Is Book Blogging really that Hard?
Earlier this year, Vulture declared that indie book blogging was a thing of the past. Dead. Buried. Six-feet under. You see, at the time of writing, The Millions (a site that retained “indie credibility” in spite of its success) has been acquired by Publishers Weekly. The article itself brought mild conflict, many indie bloggers considering it to be a “eulogy for something … very much alive.” The Millions wasn’t going anywhere, right?
I’ve brought this up today, in The Big Q!, because I believe it established a good contextual foundation to build upon. No, I do not believe book blogging to be “dead”. A small Google search alone amasses thousands upon thousands of book bloggers and grams. But yes, I do believe it can be struggle to keep your book blog afloat.
My idea of struggle can be split into two sections: (1) it can be a struggle to find and retain an audience, and (2) it can be a struggle to write altogether. Both of these combined tend to cause the abrupt demise of a promising book blog – one day you’re writing, the next you’re not. And then the day after, you’re not. And then the day after that… you’re still not! This has happened to many small blogs. It has happened to this very blog 3 times.
What I want to share today is my experience of book blogging, and why I believe it to be the most difficult hobby I’ve ever had. Of course, I know many of you will read this and disagree, And those who find it an easy endeavour, well, I wish I could be more like you!
I originally started my book blog in mid-2016, as a simple “insert full name.wordpress”, and as I had just started my vegetarian journey, I took to reviewing cook book recipes. Every so often there would be a book review – early followers (there were very, very few) may remember my clunky reviews of If I Stay (Gayle Forman) and Shock of the Fall (Nathan Filer). It did not take long for me to give up on it when university eventually started.
My second attempt came late 2017, when I believed buying an official domain name would motivate me. Charry’s Corner, it was called. But once again, in a matter of months, I’d given up. A third attempt came later 2018 … – I think you’re beginning to get the picture.
This is my fourth attempt at book blogging, my website now simply called The Book Reviewer. It’s been around 5-6 weeks, and I’m 15 or so posts deep. I’ve restarted its accompanying Instagram also, and transformed my Twitter into a book-friendly environment. So far, the self doubt is yet to set in. Maybe it’s because – this time – I’m making blogger friends. Maybe it’s because undergrad is over. Maybe it’s because I’ve agreed to book tours, and I’m afraid to let anyone down. Or, perhaps, something has changed in the way I approach book blogging. Yes, I think that might be it.
The two types of struggles I listed above swirl into a nasty cycle of self doubt (What is the point of writing if I cannot find an audience? What if I never find one? Is my writing really that bad?). And when this doubt builds (for me, anyway), motivation crumbles. And somewhere in this cycle, it is easy to lose the real reason you started blogging – that being a love for books and writing.
I think my new approach is simply this: I love books, and I will write about them even if no one reads them. It’ll be a hard approach to follow; I won’t lie. We all need a little validation from to time. But one that’ll keep me motivated and true to myself.
As I said earlier, book blogging is hard. It’s time consuming, it’s stressful, and it’s challenging. But then again, maybe that’s why it’s worth giving it another go?