Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Blogiversary Discussion: What I’ve Learned From Three Years Of Book Blogging

Feed Your Fiction Addiction and It Starts At Midnight host the 2016 Discussion Challenge.

Today is Read All The Things!’ third blogiversary (blogaversary? Blogoversary?) Seriously, guys, I can barely spell real words. Now I have to spell made-up ones?

Anyway, most people seem to do awesome giveaways for their blogiversary. I can’t do that because money has been hunted to extinction in my universe, but I can share wisdom with you. Here are 15 things I’ve learned about book blogging in the three years I’ve been doing it.



Blogging Life Lessons




1. Don’t be an asshat. But, be aware that some people are asshats. Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t say in person. This also applies to book reviews. It is possible to write a respectful negative review. If someone is rude to you online, try not to let it get to you. Unfortunately, some people are just mean. Being mean back won’t solve anything.



2. The only difference between your blog and a thousand other blogs is you. Don’t be afraid to show your personality and your passions. Book blogs would be boring if they were all the same. It’s cool to be inspired by others, but make sure you are being you.



3. It’s okay to write narcissistic posts. Whenever I write something about myself on my blog, a voice in my head says, Nobody cares about you. They come here for the books. This isn’t true because my favorite posts on other people’s blogs read more like creative nonfiction than book blog posts. I love it when bloggers find ways to mix books with their personal lives. Reading is a subjective experience. I’m interested in your experience. 



4. Read what you love. There is nothing you have to read for your blog. If you’re not interested in that super-hyped new release, then don’t read it. If you only read books because they’re popular, you’re going to hate a lot of what you read.



5. You’re not a special reading snowflake. Are your reading tastes super eclectic? Or do you only read vampire poetry? No matter what you read, you’re not alone. There is somebody on the Internet who has similar reading tastes to you. Read what you love, blog about it, and you’ll find your tribe.



6. You won’t spontaneously combust if you have an unpopular opinion. Bloggers get so worked up about criticizing popular books. To prove that unpopular opinions aren’t deadly, here is a list of uber-popular series that I didn’t like: The Wrath & The Dawn, Divergent, The Lunar Chronicles, The Mortal Instruments, The Maze Runner, Twilight, Mistborn, 50 Shades of Grey. You’ll just have to take my word that I didn’t combust.



7. Also, you won’t lose friends if you have an unpopular opinion. If you do lose friends, then those people are petty jerks, not friends. My favorite book ever is The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I’m friends with plenty of people who loathe that book. It’s okay to disagree about books. There are better things to get angry about.



8. You don’t have to apologize all the time. I’m still working on this one. For 99.9% of us, blogging is a hobby. Life gets in the way. Unless you really screw something up, you don’t have to apologize for putting blogging on the back burner. We all understand.



9. It’s totally okay to experiment and change things up. I’ve overhauled my blog design three times in the past three years. I’ve tried different types of posts. I’ve changed the way I write reviews. I’ve tested a bunch of different memes to find which ones I like. As far as I know, nobody has gotten annoyed at me for experimenting. 



10. Pick a blog design that you like. You will spend a lot of time staring at your blog. Pick something that you like. I’ve heard people say “Grayscale blogs are sooo overdone,” but guess what? I have terrible eyesight, and colorful blogs make me go cross-eyed. If I’m going to spend a zillion hours staring at a blog, I want it to be simple and high-contrast. Pick a design that works for you.



11. Give shout-outs to your favorite blogs. I have a Blog Stalker over there ---> that lists my favorite blogs. I love clicking the Blog Stalkers on other people’s blogs, and I’ve discovered so many new blogs that way. Shout out your favorites to help others find them. 



12. Don’t listen to everything people say in “How To” posts (including the post you’re reading right now). All of those “How To” posts are helpful, but there is no correct way to run a blog. Post as often as you want, use whatever social media you want, participate in memes if you want. Do what works for you. Also, don’t look down on others for doing something differently than you would do it.



13. It’s not all about the numbers. If you care about ARCs, then followers and pageviews are important, but they’re not everything. Making connections with people who share my love of books has been far more rewarding than accumulating followers.



14. Don’t be afraid to comment. When I first started blogging, I was terrified to comment. I’ve said some hilariously stupid things in the comment sections of people’s blogs. Even after three years of book blogging, I’m still scared I’ll say something dumb that will be misinterpreted. Luckily, most book bloggers are kind and understanding. Don’t be afraid to comment, even if your comment is silly.



15. Everybody feels inadequate sometimes. I wish I could be funnier, smarter, more creative, more outgoing, more insightful. I wish dollar bills weren’t rarer than unicorns in my world. I wish I could design awesome graphics and take awesome photos. Everybody has things they wish they could be better at. Even bloggers at the “top” (however you want to define “top”) feel inadequate sometimes. No matter how successful you become, that feeling may never go away.





Let’s discuss: How long have you been blogging, and what blogging wisdom can you share?





36 comments:

  1. Happy Blogiversary :) And wish you many more. All your points are valid. I have learnt that we should blog for ourselves rather than for others if you want to enjoy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! If a person is just using their blog to make others happy, they’ll probably lose interest in it pretty quickly. That’s a good point.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  2. Happy blogoversary!!! Three years is such an awesome accomplishment. I agree with everything you said.I have only been blogging about a year and a half and have to remind myself of some of those points though over and over. My only wisdom is that breaks in blogging can be a great thing - sets the refresh button for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Yes, breaks can be good. I’ve had to take several in the last few years. They help prevent blogging burnout.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  3. These are ALL great, especially the first one! Congrats on three years of blogging :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Happy blogiversary - and yay for being here three years!!

    I agree with literally everything you've shared above... But most importantly the being you point. I think sometimes when it comes to social media people easily put on a persona, and it just can't last when you aren't being truly who you are, not only that, people love you for you - that's why they're returning. Often times we feel we need to change this and that about our blogs, and of course experimenting is fun, but remaining true to you as an individual is so important!

    Here's to many more blogging years :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! I like getting to know the person behind the blog. If we all sounded the same, it would be boring.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  5. Happy blogoversary (however you spell it) and great points! I agree with all of these, but especially 2 and 3. So true. And 5 too. You have to blog true to yourself and everything else takes care of itself. Very nice post.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Whee!!! Congrats, thats huge and you can be so proud of your three years!!
    My two year anniversary is in a month, haha. I love your points, they're super valid and I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to not be a dick in the blogging world!

    - Jen from The Bookavid

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Thank you! I don’t understand why so many people behave badly online. It’s really not hard to be nice to people.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  7. Happy three years! And for what it's worth, I super enjoy your blog (hence why I keep reading it)! And I'm with you...I like the more personal posts! It makes me feel like I'm following a person, not a review robot :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I love personal posts. They’re my favorite posts to read.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  8. Happy three year blogoversary! This was a great post - well done! I have actually let my blogoversary slide by the past few years. It might happen again this year. LOL.
    Stay true to your tips - they are good ones. Happy Reading!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! This is the first time I did anything for my blogiversary. Usually I don’t even remember when it is.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  9. First, happy blogiversary!! Second, that asshat picture? My new favorite thing ever 😂 But seriously, these are all SO true! I was terrified to comment at first too- took me MONTHS! And you have reminded me that my blogroll is in desperate need of an update ;) And YES to the "choosing your design for YOU" thing- I mean, I am the one who has to look at my own blog ALLL the time, so why wouldn't I want to like the way it looks? This is SUCH an awesome post, and I hope you have many, many more years of blogging fun ahead of yoU! ♥

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I’m pretty sure the asshat picture is my favorite thing ever, too. Commenting was so scary when I started. I was especially scared to comment on blogs with a lot of followers.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  10. Happy Blogiversary! It's super interesting to see how long people have been at this blogging game. I totally skipped mine this year, oops. I really like your comments on unpopular opinions. I love having unpopular opinions and the blogging community would be boring without those who also have them. My last one was on Illuminae. Good luck in your next year, I'll be back to visit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I like unpopular opinions, too. Books would be boring if everyone had the same opinion.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  11. Happy Blogiversary! I've been blogging for five years.

    This is a great list. I especially love 2 and 3. I've struggled with those too, but I've come to realize that a million readers could write straight reviews. People stick around your blog because you are a unique human and we want to know what is going on in your life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, 5 years. I hope I can make it that long!

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  12. HAPPY BLOGOVERSARY!! (See that, I spelled it my way, even though it's different than yours - just because that's the way I saw it first and it stuck with me. Your way is better because it matches anniversary, but I just can't bring myself to change. :-) )

    Now that I'm done with that tangent, I LOVE this post! I want to share it with all the world because you say so many utterly true things here. And I also just want to say LOL. 'Cause that remark about money being hunted into extinction made me laugh. And so did the LOL gif.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol, thanks! I think most people spell it “blogoversary,” but spelling it with an “I” makes more sense to me. I guess people can spell made-up words however they want.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  13. Congratulations on your three years of blogging! That's amazing! :)
    And thanks for sharing your three years worth of blogging wisdom. I can relate to so many of these! I was terrified to comment on other blogs when I first started out and would spend about twenty minutes crafting the perfect comment, but these days I'm so much more relaxed about it. And I get what you mean with the narcissistic posts! Generally I feel like 'no one wants to read about me, they want to read about books!' but I think when you start following a blog it's nice to get to know the blogger more through more personal posts.
    Plus I couldn't agree more with you about the reading what you love and the unpopular opinions thing! I have disliked a few popular books on my blog, and people aren't offended or annoyed by it (unless you act like an asshat and make out like everyone who did like the book is an idiot or something!). I think all reasonable people respect the opinion of others! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Commenting and writing narcissistic posts was really hard at first. It does get easier with practice.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  14. Happy 3 year Blogoversary!!! Fantastic post too. I love what you have to say and I AGREE with most. Especially about the narcissistic posts. Lol!! I've worried about that. Like omg if I do a birthday post will people be like, Who cares narcissist!! Lol. I did the lost anyway. 😛

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I love personal posts, so I’m always happy to see them on other people’s blogs.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  15. I'm no longer afraid to comment, but am always afraid that my comments are pointless and answering them is a waste of time for the blogger. I have to fight the desire to say "(no answer needed)" every time I comment - despite the fact that I don't mind answering comments on my blog (although I still don't get that many).

    My Most Recent Discussion: "But I Wanted You to Have a Normal Life"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, I worry that my comments are pointless, too. But, I love all the comments on my blog, and I assume other people love comments, too. It is hard to find something unique to say about some posts, though.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  16. I really love your blog, from the layout to the content. It feels really balanced to me--old books and new books, careful analysis and gut reactions, and book focused but with personality. Plus, now that you pointed it out, I'm kind of excited to see Falconer's Library on your "blog stalker!" Now I too must update mine. (For example, you're not on it, which is silly. I even read your review posts, and I NEVER read reviews.)

    Maybe it's due to my advanced age, but it never occurred to me that my blog "needs to be" a certain way or include certain things. I do what I want. Of course, that means I have less than two dozen followers, but there are a handful of people who comment regularly, so I'm happy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I’ve seen a lot of blogging How To posts that say, “If you want a successful blog, you have to do _____.” But, I’m really terrible at doing things I’m supposed to do. On my blog, I just do whatever I want. This is my creative outlet.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  17. Happy Blogoversary!! Congrats on 3 years :D It'll be 4 years for me in September! I love this post a lot, especially the asshat one and the one about writing about yourself but honestly, all of these are good advice^^ Here's to many happy returns! ♥

    ReplyDelete
  18. I've had a book blog for four years, but I've been actively blogging for the last year and a half. The time before that I was terrified of posting anything, because my English wasn't as good back then. So my advice would be to just do it. Just post about whatever inspires you, because if you never start you will never get better.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Happy belated blogiversary!!! This is a glorious post, you're much more articulate about blogging things than I am haha

    ReplyDelete

I do a happy dance every time I get a comment. (You should be grateful that you’re not around to witness this dance. It’s truly horrifying.) Leave a link to your blog so I can visit you.