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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?