08 July 2014


Book Blogger Buzzkills

This Week's Topic:
Book Blogger Confessions

Sometimes I know well in advance what my blog's week is going to look like, and sometimes posts just write themselves. I may have drafted this on the spur of the moment, but I've been thinking about many of the issues in it for years. And while they aren't really secrets--because I'm open about them when anyone asks--I get the sense that some of them shouldn't be brought up in mixed company.

But The Broke and the Bookish is actually inviting people to share not one . . . not two . . . but ten of our "deepest, darkest confessions" today, and it's only the perfect time to pull them all out! So here we go . . .

A Tenner:
What I Secretly Think of the Book Blogging Community

* There are times when I wish the ARC and galley supply would dry up so that we'd know which book bloggers are really just in it for free books and access to hyped authors.

** There are other times when I wish I were cool enough to be offered a hot ARC.

* I totally understand the rationale behind branding and blog identity, but bloggers who focus on only one type of book seem so shallow to me.

** My blog's own haphazard brand makes me terribly insecure.

* Giveaways in which the prize is any book of the winner's choice (rather than something that reflects the character of the hosting blog) look like a way to sell out for follows, tweets, and hits.

** I enter those giveaways on a regular basis, rationalising that if the blogger is okay with transactions instead of meaningful interactions, then that's a fair price for a free book from a stranger.

* The bloggers I judge the most are those who don't reply to their commenters. (When you invite people to a party, do you completely ignore them when they show up?)

** I worry about hurting some of my own commenters' feelings so much that I hold back my more unpopular opinions.

* When I read a meme post that doesn't follow the host's directions (e.g., a list that doesn't quite live up to the name "Top Ten Tuesday"), I think it should be deleted from the linky, in fairness to everyone who took the time and effort to write a proper post.

** The dearest wish of my rigid, unfriendly, judgmental, uber-opinionated blogger's heart is a co-blogger.

There are a few more, but of course I'm going to follow the meme's rules . . . even when others don't. =P

Now that I've said all that, I should admit that a lot of it is sour grapes. LOL! I'm kind of an outsider in the book blogging community--a status which is directly due to my own actions. I'd love to be more of a member, but I don't want to have "to fake it" to find friends. That is, I don't want to hide the fact that I like reading many different authors and genres, just because they'd confuse my "branding." In real life, my reading naturally jumps from Jane Austen to Stephen King . . . from Laura Ingalls Wilder to Robert Heinlein . . . from Rick Riordan to Michael Crichton . . . from Catholic classics to Philippine literature . . . with some Twilight thrown in for extra sparkle. (What?)

Not all of it is everyone's cup of tea, of course, but I think there's a lot of mainstream stuff in the mix. And that's entirely by design! Barring the occasional indulgence, I like to choose books (and movies . . . and TV shows . . . and so on) that I think will be interesting for me and for the largest possible cross-section of curious, intelligent people. And while a glance at my sidebar's Top Commenters widget reassures me that I've done just that, only two regular visitors are also fellow book bloggers. Everyone else comes from everywhere else. I wonder why that is.

If that mystery baffles you as well, I have a simpler question you could try . . .

What does a book blogger have to do to find more book blogger friends???


Ula (Blog of Erised) said...

I try to comment back to people but sometimes I don't have anything to say, and just pasting a 'thanks' 40 times is even worse than posting nothing I think. And often I don't have time.
The giveaways with 'any book' are good because more people can enter (I don't know what people already own and want to give them a choice to pick something I never heard of instead of limiting them unnecessarily).
I do think ARCs should be more selectively given, I never get many but I shouldn't complain.
And limiting your blog to one genre can be both good and bad - limiting yourself but giving a detailed genre option to someone looking for just that. Plus, if you don't read anything else, that's your thing.

Cait said...

I hold back unpopular opinions too. I don't want to offend people and after all, is it even important!? I 100% think it's okay for book bloggers to interpret memes differently! It'd be a boring world if everyone followed the rules to the dot and didn't express their personalities.
Thanks for stopping by @ Notebook Sisters!

Amanda Holmes said...

Hurray! Another quirky reader.;)
I agree, it would be great to be offered a hot ARC.
Whew. Glad I replied to your comment on my blog.;) I can't imagine not doing so anyway, since I appreciate people taking the time to stop and chat!

Belfry Bat said...

"Sparkle", hah! I ... see... what you did there... !

OK... I have rules to follow, of my own making, and I'm not.

Oremus pro invicem!

Shannon Mizikoski said...

I guess for me, when I have a giveaway in which I have the winner choose, it is kind of because I don't want to tell someone what to read, you know? I like to do the New Release hops because I think it is both a fun way to show off all the new books coming out that month, plus kind of give back to my followers. Plus, sometimes their choices give ME ideas on what to read next!

As for the memes, well, there are times that try as I might, I simply could not come up with a tenth item, or whatever the case was. Honestly, I LOVE to see various blogger's takes on the meme, because it can vary so much, and it is nice to see everyone's personalities shine through.

Thanks for stopping by my post!

-Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

Enbrethiliel said...


Ula -- When people just write "Nice review!" or the like over and over again, I just add a "Thanks, everyone!" at the very end. But what I was thinking of were the times I actually asked questions and didn't have them answered. (I once returned to a post every day for a month, just to see if the blogger would reply. She didn't, so I unfollowed.) It's like giving everyone your e-mail address and then never answering e-mails. Mixed signals, you could say.

I totally understand the rationale behind those "Winner's Choice" giveaways, but ultimately, they're about getting inflated numbers on a follower widget or on the page hits counter--which, of course, the blogger needs for PR purposes. The blogger has every right to do that, of course, but it's the equivalent of bribing strangers to come to a birthday party and then claiming that the celebrant is popular. How many of the new followers will really come back, comment, or even care about the blogger's opinions?

Cait -- I think there's a way to follow the rules and still to express your personality! ;-)

Amanda -- I can't imagine not acknowledging a comment, either, when I really do feel happy whenever I get a new one! Thanks for returning the visit. =)

Bat -- Yeah, you don't want to turn into one of those pesky rule breakers. ;-)

Shannon -- I don't want to be pushy about books, either, but isn't having a book blog and writing reviews already a way of telling someone what to read? There are ways to give entrants more choices than if you just picked one specific book for a prize, like telling them they can choose "any book" as long as you've mentioned it on your blog.

Come to think of it, this blend of many options and a strict limitation is what the New Release hops do. If someone won a New Release giveaway and then asked for Pride and Prejudice, even a host who is a huge Austenite would probably not honour that choice! =P

Sheila said...

You're the only book blogger I read! The variety of books you talk about is, to my mind, a plus and not a minus. Most of what you write about I haven't read, but I get lucky once in awhile. (My record is even worse with the movie and music posts. I am so culturally out of it.)

But I come for the ideas more than the books. Any good post about a book is going to talk about themes that are universal to some extent, and that's why I still comment even though I'm not familiar with the book.

Brandon said...

Like Sheila, I like the 'haphazard brand' here. And sometimes the bare fact of it creates juxtapositions worth thinking about.

Kathy Brady said...

I don't always have time to reply to all my comments (I wish I did though!) but I definitely reply to anything that asks a direct question. And I always visit commenters' blogs and comment back.

Enbrethiliel said...


Sheila -- Thanks for the feedback! I do try to make every post more about the ideas than the books (or the movies), just so more people can comment. =)

Brandon -- I enjoy haphazardness myself, or else I wouldn't do it. But as other meme participants have been confessing, I can't help comparing my blog to those of others and finding it wanting.

Kathy -- Thanks for returning the comment! I try to visit the blog of everyone who pays me a visit as well. =)

Julia Nashif said...

I have a wide range of bookish tastes too. ;) I post different reviews on my blog anyway, unless it's a classic like Jane Austen or Harry Potter. There's so much that's already been said on the subject that I don't want to bother people with mine.

Aylee said...

Oh man, I do try my best to reply to people's comments - especially if asked a direct question - but sometimes it seems a bit pointless if my reply has nothing of substance to it and blogger has such a terrible comment system in which the commenter isn't even notified of the reply so the vast majority of people don't check back anyway. For me, the most important thing is making sure the commenter gets a comment back on their own blog because comments do mean a lot to me and that's the best way I can think of to repay the favour and my gratitude.

Enbrethiliel said...


Julia -- Oh, I have no qualms bothering people with my opinion on popular stuff. ;-) But it's true that one's voice can get lost in the cacophony.

Aylee -- One thing I learned from making the rounds was that a lot of people really do want to reply to comments but either don't have time or can't think of something meaningful to say. Interestingly, the ones who don't have time are also those who have to schedule their posts in advance, which I think should tell them something! ;-P But it's the ones who feel they have nothing to say who really made me think. They feel guilty about it . . . but what if it's not really a bad thing? What if not having something to say is a sign that you and they are not really meant to be blog friends? I'm basing this on the idea that proper friendships happen naturally and shouldn't--or even can't--be forced . . . but I've only started tossing it around my mind.

In any case, thanks for replying to my comment on your blog. I really did like your post. =) And thanks also for coming here to return the favour. You got so many comments on that one that it couldn't have been easy to get here and to say something meaningful. I appreciate it!

itsonlythree said...

I'm always afraid I'm going to offend someone when I write a post. Mostly with my unfortunate habit of swearing and ripping on just about anything!

Enbrethiliel said...


Since my unwritten policy is to blog only about what I think are worthwhile things, I don't rant about much. (I hope!) But there are occasions when I know that others happen to feel very strongly about something that I agree or disagree with: if they are people whom I want to continue having around, I try to hold back for them.

Imogen Elvis said...

I'm with you on the people not commenting back thing. I often go back and check to see if people have answered my comments because, if I'm going to take the time to start a conversation with a blogger, then I think that they should at least take the time to answer what I've said. Of course, that means I have to actually say something that's interesting so that they have something to say. I always try to comment back to my readers, because I appreciate every comment I get.
Thanks for visiting my blog, and many apologies for taking so long to visit back.

Elle G said...

I am SO glad you popped by my blog. This list is AWESOME. You are amazingly candid. Bravo. I'm totally going to have to hang out over here. I look forward to your "unpopular opinions".

Elle @ Erratic Project Junkie

Enbrethiliel said...


Imogen -- You're welcome! I also like leaving meaningful comments. I hope they're also interesting to the blogger! LOL!

Elle -- Thanks so much! Would you believe that I held back here? ;-)

BecAlora Walker said...

I like what you said and how you said it. You're as quirky as I am.

I don't read something unless I want to and there is very little you said that I don't agree with.

*le sigh* I may be looking for a coblogger soon. I don't want to, but life sucks sometimes.

Thank you so much for stopping by Vicariously!

If you ever want to talk to a fellow outcast and have some healthy debates, email me at thatvicariousgirl@gmail.com.

Enbrethiliel said...


Better late than never! =) Thanks for your comment and the offer of conversation.

Good luck finding a co-blogger! I just want a friend with whom I can share my love of blogging and bounce ideas off, but there do seem to be practical benefits to having someone else take up the slack when it's hard for you to write.