When I started my blog on a gloomy Saturday nearly 4 years ago, I didn’t have a clue how it would all turn out. I didn’t know how long I would be able to keep it up… how long I would want to keep it up. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t have any long-term plans when I started – I didn’t sit there and go ‘right, I’ll stick to this for the next five years’. I didn’t have a plan for finding new readers for my blog or creating a consistent blogging schedule either. Quite honestly, they didn’t even cross my mind at that point. I just knew I wanted to share my thoughts about the (increasing amount of) books I read and find other people with the same hobby.
Four years later, I’m still here.
I’ve learnt an awful lot along the way and, although there are things I would do differently if I could start all over again, I’m happy with the way things turned out and proud of this little slice of the internet that I have built throughout the years.
Today, I decided to write about some of the things I wish I knew before I started book blogging. If you’re thinking about starting a blog and joining our (not so) little community, I hope you’ll find these helpful and – hopefully – learn from my mistakes.
1. Blogging is hard work
As I said, I didn’t have a clear plan when I started. I guess I just imagined I would put some posts up once in a while, and that would be it (oh, dear naïve younger self). In reality, though, that’s not how it works.
Blogging is time-consuming and so many people don’t realise just how much work and dedication goes into creating and updating a blog. From brainstorming for new and unique post ideas to creating graphics for your post and making sure it reaches as many readers as it possibly can, there’s a lot of work involved. More than I would have ever thought. Before you start your blog, think about how much time you would be able to dedicate to it (realistically) and whether you’re ready to make that commitment.
2. Some days you’ll feel like giving up
…and that’s completely normal. When I started blogging, I couldn’t imagine not wanting to spend time on my blog. But you won’t always feel that way. There will be days and weeks when you wonder why exactly you’re doing this and whether it’s worth all that time and effort that you’ve put into it. Believe me, it’s not just you. We all go through phases like this and it’s perfectly normal.
Don’t give up. Take a week or two off, spend some time with your family, travel, or dedicate some time to your other hobbies and recharging your batteries. We all do it. Think about why you started blogging in the first place and what you can do more of on your blog that fills you with anticipation and excitement – it helps an awful lot.
3. Reading slumps
Another thing I couldn’t imagine back then is the idea of not wanting to read. I couldn’t recall a time when I wasn’t excited by the thought of opening a new book and turning the first page – but reading slumps are inevitable if you’re a book blogger. Whether you’ve just finished a book that was so good you just didn’t want it to end and now don’t really feel like reading anything else, you’ve had enough of a particular genre, or you’re simply burnt out, it doesn’t matter – reading slumps do happen.
But just like with blogging slumps, we all go through weeks like this – more often than you would think. And the solution is very similar. Dedicate some time to your other hobbies, socialise, go see a film or a play. Take some time off. When you’re feeling a bit better about it, pick up an old favourite. Reading a book that you loved as a kid – or even just a few years ago – will help you rekindle your love for the fictional world and get back to normal.
4. It’s not a numbers game
I remember the first few months of my blogging ‘career’ quite vividly. One of the reasons for this is that I spent an awful lot of time on the blog and literally couldn’t drag myself away from the computer. The other one is that I was obsessed with my follower count. And I do get it, dear younger self. Realising there are 50, 100, 200 or even more people out there who actually like what you do is a wonderful feeling and an amazing achievement as a blogger.
But blogging is not all about the numbers.
Don’t obsess over your statistics and don’t feel discouraged if you don’t have as many followers as some other people. It’s not a competition and it doesn’t make you any less of a blogger or less talented than those with thousands of readers. In fact, it’s much better to have a small but dedicated follower base than thousands of people who barely glance at your content or only subscribed because of your generous giveaways.
5. It’s quality, not quantity that matters
Even as a new blogger, I’ve always envied those people who were able to post every day or every other day. Unfortunately, I’ve never had the time (or when I did have time, I didn’t have the energy) to pull it off, so I’ve never been able to post more than 3 times a week.
In hindsight, I’m glad I haven’t. Something I realised after a while is that, like many other things, blogging is about quality, not quantity. Everyone can schedule pre-written blog tour posts, cover reveals, or posts with a couple of pointless sentences thrown in together seven times a week. But not everyone can create thoughtful, well-written content consistently. Even as a reader, I would rather read blogs that are updated less frequently but when they are, you know it’s going to be something meaningful, than ones that are updated every single day but don’t have any value.
If you’re thinking about starting a book blog, I hope you found these five points helpful and they give you some guidance for the future. 🙂
If you’re a blogger, what are the things you would add to the list?