Wednesday, March 30, 2011

We Have A Button!

I'm proud to announce that we now have an updated button for this years battle.  So without further ado, here it is:

Isn't it neat?  This year's button was designed by volunteer Andrea from the blog Loud Words and Sounds, and she did an excellent job. 

And now you can grab the button for your own blog too!  Spread some book battle love.  You'll find the code below, or at the top of the right sidebar. 

Everything's coming together...

<center><a href=""><img src="" /></a></center>

Monday, March 28, 2011

Super Huge Thank You!

Still busy working my way through applications, but I wanted to drop in really quick and send out a major thank you to Valerie B.!  She's a school librarian, and after seeing my post from yesterday saying nominations were down, immediately asked her students for titles they'd recommend for the battle.  How awesome is that?

So thank you, thank you Valerie, and thank you to everyone else who's nominated a title.  We couldn't pull this off without readers like you!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Nature Hates Me

I hate it when nature conspires against me.  We've been hit with an irregular bout of storms here in Northern CA, and it's worked havoc on my internet.  It's been flashing on and off all week. 

As a result, I am really, really behind to responding to volunteer applications for the book battle.  I'm slowly working my way through them today.  So far we've had 38 applicants, a total of 5 less than last year, but enough to do the battle, so that's a good thing.  

I should be getting back to everyone in the next few days.  So if you've applied and haven't heard from me, I am so, so sorry for the delay!  And you should hear from me soon.  :)

In other news, nominations are sadly down from last year.  So don't forget to nominate a book (or two), and tell all your friends to do so as well.  If anyone is hesitating to nominate a title because you're not sure if it's eligible, drop me an email really quick (shadygladeATmailDOTcom) and let me know.  I check my email constantly, so I should get back to you right away. 

And now I'm off to go through more volunteer applications...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

2011 Battle Nominations Open

Welcome to the Nominations Page for the 2011 YA Bloggers Debut Battle! This is the place where you can nominate the book YOU think should win the battle.

As chosen by readers, our theme this year is:

Best Overlooked Book

For the purposes of this battle, the definition of an "overlooked book" is a book that never got the recognition it deserves. These are books we love, but no one has ever seem to hear of. So now they'll get their chance to shine!

Your nominated book should follow these requirements:
  1. It must be first published in English between 2001 and 2010. Reissues do not count if the book was first published before 2001 (If you know of a great book that does not meet this requirement, email me and let me know. Depending on the situation I might be able to make an exception).
  2. It must be either Young Adult (or middle grade with strong teen appeal).
  3. It must be an "overlooked" book. Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games, Eragon, etc. are NOT unknown/overlooked titles. They are international bestsellers. Choose instead a book that you love that you don't think many people have read.

So, have a book that never got its deserved time in the spotlight that you want to share with the rest of the blogging community? Fill Out the Form to place it on the nomination list. Edited to Add: Thank you to Ashley who notified me the form wasn't working.  Should be fine now!

You may nominate up to 2 different titles. Email addresses will ONLY be used to track entries and will be deleted as soon as the nomination period is over. As a reminder, please DO NOT leave your nominations in the comments! They won't count unless you use the form.

Nominations will be open until Sunday, April 5th, 2011 at midnight. All books nominated will be screened to check that they are eligible, then passed along to our Round 1 Judges. Round 1 will narrow down the books for brackets, and our Round 2 Judges will get started in early May. If you'd like more explanation about how the judging process works, check out this post.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at shadyglade(AT)mail(DOT)com.

Now, nominate away!

And we still have volunteer spots open too!

An Introduction to the 2011 YA Bloggers Book Battle

*Returning visitors: scroll down for the latest updates* 

So what is the YA Bloggers Book Battle?

Well, it started as a crazy idea in 2010. The idea took off and before you know it, I was in the midst of organizing an epic book battle.

The YA Bloggers Book Battle is a bracket-style judging contest. Our 2010 theme featured the best debut work of 2009 (and a little of 2010). This year for 2011 blog readers have chosen the battle theme as the Best Overlooked Book.

Here's how it will work:

People will have a chance to nominate a book of their choice to take place in the battle. After nominations close, the books will be narrowed down by our lovely Round 1 judges. Books that make the cut will be fit into brackets for Round 2 Judges to read.

Starting in early May, each Round 2 judging panel will read the two books in their bracket and choose a winner. One will move on, one will not. It will all come down to two books in a epic book battle to choose the best!

Revised Timeline:
Reading period for Series 1 brackets in Round 2: June 5th-June 18th
Series 2 brackets: June 19th-July 2nd
Series 3 brackets: July 3rd-July 16th
Series 4 brackets: July 17th-July 30th
Series 5 (final bracket): July 31st-August 13th

Updates will periodically be posted here, so if you don't follow the blog, you can bookmark this page and periodically check back to see what's new. 

Latest Updates
6/19 - View the Bracket Winners page to see all winners from Series 1 brackets of Round 2

6/12 - Round 2 Kickoff (and brackets revealed)
6/5 - Organization for Round 2 complete

5/18 - Shortlist announced, battle trailer posted
5/1 - End of Round 1

4/7 - Battle Longlist for Round 1 announced

3/30 - Battle button updated. Grab the new version for your sidebar
3/24 - Nominations open
3/18 - Signups to judge and other volunteers now open
3/17 - 2011 Battle Theme Announced
3/17 - Explanation of 2011 Judging Process posted

Quick Reminder

Nominations for the 2011 YA Bloggers Book Battle open at noon PDT today!  Come back and nominate your favorite books then. 

Also, things have finally settled down at bit today, so I am starting to go through volunteer applications today, starting with Graphics Specialist, Goodreads Moderator, and Publicitiy Committee.  Judges will be getting emails in the next few days as well. 

And there's still plenty of room for judges, so if you'd like to volunteer and haven't yet, check out the volunteer post for all the details. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Battle Timelines

I'm dropping in really quick to let everyon who's signed up to volunteer know that I'm still mostly away from my computer.  Things are still really busy at home with our Japanese exchange student.  But I will start responding in the next few days, since things should quiet down after today. 

As a reminder, nominations will open tomorrow (March 24th) at noon Pacific Time.  So be thinking of all of your favortie unknown books to nominate! 

As always, if anyone has any questions they need answered right away, feel free to email me.  I'll get back to you as soon as I possibly can. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Book Battle 2011: Call for Volunteers

I know from comments and emails that I've gotten that this is the part of the battle most of you have been waiting for.  :-)  As I mentioned in all my posts yesterday, I'm going to need a lot of help this year, so I hope everyone will want to volunteer to help out. 

After last year (my first year organizing the battle) I realized how much I can use some extra help.  So in addition to the call for judges, which you'll find below, I'm also asking for the following new positions:

Graphics Specialist - This volunteer will be reponsible for coming up with a logo/button for this year's battle (or finding someone else who can do it for you).  They will also be responsible for creating/updating the bracket graphics as the battle progresses.  This volunteer can also be a judge.   Position now filled, thanks for volunteering!

Goodreads Moderator - There is a Goodreads group for the battle, but it kind of got negelected last year because I was focusing on other things.  This volunteer will be responsible for updating the Goodreads group and can also institute dicussions, group readalongs/events/etc. 
-Desired Requirements: Goodreads account (or willingness to create one).  This volunteer can also be a judge.  Position now filled, thanks for volunteering!

Publicity Committe (would like at least 2 volunteers) - These volunteers have the job of helping to publicize the battle.  Whether through blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc. they will help network with other people to get out awareness about the battle.  Whether recruiting volunteers, calling for nominations, emailing friends or posting about the latest battle results, these volunteers are all about getting the word out as much as they can. 
-Desired requirements: Blog and/or website, Twitter account, willingness/ability to email or otherwise contact friends/people who may be interested in the battle.  Online social butterflies a plus.  :)  These volunteers can also be judges.

And, of course, we wouldn't be anywhere without our fabulous judges.  If you are new to the battle this year and haven't already, make sure you read my post about the judging process from yesterday before you apply. 

Round 1 Judge: These judges will be responsible for reading as many of the nominated books on the longlist they can in about 3-4 weeks.  They will recommend titles for the shortlist to be organized into brakcets.  These judges will work alone, although they are few to have discussions with other Round 1 judges. 
-Desired Requirements: Quick readers, willingness to borrow/buy books where needed (access to large library a plus), ability to meet deadlines on time, critical thinker. 

Round 2 Judge: Second round judges will be assigned a bracket (ie two books) to read and pick a winner.  Every Round 2 Judge will be working with at least one partner to pick the winner for each bracket. 
-Desired Requirements: Ability to finish 2 books in 2 weeks, works well with others, checks email regularly, willingness to borrow/buy books where needed (access to large library a plus), ability to meet deadlines on time, critical thinker. 

If you'd like to volunteer for any of these positions, please fill out the form.  I will be away from my computer for the next few days, but will start responding to people who volunteer by next week.  At that point you will be assigned a position(s) and asked to commit to the timeline. 

You can apply for as many positions as you want, but you will not be given more than 2 spots. 

If anyone has any questions, feel free to email me at shadyglade(AT)mail(DOT)com.  Good luck to everyone!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The 2011 Book Battle Theme is...

Well, here it is as promised.  Your votes have come in, they have been counted, and the theme has been decided.  So without further ado, the 2011 YA Bloggers Book Battle theme is...

Best Underappreciated Book

Coming in at a close second is the Debut Author's Battle, the same focus as last year.  As mentioned earlier today in the explanation about the judging process, if we don't get enough volunteers to support this year's theme, we will revert to the debut author instead.  

Nominations will open a week from today, so be thinking about those overlooked books that you absolutely love, but never got their proper time in the spotlight.  Meanwhile, if a call for volunteers will be posted tomorrow, so if you've been wanting to volunteer, keep an eye for that as well.

The battle is now officially one step closer.  Can you feel it?

Notes About the Judging Process

As we get closer to the announcement of this year's battle theme later this evening, I wanted to do a little explaining about how the judging process will work this year, since it's a little different than last year's battle.  I know this post is long, but if you're interested in volunteering to participate this year, please read through the whole thing. 

I won't reveal what the theme for this year is yet (though I do know what it will be since I just finished tallying up votes).  All I will say is that I can see the potential for lots and lots of nominations coming in.  Probably more than last year. 

For those of you who are new to the blog since last year's battle, here's the basic idea of how it works.  Readers nominate their favorite books based on the theme for the battle.  Nominations are tallied, etc. and organized into brackets.  Last year we had 24 initial brackets.  From there it works kind of like the NCAA March Madness tournament.  Each bracket has two books.  The judges for each bracket pick a winner between the two books, and the winner moves up to the new bracket, where it goes up against the winner from the previous bracket.  If you're still a little confused about the process, check out some of the posts last year to familiarize yourself. 

Now, about this year.  Since we have the potential for so many nominations, I'm instituting a two round judging system.  This is how it will work this year:

Nominations will open a week from today.  Readers will nominate their favorite books that fit that category.  Nominations will be verified to make sure they are eligible and then be placed on a nomination list. 

At this point our panel of Round 1 judges will read as many of the nominated titles on the long list as they can until mid-April.  Each judge will then submit a list of their top picks from the long list to form our nomination shortlist.  The shortlist titles will then be divided into brackets, where the books will start battling head to head. 

There will probably be 12 brackets this year, based on how many volunteers we get. Based on feedback from last years battle, each bracket will be judged in pairs this year.  I would love to do it in groups of 3 just in case judges disagree, but we'll see how it goes. 

So as you can see, this is going to require even more participation than last year.  Just in case I don't get enough volunteers, there will be a backup theme announced that will run more like the judging last year.  The call for volunteers will be posted on Friday, so if you think you'd like to participate this year, keep an eye out for that. 

Thursdays are Book Battle Days

In order to facilitate those of you who read the blog, but don't necessarily subscribe and get the updates daily, I'm instituting a new organization. 

From now until the battle picks up a bit, Thursdays are Book Battle Days.  I will use my Thursday posts to explain procedures, give updates, information, etc. regarding the upcoming book battle.  Today, for example, is the closing of the poll to choose the battle theme.  Voting will close at noon, there will be an explanation of the judging process posted sometime after that, and the winning theme will be announced tonight at 5:00. 

The exceptions to the Thursday standard will be the call for volunteers post (which will go up Friday), and any other miscellaneous mini updates or reminders that are important enough to be posted right away.

Nominations will open next Thursday, so make sure you come back for that!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

YA Books: Deal ALERT!

For those of you who are always looking for a cheap way to add to your collection, here's an idea for you. 

I have a close friend who's selling a bunch of her YA books (many new, some used but still in excellent condition) on eBay.  You can pick any 15 books you want from the list on the auction, which has 48 different titles to choose from.  There's a good mix of both hardcover and paperback, as well as well-known and less-known authors, including books like Forget-Her-Nots, Invisible Things, Teenage Waistland, books by Beth Kephart, E. Lockheart, Meg Cabot, and more. 

Right now (at about noon PST) it's going for just $4.24 plus shipping (for 15 books), so it's a super deal.  I would bid on it myself, but I already own or have read most of the books she's got on there. 

Anyway, check it out if you're interested.  The auction ends tomorrow (3/17) so you'll want to jump on it while you can!

New Ending Date for Voting

Votes in the Book Battle poll have slackened off quite a bit in the past couple days.  So rather than wait until the 20th as originally planned, I am closing the poll early. 

If you haven't voted yet, make sure you do so before noon Pacific Time tomorrow (3/17).  After that the poll will be closed and no additional votes will be accepted.  The theme for this year's battle will be announced later that day at 5:00 PT. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Stuff Boiling in the Background

Hey everyone,

I know that I've been absent for a few days, since announcing the voting for the book battle.  The main reason is because I've been working on lots of behind the scenes stuff (organization, new features, and some other miscellaneous) projects in the meantime. 

Oh, and it was my birthday on Sunday.  So I wasn't on the computer much yesterday.  : )

Anyway, my main focus of the moment is getting the battle at least initially organized.  So expect the first call for volunteers to go out in a couple days.  Those of you who want to and/or have emailed to be judges, calls for that should go out as soon as I know the theme, since the theme will change the organization and therefore the number of volunteers needed. 

Speaking of which, if you haven't voted on your favorite theme yet, make sure you do.  I didn't get any new votes submitted yesterday, so if the voting has slacked off, I think I'll close the poll early. 

Keep your eye out.  There's a lot going on, even if you can't tell yet!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Are You Ready to Battle? We Need a Theme!

For those who are new to the blog, by far one of the best events I participated in during 2010 was the Debut Book Battle I organized last summer.  It was a lot of work, but also was a lot of fun.  I've had lots of readers ask if I would do it again this year, and despite the huge amount of work it was, I'm happy to announce the battle is back by popular demand! 
So back in January I asked for suggestions for the theme of this years battle.  (By the way, thank you to everyone who submitted suggestions.)  Based on the responses I got, I've narrowed it down to the following options. 

So now, I need everyone to vote on a battle theme!  To vote simply fill out the form below.  It just takes a minute, so even if you don't normally do things like this, I'm counting on you to participate this once.  :)  I am asking that everyone vote just once for your favorite idea, so I'm asking for email address to track the entries.  Don't worry, they will be deleted as soon as the poll closes. 

Whatever theme wins will determine the amount of volunteers I need to help, and how the judging processes will proceed, so this step is very important. 

Poll will close on Sunday, March 20th, so vote now!  Meanwhile, I will be calling for volunteers soon too, so keep your eyes on the blog for more of that coming soon. 

Here are descriptions of all the choices if you need them.  The form to vote can be found underneath. 

Best Book of the Decade - This battle will involve nominating your favorite books published in the last 10 years, from 2001 to 2010.  Which book will be the best of the best in the last 10 years?

Best Overlooked/Underappreciated Book - You know those books that you absolutely love, but never seem to get the amount of attention they deserve?  This battle will bring those books their deserved time in the spotlight, where each one will fight for it's spot in the top ranks.   

Best Debut Author of 2010 - For those of you who liked last year's battle the way it was, this is the option for you.  For this battle, nominated works from debut authors published in 2010 will duke it out to be named champion. 

Read-alike Versus Battles - This idea will shake up the bracket system used last year.  Instead, books will be nominated in read-alike pairs.  Vampire Academy VS. House of Night, Hush Hush VS. Fallen, etc. you pick two very similar books to battle it out to see which is the best of the pair.  One winner will be declared for each pair, so for this battle, no ultimate winner will be chosen. 

Best of the Genre - In this battle, books will be broken up by genre to battle for the best of their kind in 2010.  What was the best fantasy published last year?  Best historical?  Best parnormal? 
So there you have it.  Don't forget to choose your favorite by filling out the form below:

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Waiting on Wedneday 3.9.11

I know this is going up a little late for Wednesday, so to make up for it, it's a WoW double feature!

Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer (Twisted Tales) by Maureen McGowan

About the Book (from "In this thrilling story full of adventure and romance, Sleeping Beauty is more than just a lonely princess waiting for her prince—she's a brave, tenacious girl who never backs down from a challenge. With vampire-slaying talents that she practices in secret, Sleeping Beauty puts her courage to the test in the dark of night, fighting evil as she searches for a way to break the spell that has cut her off from her family. In a special twist, readers have the opportunity to make key decisions for Sleeping Beauty and decide where she goes next—but no matter the choice; the result is a story unlike any fairy tale you've ever read!"


Cinderella: Ninja Warrior by Maureen McGowan

About the Book (from "In this fast-paced story full of adventure and romance, Cinderella is more than just a servant girl waiting for her prince—she's a tough, fearless girl who is capable of taking charge of a dangerous situation. Seeking to escape the clutches of her evil stepmother, Cinderella perfects her ninja skills and magic talents in secret, waiting for the day when she can break free and live happily ever after. In a special twist, readers have the opportunity to make key decisions for Cinderella and decide where she goes next—but no matter the choice; the result is a story unlike any fairy tale you've ever read!"

You know me, always up for some fairy tale books. I like the combinations of these two: part fairy tale, part paranormal, and part choose your own adventure story. I'm really interested to see how that turns out.

I've actually been waiting on these two for about a year now. I think it was sometime around March/April last year that I first found out about them, and they were originally scheduled for publication in October of 2010. So I was a little disappointed when I found out the had been pushed back to this year. But now they're almost here!

Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer (Twisted Tales) and Cinderella: Ninja Warrior will be released on April 1st, but you can currently pre-order them from

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Has Anyone Seen This?

So just like I occasionally go off on Disney tangents, I also occasionally leave the realm of books for one of my other favorite pastimes... musicals. 

I was browsing on Amazon the other day and noticed this: Les Miserables: The 25th Anniversary Concert.  Has anyone seen it?  What did you think? 

I'll admit, I haven't seen Les Miz yet.  I'm more of a Phantom of the Opera girl myself.  But my friend has been on me to watch the 10th Anniversary special for a long time, and I've heard that version is quite good.  So, has anyone seen the new one?  Is it better, worse, should I just see them both? 

It certainly has a description that pulls me in (from "Experience the event of a lifetime with this spectacular 25th anniversary celebration of one of the most popular musicals ever written, Les Misérables. Honoring 25 years of this incredible show, this momentous film captures the excitement of two magnificent sold-out performances that were watched live around the world. With a phenomenal all-star cast, including pop star Nick Jonas (Jonas Brothers), Tony® Award winner Lea Salonga (the voice of Disney’s Mulan and Princess Jasmine), and over 500 additional artists and musicians, revel in the songs of the unforgettable characters as they struggle for redemption and revolution."

And check out the trailer too:

Ummm... yeah.  WANT. 

Anyway, those of you who've seen it (if any) let me know what you thought in the comments below! 

Monday, March 07, 2011

More Tech Help!

I have another tech-type question for all you savvy bloggers out there.  Sheesh, can you tell I'm working out some behind the scenes plans or what?  :) 

Okay, so here's my question.  I've heard some people talk about using a template for certain posts, especially reviews.  Is there a way to save use a template for posts within Blogger?  Or is it just copy and paste from an older post and then delete/add as needed? 

By the way, thank you to everyone who responded to my picture question last week.  I did get the help I needed, thank you so much!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Hurry up May...

Okay, so some of you might have seen this already.  But when I find myself wasting time on YouTube, I usually end up looking at things like this:

Isn't it awesome?  May 20 can't get here fast enough. 

Those of you who know me well know that I am a huge Pirates fan.  If you don't believe how huge, check out my post about our trip to the Pirates' League this summer. 

And this one looks fantastic!  Pirates, mermaids, zombies, and the MOST EPIC movie soundtrack ever!  Oh, and Johnny Depp.  Although I will miss seeing young William Turner, because although his character was kind of a dork after the first movie, he was so much fun to look at.  *sigh*

Friday, March 04, 2011

All I Want for My Birthday...

... is my two front teeth.  Sorry, couldn't resist.  :)

No, actually I want a Kindle.  Or any ereader really.  But I think I like the Kindle the most.  I went to Borders for the first time in a few months a couple days ago, and they had a nice shiny display of all their different ereaders.  No Kindle, but I was able ot play around with some of the ones they had.  And I got to play with a friend's Kindle last week too when we were at a party. 

I'll never give up paper books completely, but I recntly joined Netgalley and I have a hard time concentrating on the screen for so long.  I already work at the computer all day, so I think my eyes just want a break by the time I get around to my daily reading. 

Unfortunately, money's super tight right now, so an ereader that's normally around $140 is so not even close to being in the budget.  So although I would really like one, I don't expect one to show up on my birthday in a week. 

Oh well.  Someday maybe.  A girl can dream, right?

1000 posts? Wow!

So I totally just noticed that this is my 1010th post.  I totally missed the 1000 post mark without even thinking!  So much for planning ahead. 

I also notice that I'm approaching 600 followers.  When we get there we'll have a big contest celebrating both milestones.  Of course, my 5th year blogoversary with be up in September as well, so maybe I'll wait a little longer and have a super huge contest then.  Guess we'll see.  :)

Thanks to all of you readers out there who keep following and reading this blog.  I couldn't have done it without you. 

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Too Old For Picture Books?

So I have a book confession to make.  As I acquire more and more books on my bookshelf I find myself also collecting more and more picture books.  Nicer copies of books I loved as a kid, books I've been asked to review and loved, random books I come across while shopping at thrift stores, etc. 

So at which point do you become too old for picture books?  I keep telling myself that I'm saving them for when I have kids of my own.  Although right now at (almost) 24 kids are a while off still I think.  Planning for the future?  Maybe.  But as my collection grows I wonder if a have a picture book obsession. 

I'll admit it, I'm an illustration junkie.  I think it's the same reason why I gush about book covers so much. I will acquire/keep a book based purely on illustrations alone.  My mom was the same way when she was buying us books growing up.  If she liked the illustrations, she bought the book, completely ignoring what the book was about.  Although now that i think back to it, my mom and I must have different tastes in art, because although I enjoyed the stories of most of the books she brought back, some of the illustrations were, in my opinion, weird. 

My last semester of college I took a children's lit class.  It wasn't required for credit, but I had taken a young adult course the previous semester and really enjoyed it and I was curious what a class focused on younger readers might have to offer.   There was a novel assigned to each unit, but one class period in each unit was spent exploring picture books our teacher would bring in for us to look at.  Those were by far my favorite days, reading and swapping picture books with other students. 

The next class period we were always assigned to bring in our own books about the unit's topic.  As a senior college student (I had 18 credits that semester) I usually brought a picture book to class since I didn't have a lot of extra time to be reading lots of extra books.  Pawing through the (limited) collection of books my university library had looking for the perfect title for each unit was so much fun.  I literally spent hours in that section of the library, reading and flipping through countless books.  Of course, that earning me a lot of funny looks from the college kids were passing through, but I didn't worry about it really.  I was having too much fun. 

So maybe I'm weird, or maybe not.  But judging by the growing pile of picture books on my bookshelf, I think I need to find a Picture Books for Young Adults Anonymous group. 

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Tech Help Please!

So I need some tech help from those of you out there who use Blogger. Pretty much everything I do with my blog is self-taught so I could use your help on this one.

For those of you who blog on Blogger, I have a question about using longstanding graphics. I'm thinking of those who use graphics for the review ratings, or if you have a picture for a regular feature like In My Mailbox or Waiting on Wednesday. How do you insert the graphic into your posts?

In the past in these situations I've just copy and pasted from another post with the same graphic. But it's a little clunky since I have to have 2 or 3 tabs open to do the new post. Is there an easier way to set it up, a shortcut of some kind? Or is that pretty much it? I don't want to upload it every single time I do a new post, since it takes up room in my blog storage, but is that the way I should go?

If you have any suggestions, tips, tricks, explanations, etc. for me, it would be very much appreciated!