The Secret Life of a Book Blogger


Thank you very much to JL’s Bibliomania for the tag!


How long have you been a blogger?

Like many others who have answered these questions, I don’t really consider myself a blogger.  I mostly just post book reviews, the same as I do on Goodreads and LibraryThing, and those aren’t blogging platforms.  To me, the only real differences on BL are that this site looks more "bloggy" and that I occasionally write some non-review posts like this one.


In any case, BookLikes is the first remotely blog-like thing I’ve ever done, and I joined in May 2014.  My first involvement with writing reviews on bookish sites at all was when I joined Goodreads in November 2013.


At what point do you think you’ll stop?

If and when I decide it’s no longer fun.  I do this for entertainment.  When entertainment is no longer entertaining, it's time to reassess the situation.  At the moment, though, I can’t imagine that day coming soon.


What’s the best thing?

Without question, it’s being able to connect with other people who have actually read some of the same books I have.  Nobody I know in real life enjoys the same types of books I do.  For that matter, very few people I know in real life even enjoy reading.  I love reading reviews other people write about books I've read.  I especially love it when I have something to talk about in response to somebody else’s review, or when people comment on my own reviews. 


What’s the worst thing?  What do you do to make it ok?

I see two possible interpretations for this question.  Either the question is referring to the worst thing about having a blog, or it's referring to the worst thing about participating in the blogging community in general.  I’ll answer with the former interpretation, since there’s a question about the community later on.


My answer is along the lines of what JL's Bibliomania said as part of her answer to this question.  The worst thing is not having any control over what the owners choose to do with the platform I'm using.  Will they abandon the site?  Will they change it into something I no longer enjoy?  Will they do their part to bring fresh blood to the community and keep it from getting stagnant? The BL staff is absent at best so, in my eyes, there’s always uncertainty about the future here and there aren’t many other good options. 


I don't necessarily think anything will make that "ok"; it's just something we have to acknowledge and live with.  To mitigate my concerns, I continue to maintain my data offline (reviews, books, etc), and I have the alternate contact info that people were providing a while back to help us find each other if BL ever disappears unexpectedly.



How long does it take you to create/find pictures to use?

I rarely use pictures.  I think I've only used a picture in one review.  Sometimes I'll add them to a non-review post, but I usually already know exactly what pictures I want to add so it's easy to find them.  I’m not a very visual person though, so I just don't really think to include them.


Who is your book crush?

I’m not sure I really understand this question except in an abstract way.  I do get very attached to characters when they’re written well, and sometimes I get very emotionally invested in their fictional fate, but I wouldn’t call that a crush.  I find the line between fiction and reality to be pretty solid in my world, even if sometimes my head spends a lot of time in fictional worlds. :)


What author would you like to have on your blog?

Once again, I can think of two possible interpretations for the question.  Which author would I like to have interested enough in my blog to visit it, comment on it, etc.?  Or which author would I like to host in some manner by posting about them and/or doing an interview with them?


I guess the meaning of the question doesn’t matter, because the answer is really “none” in either case.  It may seem weird to many people, but I prefer not to interact directly with authors whose books I read, no matter how much I respect their work and no matter how professional they are in their interactions with their readers. 


I can't entirely explain it, except to say that I just want to enjoy (or not enjoy) the work on its own merits without it being influenced by too much familiarity with the author.  I feel the same way about actors and singers.  I might enjoy seeing the occasional interview in which I had no involvement whatsoever, but I don't have any desire for personal interaction with them.


What do you wear when you write your blog posts?

I try to remember to put on my thinking cap so that my posts will hopefully make some sort of sense.


How long does it take you to prepare?

This is why I always hate multiple choice questions on tests!  I often have a big mental debate with myself over the intended meaning of ambiguous questions.  Does this question mean, how long does it take me to prepare before I write a post?  Or does it mean, how long does it take me to prepare my post itself so that it’s ready to be published to my blog?  Fortunately this isn’t multiple choice, so I can just answer both questions with an essay. :)


Before I sit down to write a post, I don’t do much to prepare.  I read nearly all my books on my Kindle, so occasionally I'll highlight a passage if there's something I especially want to remember to mention.  On rare occasions, a book will inspire so many opinions that I keep pausing in my reading while I compose my review in my head.  When that happens, I usually go type up my thoughts so I can exorcise them and focus on the book properly again.  Once I actually finish the book, I may or may not use that material in my final review, depending on whether I felt the same way by the end.  Normally though, I just sit down to write my review immediately after finishing my book, while it’s still fresh in my mind.  For me, it’s part of the ritual of finishing a book.  It's very rare for me to start a new book before I've published my review for the last one.


As far as actually writing a review and preparing to post it, it varies widely depending on how much I have to say.  I compose things like a crazy person, though.  I just randomly type whatever thoughts come to my head, and it usually isn’t in any logical order.  Sometimes I only type a word or two that will remind me of what I was thinking, then I rush on to type my next thought before I forget.  If the thoughts are coming slowly, I may manage to compose a few coherent sentences before another thought distracts me.  As the thoughts slow down, I’ll go back and flesh them out, try to delete or combine things that seem redundant or related, and then do a lot of cutting and pasting to hopefully rearrange things into a more coherent order.  Finally, there are some final re-reads to try to catch mistakes. 


My scattered approach to writing is the same with e-mails, papers, or just about anything that involves a keyboard and paragraphs.  When I compose e-mails, I always take off the e-mail addresses until I’m ready to hit “Send”, for fear I might accidentally send the e-mail early when it’s still in its insane half-baked stage.  Anybody who received one of those e-mails would likely have me committed…


How do you feel about the book blogger community/culture?

I don’t know much about the general book blogger community beyond what we have here at BL.  I do think the community here on BL is awesome.  Considering what most of the internet is like, this is a shockingly friendly site.  People go out of their way to make newer bloggers feel welcome, and most people treat their fellow bloggers with respect.  On the rare occasion when I think somebody has gone off the deep end, I’ll usually just disengage from them at some level.  I’ve never felt the need to block anybody, not on any site, but it’s always nice to know the option is there if I ever need it for a more serious situation.


What do you think one should do to get a successful blog?

For me, a successful blog is one that I have fun writing.  It’s not about how many followers I have or how much activity I get.  I love comments, but I don’t want to worry about whether what I write will generate activity.  I just want to read what I want to read and write reviews about those books.  If a fun Q&A is going around, or if I have something I want to say, then I’ll write a non-review post.  In general, though, I don’t want to spend a ton of time writing blog posts, and I don’t want to sit around wondering, “What should I post about next?”  If I have something to say, I’ll post.  If I don’t, then I’ll read a book instead.



I debated with myself about whether or not to tag any specific people.  This has been going around for a few days now and I have no idea who has and hasn’t been tagged.  Still, it’s fun to be specifically tagged, and there were several people who came to mind right away when I was considering who hadn’t posted yet.  But then there’s the problem of leaving people out whose posts I would really enjoy reading but whose names just weren’t at the top of my brain this evening.  In any case, I love reading these kinds of posts, so please post if you want to, whether or not anybody specifically tags you.


So here are my tags, if any of you are willing to join in!  But don’t feel obligated if this sounds like torture. :)  


Familiar Diversions                         

in libris                      


Wanda’s Book Reviews