There’s so much I should be doing!
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about blogging (I’m not leaving, don’t worry!). After the craziness that was spring semester, I wanted to get back on the blogging horse so to speak. During the semester, I could barely get comments answered and a book review up a few times a week! Now that it’s summer, there is a lot of grad school work that I need to do, sure, but the timing is more flexible. Therefore, I had been hoping that this would be the time I’d get back to growing the blog and really rocking out. I’m realizing though, that I just can’t do everything that I should be doing to grow this site….
I read discussions where a blogger talks about how they can’t manage to leave more than 20 or 30 comments a day and my eyes seriously go O.O. I can’t manage more than 10 comments a WEEK currently! I don’t know if it’s some asocial aspect of my personality that causes me to pull back and not feel up to being perky and chatty or that only-child-bookworm nature that makes me want to pick up a book over open my laptop any day of the week. Probably a combination of both I guess?
I love commenting on blog posts that spark my interest and make me want to discuss the topic! I love commenting on reviews where the reviewer makes a great point or I want to relive the awesomeness of reading that book. I don’t love commenting on my phone because it’s a pain in the freaking butt and that is often when I’m reading posts, but I try to save those posts for later commenting (but seriously, make sure your site is easy to comment on on mobile! Is mine btw??). But I actively seek out as many posts that spark my interest as I can find and am often finding myself without enough things I want to read when I’m waiting in line somewhere.
Here’s the real issue though: I don’t love going to a blog with the express desire to find something to comment on and force it…. I know everyone says that you shouldn’t do that, but it seems that in order to be finding 30 posts to comment on a day, you have to be purposefully seeking out posts to comment on right?? Or am I just a comment curmudgeon that feels less inspiration than most?
Requesting and reading all the ARCs!
There are a couple of publishing houses that I just CAN’T get a contact in. HarperCollins is easy to get eARCs from, sure, but I would love to get a few of the physical ARCs I’m most excited for before the eARCs go up. Bloomsbury is one where I’ve gotten approved for eARCs a couple of times, but can’t seem to get onto their blogger email list. Don’t even get me started with Penguin or Hatchette…. Simon and Schuster I used to work with from time to time, but they seem to have switched up how they run blogger relations lately and I fell off the bus.
I’m honestly not banging my chest in agony since I like getting books from the library, but the competitive part of me can’t help seeing those publishing contacts as necessary steps for my continued blogger growth and aiming for them. I go through phases where I don’t care at all, but then I think about a book I really want to help promote and wrack my brain for what I could be doing wrong that is keeping me from that publisher contact. That’s the thing that really rubs, I’m convinced that I’m doing something wrong or inadequately and that’s why they don’t love me ;-). I try to push that thought away, but it’s insidious!
Of course the problem with sending in lots of requests to try to build those contacts is that if they do send you something, you then can get completely overwhelmed with how much you have to read! This is a serious danger when you have a flexible schedule since it would be so so easy for me to devote days and days to reading all the books before my advisor would notice I hadn’t made any progress. But I must resist!!! But finding that balance between reading enough that I’m happy and devoting myself to grad school is still something I’m trying to figure out. I can’t help but feel that if I just read more of a certain imprint’s books, they’d love me *sigh*.
Organize all the events!
I know that I’ve promised I would be hosting an event this year and there were a couple that almost happened, but the timing just didn’t work out. I’m realizing more and more though that while I love the idea of community events, I just don’t have the time to invest in them that I’d want to really make it a success. I can’t even really participate in many currently because of time commitment and my tendency to go big or go home with anything remotely similar to a competition >.>.
Grad school, wedding planning, moving, oh my!
Did I mention that we’re moving into a house this month, I’m planning a wedding ceremony and reception for the beginning of October and my advisor wants me to turn in my comprehensive exam (ie dissertation proposal basically) by the end of the year? Oh and I should be working out a lot more to build my muscles back up after the surgery (though I’m getting a tread desk so I’m hopeful there!).
Why do I need to grow anyway??
What it comes down to is there seems to be this sense that a blog is always going to be growing. You should have higher stats than you did at this time last year, more followers, more comments, etc etc. But you know what the reality is? I have less, about 2,000 less pageviews in June 2015 than June 2014. Why? Not really sure to be honest. I don’t think I was doing anything all that different last year than I am this year, any ideas? If I recall, I think a giveaway got retweeted by Brandon Sanderson last summer so that’s a bit of it I’m sure, but not all.
So the reality is that I’m not growing, I’m arguably not even staying stable, though perhaps I was artificially inflated last summer and this is stable for me now. But why do I even feel this pressure to be constantly growing anyway? I guess part of it because that’s what blogs are supposed to do so I feel like something is broken since this one isn’t. Seriously, if you know of something that I could do differently I want to hear it!
While a bit more growth would be nice to get those publisher contacts that I can’t seem to manage and because more friends to talk about books with it always awesome, I’m not sure how much I should care still. I love talking to you all and already feel overwhelmed with comments sometimes, so I’m okay with the number of readers I currently have ;-). I can barely keep up with the books I get for review, so I don’t really need more (though a few special ones would be nice). And even if I was still growing, you can’t keep that up forever without breaking the internet, haha.
The other thing I can’t help but thinking about is that this blog simply can’t be my priority all the time. Grad school has to be what I spend most of my time and energy doing and this blog has to stay a hobby. I am not an aspiring author, I am not trying to break into publishing, I am not trying to make money from this blog. This blog keeps me sane and happy when grad school is torturing me, but I’m a scientist and my career will have nothing to do with book blogging sadly. I just can’t let book blogging take over my life like I see with other bloggers. I’d like to, I dream about becoming independently wealthy and reading books from my yacht, but that’s not my life and that means I have to have different expectations for my blog than some others.
I think my new goal is going to be stability, I hope that next year this time I have the same average pageviews as I currently do (though I wouldn’t say no to a few more ;-) ). I’m okay going to the library to get the latest and greatest book that I didn’t get a chance to read early, and maybe I’ll even have the chance to read some of those unsolicited copies that look interesting. Or, gasp, OLD BOOKS! (Yes, there are books that were published before 2010 I hear!)
And now that my soul is bare for all of you to see, tell me: Do you feel the need to be constantly growing your blog? Is your blog growing from last year still? Do you think there is anything I could do to improve this place (you can be honest, I can take it!)?
© 2015, Anya. All rights reserved.