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.
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?