The Pond Gets Loud: 8 Book Bloggers Share Their Experiences of Balancing Blogging and Life – Part I

Bao the round corgi, barking loudly. Text underneath says: The Pond gets LOUD; 8 book bloggers share how they balance blogging and life, part one

For once, the Pond is not quiet. It is loud.

Bao the round corgi, with his mouth open wide, barking, and mid-leap through the airWhen you investigate the source of the noise, you find Xiaolong trying to soothe Bao, the corgi that she adopted last year. But no matter how many pets and treats that Xiaolong tries to give him, Bao will not stop barking!

Before you can ask Xiaolong what’s wrong, Bao cranes his head to look at you and jumps out of Xiaolong’s arms and runs up to you. He’s stopped barking. Xiaolong looks a little perplexed.

“He came back from visiting some friends and he kept barking! I think he wants us to read something. It must be important.”

At this, Bao nudges the fat envelope tied to his collar. You crouch down, remove the envelope from Bao, and tear the flap open. Inside is a bundle of handwritten letters!

“What’s inside, friend?” asks Xiaolong. She is petting Bao, who is now quiet and splooting, and seemingly placated after you opened the envelope.

You hand one of the letters to Xiaolong and unfold another to read for yourself. And together, you begin reading the letters.

Greetings, friends. Welcome to The Quiet Pond!

I expect that we may get a lot of new friends and visitors today, so warmest of welcomes to you. My name is CW, and I am the blogger behind The Quiet Pond. You have just met Xiaolong, my Keeper of Magic at The Quiet Pond (here she is pictured on the right), and her pet corgi, Bao. (If this is your first time at The Quiet Pond, I hope you have some time to explore the Pond a little. I hope you enjoy your stay.)

The context

Today’s post means a lot to me.

Very recently, there were some discussions around the book blogging community regarding the value of book bloggers. These discussions emerged following a series of public discussions between individuals within the young-adult book community that garnered a lot of attention among book bloggers. (However, I’m not interested in going into detail of what happened, and who said what, and how the discourse unfolded, because that’s not what I want to focus on.) As a consequence of these public discussions, many book bloggers felt negatively impacted by their comments. Many bloggers voiced their concerns over this, and stated that they felt underappreciated, disrespected, and felt that they deserved more respect.

Which brings me to my post today: Whatever your thoughts about who is right or wrong in these discussions, it occurred to me – and this is something I had been feeling for months now – that non-book bloggers actually don’t really know what book bloggers do. On the surface, it looks like just a blog. But what goes into a blog is a lot of time, effort, energy, and thought that is generally invisible to everyone else. The effort that book bloggers give is generally undervalued or, perhaps and hopefully, simply misunderstood.

I want to emphasise that the goal of this post is not to undermine authors and individuals in publishing. Rather, my goal of this post is to share eight book blogger’s unique experiences, to shed light on the extraordinary work that they do, and to create a bridge that will foster understanding and empathy between book bloggers and non-book bloggers.

What I hope to achieve with this post

The following is what I hope that you will take away from today’s post:

  • A book blogger’s time is not limited to writing book reviews. Book blogging also involves creating graphics, formatting, promoting ourselves and books on social media, and reading the books that we promote and review.
  • Book bloggers not only do this for free, but at their own expense. Consider: costs of purchasing books, costs of hosting domains (book bloggers), costs of decorations and props (bookstagrammers), costs of recording equipment (booktubers), and unquantifiable costs, such as time and energy.
  • Book bloggers accept the costs of book blogging because most book bloggers love what they do, love sharing books with others, love promoting books.

And thus I invited book bloggers to talk about their experiences. I made a call on Twitter, inviting book bloggers to express interest in this collaboration. Not only did the sheer number of expressions of interest to contribute indicate that bloggers actually really want to talk about this, but it also indicated to me that there has never been an opportunity to talk about it.

As the book blogger organising this collaboration, I am incredibly honoured and thankful to all the book bloggers who supported this, contributed, and gave their time to this. As you will shortly read, a book blogger’s time is precious. For them to give me some of that precious time to collaborate, from one book blogger to another: thank you, thank you, thank you; your time and your honesty means the world to me and I am so thankful for you.

This will be the first of, what I hope to be, a series of posts in which book bloggers share their experiences. Transparency within our community, particularly regarding the amount of work that we do, is not often something that we practice. Perhaps we need to be more transparent in our experiences. Regardless, my hope is that this will spark and facilitate positive and constructive discussion between us.

Today, I am pleased to share with you eight of the responses that I received from book bloggers. I hope you enjoy reading these excellent responses.


Austine, book blogger (8 years) from Novel Knight

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Hello! My name is Austine and I blog at NovelKnight Book Reviews. As of the beginning of January 2019, I’ve been a book blogger for 8 years, having started halfway through high school and continuing through 2 degrees and now working full-time. It’s been the one constant in my life for nearly a decade because I love books and supporting authors.

When I started book blogging, it was actually secondary to a writing blog (I hope to one day publish). Teen me thought, at the time, that every writer needed a blog and when no one visited my terrible ranting space, I started reviewing books. Never turned back. I blog about books because I love sharing my thoughts, my recommendations, and my passion for the written word. But I also do it for the authors. As someone who wants to be in those shoes someday, I know how important it is to spread the word and find new readers, and I keep doing this because I want to help. That drive is why I’m still here after years of stress from both blogging and in my life.

In an average week, I dedicate the majority of my free time to NovelKnight and my TBR stack. I blogged as a full-time undergraduate and, more recently, graduate student, and now do it while working an 8am to 5pm job. Each day, I get up early before work and take photos for bookstagram if I didn’t have time over the weekend (often the case) then get ready and leave. Before I get to work I write up my first photo caption for the day and schedule the post. At work, if my current project allows (I work with research grant proposals), I listen to an audiobook to get some backlist reading in. At lunch, it’s a toss-up between writing reviews, blog posts, interacting on social media, more photo captions, reading if I’m caught up, or a combination of it all. Once I get home, it’s the same. More blogging, responding to comments, catching up on book news to find more books to talk about, promoting the blog and books I’ve read. And at some point, I sleep.

Outside of work, reading and blogging IS my life. Which might sound dreary to some but I love what I do. I’d say, with everything, I probably put in 20-30 hours a week into NovelKnight and reading. Much of that is because I put stress on myself to meet release date deadlines. I always try to review early copies/ARCs pre-release. Lately, I’ve had to prioritize what I’ve requested vs unsolicited titles (which I also try to cover in some way, even if they don’t fit my reading tastes). Blogging has actually caused me serious anxiety over the last couple years, especially when the pressure is on to use ARCs as marketing tools. I know that’s their purpose but when balancing blogging with my life, it doesn’t always work out. I’ve put off sleep or going out and doing something fun to meet a deadline because I feel a commitment to those authors and publishers.

I don’t think people realize how much time and effort goes into a book blog. They only see the surface and when people get snippy or complain about something I’ve done/haven’t done, it hurts. I can’t do everything all the time, and I’ve contemplated leaving it all behind and returning to just reading. But I never do. I care about the authors I’m supporting too much.

Recently I decided to stop putting the added pressure of release dates and deadlines on myself and enjoy blogging. We don’t get paid for this. And no, I don’t consider getting a “free” book as payment because 1) it’s not really “free” when you think of the time/energy required to promote it which is the expectation, and 2) books don’t pay bills. Book bloggers are not a free publicity service to use and abuse. Reminding myself that this is a hobby has helped my own mental health a lot and I’m finally re-discovering my love of book blogging.

To those of you bloggers who feel the strain of blogging, my advice is this: remember why you’re blogging and talking about books in this community. I would bet it’s not because you want free books (though that can certainly be a perk). If blogging is harming your mental health, don’t be afraid to step back. The community will be here, book lovers will be here, if/when you’re ready to return, in whatever capacity works for you.

And to those of you who aren’t bloggers but want to support us and other book “influencers,” tell us when you read a book because of our review. Leave a comment on a post, or share it on your own media page. Let us know what content you like. The smallest message can mean the world. If you’d like to support in a monetary fashion, some blogs have Ko-Fi links or the equivalent but we’re all spending our money on books, right? Shop affiliate! Many bloggers are affiliates for your favorite bookstores. Use their links to buy their books. It costs you nothing and helps them continue to create content. But for me, just hearing someone read a book that I recommended means the world. It can be the bright spot in someone’s day and takes you less than a minute.

Fellow bloggers, put yourself first, because at the end of the day, you have to be your biggest advocate for doing this. And if you’re someone who supports bloggers, tell us. You never know when it’ll make a difference. 

Austine is a book blogger and bookstagrammer. Visit her blog, Novel Knight, her Instagram, and her Twitter.


Ruby, book blogger (9 years) from Ruby’s Books

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Hi everyone! My name is Ruby, I blog over at Ruby’s Books and I’ve been book blogging for almost 9 years, since February 2010.

Reading became a sort of escape for me back when I was in high school. I started book blogging for two reasons. One, because I had no one to talk to about my favorite books. All of my friends talked about classics or books I wasn’t really interested in, and having my blog helped finding other people that not only read the books I did, but they enjoyed them as much as I did. And the second one is a more personal one, but basically I moved to another country, I knew no one there, I had no friends because everyone was back home, only my parents, in this new environment, I didn’t know the language, so the blog saved my sanity. This blog has become like a part of me, I don’t see myself giving it up, because there’s still reasons for me to enjoy what I do with it. When things get bad I take a step back, change things up, and move on. Books are an important part of my life and talking about them on my blog has become second nature to me so I don’t see myself giving it up unless something truly dramatic happens that leaves me unable to do it anymore.

When I was working last year I had a really hectic schedule. I worked way over 40 hours, and I blogged during the weekends, or I would think up posts and reviews during my commute, which took about an hour from home to work, and then another hour to get back, and write ideas on my phone. Now I have a lot more free time on my hands, obviously, but I know that once I find another job I’ll again have to find ways to juggle both my work and the blog. Also, for about 4 years I was a student while I had this blog, so the struggle wasn’t so much finding time to blog during the regular semester, it was during exam sessions that I had to take a step back.

There’s definitely a challenge to find time to do it right. I usually try to get all my writing done during the mornings, because that’s when I’m most productive when it comes to doing the actual writing. I also make it a point to try to carve out time for it. At the moment not having a job means I can blog every day of the week, and I try to do that as much as I can. But it can still be difficult when I have other commitments.

On average I’d say I spend at least 6 hours a day on my reading and blogging. It’s almost like a full time job. Reading is fun and it never feels like something I absolutely have to do, but certain aspects of blogging can be tedious and time-consuming, like creating graphics, thinking up new content, figuring out what your audience likes, gathering information about the author, the book you’re reviewing, researching a discussion post, building your platform and trying to return all comments and views. For me reading is just that, reading, there’s nothing fancy to my method there. However blogging isn’t just me in front of a computer, putting words together. It’s an entire checklist of things I have to do in order to be decently successful, things people don’t even imagine we do.

However, I’ve definitely lost sleep over blogging. I think the pressure comes from trying to be as good as we can be, if not more. Since at times it does feel as a full-time job, the pressure comes from trying to do your best, and sometimes doing your best at your job means putting in extra hours and trying harder. It means trying to figure out why a widget is broken because a broken widget looks bad and it makes our blog look like we don’t take care of it, and it gives the impression that that particular blogger isn’t trying too hard, so yes, losing sleep over something that small does happen for me.

I think the first thing people should do is acknowledge when they buy and read a book following a blogger’s suggestions. That I think is the highest of praise I’ve ever gotten, and it tells me that hey someone bothered to read a review of mine and they liked it and trusted me enough to go and buy that book for themselves. Commenting might seem like a small thing, but it does show that you like our content, but of course writing a thoughtful comment that goes beyond “great post” is key here. I think bloggers should remember why they do this in the first place. Is it a source of income? Or something they do in their spare time? Do you still find enjoyment in it? Because that is the most important thing in doing something. If you find it pleasurable then keep on doing it. Time is probably the only thing we won’t be getting back in this life, or at least now, since no one has invented the time machine yet, so use it to do things you really care about.

If there’s one thing I wish people would take away from this discussion is that blogging is never JUST sitting down in a chair or your comfy couch and putting words on paper or in a text editor and hitting publish. There’s a lot of work that happens even before that, and a lot of money and time too. Some bloggers spend money on their blogs, and that can mean a number of things: a new theme, being self-hosted, useful plugins that help us be as accurate and as inclusive when it comes to purchase links and other information as possible, graphics. Then there’s the work we spend time on: maybe taking pretty photos that people might not even think we took and they mistake it for a stock photo, learning photoshop and how to create our own graphics, learning how to code, even the most basic things like how to write in bold or italics. While it is a fun experience and I myself have learned a lot of useful things I probably wouldn’t have learned otherwise, I do get a bit salty when I see others judge what we do as less than what it actually is.

Ruby is a book blogger. Visit her blog, Ruby’s books, and her Twitter.


Maisie, booktuber (3 years) from SleepyWiredStudios

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Hello, my names Masie and I run ‘SleepyWiredStudios’ – a book Vlog that has been going for three years.

I always loved reading, but it wasn’t until my surgeries that books became an escape from the beeps of machinery and the white walls. I started my book vlog because I wanted to share my thoughts on the Immortals After Dark Series by Kersley Cole and the more I did it – the more I fell in love with it. Book blogging allows me to talk about books in a space where others can enjoy books and discuss all the book things and also gives me the chance to introduce others to books I love and vice versa.

Recently, I took a hiatus just before Christmas due to mental health reasons and while I was on hiatus my brain kept telling me that I’ll fall behind on the Top/Worst Books lists and that people will lose interest in my vlog if I stay away too long, that’s a lot of pressure, for me at least. I feel this pressure as I feel that I’ll fall behind, or people won’t tune in if certain reviews for books or list aren’t out at their ‘proper’ times and that I’ll either be called out for falling behind.

If you want to show your appreciation for our work, my suggestions would be to tag a blogger or mention them if they inspired you to read a certain book as that feeling you get is immeasurable. Another suggestion is to share posts from your favourite book bloggers, I will always boost posts from my favourite book bloggers.

My advice for some fellow bloggers to go at your own speed, do your own thing. I love when people have their own flair with book blogging, and it shows in their posts.

Maisie is a booktuber. Visit her booktube channel, SleepyWiredStudios, and her Twitter.


Rikki, book blogger (4 months) from Nightmare Dressed as a Reader

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Hi, I’m Rikki Allessandra, and I’m the blogger behind the Nightmare Dressed as a Reader blog. I’ve actually tried maintaining a book blog a million times before, but it always failed. It’s only with this current blog that I’m trying my best to keep it going. It’s been up since September 2018, so I’m still relatively new to the whole book blogging scene.

I love reading because, um, books are awesome??? 😂 That obvious answer aside, I simply just like to share my bookish opinions to other people, and I felt like book blogging accomplishes just that. I tried BookTube, but it’s a lot of work, and actually, so is book blogging, but I feel more comfortable with blogging, so that’s why I decided to stick by it.

Ideally, I’m supposed to post three times a week: Wednesdays and Fridays are my usual, with Mondays as an extra day. However, I find it really hard to write multiple blog posts, and every time I do, I always get burned out and end up not writing for weeks. In a way, I’m still looking for the right schedule for me. But it’s also really hard to keep blogging when I’m a very slow reader (it takes me hours just to read 30-50 pages) and plus I’ll be working full-time soon. Not to mention I do have other things I want to do as well, such as going to the gym and writing stories. I find it really hard to keep blogging (it also doesn’t help that I’m really bad at self-promoting, so at times, I feel like blogging is pointless since it seems like I’m only shouting to the void), but I try my hardest. Blogging is fun anyway, and it helps me hone both my critical thinking and writing skills. I just hope I’ll get better at this eventually. 😂😂 So far I haven’t really experienced losing sleep for the blog. I have a lot of unhealthy habits, and sacrificing sleep and compromising my health for blogging is something that I want to avoid, so, I try not to do it

Since I’m relatively new to blogging, I’m not that well-versed with the problems that bloggers are facing. But there are some issues that I’ve heard of — authors blackmailing bloggers who gave their books a low rating, and the whole ARC drama, which is more recent — and yeah, hearing about these issues does make me consider stopping blogging altogether. But it’s great that there’s a growing discourse among the community members, and for me, the pros outweigh the cons tremendously, so I think I’ll stay in the book blogging community. At least for now.

My advice to other book bloggers: Don’t put too much pressure on yourself! With book blogging, especially if you’re more inclined to do book reviews, it can get really scary putting your opinions out there, especially if it’s negative or it doesn’t coincide with the popular opinion, and sometimes, we either avoid posting our reviews altogether or we force ourselves into liking/disliking a book just to avoid backlash. Try not to focus on what others might think, and just write your opinions. So long as you voice out your opinions in a tactful manner, you’re good to go. (Also, for the love of god, don’t tag authors in bad reviews; not only is it rude, but you’re also asking for unnecessary drama. Avoid it like the plague.)

Rikki Allessandra is a book blogger. Visit her book blog, Nightmare Dressed as a Reader, and her Twitter.


Crystal, book blogger (6 years) from Goddess in the Stacks

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I’m Crystal, of Goddess In The Stacks. The blog has existed since 2013, though I’ve only been posting regularly since 2017.

I’ve loved reading my entire life – I was the girl who always had a paperback at school or work for reading during lunch or breaks or on the bus. I don’t actually remember why I started the blog back in 2013, but I blog now for multiple reasons. My chronic health issues affect my memory, and having the reviews written down means I can go back and see what I’ve read and what I thought of it. And people actually seem to enjoy reading what I write! It’s an ego boost. It would be nice to eventually make some pocket money off the blog, but that’s not really a goal. I’m a housewife – I don’t work outside the home (largely because of my chronic illnesses) so it’s also a way to stay accountable to something and feel like I’ve been productive.

My typical week isn’t that exciting. Monday through Friday are mostly identical – my husband leaves for work around 7am. I take my thyroid medication and go back to sleep until I’m ready to face the day. (I have insomnia and fatigue, which tends to destroy my sleep.) I usually spend some time on Facebook and Twitter while eating breakfast, then in some order I typically: Read a book, do some writing on the blog, do housework. I read about four books a week, and I do most of my reading Monday through Friday. Evenings are spent with my husband and one evening a week we have a D&D group that comes over to our house to play. Weekends are usually spent doing social things – whether that’s playing board games with friends, running errands, seeing movies with my husband. I don’t get a lot of reading done on the weekends.

I don’t find it too hard to fit blogging into my life; where I don’t work outside the home, I imagine it’s easier for me than for some people. I do occasionally have bad fatigue days or brain fog days, though, and I can’t usually read or write on those days. If those last more than a day, it can really disrupt getting a review up; I read a book last week and promptly had three bad days in a row. I never wrote that review because I couldn’t remember enough of the book to satisfy my personal standards!

I haven’t actually thought about how many hours a week I spend doing this before. If I’m not distracted, I read around 100 pages an hour. Given an average of 4 books read a week, with an average length of 400 pages… that’s about 16 hours reading. 45 minutes to an hour for a review, longer for Top Ten Tuesdays but shorter for Library Loots and Friday 56s…and longer for whatever I wind up throwing up on Sundays. We’ll just round it to an hour each day writing. (Though that often means three hours one day and none the next.) So 23 hours ish directly reading or writing, with another two hours a day, probably, surfing Twitter and Facebook. Facebook is usually more personal stuff, but Twitter is definitely blog related.Considering two hours a day on social media is probably a conservative estimate, that’s another 14 hours so 37 hours now doing blog stuff. Wow! It’s probably about the only full-time job I could hold down, since I can do a lot of it from bed or the couch. Being chronically ill SUCKS.

I don’t think I’ve foregone other responsibilities (except maybe ignored a bit of housework temporarily) to blog. And while I’ve definitely read until the wee hours of the morning, my insomnia isn’t a result of my blog, I’ve just used the time wisely! Where I’m not getting any income from my blog, I don’t feel very pressured by it. It’s just for fun. I’m still a very small blog, though. I might feel differently if I had thousands of readers.

A lack of understanding what book bloggers do has never bothered me. Since the blog is primarily for myself, I haven’t concerned myself too much with what others think. People liking what I have to say is a bonus, not the goal! I think that mindset has actually helped me be more honest about what I like and don’t like in what I’m reading. I’m not really worried about pleasing anyone.

I think the best way to show appreciation to bloggers is to comment! Absolutely comment and like posts. I reply when I can. Having Twitter conversations with people lately has been a lot of fun, too. And it’s always an ego boost when someone tags me in a post that isn’t just a retweet of my blog posts. (Though those are awesome too!) But it’s like, wait, you were thinking about me when you weren’t looking at my posts? Cool!

For Book Bloggers facing the same challenges as me – I know there are other chronic illness bloggers out there who talk more about their illness. I read several of them for tips. The most important thing being don’t push yourself too hard! I’m working on getting a laptop so I can still blog from bed instead of having to be at my desk. Find a comfortable desk chair. Don’t be afraid to try several until you find the right one. I’m currently using a padded rocking chair because the constant slight movement keeps my back from knotting up! I’ve thought about trying an exercise ball, but I think that would be too MUCH active muscle use and I’d probably wind up with aches from head to toe. As a book blogger specifically, I had to make sure I found a comfortable place to read for long periods. Luckily a friend was getting rid of his SUPER comfortable couch, and that’s now near my computer desk for reading on. OH! Linkies! I participate in 2 – Top Ten Tuesday has a linkup at That Artsy Reader Girl’s blog, and the Friday 56 has a linkup on Freda’s Voice. I get a pretty good amount of traffic from both. Find a weekly feature that you like, that has a linkup somewhere. It’s a way to get people who might not have otherwise found your blog to come take a look at it.

Crystal is a book blogger. Visit her book blog, Goddess in the Stacks, and her Twitter.


Leah, book blogger (2 years) from Small Queer, Big Opinions

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Hi! My name is Leah, they/them pronouns, and my blog is called Small Queer, Big Opinions. April 2019 will be two years that I’ve been blogging, and while I primarily review books with queer characters and/or by queer authors, I try to read along multiple marginalizations and just read and review any book that appeals to me.

I’ve always loved reading–it’s always been one of my favorite past times, even as a kid when I’d make my parents read multiple books to me before bed. Reading provides an escape for me. Even when a book is super angsty or stressful, it’s a way for me to temporarily leave my own stressful life.

As for book blogging and why I started… I dunno. I started doing it after Just Love Reviews asked me to do a review for a queer YA ARC they’d received, since none of the reviewers there either read YA or just didn’t have the time for it. Doing that really made me want to start a blog for myself, and I enjoy doing it because I try to focus on indie/small publisher and self published books. It’s a way for me to help bring some attention to books that might otherwise get lost in the shuffle. And I’ve opened my blog up to indie and self-pub authors, in particular, for hosting any kind of promotion they might need or want, because promo falls largely on their shoulders, and unless they have a large platform, it can be difficult to spread the word, so I like to help with that how I can.

Reading and blogging are what gets me through the tough times and why I keep going with it, despite the fact that I don’t always get a lot of foot traffic on my posts. If I can help a small, lesser known author in some way, then I feel good about continuing on with this blog.

My average weeks consists of working 6 days a week, Monday through Saturday, so that’s roughly 46 hours a week, though it’s generally more since I tend to stay late most nights. That really puts a damper on things and limits how much I’m able to do with the blog, unless I sneak it in during work hours. Especially as I currently don’t have a functioning laptop at home. And 2019 has been fairly awful to me so far, so there’s been a lot of personal life stuff that’s gotten in the way of my being able to read as much as I’d like.

Regarding how book blogging fits into my life: As far as reading goes, I fit ARCs and review copies into any available reading time. I have a reading app on my desktop at work, which I read on throughout the day when I have lulls in between work, and I have both the Kindle app and Bluefire Reader app on my iPhone to read on. So it’s relatively easy for me to squeeze reading in, but that, of course, is limited by what other things are happening in my life and whether or not I even have the mental capacity to focus on what I’m reading in the moment.

As far as blogging, I mentioned above that I don’t have a computer at home at the moment, and it’s hard for me to type everything on my phone because it’s so small, so the majority of the actual blogging has to be done during my working hours, which can make things difficult as I have to try to fit things in around my work, and can sometimes backfire on me when my work duties get pushed to the next day if I don’t have time to get to them. Which, of course, is no one’s fault but my own, but.

As a very rough estimate, I would say anywhere from 50-75 hours a week, sometimes less and sometimes more.

I started this blog for fun, and really for my own personal use than for anyone else, and so from the get-go, I’ve not put too much pressure on myself. If I get something posted, then that’s great. If I don’t, well, it’s not the worst that could happen. And if I don’t have anything ready, there’s often several authors who are willing to put together guest posts at the last minute. For example, for the last two weeks of December 2018, I didn’t have anything scheduled because I was super behind in reading ARCs, so I put a note out on Twitter that I was looking for guest posts, and within a few hours, I was able to fill up 15 days with author guest posts and interviews, with some days having more than one post.

Nothing yet has really made me feel a desire to stop blogging, but there’s certainly been instances that have been incredibly frustrating. And usually, those situations begin and end with authors themselves. Because while most authors are really great and supportive of bloggers, there are some authors who just don’t understand that there are boundaries that shouldn’t be crossed. They don’t realize that there’s a power imbalance–in which they are the ones with pretty much all the power. I mean, sure, I could trash a book for being problematic in some way, but I’m a small fish in a big sea, and chances are that there’s at least 10 positive reviews to my 1 negative. And unless someone with a larger platform shares my review, it’s really unlikely that it will even garner that much attention, let alone affect anyone’s career. But yet, there’s plenty of authors who think it’s appropriate to comment on bloggers’ reviews and justify why they’re right and we’re wrong.

It’s something that’s fairly easy for me to move on from–though I’m likely to personally blacklist the author–but it’s just aggravating to see things like this happen time and again.

As for ways that people can show appreciation of what book bloggers do, I’d just love to get more likes and maybe even some comments! I appreciate the people who regularly show my posts some love, whether that’s likes on the blog post itself, comments, or retweeting the link on Twitter, and it’s really reaffirming and nice to know that people are actually seeing what I’m sharing and are willing to take the time to give me some feedback or commentary.

My only bit of advice, which I’ve recently tried to apply to myself and talked about in a discussion post, would be to blog at a pace that is comfortable for you. There’s a lot of pressure to constantly be posting and keeping things “fresh,” which is okay if that works for you, but it doesn’t have to work for everyone, and that’s okay too.

Leah is a book blogger. Visit their book blog, Small Queer, Big Opinions, and their Twitter.


Annie, book blogger (1.5 years) from Blossoms and Bullet Journals

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Hi! I’m Annie from Blossoms and Bullet Journals. I started my blog almost two years ago, but I’ve been blogging about books for about a year and a half. I originally just wrote about journaling for my blog, but I soon found the book blogosphere and was hooked. Reading has always been my favorite thing in the world, so it made natural sense for me to use my blog to explore this thing that I’m incredibly passionate about. Not only has book blogging provided me with this outlet for my passion and creativity, it has also connected me with a wonderful community of other readers.

I love book blogging for those reasons, though running a blog does not come without challenges. Blogging is a LOT of work. I’m a student, and I go to school Monday-Friday. When I’m not working on something for school, a large chunk of my time is spent blogging or reading. Most of my time after school (or sports, depending on the season) is dedicated to writing posts, designing graphics, networking, etc. I usually take photos and continue to work on posts over the weekends as well. I have most definitely spent school nights staying up super late to blog (either because I’m on a blog tour and have a deadline, or because I’m a perfectionist and can’t stand to mess up my twice-a-week posting schedule), but it’s worth it for me, because I love blogging!

I know that there are so many other bloggers who also put so much effort, time, passion, and love into their content. Not to mention, bloggers contribute to spreading buzz about books, and most of us do this for free. There are so many books that I have bought because I heard about them from other bloggers, and some of these books have turned out to be favorites!

Bloggers deserve to be valued and supported for all the work that they do. Some great ways to support bloggers include:

  • Following, reading, liking, and commenting on posts (This makes us happy, and having more views also helps bloggers get more opportunities as far as ARCs, etc.)
  • If you really enjoy a post, share it on social media, or tell your irl friends about your favorite blogs
  • If you would like to support bloggers financially, some have Ko-Fis that you can support, and some have affiliate links (meaning that if you buy something by clicking on one of the links on their blog, they’ll get a commission)

Bottom line is, blogging is super fun but also hard, and bloggers are totally awesome. 💖

Annie is a book blogger. Visit her book blog, Blossoms and Bullet Journals, and her Twitter.


Natalia, book blogger (7 years) from A Court of Tales

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Let me introduce myself, hi, I’m Natalia. I run the blog called A Court of Tales which has been around since August 2012.

Why do I love reading? I love reading because books open up different worlds and engaging stories, and explore characters, especially diverse ones that resonate with me. Why blog about them? I want to express my thoughts and feelings about them, and let others know how much they need these books – especially ones by authors of marginalised backgrounds. When challenges or tough times come up, I get through them by writing my own stories and reading.

How my average week is like? It’s pretty consistent. I spent much of the week working on my novels and going through TBR. I’m freelancing as a beta and sensitivity reader, so I would work on some manuscripts. I’m also a contributor for The AU Review, a pop culture publication, writing film/TV reviews.

As for blogging, I used to blog almost every week or every third day or so. I haven’t been blogging regularly lately because of other commitments and low energy. I’ve only been posting reviews I need to do for publishers and posts on recs and 2019 releases – which I do either in the morning before get cracking on my WIPs or after. But I’m going to try to get back into regular blogging. When I’m powered up.

How many hours do I spent reading and blogging? I tend to read for an hour or more at night. It usually takes me about 2 hours to blog something, but some posts like the 2019 releases one I did took over 6 hours! There were so many titles I wanted to read! Does blogging ever interfere with sleep? 😂 Yes, again with long posts. Do I feel the pressure to make posts? Most of the time. I just want to get my content out there and partially because of other bloggers and writers writing for book-related stuff. There’s this need to publish similar topics at or around the same time as them, so I won’t feel like I’m left behind. Also some blog topics can be time sensitive.

Every now and then book bloggers get bad rep or are misunderstood. There were a couple of times that involved authors behaving badly and I wanted to step back from blogging out of worry that an author would find my review on their book and go after me. I can be critical in my reviews. In one case, I was part of a blog tour for an author who had lashed out at another blogger because of their negative review, and it was too late to back out of the tour. So I was very careful with how I wrote my review. I felt terrible so I trashed it sometime after it was published.

Blogging can get exhausting, time and energy wise, so it helps if people can show appreciation. Leaving a comment or simply a like is enough to brighten up my day 🙂 Some advice for bloggers, especially new ones: It can be frustrating when you don’t get much views or responses to your posts, but just remember why you’re blogging and there will always be readers around – seeing and/or liking your posts after months they were published. If you’re all out of energy or feel exhausted by blogging, it’s okay to take a break/hiatus. Come back when you feel like it.

Thank you, book bloggers, for your dedication and hard work. It’s also great that there are more diverse bloggers now. Keep at it, guys. ❤

Natalia is a book blogger. Visit her book blog, A Court of Tales, her Instagram, and her Twitter.


Thank you for listening

Friend, if you have made it this far: thank you. Thank you for taking the time to read this, for hearing these bloggers out, and for listening to what they have to say.

And of course, thank you to all the bloggers who contributed! Please take a moment to check out their blogs and have a look at the amazing work that they do:

From these responses, I hope you understand that:

  • The degree to which book bloggers invest their time into reading and blogging varies. Each experience is valid, and all time given to book blogging is meaningful.
  • Blogging is not easy. It is a lot of hard work. And bloggers do it for free or at their own expense.
  • From the eight respondents above, the book bloggers spent an average of 30 hours per week on blogging and reading.
  • In addition, the book bloggers above had life commitments as well – working full-time, being a full-time student, have ongoing health issues/disabilities, and so on.
  • Appreciating what a book blogger do can be as simple and easy as liking their post, thanking them for their work, and sharing their post or tweet!
  • Book bloggers know how much hard work it is, but honestly? Book bloggers blog and read because they love doing it, love books, and love supporting authors. An author’s success is a blogger’s joy.

Thank you all, again, for joining me and reading this far. Listening to what these bloggers have to say means a lot – not only to me, but – to a lot of other book bloggers out there.

Next week, I’ll be posting more responses from eight more book bloggers. The cool thing? Even though the responses may share specific themes, every response is different and unique. I hope you all will visit the Pond next week, and see what the book bloggers have to say.

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54 thoughts on “The Pond Gets Loud: 8 Book Bloggers Share Their Experiences of Balancing Blogging and Life – Part I

    • Aw Athena, thank you so much for your kind words! 💛
      Yes, I was a little discouraged to see the discourse that unfolded, so am glad that I can give these incredible bloggers a voice and platform.

      I totally agree! Book bloggers are definitely superheroes; they’re all amazing and I appreciate the work that they do, including yours! 💛

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Wow, this post was seriously so amazing and informative. It was really eye-opening to see how other people blog and how much time they put into it. I think it’s amazing that this community truly loves what we do. We don’t do this for money – we do this because we love books and want to support the authors. This article really reinforced that, so thank you CW (and all the bloggers who took the time to answer these questions) for shinning a light on what makes the Book Community so amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Definitely! It was eye opening for me too. I consider to put a lot of time in my blog, probably above the median, so it was humbling to see different experiences.
      It’s my pleasure! All the credit should go to these amazing bloggers; I’m just the messenger. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It is so nice to see so many different approaches to book blogging, and so many different experiences. It’s heartening in a way, as I’m both fairly new to the book blogging world as well as not being that structured or productive or creative with my posts – and posts like these, and discussions like these, show that I don’t have to be. This is my little bookish corner and there are no other goals to reach than my own! Thank you for collecting all these thoughts!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Definitely! Do what makes you happiest, or if you have goals for your blog, or no goals, that’s all okay too. 💛
      I’m super glad you found this post enlightening. I hope this empowers you to have more fun with blogging!

      Like

  3. Thank you so much for this amazing post! It was so great to hear from other bloggers and feeling like I’m not alone. I’m fairly new to blogging (around 11 months) and sometimes I wonder if the work I put in is worth it. I’m busy with school, debate, and internships 6 days every week and it can get so disheartening when people don’t appreciate the work you do. But I just think about why I do this and my love for books. That’s what keeps me going. Thank you so much for this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Alexia!
      Ooh and thank YOU for reading! (And thank you to the bloggers who contributed; I’m just the messenger!) Ooh, a very late welcome to blogging! Starting out can be very tough as you figure out your balance. I totally understand how disheartening it is when people don’t appreciate the work you do as well. But yes, if you do it because you love reading and blogging, then no one can take that away from you. 💛 You’re doing great!

      Like

  4. This is wonderful!

    I just came back to blogging after a year plus hiatus, and I’m really trying to get back into the community again, so I’m excited to check out these other bloggers. One of my favorite parts of blogging is going around and showing love to other bloggers, so it’s nice to hear that other bloggers truly appreciate getting comments.

    As someone who’s just getting back into the swing of things, I haven’t invested nearly as much time. Then again, I’ve never thought to actually track my reading time before either, and I read probably 2+ hours a day. It’s kind of amazing to realize how much time we spend, purely for the love of reading and the community.

    Thank you for drawing attention to the hard work bloggers do!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much!

      Aw, I’m glad that you enjoy doing that! Spreading the love is such an underrated but small thing that we can all practice to support each other.

      Definitely! I never counted because it’s just part of my life and routine but when I did count I was like… YIKES. 👀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Such an amazing article CW and all the bloggers involved for taking the time to share their experiences. There’s one reoccurring theme throughout the responses, the love bloggers have for books and reading and wanting to support authors and the community. It’s universal. Such a timely reminder for industry professionals that we’re one of the few branches of blogging that blog and promote for free and I hope that one day it won’t be looked down upon for bloggers who want to monetise their work. I’ve been blogging for over six years now and have seen so many changes throughout the community and for the better in most cases but I can’t remember having every felt so angry on behalf of bloggers who feel degraded by open dialogues between authors downplaying our role within the community and then a forced apology. Just doesn’t sit well with me whatsoever. Keep fighting the good fight CW and thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Kelly!
      That definitely is a running theme and is definitely universal. At the end of the day, we’re all on the same team, right?

      I’m with you. It was disheartening to see it, but even more so that so many bloggers, especially new ones who hadn’t seen that sort of things spoken by authors, feel incredibly disheartened and… confused? It was awful.

      Thank you for visiting, Kelly! I appreciate and value your insight, so it means a lot that you shared your experiences as a veteran!! 💛

      Like

  6. OH MY THANK YOU FOR FEATURING ME HERE, CW! (I know I’ve said that a million times, but I just can’t seem to stop 😂)

    That being said, it’s been a really interesting experience reading the stories of other bloggers. I’m amazed by how much effort and time they put into their blogs just because they love book blogging so much. And now I really do see how upsetting it is when people look down on bloggers (I mean, I’ve seen it myself, but that was only in my point of view, and my POV is pretty limited). It’s also really great reading this post because now I’m motivated to continue blogging — the pure love and commitment that I’ve felt from this post just inspires me more. It’s such a wonderful feeling. I’m excited for the next batches of stories! 💜💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha! Well as I feel like I’ve said a million times (BUT I’LL SAY IT AGAIN 💛), thank YOU so much for giving your time to this and contributing.

      I’m glad to hear that this post has helped you see different perspectives! I think we definitely don’t talk about what we do in blogging much and how much time we give, so I’m glad.
      YES! Your blog is wonderful and if it makes you happy, then I’m happy for you. 💛💛

      Like

  7. Amazing post, thank you for putting this together! I’ve been struggling recently as I work full-time (40+ hours a week) and I’m also studying for a diploma. So to see other people saying that yes, blogging/reading takes as much time as a full-time job gives me some comfort and lets me know I’m not alone! It’s hard to find a balance but the bloggers in this post have given some great advice. And it’s so true that a simple comment can mean the world! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is such a great idea for a post and I loved reading about how varied each blogger’s approach is, yet how dedicated and professional they are! I hope that posts such as these can inform the ‘debate’ about book bloggers and remind people to step back and see things from another’s perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Christina! Major kudos to all the bloggers who contributed; I merely just collated the information, haha!
      I totally agree. It can be really humbling to see what other people do and how much time and work they put into it.
      I agree, and I hope so too. I hope people will now take a moment to realise that the work we do should not be taken for granted. 💛

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think that what people see if just the tip of the iceberg – so much work goes on behind the scenes. I certainly didn’t realise when I first started just how hard it can be! Thank you for giving a platform for this issue to be raised and discussed 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Reblogged this on Stow-away Book and commented:
    I added this to my favorites to keep a reference to new bloggers. I personally send everyone bravo-s in doing blogs. They are hard and being consistent is even harder. Read on!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I loved this post idea CW! What a relatable post on so many different levels. The part I appreciated the most was reading that the veteran bloggers still struggle with balancing personal life & book blogging. It was also interesting to see that they also struggle with the stresses & pressures of blogging. When you look at a veteran blogger, you just assume they’ve figured everything out & no longer feel those things.
    “an average of 30 hours per week on blogging and reading” I totally believe it! I’d say this is probably around the amount of time I spend reading & blogging too. It does sound crazy when you add it all up like that, BUT I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Amanda!
      I really related with the responses here too. And yes! I don’t know if I’d call myself a veteran, but I definitely still struggle with the balance, particularly as life changes.

      ME TOO! I love what I do, and I’m happy to be here. Thank you Amanda! 💛

      Like

  11. CW I love this post so much, thank you so much for taking the time to compile these blogger’s experiences. The discourse was incredibly disheartening but it was also nice to see many authors speak up about how much they value bloggers, and posts like this warm my heart. We do this because we are passionate and that passion everyone has seriously keeps me inspired.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you so much for thinking of this idea, asking bloggers to participate & putting these posts together. I loved to see different bloggers’ takes on the same topic side by side, because they show, and found some new people to follow as well. I was so angry and hurt to see the way some authors were talking about bloggers when each and every blogger I know works so hard on their blogs AND social media; it’s great to see bloggers being appreciated like this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw, it’s my pleasure Veronika! I’m glad you enjoyed reading the variety of perspectives; I definitely did and it’s so humbling to see the amount of hard work bloggers do.
      I’m so sorry you were hurt and angry. It’s totally valid and it was bad form on their part. But I hope you know that what you do is amazing, and if it makes you happy, then I’m totally proud of you and support you. 💛

      Like

  13. […] The current The Pond Gets Loud series hopes to shine a light on the incredible work that book bloggers do and the amount of work they do by sharing their honest accounts of what the average week of being a book blogger looks like. Book blogging can be a big commitment for some bloggers, and sometimes it feels like no one, except other book bloggers, understands the amount of work we put in. Following some events that transpired some time ago, a lot of bloggers felt negatively impacted by the subsequent discussions and felt undervalued and underappreciated for their work (for more context, read this post). […]

    Like

  14. This is absolutely amazing! You’re giving a voice to so many bloggers out there, CW, and I really, really, really appreciate it! Thank you so much for putting in so much work and effort into this series. ❤

    It helps to know that there are so many others out there who go through the same challenges as I do everyday. It reminds us that at the end of the day, we’re a community that’s trying their best and that we should be enough, but somehow aren’t.

    I’m just… Thank you so much! ❤

    Like

  15. This is such a fantastic post, CW! It’s great hearing from these other bloggers, and just having a conversation around what blogging actually involves, and how much time, work and effort it takes. You’ve introduced me to a few new bloggers, here, too, who I’ll be checking out. Going to head on to part two, now. Thanks, CW!

    Like

  16. This blog series you’ve started is absolutely amazing and I’m so thankful for it!! I’ve learned so much about bloggers’ struggles far different from my own. Although, despite having differences in experiences, the gist of everything is that BOOK BLOGGERS DESERVE BETTER. We constantly get thrown with criticism and prejudice so your blog post is very necessary right now. It will be an eye-opener to all and I’m so glad to have participated and shared my own experience in this. ❤

    Like

  17. This is such a thoughtful series! As someone whose job it is to connect authors with readers (influencers are my primary focus), this kind of feedback means everything to me. I want you to know that every single one of you is amazing. I see you. I hear you. I support you. Please don’t hesitate to let me know how I can help!

    xoxo
    Caitlin

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Caitlin! Thank you so much for your lovely and supportive comment. I’m thrilled to hear that this series has provided you with insight, and that the feedback will be helpful to what you do.
      And thank you so much for reaching out and your support! It’s certainly appreciated. 💛

      Liked by 1 person

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