On Blogging Organization: Utilizing the Spreadsheet

Posted January 25, 2016 by Sophia

Two weeks ago, I (sort of) reflected on my blogging organization when I first started in 2012 as a high school freshman (gee, that was a century ago) and how I keep myself organized as a high school senior, and hopefully as a college student as well this fall. Knowing myself, it’ll change in some way.

This week, I’m going to talk about spreadsheets. And maybe more embarrassing blogling stories worthy of a multitude of facepalms. Although… most recently Lupe found it absolutely hilarious that I thought hot glue guns come with power buttons. What doesn’t have a power button these days?! (Totally not a blogling story, but go ahead and laugh at my failure. I assure you I’ve done worse fails.)

Actually, I might save that in a future post specifically for Blogging Bloopers (to reassure all current and future bloggers that it is perfectly okay to mess up a little and laugh at yourself). Sigh. Too bad Lupe thinks this is a brilliant idea.

Back in 2012 and early 2013 (because 2012 doesn’t really count since I started Bookwyrming Thoughts in November), I never used spreadsheets, despite the fact I had just learned Excel in Computer Applications (those lucky ducklings get the chance to be certified now).

I don’t even use Excel at home (too expensive). I personally have a preference for OpenOffice and Kingsoft Office, with a strong preference for OpenOffice. Kingsoft Office is used to convert Microsoft 2003 to 2007 and beyond. Both are brilliantly free softwares that I highly recommend if you can’t afford Microsoft Office. And if you want more softwares… I once listed five softwares I use to organize my blogging life (and maybe my actual life as well).

Moving on.

Reading Tracker – Offline

I use spreadsheets primarily to keep track of all the books I read – the ones I receive for review and the ones I read of my own choosing (of course, the books I request on Netgalley are of my own choosing). For this post, I’m going to use my spreadsheet for 2015 and the one for 2016 I’m currently using as examples. Note: 2016 is outdated and has changed.

Here’s a sample view of my spreadsheet for 2015 and 2016:

Title – Where I put the title of the book. This is also if I mention if the book is an ARC or an audiobook. My current spreadsheet has a lot of ARCs, but I’m slowly going through them. (I’m also avoiding Netgalley aside from maybe a cover like or two, or sending a request for a book publishing in the summer.

Author – Le author of ze book. Nothing special going on here.

Read – The month I started reading the book (days are tracked somewhere else). I tend to be months ahead during the summer.

Posted – Typically this is filled out ahead of time with a predetermined month. If it’s an ARC or review opportunity, I typically put in the publication month or the due date.

Ratings – This is honestly just for me to keep track of books. If anyone asks about a particular book, I can pull the spreadsheet up and have a minor idea on what I thought.

Notes – I never actually used this much, but I have a feeling I’ll be using this a lot in 2016 now that I’m a coblogger at In Wonderland. The notes is where I keep track of where I post the reviews other than my own blog and basically anything that doesn’t belong in another category.

Nothing I post at In Wonderland will be posted here, though. Only a link in the archives.

I also keep track of books I really liked (okay, those with a 5/5) and the books I DNFed. They’re all color-coded. In the past I also kept track of the books I was reading, but then decided the empty ratings would be enough to suffice. Plus, the spacing between the book titles separates the books I’ve read/currently reading and the ones I’m reading in the near future. Then there’s also spacing for books that I’m waiting to hear back from the publisher or the review copy to arrive (typically the latter).

The spreadsheet I use is very, very basic. I just throw in colors and pretty fonts to keep it pretty. After all, the original template (in a folder on my hard drive I’ve dedicated to everything Bookwyrming Thoughts) is always available for me to change if needed.

Speaking of changes… I might need to do an update one day. I haven’t found a reason to, though.

Quarterly/End of Year Posts – Offline

You know those Best of January-March, April-June, June-September, and October-December posts I do?

I keep track of them as well….

Okay, the books (and the month I posted) are tracked. They’re also kept in the exact same file as my reading tracker, but I divide it all with colorful borders at the last book reviewed every three months (unless it’s December, of course).

I also admit that lately I haven’t been feeling like doing a quarterly wrap up.

I also keep a spreadsheet for my favorite/least favorite covers, female characters, and male characters, and why I like or dislike them. I tend to be excited about filling this out in the beginning of the year and slack off as the year goes on. All of this is on one file with one too many books within. Maybe I’ll even change it up every year (or every few years) so no one will get bored.

See, Lupe? I procrastinate. I’m just good at acting like I work hard. (I think I mentioned that already… in another post.)

Okay, I work hard and attempt to get things done when I need to. Not everything gets accomplished, though.

Of course, now that it’s been decided what we’re going to share in December… I might actually make a legit template. It’ll have a little bit of the reading tracker’s aspects and then some more. At least, that’s what I would like to think.

Posting Schedule – Online

I also use a calendar for this. Does that mean I’m OCD, obsessed, weird, or a combination of all three? No screenshot with this one (primarily because I can’t exactly watermark photos on a public computer).

Let me talk about the calendar for just a second: it’s for my own use, and only my own. The spreadsheet I use as a posting schedule is what Ella, Lupe, and I all use so we’re not stumbling around like lost ducks (not that we’re lost… at this point, we’ve pretty much established a system of sorts).

The unfamous (not infamous) spreadsheet is basically just a finalization of posts – blog tours, Fangirl Friday, Novel Newcomers, WoW, TTT, yada yada. Everything else isn’t necessarily on there because they can be changed as necessary. It can be on there; it just doesn’t have to. And even if it is on the spreadsheet, it can be moved.

The spreadsheet is just an idea on who plans on posting on what day. Nothing too special either.

We’ve been good at winging it the past year, though. We might even continue winging it for the most part, which, to be honest, we’ve honestly just continued our winging.

We’re cool like that.

Blog Tours – Online

No screenshot with this one.

I think I made this spreadsheet for Lupe’s benefit – primarily because she chooses to avoid Netgalley and Edelweiss. (I totally tucked her under my blogging wing. Okay, I tucked Ella under my blogging wing as well. It’s part of the “job” description.)

A wise move, Loops. A very wise and applause-worthy move that I can’t really help but praise her.

And well… maybe this is also used to keep track of who I frequently tour for. Definitely not in a stalking way. More like reference.

I get the occasional question about blog tours (or I spy them on Goodreads) and I’d like to have a list handy instead of shuffling my brain cells around and around just to pull out a decent number of sites to refer people to. I’ll probably ignore this spreadsheet most of the time, but maybe I’ll be tired one day and just not feeling like thinking.

Nothing personal to everyone else I tour for, but Xpresso Book Tours tends to be one of the first I mention. Must be Giselle’s virtually baked cookies. (They’re evil!)

Novel Newcomers – Online

There’s definitely a spreadsheet or two going around behind the scenes here! The first spreadsheet we use is to organize sign ups. (No screenshot with this one because the emails are all confidential information.)

The second spreadsheet is a fabulous schedule for our own uses, and for the participants. And in this case… you can see our lovely little participants as well.

On the other hand, though, Novel Newcomers is a work in progress (hey, this is our first year). We might change it next year to better organize ourselves. ^_^

That’s enough secret exposure for today. Come back soon for more exposure! And if you want more spreadsheet ideas, Michelle @ Book Briefs made a post awhile ago about how other bloggers use spreadsheets for blogging purposes (among other resources). 🙂

Sophia is a socially awkward Communications major who has a GIF for nearly everything and is frequently in a Hogwarts House Crisis. More of her bookish reviews can be found at The Arts STL.

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