To whom it may concern:
You. Yes, you. The guy/girl who is reading this sentence. I am speaking to YOU. I don't know where you are from, and I may not know you in real life, but I want to take a moment to thank you for all you've done for me.
One year ago, I was in a rough place. A senior in college with 6 weeks to go, terrified of what life held for me after graduation, and so stressed out I couldn't eat or sleep, I was a loose cannon. Life was like a roller coaster. Constant ups and downs, as life often is. I needed something stable in my life. I needed an outlet to get my mind off the stresses of life and to help me cope with my ever changing directions. I looked to the only place that had ever held answers for me: literature.
I was already slowly, but surely being initiated as a member of the literary community by being a member of New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Cora Carmack's street team. I was selected as a 'Carmcat', and my world EXPLODED. Never before did I know such a community as this existed. I made new friends who ran these 'book blogs' and was suddenly blown away. You mean I could do that? I remember the hours I spend devouring every blog post I could get my hands on: cover reveals, blog tours, reviews, and thinking, "I can do that!".
With the support of my fellow Carmcats (namely the girls who would become my first blogger 'sisters' over at Grownup Fangirl) and a few friends, I sat down one year ago tonight and launched One Guy's Guide to Good Reads. I remember setting the site up like it was yesterday. I never anticipated it becoming anything more than posting my thoughts every so often. I never imagined it would blossom into what it has become today. My very first post talked about how I hoped I could find the time to post regularly about my love of the written word. Boy, I had NO idea how much my life was about to change.
Men in the literary world are not as common as they once were. Regardless of what the studies say, male authors just aren't dominating like they once were. Finding a male author in our corner of the literary world is a rarity. Finding a male BLOGGER is an even bigger rarity. I set out to blog with one goal: review and promote from a (straight) male's point of view (I only point out the 'straight' part, because there are numerous LGBT male bloggers/blogs out there). I know lots of guys that read, why weren't they being represented? The male book population is quiet. I was tired of reading 'in quiet' and having to be embarrassed by my TBR, because it didn't host 'traditional male titles'. If I want to read a fantasy novel about vampires that ride unicorns, damn it, I'm going to. If I want to read a New Adult romance with just as much sex as a Harlequin Romance, then who is going to stop me? Nobody.
I started this blog with the goal of showing other male readers that it's okay to read what you want. Never before has society been as accepting as it is now. I'll admit we have a long way to go, but I'm loving the strides we are making.
Sure I'm not 'traditional', but I have been welcomed with open arms by most every author I have worked with. Cora Carmack and her Carmcats were incredible to me, whenever they'd make book teasers with male models, they'd always make sure to throw in a cheerleader as well. Thanks for that ladies. The literary world is changing people, and I am so glad to be here to witness it! Authors are taking their audiences into consideration when writing their novels, folks, they're writing with us in mind! It's a great feeling. As one of the few guys in the New Adult community, Cora granted me the title of her "Unicorn" (seeing as a male reader of NA was once seen as a mythical creature), a title that several other authors have since adopted for me (though we've updated it to 'Badass Unicorn' as of late).
From my working with Cora, and one amazing afternoon in Des Moines, I was introduced to the second member of my 'Holy Trinity of Authors', Mrs. Jennifer L. Armentrout (who is only one of the biggest authors in the community right now!). You guys all know who JLA is so I won't elaborate on that one, but she has been one special lady to me during this journey. I first met Jen without having THE SLIGHTEST clue who she was. She'd written a few books? Cool. I'd heard great things, but I was just excited to meet and spend some time with another author. It wasn't until AFTER I got home and read a JLA book that I realized I was in the presence of greatness. Wow didn't that completely change my life. I dropped everything and ready my way through most all of her works, pausing only to tell her how dumb I felt for not bringing books for her to sign with me that day! Jen gave me some excellent insight as to the workings if the literary world and to this day continues to be an inspiration of mine.
So you see, from the very beginning, I was blessed with some incredible literary mentors to show me the ropes. How could I ever fail in my endeavors when surrounded by such incredible bloggers and authors? Oh but wait, that's just two authors. Isn't a 'trinity' three authors? Yes. You're right. How could I possibly forget.
So the incredible KP Simmon over at InkSlinger PR (who happenes to run Cora's ST and has since become a great friend and source of inspiration to me) mentioned to me that she had a new NA Romance series that I may like because the author had recently finished an acclaimed YA Fantasy/Paranormal series. Of course I jumped all over that. With the NA series a month away, I figured the only way I could really decide if this author was for me would be to read this 'acclaimed series'. That night I posted a blog post about my journey into some "Fine Reading". Ha, I'm hilarious, right? From page one of Anew, I knew there was something special about this author. My mind exploded. I had found the third member of my Holy Trinity, Mrs. Chelsea Fine. One year and 7 books later, Chelsea Fine has completely changed my life. Not only is she one of my all time favorite authors (her New Adult Romance Best Kind of Broken remains my favorite NA of all time), she's also become one of my best bookish friends and biggest supporters.
These three women started my love affair with the book blogging world. Through their friendship, support, and guidance, I learned what it really means to become a book blogger. I learned how to communicate with authors, and how to 'tone down my crazy' when it comes to meeting them in person. BTW, the first time I met Cora, I was shaking from being so nervous. I about had a panic attack in the elevator. It was embarrassing. I have you three to thank for so much! Making to this one year blogiversary would not have been possible without all of your support. KP, you are right up there with them, your support has been invaluable!
Each and every author I have had the great pleasure to meet over the past year has been a moment that I will never forget. I have such incredible memories from all the author events and conventions I have gotten to attend, it's been great so far. I won't even try to name you all, but every author I have worked with has helped to grow this blog to what it is today! I consider you all friends and am so thankful to have you in my life. You indie authors I have worked with have seriously opened my eyes to what the book world is really about, for that I am forever grateful! Just to name a few, I'd like to especially thank the following authors for their support, kind words, book donations, ARCs, and overall awesomeness this year:
Nazarea Andrews, Rachel Aukes, Danielle Paige, Colleen Hoover, Jay Crownover, KA Tucker, Tina Reber (who once said to me "You're a guy and you really read all this romance shit?" Haha!), Kallie Ross, Stacey O'Neale, KB Nelson, TA Foster. Jon Messenger, BC Powell, TA Kunz, Heather Lyons, Megan Curd, Sherry Ficklin, Julie Wetzel, Christine Manzari, Laura Ward, Becca Vincenza, Camille Faye, Amanda Strong, Alyssa Rose Ivy, Jenn Sterling, Sarah Negovetich, and all the authors who also participated in my Halloween Author Invasion back in October! You guys have all meant something special to me and I am forever thankful for your support! (I am sure I've missed someone here, if so, I sincerely apologize)
Huge special thanks to Liz Long as well. Thank you for being the most supportive person I have ever met. Meeting you at UtopYA has proved to be one of the greatest things I have done to-date. You ma'am, are incredible. Your biggest fan will always there to support you!
I'd also like to offer a huge shoutout and thanks to all the incredible promotional companies that I work with each and every day in getting the word out. Inkslinger PR, XPresso Books Tours, JenHalligan PR, Jean Book Nerd, and the absolutely incredible team over at Clean Teen/Crimson Tree Publishing who not only supply me with incredible reads, they let me party with them on a daily basis. You are all awesome!
My biggest thanks has to go to the absolutely incredible friends I have made in the bookish community through this journey. Book bloggers really do stick together and form families. We read together, we rave together, we laugh, we cry, we hate together. We learn so much about each other and spend an unhealthy amount of time together, but I wouldn't change any of it for a second. I have a deep love and appreciation for each and every 'blog sibling' I have made. You guys are seriously the best at what you do. If it weren't for me stealing your layout ideas, jumping on your blog hops, or picking your brain for author contacts, I never would have made it a full year! Absolute special thanks go to The Safe Space for always being there for me, no matter what. I love you girls like family. Kaitlan at Between Order and Randomness, Betsy at Book Drunk Blog, Ashley at BooksbyMigs, Christine at iHeartBigBooks, Kim at kimberlyfaye reads, Christina at LuLo Fangirl, Steph at Smart and Savvy with Steph: you guys are awesome, thank you for putting up with me!
I'd also like to share a huge shout out to my friends and family who have been absolutely nothing but supportive to me over the past year. They've all come to realize that I'm much happier with a book in my hand than ever before. I am so thankful for your support! To my 'support staff' of Megan, Hannah, Jessica, Blaire, Tommy, and Grace: I appreciate all you've done to get the word out about my blog!
365 days, 355 posts, over 25,000 visitors, and a lifetime of memories later, here we are. One year to the date from when I started this incredible journey. I don't know where this will take me, and I don't have some big 'plan', but I do know that this is my passion and I have never been as happy in my life as I am when I am sharing my bookish love with all of you. Thank you all, each and every visitor, author, blogger, publisher, publicist, etc that I have worked with. You guys make me smile each and every day. I only hope you all realize how big of a difference you have made in this 'One Guy's' life.
Here's to reflecting on an amazing first year and to looking forward to many, many more.
With much love and many, many thanks.
God Bless and Happy Reading!
So that's my story. To all of you who ever wondered "where did he come from?", this was for you. Remember to come join my Blogiversary Party happening RIGHT NOW at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1569496440002976/. Come join the fun!
-Ethan @ OneGuysGuidetoGoodReads