Hard Truths I’ve Learned About Book Blogging (& a few ways to cope with them)

I love book blogging, but there are some things about it that have been a little hard to accept.

I think that it’s natural for a community to always talk about the bright aspects of things. Would any of us be book bloggers if the cons of book blogging outweighed the pros? I don’t think so. But today I’ve been in a melancholy mood (guess the reason: it starts with s and rhymes with pool), and I wanted to get a little more real on the blog.

However, even though I’m gonna be highlighting some of the more negative aspects of my blogging experience in this post, I want to state that I will always and forever love book blogging. And I don’t think that fact will change for the foreseeable future. Plus, to make this post less negative, alongside the hard truths I learned, I’m also going to share a few ways in which I have learned to cope with these hard truths!

The book blogging community is a small community—both in the book and blogging sense.

In terms of books, the community is small, because reading is rapidly losing popularity—what with the rise of social media and television. Books just aren’t doing it for a lot of people nowadays, especially teens. Just today, a classmate of mine shared an experience of hers wherein she was excited to open a Christmas gift, only to be incredibly disappointed when she took the wrapping off and found out that she had received books for Christmas.

In my seven months of book blogging, I’ve learned that book bloggers’ followers are usually book bloggers themselves. There aren’t a lot of people who are just viewers in the blogosphere.

Let’s face it, videos and social media are the future. No one really reads blogs anymore. This saddens me because there’s so much to be appreciated about blogs. I hate that the amount of people who read blogs as a hobby is abysmal compared to the amount of people who watch YouTube as a hobby.

Also, I’m just gonna say it—I’m pretty jealous of BookTube and Bookstagram. I feel like both of these bookish platforms are continuing to grow and get more attention—and I’m happy for the users of those platforms—but it would be nice to see the book blogging community get that kind of attention as well.

What really kills me—and this is kind of a controversial take—is that it’s so much easier to get money from doing BookTube rather than book blogging. I know, I know—talking about books on the internet is the least effective way to earn money. But what with video monetizing, many BookTubers are receiving income by placing ads on their videos, no matter how small that income may be. I’m not book blogging for the money, and I would never do that, but I’m just saying—it would be nice to earn some money from this hobby.

I think that the best way to cope with this hard truth is to remind yourself of why you’re book blogging in the first place. I book blog because it’s fun, and because I love the community. I think that if you truly love book blogging (but it’s okay to fall out of love with it sometimes), you will always have the motivation to continue, no matter how little you are compensated.

Not everyone will be a *close* friend.

I touched on this briefly in my discussion on blog hopping, but some bloggers are only commenting on your blog just to comment back, or just to increase their stats. (I’m guilty of doing this myself, don’t worry). I think that true friendships can’t arise from interactions like these, so it’s important to not think of everyone as a friend, because just like in real life, not everyone you meet will be one.

It’s way easier to establish a connection with someone through book blogging, because we’re a very tiny community helping each other grow by commenting on each other’s blogs. However, I would hesitate to think of everyone I’ve met through blogging as a close friend. I consider anyone who I have a regular stream of conversations in comment sections with as a friend, but not a close friend. (I’m sorry—I hope I’m not offending anyone!!) It’s just that, for me, close friendships are born only if we’ve privately chatted with each other already, and felt comfortable enough to share personal stuff.

I’m really jealous of all the bloggers I see out there who seem to have made genuine connections with people on the internet and tell each other really personal things. I want that so badly!!

If you still haven’t found a friendship like this, or are discouraged about not having a lot of blogger friends, the best way to cope is to continue interacting. You may not find that kind of friendship yet, but if you keep on being friendly and meeting new people, genuine friendships will start to form.

Also, even though you don’t have close friendships yet, it’s important to still appreciate the connections you do have! Sure, you may not feel comfortable venting out your life problems to any of the people you meet on the internet, but at least you have people who regularly leave genuine comments on your blog!

It’s hard to stand out using free WordPress.

Though free WordPress offers a lot of quirks, a lot of people are using those quirks as well. This is especially obvious when it comes to free WordPress themes, because I swear, some are so common that I can tell if a blog uses them at first glance.

It’s also hard to have unique fonts and font combinations, because we’re only given a select few fonts to choose from on free WordPress.

As for how I cope with this, first of all, I remind myself that all of this is free, so I really shouldn’t be whining. (This technique might not work for you though. I’m just cheap.) Second of all, Kat @ Novels and Waffles wrote this amazing post on how to make your blog stand out even on a free WordPress.com theme. And yes, I found this post by stalking her blog, what about it? I agree with so much of the advice in it, because with enough work, you could make a common WordPress theme your own.

So many options!

As for fonts, when choosing the font for your headings, I suggest not just stopping at choosing the font, but also choosing which version of it you want! That way, the font you use will have a higher chance of being different from the font that everybody else uses. I’m telling you—using the bold/extra bold/italic/whatever version of a font could make a huge difference.

Also, even if you can’t customize the font of your site’s headings and body text, you can choose to use a font of your choice when it comes to everything else. Just open Canva, Phonto, or another outlet that allows you to put different fonts on images, write what you want to write in the font of your choice, and then upload it as an image to your blog! Phonto even allows you to download different fonts from the internet and use them for your pictures!

You’ll have to choose between spending your free time blogging or reading.

Since I’ve started book blogging, I’ve been motivated to read more, but at the same time, I have less time to read, because not only am I allocating my free time for reading, but I also have to spend a sizable amount of my day doing stuff for my blog, whether it be comment-related, design-related, or post-related.

I’ve been having a hard time finding a balance between using my free time to blog or using it to read. This is a book blog after all—how can I blog about books if I’m not reading anything, but also—how can I read if all I’m doing is blogging? Two of my favorite hobbies are being pitted against each other. Though I’ll be honest, during the school year, my motivation to read always plummets and my interest in using gadgets skyrockets, so I barely read anything during weekdays anyway.

I think that you should just trust your gut when it comes to deciding between the two! If you feel like using your free time to read, go for it, but if you don’t feel like reading at the moment and just want to blog, go with your gut! Your life will be much happier—I promise.


That’s it for this post!! As with all of my posts, I had a lot of fun writing it, even though it forced me to get a little real. I hope that my little bits of advice were helpful though!

I’m sorry if this post was more negative than usual—and not the funny kind of negative. But writing it showed me that despite all of the things I struggle with, I still want to keep blogging because it’s genuinely fun, and that was such a nice thought to have.

Do you agree with anything I said? How do you cope with hard book blogging truths? What’s a hard truth about book blogging that you’ve had to cope with?

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54 thoughts on “Hard Truths I’ve Learned About Book Blogging (& a few ways to cope with them)

  1. That’s a nice and thoughtful post Caitlin.. I felt bad for quite a while that I wasn’t making friends with bloggers like so many others seem to do, but this year has been great for me in that aspect and I hope you’ll make good friends too 😊😊😊
    And I agree, there’s not much to do on the free WordPress but hey, it’s free 😂😂😂 I’ll have to checkout that post of Kal’s which you shared.. don’t know how I missed it … Thank you !!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks:)) Yay, I’m so happy that you’ve made friends! I suck at making friends irl, and it’s slightly easier here, but still a little daunting.
      Yep, it’s free, so I’m gonna stick with it! Kat did a whole series! It was so helpful, and you definitely have to check it out!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I totally understand.. I find it extremely difficult to even want to make friends irl and while it isn’t easier here, I feel there’s a better chance here because I can connect based on our common love for books 😊😊😊

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ohhh don’t worry about that… I’m sure you’ll make very good friends 😊😊😊 And sorry for misunderstanding 😬😬😬
        And there’s nothing to be embarrassed about… it almost took me an year and a half after I started the blog to get to know even a couple of ppl…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. A very thoughtful post, Caitlin. I have connected with loads of amazing people through book blogging who I have grown to genuinely care about, and I am really thankful for those connections. I have shared the occasional personal thing with other bloggers, I consider them (yourself included!) friends, but I haven’t met any or made friends in every sense of the word.
    I use free WordPress, and despite the benefits of other themes, it works quite well for me.
    Hope your mood gets better soon 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Stephen. I’m really thankful for the connections I’ve made too! Everyone is so so nice and friendly. I just get so jealous of people who have made incredibly genuine ones through the internet sometimes :”) and I should really stop! But, ahh, so so thankful that you consider our interactions to be significant. I 100% do too 💖

      I think that free WordPress still has a lot of benefits to offer, and I love playing around with it to make it more unique so much. Thanks! It kinda has, but not really ahaha.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. this post really hit home with me, especially when you said you feel jealous of bookstagramers and booktubers. i wish i could film myself and put myself out there, but the truth is i’m just shy and i prefer to write a post. plus it’s so hard to stand out when you’re diverse because when it comes to those platforms, looks often are preferred over the actual content.

    i didn’t know how to change my font on wordpress but i’ll definitely do it now that i know how!

    as always, i loved this post!! keep the good work, you’re doing amazing caitlin!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same!! I think I’ll try booktube in the future, but not right now because I’m younger than most on there and I’m content with typing out my thoughts at least for now. I’ll admit that being East Asian makes me privilege because of the lighter skin, but I’ve seen Latinx and African-American booktubers have less views just because of their darker skin color, and not because of their actual content, and it makes me sad & mad.

      Yay please do! There are honestly a lot of font hacks for free WordPress 😂

      Thank you so much !!! You’re doing amazing too💓💓

      Like

  4. EVERY SINGLE POINT YOU JUST MADE IS SOO TRUE AND ON POINT THAT I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO SAY!! It’s soooo true that I used to get so jealous sometimes when I see other bloggers mentioning each other and in their comments it genuinely seems like they are friends! I have made a couple of real friends here but that took time, effort and making time for them, just like you would in real life. THATS the way to REALLY connect. But yes, we also need to remember that not everyone is going to cut it for you and you aren’t going to make that special cut for everyone so it’s better to just accept that and stay friendly and see where it all leads to.
    And about there being less time for reading…DAMN! so true that it’s actually annoying! 😭😭😭 I struggle to make enough time to read AND maintain a well looking blog with authentic posts…GOD! such struggle. But as you said the personal satisfaction does outweigh the cons, at least till out passion for reading and engaging is still burning bright..
    LOVED LOVED LOVEEEEDDDDD THE POSTTT!! 🤩🤩🤩🤩🤩😍😍😍😍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha, I’m so glad that you agree with me! I’m so happy that you’ve made some real friends! Just like in real life, it’s easy for me to get jealous of people who have more friends than I do. It’s way easier to make friends here though, honestly.
      The struggles 😫 But yes, I’m happy as long as my passion for both is still burning bright!
      Thank you ❤️❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This all makes sense and I do definitely agree that it’s easier to get a following on Bookstagram, there just seem to be so many people on there. The thing that I probably struggle with most is the balance part of blogging though. I end up feeling like, if I decide to catch up, I should catch up with everything at once but then it can completely take over. Finding a balance is something that I really need to work on more as it would really help me up my reading I think.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I need to figure out balance too! Not just with reading and blogging, but reading and school and blogging and blog hopping ahh 🙈 Hence why I’m replying to comments so late! And ugh, I’d love to have a bookstagram, but I don’t have the equipment, books, skills or time!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes the balance is so hard to find. Plus everytime that I think I’m getting the hang of it something makes me fall behind again. Yes I find it a lot harder than it looks to keep up with. Taking photos for it seems to take forever 😅

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this post, because it’s so true. Sometimes, I do feel like I can never make such a connection, or to make super close friendships with other book bloggers, but that might be also because I’m not very open either. And I have a crisis all the time whenever I have free time. To read or to blog? That is the eternal question. Most of the time I read, then I berate myself later for not blogging. I have yet to found my balance lol. Thank you for the tip about WP fonts! I’m probably going to go make a few changes now…

    Also, school can be a serious pain, and I hope it stops stressing you out so much and that you feel much better 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad that you agree. Oh, same! But my problem is that I tend to notice people’s flaws a lot and that I have no time! It really is the eternal question 😭 don’t worry, I haven’t found the balance as well! I’m so proud of myself for figuring those tips out hahaaa :”)

      Yeah I’m so stressed rn thank you !!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. OOF this post hit me deeply, and i can honestly relate to so many of these things you’ve mentioned. it’s easy to be friendly acquaintances with a lot of people but it takes a while to form strong friendships too. i definitely also agree with what you said about visibility because there are so few people who just casually read book blogs for fun so it really makes it difficult to grow in comparison to bookstagram or booktube (I AM ALSO JEALOUS)

    and fjaslkfjsdaklfjsak the reading vs. blogging point is honestly so real. it’s so difficult to balance it alongside our other commitments as well (aka school) and i would even throw blog hopping and overall social media interaction in another bucket of its own too.

    even though this post is a little more negative, i still think it’s an important discussion to be said and i really appreciate your genuine thoughts on it ❤ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ngl, I’m kinda jealous of how many friends you (at least seem to) have though!! how are you so friendly and how is your personality so good :((( I’m jealous too! Like, c’mon, reading book blogs is such a fun pastime. Even if blog hopping weren’t a good medium to grow my blog, I’d still do it or at least follow a lot of blogs because everyone has so much to offer!!

      Yes! There are so many things that go into blogging, and as someone with no concept of time management, it’s become really hard for me to manage everything with school. (I’m so behind on comments, and that’s why I am replying to this so late.)

      Ahh, thank you so much, Tiffany!! lysm 😭😭💖

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I honestly agree with everything you said. Going into blogging, I had no idea most people reading (and commenting on!) blogs are also bloggers. It’s not a negative, per se, but it’s different from what I expected. Also, the thing about some people/blogger ‘friends’ not being genuine is still so true – I’ve had bloggers I’ve chatted with comment on my blog, and say things that made it very obvious they didn’t even skim through the post, just looked at the pictures. It’s SAD, but also understandable, I guess? It does feel a bit meh seeing booktube doing so well when blogs aren’t exactly blowing up, haha – as someone who prefers reading blogs to watching booktube I also don’t totally get it. I definitely read more before I started blogging, which is so ironic – blogging really takes up loads of time. Anyhow, great post!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same! I started a blog on a whim, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that most consumers of the content are also producing it.
      I KNOW!! Sometimes I get annoyed because it’s so obvious that some of the comments on my blog are by people who didn’t even fully read what I had to say. I never follow back or comment back on those blogs, and tbh, I’d be fine if they stopped commenting because I only want genuine comments on my blog. But, admittedly, I have just skimmed through a post and then commented on it, so I’m kinda being a hypocrite :”)
      I both read and watch, but I really want both platforms to be equally famous because both are so enjoyable to both consume and create on! And blog posts take way less time to consume than videos—i really don’t know why they’re not that popular 😂 Actually, if not for blogging, I would not be as motivated to read, but at the same time, blogging is the reason I CAN’T read. Ahh, the complexities. I was so wrong to think that blogging just comprised of drafting a post, because it’s so much more than that. Thank you!!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I do agree with what you’ve said! Lately, I’ve been feeling really stressed out because of academic activities and I barely had time to blog. Classes are about to start and I’m gonna move out to study abroad, so there’s that on top of it. I’ve been feeling really down, too. And then that reflects on my blog! I’m not motivated, I’m overwhelmed, I’m anxious … I start thinking about everything bad, how I hate how I’m growing so slowly (even though I’m grateful for everything I have) and how I have to do a lot and can’t manage it all. I’m very thankful for the people I’ve met, but it’s like you mentioned, most of us just keep commenting on posts without creating deep conversations with most people we talk to. Hopefully, things will get better for both of us and we’ll get motivated again!! Sending hugs ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. what a mood! at the end of the day, school just saps ALL my energy out, and though I’ve still been dishing out blog posts, I feel like their quality is suffering. I’m also really behind on comments know, hence why I’m replying to you so late :”) CONGRATULATIONS ON GETTING TO STUDY ABROAD THOUGH. Getting to do that is a dream of mine, but I probably will never realize it!
      Marta, you’re summing up how I feel perfectly! This month, I really feel like I hit a rut with my blog. My posts didn’t do as well as I’d like, my blog hopping wasn’t as good, I’m behind on comments. Just-ughhhh. I’m so sad that my stats aren’t doing as good too! And I want to do stuff to make my blog grow again, but I have NO ENERGY. Ahhhh, let’s talk about this more! I feel like we have the same issues! I think that this conversation is a deep one though! I hope that we both can make more friends 💚💚 Sending lots of hugs as well!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I thought I would never get to study abroad actually, because every time I mentioned it to my mother, she didn’t really like the idea. I applied for it and only told her later, especially because I didn’t think I’d get chosen (there were only two spots for the University I chose). I’m really glad I went for it! I arrived yesterday morning and everything is so different already!
        I would LOVE to keep talking – it probably makes it easier to manage when you talk it out with someone else. I’ll DM you 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s alright, we’ll chat whenever you have time!
        Yeah, I’m not having the ~greatest~ experience in this first two weeks, but I hope things get better from now on. I hope you’re doing ok too!
        (also, i don’t think many people applied for this university and so the two spots thing isn’t really that big of a thing hahaha)

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh I absolutely agree with everything you said. The biggest dilemma for me is to select between the reading time and blogging time. Since joining this community, my TBR has really boomed but at the same time, I am getting less and less time to read. With a full-time job and now with a baby, managing reading and blogging simultaneously really becomes difficult at times. I also, want to make friends for life through this community and I am glad that I have found a few 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah! Discovering new books adds a lot to my TBR, but as a slow reader, I feel like I can’t keep up more than ever. Blogging also takes way more time than I ever thought it would, and at the end of the day, I just don’t know where to fit in reading.
      Definitely prioritize you livelihood and kid first! I’m sure you’re doing an amazing job! I’m glad that I’ve found a few as well :))

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Great post, Caitlin! I definitely agree with everything you’ve been saying – I sometimes struggle with the knowledge that book blogging is a niche and that it feels like Booktube videos or even Instagram get a lot more buzz and opportunities sometimes 😦 I’m still 100% happy to be a blogger though, because I know it’s how I want to express myself and I love how friendly the community has been 🥰 I also think that it’s okay to be friendly or blogging friends but not close with everyone. Naturally, you won’t be having a deep relationship with everyone, but with a bit of luck you can find a few people that you’re chatting with more (and even on different channels) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Caro! Yep, it’s really hard, especially when the blogosphere is such a great platform. why does nobody appreciate it ahhh. Same! Ultimately, I’m not here for the fame, and I love using blogging as a medium to express my love for books. Also, since the community is smaller, there are less hate comments and a lot of incredibly nice ones, which I love :)) I’ve always had trouble making friends, and it’s easier through blogging because blog hopping is a norm here, but sometimes I see bloggers actually becoming close with each other, and I get jealous haha. But I appreciate the friendships I have here nonetheless!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m really glad that I haven’t yet encountered any hate comments and that the community has been so friendly 💕 I definitely makes me happy to produce more content and not worry too much about receiving negative comments 😮

        Same here, I’m in awe of people who have bigger friend groups with people that they are all super close to and chatting often. However, I’m glad for the friends that I have found as well 💗

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I loved this post, Caitlin!! One thing I can always count on is that when I visit your blog I’m always going to get *genuine* posts! I don’t know if I’ve said this before, but one of my favorite things about your blog is that you’re always completely honest about your views and I admire that so much about you. Especially when it’s super easy to be fake on the internet.

    I agree with all of these truths! Especially about how book blogging is a lot smaller than other book-related platforms. And about close friendships. It’s hard to make friends online, especially when so many of the conversations had are in the comment section of a blog. I don’t think that any of the friendships that *are* in the comment section are any less valid, but I know for myself, it’s sometimes hard to differentiate between when someone is being friendly because they consider you a friend, or because they want to sound nice on their blog. Great post!! 💕💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Chana!! That honestly means so much to me 😭😭 I never thought that people would come to rely on me for anything because I don’t really have a niche, so you’ve really made me happy! I always wonder about whether I should tamp it down, or at least add disclaimers, but I just can’t to it. Plus, i always forget to add disclaimers 😂

      Yeah!! I see all of these people sharing their group chat texts on Twitter, and I just want to have that! I mean.. I kinda do, but I’m really ungrateful and easy to make jealous haha. And yeah, it’s so hard to tell whether we’re just being friendly or actually friends! Especially when blog hopping is a great tool to grow your blog, I always wonder whether a person is commenting just for me, or just for their stats. Thank you:))

      Like

  13. THIS IS SUCH A GREAT POST, CAITLIN! I swear, your discussion are always so on point! ❤ It really is sad whenever I see how few non-bloggers make up the audience on blogs. Social media and Youtube truly are taking over the world, and although that is pretty amazing in some regards, it's sad to see how blogging is becoming a lost art. I always have the struggle of deciding between spending my time blogging or reading, and I definitely agree that you just have to trust your gut sometimes, and do whichever makes you feel happy! Lovely post! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly!! But we all know that YOUR discussions are on point, haha! I know right? I love social media as much as the next person, but reading blogs as a hobby is so fun!! I don’t know why more people don’t do it 😭 Yeah, lately, it’s been so hard to motivate yourself to read, but I just use my time to do things related to blogging instead, and it’s been amazing. I just have to get rid of the unreasonable guilt that i feel about not reading enough :”)

      Liked by 1 person

  14. This is such a great post, Caitlin, and a very relatable one, too. I feel what you’re saying about bookstagram and booktube and feeling like it’s the future, compared to book blogs, I feel that way too and it’s pretty clear that things are headed that way, too. I’m a little sad about it all, because I will never have the confidence to be on booktube and honestly, wouldn’t even want to, and well I can’t add bookstagram to my list of tasks already, I’m overwhelmed enough as it is. Still, it’s sad, because I adore book blogs and I feel like we can do incredible things, too, even if now we seem a little “old school” compared to these other media and social medias. This just makes me, well, sad. But well.
    AND YES ah the struggle between blogging and reading, always, always. I can relate to this post a lot, Caitlin, thank you for writing it ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Marie! I’m really sad about it , because there is so much that you can gain from reading blogs that you can’t on Youtube or social media. I really feel like more people should read blogs as a pastime! Same, I don’t think I’ll have the confidence to do booktube any time soon. For now, I’m incredibly content with writing out my thoughts in a blog post. I relate so much to this! I think that I could start bookstagram, but I know that it’s gonna take up even more of my time, and that’s time that I don’t have.
      I’m so glad that you were able to relate, Marie ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  15. This was a really great post and you expressed things I had been thinking about for a while. Especially about bookstagram and booktube. I’m not really going to say anything more on that because I don’t want to hurt feelings but I don’t really love the direction the book community is going in terms of those two things. They feel very elitist because the ones that do the best have fancy cameras and props and not all of us can get those things.

    Liked by 1 person

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