Not a rant. Just some random musings that may help new bloggers on the scene, or even those who have been around for a while. I tried it in a thread and Twitter decided to disconnect #1 from #s 2-3. This a tad more coherent.
You know, social media, while a fantastic tool when it comes to the book community, can also be a constant attack to one’s self-esteem. Not that posts are directed at anyone in particular, but people are affected anyway. It is sad but true. I see it all too often (and have even experienced it myself). Jealousy runs rampant when it comes to social media (society in general if I’m being honest). Stop comparing yourself to others. You are your own person. Just be your best self.
It is an odd thing to see across Twitter and Facebook (not so much Instagram) bloggers apologizing to their followers for failing to post, not posting enough, changing their minds on books to read, not liking a book others raved about, enjoying a book others didn’t find to their liking, etc.
The list goes on.
Can everyone just stop? You are not a machine. You do not get paid for this. You are allowed to have your own opinion. Case closed.
I have seen people overcome by anxiety because they won’t achieve their reading goal for the year, or have completely given up on having one because they are too scared to fail. Others are trying to find out why they didn’t get that ARC that others in the community received, believing this to be a failure rather than an opportunity to be excited for their fellow blogger. Too many times, I feel that bloggers put WAY too much pressure on themselves to gain a huge following. While it is possible and has been done, in the grand scheme of things, does a large following really matter in the realm of unpaid book reviews?
Let’s get to some actual advice rather than sticking in the negatives of book blogging:
- Your follower count is fine the way it is. You’ll gain some, you’ll lose some. Eventually, it’ll grow as more people see your posts. Having said that, with algorithms the way they are, don’t expect 90%+ of your followers to see your post Day 1 or even Day 31. Just because you have 1k+ followers doesn’t mean they are waiting around to like your post.
- You didn’t reach your reading goal this year? The only person that matters to is you (sorry not sorry). Maybe make a more achievable one next year, and then be ecstatic when you overachieve? OR, don’t make one and just read as much as you can. Count it up at the end of the year and you won’t feel like a failure.
- So, you have been requesting ARCs and have received loads of them. Now, you are so behind that you have stopped reading altogether and have been in a slump that you think you’ll never get out of. STOP WHINING. Slumps happen to EVERYBODY. Make a list of the books YOU want to read and start one. Don’t request any more until you finish at least a few of them. It is ok to take time off from requesting ARCs. You CAN purchase a book now and then. If that doesn’t work, go back and read or listen to a book you enjoyed in the past OR watch a new TV show. Take time off from reading and enjoy another activity.
- Back to the ARCs thing. You are not contractually obligated to finish every single book sent to you. Pubs and authors appreciate your opinions and love to hear word spread about their books, but not at the expense of your sanity (except maybe Michael Fletcher). If a publisher asks you if you are planning coverage for a book, be honest with them. Don’t lie through your teeth and leave them waiting for your review.
- STOP BEING JEALOUS OF OTHERS BLOGGERS. I have had this talk with myself numerous times, and I think I am finally over it. Some are just lucky, others are better than you. AND THAT IS OK. Stop comparing yourself and just do you. I have realized that I will never be a wordsmith like some of my favorite bloggers, but publishers still take the time to appreciate me for expressing my opinions. I promise, the same will happen for you.
Look, I’ve been doing this blogging thing for about 5 years now. There are still things I fret over, and plenty of things I wish I had done differently. Book blogging all comes down to one thing: enjoyment. If you aren’t enjoying the thing you love most, you need to re-assess your priorities.
Paul's Picks says
Boooooooooooom! So much wisdom here!
David W says
Nick T. Borrelli says
My thoughts are much the same. So I am a very busy person with two little girls who I have to drive every day after my full-time job to all of their various events. I am also the sole cook in the house so I am expected to make dinner every night. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for much else unfortunately. But I also love to read and it is my PASSION. I try to do my best with my reviews and I am always honest with those who give me ARCs to review. My life is what it is and I know that I’m never going to be able to write posts every day like some bloggers can simply because it is not realistic for me to do so.
But that’s also not going to stop me from doing what I love, which is sharing my thoughts regarding the books that I read. If people like what I do, all the better and that does make me happy. If not, I’m still going to do it regardless. But I definitely don’t do it to compete with other bloggers nor do I get jealous that they are way more prolific than I am or might get more noteriety. Frankly I’d still post reviews and talk about books on my blog if nobody paid attention at all. It’s just a personal outlet for me and I feel the need to talk about what I just experienced. Always have.
David W says
Absolutely. You keep it up, brother!
Paul at Halfman, Halfbook says
Great article with some very sensible advice, thanks
David W says
Awesome post David! I agree with everything. I’ve definitely gone through periods of being jealous of other bloggers and trying to figure out why they are more popular than me or get those unicorn ARCs. But you have to get over it if you want to keep your sanity. I have ups and downs but I push through because my blog is important to me.
David W says
Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum says
I definitely think the pressure is higher when you are newer, and I used to feel a lot of what you described. I don’t think I’m an old hand at blogging by any means, but the years have a way of mellowing you out and these days I’ve taken on a more “whatever happens will happen” approach. I don’t even have much time to be on social media these days, so I’ve accepted that life just gets busy sometimes and there’s not much you can do about it 🙂
Well said… I don’t understand why they apologize. Life happens and sometimes Blog is the last in the list. Virtual world should not be given so much of an importance, so I feel
Ola G says
Couldn’t agree more! Blogging is supposed to be a pleasure and a way to engage with other readers, and not a way to punish yourself 😉
All good advice. That said, I’ve probably been guilty of several of those things over the years, and it really is a learning process . . . a maturing process. I’ve stepped back from blogging altogether twice over the past 10 years, and both times the break has done me good. Sure, I lost some traction/followers, but I regained some sanity and found the pleasure in reading again.
Mind you, I’ll probably never stop being jealous of seeing who got what ARCs. 🙂
David W says
Absolutely. Sometimes breaks are required. It can burn you out, and when it does, do something else that brings you joy.
Thanks for putting this out there! Just the words I was needing to hear.
David W says
So much great advice here! Everyone needs to chill out – it’s not a real job for the majority of us, so it’s not like anyone’s going to fire us if we take time off, or do a lame review, or share *gasp* an unpopular opinion!
David W says