An [unpopular] opinion on book blogging

hate

This post has been on my mind for some time and I’m finally posting it in the hopes that all my followers don’t leave me after reading it. But really. I love you. Please stay.

I started this blog almost 3 years ago, and that was probably one of the best decisions I made that year. (You go, three years ago me! I know there’s a lot of bullshit and uncertainty in your life right now, but this was a solid decision. Good job). I had other blogs prior to this one which didn’t stick because they had no focus. When I created Rose Read, the goal was to have one theme for all my posts: books. That focus is what allowed this blog to actually survive my whims.

The first 2 1/2 years of Rose Read were fairly quiet – I didn’t post as frequently as I do now and I certainly didn’t consider myself part of the book blogging community. But then I started to get a few real followers, which was cool. And in November of 2015 I did NaBloPoMo (the blogging equivalent of NaNoWriMo), gaining even more followers from posting every day. Now I have a small group of engaged readers (very small; like 10 or 15 who actually like and comment and aren’t self-promoters) and it’s awesome. Through reading and commenting on others’ posts, I’ve really begun to enjoy the community aspect of blogging, which I never previously felt part of. Throughout this process, I posted whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. But as I got more engaged with the community, I realized there were certain things that “real” book bloggers were doing that I wasn’t doing.

I started as a person completely unfamiliar with the typical book blogging structure. And I’ve now noticed myself assimilating to the common traits I discovered among book bloggers. Examples: I have a rating system now. I’ve made graphics for certain posts. I’ve done hauls. I’ve started monthly recommendation posts. I’ve done a ton of tags. I’ve done these things because either A. they are fun, and/or B. I felt they have increased the quality of my blog. But part of me worries that I’m doing these things just because everyone else is.

If I had no readers, I would still be blogging because I enjoy it. No one read my blog at first, and I still loved it. Now that people are reading and commenting, I have more reason to post and enjoy the experience. But I also have more reason to feel like I need to join them in the culture and “rules” of book blogging. Looking back at my old posts, I’ve even sorta felt that my writing was better back then because I was just being me, without any frame of reference for what book blogging was. I know there are no rules. I can do whatever I want; it’s my blog. But please tell me I’m not alone in having felt the need to change things on here in order to fit in with the set standards that comprise a “real” book blog. If you’ve struggled with that too, let me know. Hell, I even felt the need to write this post just to justify why I don’t conform to certain book blogging trends.

But those few changes I’ve made are as far as I’m going. I’m never going to start TBR posts or monthly wrap-up posts or weekly memes (unless I do NaBloPoMo again and am scrounging for ideas). Why? Because I don’t find them interesting. As a reader of other book blogs, whenever I’m scrolling though my reader feed and I see it’s a Tuesday and everyone is posting their Top Ten posts, how many do I click on? Zero. I prefer to read posts that are unique and stand out from the feed. I get that everyone’s answers to the memes are different, but that still doesn’t compel me to read ever single darn W..W..Wednesday I see.

If you enjoy doing those kind of posts, please do not think I am trying to belittle what you do. If you enjoy weekly memes and monthly wrap-ups or TBRs or whatever, that’s great! As long as you enjoy it, that’s all that matters. If you would still participate in those even if you had no readers just because you think they’re fun – then yes. You are doing it right. I just don’t think I would personally enjoy writing those posts because I don’t personally enjoy reading them. I always try to write posts I feel like as a reader I would want to read.

Additionally, if you enjoy those posts because they keep you focused, great! Stay focused! As I said earlier, having the focus of blogging about one topic (books) was what made this, of all my previous blogging attempts, work! But I am the type of person who works best with one general topic and the freedom to do whatever else I want. In school I was one of those weird students who actually enjoyed open-ended projects while everyone else needed to be told exactly what to do. This is why I hate making TBRs; I never know what I want to read a month in advance and I don’t want to force myself to read something that one-month-ago Emily wanted to read on the day I made that list. One-month-ago Emily is not to be trusted. I enjoy reading whatever strikes my fancy after I finish a book. I enjoy writing down thoughts that I have, when I have them. I enjoy not being beholden to a schedule. I like freedom and exploration and whimsy. So that’s how I blog.

So I guess that’s it. It’s off my chest and I feel good. Thank you for reading any sharing any thoughts you may have. You are all the best and I love you and I will buy you all ice cream for not unfollowing me. (Except not really because it would melt by the time it got to you).

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36 thoughts on “An [unpopular] opinion on book blogging

  1. yourdaughtersbookshelf says:

    You are not alone! I only have one type of post on my blog (reviews) because I enjoy doing them, and I also have little time, so I like to stay focused. That may change sometime in the future, but for now, it is what it is. I think if you blog, you have to do what you want, not what others may think is the “right” way. Or you’ll give up. Great post, I’m glad you wrote it!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Kesh says:

    You are not alone! I started my blog over a month ago and people were tagging me to do these blogger awards etc. I don’t think they’re particularly interesting and I don’t want to do that on my blog . I want to follow my own format and not what everyone else is doing. Keep up the good work. Yes to creativity!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Emily | RoseRead says:

      Thanks! Yeah, absolutely. I like tags because I think they’re fun, but not everyone does and that’s fine. I’m glad that what I’ve found so far is that the book blogger community is really accepting and sweet and not judge-y if you don’t participate, so that’s also good. You do you!

      Like

  3. wonderfilledreads says:

    I love your posts, Emily! Never worry about what others think, blogging is first and foremost about you and doing what you enjoy. If that’s focusing on more personal and unique posts and no memes, then that’s totally alright and no one should think differently about you because of it. I’ve started participating in memes because it helps me stay focused and have things to write about in between reviews, it’s just there for fun and to keep me busy while interacting with the community. Just do what works best for you! Blogging should never be a chore or become something you dread doing. It’s all for fun and a great cathartic way to talk about whatever you want with others who have the same interest. Great post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Read Diverse Books says:

    I dread Mondays through Wednesdays because of those darn memes. They’re ubiquitous. I still read and comment on some of them (but not WWWednesday..) if bloggers I like did them or if there’s an interesting take on the meme. Otherwise, I stay away from them and recently I stopped posting them too.

    When I started blogging I didn’t really know what I was supposed to be doing so I did some memes just so that I had something to post every day, but it wasn’t very fun. Now I post every other day — mostly reviews with personal posts, discussions and polls that I scatter throughout the week. I think I have found my groove and my blog seems to have benefited from it too.

    Congratulations on your 3 years. I’ve only been at it for 3 months! I hope to have a long and prosperous blogging life. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Emily | RoseRead says:

      Thank you so much for sharing that – that’s interesting! It’s great that you were able to find your groove so quickly; it definitely took me MUCH longer. And I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who dreads those days!

      Like

  5. Hey Ashers! says:

    Thank you so much for this post. It’s a huge relief to read the experiences of other people who’re taking the same meme-free blogging path I am. I’m a few steps behind you; I blogged to myself for the first year and a half, and only in the last couple months started reaching out to meet other bloggers. It’s less intimidating than I’d expected!

    The memes immediately threw me off, though. Am I not a “legitimate” book blogger if I don’t post TBRs and hauls and gorgeous photographs and daily memes? More importantly, how am I supposed to keep up with peoples’ reviews and thoughtful posts if my Reader page is clogged with fluff? I really wish I could prevent the Reader from showing posts with certain words in their titles.

    I did decide to give the rare tag/award thing a try, though, just to offer something different once in a while–and to let everyone get to know me better, so they can (hopefully?) be more interested in/comfortable chatting with me. Fingers crossed!

    Anyway, yeah, it’s fantastic to know I’m not the only one who’s been worried about their blog’s “legitimacy” if they don’t participate in memes and stuff. *High fives.* =)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Emily | RoseRead says:

      You’re welcome! And yes yes yes! I totally agree and I also feel good to know that others have felt the same! So thank you for sharing too. It would be GREAT to have a blog reader that can filter posts – such a good idea!! I feel like that would solve a lot. We should take that up with WordPress haha. *Receives high five*

      Like

  6. transhaan says:

    If people hate you for this opinion, it will be their downfaill not yours 🙂 Its understandable what youre going through and book blogging or blogging in general has aways ”a kind of standards” in illusion. But its important to only write posts that you enjoy writing and not forcing yourself indoing what you dont like 🙂

    Personnally, I love writing posts like Book Tags and Monthly Wrap-Up put up reviews with gifs and shorts sentences and my boyfriend likes writing long reviews with details and beautiful words beyond expectations. Its still one blog but we both doing what we feel like doing and no pressure on that 😀

    But we both agreed that we’ll never do Daily Memes LOL because were just too lazy to do something like that weekly.
    Keep blogging and doing what you like 😉

    Like

    • Emily | RoseRead says:

      Thank you so much! Haha, that is why I love your blog (though I only just found it, lol). It has a really nice mix and variety – not to mention it’s downright adorable to be a book blogging couple #relationshipgoals 😉

      Like

  7. Reg @ She Latitude says:

    I’m one of those bloggers who do memes and tags, but I gotta say that while I love them, sometimes they do get a tad repetitive, in which case I usually add my own twist to them or space them out a little bit. I understand your reservations about TTT but for me they also let me discover new blogs – that’s about the only time in the week that I go looking outside my news feed, if that makes sense. My point is – for now, this works for me.

    All that said, I don’t believe there’s one ‘right’ way to blog (or do anything, really) – just as long as you do what’s right for you. Admittedly, though, when you don’t do things the ‘conventional’ way people might be confused, although that’s on them, not on you (and this goes with other life-related things, not just blogging). I don’t believe that you have to justify what you want to do with your blog at all. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ayunda says:

    Wow, three years blogging is quite a long time (this coming from a 6-month-old blog), here’s to lots and lots more blogging years 😁
    I quite agree about the weekly memes, they can get kinda boring and unoriginal. I try my best to not do it that often as well, although I still do it every month or so. As for TBR posts, I mostly just post it for my own benefit, since I always have a list of books I want to read immediately and making a TBR for that month is a part of me organizing the thoughts in my brain. 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ravenclaw Book Club says:

    Ah, I’m so glad you’re not afraid to say what you think!
    I’ve noticed that there are lots and lots of annoying trends a lot of bookbloggers follow, even though I’ve only been a part of this place for a few weeks. I also feel like a lot of bigger bookbloggers are inclined to ignore smaller ones, and there are these weird established cliques of people who are friends with each other and aren’t interested in anyone else … maybe It’s all in my head, I don’t know, but I kind of hate seeing that sort of behaviour because it reminds me so much of high school.
    I really like how you say that you don’t like certain types of posts but still encourage people to write them if that’s what makes them happy. I like that kind of positive attitude!
    Keep up the good work. x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Emily | RoseRead says:

      Fellow Ravenclaw! 🙂 Thank you!! I’ve generally found that the community is very supportive of each other…like, I’ve never seen any haters or trolls or negativity. But I see what you mean about cliques and big book bloggers. Once you get a ton of followers I think it’s hard to manage giving everyone fair attention. I guess no large group of people can avoid those sorts of things. Thanks for your insight!

      Like

  10. theorangutanlibrarian says:

    Loved this post! also- *lowers voice to speak in conspiratorial tone* I actually agree with you more and more- I do still read other people’s posts on that, but usually after the first two or three I lose interest. Sometimes I flick through the others and see if people are reading the same things as me, but I don’t feel like I can engage with these posts very much :/ And personally I don’t choose to do any of these posts myself. Such a great post and it needed to be said!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. fromthelibraryofemily says:

    I always applaud people for coming out and sharing their opinions, especially if it’s not the widely accepted opinion. So kudos to you for having the guts to say how your feeling, and being open and honest about it.
    I can completely relate to what you were saying. As someone who has really only just started blogging regularly, it’s so easy to get caught up in trends and create similar posts to everyone else. I totally get that. But I also really appreciated that you weren’t trying to make people feel bad for writing those types of posts. I try not to fall into some of those trends, but I do love Tag blog posts. Reviews are great and I enjoy them, but sometimes you just wanna read about something that’s a little silly and completely fun. It’s refreshing to see bloggers wanting to create more original content and keep readers engaged.
    You’ve certainly made me an avid follower 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. TrainOfThought says:

    I can’t express how amazing you are! You took the words out of my mouth. I like book reviews, writing them and discussing them. I love creating banners and header images. I love blogging.

    As i slowly became part of the book blogging community, which I didn’t even know existed, I saw more and more bookish memes. I left it for a while but it kept bugging me. Everyone else is doing it….
    And so a week ago, I started doing WWW Wednesday. I don’t enjoy it as much as reviews and bookish talks. So, I don’t know. I’m gonna carry on with the WWW but I like my other posts better.
    Thank you for not making me feel alone, I’m following!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. mypaperinfinity says:

    Interesting post. I’ve just started out with my blog, but I’m already feeling a bit of pressure to “conform”, either to fit in and be a “real” book blogger or to attract more readers. I’ll have to try and resist, tough. Not because I think there’s anything wrong with doing certain posts, but I do want to find my own voice first and come up with my own ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

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