It’s hard to believe I’ve had this blog ten years. There have been some wobbly moments, especially over the last year of course, but I’ve decided I like my little bookish spot on the internet, even if it turns out only to be for me.
So on this 10th blogoversary I’m not going to share the secrets of success, because I don’t know them. The internet has changed a lot in the past decade, we have so many places to share our love of books, and algorithms have come along to change how our content is seen.
I love taking and looking at book photos, but I now find Instagram too much like hard work. Like if you don’t play their game you just get hidden, and they are obsessed with showing me videos I don’t want to see. But you know, it’s ok to not be super active on everything. It sometimes makes me sad that it’s no longer a simple image sharing platform though.
Having said that, I love how bookstagram has driven publishers to produce more and more photo-worthy editions. Sprayed edges, stencilled edges, deckle edges, secret covers, exclusive fanart… be still my beating heart.*
When I started I mostly reviewed second hand books. It now seems easier than ever to get hold of review copies, but I am able to support authors, publishers and bookshops financially, so I tend to buy new books now, with a few review copies from publicists who turn a blind eye to my slacker ways. It’s so less stressful, and most of us are doing this for zero monetary gain; a book with no resale value is not payment for 10+ hours of work.
Though I know how it feels sometimes, like no one helps share your reviews unless you’re part of the blog tour or have the right contacts. I just had to take a step back, and realise that I enjoy blogging more if I don’t feel like I must be doing something. If I’m not enjoying it, then what’s the point?
However, publicists should totally put review copies in the hands of new bloggers, because they are so enthusiastic! They will probably get round to reviewing in a timely manner, create gorgeous content and shout about it, much more than us tired old veterans who are about to be crushed under the pressure of our ten year old TBR piles.
You think I’m joking, I still have unread books from before I even started blogging, and my partner made me remove books from the downstairs bookcases because he was sure they were moments away from collapse. Personally I think they are being held up by the books, so the only way to maintain structural integrity is to add MORE BOOKS.
Lots of the bloggers I started out with have stopped blogging or have switched platforms. And that will happen, it’s hard to keep going if you go at full speed. Book blogging hasn’t moved at the same pace as other types of “influencer”, and it’s still tricky to move the hobby into a career.
There’s a lot of pressure to turn everything you do for fun into a side hustle, to make it productive, but I am here to say your blog can be nothing more than a hobby. Update it however frequently makes you happy and please feel free to ignore all the advice that focuses on growth and popularity over having fun.
I would love to work with books, but the reality is my job pays too well, and I will just accept being on the edges. I need to pay the mortgage, feed my dog and buy more books.
Speaking of dogs, Scully has only been around for half of my blogging life, and while I may have had hopes of her being a fantastic model, she has shown little enthusiasm for posing next to books. I still love her though.
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