Hi! How is your week?
I was just sitting at my office desk, surfing some book bloggers on WordPress, and everytime I noticed the number of their followers, likes, and comments, I couldn’t help myself but ask a question: when will I get my wide audience?
It’s really hard to deny that you’ve never questioned yourself about what you seek with book blogging. Sure, there are a lot of bloggers who just rant about books for themselves, but you can’t go against the nature of lowkey seeking attention. Tell me, how did you feel seeing an orange dot under the wordpress bell sign, informing you of either new comment, like, or follower? Or seeing the same icons on your bookstagram? Feels good, right?
Or when you’re three months into book blogging, you never stop thinking whether you’re ready for an upgrade (whatever upgrade it is, from moving to self-host, to doing something else), or not.
So I thought that I should speak out of my own concerns when I’m currently a newbie book blogger, with only 50 followers on instagram, and less than 30 followers on this blog (as of March 2017, just 1 month in).
1. Number of followers
A.k.a. question: I’m bookstagramming/book blogging for 3-4 months, so why I still barely have 100 followers, when [insert book blogger/bookstagrammer name] managed to get 1k in 1-2 months?
Basically, every new blogger’s concern No.1 (specifically mine. /sigh/). I have a problem that I’m no sensitive whatsoever! I can’t use my guts to figure out what is the best time to publish a blog post or to bookstagram in a way that I can get instant likes, comments, and possibly follows. I’m so impatient that it hurts me, despite my full understanding that it takes time and effort to get where all known book bloggers/bookstagrammers are.
Also considering that I have little to zero friendships with any of the bookstagrammers that could hint me at the way to get the audience (shoutouts), and how I dislike shoutouts in general
(I always feel like as if I’m offending my already existing followers with my bold wishes of gaining more attention), I sometimes feel discouraged at my currently low statistics. And thus it leads to questioning the second point of this post.
2. Quality of the content
A.k.a. question: Am I good at writing reviews? What if my opinions sound so stupid/silly/ childish/insert every other possible concerning option here? Do I raise up interesting discussions? Why can’t I get recognised then? Because there’s someone who already discussed about that, and I’m just copying it? Or my content is completely out of followers taste?
100% related to number of followers concern. Duh!
Yes, I’m a freaking perfectionist when it comes to something that I do with my own skills, either physically or intellectually. If I write a review, I don’t want to sound like a complete fangirl who can’t put two and two together, but I also don’t want my reviews to sound very boring. This constant conflict of balancing everything in my posts drives me to nearly a hysteria mode featured in American Mc’Gee’s Alice: Madness returns game
(sorry for the bloody gif):
After I convince myself that I have content good enough to be published, comes another question: why no comments?? I clearly know nothing on self-promotion because what? – I’m a freaking sociopath! >_< And I’m full of paradoxes.
Me: I want to get as more followers as possible!
Also me: I don’t want them to see that I want that attention! >_<
I’m totally weird.
3. Free blog or self-hosted?
A.k.a. question: Do I need to migrate to a self-hosted blog? Or should I play safe and stay with free blog? (one of my 2 biggest concerns of all book blogging time)
Even when I’m still only one month into book blogging and bookstagramming, it already feels like forever for me, and after I read so many posts and articles on blogging in general, I can’t stop questioning myself about possible self-hosting. If I ever decide to self-host, that would mean I must constantly support my domain (I’m not even talking about blog posts, just the design, fixing bots, errors, etc.) a.k.a. more time needed for keeping your blog alive and well. But at the same time, the risk of me possibly getting tired and stopping everything blog-related will get much higher, and I tend to avoid all kind of risks by not doing anything that leads to them in first place.
On the other hand, you can’t do much with a free blog, especially when it comes to monetizing or getting any income from blogging in general. That income could’ve helped supporting the domain! And that is another point of my anxiety.
4. Possibilities of earning with book blog
A.k.a. question: Can I earn anything with book blogging? What if I can’t do anything but just blog?
Well, the last part of the question is not really about me, but I counted that as a concern, too.
This blog post by Ashley @Nose Graze tells you everything about the dark side of book blogging, a.k.a. why you will never earn a living book blogging. /sigh/
As I can see, there are very few ways of earning by doing bookish things:
- Bookish merchandises. Come on, you’ve never seen those bookstagram pictures featuring endless amount of awesome bookish candles, bookmarks, and other merchandise??
- Write and publish a book. Like yeah, sit, and freaking write that book! And then get it published!
But then hey, Liliana, do you even know that it’s not related at all? I guess no.
Obviously, I can try myself making any bookish merchandises, but you know what waits ahead? A tough competition with dosens of other well-running merch stores! Yeah, try getting them clients, I dare you. /obviously jk. Of course you can do that, if you have skillful fingers/
5. Overall feelings about book blogging
A.k.a. question: Do I feel happy about book blogging? Does book blogging make me feel relaxed, or stressed? Should I even keep that up? Or just screw them all…
…and be a potato?
Seriously, after months (and in some cases even years) of book blogging, and seeing all the stars, you wonder: was it really worth everything I invested, from money to time, to efforts?
Lowkey me: I spent HOURS preparing a freaking good blog post, and what I got in return? ZERO comments? Are you kidding me?
When you try to be active as every other book blogging tutorial says, but the results are not equal to your efforts, it’s really easy to just give up.
Another point: as an international book blogger from the country some business have no idea exists, your book blogging/bookstagramming capabilities limits down really harshly. I’m talking about subscription boxes, giveaways, and even simply – buying newest books
(okay, weren’t really a problem) and bookish merchandises, thus, you can’t feature them in your photos! Doesn’t that sound so disappointing, and makes you want to quit all of this?
DO YOU KNOW THAT I CAN’T PURCHASE ANY FUNKO POPS FROM AMAZON DIRECTLY?? OR ANY OTHER MERCHANDISES? I’m DYING here!
I myself can find a substitution for almost all of this (excuse me for being indiscreet right now, as I say that I happen to have those skillful fingers
mwahahahah), but what about others? I have to be honest: this is way too cruel to us.
What can I say about myself with this book blog?
Currently I feel okay with my book blog; recently I’ve maintained to get a minimalized blog design that won’t distract my followers and readers from the main content, which is ranting about books. However, I still try to figure out my more or less constant bookstagram layout, as I can see that the diversity of photos I currently have distracts from overall evaluation of my account. I can’t seem to find that one themed layout that would work for me
as an attention seeker as a bookstagrammer perfectly, as I also don’t want to accidentally copy anyone’s style. Gosh, it’s really hard.
But I’m determined to stick with book blogging; however, it seems that I will spend more time than others to develop myself AND my bookstagram/book blog.
What do you think of this topic? Do or did you ever have those concerns? For those who overcame the anxiety – how did you do that? For those still suffering – what do you think you’ll be doing soon?
Let me know what you think in the comments! Sharing this post is highly appreciated! ^__~
Thank you, and until next ranting,
14 thoughts on “Do The Talking: 5 things I can’t help but be anxious about as a new book blogger”
I can truly relate to #5. I started blogging last year, yet I stopped blogging because I wondered whether it was really worth it. I was busy with school and I thought I should focus in a lot more productive stuff. Reading is my passion, yes. But book blogging and bookstagramming? I’m not really sure. I recently started doing these things (again) because I’m having fun with it. But I can’t help but think that I’m wasting my time. I could be relearning chemistry and making a difference in someone else’s life instead of doing this. But what I like most about this community is the friendship I can make along the way. XD
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(sorry for late answer! >_<)
I actually never thought of blogging as something I'm wasting time with. I have been blogging in total for 10 years already, and it's always so fun~ But I can definitely say that running a blog without a specific topic/theme is much easier because you don't need to stick to one specific theme, and with a themed blog, sometimes you feel so overwhelmed with stuff it seems really tiring. 🙂
But yeah, communication is the best part of blogging!
I agree,. You have to LOVE book blogging, because the target market for book bloggers, is book bloggers. You have to love what you do to really enjoy it.
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I think so many bloggers share these worries!! Honest! I did. And omg I think I had like 5 followers for the first year of my blogging career so you’re doing better than me.😂😂 I honestly think time can be a big factor? I have nooo idea how those people get on bookstagram and have like 10K in a month. Like HOW. WHAT DARK FORCES. But I know that what worked for me was lots and lots of social networking, particularly with my blog. I joined in tons of linkups and spent like a ridiculous amount of time every day blog hopping + creating good content and promoting it. It took me like 5 years to get where I am now though! So I have no clue about fast-fixes to any of these.😂 But just don’t give up! If you love blogging, keep at it and socialise and the human hordes will come.😉 And you’re not alone!!
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Is that really, Cait? 😂 Only 5? But, considering that was 5 years ago, it’s not really fair to compare the bookstagram community back at that time and now 😀
Time indeed is the biggest factor ever, but the problems is, I’m IMpatient so much it hurts me! T_T
And yes, what are THOSE DARK FORCES giving instagrammers 10k in a month??
I’m still far away from being very active socially, because my personality is more of an observer than an adventurer lol So that’s the obstacle I have to get over with 😂
Thanks for commenting Cait,
I love you so much already!
BTW, have you seen my comment on your last year’s post about struggles of Australian book blogger? I mentioned that I’m planning to write a similar one but related to my own case, which is, trust me, much worse than yours >_<
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I think everyone goes through at least one phase of worrying about followers. The general response is always “But you should just be blogging for you! Have fun! Don’t worry about the numbers!” Which is not bad advice. But I think many bloggers are not actually worried about followers for the sake of having a big number and looking popular. I think we’re actually just interested having people read and interact with our blogs, which is kind of the point of blogging, So I think wanting active followers is reasonable.
I also agree that going self-hosted makes sense mostly if a) you just want more control and customization over your own blog or b) you want to look into adding ads or something that’s now allowed on free WordPress blogs. But I’ve looked around and, while blogger rarely talk about how much money they make from blogging in concrete terms, I’ve finally concluded that it’s not a lot. In many cases, people don’t even seem to earn back the amount they spend on self-hosting. I saw one blogger promote her Etsy shop for years and give the impression she’s raking in the money, only to finally see her comment on a random blog post on someone else’s blog that she sells like one item per month. People definitely give the illusion they’re more successful than they are.
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You got my point the exact way I meant when I was writing this post, Briana! I mean, I don’t mind much having smaller amount of followers, as long as they’re active. Like someone wrote on the other blog post (I don’t remember who exactly did that), it’s better to have 10 active followers who comment everything you write than 100 silent ones.
And since I already mentioned that I’m no sensitive to advertising anything in a way it could attract clients, I’m still not considering yet the possibility of doing business on bookish merchandise. As I still have my stable job aside blogging, I feel no need to urge that. Plus I tend to lose interest very quickly (which is SAD), so I wouldn’t like risking. Just not now.
I absolutely love the honesty in your post Liliana! I think a lot of people definitely feel this way or have at some point in the past. For a long time I had feelings like this too. Even if I had an objectively big/successful/etc. blog, I’d still look at people who had bigger ones and feel inferior. No matter how high you go, there’s always going to be someone above you.
This past year things really changed for me. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I’ve been blogging less and maybe even lost my blogging mojo a bit, but I just don’t worry or even think about these things anymore.
That being said, I still think it’s perfectly okay to be thinking about them. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to grow your blog and think about moving forward.
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Thank you for commenting, Ashley! Yes, I try to be honest with myself in the first place, and I can’t deny all those concerns listed here.
I’m that kind of person who will enjoy the progress even more once I see the results I expect. Otherwise, no matter how much I initially love doing something, but seeing little to zero results eventually kills all my hype and passion, which leads to abandoning everything I did. If I ever set that I want to do it 100% only for me, I wouldn’t have felt desperate for feedback and interaction.
I think that much blogging advice is general, but book blogs are a different story. A food blogger for instance might have millions of views per month while book bloggers are lucky to get 3000 per month. But numbers are only really important for bloggers to request ARCs–there’s no other real benefit–and views are more important than followers for that because followers might be no longer active or not actually reading the blog. (Maybe they followed just to enter giveaways, for example.)
I also don’t think there’s much benefit to self-hosting for book bloggers. Usually you self host to look more serious, but most of us aren’t trying to professionalize. (Can you professionalize in book blogging?) I think you would need to self host if you wanted to make money off the blog through advertisements or selling things, for legal reasons, but otherwise I don’t think anyone cares what your web address is.
But I don’t think most bloggers actually make any money through advertisements or even selling stuff in their bookish shops. Usually bloggers don’t talk about money, but when they do the numbers aren’t good. Lunch-Time Librarian has a good series about her attempts to sell bookish merchandise: http://ltlibrarian.com/category/series/features/can-you-monetize-a-book-blog/.
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That’s a really sad statistics, Krysta. But on the other hand, as a smaller community, we can be more united and more connected, and even feel like a very friendly family to each other!
I agree with your point on self-hosting. I think it’s more of your own satisfaction rather than aiming for benefits, at least it is that way for me. I don’t concern about switching to self-hosting because I want to look serious or to benefit anything; I guess with self-hosting I would feel myself actually growing, that I’m ready for more challenges, and that’s all.
Thanks for the link, I spent a good before-sleep time to read all articles. That is the exact risks I’m afraid of when deciding to do something as big as selling items. So I know that it needs more time for me to get to that point when I will feel ready.
Thanks for your opinion!
I think the main difference is that food and fashion bloggers can more search engine hits whereas book bloggers blog for one audience–other book bloggers. Which isn’t a problem unless bloggers try to monetize because then they are competing with each other for the same limited group of people. I’m really impressed that Lunchtime Librarian was so willing to be open with her experiences to help out other bloggers.
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