Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Playing Favorites: My Favorite BuzzFeed Lists of 2017

"Maybe we could write a BuzzFeed List?"
"The kind that people randomly click on because of quirky title."
"This is brilliant!"
*runs off to investigate*

When this idea gave birth, it quickly became like an unstoppable toddler hyped up on Kool-Aid and Skittles.  The Brain Trust learned a lot from the very first list: what worked, how the list was perceived and what content made it fun. Now, we decide what list is next, bounce around title ideas, and then consult the book-friends.

We start each list with an In Search Of request with a general idea of theme and then turn our book-friends to scour their bookshelves for their top recommendations. What became apparent was the impassioned words as "why you should read this book".  That is the key element we add to the article.

Once all the recommendations are in, it is given to me to then compile, sort by publication date, and add in the punny. Then the other two members of the Brain Trust define the title, edit the punny and keep the theme focused. It would be one hot mess without them.

Yet, on a personal note, some of these lists do indeed mean more than others. As every parent is taught, you should never play favorites with your kids. Yep...I've never been good at following the rules. It's that 'meaning' that will have a piece in my heart always. And now, I'll share with you my personal favorites - in order of publication.

1.  Book Boyfriends: Single Dads That Make Us Swoon - DILF

How it all got started...

When this idea gave birth, it quickly became like an unstoppable toddler hyped up on Kool-Aid and Skittles. The Brain Trust learned a lot from the very first list: what worked, how the list was perceived and what content made it fun. This is our first list and will be always in my favorites pile just because it started this fun and whacky journey. Also, I pretty much insisted that the DILF stay in the title.

It was only going to be this 'one' list. However, we got positive feedback from our book-friends. We started throwing out other theme ideas. We haven't run out since. 

When you realize that people are actually reading what you write...

This list have us the first taste in true interactive commenting. It was shared like wild fire all over facebook groups.  The article had many comments at BuzzFeeds with readers sharing additional recommendations. With the passion of fans for the trope saw our share stats go over 1K and realized this was something worth continuing to write.  

On a personal note, this was the first article that I had a personal message from an author. Yep, I pretty much died and went to fangirl heaven over that. 

This also caught the attention of another blog where we partnered up to do a monthly installment  dedicated to Kindle Unlimited books. 

You like us. You really, really like us.

Each week we try to come up with something fun for book recommendations. This often will send our book-friends to recommend something that was published years before. What is old becomes new again. What our audience doesn't know is this starts out with 6 social seeds each week.  If this was a live plant, it would rival Jack's beanstalk. This was our first list to reach over 2K in 24 hours, go from the 6 original seeds to 73 more, and top over 10K social views in two weeks. Our dashboard stats showed it was shared in email newsletters and other social media that we had not seen before. Go Brain Trust!  

We received positive feedback from authors and readers. The Brain Trust is smart enough to know that not every list will get noticed (our poor cowboys) but, we don't do this for fame or money. It's for fun. But, like every human, we do love the pats on the back for doing a good job. 

Two reasons: GIFs and I went off the Baja

How this came about was I participated in a cover reveal for the series. Each day I posted the new cover and review on this blog. However when I posted for Necessary Restorations, a vision of The Way Were Were popped in my head. Everyone knows I'm all about finding the perfect gif for each BuzzFeed article. It suddenly became clear what I needed to do next. The Brain Trust knew I was up to something different for the week. But I kept it to myself until it was done and needed a second pair of eyes to edit the piece. But this was all me and nobody else.

Each summer I dedicate to one author that I will binge read their entire catalog. Embarrassingly, my favorite book pimp posted about Underneath It All being free in July and well... I already owned it... since December 2016. Well, as they say, the rest is history. It's hard for an author to write a series yet, keep the reader continually entertained, content fresh and eager for the next installment. Kate is brilliant at her craft and this has found a way to my coveted top spot for family series in my bookshelf. 

Each KU monthly installment goes like this: 
What's popular on TV this month? And can I tie romance stories to it?

The process then continues as: I pick a show. Reach out to my book-friends for recommendations on KU. Binge watch the TV show. Then turn on the punny and match TV to book characters. 

Now, sadly, I never watched QAF when it was out. But once I started I couldn't stop. I was invested in these character getting some kind of HEA. So it wasn't burden for sure. However...

When I started putting together my BEST OF THE BEST OF THE LIST, this was missing. And I was heartbroken. Not because of the time that the Brain Trust and I placed to create the list, but because truly it was the most fun I had writing a KU Korner article. Now, I knew from reading the agreement that BuzzFeed has the right to remove any community content for any reason. I've been careful to give full credit. It is anyone's guess why it is missing. 

But it now has a forever life on this blog.

I am a sucker for holiday romance stories and got an offer I couldn't refuse.

Seriously, who doesn't love a December holiday romance? You are pretty much guaranteed: HEA, low angst and some funny thrown in. After getting jostled by shoppers, splashed by cars, and wrapping paper cuts galore, you want to be entertained and smiling. So this list was a fun no-brainer to do. And we turned on the punny in the form of A Christmas Carole. 

Then I read an ARC, loved it and inquired to the author about when the cover reveal was scheduled. She said this was an unexpected release so no cover reveal planned. So, how about the Brain Trust do it for you? Needless to say, when an author trusts you to get it right, you cherish that honor. 

In closing, I did ask Brain One and Two about their favorites. They, as all good parents are trained, said all of them are their favorites. So, if you'd like to learn about their favorites I didn't list, there is a link to BuzzFeeds up in the navigation bar to check out. 

Thank you to everyone who reads our articles and gives us feedback. Keep it coming and we will keep preparing you with lists to fill your TBR for 2018. 

Happy and Joyful Reading Year! 

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