In my four plus years, I've heard a lot of interesting myths about blogging that I've dispelled over time. There are, however, also things that I've learned are truth…and things that I've come to my own realization about over time, as well. I'm not sure whether these things I've learned are solely about book blogging, or if personal bloggers discover them, too, but I know that book blogging is an interesting niche to be in, and I'm so glad to be a part of it - good and bad.
1. My book blog has actually been a large factor in being hired to my past two jobs. With online media relying heavily on social media these days, being able to show that I have a strong social media background and significant ties to a social community has definitely opened doors for me. I didn't start listing i swim for oceans on my LinkedIn or resume until it was nearly 3 years old, simply because I wasn't sure it was professional enough. However, over time I realized that I put as much time and effort into this blog as many people do with their careers, and I've learned a ton, as well. Needless to say, it's opened a lot of doors, and I'm actually excited to call it part of my job today.
2. I have not made a single dime off this blog. Obviously, this is barring the countless ARCs and promotional materials that generous publishers, authors and marketers have sent me throughout the years. In terms of revenue though? I haven't made a thing. I knew a lot of bloggers when I first started that were hoping to make money off their sites, and I know that it is possible, but I haven't done so. I don't sell ad space, and I don't really hope to make money off this site. I do it because I love it, and I love sharing my thoughts on books.
3. Book blogging is extremely time-consuming. To read and develop quality posts and reviews, I spend close to 25 hours a week working on this blog, and I'll readily state that this is significantly less than I did years ago. I've found a balance now, and because I do it for enjoyment, I let my personal life dictate how much time I can or cannot spend on here. Do I feel guilty when I can't put up a post? Heck yes, but I'd feel more guilty if I put up something substandard.
4. I'm not entitled to page views or comments. I've become more relaxed about constantly staring at my blogging stats over time, but I have to admit it was an all-consuming task for over a year on this blog. And, to be honest, it made me feel like my blog was never good enough. I felt like my blog deserved comments, and it deserved to be viewed hundreds of times a day. The truth of the matter, however, is that my blog might be worthy of such comments and views, but I am by no means entitled to either. It's a give and take kind of world, and while some posts soar, others flop. It's the nature of the game. These days, I work hard to validate others without expecting my own validation in return.
5. My blogs are only as good as my own original thoughts. There was a time when I was afraid to tell the blog world that a book didn't work for me - especially if I was the only blogger I could think of that didn't like said book. The same goes liking a book most people hate. Here's the thing though…that's the beauty of blogging! It doesn't matter if others hated the book. Chances are, there is another person out there just waiting to hear that someone else loved it, too. That's why I'm no longer afraid to share my real, personal thoughts.
6. It takes time. Honestly, this is the biggest thing I had to learn with book blogging. Blogging is work, and to find any semblance of success, you have to show consistency and longevity. Have I always shown both? No, and it's hurt me in the long run. However, I'm happy knowing that after four years, there are still people that come by to read my thoughts, and for that, I will always love this blog and the book blogging community.