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How Book Blogging Has Changed Drastically in 10 Years: My Experience

Wednesday, 17 June 2020
Before I begin, I'd really like to direct your attention to these two great discussion posts which inspired me to write my own blog post:
As I will outlay in the following post, it is so so so important to support your fellow book bloggers so please give these posts a read and, if like me, they inspire you, write your own response to the topics discussed and/or leave them a comment or interact in some other way!


How Book Blogging Has Changed Drastically in 10 Years: My Experience
 
I am going to (figuratively) stand here and lay everything bare to you all today. Since dabbing my toes back in the book blogging waters a few short weeks ago, I have found myself so unbelievably overwhelmed. It is so, so different to the book blogosphere I left a few years ago and, in complete honesty, I have absolutely no idea where to start or how everything really works anymore.

Ten years ago, I was just a young 12 year old who started a book blog because all I ever did was read. Read and read and read. I'd developed some pretty severe anxiety issues around that time and books helped immensely. And all that was missing were other people who I could actually talk about these books with, these books I spent pretty much all of my time with. Those first few years of book blogging? I made so many amazing friends, produced a whole lot of book-related content, built up solid rapports with a number of different publishing companies and authors and, just generally, LOVED every minute of it.
 
When I compare how I felt about the book blogging community back then to how overwhelmed and lost I feel now, I've got to tell you, it really does feel like an alien world. Back then, I really feel like publishing companies relied heavily on book bloggers so, resultantly, made a lot of effort in building and sustaining relationships with us. As a book blogger, I felt seen and heard and, above all, appreciated for the work I put forth in to the community.
 
I spent so much time on my blog. I would come in from school and that would be it. I would be on my computer the rest of the night, writing posts, corresponding with authors and publishers, chatting with my blogger friends, visiting as many new blogs as I could. I loved everything about it. I was on a number of mailing lists in which, every month, the publishers would send you out a list of titles available for review and you would simply reply the titles that caught your eye and hopefully you were quick enough to get one of the copies, if they were limited. The post man was dropping off parcels every other day, at one point, review copies upon review copies. I'd even built up such a strong rapport with some publishers, I was being sent out, what I liked to call, 'surprise' review copies - books I hadn't even requested.
 
I felt so appreciated and, in turn, was extremely productive and motivated on my blog and socials. Now I see so many book bloggers today struggle to get accepted for some of their most highly-awaited releases on Netgalley, and it makes me so sad. At one point, book bloggers really were the heart and soul of the book readers hub. We thrived. And publishers knew just how important we were to promoting and generating excitement for their books. I joined Netgalley myself not long after trying to relaunch this blog (I didn't have any need for it back in the day so never really looked into it) and even read some publishers saying requests from people who weren't booksellers would be automatically rejected. It just made me feel deflated and utterly disheartened. I immediately felt that small shift - a shift saying that perhaps publishing companies had moved on from book bloggers in my absence.
 
Before booktubers and bookstragrammers and now even book tiktokers, there were book bloggers. And I'm not in anyway dissing any of these forms of book lovers. I love all these forms, subscribe to many and love how a love of books has expanded in to all these different formats - it should be celebrated! But, yes, sometimes we book bloggers can feel a bit lost and forgotten amongst all of this - our numbers don't seem to climb as quickly as on the other platforms and sometimes, it really can feel like as much as we put effort in, other platforms seem to receive a lot more opportunities.
 
But this post is here to tell you, THAT IS NOT THE CASE. Hell, just now, right when I'm writing this post(!!) I've just been approved for my first request on Netgalley - and one of my most highly-anticipated releases this year to boot!! And it has brought back that exact same feeling I received when I got my first ever review request from an indie author 10 years ago (massive shout out to Sybil Nelson!!)
 
There are readers out there that appreciate our work, the countless hours we put into our blogs. Yes, there will be times when we don't feel seen or heard or appreciated but there are authors out there that appreciate us, publishing companies too. Hell, I just felt lost and deflated and one approved request has made me so excited and motivated again (really, guys, you should have just seen my reaction! I was fully prepared for a rejection!! *facepalm*) There is a whole community of other book bloggers out there who can empathise with you as well. Which leads me to my next point.
 
Other book bloggers. This is one thing I am so glad to have seen has not only stayed a constant, but has, infact, expanded. There are now soo many book bloggers out there - so many, it can even feel overwhelming - especially to an archaic blogging dinosaur like me! And, yet, when I relaunched my twitter alongside this blog again, it was book bloggers who retweeted my tweets and welcomed me back! Book bloggers I hadn't even spoken to before and they made me feel so welcome. NEVER underestimate this community and how important it is for us, as book bloggers, to lift other book bloggers up! We are each other's biggest supporters. This is why, even now, just like I felt 10 years ago, I always make effort with other bloggers. If you take the time to comment and interact with me, I aim to do the same back because I appreciate it so much. Also, I simply enjoy doing it.
 
Yes, there have been undeniable and significant changes to this book blogging world since I left it a few years ago and, yes, I'm not going to say there aren't going to be more times where we feel lost and deflated all over again, but we were once part of the foundation of building book hype within the publishing community and that is not easily forgotten. And if it were, why is it that more and more book blogs continue to crop up every day?
 
I value you, other readers value you, authors and publishing companies still value you.
 
To prove this, you can talk about your own book blogs below. Link to a post you love that you put a lot of work and effort into, your twitter handle and/or even just your book blog in general - tell us a little bit about it. Let's create a space where we can feel appreciated and lift each other up.
 
As usual with my discussion posts, I started this post with little idea of where it was going to go, with emotion being the main driving factor. Due to this, I may end up doing follow up posts if I feel I've missed stuff out. I tend to just splurge out words, do basic edits and post - it has always been my way, I don't know if that will ever change, haha! Thank you for bearing with me if you have got this far. Now let's celebrate the small victories - I would never have known in the middle of writing this, I would be approved for the first time on Netgalley for a highly-anticipated release! I like to see that as a sign.

We are still here, and we will still be heard.
 
Until next time,
Happy reading!



4 comments :

  1. This is actually my second time starting a book blog, but thank you so much for your encouraging words! And congratulations on your wins! It gives us hope! :)

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    1. It honestly feels like my second time as well even though it's still the same blog! I'm glad you found them encouraging, I think sometimes book bloggers just need a lil reminding! :)

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  2. I wish I had started a blog at 12 (back in 2012), just to get a feel of this community. I started in 2017 and have kind of been off and on since then, mostly getting burned out by blog tours and then trying to hop back into it after a while. I hope to be able to really find my "spot" in the community soon so I am motivated to keep working.

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    1. The book blogging world is definitely a bit more overwhelming and expansive now - I burned myself out a few years ago for a bit (it is a common thing to do!) but I'm hopefully back now and better than ever! I think we all just need to not try push ourselves too much & just keep reminding ourselves of the reason we took this all up in the first place - for our love of books.

      Thanks so much for commenting!

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