Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Ten Things I Learned From Screwing Up Young Adult TV

As you may have seen in this post, I've finally revealed the Super Secret Project I keep mentioning on Twitter. GN Yeah Yeah - coming Thursday - will be a companion blog to YA Yeah Yeah, recommending great graphic novels.

Those of you with fairly good memories may recall it's not the first blog I've started in the recent past. In addition to YA Yeah Yeah and YA Contemporary, which I seem to have been running for ages now, I had a short-lived site called Young Adult TV, intended as a place for YA authors, bloggers and fans to discuss TV shows along the lines of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Gilmore Girls, and Saved By The Bell.

Sadly, YATV was something of a failure. Great start, but I messed it up badly in the end. On the plus side, I think I've learnt a fair bit from that experience, so here's ten things I learnt from screwing up YATV, and how I'll avoid making the same mistakes again with GN Yeah Yeah.

1. Take time planning - I think YATV was thought of in a Twitter conversation one afternoon, the domain bought an hour or so after it was first mentioned, and the site launched just under a week later, with no real purpose behind it other than a place to talk about some TV. This time, in comparison, I've been planning a graphic novel blog for months, I've spent weeks pinpointing exactly what I want to do with it, and have a decent idea of exactly what kind of features I want to run.

2. Write things ready for the launch - As mentioned above, there was less than a week between thinking of the idea and launching the site. During that week, I got to grips with Wordpress, thought of a couple of ideas for posts, but didn't actually write anything. This time, I've got several recommendations pre-written, a couple of interviews ready to post, and various other things good to go.

3. Stick with Blogger - Potentially controversial, as I know many people swear by Wordpress. However, I've tried it, I didn't like it, I've got advice from people with experience of using it, and I still prefer Blogger. This time, I'm sticking to what I know.

4. Get a schedule in place - For various reasons, with YATV, sometimes I was posting three or four posts in as many days, other times I was posting once a week, if that. This time, I'm aiming for three posts a week, with two coming on specified days - I've got that all planned out.

5. Focus - Perhaps my biggest problem with YATV was that I didn't really know what I wanted from the site. It started off looking at programmes aimed at teens, quickly expanded to include things like Girls and Arrow, and ended up something of a mess. This time around, I know exactly what type of books I'm focusing on - comics that I consider to be a good 'gateway' to the media, for people with little to no experience of reading them.

6. Write about what I love - As you may have seen from the new recommendation policy on YA Yeah Yeah, I don't particularly enjoy posting about things I don't like. This made weekly recaps of Arrow a real chore - it started off well, but quickly went downhill. That's the rationale for no weekly reviews on the new site, just posts about books and comics I really want to recommend.

7. Sort the graphics out - I spent a few hours messing about creating a logo last time, before uploading something a five-year-old could probably have turned out blindfolded. Thankfully, the fantastic Susie Day stepped in and did a much better job of it - but since I can't rely on people to be as kind as that all the time, I've now gone for a similar logo to YA Yeah Yeah's new one. It's not perfect, but I think it looks pretty good.

8. Go out and ask people - Last time around, with YATV, there were a few people who were involved in the original Twitter conversation who were kind enough to contribute posts, then several others who responded to general tweets. Then, the content dried up, and I never actually got round to asking anyone else. This time, I've targetted some fabulous people involved in comics and already have some great posts lined up - but a warning; if I'm following you on Twitter and I've ever seen you mention comics, expect a begging e-mail coming in the next few months! (Feel free to ignore it, of course!)

9. Get involved in the community - One of the best things about book blogging has been the wonderfully warm and welcoming community of bloggers, both on their blogs and on Twitter. There may well be a similar community of TV bloggers - I wouldn't know, as I never went looking for it. This time, I've already started talking to some fabulous comics bloggers on Twitter, and posting occasionally on the wonderful Comic Book Resources forums.

10. Don't get stressed - As much as I want this to be a success, in the end, part of the reason YATV fell apart was because I let it all get on top of me, stopped blogging, and then couldn't face returning to it. This time around, if I need a break, I'll take one. Hopefully I'll still have readers waiting for me when I get back - if not, I'll just try and build them up again.

Have you made mistakes since starting your blog? What would you do differently if you started a new one? I'd love it if you left me a comment!

1 comment:

  1. Am sad it didn't work out as you'd hoped - I loved doing the Gilmore Girls roundtable! - but this all makes plenty of sense. (Apart from you not liking Wordpress. That's inexcusable. :P)

    I think running more than one blog can be really hard, especially if you don't have a big crowd of other contributors. I know having a schedule of posting dates and a team of authors really helped us out with Girls Heart Books (and I'm guessing Keris would say the same about Bea). Having modded TV communities elsewhere, I wonder if fans are so comfy discussing TV as part of existing curated lists (like twitter and tumblr) that blogs are extra-tricky to launch.

    I am SO excited about GNYeahYeah though!