Hello my friends! ✨ Welcome to the last post of the current series, The Pond Gets Loud: Balancing Book Blogging and Life.
When I first set out in organising this collaboration, my aim was to provide book bloggers with the opportunity to share their experiences of being a book blogger and share their average week of being a book blogger in order to raise awareness of the incredible work that they do. Book blogging can be a significant commitment for bloggers. The work that they do is understated, and sometimes underappreciated, and it can sometimes feel like no one really understands the amount of work they put in. In addition, book blogging can be pretty lonely too, and it can feel like you are shouting into a void. Therefore, I hope that by reading these excellent accounts, book bloggers out there will realise that they aren’t alone, and that there are others going through the same challenges as them.
THE AIM OF THIS SERIES
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.
For the last month, I have invited book bloggers to the Pond to share their experiences of how they balance blogging and everything else in their life. Every single response has been illuminating, and I continue to be humbled by all the responses that I have read. Thank you again to all the wonderful bloggers who shared their experiences last week and the week before! You are all amazing.
As today’s post is the final post, I had to include a little more than the usual eight to ensure that every response was heard. Therefore, today I am pleased to share with you ten more stories from ten wonderful book bloggers. I hope you will enjoy their responses, and perhaps learn a thing or two about what it means to be a book blogger.
Kaleena, book blogger (1 year) from Reader Voracious
Hi there, my name is Kaleena and for the last eleven months I’ve been a book blogger and advocate over at Reader Voracious Blog! I started my blog to have a space to share my thoughts on and love for books, as well as to cultivate a community of readers online. I am so incredibly fortunate and blessed to have been embraced with open arms by the bookish community, and over the last several months I have found my voice. My love of books brought me into the blogging world, but it is the community that keeps me here.
In the “real world,” I have a fulltime job that I love where I specialize in fundraising and digital communications for a large research university. In addition to working 40 hours per week, I volunteer with a local nonprofit and I recently became the committee chair for a sustainability initiative at work (which for some reason eats into my personal time?). Altogether I spend about 45 hours per week on my non-blogging responsibilities, not counting the requisite kitty snuggles that comes along with being a pet parent.
I’ve found that I am a person that likes to keep busy, thrives best when juggling priorities, and am actually more productive overall when I have a lot going on. Blogging definitely fit nicely into that open slot and gave my hobby a purpose! I love reading because it provides me an escape while allowing me to see the world through the eyes of others, making me a more well-rounded and empathetic person. As a white and cis blogger living in the United States, I recognize my privilege and use it to boost marginalized voices and increase awareness on issues of access to books around the world. The initiatives that I run through my blog, Flapping Pages International ARC Program and Reading Around the Globe series, require on average about two hours per week on their own, but as those are not the typical blogger experience I’ve excluded this programmatic time from my totals.
Just taking the weekdays into consideration, I spend almost another full workday on blog-related activities! I spend about 4-5 hours blog hopping and interacting with and promoting both my own & other blogger’s content and about 2-3 hours reading. Sometimes during those “blog hopping” periods I get inspired to write reviews or posts, but overall I tend to write my reviews and blog posts on a weekend day. I am a mood writer and typically will write 3-4 posts once per week and schedule them out in advance. I live by my blogging schedule, it keeps me sane!
I typically read 8 – 12 books per month… and I write a full review for every single one of them (although not all of those reviews get crossposted onto my blog, I always review on Goodreads and Amazon). I absolutely love writing reviews, but it takes between one and two and a half hours for me to fully synthesize all of my thoughts into a cohesive review. I am a firm believer that no two people read the same book and I feel a lot of responsibility as a review; I often fret about finding the right words. Even if I don’t like a book, I – to the best of my ability – explain who would likely enjoy it.
I definitely put a lot of pressure on myself when it comes to my blog, most often in terms of my reading slumps and mood reading interfering with my ARC reading responsibilities. It is rare that I miss a publication date because it honestly spikes my anxiety to think about, but when it happens I feel absolutely like a failure. I’ve ignored the outside world in favor of hermiting on more than one occasion to get something done in time because I take my role as a reviewer seriously and approach it as a job.
I mentioned that the community is my favorite part of blogging for me, and that is reflected in the amount of time that I dedicate to blog hopping: I currently follow 195 blogs and read all the post on my WP Reader. This means that I spend probably 2-4 hours daily reading, liking, and commenting (when I have something to say) on other people’s posts while drinking my morning coffee or while I cook dinner. It’s important to me to support other blogger’s content, so I find pockets of time whenever I can to consume & support it.
If other bloggers, authors, and publishers want to show support of the work that book bloggers put in to promote books, please be sure to let us know! A simple comment that says a reader added a book onto their TBR because of my review brings me so much joy that can sustain me for days; it makes everything worth it. I would love it if publishers boosted blog tours and positive/glowing book reviews on their social media channels more. It would be incredibly beneficial to them and the bottom line to get the review in front of more readers, and the blogger will be so happy for the added exposure. The validation and recognition goes a long way and is something I would like to see happen more frequently.
I never really thought about quantifying the amount of hours that I spend on my blog before now; it never really mattered to me because it is something that I enjoy and choose to do. But it is definitely disheartening when publishers or authors don’t value the work that goes into running a book blog. I will admit that when I see comments in that vein, I tend to make a mental note not to spend my time reading and promoting the work from those kinds of people and remind myself that not everyone feels that way. Ultimately though, I blog for me and will continue to do it so long as blogging remains something that I enjoy.
Ema, book blogger (2 years) from Ema’s Chapter
My name is Ema, and I have a blog called Ema’s Chapter. I have been blogging for almost 2 years, but not really consistently so I still consider myself a baby blogger.
I blog because I know how much the online bookish community influenced me. Reading became a huge part of my life when I discovered YA through booktube, which was when I was around 13 years old. Before that I enjoyed reading a few books per year, but I didn’t consider myself to be a reader. Bookish social media, from booktube to bookstagram and Book blogging opened my eyes to so many new books that became my favourites and they turned me into a reader. That is why I enjoy blogging. Because I know that if I did not discover that part of the internet on which other people took the time to talk about their favourite books and recommend them, I would not be a reader. I started my blog and bookstagram account because I wanted to do the same. I wanted to spread the word about my favourite books and meet other readers. And even when I face challenges the thought of spreading the word about a good book and somebody seeing my review and picking up that book… That makes me incredibly happy!
My average week really varies based on how much schoolwork I have. But I am a full-time student and school takes up most of my time. I also run a bookstagram account, as well as write creatively.
It’s hard to find time for blogging and to fit it into my life, especially when I’m going through stressful times at school. But I write and post my blog posts on Sunday, which takes about 2-3 hours. I tried to post 2 times per week, or even 3, but that was just too much and it would lead to me being inconsistent. And I also take time at the end of each month, usually the last weekend of the month to plan my blog posts for the next month. That can take 30 minutes or 5 hours, depending on how easily ideas for blog posts come to me that day!
My reading also varies depending on how much schoolwork I have. But I try to read 2 books per week, which means I spend at least 1 hour per day reading during the week and as much as I can on the weekends. And I spend about 2-3 hours per week blogging and organising.
Sometimes I do go to sleep later than I should because I want to finish a book so I can write a review for it, or to post a blog post. I remember 2 weeks ago I started to write my Sunday post kind of late, so I was posting it at 11PM and I had school the next morning… It’s kind of an internal pressure because I want to stick to the schedule that I have set for myself and if I don’t follow that schedule I feel like I am not being productive, or I feel like I’m not doing enough for my blog. It’s like having a goal, or a challenge for yourself and if you don’t reach it you feel disappointed.
There have been times I wanted to stop blogging, and I’m sure there will be more in the future. It’s very lonely, being a book blogger. You are writing from your room and you don’t see the people reading your posts and sometimes it’s hard to believe that there is someone even reading them. I wish more people knew how hard book bloggers worked on their posts, and how much a simple comment meant to us. Also, growing a blog is very hard. I wish more people talked about their experiences of growing their blog and how it felt when the views were not there and when it felt like nobody was reading their blog posts. And it’s true, views are not the most important thing! But talking to other readers, commenting and meeting other bloggers is pretty cool and important… And that all comes with more people knowing about your blog.
The best way you can show love and appreciation to a book blogger is leaving comments! I love seeing comments and meeting new readers through my blog! Even a short comment, just a little remark on the post means so much. It makes you feel less alone in this online world.
Book blogging is so much fun, and even though it has its challenges I am so grateful that I decided to make my blog. Writing about my favourite books, giving recommendations and just being a part of the bookish online community is so lovely. I know I would not have been a reader, or even a writer without this community.
Lauren, book blogger (8 years) from Northern Plunder
Hi everyone, I’m Lauren and I’ve been blogging under the handle Northern Plunder since 2011, which I started after seeing Stacey @theprettybooks’ blog outside of tumblr where she spoke in more depth about her current reads. This inspired me to create my own so I’d have a platform to talk about the books I was reading and connect with other readers too.
I’ve been a reader for as long as I can remember, however it was back in 2007 when I really got back into it thanks to Twilight and the Darren Shan Saga. Whilst vampires will always hold a spot in my heart, blogging has really opened me up to new genres and authors which have really improved my reading experience. I’ve made so many great friends from blogging and I’m still making more, that I couldn’t imagine not blogging as it’d be one less thing we’d have in common and it provides a nice connection between us. They’ve all become such an important part of my life and I’m truly grateful for them. In fact, it’s probably being able to attend events and meet these other bloggers that I am still blogging so faithfully, they’re such a highlight to my life. I know it sounds soppy but it’s true, being able to meet other bloggers and bond even more over books is a lot of fun and inspires me to find the time to support them even further.
My average week has currently changed a little as I’m doing a lot of overtime at work, this means my blogging and reading schedule is a bit up in the air. Usually I would spend my mornings (9 or 10am – 12:30pm) replying to comments and drafting up blog posts before heading to work. On the way to and from work I’d get to fit in 14-35 minutes of reading time each way, and I wouldn’t read again until before I went to bed at 1 or 2am and read for an hour or so. The time before bed I’d finish up blog posts and talk with my book club, whilst also finding the time for the odd gaming evening here and there. As I’m now working the mornings I’ve lost out on half of my blogging time, which is great for pay but bad for keeping up with the amount of posts I’d wanted to be publishing. I’m definitely finding that right now I’m having to make the time for both blogging and reading.
Even with my work schedule being more hectic than usual I’ve still been putting time aside to attend book events, and maintain my online book club to help benefit my blog, which has meant I’ve opted to not spend as much time resting as I should. I really felt the side effects of that this week and it’s been eye-opening that I need to take more time for me. I still chose to do these things whilst run down because I enjoy attending events, have fun interacting with and improving my book club, and want to keep improving my blog. I can’t do this without putting the time in. Tired or not, I’m having fun.
Whilst I don’t think that a lack of understanding of what book bloggers do has left me not wanting to blog, I do sometimes feel it has left me feeling a little underappreciated. I don’t think I’m wrong to say a few bloggers feel this way and that often it feels like it’s only a few other bloggers that are there supporting or cheering us on.
I think it’s important for others to show their appreciation for us by commenting, sharing, or liking our content. Even just a tweet to us about how they enjoyed a post can make someone’s day. If there is something you wish people did more for you, chances are someone else feels that way too. It’s because of this that Allie, Jenny, and myself are in the middle of growing a blogging group to support other bloggers but also to share any knowledge we’ve gained over the years, and pass on any opportunities. I do fully believe that the past year or so bloggers have become a lot more open on the information we have and share compared to when I started back in 2011 and dove in alone. In fact the first ARC I got was via a Goodreads giveaway and I was stunned that they even existed?! Whilst it is easier these days to be informed on blogging do’s and dont’s it is still something that can be improved upon!
Shari, book blogger (3 years) from Colour Me Read
Hi, friends! My name is Shari and I’m a Filipino-Canadian blogger living in Canada. I blog at Colour Me Read and I’ve been blogging for 3 years. I was a sporadic reader through my teens until I had to deal with a 2-hour commute when I started university. I devoured books in those four years and wanted to share them with people who could relate to my love for stories. Unfortunately, I didn’t know anyone in my circle.
In 2015, I found myself on Tumblr and met fellow readers who are still some of my dearest friends today. I felt a wonderful sense of belonging and I had such a positive experience in the book community that I wanted to give back, somehow. I think that’s why I started blogging in January 2016. I wanted to share the joy of reading a fantastic book AND finding people to gush and discuss it with. It meant so much to me when I met a fellow book lover who understood my passion and nerdiness and I yearned to do that for someone else.
My average week is quite tiring. On top of working 40 hrs/week, I’m also working on a portfolio which can take 2 or more hours per day. I make sure to carve out 1 hour dedicated to reading and give myself 1-2 hrs to catch up on social media (Twitter, Instagram). I also volunteer for 8 hrs on Sunday, twice a month, so I often only have Saturday to relax, go out, and unplug. In between all of that, I’m writing notes about the book I’m reading, writing reviews/blog posts, and taking photos for Instagram (that’s probably 5-10 hours/week depending on what’s happening). Finding time to blog is pretty challenging since I sometimes have to give up time for X, Y, or Z to make sure I post a review before release date or finish a post for the blog. Sometimes I don’t even have time to read a physical book, so I’ll listen to an audiobook while doing something else on my to-do list. I’ve definitely lost sleep making content for the blog but I try my best not to let this happen often.
To be honest, blogging can sometimes feel like shouting into a void. You spend hours writing a post or taking a batch of photos and editing them, and then once you post them… nobody reads it or your photo has minimal reach. Repeat that multiple times and it can be very discouraging. There are also a lot of people who don’t understand the amount of work that goes into it and it’s disheartening to see it dismissed. Each year I blog I always get to a point where I consider quitting. Sometimes I wonder ‘what’s the point?’
You’re probably thinking, ‘Shari, if it’s so taxing why do it?’ I ask myself this question too, but then a stranger will tell me ‘I read this book because of your review and I loved it!’ or I’d interact with an author online and appreciate the amount of work they do or I’d discover a book that I wouldn’t have known about if not for the book community. I remember the first time I read a book where I felt represented and I was ecstatic! I wanted to tell the world. Maybe someone else out there hasn’t been able to see themselves in a book, and maybe someone they know will see my post, and maybe it’ll get to them. That’s why I keep blogging. To share, to reach, and to connect.
Blogging is ultimately a labour of love. Many of us don’t do it for a living. If you know a blogger and appreciate their work, talk to them! Let them know you see them and that you’re listening. Like a blog post they wrote? Let them know and share it with other readers. At the end of the day, bloggers are just people passionate about books and it makes our day when we talk to fellow readers.
Bloggers, keep being you. As Neil Gaiman said, “The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.” 💛
Inah, book blogger (5 years) from The Bibliophile Confessions
Hello, I’m Inah from The Bibliophile Confessions! I’m from the Philippines and I’ve been around the book blogging sphere for almost five years. I think I started book blogging because I needed a space to vent out my thoughts about the books I read. Although way before that, I used to blog about little things in my life and that started in 2009.
Reading is one of my favorite hobbies, and I blog to share thoughts and book recommendations. While I haven’t been around for the past year, I still go my way and read as much as I can.
See, I work 48 hours a week, that’s 9.6 hours per dayshift to be exact, and it was a drastic change for me. I used to have a lot of free time back in college that’s why I was able to study and still blog side by side. That being said, I had to settle with my job and adjust within the last year. I used to be able to squeeze some blogging time during my noon break in the office, but I had to choose to nap over writing, literally just because I had to wake up at 4am everyday to get in time to work; and I usually end up at home around 10 or 11 in the evening after work. I spend too much time commuting to and from work and that’s 4-5 hours a day in average. Plus, I usually just hit the bed when I get home so I really had no time to write during weeknights. On weekends, I try to relax and spend time with my family and friends so blogging became a lost priority.
Back when I was still a student, I could finish a 300-page book in one to two days, but now that I’m fully employed, it could take me a whole week to finish one and that also depends on my mood. Writing book reviews on the other hand takes about 2 hours for me. Sometimes when I’m feeling extra, I make some quote graphics or playlists to go along with it so that’s an extra 2-4 hours, depending on how creative I can get.
It was really hard to balance work with social life and leisure, which was why I almost thought of quitting blogging last year. Given how book bloggers get a bad rep from time to time because of a few bad apples in the bunch, I was discouraged to continue blogging. However, I couldn’t leave the book community as a whole since I made a lot of friends and connections through blogging. I just made peace with myself that I’ll never get back to my prime years of blogging. I’ve learned to write through my own pace and never to blog under pressure, and it feels more free and lowkey and I’m okay with that.
My advice for bloggers is to know your pace and learn how to work with it. Remember that most of us are doing this for free, born from our love for books, so it’s practical to put yourself first. It’s alright to take a break if you feel like it. Also, protip if you don’t have any time to read, try audiobooks! It’s been my saving grace for the past couple of months since I still get to finish a book during commutes and slow days at work!
Taasia, book blogger (1 year) from Librae Paints Pages
Hi there! I’m Taasia, and I blog at Librae Paints Pages, and my blog is exactly 11 months at the time of writing this.
I’ve loved reading since I was a child, and I’ve loved reading about adventures and seeing characters like me. As much as this is the normal answer: I blog because I love reading, wanted a space to share it, and I wanted to make friends with people who loved literature, too. I get through blogging because I love it, and if it’s hard, I generally switch up the type of post I create.
Like most people in the community, I’m extremely busy. I’m in my second year of high school, doing 2 programs at once, and sitting my IGCSE exams in May.
In the majority of my week, as a student, the majority of my time goes to completing homework, studying and/or assignments. To get blogging in, I normally either have to schedule a whole day to write posts, schedule and create graphics for them, or have to squeeze it in whenever I can. This means I have to blog at night, after I’ve finished my homework and before I sleep. As a smaller blog though, I don’t feel too much pressure, as I rarely receive ARCs or review copies.
I consider myself to be a fairly fast reader, reading at least about 8 books a month, and the time I spend reading depends on my availability. During school, I spend about 4-5 hours a week reading, and on holidays, I spend about double that time. For blogging, I spend 4 hours blogging a week during school, and 7+ on holidays, depending on my schedule.
I’m not a naturally tech-savvy or particularly advanced in design, so I’ve definitely lost sleep over that, as well as trying to write and schedule as many blog posts as early as I can so I don’t worry about it later. I feel this pressure as I want to maintain consistent and don’t fall behind during exam seasons. Sometimes, the stress of that along with the pressure I put on myself to be a top student and stay on top of all my life-related commitments/relationships causes a deterioration in my mental health and often leaves me to take mini hiatuses from my blog.
Though I didn’t join blogging for views and ARCs and all that jazz, it can be very disheartening to have very little engagement on my blog posts. I absolutely love engaging with people, though I am an ambivert, and sometimes the lack of engagement feels like I’m talking to a wall, almost. Sometimes, I ask myself, why bother? I know I’m not the only blogger that feels this way.
On a more positive note, what you can do to support bloggers is to a) interact with them on a multitude of platforms and tell them how you appreciate their work, b) boost them and their posts, c) tell them that they made you read a book and your feelings on it (especially if they’re positive!) d) follow and like their posts/social media things e) just scream with them on books. I assure you, we’ll be totally fine with it 🙂
For my fellow small bloggers out there, it can be so easy to be disheartened. I’m not telling you not to be, but instead ask yourself why you’re blogging in the first place. If you’re blogging for ARCs and fame and all that, I assure you, it’s not worth it. People don’t know how much time goes into blogging and the amount of work you have to do to upkeep it (I spent a whole day on my blog design once!) But my two biggest tips for my fellow small bloggers? Consistency and interaction. Trust me, they will help you lots. However, put yourself first. Take hiatuses if you can’t take it. Rest. Don’t overexert yourself.
Prags, book blogger (3 years) from The Inked In Book Blog
Hello everyone! I’m Prags and I blog at The Inked In Book Blog. I’ve been a blogger on and off for about 3 years now, and though I am not that huge a blogger, my little blog has been the source of a lot of joy, and also a lot of grief in my life. But, I wouldn’t stop it for anything because I absolutely love my blog, and the book community, flawed as it is.
A few days ago, we all saw the absolute trashfire that twitter was the blogger/author “argument” (can we call it that??) when some authors called the entirety of the blogging community/people other than professionals attending book cons thieves, or at least implied to it. Of course, many authors have apologized since then, but the fact remains that they didn’t think twice before labelling us thieves when we do so much to promote their books.
I can’t obviously speak for all bloggers out there, but I can speak for myself and I’m doing that today, thanks to CW who was gracious enough to host me on her blog. When I started blogging in November 2015, I was interning (read : working) at a Big 4. Though I officially worked 35 hours a week, in reality, I was at the office at all odd hours, including most weekends. There was once a time when I used to schedule posts a month in advance because I did not know if I would get the time to write the post later. As a habit, if I were put up a review, I used to keep the skeleton for the same (Goodreads description, buy links, author links etc) ready as soon as I started reading it, sometimes when I was planning on reading it, so that I would just have to type in my review which I could do on the mobile app even while commuting when I was done reading.
I did quit my job last year, and that did give me respite, but I became a full time student after that, studying for not one but two exams simultaneously. I had required study hours, generally 10-12, everyday, on top of which I had to make time for blogging. This was also the reason for so many of my hiatuses because at times I was just unable to juggle it all.
Apart from scheduling the writing of posts, I also have had to schedule reading, because some book is releasing soon, or I have a tour stop. Typically, I do read anytime, anywhere, but there have been times when I have been tired and wanted to sleep or times when I would have rather done something else but did not because I had to finish reading a certain book so I could review it in time.
If I take into account all that I read and write for my blog, it is easily at least 25-30 hours a week. That is only a little less than the hours I had to put in officially for my internship, for which I was paid a lot. And I blog for free!
Despite all this, there have been various instances when authors and publishing houses have not deemed me worth it. I get review requests, but the people requesting have not had the basic decency to address me by my name even though it is prominently displayed on my social media and is there on the about page of my blog. Many times they refer to me as Inked, and on some occasions as simply, “Reader/Reviewer”. I know a lot of other bloggers also face this problem, and frankly, it is so annoying! There have been a couple times when publishing houses have sent out mails to sign up for book requests, and even after confirming that they shall be sending the book out to me soon, have not done it. Neither have they ever let me know that they are unable to send the books I requested.
All this is not what I had anticipated when I started my blog, but I have found some joy in it. I do love blogging and talking about books, so this is something I am happy to do. I don’t know if my stance will change in the future, especially since I am going back to school in June/July, but I am happy to blog and I want to continue doing it! I hope that other people in the book community recognize all the work that bloggers put in, because like it or not, we do form a huge part of this community & we are here to stay!
Laura, book blogger (3 years) from Green Tea and Paperbacks
Hi! My name is Laura and I blog over at Green Tea and Paperbacks. I started my blog back in 2016, so I’ve been blogging for about 3 years now.
Reading has been apart of my life since I was young, and I spend most of my childhood with my nose stuck in a book. I fell out of love with it once I started high school (required reading is not good for you, kids), but when I picked up an English YA book for the very first time years later I fell in love with reading all over again. An online friend introduced me to bookstagram during that time, which I then joined and motivated me to read even more.
Once I started reading more books and I got more enthusiastic about reading in general, I also got the need to talk about these books with people. Share my thoughts on the titles I read, talk about what books I recently added to my TBR, etc. Bookstagram just didn’t feel like the right platform for that, or for me, so I decided to start my blog.
And I know that this is a bit of a taboo thing to say but… part of the reason why I started my blog also very much had something to do with ARCs. I’m an international bookblogger, meaning that a lot of books are expensive, they don’t have a big English YA section at my library and I couldn’t have a job because of my mental health, so when I heard that you could get free books by sharing your thoughts on them online it seemed like the perfect opportunity for me.
My life is kinda strange at the moment because of my mental health situation. I had to drop out of school because of a panic disorder and agoraphobia, and I’ve been using the past couple of years to try and graduate high school anyway through homeschooling, and on recovery by doing exposure therapy. I usually spend my mornings on schoolwork and my afternoons on exposure, which leaves my evenings free for blogwork and reading. Unfortunately, having a shitty mental health situation also means (for me) that I don’t always have the energy to spend lots of time on my blog, but I’ve really learned to put self-care first because I’ve neglected my mental health for my blog work in the past (because I had blog tours coming up, or an ARC that needed to be reviewed), and that did not end well.
I definitely still feel obligated to post reviews for books before the release date and I often try (and succeed) to do that, but I don’t feel as guilty anymore when I’m not able to. Blogging is not my job, I don’t get paid to do this (and no, I don’t see an e-ARC as payment because of a whole myriad of reasons that I won’t get into now) and taking care of my mental health is more important. I’d rather have a review of an ARC go up a few weeks later than work myself into yet another anxiety-related-relapse.
Because of my situation the time I spend on my blogging/reading varies a lot, but I think I spend at least 25 hours a week reading books, writing blog posts and planning other things for my blog. Most of the times it’s more, sometimes it’s less.
There have definitely been times where I felt frustrated with blogging, like when people ask me why I put so much time and effort into something when I’m not getting anything (read: money) out of it, or when I noticed how shitty a lot of publishers treat international reviewers (like, when almost all the ARCs on Netgalley changed from ‘request’ to ‘wish for it’ for international people, meaning that it was impossible for us to get ARCs anymore, without warning or explanation), but I’ve never actually wanted to quit blogging. I still love reading a lot, and with a lack of people to talk to about books in real life, blogging almost feels like a necessity.
Plus, promoting books that you love and getting messages from people saying that they read a book that you recommended and they loved it are just incredibly meaningful, and definitely help me to keep going whenever I feel like what I do doesn’t matter. That’s why I would definitely encourage people to send bloggers a message to let them know when you’ve picked up a book because of them. I promise you, it’ll make their day!”
Whitley, book blogger (1 year) from mall3tg1rl
My name is Whitley (I’ll respond to either syllable though!) and I run mall3tg1rl. I’ve had the blog since 2012, but started actively book blogging in 2017 after I graduated from grad school. I started because I’m a librarian, and really wanted to challenge myself to think about what I loved and didn’t love about books, and expanding beyond my usual field of young adult fantasy. I think I keep doing it (despite not having a lot of followers/readers) because even if I’m shouting into the void, I’m at least shouting about something I love.
I work three jobs right now: reference librarian at a community college, youth services semi-librarian, and radio dj. So I’m pretty much always around books for the most part. I think the challenge for me is trying to find time to balance ARCs that I requested but didn’t necessarily pique my interest once I started reading tham and reading books for fun. I try to schedule a lot of posts at one time (usually when I have a bit of time off from work), but even then, trying to find a balance is difficult. I spend a LOT of time reading (probably three to four hours a day), but not a whole lot of time on blogging (maybe two hours at most to get about three posts scheduled). I think part of that is due to getting ideas out versus absorbing information.
Really, the only thing blog-related that I’ve lost sleep over is knowing I have to give a stellar review to a book, when it honestly wasn’t my favorite, and figuring out how to word the post so that I highlight was what good versus what I hated.
Mostly, I just…avoid talking about being a book blogger? I guess because I feel ancient compared to a lot of bloggers (I’m in my late twenties, for reference), and I always feel like I’m slacking compared to some (because I do work multiple jobs).
Karina, book blogger (2 years) from Afire Pages
Hi! I am Karina, a 19-year old Filipina book blogger. I am currently a 4th year Economics student from Polytechnic University of the Philippines. My blog is called Afire Pages, which has been running for 2 years and 5 months now.
I love reading because that’s what I have been doing since I was a kid and the feeling it gives me is something I do not think I will ever be able to give up. Books are my friends since I was little. I fell in love with the world of reading probably since I began to know how to read. First, random children’s books and books about FIlipino legends and myths, then when I was in Grade 2 (I guess? I honestly can’t remember clearly) I began to fall in love with Filipino romance pocket books – even though I do not know anything about love and romance yet – because there are just a lot of them in our house (mom used to read a lot of pocket books in her younger years).That’s when I developed this fondness for stories – I began to crave them. Then when I was in high school, I slowly let go of romance pocket books – this is the time when I am starting to have an idea of what love and romance is – which is so ironic. I switched to Filipino Wattpad stories instead. Then on my last year in high school, I discovered that English novels are not only for nerds and geniuses after all because of John Green. I was introduced to YA and then there’s that. 4 years later and I now have a very intimidating TBR.
I blog about books because this is the only place I can actually talk about them. Being a reader since I was a kid, I know how hard it is to only keep your emotions to yourself. To just try to talk to yourself in your head because you’re the only one who will listen to your own ramblings. To have no other else that can relate to what are you feeling and thinking. I also want to help authors in making their works that I love be known to the world, and my co-readers to discover new worlds they can throw themselves into. I keep on doing this because it just gives me the satisfaction and makes me feel lika a have a purpose (at least in this community). It also helps me improve my writing, connect to other people and meet new friends.
My average week is composed of thinking about my classes, going to classes, doing other uni stuffs, thinking about books, thinking about reading, actually reading, planning what and when to post on my blog, doing household chores, and wasting my time on line.
I spend 5 days of my every week this current semester in uni, leaving me with only 2 days left for rest (if thesis, homeworks and other uni activities do not get in the way). The university I am studying at is almost 2 hours away from our house so even though I only have a 3-hour class in some days, going to uni still actually takes away half of my day. This leaves me with little time to rest or none at all if I am aiming to have a post be up in a certain day. In weekdays, I only have 1 free day and I usually spend that reading or editing blog posts. On weekends, I also have 1 free day and I usually spend that on reading and editing blog posts either. I only break this routine when I am in a slump or there is an academic related thing I have to do. Balancing life and being a book blogger have actually made me sacrifice things including my sleep, self-care and having a better output both in acads and blogging, because sometimes just to catch up with all the deadlines of blog tours, homeworks, research, etc. the quality of one of those is needed to be sacrificed. It’s a sad thing I personally wish I’ll get a solution to someday.
In my opinion, we can all express our love and appreciation for the hard work book bloggers do by simply talking or engaging with them on their social media accounts, simply reading their posts and sharing what you think, and telling them how much you appreciate them whenever you can. Words are so powerful, I hope we use them for good purposes.
And for the book blogger out there who is struggling just like me in different things or for different reasons, keep doing you. Keep doing what you love. You know you got this. I appreciate you and this community needs you. ❤
THANK YOU AGAIN FOR LISTENING
This comes to an end of the Balancing Book Blogging and Life series, and I am thankful for all of you for reading all the incredible stories that all the book bloggers who contributed shared.
And of course, my biggest and warmest thanks to the book bloggers who contributed this week. All of you are absolutely lovely, and I am so appreciative of the time you gave to contribute. Thank you. You are all shining lights in the book blogging community. Please take a moment to check out their blogs and have a look at the incredible work that they do:
- Kaleena from Reader Voracious
- Ema from Ema’s Chapter
- Lauren from Northern Plunder
- Shari from Colour Me Read
- Inah from The Bibliophile Confessions
- Taasia from Librae Paints Pages
- Prags from The Inked In Book Blog
- Laura from Green Tea and Paperbacks
- Whitley from mall3tg1rl
- Karina from Afire Pages
So what now?
Today’s post was the last post where I shared contributions by other book bloggers.
First, it will be my turn to do some work: I’ll be collating all the responses together, and will produce a summary of what all the book bloggers that contributed to this series said. So, in other words, I’ll be writing up a post that will report important themes, qualitative data (such as time spent on blogging and reading), and important takeaways based on the responses. Not only will this provide you with a summary of all the responses, but I think it will be a helpful resource for book bloggers.
Second and thereafter, I’ll move onto my next collab project: exploring the costs of being a book blogger. I’m still in the process of organising this, but be sure to keep an eye out on my Twitter if you are interested in contributing! I think this collab in particular will be very interesting and eye-opening, and I’m excited to get this collab series rolling.
But, until then, thank you all for reading; I hope you have a wonderful day, and I hope that you will all be kind to each other, especially to other fellow book bloggers and readers. 💛