It's the last day of our First Anniversary Celebration. Hope you've all had as much fun as I have! Did you guess our Mystery Author? Were you able to name the Dish? Many thanks to our special guests, Kimberly, Eloisa and Sarah for helping us make this week a rockin' good time and, of course, to all of you who dropped by to party with us. We couldn't do it without you!
It's hard for me to believe that an entire year has passed since we opened the doors to The Romance Dish. What a wild, crazy, exhilarating, thought-provoking, challenging and thoroughly satisfying year it's been! I thought it might be fun to take a look back at what we had planned for our new venture and what we actually accomplished.
Our original plan was to start slow by posting three new blogs per week. We knew it would take time to establish a presence on the internet and build an audience. That assumption was pretty much blown out of the water with 416 comments on our Grand Opening blog. 416! Wow! We sure didn't expect that! Before we could blink, we were inundated with requests for author blogs, author interviews and book reviews, not to mention all the blog ideas we had swirling in our own heads. Our "three days a week" strategy quickly expanded to seven and we were off and running!
Dark Side of Dawn by Kathryn Smith had the distinction of being our first 5-Star review but it wasn't the last. It was a terrific year for romance and we ended our first year with 27 books receiving a coveted 5 Stars. We reviewed a total of 151 books this year; from sweet and sentimental to sexy and spicy and with settings ranging from medieval England to a distant galaxy. Interested in what sub-genres are included in that number? Here's the breakdown:
Contemporary: 31Paranormal: 30
Western: 4Romantic Suspense: 9
Inspirational: 2Urban Fantasy: 4
First Guest Author honors went to Kimberly Killion who blogged about Hot Scots and that delicious hunk of man, Gerard Butler (who, as you noticed Monday, is still hanging around the place *g*). Kimberly also gets credit for designing our fabulous banner, logos and avatars. Thanks, Kim!
We were proud to post eighty-two author blogs our first year as well as twenty-two author interviews.
Not only were we thrilled to host so many individual authors, we were over-the-moon ecstatic to host both a week-long invasion of the Romance Bandits and a reunion of the fabulous ladies of Squawk Radio!
Our non-book blogs were fewer than originally planned but, hopefully, memorable. They covered a broad range of topics such as living with autism, a grandmother ahead of her time, best fur friends, making dreams come true in a hot air balloon and lifetime lessons learned.
Kim Castillo joined us with a wonderful blog on not just surviving, but shining, at the RWA National Conference and we hope that you all enjoyed the "on the spot" reporting brought to you live from Orlando by the Dishes.
We have been so fortunate to have Anna Campbell and Trish Milburn blog with us each month. Anna's book reviews are always insightful, informative and entertaining and we count on Trish to keep us up to date on all the latest and greatest YA news. We're happy to announce that both Anna and Trish have agreed to come back for a second year!
We also welcomed talented Guest Reviewers, Janga and Jenn aboard this year. We greatly appreciate their contributions to the blog!
Have we piqued your interest with our monthly features such as "Coming Attractions," "Hot Dish," "Make Your Reservations," and Beach Bag/Stock Up Saturday Reviews? We sure hope so!
Saving the best for last, anybody care to guess how many prizes we've given away this year? 183! As you can tell, we love giving away books...and other good stuff too!
Okay, so that's a look at what we've done during our first year. Now comes the next part - planning year number two - and, for that, we need the help of you, our loyal readers. We want The Romance Dish to be a site that you'll enjoy visiting and sharing with your friends. So tell us...
~What Romance Dish features do you like?
~What do you not like?
~Is the site easy to navigate?
~What would you like to see more of? Less of?
~Do you want the primary focus of the blog to remain on book reviews and visiting authors or would you like to see more "non-book" blogs?
~What authors would you like to see spotlighted in our second year?
Thank you for following The Romance Dish and sharing your thoughts with us. We hope you've enjoyed our first year on the internet and will come along for our second year ride. To show our appreciation, three random commenters from today's blog will win prizes from my book stash! If an international reader's name is drawn, you'll be receiving a $10 gift card from Book Depository!
Don't forget to check the blog later tonight for a list of all winners from our First Anniversary celebration!