There are many things we book bloggers all tend to relate to.
For instance: a mutual and increasingly rabid love of books. I don’t like to generalise, but I’m going to take a wild and assuming stab in the dark here to say IF YOU ARE A BOOK BLOGGER YOU LOVE BOOKS. I just have this hunch. But there are also tons of other things we all relate to as well! Like (a) an adoration of pretty aesthetic book photos, or (b) the glorious ability to have 94 typos per post despite proof-reading, or even (c) a cheerful competition of how-many-books-can-I-carry-at-once-before-they-crush-my-soul.
Oh and another one we all relate to?
Only just the…CRUSHING WEIGHT OF BOOK BLOGGER GUILT.
Which is absolutely BIZARRE and we shouldn’t be caught crying into our polkadot socks because of this. And yet I do. You do. The local blogging cat does. Some cute and anxious alien on Jupiter * with WiFi probably suffers from it too.
So today I want to list some common things we book bloggers tend to feel guilty about, and then I shall tell you why this is nonsense and you shouldn’t feel guilty at all.
* I don’t know why I’m obsessed with Jupiter. NOBODY KNOWS WHY. Maybe I fell from it as a child and it is my secret hometown and my subconscious is trying to remind me of this. Maybe I’m Superman. But with more dragon scales and less interest in saving the world, particularly if I just sat down with a good book because HOLY KELP, MATE, the world can go perish while I’m reading this chapter. #priorities
1. “I SHOULD’VE READ ALL THE REVIEW-BOOKS ON MY TBR BY NOW.”
I only recently wrote a post on TBR problems, and the #1 problem is, obviously: THE TBR JUST EXISTS. Hahaha hahahh hah…HAHAHAAHAHA. Excuse me. That’s just the sound of someone having a mental breakdown.
I think it’s impossible not to feel guilty about being behind on your ARCs and review-copies. I mean, maybe you’ve never been behind because you don’t request too many books or because you are organised and good at life. You are probably a mythological creature, like a unicorn or a piece of lettuce.
But you know what? WE ACTUALLY DON’T NEED TO CRY OVER IT SO MUCH. Here is a small tissue for your tears, my fiends. The thing is to do your best! And if a book is late, hey you’re just promoting it later when the initial buzz has died down! That’s still a win!
2. “I SHOULD BE A BETTER BLOGGER LIKE X IS.”
In this case “X” is referring to just about whoever and not actually Professor Charles Xavier of the Xmen. Although if you want this post to be secretly about Xmen, it can be!! I’m here to make you happy!
But I just want to underline A MILLION AND TWO TIMES that no blogger of ever has the perfect life. Or has it all together. Or 100% knows what they’re doing. You see what a blogger wants you to see. It’s not lies! I mean, you wear a nice shirt to go out right?! So it’s totally fine to present the best version of yourself to the internet.
Just pleeeeease don’t fall into the trap of thinking someone has The Perfectest Life Of Ever due to their blog being constantly fun or having consistent posts up or always seeming to be on top of things. NO ONE EVER IS.
3. “I’M NOT EVEN A REAL BOOK BLOGGER, AM I? I’M PROBABLY A SOUTHERN NORWEGIAN CRUMPLED PIECE OF SEAWEED.”
The thing about the “book blogger” title is that — you can have it if you want. You don’t have to do a certain amount of reviews or read 100+ books per year or write discussions or do book hauls to be considered a book blogger. YOU CAN TALK ABOUT YOUR PET MARMOT TOO OR YOUR FAVOURITE BRAND OF MARMALADE. *
I don’t know who’s making the “rules” of book blogging, but nooooooo. NO TO RULES. Just have fun and talk primarily (but not exclusively if you don’t want!) about books and basically be the Loki * you always knew you were deep down inside.
* Except marmalade is a sin and the reason the world will end because it’s so disturbed that this spread was even invented.
** I choose Loki over Superman ANY day. Maybe I’m secretly from Asgard. I do have an older brother and he is Australian, and those are two descriptions for Thor. So it’s 500% possible I am Loki.
4. “I NEED TO READ 92 REVIEW BOOKS. I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR BOOKS I’VE BOUGHT OR, OMG, REREADS.”
I was only chatting about this with my friend Danielle the other day: rereads are really cool but DO WE DARE REREAD WHEN THERE ARE SO MANY NEW BOOKS BEGGING FOR OUR ATTENTION??? And by “begging”, I mean brandishing small cheese knives and stalking towards our beds in the night with malicious intent. *
I get caught in this guilt SO MUCH but it’s ridiculous?!? Books are meant to be enjoyed. Multiple times if we want! If a book makes you happy and you want to revisit that happiness = do it. That’s what books are for. **
* Doesn’t your TBR do that too???? Just mine???? Surely not???
** Because apparently books are not for lining up upon your floor and saying magical words and expecting them to turn into a magical carpet like Aladdin’s. Not that I’ve tried this, hahahaah, don’t be silly.
5. “WHAT IF MY REVIEWS AND OPINIONS ARE LEADING EVERYONE ASTRAAAAAAAAY.”
Raise thine hand if you’ve ever felt guilty about an opinion!!
Like who even am I?! What is my opinion worth?! Surely other people have said it better. What if I don’t even know my opinion. WHAT IF I’M TOO OPINIONATED OR NOT OPINIONATED ENOUGH????
Now listen here, my soft little fluffy mate, you are fine. Your opinion is valid. Your voice is valid. You are not FORCING anyone to read your reviews or take your advice and the internet is full of people with functioning brains who can decide for themselves whether to listen to your opinion or not.
And if you accidentally happen to raise an army of creatures that answer exclusively to pineapple and then brainwash them into calling you a dragon queen, then….it happens! No one is to blame! I’m sure it’s fine! *
* HAHAHA HAHAHHAH AHHAHA who could I be talking about.
6. “I’VE NEGLECTED MY BLOG AND IT’S GROWING UP ALONE AND COLD UPON THE STREETS WHILST ONLY SELLING MATCHSTICKS TO GET BY.”
First of all: you better have understood the matchstick reference or else Hans Christian Anderson and I will come beat you with a rolled up carpet.
Next of all: it’s okay if you don’t always have as much time to put into your blog as you want! DO WHAT YOU CAN. You’re allowed to have a life outside of blogging…which is weird to think about??? Just don’t go insane with that, okay? Like no hikes or too much socialisation or omg what even are you.
Obviously what you put into your blog is what you get out of it. So if you can only post 1 x a week, then you can’t expect the same stats as posting 4 x a week. But the point is: if you’re stressing about “neglecting” your blog when you can’t help it, you’ll ruin your enjoyment of blogging!! And that isn’t good!! We ALL fall behind. We ALL pick an ice cream hunt across the seven seas instead of catching up on comments sometime.
Don’t let your blog become a terrifying burden. It ain’t worth it.
7. “I ACCIDENTALLY DON’T LIKE THAT POPULAR BOOK AND I AM A HEINOUS AND UNGRATEFUL EGG.”
Especially if you have to send reviews back to publicists! CUE HOPELESS TERROR. And hiiiiii, my name is Cait and I’m literally procrastinating sending back 3 reviews to various publishers because they’re low starred and I FEEL LIKE AN UNGRATEFUL EGG.
Newsflash: publishers don’t expect you to like everything. A bad review is still a review and can generate interest. You are your own person and not a HIVE MIND so be grateful for that! And you are not an egg. Even Humpty wasn’t an egg. None of us are eggs.
8. “I’M NOT FOLLOWING THE LATEST BLOGGING TREND…AM I RUINING MY LIFE AND MY
CHILD BLOG’S LIFE?”
I try to give my blogging child the best opportunities I can. And then I also look at everything everyone else is doing and I LAUGH AND LAUGH AND LAUGH because heck no do I have time for that. Or money. Or interest.
Have you seen me with a bookish candle? Or posting stories on instagram? Or actually upkeeping the tumblr I have? Or joining in readathons or challenges? No. Because I am unorganised. And also a successful blog doesn’t equal one that is reading all the new books or following all the latest trends. A successful blog is one where the blogger is passionate and in love with what they’re doing, is friendly and networks, and talks about cake 52 times per article. *
And FYI trends aren’t bad!! I am on the bookstagram trend bandwagon SO BAD and I have no regrets! The thing about trends is: do what you waaaaaant.
MY GOSH, THIS WHOLE POST IS JUST ME SAYING “BE LOKI” AND I’M NOT SURE HOW TO FEEL ABOUT THAT.
* Joking! Joking! Just talk about cake 51 times. That’s okay too.
9. “I’VE GOT THIS SUPER COVETED BOOK BUT IF I SHOW IT OFF IS THAT BRAGGING??”
Earlier this year, I read a super coveted ARC about four months before release. Mostly on accident because I suck at reading the fineprint. * And I felt SO INCREDIBLY GUILTY … and I feel the same if I have a large book haul or publishers have been extra generous or the time I got sent chocolate along with a book. ** And you know what? This is silly. If you’re not being an irritating bragging cantaloupe and are just passionately promoting books = then you’re fine. In fact, you are doing what book bloggers are SUPPOSED to do.
So don’t feel bad.
I have decreed it.
* And by “suck at”, I mean I’ve never read the fineprint in my life, good sir. That’s what my servants are for.
** 10/10 recommend bribing me with chocolate to read your book.
10. “CAN I SAY NO?”
There’s like this great Book Blogger Myth that we OWE people our time. And, nay there, good sir. We do not. Most of us work for free. And IT IS ACTUALLY WORK!! Just because it’s fun and we choose it, doesn’t meant it isn’t hard work!!
You don’t owe anyone anything with your blog. You can say no! You can refuse a review copy or decline being on a blog tour or shake your head to accepting a guest post or promoting an author. More opportunities will ALWAYS come and your time is worthwhile. You put hundreds of unpaid hours into your blog and it does NOT automatically equal a free promotional tool for other’s disposal. SAY NO WHEN YOU WANT TO.
Be the free fish you always wanted to be. But breathe air, probably. Just…just clarifying that.