So, I know this is probably a topic that’s been talked to death already (the woes of entering the book blogosphere late so all the good ideas are taken), but, hey, maybe I might have something awesome to add to the discussion.
I wanted to ask the question: what do you blog for? An alternate title could be: how do you determine blogging success?
So, it seems to me that the book blogging community has lots of things you shouldn’t blog for.
For example, the amount of times I’ve gone to a post titled “How to Get ARCs” and it says in some form, “Don’t blog just to get ARCs” is a lot of times. So, apparently, we as book bloggers frown upon people who want to blog for the free books. And, as I discussed in another Let’s Chat last month, there’s a lot of stigma and taboo around people who blog for popularity or based off of numbers and good stats. But book bloggers do think that blogging for the love of the community and for yourself are good reasons to blog, which makes me wonder is there really a “good reason” to start a book blog.
We’ll start with the whole controversy around ARCs first.
I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve yet to stumble upon a book blog that solely blogs for ARCs. I mean, how could you even really TELL someone is blogging for ARCs just by looking at someone’s blog? I say that mainly because blogging takes a lot of someone’s time and you have to put in SO MUCH EFFORT. Are ARCs worth it for all the time I put into the blog, whether e-ARC or physical copy? Definitely. But for someone who just starts a book blog because, “Hey, free books!” it might be a hard process. It’s not just trying to make your blog look pretty, reading enough books to write reviews, thinking up good content, and then actually writing that content. It’s also maintaining several social media accounts, having the time to do other non-blogging things, and then actually get people to read, comment, and like your posts, which is an effort in and of itself. And then you have to look at other people’s blogs and comment and make a presence. I mean, you have to get a good amount of stats before asking for ARCs. Sure, you might get lucky, but if you have 10 blog followers, and virtually no people reading what you write, you’re more likely to be declined than anything.
BUT, is it wrong to blog for ARCs? I guess some people see it as a greed sort of thing, but as I said earlier, I love being rewarded for my hard work not only with followers and comments and shares and likes, but also being blessed enough to get to read a book early and hype it up for others. It always feels good to know a publisher or a publicist looked at my blog, and thought I was good enough to read their book early. Since book blogs aren’t as big as fashion blogs, food blogs, parenting blogs, etc. – where they can make serious money off of it – and because sponsored reviews are so frowned upon in the book community, really, we’re “paid” in awesome stats and free books. And I have to say, the allure of getting to read a book early is totally awesome. Just saying.
And then there’s the frown upon of people who blog for popularity.
Again, bloggers seem to have this mindset that we should never, ever care about our numbers, which I don’t think is true. I mean, seeing all these super popular book blogs and hoping to get on their level someday shouldn’t be something that’s looked at as bad. I sure wish that I could be that one blog that has all the followers across all the social media accounts and the one that people mention and others go, “Oh, yeah, I love her blog, too!” Probably because I’m quiet in real life, and “Internet fame,” in a way, would be much easier to handle. And, to me, a successful blog is the one where all the popular bloggers comment on, and they get all the ARCs, and they handle social media perfectly, and they’re on everyone’s favorite lists, and they always inspire people. Other people might look at a successful blog as one that just has a good enough readership and lots of comments because that person wants a sense of community. Success is different to different people, and I don’t think there’s any “wrong” way to go about it.
BUT will blogging just for popularity become frustrating? Indeed it will. Personally, I’m very impatient. Like, about everything. I’ve talked several times about how I quit things, and I feel like the reason I so often do is because I always build up these unrealistic expectations in my head – on Wattpad, my story is going to blow up and I’m going to be spotted by a publisher; on Goodreads, I’m going to make the best reviews and become super popular like Emily May and have all the friends and followers – and then I’ll peak in success and get super excited, but as soon as that peak slowly descends, or I’m not doing as well as before, I start to get deflated and lose interest. I don’t want that to happen with blogging (and, so far, it hasn’t!). I’m one of those people who starts things, puts a lot of work into it, and then waits for success to come to me RIGHT NOW, even though there’s a part in my head that’s telling me that it’ll take time before I reach that status. So, for someone like me, it’ll be rough to start out and realize that you could work so hard on a post, and only one person likes it. The road to popularity success is a bumpy one, but I don’t necessarily think that you’ll crash and burn because of it.
Then we move on to the “good reason” for book blogging – the community.
And not just the book blogging community in general, but just a community of bookworms. This could apply to blogging, to Book Twitter, to Goodreads, to bookstagram. It’s awesome how there’s an endless amount of platforms to talk and share our love about books nowadays! I’ve said this before, but in real life, I don’t know too many people who read. So, it’s always a little disheartening when I finish a great book, and I have nobody to talk to about it. Hence one of the reasons why I started this blog – I wanted to talk about books, but I also wanted to talk about other bookish-related topics, as you can see by my word-y Discussion and Let’s Chat posts. So, for me, book blogging seemed to be the best way to go, and I haven’t looked back since.
I’m guessing the main reason why this is seen as a “good reason” to start a book blog is because it’s less greedy, in a way? Like, I’m sure to others, blogging to get free books or to gain some form of popularity makes you seem like a vain person, but you’ll think better of a person if they say, “I started blogging to join the wonderful community,” if that makes sense?
I’m not saying that people who say that are fake in any way, because I said it just earlier, but why does it seem like I can’t blog for all three reasons?
I blog because I love the community and I love sharing my thoughts with people who will finally understand me. I blog because I like to be rewarded for all the work I put into my blog with free early copies of books. I blog because I’d love to be an inspiration or a favorite to others. I blog because I don’t feel comfortable expressing my feelings all the time in real life, and knowing that there are people out there who listen and like those thoughts always warms my heart. I blog because even though a comment might be super long, it’s always nice to know that someone thought my post was worth it enough to leave one. I blog for all these reasons, and that’s why I like to think my blog is successful. Not just because I’ve met so many awesome people, but because I get to read some amazing books early and for free and I know that there are people out there who care enough about what I have to say. I honestly don’t think I’ll ever blog for just ONE reason. And I think that’s okay.
Also, just wanted to take a moment to say that I’ve sent out e-mails to all the Big Bloggers as to who you’re assigned to! The project starts today (YAY!), and I hope you guys are as excited as I am about the whole thing! I have three book blogs that I’ll be supporting, so that’s fun! I just wanted to let you guys know in case you happened to not get an e-mail or something. But feel free to ask me any questions or if you haven’t gotten an e-mail in your inbox!
What do you blog for? Do you consider your blog successful and why? What is a successful blog to you? Any blogs that immediately come to mind when you think “successful” (just because I’m interested if anyone picks the same person lol)?