Temptations of a Book Blogger

TemptationsofaBookBlogger

It’s six months now since What Cathy Read Next was launched into the book blogging universe and it seemed liked the right time to reflect on what I’ve learnt so far. What I’ve come to realise is there are a lot of temptations out there for the unwary or novice blogger.    Some of these you may not see as temptations – I fully appreciate they might be the right thing for your own blog. For me, resisting these is the key to remaining true to myself in my blogging journey and avoiding the dreaded blogger burnout. This is supposed to be fun after all!

The NetGalley Frenzy Temptation

When you first discover there is a place where publishers will give you ecopies of books before they are published for FREE it’s tempting to go on a requesting frenzy. Who can blame you?   Before you get carried away, remember these books are provided in return for reviews – publishers are not charities.   If you request more than you can hope to read and review prior to publication you’re doing yourself, the authors and other book bloggers no favours. I’ve learnt to show patience. So I only request books I genuinely want to read, try to write thoughtful, detailed reviews in line with publication deadlines and work on keeping my feedback ratio above the magic 90%.   I hope this will make it more likely I’ll get approved in future (but no guarantees – NetGalley can sometimes seem like a lottery).

The Author’s Best Friend Temptation

As a book blogger you want to help authors by reviewing their books and featuring your reviews on your blog. But you can’t be every author’s best friend.   When I got my first contact from a real life author about reviewing their book, I was over the moon. I’ve arrived as a book blogger – authors are actually approaching me to review their books! And then the next request came, and the next one, and soon I’d agreed to review a whole stack of books, some of which I probably wouldn’t have dreamed of reading in other circumstances. It took me a while to realise I shouldn’t say yes to every review request I receive but nor should I give a blanket no. It’s great to help authors, particularly self-published authors, but it doesn’t help them to accept a book review and then never do it.

The Follow Me Temptation

Like me, you probably started your book blog for yourself – because you love reading books, you already added reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, etc and it seemed a natural step to share your love of books with a wider community.   You didn’t do it to become the next internet sensation and make millions. But…you get a few people following your blog – that’s nice.   Then a few more – even nicer. Now you find yourself checking your blog stats a little more often. And you start to notice other book blogs that have way more followers and, voila, the little competition devil takes hold. You begin looking for ways to increase your followers – perhaps they like this kind of post more than that, perhaps they like that type of book more than the other (even if you don’t).  If you’re not careful your blog will morph into nothing more than a vehicle for attracting followers and you may start to feel like you’re on a treadmill.   Personally, I’m grateful for all the followers I have and new followers are very welcome but I’m not going to change what I want to feature on my blog just to get more. That’s not to say I’m not open to new ideas for my blog but they will be for me and I’ll just trust that others will like it too.

The I’m a Book Blog, Hire Me Temptation  

My real love is historical fiction but I know this isn’t the most popular genre out there – crime, thrillers, YA, fantasy and romance are way more popular seemingly. In the chase for followers, it’s tempting to sign up for blog tours, blitzes, cover reveals and the like for books you wouldn’t otherwise read just because they are in popular genres and may get you lots of social media attention.  I’ll admit I fell prey to this in my first months of blogging but I quickly realised I felt a cheat giving publicity to books I would never read myself and couldn’t recommend. From time to time now I do venture outside my preferred genres – every reader benefits from going outside their comfort zone occasionally – but I never promote a book I couldn’t see myself reading.

The I Didn’t Like It But Temptation

So you accepted a book for review but didn’t really like it. You feel a bit bad about it so instead you offer the author the opportunity of a guest post, Q&A or featuring an extract on your blog (although the latter maybe not such a good idea if the prose stank).  I’ve been tempted, I’ll be honest, but to me that’s cheating. I didn’t like it so I shouldn’t promote it. Now you could argue, with some justification that because I didn’t like it doesn’t mean someone else reading my blog might not. However, for me it just doesn’t seem right.

The Time Saver Temptation

Blogging can take over your life and you still want to have time to read books, don’t you? So how about cutting a few corners? Author Q&As are popular but how much easier if you just ask the same questions to each author? For me, that’s a temptation I don’t want to give in to. When I read author interviews on blogs I admire, what I like is that the questions are tailored to the author and the book. By all means have a couple of questions you ask everyone but I believe you owe it to the author to spend some time researching their book, their previous work, checking out their blog or website, etc. Better questions, better answers, to my mind.

The Shameless Blogger Temptation

Each to his own, but I can’t bring myself to constantly ask for likes, shares or follows of my blog posts. Sure, I share them on Twitter and Facebook and I’m grateful for every like, view, follow or retweet that results, but it’s just not in my nature to beg for attention just to increase my stats. Perhaps that means my little blog is destined to remain in obscurity. So be it.

The No Time To Be Nice Temptation

As already noted there are lots of temptations out there that can turn blogging into a full-time occupation that can seem at times like running a small country. However, I never want to get to the point where I don’t have time to: respond to review requests, even if turning them down; say thanks for retweets every so often respond to every comment on my blog; visit other blogs and share their blog posts; thank publishers for books they send or including me in tours. Of course, I realise I have the luxury of doing this because my blog is small.  However, I’d like to feel I’ll always have time to be a nice blogger.


Do you recognise any of these as temptations? What personal temptations have you faced as a blogger?

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44 thoughts on “Temptations of a Book Blogger

  1. Great post and one I found myself agreeing with totally!! For the most part it is an amazing experience to blog about what we love, and then other times it can feel like a chore and wonder why I do it! the highs and lows of a blogger haha! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post, funny to think we were writing similar things at the same time. I’m in total agreement. It’s very easy to get sucked in and lose sight and control of what your blog started as and is meant to represent.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a great post. It’s nice to see I’m not the only one being tempted by things. It’s hard to say no to those review requests sometimes. I also find myself subconsciously nitpicking genres. Caught myself one day thinking “I won’t read this historical fiction book because no one wants to hear about it.” Could have kicked myself when I caught that I had done that. I love historical fiction! Sure, I want people to read my posts and appreciate what I have to say but I also want to read what I enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, I recognise a little bit of all of that. Luckily, I do like crime fiction, but I don’t really do blog tours. I just find I cannot read things to a deadline or am too nervous about not liking something etc. Besides, I admit that when the blog tours are very long, I don’t read all of the reviews anymore. I go to the same book bloggers I always trust and get a feel for the book.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post. Found myself thinking ‘yes’ ‘yes ‘yes’.
    When I first started interviewing authors, was so nervous of them I asked them all the same questions! So good point about tailoring the questions.
    Funny how quite a few of us are now taking stock and reminding ourselves why we started blogging and why it was enjoyable.
    Oh and NetGalley!! I can’t even look at it anymore. Plus I’ve made the faux pas of reviewing too soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I recognize these traps and temptations and it’s rather nice to see we all experience the same struggles! I’m trying now to not request on Netgalley, not accept new review requests which I’m still getting through my e-mail even though I’ve stated that I’m taking a break. Even with those limits I still have too much on my plate often enough 😂. Everything in good measure is my motto now :-). Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. An excellent post Cathy and I agree there are so many blogger temptations! I’ve always only accepted review requests for books that appeal to me and if they appeal but I don’t have time to read any time soon then I might offer a guest post instead just to get the author some exposure. I don’t feature any book on my blog which I wouldn’t want to read whether its a cover reveal or a blog tour extract. After nearly 4 years of blogging, my blog is still based solely on my tastes and not what I think other people would like to see. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ah…. NetGalley. When will I stop falling for that trap?

    Love your post! Out of curiousity- how do you reply to review requests from people who clearly haven’t bothered to find out your name or what books you love before approaching you?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well I still try to be polite(ish) when I decline review requests but I reply Dear Author if they haven’t bothered to find out my name. I have a standard response I use most of the time…which I suspect is what they’re using too. I got one which said [insert blog name here] which rather gave it away!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I love this post. It really spoke to me. I’m a victim to some of these.
    “…you probably started your book blog for yourself…”

    Yes. This is exactly why I started blogging. I’ve only been blogging for about a month and I’m already finding myself thinking I should follow and like ALL THE THINGS! But that just isn’t feasible. It leaves me with no time to write. Not that I have a lot of things to say. 🙂

    Thank you so much for sharing these thoughts. It sure made this new blogger feel a lot better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind comments. Blogging can be so addictive it’s perfectly understandable to get carried away when you start – I know I did. Some bloggers may not see the things I mentioned as temptations. Everyone has different things they want to achieve. If someone’s aim is building up a big following for their blog, that’s fine. It just isn’t the be all and end all for me…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Strange. I did change the name to sacereads.blog… I probably don’t have the technical skills needed for blogging 😂

        Like

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