Armchair BEA, Day 5: The Future of Blogging

Friday, June 8, 2012

Today's topic is the future of blogging. Our posts are to be about "asking the experts" or providing tips about blogging. Now, I'm not an expert by any means, but I feel pretty comfortable with the experiences I've had over the past few years so I'm just going to write briefly about my own "tips" or, rather, my own philosophies on blogging.

As much as the book blogging community is a wonderful place, it also has the same challenges as any other community out there. Therefore, t's vital that each blogger know what their purpose is so they don't feel pressured to conform to any other standards, thus turning the reading and blogging of books into a frustrating task rather than an enjoyable hobby. That is truly my main piece of advice (that I need to remind myself to follow as well). In fact, I would encourage bloggers to physically write out their purpose/goals in order to encourage their own completion of these goals but also as a reminder to not feel swayed one way or another by how other people are working their blogs.

My main purpose in creating this blog was certainly not to make money from it (still not a goal) and not to get free books (I didn't even realize that would be a side effect of the blogging). It was truly to have a way to share my enjoyment of the books I was reading, to write about them so I wouldn't forget (as I typically do). I figured doing these things would encourage my continued reading and that blogging as a hobby would be a fun outlet. But I've fallen into the pitfalls many others have. What I need to look out for is how many review books I take on. I find that I dislike the obligation and often, I find myself really interested in a book only to lose interest either by the time it arrives in the mail or by the time I need to read it. So either I feel guilty for not reading them or I slog through them (even if they might be good I slog through because that's not what I wanted to read right then) and turn reading into a non enjoyable experience. I still deal with this all the time, but I'm trying to stop. Especially because I have experienced how great it feels to read what I want when I want and also find that this leads to an increase in how much I read... which leads to more blog posts which are easier to write because I have a higher level of enthusiasm. Seems like a simple enough process! But it's something I have to constantly remind myself about. And yet I'm constantly asking for more review books, requesting them on net galley, etc. LOL

The other thing is not comparing to other blogs. There are other people who have a different purpose with their blogs, yet I'll find myself comparing mine to theirs and thinking I need to do that too. And I don't! This is 100% my blog and I make all the rules here. And there are things that I would like to be able to do, but I just don't have the time or desire to put that much energy in to my blog. I rarely check my stats, and I don't do anything to try to increase them either. There are those who put focus into maximizing search engine optimization and are constantly marketing their blogs. If this is your purpose (aforementioned) then cool. But if it's not, then don't stress it! I mean, I would like the result of those things, sure, but when it comes down to it I'm not willing to do what it takes. It's too much time and stress and my purpose in this blog is not those things but to focus on my actual enjoyment of reading and writing about my reading. That's all.

As for the community involvement, I used to "follow" many hundred blogs but in reality I clearly wasn't reading every one of the posts or commenting and engaging in conversation with each of those people. I've learned the hard way that it is best to keep to a more focused community. There are a lot of blogs that focus on books I don't read or have interest in, so I tend to focus on reading blogs/ interacting with other bloggers who have similar interest in books that I do and/or whom I am able to have actual interaction with. Everyone I follow now is either or both of those things.

So those are my tips. Identify what it is YOU want for your blog and stick to it. And feel good about it!


boeklover said...

I think pretty much the same!
Especially your reviewbook topic is interesting, and I'm often requesting books that once I have to read don't seem interesting anymore. I'm saying to myself I have to stop accepting and asking them, but it's harsh. I think I should start a challenge in which I don't buy/borrow/request/accept any books before I have read all my books! After that I would be more relaxed I think. (And then I would start again ;))

Jess (The Cozy Reader) said...

Wow, you hit on some of the things I did in my post or was thinking of but didn't put into words. I don't think anyone should compare their blog to anothers. Of course, it doesn't hurt to learn from other bloggers. :)

I too have issues with reading because I feel obligated. I hate it most when I agree to do a blog tour and then find myself not enjoying the book! What a bummer!

Here are my posts for Armchair BEA:
Day 1 | Introduction
Day 2 | Best of 2012
Day 2 | Giveaway | Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Day 3 | Networking
Day 4 | Beyond the Blog
BEA 2012 | Take Home Results
Day 5 | Blogging Advice | Give or Take

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I think I actually did start in order to get free books, but that lasted about two minutes, especially when I figured out the best books were to be had at the library, not from free offers! But with my first commenter, I fell in love with the community aspects, and that is still my favorite part!

Kristina said...

Great advise. The only thing I put was to have fun and not let it be a chore

Sandy Nawrot said...

These are great pieces of advice Jenny. I tend to be an overachiever and get myself into things that end up stressing me out. And that is not the overall goal. So I have had to have a strict talk with myself and just chill out. I accept very few review copies...only the ones that really grab me. I have yet to take a blogging break EVER (even when I go overseas for a few weeks, I have things prescheduled) and I think it might be good to do that once in awhile. Just to force myself to relax. Going to have to work on that.

Ti said...

Great advice. I've never been one for promotion. I love to just read and talk about books and the side effect to doing that, was getting to know bloggers like you. An added benefit for sure.

Aarti said...

I started loving blogging again when I severely limited the number of review copies I accepted. I love just going to my shelf and picking up whatever I want, or going to the library and reading whatever I want, and not having to worry about five books on my shelves that I need to read STAT so I can get reviews up. It's glorious!

Jenners said...

Excellent advice! I agree 100%. I had to wean myself off accepting books for review because I started to hate and resent them -- even though I did it to myself!

Anita said...

I love your thoughts, and I agree 100% and yet I too struggle. I had no idea of the free books or perks when I started blogging, and then started writing book reviews. It sort of fell into my lap, and I'm still a very small fish. I've been in that place of not enjoying a book too, and it's been painful, ugh. I try very hard to read what I want to read between the committed reviews.
I literally had been blogging 3 years before I knew I could check my stats...LOL. Now it's kind of a game, to see what happens, but my followers hasn't increased, and my comments are still minimal, but makes no difference, because in the end, I do it for me, hope to be seen by a few peeps and if I influence one person to read a book,I'm happy.
You have very good clear thoughts on your it.

leeswammes said...

Good advice! I've started like you just for sharing my books, then fell for the free-books trap and ended up all stressed with way too many review books. Now I take it easier and accept/ask for many many fewer books.

It means I am not so stressed and also, I can enjoy a reading challenge or read-a-long without having to think of the review books that are still waiting. :-)

The Housework Can Wait said...

Great post. I love what you said about review books. I'm pretty new, and I'm already having to step back a bit from accepting EVERYTHING that is offered to me. I've started asking myself, "if I just came across this book in the library, would I bother reading it?" If I wouldn't read it via that free method, why am I accepting it for review?

Great post! Here's my Armchair BEA Ask the Experts post.

Juju at Tales of said...

All awesome advice.


I've had to get realistic about who I visit too. Some are old friends so I visit from time to time but I've found my taste in books has evolved and therefore I visit bloggers with similar reading interest as my own more now too.

Jennifer said...

Agree with all of it!! And you are spot on with the review copies bit. I've found myself feeling that way many, many, many times! And I hardly ever check my stats unless a pub asks me for them. Great tips, Jenny!

Kailana said...

great post! You touch on a lot of great post. I don't pay attention to stats either.

Melissas Eclectic Bookshelf said...

Great advice! Too many review books no matter how great they are takes the fun out of reading...too much pressure...this is a lesson that I learned the hard way...

Post a Comment