While book blogging is the best thing since cake was gifted to humanity, it can also be thoroughly stressful.
I’m 99% sure all bloggers have had 2 or 3 or 98 crises at some point. AND THIS IS OKAY! WE ALL GO THROUGH THIS. When you (A) care about something, and (B) have no idea what you’re doing but still want to do well, and (C) just like to panic recreationally — you’re bound to fret over blogging. You’re not alone.
But you want to know a secret? Shhh, now, come closer…let us whisper conspiratorial things:
There are some things you actually emphatically do not need to be worrying about!
I’ve been blogging for nearly 5 years and I have learnt a lot. For instance I learnt that (A) “gargantuanly” is not a word and you can’t just add “ly” to anything you want, (B) also “cakely” is not a word for afore mentioned reasons, (C) you can get very very very far by faking your blogging knowledge that you don’t have, and (D) if you stress about too much in regards to blogging, you’re going to want to quit.
Ergo, today’s post is to list some common unnecessary blogging worries and why you should glare at them! Let’s keep blogging fun, Bob. Let’s remember that there’s not ONE way to blog. Let’s remember that the dictionary doesn’t own us and WE CAN SAY CAKELY IF WE WANT.
“OH NO I’VE BEEN SO BUSY AND DIDN’T DO THAT BLOGGING THING THAT I SAID I WAS GOING TO DO THAT TIME AND I MUST APOLOGISE COPIOUSLY!”
I wrote a post a looooong time ago (nearly 3 YEARS?!?! WOAH) about why you shouldn’t be saying sorry all the time. YOU JUST DON’T NEED TO, MY FIENDS. You need to own your decisions! And if unforeseen circumstances come up to devour your soul?? GO WITH IT.
You don’t need to apologise for (A) taking a blogging break, (B) getting sick and missing posting, (C) being overwhelmed and needing to back off, (D) not putting up that review the day you said you would because your pet armadillo escaped and you had to go fetch it, (E) not doing a giveaway, or even (F) having a random typo.
Especially don’t apologise for things that are beyond your control!
And, here’s a small secret: half the time no one even notices. CHILL THERE, MATEY.
“I DIDN’T REVIEW THAT ARC ON RELEASE DAY AND THE PUBLISHERS ARE GOING TO BLACKLIST ME AND SEND THEIR GHOULS TO DEVOUR MY FIRSTBORN IN PUNISHMENT.”
Trust me, I knoooow how it feels to have that mortifying moment of “UM THIS ARC SHOULD’VE BEEN READ/REVIEWED 2 MONTHS AGO.” Who is guilty of this? I AM GUILTY OF THIS.
But you know what? Publishers aren’t going to murder you or your firstborn. FIRSTLY, you might not even have a firstborn so it’d be a waste of time to send the ghouls out and then just have to sit around awkwardly drinking tea with you while you break it to them that you are, in fact, childless. SECONLDY, some publishers don’t even keep ghouls. #surprise And THIRDLY, publishers understand.
If you request * an ARC, I do think it’s your duty to review it. You said “I’m going to review this thing” ergo you need to keep your word! But hey, so what if the review is a little late? At least people can go out and buy the book now!
* As for receiving books you DON’T request, I’m still a believer in trying to review them but YOU DIDN’T SIGN UP FOR IT, SO YOU DON’T “HAVE” TO DO ANYTHING. It’s like being given a piece of cake, but you just ate cake. You can totally say “no thanks”…or eat more cake. Your choice.
“IF I TAKE A HIATUS EVERYONE WILL FORGET I EXIST AND UNFOLLOW ME. AGHAGHHGH EGAHHHED.”
If you take a 6 month hiatus: well, yes, you may lose followers.
If you take a 1 month hiatus: no you’re not going to lose followers!
Bloggers actually NEED BREAKS. Sure a hiatus will mean your blog stats will go down and it may take wrangling to get going again afterwards. But you know what’s worth it? RECHARGING. When you come back to blogging after a hiatus you’ll be rested and refreshed. NO DOWNSIDES, BOB. Hiatusing will not kill your blog, I promise and when do I lie? Never. *
If you need a break, TAKE IT AND RUN AWAY TO HAWAII WITH IT AND HAVE NO REGRETS.
* Except for that one time when I said chocolate cake is the answer to all of life’s problems, because actually cheesecake is. Sometimes they’re interchangeable. But when in doubt: cheesecake it out.
“AM I RATING MY BOOKS RIGHT?? IS 3-STARS THE RIGHT RATING FOR THIS? WHAT DOES 3-STARS EVEN MEEEEEEEEAN?”
I’m like 99% sure all bloggers go through a Star Rating Crisis. Because rating is HARD! What 3-stars means to one person, it doesn’t mean to another! I’ve stressed about it. But now? HA. NO WAY DUDE. I AM CHILL. (I am not. I’m like an uptight pinecone of anxious intentions, but I can say I’m chill if I want. #ISayWhatIWant) It actually DOESN’T MATTER if you use half-star-ratings or no star ratings or go back and re-rate things or if you rating everything high.
Breaking news: NONE of your followers are panicking over your rating-system.
So why should you??
“I’M NOT FORMATTING MY POSTS LIKE THE OTHER BOOK BLOGGERS. OMG AM I A TRUE BOOK BLOGGER???”
I am notorious for doing things differently to everyone else because I AM AN OBLIVIOUS MUSHROOM. And a rebel. A rebellious oblivious adorable mushroom. *
There are no “rules” to book blogging. There is not “one way” to do it. Plus it actually makes you stand out when you do something differently!
For instance, some randomly different things I do are:
- I format my reviews backwards. (Blurb at the end, review at the beginning.)
- I don’t title my posts with “review” or “discussion”…I just let you figure out whatever it is when you get here mwahahhahh.
- I don’t join readathons or twitter chats. (No particular reason, I just haven’t yet.)
- Sometimes I go weeks without a book review.
- I only join in book tours once in a blue moon.
- I talk to authors about 2% of the time. (They are SCARY.)
- I yell at people that they’re fruit and this probably scares them and me sometimes.
AM I STILL ALLOWED TO BE A BOOK BLOGGER? Yes, yes I am.
You don’t need to format your reviews a certain way. Or have the perfect discussion to review ratio. You don’t even need to talk exclusively about books! NO RULES. And if there are rules, pfft to them.
* I want that on a teeshirt to be honest.
“IF I ANNOUNCE MY UNPOPULAR OPINION, WILL EVERYONE HATE ME? WHAT IF I OFFEND EVERYONE?”
So long as you’re POLITE — then you’re doing fine. And trust me, you’ll always offend someone. It’s inevitable.
I have offended people. I’ve had massive misunderstandings with people. I’ve lost “friends” over having a difference of opinion. I’ve had goodreads users leave horrible abusive comments. But you know what? SO WHAT DO THOSE PEOPLE EVEN MATTER?? People get offended all the time. Those people can be ditched. If you are nice, there will absolutely definitely be people out there who like you. #LEGIT OKAY?!?!
If you offend/mess-up with one person, you do not need to shut down your blog.
And when it comes to unpopular opinions?? Oh my sweet summer child — there is always someone else who’ll share the opinion with you. ALWAYS.
“I’M NEVER GOING TO GET THROGH ALL THE BOOKS ON MY TBR BEFORE IT FALLS AND SQUASHES ME FLATTER THAN A PIZZA CRUST.”
Your to-be-read pile can stretch to Jupiter and back — AND THAT’S OKAY. You’re not greedy. You’re not behind. You only have 2 eyeballs so just do what you can do, okay??! Plus it’s better to have much books instead of not enough! I actually wrote an entire post about not fretting over the size of your TBR.
Dude, collecting unread books is not the worse thing you could be doing.
YOU COULD BE COLLECTING PINECONES AFTER ALL. *
* Fun fact: I started collecting pinecones. Nobody understands me.
“BOOK BLOGGING IS SO EXPENSIVE. I CAN’T KEEP THIS UP. I AM GOING TO DISSOLVE INTO A PUDDING OF POORDOM.”
I never used to think book blogging was expensive but DUDE. Once you start buying books, paying for hosting, doing giveaways, and maybe buying graphics or templates????? IT ALL ADDS UP AND IT CAN BE SCARY.
Spoiler alert: you don’t have to spend much money if you don’t want to. You do what you can and what you’re comfortable with.
Things You Don’t Have To Spend Money On If You Don’t Want To Actually:
- BOOKS: You can get physical ARCs from publishers. Or sign up to Netgalley and Edelweiss. You can use the library. You can buy second-hand from thrift-stores (WHICH I KNOW IS BUYING BUT SHH at least it’s cheaper!) I know people say “don’t blog for the ARCs” and that’s true. But it’s also true that getting free books is a HUGE PERK of book blogging and can enable you to keep doing it!
- ARCS: I hear people say we should pass on ARCs to others or buy finished copies. Nope. You don’t have to do either of those. The only rules about ARCs are (1) read and review and possibly don’t quote them unless you state it’s from an ARC, and (2) don’t sell them. THAT’S IT. You can keep them! Paying postage to give stuff away can be killer.
- GIVEAWAYS: if you can’t afford to do giveaways — then don’t. It’s okay! I mean, it’s July and I have done exactly ZERO giveaways sponsored by me. I just can’t afford it! I try to get Etsy sellers to sponsor in return for promos or ask publishers.
- BLOG: You don’t have to buy hosting. Having just a .com name is freaking awesome, of course, but I don’t consider people with blogspot.com or wordpress.com “not dedicated” bloggers.
- GRAPHICS: There are tons of free places to download nice template designs! Just google! And you can get free stock photos from a ton of places and free graphics with attribution. You can sign up to creativemarket.com and you get 6 free downloads every Monday! (Just check out licenses and make sure you attribute if you need to!)
“I WANT TO CHANGE MY BLOG BUT…SHOULD I??? AM I ALLOWED TO CHANGE MY BRANDING? WHAT IF I END UP LOOKING LIKE A SILLY PUMPKIN??”
Lots of people freak out over change. Um…why are you looking at me? I’M GUILTLESS! (I am not.) But seriously, your blog can grow and evolve with you. That’s natural. You want to rebrand yourself? Go for it. You want a completely different blog design? Do it. You want to change your blog name? TAKE THE PLUNGE, BOB.
If I even look back at the posts I wrote 6 months ago I can see how I’ve changed! (For the better I hope because omg if you ever look into the deep dark depths of my archives I will die.)
If you want to change something about your blog: DON’T FRET. Just do it! You’ll be happier.
“WHAT IF MY POSTS DON’T MATTER BECAUSE EVERYONE HAS ALREADY SAID THIS STUFF BEFORE?”
WELL THERE, MY FRIEND. There is a really encouraging answer to this: no one has said the thing like YOU will say the thing. You might have the same opinion as me on dog-earing-books (aka please kindly BURN FOR YOUR SINS) but if you and I blog about it we are going to phrase it differently! We’re going to have slightly different concerns! WE’RE GOING TO BE DIFFERENT ABOUT IT. #truth
And also your followers are interested in YOU. They want to know your opinion on things….that’s why they follow your blog!
And don’t forget how fast the book blogging community turns over. Old bloggers leave. Newbies come. All. the. time. So maybe we’ve discussed the phenomenon of big books vs short books before. BUT THE NEWBIES MIGHT NOT HAVE HEARD IT.
Also, by the way: your posts and blog and your opinion do matter. Start telling yourself they matter and then tell other people. How do you think I am so fabulous? I TELL PEOPLE I’M FABULOUS AND THEY HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO BELIEVE ME. (Then I bribe them with cake because #winning.)
STEAL THE FABULOUSNESS. OWN THE FABULOUSNESS. LET NONE TELL YOU OTHERWISE.