BBAW 2012: On Book Blogging

September 12, 2012 Blogging Thoughts, Reading Nook 41

[Book Blogger Appreciation Week or BBAW is the brainchild of My Friend Amy. This year marks the fifth year of the event. This week is all about showering book bloggers with appreciation--it's a blogging event I always look forward to each year.]

Wednesday: Thoughts on Book Blogging

I’ve been thinking about this topic of what book blogging means to me ever since Amy posted the discussion points. It’s complicated because most days I don’t think of myself of a book blogger and I’ve even gone as far as to denounce the title, but deep down I still think of myself as part of the book blogging community and know that others see me as part of that community.

But sometimes this book blogging community feels fractured or even divided, especially as some choose to go a more professional route with blogging and others a more hobby route. And neither one is better than the other, but I sometimes fail to validate myself as a [book] blogger because I don’t fall into that category of “book reviewer.” The bottom line is that there is room for everyone and there is room for us to all blog as we please. And it should be that way, don’t you think? Throw out the rules and do as we please. *throws confetti in the air!* (confession—it has taken me five and a half years of blogging to mostly feel comfortable doing whatever the hell I want).

Over the past couple of weeks, a few bloggers have approached me to ask what makes a successful blog and what makes someone want to return. Funny that they should ask me and not some of the powerhouse book bloggers, but there I go discrediting myself again for no good reason. I’m hoping in the comments below you’ll share with us what makes a stand-out blog is a must read, but here are my tips on how to keep folks coming back for more.

Tips on how to be an awesomesauce blogger:

1. Review books. Or don’t. You could probably just get away with talking about books. Sometimes.

2. Ramble. A lot. People seem to like rambling. Bonus if you can sometimes ramble about books.

3. Blog personally. Not like personal information but…you know…blog from within.

4. Connect with others. Note that this takes time and work but is worth the effort.

5. Don’t skimp on the exclamation points. ! In other words, be passionate.

Ok, so maybe this advice won’t yield you with the most professional blog and I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have publicists banging down my door (nor do I seek them out) or books piled up on my front porch when I return from work. But from my perspective, book blogging is all about finding a community to discuss books. To me this comes in the form of readalongs or other group reads, Sunday Salon type posts that generate and foster discussion, memes and events that bring together like-minded folks, and just plain fun.

I think it’s exciting that so many have been offered some great opportunities in the way of book blogging. But I will always think of book blogging as a community of folks who have come together to share the passion of the written word. My excitement comes from seeing your excitement. I’m sure that at least one or two of you (or most of you) don’t have many people in your lives who understand your extreme obsession with books, and I love that we have created a world that we can all share.

Too often I see bloggers getting burned out because of the pressures of blogging. I’ve been there and I still go there, but my challenge to you is to let go of some of that stress and guilt and pressure. There are enough of us who are here for the fun of it that there is certainly room for more to join the party. And I do think there’s room for both—for professionalism and for personalization—but what makes this place so special are the connections we make with one another.

And we need more of this, don’t you think:


So what do you think? What are the characteristics of a blog that you keep coming back to? How do you feel that community fits into book blogging?

41 Responses to “BBAW 2012: On Book Blogging”

  1. Jessica ( frellathon )

    I so agree on personality most blogs I love have it by the buckets full and rambling well I do that a great deal though many people who like my blog say it’s my personality and it works for me. Go figure lol

  2. bermudaonion

    I keep coming back to blogs for several reasons. Sometimes it’s because the blogger has similar taste in books and I know I can count on their recommendations. Sometimes it’s because their posts are so well written or downright funny. I consider so many of my favorite bloggers friends now and I always want to know what my friends have to say! By the way, you are definitely a part of the book blogging community!!

  3. christina

    I love that you incorporated THE NOSE!! Bwhahahaha.

    Your list is great. I think my sanity in the BBC is I’ve managed to refrain from staying away from the drama. Also, I don’t really strive for grandiose blogging goals – like lots of travelers coming my way. There are some bloggers that started when I did and now they’re HUGE and that just seems so stressful to me. I already feel a certain amount of responsibility for posting, but if I was one of these powerhouses, ugh! Nervous breakdown would head my way for sure!

  4. Sara C

    The nose (and your genial accessibility in general) is a huge indicator of why people love this blog, Trish. You may not consider yourself a powerhouse, but many of us do.

  5. Debi

    Oh gosh darnit–what just happened to the comment I typed?!! Crap.

    Anyway, I don’t call myself a book blogger, even though I talk about books quite a bit. I mostly don’t because I don’t want to mislead anyone.

    You know, there’s no single answer to what makes me continually come back to a blog. Often it’s the person behind the blog. Sometimes it’s that they review incredible sounding books that I likely wouldn’t hear of anywhere else. Sometimes it’s just that they’re so darn funny. So yeah, I think your point is spot-on–there’s room for all kinds of blogs. In fact, I think there’s a need for all kinds of blogs.

  6. Suey

    I agree with all you say! The reasons you list for people coming back ring true… and by the way.. you ARE a powerhouse blogger! :) And I’ve always found it interesting that bloggers sometimes feel there are certain ways of doing things, so I’m glad you are overcoming that and doing whatever you want, because it’s obviously working. Keep it up and thanks for the pep talk!

  7. Meg @ write meg!

    Letting going of the stress/guilt/pressure is definitely a key for happiness — and longevity! Basically, I think blogging should be fun. It’s no work. (We do enough of that already.) When it’s not fun anymore, change up what you’re doing! That’s easier said than done sometimes, I know, but it’s important.

    All excellent points, Trish, and personality is definitely what keeps me coming back to a blog! Personally, I favor sites that discuss books as much as they discuss life. I like a smorgasbord of fun in there. Recipes, photos, travel, fashion? Everything. Throw it all in.

  8. Laura

    “Don’t skimp on the exclamation points.” Haha, I take this piece of advice waaaaay too literally all the time! See, I just did one there!

    Ahem… I’m glad you’ve brought up the whole professional/hobby book blogger thing, because I definitely see myself as a hobby blogger and I didn’t even realise when I started that getting free books was an actual thing- I literally just wanted to talk about books with people (technically, I wanted to talk about Brothers and Sisters with people, but… that’s neither here nor there) and I’m so happy that I get to do that practically daily!

  9. Jamie

    Excellent post! Personality and passion definitely keep me coming back when there is a sea of other blogs out there reviewing books. I remember thinking when I first started blogging that mine seemed so stale because I was trying to follow all of the rules. Only a few months later did I realize I wouldn’t last long until I let my whole self ooze out of the blog and when I did…I feel like that’s when I made so many great friends and got a ton more really genuine and loyal readers.

  10. SuziQoregon

    “some choose to go a more professional route with blogging and others a more hobby route. And neither one is better than the other”

    You nailed it right there!

    “Throw out the rules and do as we please”

    and there too!

    Love your 5 tips.

  11. Literary Feline

    As always, Trish, you know exactly what to say and how to say it. The changes in blogging over the years has certainly confused and frustrated me at times, not quite sure where I fit in–or wanted to fit in. I have a better idea now and feel more at peace with my decision.

    I think there’s room for just about everyone in book blogging no matter the direction that person wants to take his or her blog. Like you said, no way is better than another.

  12. Chrisbookarama

    I totally agree about exclamation points!!!!! They are the best punctuation marks!!!! Great post and I agree with you. You can be as big or as little as you want to be in book blogging.

  13. Charlie

    Great post, and good points too. I’d hate to think being passionate could be seen as unprofessional, so I’d like to think your points stand either way. Agree on your view of the community, it’s the most important part and we’d all be very alone without it.

  14. rhapsodyinbooks

    What keeps me coming back is to a great extent the personal stuff which is ironic since I don’t tend to include much of it in my own posts! But I’m trying to improve….

  15. Trish

    By the way. Can I tell you guys how awesome I think you are?! What I want the most is for everyone to be able to find a place amongst the group of bloggers in this community. We are numerous, indeed, but also some of the most loving, open-armed individuals I know.

  16. Chinoiseries

    Excellent advice and blog post, Trish :) I know what you mean… had a “burn-out” earlier this year when I felt so pressured to post something that I was ready to scream at my screen. But then I discovered what a wonderful hobby reading can be, a soothing and comforting one, with lots of fantastic people who don’t mind if I rant and rave about books :) Fellow bloggers (who sometimes or quite often write about books) are awesome <3

  17. My anxious life

    Honestly I guess I don’t go back to too many blogs. The ones I do are in my blog roll and that is maybe like 10. I don’t get burned out… but I will say when I have taken the time to write a crazy terrific review and no one comments I am like ughhhh. But otherwise I am pretty happy about where I am.

  18. Florinda Pendley Vasquez

    You are as much of a book blogger as our mutual friend Unfinished :-D.

    I agree with your advice about the use of exclamation points, but I would add: don’t shy away from italics either!

    I mix in so much non-book, non-review content that I’ve frequently questioned my book-blogger cred too, but I call myself one because 1) it’s what got me started on this crazy ride, and 2) it’s where my heart remains–with books, and all the wonderful people I’ve come to know because of them. Happy BBAW!

  19. Jillian

    This is a great post, Trish!! I love your #5, especially. And since we are all doing this because we love books and love talking about books, it should be an easy one. :D And I agree: let go of the stress and ENJOY YOURSELF.

  20. Andi

    LOL, you hit the nail on the head, my friend!!! I echo all of what you’ve said here, fo’ sho. Funny that it takes us so long to feel comfortable and less stress, right?

  21. Teresa

    I totally agree about throwing out the rules and doing it your own way. I know I blog for fun, and if I don’t find it fun, what’s the point? And the great thing is that there are lots of different kinds of fun to have, which means there’s room for all types.

  22. Kristen M.

    Yes, yes, yes. Even book blogs should be about a little something other than books because how else do you really know the blogger and what is behind their taste in books? And I think that another place that personality comes out is in rambling, in the tangents chosen and the informal, more natural language used. Because there are so many book blogs, it’s important to make yours stand out in some way and the easiest way to do that is with the only unique thing you can really offer — yourself! I think that’s why people ask you for advice, Trish. We all feel like we KNOW you, like we could have a coffee and some cheesecake anytime with you and not feel like we’re on a first date. I’ve been working on relaxing and putting more personality into my posts but I know I have some work to do!

  23. Lisa

    Absolutely!!!!! The more of myself I put into my blog, the more fun I have and the more response I get. I love reading the books and talking about them but it’s all of the other stuff that makes it fun. And you know how I’m working to make it more fun and less stressful. Which may just equate to more exclamation points!

  24. Chris

    If all you need is exclamation points than I am DOING IT RIGHT!!!! p I sometimes worry that I have way too many exclamation points and smiley faces in my posts, lol. I’m kinda like you though…I blog about books, but don’t even know if I CAN call myself a book blogger anymore. But I do blog about books.

  25. Tami

    Good post! Love your attitude about blogging. It truly is about doing your own thing and enjoying it. I have let myself get too drawn in to trying to be “big time” and realized that 1) it ain’t happ’nin’ and 2) that’s a good thing. I would suck at trying to be professional at this. I have found some wonderful friends, great books and a ton of creative release through blogging. Thanks for sharing your tips!! I’ll work on that exclamation point thing!!!

  26. Adam

    I absolutely agree – everyone’s book blog should be their own personal space, to do with as they please. Some blogs may be more “successful” in terms of a larger readership, but true success can only be measured by how each of us feels about our own blog and what we are accomplishing for ourselves.

    Also… Franny & Zooey FOREVER.

  27. Kara

    Well, speaking as a brand new blogger, I can say that I really, really, really (did you get that?) love your list!!! I should add a few more exclamation points, right? :) But truly, most of those reasons are why I finally nudged myself over the hurdle and into the world of having my own blog. I don’t think every post will be about books, but I DO want to talk about them and review them. So, I love that my blog can be what I want, and still be a part of this awesome community! :) Hello book bloggers! Y’all make my days so much more fun!

  28. Lu @ Regular Rumination

    This is an awesome post.

    I feel like I’m living two parallel lives when it comes to this. On the one hand, my blog led to a job in publishing. Because of the people I met through my blog, I eventually got one internship, which led to another, which led to the job I have now. You would think that my blog would be super industry-oriented and professional, but honestly? Working with publishing and selling books all day makes me much LESS likely to make my blog a totally professional place. I also don’t want to review books as much anymore. And, god, I DO NOT WANT TO TALK ABOUT AMAZON. Or the state of publishing. OR ANY OF THOSE THINGS. I have never gotten a lot of review copies, but I get a few, and since starting my job I have thought about saying no to them across the board. I don’t know.

    Anyway, thanks for being you. For being an amazing blogger and person and friend. For having the courage to make your blog exactly what you want it to be. You make my world a better place!

  29. Iris

    Great post! I know I’m not always the best at sticking to the rule of not pressuring yourself to stick to any rules, but I do subscribe to the notion in general. Blogging can be so stressful and there’s no reason for it to be. I love to think of my blog as a safe haven, and as visiting other blogs as having a cup of tea with friends.. it’s the best approach really, or at least it is for me personally.

  30. Trish

    I know that I said that I’m not responding to comments anymore on the blog but pish posh bigosh. Thank you so much for all of your kind words. It your wonderfulness that keeps me coming back and posting–really, you guys are a blessing. Thank you.

  31. Jenny Girl

    I could not agree with you more! You are one of the best bloggers I know and feel honored to call you a friend. your personality and realness shines through your posts, and I think that’s whats most important!
    Keep up sweetie!!

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