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Book Blogger Survey & My Blogging State of Mind

Book Blogger Survey

Candace (Beth Fish Reads) recently wrote an excellent post in honor of her 5th anniversary as a book blogger. It led to a great Twitter discussion about just what brings on the BBBs and whether the longevity of one’s blog plays a role. As a result of this conversation, Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness), Shannon (River City Reading), and I decided that it would make sense to build a survey to discover if there are any connections between the way book bloggers feel about their craft and factors such as the age of their blog, their other responsibilities, etc. We’re interested in the thoughts of active book bloggers as well as those who have moved on. We want to know what drives you to blog and what drives you away. Through Kim and Shannon’s hard work and dedication (individually my follow through is for sh*t these days), the survey has gone live.  I would like to personally invite all book bloggers – new, experienced, or former – to share your thoughts, feelings, and opinions. We will be publishing the results after they’ve been collected and reviewed.

My Blogging State of Mind

Initially I thought I’d been experiencing the book blogging blahs (hereafter BBBs) for about six months, making this the longest stretch of my blogging career. I’ve added things like Monday Minis and Soon to be Read Saturdays in an attempt to change things up a bit. I’ve enjoyed having those two small effort, regularly scheduled posts and have soldiered on, trying not to think about it more than anything else. Despite the longevity, I’ve been blogging enough to know that this comes with the territory and that I’m hardly alone in my feelings when I have them.

Candace’s anniversary post reaffirmed the fact that “we’re in this together.” It has also gotten me to reflect more deeply about my blog. I’ve really been pretty deeply into BBBs for a good year now. For a short while my Baby, It’s Cold Outside feature reinvigorated me in December, but by the middle of the month I was feeling tapped out. As much as I love narrators, putting myself in a position where I was posting unique content almost every day for a month broke my blogging spirit. It stopped being fun and started feeling like an exhausting second job and that feeling hasn’t let up.

For the longest time, this blog energized me and excited my creativity. That simply isn’t the case anymore. While I will forever enjoy interaction with the friends I’ve made as a result of blogging, I’m not having fun with Literate Housewife. I don’t feel driven to write or to explore other avenues with my blog. Right now my feeling is why blog when my time on Twitter or Facebook gives me the same energy that blogging once did?

While this paints a rather bleak picture of the state of my blogging mentality, there are things that still excite me as a book blogger. Bloggers Recommend tops the list. More than anything else this year, BR is an opportunity that has changed my outlook on reviewing. It was the genesis of my Monday Minis feature. It allows me to highlight in 50ish words or less an upcoming release that I loved. It challenges me to find just the right book each month. My DNF rate has gone way up, but this doesn’t distress me in the least. It’s been freeing in just the right way. My mission when reading for BR is to find books I’d whole-heartedly recommend. Books that don’t fit simply don’t fit. I move on.

So what do I want to read when I’m not on the hunt for my next recommendation for the Bloggers Recommend newsletter? The answer, as I discovered last month, is not a review copy or another ARC. Receiving ARCs and review copies from publishers or publicists has been an incredible opportunity and experience. I can still remember the day my first ever ARC, The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff, arrived in the mail. Throughout my time of receiving and accepting pitches and participating on blog tours I’ve been exposed to so many wonderful books. I have rarely if ever felt any direct pressure from anyone in the industry, but as my eyes are bigger than my reading stomach, I’ve often struggled under the weight of this particular opportunity. Some of the best advice I’ve ever received in this regard is to accept pitched books for consideration and not with a promise to review. Despite this, my time as a regular reviewer of ARCs, review copies, and blog tour requests has come to an end.

While talking about this with my husband, he reminded me again of my mission when I first started blogging. Then my blog title was 52 Books or Bust and 52 books a year was my simple goal. I read the books on my shelves or those I found at the library. It made me happy then and there is something to be said for getting back to basics. Along the way, I am hoping to explore blogging about other topics and, as Michelle suggested, put a little more housewife into Literate Housewife.

While I feel like it would be relatively easy and painless for me to hang up the Closed sign, I’m not quite ready to throw in the towel on Literate Housewife. My 7th anniversary as a book blogger is coming up in January and I’m too bullheaded to quit this close to a milestone. It does make me wonder if there isn’t a seven year itch for blogging just as there can be for marriage, which leads me back to the Book Blogger Survey. I’ve shared my thoughts and feelings about blogging right now. Won’t you?

32 Comments

  • At 2013.10.03 06:21, Sandy said:

    I’m pretty much feeling like I’ve been sucked dry. I love the connections and the book events, but somehow now it just isn’t enough. My kids are busy teenagers and they need me, I feel like I need to live in the now, off the computer, off the damned phone. I may end up coming back at some point…I may end up missing it terribly. But I don’t think so. I will fill out the survey! I have always been so admiring of how you are always doing something different and new on here, and wondered where you got the energy!

    • At 2013.10.03 09:09, Jennifer said:

      It seems that many of us are pulling from a finite blogging energy source. It’s funny how it’s hitting so many of us so hard at the same time. I do not blame you one bit from backing away. The connections made through blogging will always be there one way or the other. I’d like to think that the friendships I’ve made through blogging are deeper than simply having a book blog in common.

    • At 2013.10.03 07:18, Becca Lostinbooks said:

      I have had the book blogging blahs for a while now. I thought it simply had to do with the health problems I have been experiencing for the past few months as well as some other personal relationship chaos. However that has died down somewhat and I am still finding myself kind of apathetic. I don’t know if it is because I get so much interaction with all my blogging friends on other social media and that satisfies me, if it is because I am writing a novel and I am sick of writing when I go to blog, if I am just bored of it altogether, I don’t know.

      • At 2013.10.03 09:16, Jennifer said:

        Apathy is a good word to describe the feeling. For several weeks I’ve posted on Monday and Tuesday and I don’t worry about the rest of the week and don’t look forward to picking back up again Sunday evening. I’m wondering if blogging runs it course over a certain period of time or if the days of the blog are coming to an end. There are so many of us feeling this way. I’d say we’ll always have Twitter and Facebook, but what’s the outlook for their longevity?

      • At 2013.10.03 07:24, rhapsodyinbooks said:

        It seems like there are a bunch of us who started at approximately the same time, who built up to a place of a following and a set of virtual friends, sometimes even meeting them, and now we are on the down side of the slope – burnt out, tired of the pressure, and satisfied with the large group of virtual-sometimes-real friends we have already found so we don’t “need” blogging as much. In addition, there are now SO many other blogs, we have lost the sense of doing something unique and even tend to get drowned in the sea of blogs, and FEEL drowned in the sea. And tired of reading stuff we really don’t want to read. Certainly for me at first there was a thrill of getting “free” books (which didn’t feel free after all the work of a review). Then there was a thrill of getting to read books BEFORE anyone else. Now there is just, for me, a great deal of apathy and a sense of hey-I-want-to-read-what-**I**-want-to-read ness about the whole thing. I like putting something about the books I read on LibraryThing because I do like to keep a record for MYSELF of what a book is about, but I don’t know how much longer I will keep up the blog.

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        • At 2013.10.03 09:28, Jennifer said:

          We are so in the same place. Even if a book sounds fantastic in a pitch, the curiosity I had about it before it arrived in the mail is buried under the pressure I feel to read it. Most of the time, unless there’s a date required for posting my review, the pressure is all internal. When I sit down to read a new book I can’t just pick whatever I want without thinking this book or that book’s pub date is coming soon and I agreed to consider it. I’ve not been able to overcome that and it’s not like I’m being irresponsible in what I have agreed to consider. Updating my review policy to say I won’t be accepting review copies outside of Bloggers Recommend consideration has helped. I still have a few books lingering, but it’s released a lot of the pressure. That aspect of book blogging and my personality just don’t match very well. I’ll always remember those first few ARCs fondly, though. There have been some really good times. I would like to be optimistic that there will be more, but I fear the bloom’s off the rose now.

        • At 2013.10.03 07:45, Jackie (Farm Lane Books) said:

          It is so interesting that we are all getting blogger burnout at the same time. I wonder if it is due to the length of time we’ve been blogging or the fact that those we’ve made the strongest connections with are all leaving?

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          • At 2013.10.03 09:37, Jennifer said:

            For me I think it’s the length of time and a general lack of excitement because it’s no longer new. I’m hoping that if I change things up a little bit that I’ll find a good place in myself for it. It would be interesting if there is a flood of long time book bloggers leaving. It would kind of be like stepping down to let the next generation take over.

          • At 2013.10.03 07:52, Meghan said:

            Like you and virtually everyone else, I feel burnt out from blogging. I haven’t had the creativity to invent anything new in more than a year. In reality my blog has been dying a slow death since I started working, and I don’t know how you (and everyone else) does it with a full-time job AND children. I keep up with it for the people that I know who blog, which seems very similar too.

            I’ll go fill out the survey that you ladies have put together!

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            • At 2013.10.03 09:40, Jennifer said:

              Maybe that’s part of it. I started blogging for myself. Over the years, that focus has gotten lost in the opportunities and the greater blogging community. It’s not that any of those things are bad, but when you’ve lost sight of what you want you blog to be for you, then the spark that got you started is eventually going to go out.

            • At 2013.10.03 08:13, Julie Merilatt said:

              You cannot leave the interweb. I would miss you too much! I find that I’m Reading more for pleasure, not participating in as many tours, even abandoning my TBR challenge pile. Didn’t we start our blogs for our live of reading and not just to get our hands on free copies?

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              • At 2013.10.03 20:07, Jennifer said:

                Even if the time came to stop blogging, I’ll never leave the interweb entirely. I would miss you, too. We certainly did start our blogs out of a love of reading. I have nothing against free copies, but I’ve been there and done that. I was never able to find a good balance for me. I was happy reading books I’ve bought, borrowed, or got at the library before those free copies. I’ll be happy again without them for the most part.

              • At 2013.10.03 08:52, Jenn Lawrence (@jennbookshelves) said:

                I don’t often get the book blogger blahs. I think it’s because I’ve always stayed true to my purpose in blogging: to share and discuss the books I loved. That said, early on in my blogging days I did feel pressured to review certain books, in a certain time frame. Now? I do it for me. If I don’t like a book I’ve received for review, I put it down. I alternate reading review copies with my own personal copies, books that have been on my TBR shelf forever. What helps me, personally, is that I don’t review everything I read or listen to. Just the books that evoke a response that I want to share, be it a positive or negative one.

                Also, don’t you dare even think about leaving the blogging world. Don’t make drive downstate, young lady! :)

                • At 2013.10.03 20:09, Jennifer said:

                  Not reviewing everything is a good idea. I have definitely struggled with that. I’ve also pushed myself to read more books than is really sustainable for me. That doesn’t help at all. I like what you say about blogging about those books that evoke a response in you. I can tell in your reviews.

                  And since you asked nicely and called me a young lady, I’ll stick around a little longer. LOL! You are more than welcome to come down South a little for a visit any time, though. :)

                • At 2013.10.03 10:32, JoAnn @ Lakeside Musing said:

                  Just days away from my 5th blogging anniversary, I have a case of the blahs, too, and have been experimenting with very abbreviated reviews and stopped accepting books for review. We’ll see how it goes. Thanks for taking the time to put the survey together.

                  • At 2013.10.03 20:13, Jennifer said:

                    JoAnn, we are making similar changes. My Monday Mini have really helped. A simple paragraph and I’m done. There’s no point in struggling through my standard 4 paragraph format when I don’t have that much to say.

                  • At 2013.10.03 10:45, Cassandra said:

                    My blog barely made it a 1.5 years! I totally know the feeling. I have other projects now that fill that particular void quite nicely. And that has worked for me. I would love to see more Housewife on your blog. I think diversification is totally the way to go. I would love to hear more about your crocheting projects and music and movies and all of the other things that I know are important to you based on your Twitter/Facebook feeds. Write about whatever moves you. Hopefully, that will get you over the BBBs.

                    • At 2013.10.03 20:19, Jennifer said:

                      I love that you’ve found another outlet for writing about books and audiobooks (I love reading those posts Cassandra!). I’m not sure exactly when I’m going to get started with the Housewife side of the blog, but even since publishing this posts I’m having some great post ideas pop into my head. A change of perspective can really make a difference.

                    • At 2013.10.03 12:13, dogearedcopy/Tanya said:

                      I understand exactly how you feel and, whatever you ultimately decide to do, I support you and remain your friend.

                      {{{Yellow Roses and Hugs}}}
                      T :-)

                      • At 2013.10.03 20:27, Jennifer said:

                        I so many ways we’re leading mirrored type of lives. We’ve made major job changes, you’ve changed your eating and exercise habits (and I’m well on my way again – for good – more about that in another post), and we’ve struggled with our blogs. For as much stress as the job change and body issues have caused me this year, I’m surprisingly not really that upset about how I feel about my blog. You’d think the potential demise of a nearly 7 investment would cause angst. Not so much. What does that mean? {{{Yellow Roses and Hugs}}} right back at you. :)

                      • At 2013.10.03 16:43, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

                        I’m not quite ready to quit either but feel like I need to do something to breathe new life into my blog and make it fun again. For the life of me, though, I can’t figure out what that would be. I love the connections I’ve made and the perks I’ve enjoyed while blogging but some days I wonder if that’s enough.

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                        • At 2013.10.03 20:54, Jennifer said:

                          Kathy, I know exactly what you mean. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything, but has it run its course?

                        • At 2013.10.03 17:12, Ellison Weist said:

                          Thank you so much for this post, Jennifer. Your frankness about the BBBs spoke to me in a number of ways. I’ve come back into the fold after a year’s hiatus and now I’m getting that WTH feeling again. Very hard to pin down since unlike many of the other bloggers I no longer have kids at home. I agree that it’s best to read and review what excites you the most otherwise it shows in your coverage.

                          A techno-geek neighbor and I spent some time together last week and I was intrigued by what he thinks will be the “wave of the future.” More Pinterest and Instagram (both of which I believe Candace referenced in her great post) versus straight blogging. But will that erase the feelings many of us have or simply delay them?

                          We all love books. We love talking about them and recommending them. Maybe it’s time to be true to our favorite genres/reviewing styles/blogging methods and see if returning to what prompted us to start in the first place keeps us going? I wonder.

                          Again, thanks for this post. I hope you find what works best for you and what makes you happy.

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                          • At 2013.10.03 21:01, Jennifer said:

                            Over the course of blogging, I’ve had these feelings off and on, so I’m not surprised that you’d feel them again after taking time off. What I find so interesting is that it seems almost universal. If we all get it, why?

                            I need to have a good discussion with a techno-geek about the future. That sounds like a fun discussion. I liked that part of Candace’s post, too. I can see where shorter formats and even photo based formats will take over. What might be worth experimenting with blogging and another format or two. Full reviews on your blog, smaller shout outs using Pinterest, Instagram, etc…

                            You made me think about what I’m blogging about over all. I’ve been doing strictly book reviews, but writing about broader topics is much more rewarding, especially if others get something out of it, too.

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                            • At 2013.10.03 21:37, Susan said:

                              I have had blogger’s block on and off for a few years now. I blog for a while, then things happen in my life and I don’t want to blog about it, so I end up not blogging at all. I also find that blogging cuts into other tie, either time with my family, or reading time, so I have to squeeze it in or cut it back. I also find though that I miss it when I don’t blog, and I eventually come back to it because I enjoy talking and reading about books, and sharing thoughts about books online.

                              I don’t accept arcs, and early on decided that I wanted to read for myself only. There are so many books to read! I find there is pressure to blog, and be popular, and have good blog stats, and that gets in the way of blogging for pleasure. I love it when people reply to me, and comment on my posts. I hate watching the numbers, it takes all the pleasure out of it. So possibly the book community is suffering from burnout as a whole because there was pressure for a while to have many commentators, etc.

                              I’m glad you wrote this post and encouraged people to discuss what they are feeling about blogging. Off to do the survey now!

                              • At 2013.10.04 10:05, Leslie said:

                                This post hits the spot. I’ve been having writer’s block for a few months now. I was blaming it on the summer weather thinking I’d rather be outside in the garden or out walking or reading or anything other than at the computer writing. But perhaps it’s the BBBs. Not that I would quit blogging, no, I enjoy it too much, but sometimes the motivation is missing. When that happens I give myself permission to skip a few days of writing or post reviews a month after the publication date or not post one at all. I’m relieved to see I’m not alone.

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                                • At 2013.10.05 11:31, Anita said:

                                  I admire you for writing this post and putting your emotions out here for everyone to see. I’ve been blogging for 5 years and whirl I really love it it’s still not 100% books for me. I’m ever evolving and I think that’s good for now. Like you I can’t express the delight I have in the friends I’ve made via book blogs, but I left others behind when I moved to mostly books. I hope you’ll hang around and blog at what form or pace is good for you. When it stops being fun it has to change. Thanks for sharing.

                                  • At 2013.10.06 10:23, Beth Hoffman said:

                                    Hey Jennifer … I hope it’s okay that I butt in for a quick moment!

                                    Burnout is a terrible thing: we writers suffer from it, too. So no matter what you do or where you are, I hope you’ll always remember that there’s a girl in Kentucky who considers you a friend and is grateful for your many kind words and the good laughs we’ve shared.

                                    Now let’s go have a damn doughnut!

                                    xxx~Beth

                                    • At 2013.10.06 20:36, Lu said:

                                      And I was the worst and did not respond to our last Blogger Buddy email :/

                                      I’ve definitely feeling the burnout this time around, but I’m hoping that posting every day in October and then a little less frequently after that will keep things moving a little bit. I just want my blog to reflect my life and what is important to me and I’m not sure that reviewing books is one of those things. Talking about books? Absolutely. But I’ve found myself much less interested in reviewing books. And I’m definitely okay with that!

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                                      • At 2013.10.07 06:32, Beth F said:

                                        Thanks for the shout-out!!! See how busy I am that I didn’t get over here until today. I sure hope you aren’t hanging up the closed sign like everyone else. For me, it’s a matter of convincing myself it’s okay to skip a day now and then .. Easier said than done, but I’d like less pressure.

                                        • At 2013.10.10 20:46, Heather R said:

                                          I am coming up on my 5th blogging year anniversary soon and have some BBB – but I think it is mostly because I am crazy overwhelmed right now. I have had mandatory overtime at work imposed since May, I am in school online, oh and there is the little fact of planning a wedding. I’m still reading and blogging but my pace has slowed down a little. A little less creative postings of my own device and instead of 4-5 posts a week I’m doing more of 2-3 a week. I’m hoping that when it gets a little less crazy around here I will have more time for blogging again. I love doing it but have noticed that I haven’t had as much time as I would like.

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