Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Much Ado About Book Blogging

Recently there as been a sort of "blogging revolution". It first started (that I know of anyway) with Becky at The Bookette. Although I do not follow or regularly read her blog, Becky's post was brought to my attention by In Which A Girl Read, a blog I recently started following a fews days ago because her very interesting post about YA romance. There was also The Book Owl (who I follow and check regularly) and Staysi at Lost in Ink who I featured on my blog [see post] many months back when she first started. After reading everybody's opinions and distresses I decided to add my two cents as well.

Newbies, Books, and Competitions?
When I first started book blogging a year and one month ago, I had no idea that there was a "blog-o-sphere" of countless other people who had the same idea as I did: write book reviews to express their passion for writing and/or YA books. I also wasn't aware of the complicatedness that surrounded these book blogs. Here I was, an extreme newbie–heck I didn't even know how to change a blog background (that really bothered me by the way)–and I only thought blogs were just for recording reviews, not gaining publicity enough to where publishers were contacting you and giving you free (advanced) books to review.....

Another reason why I started blogging was to maybe "meet" some other teens who were like me. I did, but that didn't necessarily mean they were like me. Oh, sure they read, they reviewed, they raved, but they acted more like reading machines than humans. After abandoning the hope of finding a few bloggers who had similar opinions or notions about their love of books, I was even more determined to be "different". As months went by nothing on my blog changed. No new followers, no comments, no reader activity–it was kind of depressing. Then I requested a few of my first ARCs and posted about them on "IMM". Boom. All of a sudden people and other bloggers started responding. Is that what it took to get people to notice my blog? To get these shiny new books that have yet to touch the shelves? I love finding and learning about new books, but I was sort of put down by the competitive vibe other bloggers were sending about receiving advanced copies. Even the other bloggers who started their blogs about the same time started getting wrapped up in following the same old routine of posting about their ARCs or raving about books that aren't always "rave worthy" DO NOT get me wrong, ARC are just about the best thing publishers have done for the book industry. Without them, the word wouldn't get spread about new or upcoming reads. 

The popular blogs (you know who I mean) are also big intimidators to new bloggers whether they are aware of this or not. With exception of a few exceedingly friendly bloggers who've been around for awhile, the blogging community is not what I'd always say as extremely "friendly". When I first started BLT, only a handful of people actually "greeted" me, so as a result I try to find out about new bloggers and leave comments welcoming them to the community.

"Just for ARCs", Lovely Readers, and Feeling Pressured
"Don't start blogs just for ARCs" may seem rude, but what can we do about it? Whine? Be jealous? Certainly, not. If you think a blogger is just doing it for free books, so what. Keep your mind on your own blog because chances are, those bloggers with fade away or suddenly disappear. And don't think you have to participate in the blogging community by having a blog either. We love people who are strictly "readers", not bloggers. Did I mention we love you?

Another problem among bloggers is feeling pressured by a stack of "to-read" books from publishers or a books authors personally sent to you and are hoping for good reviews. Ugh, every night before I go to bed I stare at my reading pile and it stare back at me. "You must read me!" they whisper. I pull the covers over my head and dread an email bugging me about "when will you review my book?". You shouldn't have to feel pressured to review books "on time", but it happens. If a blogger is truly interested in reading, genuine, and maintains a updated blog, publishers/authors shouldn't have to worry about their book "going to waste" even if it takes the blogger (dare I say it?) months to review a book. Life happens. Reading/blogging slumps happen. School happens (for "younger" reviewers such as myself). Sometimes though, it's the very thought of having all those books to read that makes you not read them. Wow, I'm good aren't I? This very fact is why I haven't requested a single book since the beginning of the year and I don't think I will again until that scary pile of books has been read!

My Evaluation on the Matter
My dear Watson, I do believe I have come to the conclusion of this post! [Taking off checkered hat and pulling out magnifying glass] Recently (and what a coincidence too!) I've been thinking about the pressure to blog, routines, and not finding any blogging buddies. I've come to the decision that I will renew my objective to be different than the rest of the blogging community, not worry about followers/visitors, and seek out some reader pals like me. It might take some late night scheming or no-posting weeks for BLT, but I want to do something BIG, something neat to feature! In weeks that will go by, there will be some changes, nothing completely drastic or immediately, but there will be changes....good ones.



Lost in a Book said...

Great post! I agree with a lot of what you say! I recently started blogging, too and felt the pressure of getting the most ARCs I could. I feel like the types of posts I want to have, much like this one, discussing books and matters about books would go very unnoticed. I want people to read what I have to say and I want to find people to discuss books with. So I've also recently did some thinking and I'm going to only post IMM when I've gotten a book I'm REALLY excited about. Those are the posts I get most comments on, but why? I'm not saying anything enlightening, I'm just showing what books came to me/I bought. So I think it's great you talked about this :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this great post Morgan,

I didn’t know when I started my blog how many other YA bloggers there were out there. I was really intimidated by some of the beautiful websites, and the amount of books people were reading.

So thank you for reminding us that blogging should be fun and reading should be fun, and it’s not about what about people do, what ARC’s they get or how much they read. : )

Staysi said...

Great post! I agree.. That huge pile of books waiting to be reviewed sometimes discourages me from reading. I'm definitely trying to make some changes to my blog also. I have to admit I became one of those blogging machines. It was IMM and the same weekly memes for months, with a few reviews in between. I definitely became disconnected with everyone (especially you!) You helped me out a lot in the beginning and featured me on your blog, but we never really got past there. So... thanks for helping me get started! I think bloggers are becoming to wrapped up in competition and the same repetitive posts. I definitely don't want my blog to be that way and I don't want to feel disconnected with everyone. Let's be friends again! :)

Natalie said...

This is a great post. I know a lot of "newbie" bloggers, and even some of the older ones have been a bit disheartened by the competition-like atmosphere that's developed amongst the blogging community. I don't think it will ever really completely go away, but I have to agree with you--sharing opinions about books and making book buddies is what's my favorite part of the system. Most of the bloggers I've met feel the same.

Props to you for making changes to suit your feelings and needs. I look forward to seeing them! :)

April (BooksandWine) said...

Awesome post! Like you, I try to seek out new reviewers and welcome them to the community, because it does mean a lot when someone takes the time to say hello.

The Book Owl said...

Awesome post! It's nice to hear that you stop by and read my blog. :* <- blushing smiley, I guess. haha I love your blog as well! The colors always draw me in.

I agree with you on every point. Each night I think of which book I need to read next, and when I have to have a review posted. Stressful. I'm going to try to make blogging more enjoyable for myself.

Tonight, for example, I felt like I had to post, but I wasn't really in the mood. So I decided, you know what, I can take a night off once a week. So I am. And I'm happy.

Natascha De Marco said...

I am now following you.

I have had the exact same thoughts! It's like there is so much competition. Ive been blogging for about a year and sometimes I am just so tired of it all. Not the reading or blogging, but the freaking competition.

I made my blog for the same things as you did. One day I found a blog named The Compulsive Reader and I was amazed! I wanted to talk about my books too! So I made my blog and stuff.

I used to get stressed on posting everyday. Now Im like, yeaah, I have school, Im completely busy looking for money so I can attend college, I have a job, and I also like watching series and movies. So, I post whenever I find something good, and can say I am still pretty active.

I love this post, and which we could become blog buddies. What do you say?

Anonymous said...

Such a great topic!! When I started I thought the same thing...an outlet to just talk about books, I had really no idea how huge book blogs were. I admit the really "big" ones made me nervous because I had no clue what I was doing and like you said nobody really reached out, there was only one big blogger that started following me and left comments and I see her still doing that with new blogs so Ive tried to do the same and reach out to new blogs I see...I meet some great gals on "Book Blogs" and it started a small community of new bloggers. Im always on the look out for the newbie starting out and try to mention the blogs in some of my weekly updates. It takes a while to really get the flow of blogging and build up publishing connections but the work you put in it will show.

Danny said...

This is absolutely a great post! I started a book blog with 7 of my bloggy friends 2 month ago. We all have been bogging since a long time already but this was a different community. So we just teamed up to write about books, since we all love reading that much.

It was then when I also started looking around for nice blogs and I was overwhelmed by the amount of posts they all had in one week. Are they sleeping? That was one reason why we did that together with friends. We all have jobs and a RL that keeps us busy so there is no way in blogging each day.

ARC? We didn't get any and honestly we are not looking out and request them. We gonna read what we want and blog about it. Our Bog is for the love of books and not for the love of ARC.

Ok my rambling comes to an end. Inspiring post, thank you!

BLT Follower said...

Wow great post totally agree... I'm not a blogger (just a reader and follower) and as much as I like to see ARC reviews I love whenever bloggers review an older book (that might be at the library already) and one that I haven't heard of yet... You just keep on bloggin Morgan!

Related Posts with Thumbnails