Saturday, August 23, 2014

The History of Happy Book Lovers

I realized today that my blog has been around since 2009 (WOAH), but it started long before that, and I wanted to share the brief biography of Happy Book Lovers. Here we go.

My freshman year of high school was a little scary at first. I went to a private elementary school and moved over to the public high school, resulting in me knowing exactly ONE girl. We were both attending public instead of private, so I asked her what electives she was taking so we could at least have a few classes together. One of which was theatre, which is what I ended up becoming super involved in throughout high school. (Side note, my little school in southern Indiana? We were ranked #2 in the nation while I was there. We were very serious about our performances)

I spent a lot of time with these people (rehearsals from 3 p.m. until midnight does that, plus classes during the school day), and as a result, met my best friends there. One of my friends and I decided (still freshman year, 2007) to start a MYSPACE page talking about books we love. That's how the social media worked then. We called it "Happy Book Lovers" because, at the time, it was basically Meg Cabot and Sarah Dessen books. Which made us extremely happy.
The page was bright orange with little red and yellow stars all over the background, and I'm 100% sure it was positively hideous. But we loved it. We passed books around all the time, got 3 or 4 more girls to join, and we made a little book club. My Mediator series has all kinds of cute notes penciled in and hearts by passages with Jesse de Silva (my first ever book love) and reminders to finish the math homework. I treasure those paperbacks.

My sophomore year (I was 16 at this point) I flew to NYC ALONE (I still have no idea what my parents were thinking) to attend a journalism conference. There, I met someone who blogged. On an actual blog. And he told me all about book blogging and reviewing and what ARCs were, and he introduced me to this really cool site Harper Teen ran at the time (I think it was called Harper FirstLooks?), who just shipped out pounds of ARCs to pretty much anyone who wanted them. Because blogging was still so new, hardly anyone had started doing it, so I was getting tons of books early on without very many readers.

I'm aware that I don't have a giant following, and that's always been a mystery to me, but I think it's because I got started so much earlier than a lot of people. I'm pretty sure Blogger was still in a beta-tester when I started. The screen was all weird and blocky, and when I switched to blogger, my background was purple and my words were pastel green. Yikes.
Because I started so early, I was already in kind of a rut when this whole community really took off, I was starting college and trying to juggle class work and this, and I missed a lot of the building that the community did. I was extremely sad to see Harper's program go because I felt like I had to start from scratch with publishers. But for those of you who've been around from the get go, and to the new followers--YOU GUYS ARE WONDERFUL AND I LOVE YOU.

This community is wonderful to be a part of, and there's not a day that goes by that I regret joining the book blogging community. So thanks, y'all, for helping Happy Book Lovers grow--and eventually become not so ugly and orange.

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