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.