Let's Talk: Why Are You a Book Blogger?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Let's Talk is what I like to call a semi-regular feature here at i swim for oceans. Does it happen every week? No. Will there be weeks when it happens more than once? Probably. Can you set your calendar by it? Heck no. Here on the little old blog, I like to host some of my very own discussion posts because, well, I like to converse with you all.

And so, Let's Talk will feature questions or prompts, which I will answer, too. Love it or hate it, weigh in or don't, it's my hope that Let's Talk will at least get you thinking...and maybe even get you discussing with the rest of us!

Question: What are you a book blogger?

Book blogging seems to be a hot-button issue these days, and I'm going to state my little disclaimer before anything else, if only to prevent putting my foot in my very own mouth. I am a book blogger. I am not a professional reviewer. I do not claim to be a professional reviewer. My statements on books are my own thoughts and opinions. They will not mesh with everyone else's all the time, and I'm ok with that. I will always, always, always state my feelings with the utmost of tact and sincerity possible. Moving on.

I began blogging about books way back in 2009 because I'm a nerd, plain and simple. I found a lovely little niche community where a bunch of thoughtful individuals seemed to have created a network of information and opinions about books that I found classy, insightful and intriguing. Never one to shy away from a challenge, I decided to dip my toes in the water and attempt to form my very own little corner of the blogosphere, and that's how the site came about. I started rather shakily, and my reviews were rather pathetic, if I do say so myself. Over time though, I discovered that I could lend my own voice to my reviews and make them my own...truly my own, that is. I also figured out that I'm not going to always love the books I read. So, through trial and error, I found a way to touch the issues without chopping novels off at the knees. No matter what, there is always a positive, and I make it my duty to find that positive and highlight it every time.

Book bloggers get a bad rep sometimes (ok, rather frequent as of late) for negative reviews getting insane amount of exposure, but as a whole, I think our community is pretty awesome. The same goes for authors and publishers. I've experienced far more generosity in this book blogging community than you could ever imagine. It's incredible how tight-knit we are, for the most part. I've made friends, I've made mistakes and I've sure as heck had a great time doing it all. It's about what you want to bring to the table.

Bottom line is this...I blog about books because I love it. Being a book blogger, to me, is simply allowing my thoughts and feelings about books and writing to find a public forum and voice. To me, being a book blogger is about love and a true and honest passion for the written word. Whether a book is brilliant or falls short for me, that book is made with love and care, and as a self-proclaimed book blogger, it's my right and my privilege to lend my thoughts, however dense or dumb they may be. In essence, book blogging means the world to me. It's fun, it's engaging, it's interactive and it's truly a privilege to work with the amazing authors and publishers out there.

What about you?


  1. Really great post!! So true, everything you said. :)
    Love your blog, keep up the awesome work.

  2. I am a book blogger just like you. But it started out for me as a way to keep track of the books I had read with simple star ratings. Then I got so fed up with picking up books that weren't suited to my tastes that I started actively reading reviews. This made me think that I should add in my two cents in case it would help others find just the right books. The blogging itself also started with the naive idea that I would get free books. Yeah, that was one of those ideas that quickly got expunged from my thinking. As I am not one for knocking on publishers and authors doors I don't get free books. Well, unless it is from self published and very unknown authors, all of which have approached me. But now a year of blogging later I have my bad days where I can't remember why I blog into the black abyss and those days that make it all worth it. So it is a journey and I don't know how long I will be on it or where it will take me. I just hope that while it lasts I will have a great ride.

  3. It's say what are you book blogger?

    I am cos of the same reason as yoi, I love books and I stumbled in by accident, I found others, I wanted to blog too and I started. I always wanted to talk about the books I read and this was finally my dream come true :)

  4. arghh and there I made a mistake, says, yup tired here

  5. I'm very tired and frustrated by the latest drama about Book Bloggers, Bad Reviews, Bad Behaving Authors etc etct etc... I try not to engage myself in this because I think we all shouldn't take ourselves too serious.
    Which is why I love your post. You clearly say it: We are Book Bloggers because we LOVE to read! Plain and simple and also, we love to talk about books! What's better than discussing with like minded people why you loved a certain book? Nothing! That's why I'm blogging, I love the community and I love to talk about my feelings I had when i read a book. And no, I don't think my "reviews" are real reviews...
    In addition having the chance to work and talk to all those authors is incredible rewarding. Yet, we all have to mind our place!
    Wonderful post Melissa!

  6. Oh, I love being a book blogger :) It's a great way for me to keep track of what I read, and writing reviews helps me remember the details of each book, so I'm better at giving recommendations to kids. I love following other blogs bc I learn about SO MANY books that I never would have otherwise!

  7. I love books and love talking about books. I smile every time I get a comment on one of my reviews, whether they agreed with my opinion or not. It's a great community, despite the recent dust-ups (which I'm just ignoring and hoping will go away).

  8. It's odd. I've had my book blog for about 3 years now, and I still wonder, "Am I a "proper" book blogger?" I don't get free books - I've had 2 in all that time, but it's not something that bothers me. I don't think of myself as working with the publishing industry at all. I don't necessarily review new books, or host events, or do interviews. Sometimes I take part in memes, but not regularly.

    Basically, I like to talk about books. I like to write my thoughts down, and talk about books, whatever I've been reading, old, new, classic, kids' books, etc. etc. I live and breathe books, and the blog is my little place where I can share my thoughts with anyone who cares to read them.

  9. Thank you so much for posting this! I completely identify with you. You pretty much said it all.
    Haha, I started book blogging because I'm a nerd too. And I have to admit it's made me even nerdier. I discovered blogs by accident but it definitely feels like fate now. I don't know what I was getting into but I'm so glad I stuck with it. The bookish world really is a tight-knit community. It's amazing how easily you can become friends with perfect strangers.

    As for blogging, I still can't believe there are people who read my reviews and fangirl with me over my favorite books. It feels amazing to put my thoughts down in words and just to share my own opinions. That's it's own satisfaction in itself. Even with the latest drama, I don't feel guilty for my bad reviews. I don't feel bad for reading the negative reviews. We're all in it for the books. For the good aaand the bad. Book blogging really does mean the world to me. So I thank you again for this post and for even choosing to begin blogging on the first place.

  10. i'm a book bloggr / so love 'talkin' bout books
    now1 really loves books in my social life so thats that
    i love hearing different pov of ppl discovering new books, bloggs, ppl

    wishing and hoping 1 get 1 read the boooks i'm pining 4/ int and no yA sections in bookstores, libraries

  11. Yep, same as you! I love talking books and I love the book blogging community (for the most part) and have a blog to talk about books and get my opinion out has been absolutely amazing. I don't think that people should get mean in reviews and those reviewers that ARE mean I just don't usually read their blog anymore. But negative reviews, like you said, can always have some positive.
    So glad you're part of this blogging community Melissa!

  12. Whenever I get overwhelmed by statistics and page views, I always let my mind drift back to the reason I started blogging in the first place - I absolutely love books. I've always loved books and reading, ever since I was very young. And though my parents were supportive of my passion, I didn't really have any friends that I could talk to about reading and the incredible stories I would come across.

    I started the blog as a way to chronicle the books I've been reading, as well as the thoughts in my head about them. I think it's a major bonus to be able to share those thoughts with so many people - and to get into discussions about them too. I love all the friends I've made in the book blogging community because I don't feel so alone in my love for books any longer!

  13. Same as you! And same as most of your commenters. Lol. I love books and I love talking about books. I am not a professional and I will be completely honest about the books I read.

    It's really sad lately how book bloggers are getting a bad rap.

    Great post, Melissa. :D

  14. Great discussion post! I started blogging as a way to relieve some boredom after school was over and to get more acquainted with the publishing industry since I am an aspiring author. I had heard about drama between bloggers and authors before, and I knew about the stigma against negative reviews. Even through all the drama, I've seen what great people bloggers are for the most part. And bloggers are great people when you're looking for recommendations. I blogged to enhance my reading experience, not to get involve in all this drama! Thanks for the discussion!

    Megan at Book Brats!

  15. I blog cause I love books! I have always been nerdy this way, so I don't care what ever else says. I buy books, I read books, I giveaways book cause I love books!

  16. Amen. So well put. We write about books because we love books and love connecting with other book lovers.

  17. Great post! Very well written! I love blogging...who cares what people say, right?

    Magical Urban Fantasy Reads

  18. I agree about everything you've said. I blog because I love books and like to share what I loved about them. My first few reviews were pretty bad too although I think I managed to get slightly better in time. I also do believe that the blogging community is very welcoming and fun albeit the negativity that sprouted lately. Great post!

  19. I live with the hubby and four boys and none of them enjoy reading. Being an introvert with no offline friends, I desperately needed a place to voice my opinions. I also wanted to read a review written in a way that sounded like two friends talking in a coffee shop and was having a hard time finding one. I figured if I was looking for those types of reviews, maybe other people were too, and Fade Into Fantasy was born.

    After 15 months of blogging, I'm still not a professional reviewer, and I don't want to become one. I just want to tell people about the books I'm reading in a straightforward, personal way. As far as the BS that is happening, I try to ignore it. Fortunately, it hasn't happened to me yet. When it does, (I'm bound to piss someone off someday.. lol), I know that the book blogging community will band together in my defense, just like they have every other time this crap has happened. I've never found a tighter, more loyal, friendlier group of people in my life and I'm honored to have been included.

  20. I am not a professional reviewer (but the writer in me would love to be a professional and paid for it!). However, I love receiving books "in exchange for a fair and honest review." I enjoy spreading the word about books -- whether I love them or not. I'm so glad I took part in this wonderful community. I've made a lot of great friends and contacts (bloggers, authors, publicists). Yes, there's been some bad eggs -- bloggers, authors and agents -- lately, but I don't let this sour my own experience. We also have to remember reading is subjective. Authors have to also remember not everyone is going to fall in love with your book! However, I'm sure a negative review is hard to swallow because a book is an author's baby. They've struggled over it for months, years to write, find an agent and get published. I think if someone is going to give a negative review (which I have) it's important to be constructively critical and not mean.

    I'm honored to be a part of this community! It's fun to see what someone else thinks of a book. Sometimes it sways my opinion on buying it or not. I like reading interviews and entering giveaways, too! Great post :)

  21. I've been book blogging since the start of 2011. It really started as a personal project. I'd just graduated college where I'd spend the past 4.5 years avoiding books. I missed out on something I used to consider my favorite pastime, and I wanted books back in my life! I'd read a few book blogs by this point, and they really made me passionate for books again. I heard about so many books I probably would not have noticed. Also, I wanted a way to keep track of books and I wanted a place to record my thoughts about the books. I've been blogging since the 6th grade. Most of my blogs have been personal blogs though. Anyway, it just seemed natural to couple books and blogging together!

  22. This one is a very hard subject for me. Mostly because I started book blogging because I wanted to express my *opinions* about books and why I felt that way and I wanted to meet others who read the same books as me. None of my family or friends can keep up with my reading and I'm so obsessively nerdy about it that it's what I talk about more than anything. It was amazing to find a group of people who did the same. Needless to say, my reviews started out choppy and raw and kind of ridiculous. But, eventually I found what worked for me. They aren't perfect, but they help me release and tell all of what books are to me. I guess I say all of that is hard for me because of the recent book blogger bashing. Ya, some people are harsh and mean and I've decided I'm going to try not be me because that is someone's blood sweat and tears in that novel, but I love authors and publishers and all the books released and it makes me sad to think some of the things I've been reading. That probably makes no sense. Anyway, thanks Melissa, for bringing this up.

  23. I love books. I like writing book reviews. It's fun.


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