Random Bookish Thoughts: Blogging

Posted January 13, 2015 / Discussions, Other Memes / 27 Comments

Thoughts on Book Blogging

random bookish thoughtsI am by no means an expert on the book blogging community. I only created my blog in July 2014 and I know that there are countless bloggers out there who have been in the community for many, many years. But, there have been many recent events that have added a bit of drama and controversy. I wanted to take a few minutes to reflect on the community in general and what I’ve learned from this community as a newbie. Most of this was based on Anna’s decision to leave the community and some of the amazing tweets she posted recently on her opinions and choice to leave blogging behind. I’ve been wanting to make a post with tips for newbie bloggers, from a newbie blogger, but this seemed like a good time to combine all of my thoughts and advice into one big ol’ discussion post.

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On ARC-Envy and Pressure

There is no greater thing than free books, right? Of course. When I started up my blog I had NO idea that ARCs were possible. Book bloggers got free copies of books before they were released? I was in heaven! I knew this was the place for me. But, of course, there’s a catch. There are so many side effects from ARCs that you almost wonder if it’s worth it. I used to get very envious of other people’s ARCs because I wanted to feel needed and popular like that. ARC-envy is understandable for books you’re realllly itching to read, but otherwise it’s not healthy. Just because you don’t get ARCs doesn’t mean your blog isn’t good or people don’t value your opinions. Consider it a blessing: you have more time to focus on the books you REALLY want to read. No pressure. No deadlines. Just reading. After all, that’s the point. You don’t have to worry about getting some surprise ARCs in the mail that don’t interest you and you feel obligated to read. The pressure of having ARCs can overtake you. When I started scheduling my reading out, it made me not want to read. I was in a major reading slump because I was paying too much attention to deadlines and TBRs. If you enjoy reading, do everything in your power to keep it that way!

ARC tips for newbies:

  • Only request ARCs of books you heard of (and started pining over) BEFORE browsing NetGalley and Edelweiss. That’s the only way you can be sure you really want the books for the right reasons. Sometimes browsing the sites can make you request books you may not ever want to read.
  • Request ARCs by authors you’ve read before and loved their work. You’re more likely to want to read the ARC if it’s by an author you really enjoy or have read before. Sometimes it’s hard to get yourself hyped over an ARC if you have no body of work to base it on.
  • Don’t stress about ARCs in general. Having less ARCs = having more time to read what you want, when you want to read it. Your highly anticipated book of the year will be released at some point. Just wait for it and hopefully it’ll be even sweeter then.

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On Blog Tours and Marketing Posts

I’ll be honest – I’ve obviously had a few blog tour posts come up on my blog. When I see sign-ups for something like that, I jump at the chance because of the whole ARC thing I talked about above. (It’s an addiction I’m working on overcoming, okay?) There are so many blog tour posts I see by other bloggers where their post doesn’t even feature a review. As a past member of blog tours, I know that you can change your type of post after signing up if you don’t like the book. They don’t want you to make your post with a negative review, obviously, because that defeats the purpose. However – why would you even want to be a part of a tour for a book you didn’t like, regardless of the kind of post? Don’t market things you’re not 100% behind.

Publicity posts for newbies:

  • Similar to my ARC-related tips above, only sign up for blog tours for authors or books you’ve already read and loved. No one wants to join an ARC tour and have to bail on the review segment at the last minute because you didn’t like the book. If you are a major supporter of the author and are excited about promoting their stuff, sign up! Otherwise, you should skip it.
  • Remember this is your blog, not a marketing tool. Of course it’s nice to help publishers promote books that you’re a big fan of. Part of starting up a book blog is to share your opinions on books, bond with other readers, and (in turn) promote the authors/books you love.

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On Authors

They’re people too! Everyone has a right to an opinion. If we didn’t share negative reviews, there would be a lot less reviews out there in general. I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with writing negative reviews! You can find quite a few on this site. One thing I try to think about, though, is how the author would feel if they read the review. I want to be honest and a little snarky, but I wouldn’t want to personally attack anyone. Beyond reviews themselves, the author-blogger controversies with Kathleen Hale (#HaleNo!) and Stacy Jay’s Kickstarter (still makes me sad) are major areas of contention. Bloggers exist to read, review, and share opinions. We’re not obligated to do anything if we don’t want to. I don’t know anyone who gets paid to do this. You’re welcome to support or not support any author you’d like. Threatening them and making them feel unsafe on the internet is just not fair, especially when they only asked for support. (The issue with Kathleen Hale is another story – she made another blogger feel unsafe and threatened, and that’s not okay.) The bottom line is that I think bloggers should definitely be conscious of what they post and who it would affect… especially on issues that aren’t even about the books themselves.

Author-related tips for newbies:

  • Do tweet positive reviews to authors. More than likely they’ll love to see your kind words! Think about the warmth and encouragement you’d feel if someone publicly shared a positive opinion about you. Sending authors tweets with links to your reviews could make their day. On the other hand…
  • Do not tweet negative reviews to authors. That’s just not fair. Authors in general are cautioned not to read a lot of reviews of their books because it could make them sad or angry or discouraged. You never know what you’re going to get when you put your work out there for the public domain. Do not draw an author’s attention to your negative review. Remember that they’re people too.
  • Follow your favorites on Twitter. I tell you, there’s nothing I get more of a kick out of than watching some of my favorite authors talk to each other on Twitter. I love reading about them. They’re like celebrities in our community and it’s lovely to see them be real. Some of my favorites on Twitter are Emery Lord, Rainbow Rowell, Jenny Han, and Morgan Matson. Love their books and love their tweets!

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On Giveaways

I love me a good giveaway. Free books, heck yeah! I wish I could host more of them. For real. I do enter giveaways when I see ones I’d like, but I used to have a major issue before. I would enter any and all giveaways just because FREE BOOKS. I’ve had to cut back. If I see a Twitter giveaway, I am always tempted to just do a little retweet and enter… regardless of the books in the giveaway. I’ve recently been limiting myself and only entering when I genuinely care about the books in the photo. The reason is because I don’t want to be greedy. Why should I take away the chance for someone else to win them – someone who really wants them? Especially if that person may not have the means to buy them themselves. I’m fortunate that I usually can purchase the books I really want. Why rob someone of their chance to win and just be greedy?

Avoiding greediness tips for newbies:

  • Um, don’t be greedy. I guess this one is self-explanatory. If you don’t care about the books in the giveaway, don’t enter it. Simple as that. Give someone else the opportunity to win – someone who really wants them.
  • Spread the word about friends’ giveaways. Retweet the giveaway post and then tweet to your friend to let them know you’re just spreading the word. They’ll appreciate the help and will maybe help you in the future with a giveaway.

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On the whole point of this blogging thing

I alluded to this in my first point, but you need to remind yourself WHY you started blogging. Before you made your blog, were you even aware that you could get advanced copies of books for free? Probably not. So don’t make that your focus! Remember that you started your blog because you loved reading. You wanted a place to share your opinions. You wanted to meet other people who love books. You wanted book recommendations and to read other peoples’ thoughts. There’s no wrong or right way to do it. REALLY.


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27 responses to “Random Bookish Thoughts: Blogging

  1. I agree with all of these things! And oh, if only I had realized so so many of these things earlier on haha! Great tips for newbies. I think it’s just so easy to get sucked into FREE BOOKS and HEY THIS PUBLISHER LIKES ME that it’s soooo tempting to go overboard. Even still for me and I’ve been blogging for almost three years now! 🙂

    Brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide recently posted: If You Liked… Divergent
    • Haha thank you!! I didn’t want to come across as an expert but am trying to approach the blogging thing with a good mindset, especially as it comes to publisher-related things. I want this blog to be about me and what I want to read!

  2. Wonderful, wonderful points! Though I do have to say that on the topic of ARCs, sometimes it’s nice to request something by someone you don’t know and haven’t heard of … if the books seems like it might appeal to you, maybe you’ll find your next favourite author! But yeah, like Brittany said, it’s so tempting to go way overboard. I’ve been really good in the past year, but looking through NetGalley is kind of like being a kid in a candy store!

  3. I agree with your post. The only thing is, when it comes to tours, sometimes there is a book that sounds interesting that I know my readers would want to know about, but may not be something I either have time to read or isn’t really my thing. We are not all going to like the same thing, and there are times where I have read a well loved series by a lot of my fellow bloggers and DNF it, or vice versa. Why wouldn’t I want to take part in a tour to bring forth a book that I know some of my readers would love to know about, even if it’s not something I myself would have read? They get exclusive excerpts or guest posts from the author, and a lot of the time get a chance to win the book itself. So I see nothing wrong with that. I think with anything in life, you need to exercise control, even when it comes to blogging.

    • Yeah I guess that’s true. I just view my blog as MY place with books I want to read. I try to only sign up for tours of books I’d actually like to read, because I want my blog to reflect my reading preferences. You make a good point! That’s why it’s so great that there are so many different kinds of blogs out there. Everyone does it for different reasons/audiences.

  4. This is a really well put together post. For the most part I enjoy being in this community. I think the free books is a great perk. Even though I don’t review a whole lot of arcs I love entering giveaways. The book blogging community has opened so many doors for me. I would have never read some of the books I have read without the blogging community. I have had the chance to talk to wonderful people.

    Rachael @ Rachael Turns Pages recently posted: 2014 Book of the Year Bracket Challenge: Final Two
  5. This is such a fantastic post!! It seems like there are TONS of bloggers who are so solely focused on ARCs and blog tours. I honestly feel kind of bad for them. Those things aren’t what blogging is all about. Then I feel like their blog just turns into one giant piece of advertising space and I can’t even bear to read it. Where’s the Blogger? Where’s the personality? Where’s the uniqueness?

    It’s buried under a mountain of promo posts. 🙁

    Ashley recently posted: My Website Pet Peeves
    • Thank you! Exactly! I skip right over blog tour posts, especially if there’s no review attached. I try to only agree to Blog Tours for books by authors I enjoy, so it removes some of that risk. I figure it’s a good way to grab an ARC of a book I’ve been looking forward to. But, I don’t want to join tours just for the promo stuff. It gets annoying when I see too much of them in my feed. I want more personality and discussion posts and REAL honest reviews!

  6. You’re addressing some really great points and I completely agree, especially with the negative review thing. As you said, authors are only people too and they do put a lot of work into every single book, so I think there is a very fine line between justified criticism if you really didn’t like a book and attacking the author on a personal level.
    Great post! 🙂

    • Exactly. It’s hard to navigate this book blogging thing sometimes! If I do end up with an ARC somehow, I want to post it just because I’m excited. I don’t do it to brag. But it seems like some people do it for that reason. My options are limited too, unfortunately.

  7. It’s so funny how easy it is to go from not getting any ARCs to being completely overwhelmed by ARCs and wishing you had less. I’ve gone the full circle now and am hardly requesting anything because I specifically don’t want the pressure! I’m pretty sure that no matter how much we advise against it, every blogger kind of needs to go through that cycle though since it’s hard to get over the ARC craziness without first getting overwhelmed by them, ha.

    Anya @ On Starships and Dragonwings recently posted: Sci-fi and Fantasy Friday {ARCs and $5 Giftcards Weekly!}

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