the Little Red Reviewer

Secret Life of a Book Blogger

Posted on: September 3, 2019

As you can see from my recent posts, my brain hasn’t been in a review-writing mood lately.  This short list of “secret life” questions has been doing the rounds –  I’ve seen it at Don Jimmy ReviewsTattooed Book Geek, Always Trust in Books, on twitter, etc.  It looked like fun, and I like fun and shyly talking about myself, right?

be warned – these answers are boring and practical.   I tell it how it is.

 

How Long have you been blogging?

Little Red Reviewer has been going since 2010,  so nine years here.  total blogging online and posting book reviews on various sites? probably closer to 13 years.

 

At what point do you think you will stop blogging?

to be honest, I think I am getting close to that point.   When I started this blog, I was working part-time, my commute to work was 5 minutes, I didn’t have a lot of hobbies, and I just didn’t have a lot of stuff going on in my life.  I needed a hobby, and something to pour my creative energy into, you know?  Nine years later, I have a very fulfilling full time job with an hour commute each way,  not that much time to read, and other less time-consuming projects to pour my creative energy into.  Blogging was the perfect creative outlet for me at the time.  I think i’m getting to the point in my life where it is one of many creative outlets.

 

What is the best thing about blogging?

the community!  thanks to blogging, I have friends EVERYWHERE!  I’ve done read alongs,  buddy reads, themed months,  organized  blog tours.   Those things were possible because of our amazing and supportive community!


What is the worst thing? What do you do to make it OK?

the pressure to put out content on a regular basis.

the FOMO when every else gets an ARC that you didn’t get.

the guilt that you didn’t read for 20 hours this weekend.  the guilt that you are reading a book that YOU want to read, instead of the book that is hyped or the book that you got talked into doing for a blog tour.

the pressure to simply kick out content as fast as you can and have more hits and more comments and more social media followers than someone else.

What do I do to make it ok? As a way to lower my anxiety, I have mostly disengaged from the blogging community, which is a shitty thing to do, I guess, but whatever.    That seems to be my defense mechanism for everything lately – disengage.  People should do whatever makes them happy, and I don’t want to be a  buzzkill, so I just wander off and do whatever makes me happy. I’m a exhausted introvert – a lot of time the thing that makes me happy is sitting in a quiet room, enjoying the quiet.

 

how long does it take to make/find pictures to use?

my pictures are mostly book cover art,  so it’s a few minutes of google image search, or snapping a quick photo of the book with my phone.

 

Who is your book crush?

list of characters i have had crushes on is about 100 characters long.

list of authors I have (or had) crushes on is about 5 authors long.

 

What author would you like to have on your blog?

When I got the chance to interview Jeff Vandermeer,  I was like “this is the best life can get, i better retire now!”.  that was a little while ago.


What do you wear when you write your blog posts?

 

i’m barefoot, that’s for darn sure.


how long does it take you to prepare?

 

hours? days? weeks?  99% of how I  blog is thinking about what i’ve read, rolling it around in my brain, thinking about how it makes me feel, how it might (or might not) connect to other things. I need quiet space to think,  so I write a lot of posts in my head either on the drive to or from work, while i’m in the shower, or while i’m sitting in a quiet room enjoying the quiet.  Sometimes i can kick out a post in an hour, sometimes it takes a week.  Which is why the pressure to kick out content as fast as you can is soul-destroying for me.

 

How do you feel about the blogging community?

love it!  everyone is friendly, supportive, cheerful!  it’s like the best meet-up ever!  the internet is full of toxicity and awful comments,  but i feel like the blogging commuting is what we all dreamed the internet could be – passionate people who like to share the stuff they love.  it’s like, we don’t care what kind of books you like – if you enjoy reading, you are one of us!

 

What do you think one should do to create a successful blog?

 

to be cliche,  “success” means different things to different people.   I can only tell you what worked for me.

I treated my blog as a hobby, as something I did for fun.  Posts that I agonized over, books that were very meaningful to me, books that changed the way I thought about the world –  these blog posts were gifts I gave to myself.

I grew my following by being patient and by making the first move. I looked for other bloggers who had similar tastes as me, and I comments on their blog posts (even posts from a year ago!), I let them know I appreciated what they were doing.  If you leave a nice comment on someone else’s blog, they will, nine times out of ten, visit your blog to see what you’re all about.   I realized that the size of my following had zero to do with my success as a blogger.

I was kind to myself when things didn’t work out as I’d hoped. When a post that took me a week to write got one like and zero comments, and post that took 10 minutes to write got 30 comments and 50 likes, I was kind to myself.  I realized that stats have nothing to do with if I feel like i’m succeeding as a blogger.

When my life is super busy and I don’t have time to read or blog, I’m kind to myself.

i don’t view blogging as an obligation, or a job, or a way to make money, or a way to ingratiate myself to publicists or authors or other bloggers.  I view blogging as a gift I give myself, I view the blogosphere as a welcoming community.

that’s what worked for me.  I guarantee your mileage will vary.

 

did you like these questions?  steal ’em and put them on your blog!

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28 Responses to "Secret Life of a Book Blogger"

“I’m an exhausted introvert” – can I steal that line? You just summed me up nicely😁

Liked by 1 person

“i feel like the blogging commuting is what we all dreamed the internet could be – passionate people who like to share the stuff they love.”

Well said.

Liked by 1 person

For me, what I really get out of blogging, apart from the community – is the expansion in terms of what types of book I read, books that I never would have read, a perfect example is Flowers for Algernon which I picked up for Vintage sci fi month – or Asimov which was part of a readalong with Stainless Steel Droppings. The other thing I love is that I can chat about books. I read a lot of books but it seems to be that everyone I know – reads in a different genre and so if they ask me what book I’ve just read I can see the shutters coming down as soon as I open my mouth – blogging allows me to vent with other people who like the same type of book.
The thing that I don’t like the most is the worry that my reviews are never good enough. It’s not something I’ll ever get over.
Lynn 😀

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I do get a ton of wonderful recommendations for books and authors, that is for sure!

and YES, where else but the blogosphere will we find people who like weird niche stuff like this? I tell people at work the kind of stuff I read, and they are like “that is too weird!”.

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Lynn, it’s NOT a contest! Just do what you are comfortable with and to heck with what a bunch of other people think!

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Thanks Richard. To be fair other people aren’t really the problem, more an issue of self doubt on my part 😄

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Oh – forgot
Jean Tannen – and I know that you know what question that is the answer to.
Also, don’t give up on blogging, just do it when you feel like it – that way you can still push books at me 😀

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YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

and yep. i gotta remember why i’m doing this – to write about books I enjoyed, as a way to remember what I read.

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Red, please check your email, I sent you one.

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I saw it come through on my phone, but just now getting back to the house and able to reply to emails. 🙂

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I’d be very sad if you dropped blogging, but it sounds like the other social media stuff is sucking you away. WHY? I made a decision long ago not to go with all that stuff: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, all the rest of it. When I sit down at the computer, I want to relax for a while, then get back to actual life. I blog and read about two dozen blogs, and that’s it. I don’t need more and they don’t need me. But your blog, I need. Stay, kiddo, stay, even if just occasionally. Pleeease.

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other social media stuff isn’t so much sucking me away, but other social media stuff is sucking the life right outta me. I do like twitter, I just need to unfollow about 90% of the people I follow, so that the feed is something that makes me happy, not something that makes me feel like shit. I’m with you – the last thing I need is another social media whatever.

the culture of twitter pushed me to be someone I’m not, and this has happened to me before – where I want to “get all in with the cool kids”, so I start imitating them, talking like them, doing what they are doing. . . when none of that stuff is who I am.

so i plan to still be floating around.

just might be quieter than usual from time to time.

and hey, i got two books I wanna blog about! Vallista by Steven Brust was hella fun, and I’m 3/4 of the way through The Prestige by Christpher Priest, it’s awesome! have your read any Christopher Priest?

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Hi. I want to second Lynn and Richard above – I really appreciate your blog, love everything you have to say, and kind of need you now! I know we can’t tell you not to do what’s right for you, but I hope you can still find enough love for blogging occasionally. 🙂 You’re one of my favourite people out here in the webby world! 😀

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It’s Friday the 13th. Hoping something good happens today.

Liked by 1 person

a bucket of deadlines at work, and everyone survived! i came home happy but exhausted.

good news is i’m in the mood to blog today.

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Driving me nuts. Did you get it?????????????

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not yet. if they left it at the apartment office, i’ll have to wait until tomorrow (at the earliest) to get it. i’m sure it is safely on its way. 🙂

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It was delivered to your address at 12:55pm yesterday. It should have been there when you got home. Now I’m worried!!!!!!!!!!!

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yesterday, Saturday? if the UPS guy couldn’t get into the building (front door is locked), they probably took it to the local UPS store, there are two UPS stores right near me.

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just tracked it, it’s at the Apt Office. 🙂

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This is great! I appreciate this! It’s really encouraging! ❤

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Happy you enjoyed it! 🙂

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Loved how open this was, I’ve been blogging for a month, nothing on you and I’m already exhausted! But in a good way? I work full time and have a boyfriend (they need attention I hear). So that plus all the planning and research into writing a blogpost PLUS being a one woman tech team, I wonder if I have taken on too much but totally sounds like it’s worth it and I’m having so much fun! Xx

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planning posts is fun, and getting them up an running is that good-busy feeling! you’re right, it’s a ton of fun and worth it. 🙂

i know tech can be a time-suck, so I purposely kept the tech side as simple as I could.

Good luck on your blogging adventure, I know you’ll have a blast!

Liked by 1 person

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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