I see so many posts about why you SHOULD run a book blog. I’d like to say that I went and researched book blogging extensively before starting one but it was more of a whim action than anything. But after starting the blog, I came across an article about why you should run a book blog, and from there, I thought “I wonder what other people say about running a book blog.” So that’s how it started. Anyway.
Running a book blog is not all fine and dandy as it seems. Sure, the blogging community is great and funny and kind. But it’s not just about the blogging community. It’s about your content, too, and sometimes, there can be downsides to blogging. If you’re thinking of starting a book blog, have a look at what you’re signing yourself into, and then make a decision. I love blogging, but I just wish I’d been more prepared for it before I started. Here are some things you should consider before you start a blog. Please don’t let me put you off, though! Blogging is a great way to connect with people of similar interests and improve your writing skills while you’re at it! And I can definitely say that the upsides of blogging far outweigh the downsides of it.
By the way, this post could probably more aptly be named as “Things you should consider before starting a book blog” but I’d already made the header graphic and seriously could not be bothered going back and changing it.
The blogging world is extremely competitive.
After all, we’re all competing to get the latest books and the shiniest ARCS from publishers, aren’t we? For those of you who don’t know, ARCs are Advanced Readers Copies of books, basically an early, unfinished copy of the book that gets sent out – mainly to bloggers – a few months or so before the book is due to be released. There’s something we call “ARC Envy”, and it’s the envy you feel when you see someone else with an ARC (maybe they posted a picture on Twitter or something) of a book that you really wish you had. It gets even worse when the bloggers says something like: “OH MY GOD I’M DROWNING IN BOOKS. Ugh don’t you hate it when publishing companies send you so many books you get overwhelmed. I don’t even know if I’m going to be able to read this one” because then you can’t help but think “I really wanted this book. GIVE IT TO ME IF YOU DON’T WANT IT.” Ah, ARC ENVY WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO ME.
Blogging takes time.
Back before I started the blog, I thought it would be easy. Once you read a book, just write down what you think about it. Easy, right? Obviously. NOT. Each review takes me at least an hour to write, and depending on the type of graphic I make to go along with it, up to three hours extra to make graphics, read other reviews, gather your opinions and thoughts, gather images, gather gifs, gather book information and URLs, etc. If I blog every single day, that’s 7 hours of blogging time a week. And that’s only actual blogging time. Add on top of that time spent fiddling with blog graphics, time researching information for posts (ESPECIALLY FEATURE POSTS OMG) and time interacting with other bloggers on Twitter, you could find yourself completely absorbed and spending up to 6 hours in one sitting just on the blog. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE TIME. It’s one of the biggest things that I find most difficult about blogging. Not writing the posts themselves, but finding the time to do so.
People are actually reading what you’re writing.
Sometimes I forget this. Especially as a new blogger, it’s easy to think: “Ah, nobody’s going to see it. I’ll write whatever.” But that’s not true. You need to consider, especially when writing reviews, the author and all the effort that went into writing the book. I try not to give mean or petty reviews, instead, if I didn’t like the book, I’ll try to give legitimate reasons, and try not to be sarcastic about it (although sometimes that can be pretty hard). Write each review as if the author was going to read it. Write each feature post as if thousands of people are going to read it. A sure-fire way to be sensitive in reviews and post top quality content.
Maintaining a blog.
Some people call blogging a hobby. I think of it more as a job. If I was doing anything other than studying right now, like working a full-time job or something, I doubt I’d still be able to keep this blog. As I mentioned above, writing blog posts takes massive amounts of time, and so does working out all the small stuff on the blog like the font you’re going to use, or the social buttons that you’re going to use. Plus, you gotta Tweet, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, take photos for blogs, create graphics in Photoshop, etc. I only have Twitter, and that’s already pretty time-consuming – liking tweets, commenting, replying, etc. I’m going to start an Instagram next year, so we’ll see how that goes!
Sometimes, you post a post. And then you sit there. And re-read it. And you’re struck by how damned bad your writing is. Wait, is that a typo. That picture is so pixellated! Why did I use to many capital letters. What if the publisher doesn’t like the review? What if I hated on the book too much? What if they don’t like my style of writing? What if they never send me another book again? Oh no, nobody’s commenting, maybe they don’t like the post. Maybe my post was boring and nobody’s actually reading it to the end. Is my blog post too long-winded? Maybe I should tone down the ranting. These are all things that I have thought about my blog posts at one time or another. As a blog reader, the best thing you can do is like a post/tweet, or even better, leave a comment! It always helps us ride out the wave of insecurity. A small comment can have a huge impact!
As Cait @ PaperFury (you should totally follow, she is HILARIOUS) so accurately once said: “Trying to word in a review when the words aren’t wording”. Sometimes you sit at the computer and just don’t know what to write. Whether it’s a review. Or a discussion blog. I’m always looking for discussion post ideas because SOMETIMES I JUST DON’T KNOW WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT. But, I do think that even on the non-wording days, if you start to write and then go back and edit, the words will start to flow! In fact, today was a non-wording day but I’ve ended up with this one thousand word blog post, right?
You open yourself up to personal attacks.
Blogging gets very stressful, especially when you start to expand and know people. And of course, 99% of people in the blogging world are awesome. But there are people who are horrible and attack you personally. Thankfully, it’s only happened to me once but before you start a blog, try to imagine how you would feel if a person suddenly sent you a message out of the blue saying: “Your blog is so bad.” So just be prepared for people to hate on you if you’re going to start a blog. Better start growing that thick skin!
So here are some of the things you should consider before you start a book blog. Make sure that you’re prepared before you sign up to WordPress or whatever you’re thinking of using. ALSO. Spend some time thinking of your blog name! I just used mine as a temporary one and never managed to change it in time. #BlogRegrets