…on the eve of my blogoversary.

You don’t have to accept review books to be a book blogger

Some of my favourite bloggers don’t accept review books. It’s OK to read old books, new books, borrowed books (but not stolen books). A lot of new bloggers see getting review copies as a goal or a sign you have made it. Of course it’s a real treat to get some of your most anticipated books in advance. However once you’ve been around a while it might seem like a double-edged sword. Where do you find the time to read your own books? It can be hard choosing what to read and wanting to be accommodating to debut authors or your favourite publicists. So make your own mind up, it’s OK to say no. If you want to say yes, make sure you don’t overload yourself, and don’t get to the point where you feel entitled to them.

You’re not under any contractual obligation

I see so many people stressing about getting reviews out “on time” or not feeling like they want to read a specific book they have accepted. Unless you have signed a contract otherwise, you are not under any obligation to review to a schedule, or review a book at all if you’re not feeling it. You’re not getting paid and this should be an enjoyable hobby. There’s a big different in requesting loads of books and never reviewing any, to a blogger who just gets round to stuff in their own time. If you get worried about this, check with publicists what their expectations are before you accept. I generally won’t accept anything where there’s a deadline, especially if that deadline is next week!

A week away from your blog won’t ruin everything

If you’re going to be blogging long term, you have to accept that sometimes life will get in the way. The world moves so fast, your readers will barely notice you’ve stepped out for a week. And if you need longer, take it. Anyone that stops following you because you take a break isn’t worth it. People will worry if you’re a regular poster and disappear for over 2 weeks, so a sticky at the top of your blog is a great idea. But don’t stress about having to explain yourself.

You don’t have to read all the time

This is connected to the previous point. Sometimes your reading mojo will leave you. Forcing it generally doesn’t help but often doing other things does. Binge on Netflix, go outside and see new places, write, or just lie around doing nothing for a bit. If the lack of blog content scares you, why not blog about what you’re watching and doing? I love hearing about bloggers’ lives outside of reading!

Don’t assume you know the whole story

This kinda relates to internet Drama with a capital D but also to the general bitchiness that sneaks out on social media when people assume a blogger is stuck up or greedy. Maybe they are busy. Maybe they are socially awkward. Maybe they didn’t ask for all those books they get sent. Don’t pile onto drama without stopping to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. A little bit of empathy can go a long way. We all say and do stupid things now and again.

There’s plenty of bad advice on the internet

You might think this is all a load of rubbish advice and that’s fine. I do think the worst kind is when someone says “this is the only way to do things”, especially when that person is someone you admire. That just makes you feel bad for doing things your way. Stay within the bounds of the law and common decency and go ahead and do want you want!