Maintaining a book blog can be a great way to be more mindful and thoughtful about your reading and reading habits. It can be hard to get those creative juices flowing if you’re new to the book blogging world or you’ve doing it for a while.
Here’s some inspiration for you to work your magic on.
Here’s an interesting conundrum I’m facing this year. I typically try my best to talk a bit about what I read. I’ll write book reviews here on the blog. Maybe I don’t have as much to say so I’ll write a few sentences on Goodreads when I rate the book.
I do it for me so I remember how I felt about a book. I also like doing it for my bookish friends & readers since I know I always enjoy knowing what other people think about a book I’m reading/want to read.
As you know, 2020 has basically been a dumpster fire. As a result, that has impacted my reading. I really struggled to focus on reading particularly in March and April. I’ve slowly found my reading groove again. BUT what I’m reading/in the mood to read has started to deviate from this niche I’ve built for myself in the online book world.
Simply put…anxiety sucks. I really hate how it gets in the way of things I enjoy doing. I’m a book nerd who doesn’t have a lot of bookish friends in real life. It really is amazing that I can turn to the internet and find all of you wonderful people who love & enjoy the same books I do. That’s why book blogging & bookstagram are two of my favorite hobbies in addition to reading.
You’d think that being a step removed from seeing you in person would help with anxiety but it doesn’t always.
It’s occasionally nice to have the space to step back and think about how to respond to a comment or to have the time to leave meaningful comments on other blogs.
Other times, it’s absolutely overwhelming when you see what everyone else is doing and somehow it feels like what you’re doing isn’t “good enough.” Other bloggers/bookstagrammers have beautifully designed blogs or feeds, host fun events (read-a-thons; buddy reads; tags; awards), dozens of comments or likes in a matter of a few hours, or lots of exciting opportunities or partnerships.
I don’t think there’s a magic answer for how to manage anxiety with book blogging or bookstagram. I’ll share what I’ve learned that works for me in the 8+ years I’ve been in the book blogging community.
If you’ve been in the book community for any length of time, you may have heard of ARCs or Advance(d) Reader Copies. These are paperback copies of to-be-published books that publishers use as marketing material. They are typically sent to people who are influential in the book world. Library staff, bookstore employees, & professional reviewers (magazine, newspaper, website) are typically high on the list because they have the most sway in getting the book into people’s hands.
In this new age of technology, publishers and authors have been working with microinfluencers [people who have a smaller following; bookstagrammers & book bloggers fall into this category] and offering ARCs to them. I’ve been in this online community for 8+ years and the industry is really starting to recognize the pull that we microinfluencers have. I know I certainly will trust a bookish friend’s opinion over an advertisement in a magazine.
The biggest thing to keep in mind about ARCs is they are a piece of marketing material. It costs the publisher to produce & ship to someone. Like any other piece of marketing budget, there is serious thought put in to figure out where to send an ARC. Publishers want the most bang for their buck so they will send books to people who have the most sway or whose review will be seen (& trusted) by the most people. A rejection from a publisher is nothing personal; it’s a business decision.
There are 3 basic ways to acquire ARCs: ‘earning’ them, winning them, & attending events.