Wednesday, 11 August 2010

What We Wish We Knew... Sort Of.

So, a while ago Julie did a series of posts called "What We Wish We Knew" (part one, part two, part three) and I wrote this up cause she was going to do a part 4. Since she's not anymore, I figured I'd just post it up on it's own.

Really, this will probably be more advice for new bloggers than what I wish I knew (but, I did wish I knew this stuff back when I first started out blogging).

Remember the reason you're blogging in the first place.

Like, I started because I love to read and love to talk about books - but the more followers you get, sometimes it makes you feel more obligated to post reviews all the time... but this is something we do for fun, it's not a job and we have real lives beyond book blogging so you don't need to feel guilty about being too busy to read or going through a reading funk or whatever; it's a hobby, not a job. Don't take it too seriously or it starts to be less fun and more like a chore.

And be honest in your reviews, whether it's a book you bought or a book you were sent for review, just be honest.

When you get more followers, or when you've talked to an author on twitter or when you've been sent a free book in exchange for a review: sometimes you feel more obligated to like the book and give it a glowing review... but opinions are subjective, if you didn't like the book then that is fine, maybe it just wasn't your cup of tea.

If you feel bad about writing a negative review, try and mention a few things you did like about the book to balance it out or if you can't do that, find some positive reviews and link them at the end of your post or something.

This is more of a personal preferrence: a review is supposed to be YOUR opinion of a book... it's not supposed to be you rehashing the story/summary (which I've seen quite a few bloggers do), it's supposed to be you telling people whether or not you liked a book and what it was you liked or didn't like about it. If you want to write your own summary for the book, that's great, but don't make that your review.

I'm not the best at writing reviews, sometimes I feel like I'm being repetitive, but at the end of the day I'm still giving my opinion of the book so it doesn't matter if my reviews are the most poetic or witty or well written, as long as they're my own thoughts on the book.

While I'm on the subject of reviews: ARC's. We all love books, so of course ARC's are epic -- but as awesome as it is to get free books and to be able to read them before they're released, sometimes publishers will send books you didn't request and those build up.

In the beginning, I felt obligated to review them *all* and felt so guilty when I didn't and it threw me into a reading funk a few times because I was pushing back the books I wanted to read in favour of the ones I felt obligated to read and it made it feel like a chore and not something I love. Now I've come to terms with the fact that I'm not going to be able to review every book I get sent by surprise, I still feel bad about that, but I do the best I can.

Getting ARC's is awesome, but it's not all rainbows and butterflies (and I don't even get that many -- I can't even begin to imagine how pressured people who get loads of them must feel, it'd be like drowning in a sea of literature with the release dates looming closer like jagged rocks on the shore... /bad metaphor).

Moving on... (If you want to find out more about ARC's, go check out Kristi @ The Story Siren's blog posts about them, she seems to have become the Yoda of book blogging and ARC's and she has some great and informative posts about them)

Blog content: At the end of the day, we all blog about books. There is only so much a person can post about books, so of course people are going to come up with similar ideas often.

I avoided doing posts about covers for ages because there are so many other people with cover posts and I had seen some ridiculous anonymous commenter accuse someone of "copying" another bloggers feature simply because they both happened to post about covers.

Basically, what I'm trying to say is: Don't worry about whether or not you're original when you post about stuff on your blog, just post what you love. I love book covers, so I finally thought, "Screw it, I'm posting about them and I don't care what anyone says."

As long as you're not flat out copying someones blog feature (note: a feature is different from a meme, features are specific to a blog while memes invite anyone to join in), then just post what you want -- it's your blog, make it you, fill it with what you love/want.

Also, I wish I knew about things like BEA because if I had then I so would've found a way to go to one of them by now.

Living where I do, I almost never get the oppertunity to meet authors and get books signed or anything (because YA authors I like rarely come to the UK and when they do, it's usually London or Edinburgh or something, not where I am) and most of the book bloggers I know live on a different continent. It just seems all kinds of epic: being able to be surrounded by so much awesome. I hope I can go next year.

I guess that's all.



  1. Thanks for posting this. I've read the other ones and they were all very helpful. I am a new blogger and I'm always looking for ways to improve but reading your advice to keep my blog about what I love instead of trying to please everyone else or be like anyone else's blog, made me realize that my blog is perfect the way it is. Just like me!

  2. Lanna, I love this series and especially this particular post. You do a great job of encouraging what we all, as writers and bloggers, need a huge dose of from time to time: perspective. It's easy to become overwhelmed by and to poison the very thing we once did out of pure love: writing and reading. Thanks for the reminder!



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