Welcome to Book Blogger Confessions, a meme co-hosted with Tiger from All-Consuming Books on the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month, to discuss some of the frustrations that are unique to book bloggers.
You can read the introductory post here.
If you want to participate just grab our button and include it in your post with a link to either Tiger's All Consuming Books or For What It's Worth. We will be providing a linky at the end of our posts so people can "hop" to see all the participants answers.
If you don't want to post you can still comment!! All opinions are welcome.
Todays question is: Have you ever had reading/blogging slumps? How do you work through them or work around them?
OK kids this is a long one.....grab a drink and snacks....or run for the hills and avoid. You were warned lol
This week's question is something I've struggled with, as recently as last month. I'll tackle each "slump" separately.
Reading Slumps: My very first reading slump ironically came after I attended BEA for the first time in 2010. I came home with almost 100 coveted ARC's. That sounds like a reader's dream come true but it wasn't for me. I sorted all the books as soon as I got home….then sorted them again…..and again. By genre, by favorite authors, by release date….by pretty covers…..on and on. The problem was, once I had all those books I didn't know what I should read first. Then I started panicking that I would NEVER be able to read them all (which is true - I couldn't). Then as new books were released I would want to buy them even though I had 100 free books that everyone was dying to read sitting on my shelves. I felt like they were taunting me and I felt guilty for not reviewing them. After all they were given to bloggers free with the intention of getting publicity for said books.
So I started randomly grabbing any book that sounded good. There were a lot of duds and just because of the sheer volume a lot of repetition. I ended up hating almost every book I read.
I posted about it and sought advice. Most people suggested reading different genres but that didn't work either. Bottom line - i felt so much pressure to read & review ALL these books that it overwhelmed me and I just shut down.
Even though it was a reading slump and not so much a blogging slump, as a book review blogger, if you're not reading - you're not blogging. Which of course adds more pressure. I ended up hosting a few book tours and giving away books to fellow bloggers that I knew would appreciate them more than I would. It helped eleviate some of my stress because I knew the books were finally being reviewed.
It was odd because even though I didn't want to read the books myself I had a weird possessiveness over them too. I was worried if I let a book go without reading it, I would find out later it was amazing!! & I had it right under my nose the whole time but now it's gone!!! GONE!! lol
I attended BEA again in 2011 and I did get a lot of books but I didn't feel anywhere near the pressure I felt the first time. I tried to research the books beforehand so I made better choices instead of grabbing anything that was being touted as the next "best book ever"! I shared them with friends when I got back so that didn't need to read them right that second.
The other cause of reading slumps for me is hype. I am not a hype driven person by nature. Book blogging is almost defined by hype. Everyone wants that next book NOW based on the pretty cover or popular author. The hype machine can be in overdrive before we even know what a book is about. I started falling into that and choosing my books based on hype rather than how I used to - by walking into a book store and seeing what popped out at me. That led me to a few slumps where I wasn't loving the books that were getting near perfect reviews by everyone else which then of course leads to that cycle again of rushing to read a book, not liking it and then not wanting to read anymore.
Blogging slumps: I've been blogging for two years but I never really had a problem until late last year. When I first started I had envisioned saying "Hey! I loved this book - you might too!" The End. Throw in a few posts about the movies I'd just seen, maybe a favorite song I had been listening to and that's about it. Maybe I could reach 40-50 regular followers.
After reading other blogs that I enjoyed I realized that I wanted to write more detailed reviews. I started reading more. It became an obsession almost to the exclusion of movies, TV or any other hobbies I used to enjoy.
Then came the review books. AHHHH! Nothing is more stressful than review books. Don't get me wrong I love them and I appreciate the fact that any author would even know I exist, never mind want my thoughts on their baby! However, once you start scheduling reading it all goes downhill.
I know many bloggers need and do well with schedules. I do not. I tried to have a blog schedule. Certain days for reviews, memes, author guest posts & interviews, giveaways etc. but I rebel against anything I HAVE to do and that includes blogging.
I do have a loose idea of what I want to do in my head and I do have a planner to organize the upcoming week or two but I can't schedule reading/reviews 3 & 4 months ahead. It stresses me out. It also leads me back to the reading slump issue. I blog as a hobby. When I'm scheduling it more than I do my job, family and downtime it's too much and not fun anymore.
The other issue became Blogger itself. They suck. Sorry but it's true. I think they have good things planned to make it better in the long run but while their tweaking it is making blogging the most stressful hobby EVER. Just formatting a post can take hours.
It can take a few days to read a book - we'll just say I loved it and the review flowed right out of me (rare) - so add another 1- 2 hours to write the review, then I have to spend another 2-3 hours formatting the damn thing. Then after posting I have to link it to the archive, add it to Goodreads and Amazon, Netgalley if required. A lot of work for a hobby.
I was completely burned out by the end of this year. I didn't even want to read or look at my computer anymore. So I didn't. I took all of November through January 1st off except for what was already scheduled.
It scared me to do that. Blogging has become an enormous part of my life and no matter how much I bitch and whine about it I also LOVE it, the people & the opportunities I've had because of it.
I'm not sure why we have this self imposed blogging ethic that we feel guilty about veering from. Most of us don't have advertisers to answer to so what does it matter if we only posted one day that week? Will there be a mass exodus of followers? Will be brought up before a blogging court to stand trial? I know I can't follow everyones blog 7 days a week. I miss a lot of posts so is it a huge deal if you're not blogging something new everyday?
To a certain extent if you get review books or use Netgalley then page views etc are important in order to be approved but I've decided that ARC's aren't the end all - be all of blogging. I like buying books and supporting authors so I've decided to relax about the whole process this year. I do think it matters that people read your blog - I'm not dismissing the importance of it - but numbers can't be the driving force. Not for me anyway. If I'm so stressed out that I quit then what good is that?
My anti-slump mantras & goals for 2012:
*Choose books that interest ME. It doesn't matter that 300 people LOVE that amazing book, if it doesn't appeal to me, I'm not reading it. Also, see that little book over there that no one is reading? Yeah - I think I'm going to read and review it. It may not be my most viewed review but that may be the next great book but we're just not noticing it.
*I can't read everything. I just can't. I must accept this fact once and for all. I haven't read Shiver or Across the Universe or The Night Circus and 100 other amazing books I absolutely must read before I die.. I hope I get to them but it's ok if I don't.
*I'll blog when I have something to say. I won't if I don't. It's ok to go two or three days without blogging if I haven't read anything.
*Same thing with reading. The books aren't going anywhere. I'll read when I'm in the mood not because I HAVE to.
*I don't need to review every book I read. Sometimes a quick one or two lines on Goodreads is fine. Not every book needs a lengthy detailed review.
*Manage my review requests better. I'm doing good with this one so far. I felt guilty turning anyone away before but I couldn't get to half the books for review and then I ended up not the reading process because of self imposed deadlines. That's not really fair to anyone. I'm not at the point of turning away requests but I am sticking to accepting books that I'm sure appeal to my tastes. I still get incredibley depressed saying no but hey - that's just the way it has to be.
This is really long and I haven't' even gotten into half of it! Maybe some of your responses will help lead to a Reding/Blogging Slumps Part 2 !
Book Blogger Confessions schedule for February:
February 6th: Deadlines for reviewing and blogging. Do you set them? How do you keep them? What do you do if you can't meet a deadline?
February 20th: Social networking with authors: Do you interact on Twitter/Facebook etc. with authors? Does it affect how you review their work or do you look at their books differently because you are on friendly terms with them?
Join in the meme and link your post up below or leave a comment!
Feel free to suggest future topics you want to see discussed.