Some of the things in this post have been on my mind for awhile- I don’t have all the answers (nor do I pretend to).
My first book love was The Monster at the End of the Book- Grover is worried about the monster- and as you turn pages, he tries to prevent you- because there is a MONSTER at the end of the book. My fav kid book- and one that I still remember fondly because it was time spent with my dad.
When I was 9-ish, I was introduced to the Babysitters Club series- and thus a real love of reading began. I still remember how my mom told everyone in the family “If you are going to the library, pick T up a couple of BSC books” because there was 2 book limit (which proved to be a cross for my mom to bear during the 3 weeks of school I missed with chicken pox). Hence the pleas to family members about the books. Other books came and went in my life- Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley Twins and on and on- even Fear Street. I was a reader- and was proud of it!
I don’t think if you told the 9 year old me that one day I would be a blogger who received books for review that she would have believed you. My 9 y/o self would have thought that I had to live in the big city (that is NYC, btw) and have a connection with the publishing world. To be honest, sometimes, my adult self tends to not believe that I get to read and review books as part of my blogging hobby.
But, I do. I’m not saying the road has been easy (it hasn’t). I didn’t start this blog and instantly get 1 million followers. The New York Times is not quaking in it’s boots about my reviews.
I still remember the first request from a big NYC publisher- to this day, I have no idea how they found my book blog. But I have loved it- and look forward to each email I get from them!
There are 500+ million blogs in this world (I don’t know- I’m just guessing) and with each blog, people have things to say. Books, fashion, make-up, personal lives,- blogs are devoted to topics (and the sky is the limit when it comes to topics for your blog). When I first started Traveling With T– I wanted a place to talk about book signings, road trips, fun events and more. I had considered opening another blog devoted to books- and then decided 2 blogs would be more trouble, Hence, Traveling With T became a book blog (with talk of book signings and fun events mixed in). Some days, I’m personal- talking about the loss of my beloved dog or the happiness of seeing my baby brother getting married. In just a few months, I’ll be a first time aunt- that’ll be an experience.
What I’m saying is this- my blog is a mix. Mainly books- but other things get mixed in. Life gets mixed in. It works for me.
My 2 year blog anniversary is fast approaching. December will be here before I know it. But, I still feel like such a newbie in some ways regarding my blog. And I am. I’ve been book blogging for a year- give or take a couple of months. How did I start book blogging? First, I started just talking about books that I LOVED- I basically took what I was doing on Twitter and expanded it into a more than 140 character version! Then, through a series of good luck and serendipity, I was able to become a She Reads blogger- a group of women bloggers who I adore (and frequently support!) Then I slowly started receiving requests from others about reviewing books, made some connections with people who I really admire, and just focused on making Traveling With T fun.
Blog tours are fun ways to connect with other bloggers- and I enjoy them quite a bit. Sometimes, though, for certain reasons- your blog is not a fit for them. Maybe you don’t have enough followers, maybe it’s other reasons. It sucks (it really does when you want to be a part of a certain tour), but it happens. Pull your chin up, and just move on. It’s happened to me before and it’ll happen again. You, as a blogger, won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Just remember that. And when you find some blog tours that you do fit in with- well, that’s a beautiful thing.
I used to would not ask for interviews from authors- I thought “why bother? My blog is just teeny.” Bother to do it. The worst they can say is no- and it will happen. But not as much as you think.
Over the summer, I had the great fortune of interviewing more than half of the Deep South Magazine Summer Reading List authors. My blog was BUSY- interviews and giveaways going on- which made me happy. I like to have things posted pretty much everyday (and yes, there are days when I post multiple times). Did I over-schedule my summer? Maybe. Maybe not, though. A Summer Reading List interview would have looked silly being posted in the fall for the first time, am I right?
After talking to many blog friends (but 2 in particular- that I owe a depth of gratitude to for all they do), my head spins a bit from all the rules and guidelines they use for their blogs. Some post 1x a day. Some will only read 1 post a day per blog they follow. Some do not read interviews. Some only read interviews. Some read only book reviews. Some like reading book reviews, but will only read if the sky is blue that day 😉 Each person has their own rules and ways- what works for them and what does not. What works for me? I like to schedule a set amount of posts per week- a mix of reviews and interviews. On Tuesday and Thursday, I like to have a mashup- it’s news about giveaways and other things going on in the internet world. Some days, there is not enough to post about- if not, I just don’t worry! Friday is my #literaryfriday- it’s where I support my fav online magazine, my #fridayreads and other things. Some days, I have a chunk of time and a pile of reviews to catch up on- and I just blog, baby, blog. Because, while one day I would LOVE to be a part of the publishing world- maybe a publicist- at this point, I blog in my spare time. I look over the blog for a month or 2 ahead of time and try to plan posts. Most of the time it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
Here, though, is what I wonder some days: Am I blogging right? And the answer is: YES! Maybe some days there is an interview and a review- and maybe you only like to read reviews. So, read the review, ignore the interview. Or vice versa. The thing is, the thing that 2 people helped me realize is this: IT’S YOUR BLOG. Blog how you want, how you feel. If 1 post a day, feels good- do it. If you only want to post 3 times a week- hey, it works. There are going to be people who don’t like the way you do things. There are going to be people who love the way you do things. There are going to be people who don’t care either way.
I’m not saying there is (or isn’t) a right or wrong way to blog. I’m sure people who have been blogging a lot longer than me have more of this figured out. Maybe in a year, I’ll have a different idea about blogging. However, I think that the most important thing about blogging is this- be comfortable with your blog. Love your blog. If you don’t, change it up.
You, as a blogger, can drive yourself nutty looking at statistics- blog views, comments, and more. Some days, you’ll be on top of the world with X amount of visitors. Some days you’ll have so few that you’ll be convinced the internet is broken. You can’t go into blogging expecting the be the next big thing- you can hope; but for all the stories you hear about “this blogger turned her blog into a book deal”- it happens. It just does not happen all the time. For me, blogging is a fun way to connect with others. To find people with similar reading tastes, to find books that I may not have known about- to expand my reading taste.
At the end of the day, what I hope people think of me as blogger is this: A fun place to chat about books. An enthusiastic book worm. A proud supporter of various blogs and book-ish things.
Blog because you love to blog. Support other blogs. Comment. Retweet. See a blog you love? Share that! Be a blogger who cares.