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Saturday, 3 May 2014

AtoZChallenge 2014 Reflections post

First of all I just wanted to mention that I would love some guest post on my blog and I have a form here to fill in if you are interested in submitting a post.
Click to visit the AtoZ Site
Thank you to everyone who organised the AtoZ Challenge and everyone who took part. Many Congrats to everyone who made it all the way to the end. This April has been so much fun and I've enjoyed every minute of it. This year was my second year and although I enjoyed last year, this has been so much better. Here are a few things I have learned from year 1 to year 2:
  • Have a theme - it allows people to remember your blog and they will come back if it's something they enjoy.
  • Join in the theme reveal blog hop that happens just before the actual AtoZChallenge - you meet some wonderful people and it's a good start to the whole hop.
  • Keep a record of the blogs you have visited - I have a spread sheet with links and days on it which recorded who had visited me, who I had visited and commented on and when. It really helped me keep track.
  • Ask a question at the end of your blog post - it means commenters don't just have to come up with something to say off the top of their heads if they don't want to and helps starts a dialogue.
Then there are the things which always hold true and I found made the challenge work well for me:
  • Try to visit back all the blogs who comment on your blog.
  • Visit new blogs from the list as often as you can (I managed daily to begin with, but slipped up towards the end)
  • Try to comment on all the blogs you visit, even if it's just to say 'hi, thank for your post', because I know that occasionally we all run into posts that we just don't know how to respond to :)
  • Reply to comments on your own blog
  • Pre-schedule your posts in advance so you're not worrying about them and have more time to visit other blogs, or at least have a plan; it decreases the stress :).
  • Don't put obstacles in the way of people commenting:
    • Captcha puts people off
    • I had one post that asked me to register to comment - so I didn't comment
    • there were a couple of places where comments simply weren't working
There were a few of us who had our own mini-hop within the main hop this year specifically for supernatural themed challenge posts and I think this worked really well. There is a list of all the participating blogs at the bottom of this post.

At the bottom of this post there is also a table with links to all of my posts for the AtoZChallenge 2014 in case you missed any of them and would like to take a look. My theme this year was vampires and there is information on vampires, a vampire film review and a flash fiction about my new vampire character Ianthe Jawara in each of the posts :). In a little while I will be taking all of the flash fiction and rewriting it into a proper novel for Ianthe, but the current posts will stay up as well.

So I kept track of all the people I visited over the challenge and here are a few I think are really worth a visit (sorry if you're not on the list - it's just I had to pick a few and there were so many wonderful blogs).
My posts for the AtoZChallenge 2014

////01 (A)02 (B)03 (C)04 (D)05 (E)
Baobhan sith
0607 (F)08 (G)09 (H)10 (I)11 (J)12 (K)
Hahn Saburo
1314 (L)15 (M)16 (N)17 (O)18 (P)19 (Q)
Neamh- Mhairbh
2021 (R)22 (S)23 (T)24 (U)25 (V)26 (W)
2728 (X)29 (Y)30 (Z)//////
Xiang Shi
Yara- Ma- Yha- Who


  1. We tried to "sign up" ... So we posted anyway...
    Gave us something to post about for last month...
    And people seemed to enjoy them as well...
    A great weekend to you and yours dear Lady Tasha...

  2. I had no idea about the theme reveal blog hop. If I do the Challenge next year, I'm going to have to remember to do that.

    I also kept track of all the blogs I visited and the ones I needed to return comments on every day. It saved me a lot of time, and sanity. ;)

    Thank you so much for including me on your list! I feel so honored to be among such talented bloggers. :D

  3. Thanks for including me on your list! :)

  4. It was such a fun month! Next time I'm gonna come a little better prepared. I think I decided the week before to join in this time and whewboy that made April...interesting. Heh. Was so fun reading your posts. And aws thanks for the mention!

  5. I visited a blog that to comment required me to register too. A BIG put off. You had a fun theme and I kept meaning to check out the other blogs in your mini hop during the challenge, but never got around to it. Now that I don't have a bunch of blogs to visit every day, I can find the time. =)

  6. Hi Tash - thanks so much for the mention .. especially as I'd been behind in coming here as I couldn't think of two bits of info I wanted to tell you .. got one now - the blogger will appear sometime to my brain.

    So I'll be catching up on your posts ... amazingly thorough job you've done here and obviously did through the challenge - I was not so good, even though I'd like to think I would be!

    I'm sure I agree with all your thorough points here ... and joining in the theme reveal is a good idea, that I did for the first time .. just because I like secrets I hadn't in the past and wanted to surprise everyone ...

    Cheers but a very excellent overview .. Hilary

  7. Hi Tasha,

    Thank you so kindly for adding me to your list, I'm honoured.

    I had a great time visiting your posts every day, and loved all the info and film recommendations you shared with us. So glad you're turning Ianthe's story into a book, I'll be waiting in anticipation to buy it. :)

    Looking forward to staying in touch (I'll be contacting you later about the subject I discussed with Sophie) and reading more of your posts in the future. :)

    Sarah. x

  8. Spreadsheets.. Wow. You were organised. Well done for completing your second AtoZ and many thanks for all your comments on mine too.

  9. Thanks for the shout-out! :)

    And I like when there are questions at the end of posts - it often does make it easier to comment. I should try to do more of that in my regular posting/blogging.

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption

  10. The spread sheet and asking a question at the end of the post-- GREAT ideas!
    I wonder if the people with the comments not working or the register to comment blogs were AWARE that this was in place?

    Stopping by after the #atozchallenge to check out your reflection post!

  11. I agree with all your suggestions, though a spreadsheet for me is too far. My tagged linky post changed the color of the links I already visited so I kept track that way. Though I do wish I would have noted which new discoveries were my favorites to note in my wrap up post.

    I'll check out some of your posts since I'm not sure I made it your blog in April.

    Here's my A to Z wrap-up post. I also have an End of Challenge book giveaway going on for either contemporary romance or contemporary YA.

  12. Hello Tasha, I had a blast reading your posts, and got hooked on vampires, etc. Now I look on people, and see a few who do like some of the creatures in your post :) If they are, I'll what to do. I'll be popping by to keep up with my reading. Thanks for mentioning me in your post. Michelle

  13. Woo hoo! Ianthe's getting her own novel! I'm so glad. I really enjoyed her story!

    Thanks for the shout out! You're too generous! I'm really glad I found your blog. I loved your theme and enjoyed all the different vampire creatures from around the world you found to post about. And Ianthe was cool!!

  14. Congratulations on completing the challenge.

    I think I agree with pretty much everything you said in this post about the challenge. I think I got lucky and I don't recall coming up against any word verifications on posts but there were a few blogs that I wasn't able to comment on because the comments were set up in peculiar ways.

    I like the idea of using a spreadsheet to keep track of who's been visited. Perhaps you could share the layout of it here on your blog because it's something I think would be useful in the future.

  15. Congrats on completing the challenge! I agree that having a theme really helps with maintaining readers and finding blogs to read. I like the idea of keeping a record of blogs you visit/comment on; I will have to try that next year.

    TaMara @ Tales of a Pee Dee Mama

  16. Hello there.
    Congratulations on completing the challenge! Thanks for sharing. I'm just stopping by briefly as I try to navigate the twists and turns of the AtoZ Road Trip…don't forget to wave when you see me drive by. (lol)
    Entrepreneurial Goddess


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