Hello everyone! I can’t believe another year has passed and we are already into 2013.  As I did last year, I thought I’d take a moment to look back a bit on the past year on the blog as well as share my thoughts and visions for 2013.

I have to say I am blown away by the changes on the blog over the past year.  When we started 2012, it was just little old me hanging out and chatting about books.  Now I have four fabulous Associate Reviewers in Melanie, Sammy, Amy, and Crissy.  These ladies totally knock my socks off and I couldn’t even begin to provide the number of the reviews or the great quality here without them.  They are totally amazing and give a lot of their time to read and write reviews for Joyfully Jay.  I really can’t thank them enough.

In addition to bringing in my fabulous reviewers, the other big change from this time last year was the complete site redesign and transition to Word Press.  Although the old yellow stripes will always hold a special place in my heart, I am so thrilled with the new look and love all the great icons and design features.  Moving to Word Press has also been great and I am finding it much easier to manage and coordinate the technical side of things than with Blogger.

And of course, the biggest change is that over the course of 2012, the blog has really grown tremendously.  Both the number of monthly visitors as well as the number of page hits have pretty much doubled since June.  At this time last year we averaged about 16 reviews a month.  This December, we reviewed 60 books!  And over the course of 2012 we reviewed well over 500 books!  So there has been a huge explosion, both in readership as well as content over the past year and I expect things to continue to grow.

I am endlessly thankful and appreciate all of you guys who have helped support the blog over the past year.  This includes first and foremost my fabulous readers. I am so excited every time you guys stop by and love reading your comments and hearing your thoughts. You guys are amazing! Also, a big thanks to all the authors and publishers who have helped support Joyfully Jay through providing giveaways, guest posts, and books for review.  I know many of you took a chance on me when I was just a tiny little blog and I really appreciate it.  And a big thanks to my fellow bloggers for all your support, especially to Mandi, Brie, Jane, and Sarah who always are willing to answer my questions, and also to the awesome Cole for being such a great friend. You guys rock!

So, now that I have let my sappy side out, what can we expect from 2013?  While 2012 was focused primarily on growth, I think this year I would like to really look into developing some new and interesting features and continuing to reach out to new readers.  Here are some thoughts I have:

  1. Theme Weeks: This was something I knew I wanted to do from as soon as I started the blog. In fact, my first theme week, Virgin Hero Week, was held after only a month or so of being live.  Over that time we have had four Theme Weeks (Virgin Hero, Rock Star, Young Love, and Spectacular Series), and coming next month we will have our fifth — Jock Week.  More details to come on that later today, but I am super excited about it. My goal is to continue with the theme weeks, probably aiming for about 3-4 a year.
  2. Cover Artist Spotlights: As most of you know, I am crazy for a good book cover and love to showcase great design.  In addition to our monthly and annual Favorite Covers posts, I plan to start a new feature where I will showcase a cover artist and some of their work, learn more about their design process, etc.  I am hoping to start that in the next month or two so keep your eyes open.
  3. Reader Involvement: I would love to get more reader involvement on the site and give you all a chance to share your love of m/m romance as well.  Last year I started the Book I Love feature and I had several readers write posts about books that they love.  I would be thrilled to keep this going and would definitely love to hear from any readers who would like to share their thoughts on a favorite book.  If anyone has any other ideas of ways they would like to participate in the blog, please let me know. And as always, I love to hear from you guys, both in the comments and by email so please be in touch!

I also wanted to mention a quick word about advertising. Most of you have probably seen the ads that ran the past few months in my sidebar (how could you miss that gorgeous Aaron cover?).  I decided to open up the blog to advertising a few months ago and I do have spots available for 2013.  If you are interested in advertising on Joyfully Jay, please send me an email and I will be happy to provide you with all the details, including prices, placement, and traffic statistics.

So that is about it for now. But as always, I’d love to hear from you and please feel free to share any ideas, thoughts, comments, or criticisms. Hope you all have a wonderful 2013!

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