’s rare for me to mention it at all. As long as someone isn’t using their beliefs – or lack thereof – to harm others, it doesn’t matter to me what label they apply to themselves. Genuinely good, kind people can be found everywhere.

I’d much rather discuss more interesting things like:

  • Alphabetizing and why it makes lists, and life itself, so much better
  • Anthropology
  • Astronomy
  • Books, especially non-fiction and science fiction
  • Fitness
  • How to properly pronounce the word gif
  • Mindfulness
  • Nutrition
  • Rabbits
  • Reboots and what people think of this entertainment industry trend in general
  • Social justice
  • Writing

Aunt Lydia

I am an aunt, but if you’re a fan of The Handmaid’s Tale I am not and never will be that Aunt Lydia. Based on the fact that I’m also bisexual, the Republic of Gilead would either turn me into a Handmaid or do away with me entirely if they spread into Canada.

Bruce Gerencser

Bruce is a prolific blogger and old family friend.

If you enjoy discussing politics, religion, or photography, his blog might be right up your alley. He’s a talented writer and a good egg.

The ethics of museums

Y’all, I wrote one post about this topic almost nine years ago. I never broached it again, and yet I keep getting hits from people wanting to know if museums should store mummies in them or what these institutions should do when they find out that some of their prize artifacts were stolen from other cultures.

At this point, I’m wondering if I should write a whole series of posts on the topic? People really seem to like it.

The ethics of consuming animal products

This is probably happening as a result of a post I wrote eight years ago about animal products. Once again, it was the only thing I ever wrote on the topic, and I still have all sorts of mixed feelings about what I should or shouldn’t eat.

(I have no opinions about what others do or don’t eat. It’s hard enough to figure out my own diet, so you’ll get no judgement or advice from me!)

While I’m definitely not nutritionally organized enough to claim any sort of label, I do often finding myself choosing bean dishes over meat ones for health reasons.

Beans are full of all sorts of vitamins and minerals that many of us don’t get enough of. Since I have a few food allergies and intolerances to work around when planning meals, this is a nice way to make sure I’m getting all of the calcium and other nutrients I need.

What kind of places are noisy and crowded

  • Anyplace you need to visit quickly to buy or pick up that one thing when you’re already running late
  • Big, urban malls
  • Concerts
  • Emergency rooms, walk-in clinics, hospitals, and medical waiting rooms in general
  • Parades, festivals, and food fairs
  • Service Canada Centres (where Canadians go to renew their health cards, passports, etc.)
  • Some people’s innermost thoughts
  • Sporting events

Is Mama Imelda alive?

This site is spoiler-free, so you’ll have to watch Coco for yourself if you want the answer to that question.

If you’re also a blogger who pays attention to the analytics of your website, what is the funniest or most interesting search term that someone has used to find it recently?

Blog Hops I’ll Be Participating In

A blog hop is a weekly prompt in which group of bloggers all write posts about the same, pre-determined subject. The person or site that came up with that topic provides a space for everyone to share links to their own responses and read what others had to say about it as well . This gives everyone a chance to attract new readers, find out how other people responded to the same subject, and discover blogs that might be right up their alley.

Blog hops are sometimes called link parties or link-up parties.

However you refer to them, I’ll be participating in two of these things in 2019. Today I wanted to tell you about them in advance so my readers know what is happening when these posts begin popping up here in the next week or so.

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010. In January of 2018, it moved to That Artsy Reader Girl. As per That Artsy Reader Girl, “it was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.”

This is what Top Ten Tuesday participants will be talking about over the next two months. New topics are generally announced  1-3 months in advance for this blog hop, so be sure to check That Artsy Reader Girl in the future to find out what the rest of her prompts will be for this year if you’re hoping to join in or wondering what I might be discussing here.

January 8: Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2019
January 15: New-to-Me Authors I Read In 2018
January 22: Books I Meant to Read In 2018 but Didn’t Get To
January 29: The Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List
February 5: Upcoming Releases I’m On the Fence About (these are the books you need help deciding if they’re worth adding to your TBR or not.)
February 12: Favorite Couples In Books
February 19: Books I LOVED with Fewer than 2,000 Ratings on Goodreads
February 26: Places Mentioned In Books That I’d Like to Visit (submitted by Georgia @justreadthemm)
March 5: Characters I’d Like To Switch Places With (submitted by Sara @ A Gingerly Review)
March 12: Standalone Books That Need a Sequel
March 19: Books On My Spring 2019 TBR
March 26: Audiobook Freebie

This probably isn’t something you’ll see me writing about every single Tuesday. My goal is to write about the prompts that speak to me in any particular month, whether that is none, some, or all of them.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge

The Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge was created by Long and Short Reviews in January of 2019. Their first blog hop will happen on January 8.

This is what they will be discussing in 2019. Unlike Top Ten Tuesday, they’ve released all of the topics for this year simultaneously. I find that really helpful from the perspective of someone who likes planning ahead!

January 9: Books That Need a Prequel
January 16: What I Would Do with a Million Dollars
January 23: Favorite Things to Do in the Winter
January 30: Characters I’d Name a Baby After
February 6: Favorite Movies of All Time and Why
February 13: Most Romantic Memory
February 20: What to Read To Learn About X
February 27: Fictional Worlds I’d Rather Not Visit
March 6:  Favorite Hobby and Why
March 13: A Day in My Life
March 20: Characters I Want to Meet
March 27: Favorite Websites/Podcasts/Blogs
April 3: Favorite Comfort Foods & Why (& Recipes)
April 10: Characters I Never Want to Meet
April 17: 10 Unusual Things About Me
April 24: Books I Discovered on Social Media
May 1: X Things I Wish More Books Talked About
May 8: Books I Want Youth to Discover
May 15: Favorite TV Shows and Why
May 22: Books I Love That Became Films or TV Shows
May 29: Lessons I Learned from a Book Character
June 5: Books That Need a Sequel
June 12: Favorite Books Covers & Why
June 19: Favorite Things to Do in the Summer
June 26: Humorous Book Titles
July 3: Books That Should Be Made into a Movie and Why
July 10: Favorite Authors in X Genre
July 17: Fictional Worlds I’d Love to Visit
July 24: My Favorite Quotes from Books
July 31: Favorie Food and How I Use (+ Recipe)
August 7: Books I Loved But Never Wrote Reviews For
August 14: Books I Had to Read in School and Didn’t Like
August 21: What I Read When I’m Not Feeling Well
August 28: Books I Had to Read in School and Liked
September 4: Books That Deal Well with Tough Topics
September 11: Books I Keep Meaning to Read (But Haven’t)
September 18: What Is My Superpower?
September 25: Authors I Wish More People Knew About
October 2: What I’d Want on a Deserted Island
October 9: Books That Did a Great Job of Explaining X
October 16: Popular/Famous Books I Don’t Plan to Read
October 23: Books I Read on Someone’s Recommendation
October 30: Things That Scare Me
November 6: Books I’ve Recommended & Why
November 13: A Strange or Useless Talent I Have
November 20: Things I’m Thankful For
November 27: Books That Influenced My Life
December 4: Book Boyfriends or Girlfriends
December 11: My Earliest Memory
December 18: 10 Gifts for People Who Love X

My goal for this one is to participate every single week. Some of their prompts aren’t things I’d normally blog about, so you’ll be learning stuff about me that you otherwise wouldn’t know.

If any of my readers are also  interested in joining these blog hops, I’d love to read your responses!

What Should I Write About Next?

Once or twice a year I like to check in with my readers. What fitness, mindfulness/meditation, and scifi/fantasy topics would you like to see me blog about here? I haven’t been writing many meditation posts over the last several months because, frankly, my foray into unguided mediation hasn’t been going well. Even guided meditation has… Read More

What Should I Write About Next?

Every once in a while, I like to ask my readers for feedback. What topics related to fitness, writing, mindfulness, and/or the science fiction and fantasy genres would you like to see me blog about? What posts here have you enjoyed the most so far? Which ones would you like to see a follow-up to?… Read More