I’m Just Going to Leave This Here..

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I don’t know what it is about January – maybe it’s the fact that it seems to go on for 456 days, that Christmas seems a distant memory, or perhaps it’s because it’s a New Year, you think it’s time to just get everything out so you can start the year with a clean slate.

I hope you know me well enough by now to understand that part of my whole ethos is to be upfront with you all, and talk about things I think we are all experiencing or not understanding as part of the Blogging world – be it on Twitter or Instagram.

Over the past few weeks, well, actually, for quite a while now, there have been lots of conversations going on  – and I have taken part in them too, about how this whole book blogging world works.

Years of Reading has been running since 2017 (I know!), and I love every thing about it. I cannot tell you the joy it brings me to talk to all of you about books and reading, to discover books and authors that I would never have dreamed of picking up in a bookshop, and to share my love of books with you all every single day.

However, there are still a number of things I get asked about, and I don’t know the answer.  So, if you are feeling like this whole blogging malarkey is confusing, I am going to tell you a few things, hopefully so you can see that you are not on your own.

Some days, I have had enough of Book Blogging and I have to step away because it drives me mad.

Truly, there are days when I don’t want to read, I feel like a book reading machine, and I don’t get replies from people I have contacted. I have to put my phone down, and do something else because I need to remind myself that this is not a paid job.  I am doing it because I want to.

The best thing for me is to talk to someone who has no involvement with the Book Blogging world, and for them to tell me it doesn’t matter and they don’t get why you need to read a certain book.

I need to want to pick up a book, and sometimes I lose that and have to step away.

I get frustrated when I see people getting books I would have loved to review.

I think we can all admit this has happened to us.  It drives me crazy, and honestly, I used to try and comment on the tweet in the vain hope that someone would take pity on me and send it.  I mean, when you step back and look at that statement – that’s not healthy is it?

It’s really hard, but at the end of the day, how many books do we have sitting on our bookshelves, that we could pick up and review?

It’s so easy to get caught up in the hype of needing to have the latest books, and I am guilty of that, and I need to get better at accepting that I am not entitled to them, and new releases are not everything.

I can’t find the words to write my reviews and I think they all sound the same.

How many times can you say ‘I love this book and you need to read it’!  Now I have written quite a lot of blog posts, although I am happier with the format they are going to take, I still worry that they all sound the same and they are not doing the books the justice they deserve.

My Blog Posts do not get lots of views.

For a book review, if I get 50 views, I have done really well.  Posts about Bookish Things like this, tend to do a lot better.  Funnily enough, since I started doing video reviews on Twitter and Instagram, they do a lot better and I get many more views of those.  Why do I do them? Honestly, because I like communicating in different ways, and sometimes a video review is like chatting to you all, and I think it’s much more natural.

I have less than 250 followers on my Blog.

When I see people celebrating that they now have 1000 followers on their blog, I am mystified! How do they do this? Is there some site I should be posting my blog on to get more followers – why does it matter how many followers I have? What does it mean to have so many followers? Does it mean that my blog isn’t as good as theirs?

This used to really bother me, now it doesn’t, because I am amazed I’ve stuck at blogging for this long!  I went through phases of different hobbies for years, and this is the one I have stuck at!

I do not know how to make people visit my Blog.

I mean, I post everything on Twitter and Instagram, and Instagram stories, and retweet during the day, but I can’t MAKE people read my posts!

I know realise that as long I have done everything I have promised, and tagged everyone I said I would -it’s kind of out of my hands!

Why aren’t people retweeting my Blog Post tweets?

Is it because they follow too many people? Is the book I am talking about not one they are interested in? Do they not enjoy my Blog Posts?

This one really used to drive me mad. Especially when you have poured your heart and soul into it, tagged the author, publisher and publicist – and nothing. Not even a like, let alone a retweet. I now post at 10 am, retweet at 2pm and 6pm, and leave it at that. I know that I have written the best I can, so you have to learn to accept it and let it be!

It takes a HUGE amount of time to keep everything going across all your social media.

You honestly could spend all day, tweeting, retweeting, taking pictures of books, posting on Instagram, Instagram stories, Instagram TV, posting on your blog and don’t forget Facebook, Amazon and goodreads.

So pick what works for you and do what you can when you want. I don’t have Facebook or use goodreads, and I also have a husband, two boys, a dog and a whole lot of things I have to do during the day.

Just remember, that Bookish People are genuinely so grateful and appreciative for whatever you do, and that sharing your love of books is the most important thing always.

Also, I don’t know about you, but I’m doing all this because I absolutely love it, and am not getting paid any money. For that reason,  I do what I can, when I can. If it’s too much, stop, and do what you want – your blog and social media, your rules.

I still do not understand how proof mailings work.

Sometimes publicists (who by the way are genuinely, the kindest, and most supportive people you can ever encounter) ask if Bloggers would like a proof.  You ask, and you might get one, or you might be too late. That’s fine, and we all absolutely understand that.

What is a million times more difficult to understand is when you see a Blogger/Bookstagrammer with a proof that you would have sold your children for to read.  How is that mailing list created? Is it that the publicists look at follower numbers or engagement levels? Do they have a list of trusted bloggers that they use? How do I get on that list? Who do I ask to get on the list?

Why can’t I just relax and realise it doesn’t matter?

Honestly, because it is a HUGE fear of missing out. You know that you would have done everything you should have – taken a picture, thanked and tagged the appropriate people, featured it across all your social media, and reviewed it, again making sure your review is posted everywhere too.

Thanks to the alway fabulous Bookish Chat, she gave me the perspective I needed. We talked about it and realised it does really get under our skin, but also, it takes the pressure off, because we can get our own copy, and review it IF WE WANT TO!

Imagine if you pleaded for a proof, were lucky enough to get one, and then didn’t like it. How do you deal with that when faced with writing a review?

That’s one thing I would absolutely say. Before you request a proof – bearing in mind especially for the small presses that budget is a huge issue, do your research to decide whether you really want it.

If I read the blurb and it’s not for me, I don’t ask for it, or I politely decline it. My reasoning is that it’s not fair to take a copy if it’s going to sit on my shelf and I am not going to review it.  There is always someone who would love that book and give it the attention it deserves, and so for that reason, have the courage to say no thank you.

Learning to do that is one of the best things ever, and also stops you asking for everything, and means that you are being true to yourself as a blogger.

You can’t read and review all the books, life is too short to read books you don’t love, and I promise you, making that decision is one of the best things ever! I now go by the rule that if I wouldn’t pick it up in a bookshop, I don’t ask for it. Trust me, it really does work!

No one asked me to write this Blog Post, and I don’t know if anyone will read it. I just think that being honest about the realities of Book Blogging and this fabulous world we all choose to be part of is very important to me. You might not agree with what I say, or that you have twenty more things you think too. All I know is that I love books and reading with all my heart, that starting Years of Reading was the best decision I ever made, and part of that is being honest about all of it with all of you – always.

Love,

Clare xxx

50 thoughts on “I’m Just Going to Leave This Here..

  1. lindasbookbag says:

    I think your blog is wonderful Clare. It’s quality and not quantity that counts. Like you, despite receiving books I get FOMO, I feel guilty about books I ‘should’ have read and haven’t and envious of book I want to read and haven’t received. I don’t think I do a good enough job in my reviews and on occasion I feel as if I’m shouting into the void. BUT – we both need to remind ourselves that this is a hobby and one we can, and probably should, step away from on occasion. Keep up the excellent work. Books need you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. OwlBeSatReading says:

    Fabulous post Clare! I’m such a sporadic blogger and I go through phases of ‘I can’t be arsed with it all’. At the moment I am reading for pure, unadulterated pleasure. I’m rating what I read on GR, writing a few words about it (or not) and falling in love with reading once again. Your post has really helped me let go of the guilt because I’ve got one or two (ok, about 20-ish😂) arcs to get to and now I’m thinking I’ll get to them when I’m good and ready. I’m not requesting/accepting any more for the foreseeable future. I’m now getting to books that were doing the rounds on social media months (or years!) ago and loving it. I’m also using my TBR jar for random book picks, which I adore doing! We can never read ALL the books, acquire ALL the arcs! I feel quite ‘literally liberated’ by my attitude 😁 Anyway, I’ll shut up now! Thank you for your posts, videos etc. You’re so entertaining whether you’re writing or chatting. You and Amanda at Bookish Chat are my go-to’s for bookish entertainment without a doubt😉 👏🏻 👍🏻 xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jackiesreadingcorner says:

    Hi,

    I found this really interesting to read, and I totally get everything you say. I only started blogging last June and I feel it has taken over a big part of my life, but I have nothing much else in my life, no husband, no partner children all grown up. Have a grandson I have on a Friday. I picked lots of books on netgalley, which I had never heard of until last year, didn’t expect to get any books, but got lists so from June to End of last year I ended up reading and reviewing 150 books. So far this year I am on book 28, but I have also spent a fortune on books I want to read but haven’t had a lot of chance to because I feel because I asked for books on netgalley I should be reading those first. I am now down to 26 left on there and have the 80% finally. I can’t wait to read some of my physical books as getting headaches from looking at screens all the time. New glasses due next week.
    But I feel I have been missing out on things I have recorded to watch on TV, I haven’t done any of my stitching, although that has become difficult with my hands.
    Like you I see these people on Instagram or wherever who have huge piles of books they have been given to read, some that I wouldn’t buy but some I would absolutely love, I post reviews on every site, and if I really love a book I have read I will comment and retweet that book as much as possible. I have received a couple of books in advance, which I am really grateful for. I need to slow down my purchases a bit I think though as I am disabled and only have a small income. I also have bookcases of books I really want to review. So what does it matter if I don’t get the latest book out, the day it’s released or before then. But I know what you are saying this whole post spoke to me, as I have read other peoples reviews on books after writing mine, and think wow that’s really good why didn’t I write like that, why doesn’t my blog look as good as that. But like you say we don’t get paid to do any of this, and if we are helping a writer get noticed by doing a blog tour, or reading their first book and reviewing it, then does it matter how the review is worded. I can only think or hope mine will improve in time. That soon I can read the books I have purchased, allow myself to do other things as well.
    Great post I really enjoyed reading it, and seeing that I’m not the only one who wonders how some get so many copies of books.
    Regards
    Jackie

    Liked by 1 person

    • yearsofreadingselfishly says:

      Thank you so much Jackie – do you know what, I absolutely understand what you are saying, and that’s the thing – that it’s easy to get caught up in it all. When I started, I used library books, or ones I had got from the charity shops. It really doesn’t matter what you talk about as long as you have loved it xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. nualacharlie says:

    Thanks for this, and I think I have had most of the same worries and stresses when it comes to blogging.
    Re getting proofs that you don’t live up to expectations, it has happened to me, my first ever proof that I requested by email from the publishers I started well but then went into a decline, I was so tempted to DNF it but I persevered and then gave it a fairly lukewarm review. It was from netgalley I just would have given up instead.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. nualacharlie says:

    It started well (not I). Serves me right for not proofreading my comment 😉 PPS I am loving your spreadsheet again this year, and making good use of it.

    Like

  6. bookmadjo says:

    Great post Clare. I am so guilty of feeling envious of the bloggers who receive daily books I would give my right arm for, but at the end of the day, a book I desperately want to read will be one I will want to buy anyway.

    My biggest reward is when my review touches the author, when they can see that their writing has moved me, that I ‘got’ them. That for me is why I do this. That and the absolute love of books.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. TextileRanger says:

    Your blog showed up in “Recommended Blogs” in my WordPress reader today, so this is the first time I have been here. I read a lot but I am not a book blogger, but I wanted to address your concern about your number of followers. I have a textile blog that supposedly has over 2000 followers, but a lot of them are what I consider fake followers. Their website is something like “wecanbuildyourwealth” or “russianbrides1111”. They are not really following, they are just clicking on a button hoping to get me to view their website. So don’t let that number bother you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. MarinaSofia says:

    Oh, I hear you, Clare, and I think we’ve all had some of those thoughts, if not all of them! Here’s what has worked for me (and I realise it’s not the best strategy for everyone): I’ve stopped reviewing new releases so much, I read whatever I please, review far less than I read and try to to have more meaningful conversations with the handful of faithful readers of my blog. Life is too short, too stressful, too busy, to add more pressure to it!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Gemma Evans says:

    Brilliant blog Clare. You are definitely one of the book bloggers I look up to so to hear you write things that constantly cross my mind is a huge relief!! And reassurance that I am doing ok in this book blogging world. Thank you for your honesty.
    Gemma

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Jane says:

    Clare – thank you for taking the time to write this. You are my favourite book blogger. We have similar taste in books. Sometimes I am too busy to engage with twitter so miss some of your posts. As you say – it doesn’t really matter. We need to enjoy our reading above all else. I can’t understand people who obsess about how many books they read in a year. For me some weeks it’s a book a day, some weeks no reading at all. Quality not quantity.
    Please keep blogging

    Liked by 1 person

    • yearsofreadingselfishly says:

      Jane, I am absolutely honoured that you enjoy my blogs and reading choices so much. Sometimes it all seems to be a bit aimless, but reading this has really made my day! I don’t think I will stop blogging for a while yet, and thank you so much xx

      Like

  11. Audrey Driscoll says:

    I can’t comment on book blogging specifically, nor on Twitter or Instagram, but I can say something about blogging in general. I’ve been blogging since 2010. It took most of those ten years before I hit 1,000 followers. Hardly anyone read my posts until I started following a LOT of blogs (over 100), reading a lot of posts, “liking” and commenting on those posts. Finally, other bloggers began reading, “liking,” and following my blog. Regarding followers, many will follow a blog only to get return follows. I sometimes wonder at the folks who follow my blog; I can’t imagine they’re interested in my thoughts on writing or gardening. I don’t routinely follow back; a blog’s content has to interest me first. All this reading and commenting takes quite a bit of time, at least a couple hours per day. That doesn’t include writing my own posts. So yes, it is a real time eater.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Anthony says:

    I enjoyed the post even though I could feel real angst in it. I understand your frustration. I want to be a blogger that get travel perks or get to review cool cycling products. It just doesn’t seem to happen.
    I wish you all the success in the world. I think book reviews are important and necessary.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Annabel (AnnaBookBel) says:

    Dear Clare, I follow you! I was going to say, I’ve been blogging too long to get wound about all the things you’ve articulated so well above, but no, I still get days like yours too! My page views are rubbish most days, but I do relish the conversations I have with my blogging friends and commenters. I still also get overexcited too when a longed-for proof arrives, and I should remember not to brag about it, which let’s face it a #bookpost tweet more often is than not. My biggest aim this year is to enjoy reading more, and that makes the blogging more fun too, so take heart and know we’re here for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Bookread2day says:

    I respect your honesty. I done all the same things as you and feeling the same. If you hadn’t of posted this I would just assume I am the only one feeling like this. I’m going through the phrase of feeling rejected re tweeting for new books, adding comments in hope to win, but never have I been successful. I’m even more upset right now I’ve commented on books to win by my favourite authors, and not succeeded. I too feel like I can’t be bothered to read, apart from if I’m contacted for a blog tour. I’m in the same boat as you I’ve asked for books by publicity assistants for my favourite authors books and not a word of reply. I gave up contacting them. However I requested my favourite authors on netgalley and bingo, I can read them free but they don’t send physical books. The only thing is I only read paperbacks or hardbacks and not downloads.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yearsofreadingselfishly says:

      Thank you for your comments- I think a lot of people are feeling the same at the moment. It’s hard to know what to do, but the thing about the Bookish Community is that it is so fabulous and supportive – you are never on your own. I also think as long as you love what you do, that’s all that matters x

      Like

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