Monday, January 14, 2013

Discussion: Blogging: Then And Now!

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Recently, I’ve seen some posts talking about how blogging has changed over the years.  Here’s my two cents.

On January 24 I will have been blogging for 4 years.  To be honest, I didn’t expect to last a year when I first started my blog.  I was on my own, didn’t have a clue what I was doing, didn’t know any bloggers, and really just didn’t think I was doing a very good job.  Back then I was still in high school and I had a lot going on so I barely had time to read.  I contemplated giving up a few times but as you can see, I stuck with it.  2009 was a really good year for blogging.  I watched the community grow and I reached out to a lot of bloggers, both new and old.  I made friends and I started to make a name for myself in the blogging world.
Today, it seems like a new blog is created daily.  I love this and I hate this.  I love meeting new readers and the blogging community is a great way for readers to make friends.  I don’t exactly fit in most places but I definitely fit here.  I love seeing people come out of their shells and make friends with other bloggers.  This is not a community that’s mean and judgy.  Every blogger I have ever met/talked to has accepted me as who I am and I can’t say the same for some of the people I’ve met in real life.  Knowing that there are other people out there like me has helped me come out of my shell and really changed me as a person.  It’s the most awesome thing about the blogging community.
However, I also mentioned that I hate all the new blogs popping up.  It’s not all the new blogs, that’s for sure, but there are quite a few that get started for all the wrong reasons.  The point of a blog is not to get free books/ARCs, it’s to share your love of reading.  A lot of newer bloggers seem to think blogging is all about getting followers so the publishers will send you books.  It’s really easy to tell when a blog is started only for the purpose of getting books and it really makes all bloggers look bad.

I’m not going to lie though.  It seems like all bloggers these days base their worth around the amount of ARCs/review copies they get.  Readers judge what blogs are the “biggest” based on how many ARCs they get any given week.  That’s so not true.  There are some blogs out there that get tons of ARCs all the time and yet they still aren’t very well-known.  And there are some very popular blogs out there that don’t get very many books for review.  ARCs/review copies are not the way to judge whether or not a blog is a good one.  Content such as reviews, creative features, interviews, and things like that are the real way to see whether or not a blog is a good one and those things should be the deciding factor on whether or not a blog is a “big” one.

Blogging has changed a lot since I first started.  It’s evolved in both good ways and bad ways.  I love that publishers/authors are paying more attention to us and finally seem to realize our worth.  I love that on any given day I can meet a new person in the blogosphere and make a new friend.  However, with good things come bad things.  With more bloggers out there blogging starts to become a competition to some.  It’s also a lot easier for bloggers to get a bad rep with so many of us. If one of us does something stupid (at a conference, in an email, on their blog, etc.), we all look bad.  That being said, there’s nothing we can do about other people.  We only control ourselves and our blogs so it’s up to us as individuals to do what we can to make the blogging community one to be proud of.

How long have you been blogging?  Have you seen any significant changes in the blogosphere since you started?

86 Comments

  1. Millie

    I will have been blogging for almost a year Noé and I can tell you that I agree with what you’re saying. I mean, of course it’s nice to get new followers and have publishing companies notice you, but the reason why I started my blog was to talk about the books I’ve read. I didn’t expect to get much of an audience. In fact, I didn’t expect anything, but in the span of a year, I’ve created so many blogger friends and I really enjoy not only talking about books, but also normal things, too. And if a blogger is only after the popularity and free books, they don’t understand the reason of making a blog.
    Cheers! Great discussion!

    • Katie

      I was so like you when I started my blog. I totally didn’t expect anyone to read it and it’s amazing to me how many friends I’ve made from it. That’s really what I’m in it for and it’s great that you are too.

  2. Stephanie

    Hi! I actually just started blogging in December and am very very new to the blogging community. My reasoning to start blogging is to get my bookshelves looking more organized than looking like they’re going to burst (plus I love suggestions/discussions of new reads and reviews of older books). Also, I LOVE reading challenges. I actually signed up for a quite a few and I like the idea of being challenged and exploring new genres that I typically wouldn’t read. While free books are always nice, I’d rather check out the latest reads and such from my library. I’m not sure if it’s like this in every city, but our libraries are struggling and while me borrowing books doesn’t help them out financially, I feel like at least there’s some kind of traffic coming in and out and I feel good about that. Great discussion post!!

    • Katie

      Welcome to the blogging community, Stephanie! I think it’s great that you love reading challenges. They help me discover new genres too. Oh and yay for supporting your library. =)

    • jadechristyn @ Bookish Feelings Recorded

      Oh, I’ve also started my blog last December. I’ve been using Goodreads to organize my reading, but decided to set up a blog to meet more readers. Like you, I love reading challenges! Last year, I joined the Goodreads Reading Challenge, and I was a little overwhelmed to see all the challenges going on in the blogoshpere. ^_^

  3. Sara @ Forever 17 Books

    Very well said. As a newbie (10 months), it is interesting to see how the blogging community has evolved. I can occasionally get a bit of jealousy with seeing others with certainn ARCs I’d kill for (Boundless-lol) but the thing is, it really is no big deal. I have a TON to read on my shelf, probably too much. And I am a slower reader than most, so I have plenty to keep me busy. Also, sometimes with reading the ARCs, everyone is reviewing the same books all around the same time. It is nice to see older books or different books mingled in.

    I also get most of my ARCs from giveaways. I like that because it is less pressure to read by a certain time and then I don’t have to worry about publisher rejection, which terrifies me, to be honest. LOL

    What I struggled with at the beignning was finding something I could do that would be different and maybe make me stand out. It’s hard with so many out there and I really struggled with ideas. Luckily I was able to find something little and fun that is totally me because I stay at home with my kids (and watch other kids too) and I was able to incorporate them into it. It is now something I do weekly and even a few others have joined in. :)

    And wow, I’m rambling, anyways… I really haven’t seen TOO MUCH change yet, since I am semi-new. Wondering what the future will bring for this community though. :)

    ~Sara @ Forever 17 Books

    • Katie

      Thanks for the well thought out comment, Sara. I know what you mean about jealousy (it happens to all of us!) It’s great that you don’t let that get to you though. Truly I think we all have enough books to read as it is and from the bloggers I know, pretty much everyone is willing to share anyway.

      I totally get what you mean about originality though. It’s something I struggle with as well and it’s something that I still strive to have in my blog. =)

  4. Megan TheBookBabe

    One year. I’ve been blogging for one year, and I don’t really think that much has changed since I started– but I didn’t REALLY jump into the community until about 4 months ago, so I may have missed some SERIOUS changes. I honestly don’t know. But it’s not as easy as the bloggers who start blogging to get books think. There’s a LOT of work associated with blogging, and I don’t think that people realize it. Have you seen The Midnight Garden’s post about the cost and value of book blogging? It was really interesting, with a great survey at the end, and I’d like to see the results of it.

    I’ve gone off topic, LOL. Sorry about that. But on the other hand, I HAVE noticed changes. According to a lot of the “older” bloggers, there’s a lot more drama. And I agree. There’s a TON of drama. But I really need to stop rambling. I leave you with this: Great discussion starter, Katie! (:

    • Katie

      I see so many bloggers start for free books and they quit so quickly because it’s not as easy as it looks. People don’t seem to realize that until they actually try it. And I did see The Midnight Garden’s post and filled out the survey. Can’t wait to see the results.

  5. Emily

    Awesome post! You are completely right about everything you said! I’ve been blogging for 13 months and the reason I started was I joined Goodreads and saw other people, like The Story Siren, running a blog and reviewing books. I though it was really cool, and I’ve always loved to read, so I decided to try it out. I didn’t actually know about ARCs and review copies until I had been blogging for about 6-7 months, so that’s totally NOT why I started my blog. I homeschool, so I’m not exactly swimming in friends, and I just wanted to be a part of something where I could interact with other people who are like me, because I’m pretty sure that the people I DO know would think I’m pretty lame if I was to talk to them about books, cuz they aren’t really into that kind of thing. Like you, Katie, I’ve changed a lot because of my blog, and it’s definitely for the better.

    Awesome post, and thanks for sharing your opinion and thoughts :)

    ~Emily@Emily’s Crammed Bookshelf

    • Katie

      Emily I totally get what you mean about not exactly swimming in friends and just wanting to get your thoughts out there. That’s exactly why I started. Glad that blogging has made such an impact with you! Keep it up!

  6. Candace

    Yeah, I agree that the blogging world has exploded with new blogs. Its crazy to see when they just think they’ll do it for free books. They obviously wont be around real long. I have been blogging 4 years and I don’t get many ARC’s. But I still manage to get more than enough books to read!
    I did IMM until about a year ago when I scaled back a little. One reason I cut it was that people were giving me grief about the books I was getting. I generally get about 4 books through vine a month then a few unsolicated adult books but most of the rest are given to me or loaned to me from other bloggers. I also buy a ton. No need to give me grief since I really get very few books for free from authors and pubs.
    Anyway, fantastic discussion!

    • Katie

      Candace, I love your blog and I can’t believe anyone would give you grief about the books you get. You definitely deserve every one of them. I know what you mean about having plenty to read though. I think that’s a problem with a lot of bloggers. Thanks for the comment!

  7. Gina @ My Precious

    The way I chose the blogs I read and follow have nothing to do with the Arcs they receive. I follow a blog because the author has the same or similar reading tastes to mine. I also enjoy bloggers who respond to their followers by posting comment or answering questions.

    • Katie

      You choose who to follow the same way I choose who to follow. I find it really annoying when a blogger expects people to read and comment on their posts but won’t do the same in return. It makes me think that they aren’t really in it for the whole community aspect.

  8. Bekka @ Pretty Deadly Reviews

    In February I’ll have been blogging for two years. I started blogging because I read a really good book (Dust of 100 Dogs by AS King – go read it!) and I wanted to shout from the rooftops how much I loved it. So I started a little blog and followed the recommended blogs from the Blogger lists. I thought it was really cool once I found out that there were bloggers receiving advanced copies. I couldn’t believe it! But it was never a priority for me. Even now, I mostly just read whatever it is I want to, and instead of paper ARCs, I mostly deal with NetGalley.

    For me, having too many ARCs and review copies is overwhelming. I always wanted to blog just because I love reading. I do it for me. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love that so many people follow my blog, and I love coming up with new and different features. But the real reason I blog is because I love books and I want to share that love with other readers.

    • Katie

      Yay for almost two years, Bekka. That’s really the exact story of how my blog got started. I think it’s how a lot of blogs get started.

      I know what you mean about ARCs. I recently had to take a step back since I was just drowning but I’m glad to be back in force and like you I love trying to come up with new features and just share my love of reading!

  9. tigerlilyrachel

    Great post! I’ve only been blogging seriously for about five months, but I’ve noticed the exact same things. So many people seem to be in it for free books and it really disheartens me. I see a lot of blogs that are full of tours, cover reveals, etc. and I don’t know, this might just be me, but I prefer blogs that are heavier on reviews and actual content. Some of those get a ton of ARCs, others don’t. It doesn’t really matter to me. I like to discover new books and hear others thoughts. I initially created my blog as a way to record my thoughts on what I read because I forget so easily. And maybe I’m not as popular as some of those blogs that do more promotional stuff, but I don’t really care. I’m in it for the reading and sharing my love with others.

    • Katie

      I think your blog is awesome, Rachel, because it’s not full of promotional stuff. I followed you because your posts actually require work and thought and a lot of blogs don’t post that kind of stuff anymore. It disheartens me to see those kinds of blogs too but you are the kind of new blogger that I love!

  10. Book Blogger Mom

    That was a great post :) At the end of May I will have been blogging for a year. It is just a hobby for my. But the ARC’s are a nice perk. I don’t get many. If there is a book I really want I will email the author. I am not the most experienced blogger but it is fun. I have always loved reading.

  11. Melissa @ Mel's Books and Info

    I definitely agree with you about how there are both good and bad sides to having so many new bloggers out there. I worry when bloggers get too ARC greedy that publishers might lose interest in the publicity we provide. I get an ARC on occasion, but blogging has never been about that for me–it is about the reviews and sharing the books. I don’t have a lot of people around me who read the same things I do–I blog so that I can talk to others who share my interests. I don’t want to lose sight of that. Great post!

    • Katie

      I really hope publishers don’t lose interest in us bloggers because I love the relationships I’ve built up with publishers. It’s such a cool thing to be able to work directly with them and I would hate to lose that because of greed.

      I also don’t have friends who really read what I read so I do it for the same reason you do.

  12. Jen Halligan

    Great discussion post Katie! I pretty much agree with all you said. ARCs are definitely a perk. I won’t lie, I get giddy every time a package arrives. But I really don’t get many, not enough to balance out the amount of time/work I put into my blog. There’s no way I could continue blogging if I didn’t love the community, and playing a (small) part in the industry. I started to share my love of books, and to discuss what I’m reading and books I’m dying to read… when I assessed the blog around the New Year, I feel like it’s become more about promoting than sharing – which is fine, I just want to bring in more of… me. In 2013 I want ABaaL to be more personal. I haven’t quite figured out how to get there yet with the crazy pants this month/year has become, but I plan to post more personal things, outside of books. I’m also considering branching out from only YA… Wow, sorry to ramble! Thanks for the great post!
    ~ Jen @ A Book and a LatteBook Haul & Blog News

    • Katie

      Jen, I totally get giddy every time a package arrives. I don’t know many people who don’t. =)

      I’m glad you’ve kind of figured out exactly what you want your blog to be for you. That’s what truly matters.

      And ramble anytime!

  13. Lucy

    I’ve been blogging a year in April and I’m always surprised at people who get millions of books to review a week. I enjoy writing discussions and reviews and definitely don’t do it for ARCs, although it is nice to get them.

    New follower! Have visited before but obviously didn’t follow! Have no idea why! :)

    • Katie

      First off, I love your blog name. I’m a huge contemporary fan.

      Secondly, it’s great that you are in it for the right reasons. Even I admit that it’s awesome to get ARCs but that’s not why I blog.

  14. Christa (More Than Just Magic)

    I’ve been blogging for two years now and I never expected to love it as much as I do. I expected to like it (obviously) but I can’t imagine not doing it now. I’ve met so many amazing fellow readers. Both online and in real life. And I love getting to talk to the authors. They’re totally my version of rock stars and I love being part of a community that feels the same way.

    I understand what you mean about new blogs only wanting ARCs. It can be frustrating. But you still find so many great gems among those frustrating ones and that makes it all worth it

    • Katie

      Authors are like rockstars to me too! I get so flustered around them most of the time!

      Also, there are some fabulous new bloggers out there and I love them all. You do just have to weed out the frustrating ones.

  15. lisseth Torres

    a HUGE 12 months in february. I have to agree, when i started my tiny space in the blogosphere I just wanted to get my thoughts out of my head, or i would have exploaded (figuratively :p). I havent been here for much but i can tell when someone just wants people to follow them or get those ARC’s and maybe an ARC would be nice but I dont get many but im fine with that because my love is for the books and there going to eventually come out.

    Some changes? A few, again the focus changed i think were all doing giveaways just to get people to follow us, and i think were all looking at each other like its a competition and i dont want to be in a contest for doing somthing that i love to do.

    One thing I have noticed is that the blogs who do it for the free books and do reviews, do really small reviews (1 paragraph), put a 5 star rating but never tell you y U SHOULD read the book. That makes me feel like they dont put in the effort and have other motives.

    @_@ ah….I think this is a long commnent but this post made me think. Great post Katie & WOAH 4 YEARS, congrats on doing it for so long and rocking at it ^_^

    • Katie

      I love long comments, Lisseth!

      Happy early blogoversary. Glad you realize that blogging isn’t a competition and you are in it because you love it.

      Oh and I totally notice the super short reviews too!

  16. Sarah (Escaping Through Books)

    Sometimes I think that the book blogging world would be better off without ARCs at all. I know this is probably an unpopular opinion, but I think this would reduce so much of the jealousy and competition people have over others getting “free books” or getting to read a certain title months before it comes out. It would also ensure that people are blogging about books just to share their love of reading rather than as a means of scoring more ARCs.

    Examples of two books that had no ARCs that come to mind are The Fault in Our Stars and City of Lost Souls. I thought the releases dates of both were very fun because everyone got to start reading on the same day… like one big reading party! It leads to better discussion when the book is available for everyone to get at the library or in bookstores rather than available months later.

    I have requested and received ARCs from publishers, as I’ve been blogging for more than a year, but honestly, I think I prefer just reading and reviewing books I buy, swap for, or get from the library. That way, there’s no pressure to read the book and post a review by a certain date.

    • Katie

      I get what you mean about the fun of release day for those big titles. It was so much fun for me to go out and get City of Lost Souls and read along with others. I see the perks of that but I also see the perks of ARCs. It’s a situation where I don’t think anyone will be completely satisfied but oh well.

      And I totally get what you mean about not having pressure with bought books and library books. It gets overwhelming.

  17. Fiktshun

    What a great post. And wow, four years is a long time in the blogging world. It’s so easy to start a blog and it’s just as easy to shut it down.

    I’m with you on the love-hate. Though mostly because there are just so many new blogs that I never get the chance to discover.

    I’m sure the book blogging world was much, much smaller when you started out. It felt smaller when I did, too, in late 2010 but I don’t think it actually was.

    It just saddens me that newer bloggers base their success on the quantity of books in their mailbox. Because, like you said, that isn’t what it should be about. It’s the interaction with other bloggers and authors that can make this amazing IMO. All the rest are just perks.

    I think I got all of five books – tops – from publishers in 2012 and requested all of one. And I loved blogging way more in 2012 than I did in 2011 when I was trying to get ARCs.

    I wouldn’t call my blog “big” or “successful” but it’s my place to share my thoughts and that’s what I’ve done. So in that regards I suppose I’ve met my goals for me.

    Congratulations on such a huge accomplishment as 4 years and sticking it out through all the changes and challenges. And an early congrats on 3,000 well-deserved followers. your reviews are insightful and your discussion posts are always great to read.

    • Katie

      Thank you for the lovely comment. You are awesome!

      It saddens me as well and I wish more bloggers realized that these are just places for us to get our thoughts out there. It’s not a competition.

      And I love that your blog is where you want it to be. I think that’s absolutely fabulous!

  18. Ivana

    Excellent topic. I’ve been blogging for almost 4 years and things did change. There are sooo many book bloggers out there. Anyway, I think it quickly shows who started a blog for ARCs and who is doing it for the love of reading and reviewing. To me the longevity of the blog is a good indicator, not the number of followers or ARCs. I’ve seen blogs quickly rising to thousands of followers, only to disappear over night.

  19. Ezmirelda

    Great post! I agree that there seems to be more blogs popping up that only care about competition and ARCs–but I feel like those blogs sort of set up their own grave by not showing any true passion behind what they are doing. I’m not going to re-visit a blog if I don’t care for its content. That’s why I don’t thing more bloggers has that big of an effect. I feel like readers will naturally tend to gravitate towards blogs that are genuine no matter how many of the new blogs turn up. :)

    • Katie

      You are so right. If I didn’t have a passion for books, I never would have kept up this blog no matter how many free books I received. It’s easy to tell when a blog is just in it for the books and I don’t re-visit them either.

  20. Citra

    I started my blog because I needed something to write. I didn’t even know what ARC was, and now that I do, I don’t even care about it.

    Yes, some people find them interesting, wait until you feel you have to review them all. For me, I’d pick reading without any pressure.

  21. Gwen Miller

    I’m curious. In your experience, have you seen many blogs about the art/method of reading rather than book reviews? I’ve been trying to search for them but can’t think of a search term. As you have a good many years in the area thought you might know some?

  22. Chloe @ YA Booklover Blog

    I definitely agree with you about blogs being started just to get ARCs. I’ve been blogging for over 2 years, and although I didn’t even know what an ARC was when I first started, I definitely had that phase of ARC madness. Thankfully I’m blogging completely differently now, and I no longer request ARCs unless they’re something I really, really want. I think you’re so right about not judging blogs based on the amount of review copies they get.

    • Katie

      I don’t think you are the only blogger to go through an ARC madness phase. It happens to the best of us. I’m glad you realized what you wanted from your blog though and have switched things up.

  23. Erika

    I’ve been blogging for almost two years now, and I really don’t think I knew a time when the blogging world was much different than it is now.

    I really do think that there are a lot of blogger that just want books. Of course, books are nice (cause really, when you read as much as us blogger do, they do get quite expensive) but seriously, some people go way over the top and really don’t stop to think how fun it is to talk with all of you people and not worry about the amount of books they get. Before I started blogging I did know about the books people could get and stuff because I started getting into some book communities before blogging, and I did think that stuff was cool, but even now I don’t really even try to get them because I think it’s really hard work and I don’t think it’s necessary to do well as a blogger. I’m a library reader 90% of the time. I love all you guys and I don’t need ARCs to have fun around here!

    In the two years that I’ve been blogging I guess I think it’s become more connected. I didn’t know ANYONE before I joined twitter. NO ONE. and then I joined twitter and then all of a sudden I know you and all sorts of other people who like things I like and all sorts of stuff. I suppose I might have just been out of the loop for quite a while, but that’s what has changed the most for me anyway.

    Lovely post, and happy blog birthday Katie!

    • Katie

      I totally didn’t realize that you have been blogging for almost two years. That’s awesome.

      I do love that the blogging community has become more connected. I don’t know what I would do without the awesome blogger friends I’ve made (like you!)

      Thanks for the early blogoversary wishes!

  24. Julie@My5monkeys

    Well congrats on blogging for so many years. I have been blogging for 6 years and I have seen changes within the blogging world.

    I agree with the ARC madness. I feel very grateful to receive those precious books. I have also made some great friends in the community. I have also noticed that giveaways are down IMHO. I didn’t think that I would have been blogging for as long as I have. Change is good but always there is drama :(

    • Katie

      Oh wow, 6 years? That is awesome.

      I am grateful for every book I get from a publisher or an author. I think it’s awesome. I also love my blogging friends and I wouldn’t stick with this without them.

  25. Jessica R

    I just recently started my blog (October) and I started it because I’ve always been a crazy reader and I’ve never had too many people who loved to talk about books with me. I was really looking for somewhere to blab about how much I loved books and reading and authors and hoped to find and befriend other people like myself.

    I can honestly say that while I do get some jealousy seeing the ARCs that other people get, that is not why I started my blog. So many generous bloggers do giveaways that anyone, even non-bloggers can get free books from time to time (fine example: I just today got 4 HarperCollins ARCs in the mail… not for my blog, because I’m quite sure they don’t know it exists. I won them from Epic Reads’ Tea Time, which any random commenter can win). Had the free books been all I wanted, I would have simply entered giveaways because the few free books that I’ve received as a new blogger specifically are amazing (and I am so grateful for them) but they do not balance out the number of hours I have spent working on my blog or on reviews, or brainstorming ideas for something I can try to contribute to the blogging community.

    I don’t have a ton to say in terms of the changes because I am still new, but I have noticed that since I’ve become active in the community I have been welcomed by some wonderful bloggers who I think have fantastic (quality!) blogs but I’ve also seen some crazy drama and some bloggers that might give blogging a bad name. I don’t think anyone can say that eveything is changing and all new bloggers are in it for the wrong reasons, but I do see that there are some. I just hope that the ones who are in it with good intentions are the ones who stick it out and help to keep the name of book bloggers honest and valuable.

    • Katie

      I love long comments like that so don’t worry!

      I totally get jealous sometimes. It’s hard not to but I just learn to ignore it. And you are so right about giveaways. Most bloggers are super generous so I can always enter to win a book if I can’t get a copy some other way.

      Also, I totally realize that most new bloggers have completely good intentions and I love those new bloggers. It’s those new bloggers that will continue to keep blogging fresh and fun.

  26. Emily

    This is a great post, and I loved hearing about the blogosphere back in 2009, since I have only been blogging since May. Still, I have definitely noticed how seemingly so many people only care about the ARCs, which is so saddening. Although I new about them and pictured myself maybe receiving some in the far, FAR future, the sole reason I began blogging was just that I loved this community and needed to be part of a group of people who understand my love of YA the way people I know in person do not. THAT, to me, is what this is really about-sharing our mutual obsession, freaking over our favorite series, discussing and recommending books, and counting down the days to a highly anticipated release. Together.
    I have been blogging for seven months, and I have yet to request an ARC. I plan to blog for at least seven more before I start. Freebies are great, but they are towards the bottom of the list of blogger benefits. The real perk is meeting people who GET me, having someone to whom I can gush about a novel without her thinking I’m crazy. That is why I blog. That is why I love blogging. That is why I would go crazy if I stopped.

  27. Emily

    Also: after re-reading that comment, I felt the need to correct myself, although I am sure you could figure out that the “new” should be “knew.” iPod touches are not the best for commenting. Haha. :)

  28. Brandi Kosiner

    I have been blogging since 2010 and started off for contests and then I started to want to write what I thought of my books, and then it took off from there. I think there are a lot more blogs now than when I started, and even then, there were tons.

  29. Cait

    OMG so many responses since I looked earlier, I guess this is a topic people have a lot of opinions about! I’ve been blogging nearly 2 years now…one thing I have noticed that I like is a lot more people from the UK blog (or maybe are just easier to find…) now then when I started. It’s nice to be able to interact with bloggers from your own country as well as others! I think it’s a shame if people do start blogging for the free books…that’d make me feel so guilty. I’ve taken a massive step back from accepting/requesting review copies and it’s made me a much happier, stress-free blogger

    Really great post Katie

    Cait x

  30. Belle of the Literati

    Oh my gosh, I LOVE this post. It is so heartfelt and honest. And this post made ME feel better too! I can’t lie, a lot of the stuff you said I had been thinking at one point about worth of a blog. But what I LOVE is that you feel like you belong in this world. I have so many people in real life that think I’m so bizarre because of how much I love to read. It’s really hurtful sometimes because it’s not as if I’m doing drugs or obsessed with TV, reading is smart! And I have met so many nice people so far through blogging and it is so cathartic to be able to write about why I liked or didn’t like a book. It’s like a release of emotion or something. This post is great and it kind of made my day :)

    ~Kelly

  31. Vy

    First off, WOW! That’s really awesome that you’ve been blogging for 4 years! I’ve only started blogging around late 2010, but I’ve never been FULLY putting myself into my blog because of high school. I’m hoping that will change slowly though! It’s kind of crazy thinking how bloggers have been with me since my middle school year into my high school years!

    In those years, I’ve noticed the shift in ARCs becoming a “main priority”. I’d get questions from new bloggers on how to get ARCs and to be honest, I didn’t know how to respond! I didn’t request my first physical ARC until recently.

    I really love this thought out post, Katie. And congrats again on those amazing 4 years!

  32. Sherry Patout

    HI! I just started blogging. I love reading and I just wanted someone to share my love with. I have been blogging for a couple of weeks. :) any advice should I take it slow at first and then build up to things like interviews and such. I don’t even no where to begin, it so overwhelming at times. anyway- you were one of the first book blogs I came across and I love your page.

    check me out at dreamloveread.blogspot.com

  33. jadechristyn @ Bookish Feelings Recorded

    “This is not a community that’s mean and judgy.”

    I love your post, and I totally agree with this. I’ve been blogging only since December, but yes, I can see this community isn’t mean (Oh, thank goodness!). Right now, I’m spending some time looking around especially the book blogs and see how this works. I’m so happy I’m discovering a lot of things every day. :)

  34. Aneeqah

    There were so many awesome points that you made in this post, Katie, and I have to say, I think I agree with all of them.

    I admit, there was a time where I was obsessed with ARCs and giveaways, although obsessed is a bit of a strong word, having seen some other blogger’s obsession with ARCs. But the point is, I wanted to get ARCs pretty badly, and kept requesting madly off of NetGalley. But then I realized the error of my ways and stopped. And I love blogging so much more now. What I’m focusing on instead of getting ARCs is interacting more with people, and THAT’S what blogging should be truly about, in my opinion.

    Anyways, fabulous post Katie! <3 And congrats on 4 years of blogging. =)

  35. Monika

    I just started my book blog this month. I wanted to challenge myself to express my thoughts on the books I read. In words, rather than simply remembering how a book made me feel. But, I’ve been blogging for a long time in different places and stages of life… since 2000! Crazy. In the old days of Xanga, I made a number of great friends who I’ve met irl and still keep in touch with.

  36. Alexia561

    Great discussion! My four year blogoversary will be in April and, like you, I didn’t expect it to last. I get bored easily and have taken a few breaks, but love the community of book lovers so much that I don’t think I’ll leave!

    One of the biggest changes I’ve noticed is the explosion of promo posts. Seems there are book blasts and cover reveals and other promos all over the place now. Used to be only a few, so they seemed to have meant more. Now it’s almost like spam and easy to ignore.

    Another change is that so many of the bloggers I started out with have quit. Some burned out and said goodbye, while others just disappeared. While I’ve met several new blogging friends, I still miss some of my old buddies.

    Happy early blogoversary! Glad you decided to stick around! :)

  37. Maji Bookshelf

    My sister and I have been blogging for almost a year and a half (we started mid 2011) and I have also almost gave up on the blog once or twice due to the stress and work overload but you know what? like you said, this is where we fit, and I honestly don’t think I’ll ever be stopping writing up reviews and being part of the book sphere. Any changes? I know what you mean about the obsession with ARCs, but I also like how everyone seems to be sharing their “wealth”. So yea, the book blog sphere is a very communicative one that accepts everyone :)

    great discussion post!

    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

  38. Jenea Whittington

    I started blogging about a year ago. I was reading so much and getting so many books from my library, that the librarian ask me one day if I just wanted to live at the library. lol.. I decided that I wanted to tell others about the books. I would make trips to the library a few times a week and even had a system on how to wait and request them from other libraries. Getting ARCs is exciting, but there are a lot of books out there that we forget about. I have enjoyed meeting new people and have made some great friends along the way.

    Congrats on blogging for 4 years too. :)

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

  39. Hannah

    This February will mark my second year as a blogger, and I agree with you about all the new blogs being good and bad.

    You mentioned on Twitter how some blogs only write a single paragraph review. Anyone who reads a synopsis and can do that, and I feel like those are the ones really in it for the free books. They’re smart enough to realize that they can amass a huge following by giveaways and tons of reviews … but they aren’t quality.

    The bloggers I follow are the ones who don’t JUST review or participate in endless memes (yes, memes can be fun, but shouldn’t be 50% of the blog content). They’re the bloggers I text when I need a recommendation. Or to vent. They’re the ones who pose discussion topics for debate and get just as fan!girly and nervous as I do in front of an author.

    People in it just for the books quickly learn it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. My blog is like a second job. It takes a lot of time and effort to maintain it. I’ll admit that I never dreamed when I began it would be so time-consuming, but I also didn’t realize the satisfaction I would get from writing a review and having someone read that book because I loved it and they trusted my opinion.

  40. Stephanie (Love.Life.Read)

    Fantastic Post Katie!! I am so very inspired by you and your blog! Here’s my very long response I wrote:

    I have had my blog private for several years before I took the leap of faith of making it public. I even stopped writing posts for myself for about a year. I read all the time still but did not write any reviews for me to look back onto. I regretted that so I made the decision that I wanted to do this for myself again. For me, why I decided to finally make Love.Life.Read public is because I missed the connections and feedback sharing that I got with my previous job’s staff intranet blog. We would write reviews and comment on each other’s postings. My blog is my way of being able to do that again, but with a whole lot more colleagues out there in Blogland. :-) I lived vicariously through reading all the blogs I have followed but I missed the connectedness by not commenting, responding to the questions, posting reviews or participating in reading challenges. In my current job, which I love, I am the only person in my library geeked about young adult and romance titles. I am the only youth and teen librarian so I made it a professional goal this year to connect with other readers out there so I can have someone to talk books with who are equally as excited about them as I am.

    I cannot say that I have not had fear in doing this because it is like bearing my soul in a way. With every post, we put ourselves out there to be accepted hopefully but in some cases, judge against all other book bloggers. I know one thing I do not want to do is feel like I am getting into blogging because of a competition or in hopes of getting free stuff. I am sure none of us would turn our noses up about free stuff but that cannot be my driving force because I would set myself up for failure. Of course that does not mean that I do not scan the eGalley lists every week or so but every title I request is because I WANT to read it not because I feel like I have to read it. To me, there is a big distinction between the two.

    Thank you to Katie for the reminder that it does not matter how many ARCs, electronic or printed, I receive, how many comments I get or how many followers or subscribes I have any given day. I am doing this simply because I LOVE BOOKS and I wanted to shout it from the rooftop!!

  41. Caliowin

    I started my blog almost a year ago, and I’ve taken it slowly, just getting used to the whole thing. I hoping to step up a notch in 2013 and post more. I love sharing my thoughts on books and I love reading other people’s blogs and the comments on them. I doubt anyone will ever send me ARC or want an interview on my blog, but that’s fine as I don’t do it for attention, I do it for fun. :D

  42. siriusyareader

    I’m, like many of the people who commented, a fairly new blogger. I think I’ve been blogging for about 6 months but the first couple of months I hardly posted anything. I didn’t really know what to post or how to post it. I’m starting to become more used to blogging and better at it but I still have a long way to go. I want to blog because I really really love reading. I read so much and it’s not an option for me to talk about it with my friends because they hate reading. I discovered book blogs about 8 months a go looking up a review of a book. To be honest it was your blog I discovered. I was fascinated by the idea that people could blog about the books they read and other people actually wanted to read it. I started checking your blog several times a day. I finally realized I had a book blog obsession and decided to start my own.

    So, yeah. That’s why I started my blog. Not for ARCs or anything. I honestly didn’t know what ARCs were until after I started blogging. I discovered them when I noticed a book had been reviewed before it’s release date. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that not every new blog is starting for ARCs. I think part of the reason why there are so many blogs is because it’s becoming easier to get computers.

    • Katie

      It’s so totally cool that my blog was the one you originally stumbled upon. That really makes me smile.

      I totally don’t think all bloggers start their blogs for ARCs. I definitely don’t think that about you. And I totally get what you mean about it being a lot easier to get computers these days. When I started my blog I actually didn’t have my own computer and now I don’t know how I would live without it!

      Thanks for the lovely comment!

  43. Stephanie Sinclair

    Great post, Katie. I haven’t been blogging for 4 years (more around 2 years and only 1 with Cuddlebuggery), but it’s so cool to see the community grow. When I first started reviewing, it was exclusively for Goodreads (around a year? I can’t remember) and when I later branched out to having a blog, I didn’t even know there was a community.

    Unfortunately, there is a big emphasis placed on ARCs because when you’re new you want to fit in and have what every one else does. But I think overtime, that feeling tends to wear off for most bloggers. ARCs are cool, but they can become overwhelming sometimes.

  44. @HarleyBearBooks

    I still think it’s crazy that a year ago I didn’t know this blogging world existed. Seems like everyday I discover 10 new blogs. But I agree that people in the blogging community are really accepting. I’m friends with people 13-40 yrs old. And it’s amazing that we are friends bc of paper with words on it lol. I really admire your blog. It was one of the first blogs I saw that looked really professional and made me want to improve mine. When you started was there goodreads and other sites like that? I’ll be having my 1 yr anniversary in March. I feel like time has flown. Like you I didn’t think I’d be blogging very long so I’m excited to see what happens as I grow and meet more people. Great post as always. Keep being awesome!

    • Katie

      I love hearing that about my blog. It never gets old.

      Goodreads and Shelfari and all those sites were around when I started my blog and I actually started out on those sites before I even created my blog. I just wanted to get a feel of things first and then I took the plunge and signed up on Blogger.

      Happy blogoversary in March!

  45. Kristen Williams

    I have just started blogging…almost a month in. I decided to blog since I love to read so much and I pretty well annoy everyone I know babbling about it all the time. i hope to make friends with people that love books as much as me. I have seen everyone doing the ARC thing but have yet to even figure out how one goes about getting them. My goal with my blog is just to talk about the books I love, make friends and if I could make enough money to pay for a book or two that would be awesome :-) Thanks for the great post.

  46. Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed

    I’ve only been blogging a year and my reading tastes have changed so much. Of course I get excited when I get certain ARC’s but I also get very excited when I get great Indie books to review.
    The only thing that bothers me about some (not all) newer blogs is that they have a promo post up almost everyday. Sometimes more than one. I’ve cut back on those and cover reveals and just realized a while ago it’s impossible for me to post a review everyday. I work full time, have two kids and a family, cook clean, help with homework, and all that fun stuff. I aim for 2-3 reviews a week and I am happy with that :)

  47. April (BooksandWine)

    I know exactly what you’re talking about with this post. You’ve been blogging a bit longer than me — I started July 2009 and yes there’s been SO much change. I do think there’s been a lot more drama too. Like, I remember in 2009 when there wasn’t any sort of STGRB drama or even any author-reviewer drama. The most drama there seemed to be was maybe over ARCs, but lol do you remember when like people didn’t talk about ARCs, like they didn’t talk about their contacts because it was kind of taboo and now people are much more bold about that.

    As a person, I haven’t changed that much — I mean, I’m not out at frat parties anymore, but I’m also not in college anymore so going to one would be super weird. I have friends who are into books in real life and it’s cool. I also have them online. Although, I’ve evolved as a blogger quite a bit. I’m not quite so mean and dramatic as much I used to be. I kind of got tired of all that, I’d rather work on my TBR then spend all night fuming over something miniscule.

    I won’t lie, I like ARCs, but if they disappeared tomorrow I’d be okay because I have so many that I’ve purchased and my library has a pretty decent selection of books.

    And yeah, no kidding about influx of new bloggers, but the good rises to the top and somehow my friend circle consistently expands to include new bloggers. I think there’s a lot of great new bloggers and I tend to find them on twitter and through top ten tuesday.

    Okay, this comment has gotten super long and I’m tired. So, the end.

    • Katie

      I totally do remember when nobody talked about ARCs. People are so much more bold about those things today.

      I agree about ARCs just disappearing tomorrow. Sure, I’d be bummed but I’d manage. Like you, there are plenty of books on my shelves and at the library.

      The good bloggers definitely do rise to the top and I’m so glad about that. I’ve met some amazing new bloggers and they are awesome.

      Thanks for the comment!

  48. Bella @ Forever Narnia

    What a great discussion. As someone that’s been involved in the blogosophere for about five years the changes have been so big. I get tired of the blogs that are all about the “free” books too. When I first started five years ago ARCs were not a factor, it was just about sharing a love of books. Even now as I dip my toe into YA fiction it’s the same for me. Truthfully I’d rather buy the books and have pretty finished copies on my bookshelves, then worry about ARCs. Of course my husband might not agree as my book budget every month seems to skyrocket.

    I do like how the community is so welcoming. It took me a while to decide if I wanted to go back to blogging after a two year break and everyone has been so sweet and encouraging :)

  49. Isabel Gomez

    I’m a relatively new blogger. At first I just wanted a blog so I can have a place to rant/rave about certain books. I tried posting on Tumblr but I didn’t like that I can’t get comments on my post because I really like discussions. So I opted to open a Blogger account and viola! I started in July of 2012 but I only became active in November. I admit, it’s been a challenge for me to post reviews everyday (and I don’t want to NOT post everyday) so I thought I’d use “fillers” like memes or promo posts. But ever since I read Parajunkee’s blog about book bloggers losing originality, it kind of inspired me to post 100% original/personal content once in a while. Until now I’m still trying to find the balance. I hope I do though, I don’t want to end up like the blogs you don’t like *puppy dog eyes* LOL so dramatic.

    Oh and I agree with the ARCs thing. I’m new, and I’ve gotten a few ARCs before. But not a ton of them at once. I saw a couple of (somewhat) newbie bloggers post photos of their ARCs and at first I was like, “Woah they have so many ARCs!” but then I realized just how much work it’s going to take reviewing those and I haven’t even finished reading all of the books on MY shelf! I just thought I’d still want to do reviews my own way. For a long time. After all, I don’t want to lose sight of why I wanted to start blogging about books in the first place.

    Great post, Katie! I really enjoy going through your blog. ;)

    Isabel @ Sab The Book Eater

  50. Mary Kirkland

    I’ve been blogging since 2005. Back when I first started, I didn’t make many posts and to tell you the truth they were mostly depressing emo rants. lol

    I’ve gotten better and love blogging now. I show off my pets, my family and throw the occasional review in there when the mood hits me.

    I know what you mean about a lot of new blogs popping up and you can tell some of them just want followers so they can get free books to review…some of the reviews are good and some not so much. I like fun blogs, blogs where people interact with their readers.

  51. Book Boyfriend Reviews

    I really enjoyed this. I am a new blogger and really intimidated by all of this. I feel lost at times and then I remember I am doing this because I love to read. I am not looking to get famous, just want to show others how I feel about a book. Sometimes I look at other blogs and feel discouraged because I am like Wow, they are great at reviews and I feel like mine just aren’t that great. Then I decided to just be me, just write how I feel comfortable and what makes me well me.
    I am so glad I came upon your blog because I feel so much better. I feel like people are expecting me to have 2000 followers in a month and for me I am happy if I can get 1 person to read something they never would have thought they would like because of a review I did.
    I have not had many ARC’s (didn’t even know what that was) until an author asked me to review a book. I just enjoy reading and writing down my thoughts. Thank you so much, you will never understand how happy this made me feel. I felt as if I was drowning now it seems as I can breathe easier. Also there was a comment made about not putting a review on the blog everyday…That made me feel much better as well. When I see other blogs have so many reviews a week I was thinking I can not do that, now I know I am not expected nor have to because this is my blog. I don’t have to be popular just 1 person is enough for me. Thank you so much for this I really really appreciate it!

  52. Ruby

    I’ve been blogging in general for almost 7 years now, when a friend of mine, a girl from my high school, showed me “the wonders of blogging”. I had no idea what that was, but it was fun… sort of like my very own magazine (yes, I saw it that way, poor, poor me *pats self on the head*)

    Then in 2010 I decided to give book blogging a chance. I had no idea what I was doing or how I should do it and it turns out I’m as shy in my virtual life as I am in my real life, so I didn’t reach out to any experienced blogger out there, but tried to learn it all by myself. Bad move on my part, yes, but I made it. I remember the author-reviewer drama wasn’t as big as it is now. There wasn’t that…let’s say fear, that if you write a review a certain way you’ll get angry emails or, worse, you’ll be bullied online because of your honest opinion.

    ARCs for me are like unicorns. I treasure each and every one of them. I’ve only received a few of those from the authors. As for review copies… I have to admit that in the beginning I was like a puppy, getting very excited for every review request I got and I accepted it immediately, without any idea about what that means to me as time management and all that. I got lucky because I liked what I received (I didn’t write a good review just because I god asked to read and review the book, I actually enjoyed them). But I’ve learned since then that a review request doesn’t mean that I should accept it. Blogging, if done right, takes an insane amount of time and energy. So I’m now a lot more responsible about what books I accept for reviewing and I stopped going every day on NetGalley just to see the goodies they have there (that’s how I saw I missed the opportunity to request an ARC for Richelle Mead’s The Indigo Spell *smacks self*)

    I think some people decide to enter the book blogging community for the wrong reasons. I know the first thing that caught my eye when I decided to try it were the pretty blog designs. I was like a little kid in a museum full of big, colorful paintings. Some blog designs are really good. I think the main thing that people don’t know is really how much time you need to invest in your blog. That is, if you want to do a good job, because, at some point, it becomes like a job, only with no money (I don’t mean to offend anyone, but I don’t think it’s exactly fair to take money for writing a review and still say “I’m doing it for fun”). It takes time and energy and that’s what people don’t see. We’re like miniature writers, but with no flashy covers, no hours of signings or fan meetings.

    By the way, thank you so much for the post!

  53. Sophia Lin

    I’m not exactly a new blogger but I’m pretty new in book blogging (started in November 2012). After my first blog failure (with a collaboration that went totally distant T_T), I decided to take some of the lessons I learned from that to my book blog such as not sounding boring, and as much as I learned a lot from my first blog, there are many other new lessons I’ll learn eventually in the future *o*. I was pretty hesitant for a while on whether or not I should start a book blog so I looked at other book blogs for inspiration/role model, your blog being one of them (yet I don’t see it as competition and still try to be myself all the same :)), kinda started tinkering with making one in October and didn’t officially start until November. It’s a challenge for me to try and post at least one review every week, much less one a day (I admire those that do, honestly) so I try to fill it in with memes, promos, etc. I still think I’m trying to find a way to balance all that with school work mixed into the batch.
    I agree with the ARCs. I haven’t recieved any ARCs and I’m perfectly fine with it; since I know full well to my extent that I honestly can’t read one book a day without losing my mind (add schoolwork and homework to the batch too) and try to review it in a small time-frame (it’s pretty scary in my opinion and tips my balance of scales… or what’s most of it, lol).
    As much as you can get free books (that’s a perk but those peeps gotta think about the results…), some people just don’t realize that reviewing them can be quite a hassle, especially for the bloggers that have school, extracurricular activities, homework, college (such as myself for instance) – the gist – and they tend to overdo themselves way too far (best thing is to know your limits and not compare yourself to others…)
    And now that you mentioned it… some people sure are competitive these days… o-o.

    Thanks so much for the post! :)

    ~Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts

  54. Christina Kit.

    I’m so happy you found a group of real friends, even if they’re online, who accept you and love you and reach out to you!

    I think lots of bloggers began like that, writing about books because no one in real life got their passion and interests. And it seems like so many bloggers become good friends online and take it into the real world by going to signings and BEA together :)

    Do you think lots of bloggers quit this year because of the negativity online or just because their interests and priorities changed ?

    Also, please don’t quit!!

    Lovely post! :)

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