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Top Ten Blogging Confessions

Top Ten Tuesday

Thanks to the gals of The Broke and The Bookish for hosting this meme every week!

Not too long ago I admitted some of my book blogging quirks, so I’m going to steal a bit from that post as well as add some new confessions I’ve come up with ;-). Looking back, I’ve realized that even in the few months since I wrote my quirks post, my book blogging has changed quite a bit, I think for the healthier!

Quirky Confessions

  1. Checking for packages – I still check for packages with the UPS app fairly often, but usually only when I’m bored in line or something. I have chilled out a lot about physical book mail both in that I’m less stressed about getting it, in less need of the affirmation that it used to give me that I was blogging “right,” and happier reading the back and looking into unsolicited copies since I don’t feel overwhelmed with too many books I already need to read.
  2. Email requests generally get deleted – I’m getting more and more emails each week about books that clearly don’t fit my blog, my review policy, or my general idea of how people should treat each other *sigh*. I still open them all and don’t delete them until they cross into the clearly no territory. If they are from publicists I’ve worked with before or from imprints I recognize, I carefully consider the book and generally respond with yes or no along with why I don’t think it would be a good fit in case I’ve misjudged the synopsis or something. However, most get deleted because I just don’t want to deal with people who obviously didn’t care enough to even read my review policy :-/.
  3. Discussion weariness – I haven’t been writing as many discussion posts as I’d like since I’ve just been feeling a bit worn out lately. I hardly have time to read in the evening, let alone write up a thoughtful post. I’d like to say that I’ll work on it, but that’s just the way it’s going to be for a while ;-).

New Confessions

  1. Absolutely no scary allowed – I have to stick to straight sci-fi and fantasy and absolutely can’t read horror. I don’t even like non-scary ghost stories really. I can handle some darkness and do enjoy edgy sci-fi and fantasy that deals with grey or even broken characters though. But nothing even vaguely close to horror movie plot! I can’t even watch PG-13 scary movies >.>.
  2. Completely cover biased – I think it’s because I have to make so many decisions about whether a book interests me every day, but I’m so biased by covers. I completely rely on covers to reflect what genre they come from too, and I’ve been known to not even realize a book was fantasy or sci-fi because the cover didn’t make it obvious.
  3. Reviews are the easy part – Between having a set style of review, writing my reviews on post-it notes before I open WordPress, and having a template once I do open WordPress, I find writing reviews to be pretty easy by now. Coming up with interesting things to do for all the other days of the week is the hard part!
  4. My stats aren’t where I’d like them to be – By this I don’t really mean a particular number of subscribers or anything since I don’t want to push myself into getting fake subscribers that don’t actually care about the blog. I more mean that if I look back on the past six months to a year, I haven’t seen much of a steady increase in pageviews. That makes me feel like I’m not growing anymore despite my efforts, which I find a bit disheartening at times.
  5. I get turned down plenty – I feel like there isn’t enough discourse from more established bloggers about the fact that everyone gets turned down for ARCs sometimes. I’m not saying that I’m a blogger who people assume gets approved for everything, but it’s a start eh? ;-) I don’t request as much as I used to, but I request the more sought-after titles more often than I did, so I think my ratio of approval to denial is about the same, hehe.
  6. I don’t know the last book I read from my shelf – which seems like a bad thing. Oh wait, I think it was Gasp but it didn’t actually sit on my shelf before I read it; I just bought it and immediately read it, so that hardly counts ;-). I can’t remember the last time I read a book that wasn’t a review copy, a new release, or the prequel to a new release. I want to work on this in the second half of the year.
  7. Avoiding NetGalley and Edelweiss – I used to have links to these two on my bookmarks bar and so would check for new titles constantly. To try to decrease my impulse requesting on them, I moved them off my bar. However now that I’ve changed to “for review consideration” instead of “for review” and have a note in my profiles on the two sites, I’m less worried about requesting books as long as I’m legitimately excited about the idea of giving them a try.

Do any of my confessions shock you? Do you share any? What are yours this week? :D

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings -Anya

© 2014, Anya. All rights reserved.

Comments

  1. 2. I do the same. Sometimes I get requests with ‘I saw how much you like erotica books’ and I’m like.. that’s in the section of things I most definitely won’t read. I don’t take the time to reply to that.
    7. I try to do the same, because every time I end up requesting/downloading too many books, because it’s irresistible.
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Let it go #3. Seven Waters and bullies.My Profile

    • Ugh, I can’t stand it when I get those requests. I’m like really?? It says explicitly in my request policy that I won’t review that!

  2. I know exactly what you mean about stats! I don’t have a problem with mine, but I am a bit discouraged by how little growth I’ve seen recently. Honestly, I think moving away from wordpress may have made my blog less likely to be discovered by new people. I feel like my stats stopped growing about the time I switched to self-hosted.
    Katie @ Doing Dewey recently posted…Return to the Beach HouseMy Profile

    • Huh, interesting idea. So you think that people were finding you through a feature of wordpress.com? It’s been so long since I was on there that I don’t actually remember if I got any hits through that, what do you think it was?

      • On wordpress, you can search by subject tags which people assign to their own posts, so I’d guess people were finding me that way. I’m not really sure though. I just feel like my follower growth slowed around the time I switched to self-hosted.
        Katie @ Doing Dewey recently posted…This Is the WaterMy Profile

  3. I try not to let covers affect me, but I’m cover biased as well. In a way, they’re the first impression of a book. Like a job interview. If I see a cover that I like on a table, I’m more likely to pick it up and see what the book is about. It doesn’t mean that I’ll buy it, but I’ll definitely notice it above others. I don’t read too scary books either. I have nothing against horror, but the few horror books that I’ve started where more like Saw instead of the darker episodes of Supernatural. I was hoping for books that made me jumpy, not blood everywhere. I’ve realised that I prefer darker fantasy.
    Hellen recently posted…Review/Reseña – The 7th Woman – Frédérique MolayMy Profile

    • Exactly! Whoever decides on the cover is trying to convey something about the book and its intended audience, so it really is a first impression of whether the book is likely to appeal to you. I completely agree about horror. Great for others to read it, but it just doesn’t interest me!

  4. Delete delete delete. I know the package checking for some reason when I get mail it just gives me this sense of yes validation in a way. I know that’s awful. Glad I’m not the only one!
    Tabitha (Not Yet Read) recently posted…Review: Hollow World by Michael J. SullivanMy Profile

    • Oh I totally get the validation thing. I mean, some super busy publisher has decided that you are important enough to them to send you this book. That’s pretty huge when you think about it!

  5. I’m loving these confessions peeps are posting… but I just want to say you do this blog brilliantly and frequently which is incredibly, incredibly hard. So kuddoes to you!

    • I’m also so in love with this week’s topic. Usually I end up skimming TTTs after the 6th post I read, but it is so interesting seeing the more personal details of blogging that people have been posting!

      Aw thank you so so much! It’s a struggle sometimes but for the most part I wish there were more days in the week to post about books! :D

  6. I’ve been enjoying this week’s TTT topic, because it shows me that we all have areas where we struggle, compromises we’ve made, or decisions we’ve taken to reduce stress and guilt and make things fun again. I’m really relating to your confession about “no scary stuff” – I won’t do that, either. And I’m not terribly happy with my stats, either. I try to remember that I didn’t get into this for fame or recognition, just to share what I love. It helps – most of the time.
    Lark @ The Bookwyrm’s Hoard recently posted…TOUR: The White Magic Five and DimeMy Profile

    • I had actually been thinking of skipping this week but I’m so so glad I didn’t. I’ve been really enjoying reading everyone’s for the same exact reason. I feel like this is one of the most personal TTT topics I’ve ever participated in and it is so nice to see deeper into each person’s blogging experience.

  7. Most of my email requests end up deleted too. Some of them just seem to come from someone getting my address from a mailing list or something, because it gets obvious pretty quickly that the person pitching stuff to me hasn’t even read my review guidelines, let alone anything on my blog. It gets a bit annoying sometimes.

    My stats definitely aren’t where I want them to be either. I look at some people who have been reviewing as long as I have, or for less time, who are more successful than me, and I wonder what it is they’re doing that I’m not. Or what I’m doing that they’re not to scare away potential readers. I’ve seen some growth over time, but I’m still only getting piddly hits and comments compared to some blogs. (Like this one, for example; judging by the interaction and comments I see here, you’re doing way better than I am! :p)

    • Yup. I know when I first started blogging I added my email to way too many lists since I wanted to get books to review, but now I’m seriously regretting it *sigh*. Live and learn eh?

      Aw, I don’t want you to feel bad D: I think that things like giveaway hops and commenting on as many blogs as you can manage is the most effective way to increase actual interaction; it at least gets people seeing your blog and then if they like your awesome content, they’ll stick around ;-)

  8. I don’t even look at stats anymore. I post mostly reviews, and the popular blogs nowadays seem to have more discussion posts than reviews, so while my blog had great numbers at one time, they aren’t so great now. But I consider my blog to be mainly for me, although I love my readers, and so I post what I want, which is mostly reviews.

    A confession of my own: in 3 years, I’ve never requested a physical book from a publisher. I’ve accepted offers sent to me, but never initiated contact myself. I don’t even know what to say in a request. That’s why I like Netgalley. I get mostly accepted there, but get a few declines too. They sting, but they’re easier to get over.
    Sarah recently posted…Review: The White Magic Five & DimeMy Profile

    • Yeah, discussion posts over reviews seems to be the current fad which makes me a bit sad, but oh well.

      For physical review quests, I actually copy most of what is in my NetGalley profile into the email, adding a line at the beginning introducing myself and my blog and specifying what book I am requesting. Then my mailing address, then stats, and just thank them at the end. Not too hard ;-)

  9. “I’m getting more and more emails each week about books that clearly don’t fit my blog, my review policy, or my general idea of how people should treat each other *sigh*. ”

    RIGHT? I keep getting books about war and sex, two topics I do not tend to cover on the blog, and I feel worn out by the e-mails. I did accept one the other day, because the author put some HONEST effort into his e-mail and talked about the blog. I let him know that I appreciated the work he put into researching bloggers and took him up on his request.
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Blogging ConfessionsMy Profile

    • Ugh, exactly! It is nice when it is clear that the publicist/author has read the blog, but I don’t think that I could make myself then read their book if I wasn’t interested, so good on you!

  10. My blog views have gone down in the past year or so. I know that it’s partly my fault because I took a several month hiatus in the spring/summer of 2013 and lost a lot of regular readers in the process, but it’s also because I haven’t been able to put in the same amount of time that I used to to meet people and discover new blogs. It’s not that I don’t want to, just not enough hours in the day. I’m trying not to let myself get too bummed out about it, because I’m blogging for fun, not for stats.
    Grace recently posted…“Hard to Be a God” by Arkady & Boris StrugatskyMy Profile

    • Yeah, I just haven’t had time to go and comment as much as I’d like and I know that that would definitely increase the stats, but I’d rather get a bit more reading in anyway ;-)

  11. Awesome confessions Anya! I also compulsively check delivery statuses on book orders, and like you I get tons of review request for like romances, political romances, and tons of other genres I never ever read. So if the people requesting can’t be bothered to find out what genre I actually do read, I automatically delete the request.

    Discussion posts are non-existent on the blog atm. I feel like everything I’d want to discuss has been said before, and probably better said than I ever could manage. So I’m quiet. I do want to change that though, but ideas haven’t exactly been forthcoming >.<

    As for your new confessions, well we're of the same mind for no scary. Sadly I'm also cover-biased. It pains me to admit it but it's true! Reviews are mostly easy for me too. If ever they feel harder on a certain day, I just wait till later or the next day and usually writing flows and things can get done :D And I think everyone worries about their stats and blog growth…I certainly do. Sometimes I wish the blog would explode and be this huge hit but that might be intimidating too LOL I enjoyed reading these, it made me feel less alone in my worries about the blog heh. Thanks for sharing hun xxx
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Review: Traitor’s BladeMy Profile

    • I have been getting a strange number of thriller requests, so I guess I kind of get that, but I specifically say in the review policy that I don’t read those D:

      Awwwww, don’t even worry about what others have said with discussion posts. You’ll still have a slightly different opinion and most of your followers probably haven’t read all the discussion posts around the community anyway.

      Haha, I think I would be absolutely terrified if the blog suddenly exploded since that usually is accompanied by more trolls and hate mail too D:

  12. Susan Gourley says:

    I confessed that I’ve added lots of books to my TBR list because of your recommendations. I trust you because I usually agree with you assessment of books. I read some horror and actually prefer it to some of the darker fantasy out there.

    • HAHA that is so awesome!! <333 Thank you so much, that is just really great for a reviewer to hear since I just love helping people find books that they'll love :) If I get any horror ARCs sent to me accidentally I know who to forward them to then ;-)

  13. Seeing quite a few of these around the blogosphere!

    Here;s my Tuesday Post

    Have a GREAT day!

    Old Follower :)
    Jessica @ a GREAT read recently posted…Fireborn Blog TourMy Profile

  14. Love your list! I too judge books by their covers ALL.THE.TIME. I put it on my confessions list this week. *grin* And I hear you on scary books – I can do dark, but I don’t like true horror either (well, I did read a pretty horror-y short story anthology once and didn’t die, but I also was only taking small bites at a time). I can’t watch horror films either. UGH.

    As for requesting ARCs… I don’t do it much anymore unless I know for sure I’ll get accepted (i.e. from a publicist I’ve got a good relationship with). I guess rejection does get to me. It’s not that I’m a huge blogger and have great stats (I don’t!), but I too would like to see more conversation around this (no naming names, of course). For the most part I’m okay with where I am and what I get, but I do wonder if I miss out on some books simply because I’m not proactive and I don’t have a relationship with a publicist from a particular company.
    Cecelia recently posted…top ten blogging confessionsMy Profile

    • Woot! I think we should make a “Cover Judger” support group ;-)

      I have such a strange relationship with rejection in that I kind of almost hope for it sometimes, not for particular books because obviously I’m excited about them, but I know that if I get approved for everything I request, I tend to get overwhelmed >.>. I think it’d be fun to even have a monthly discussion or something about which books I requested, which I heard back about, and which I didn’t. I feel like there is this weird secrecy about requesting books for some reason. That way people can get alerted to when a good time to request an upcoming book is and we can help each other not miss out on exciting books that might be more under the radar :D

  15. I admit, I do judge books by their covers. But, with a few exceptions, I’m usually right, so I’m okay with being cover-judgmental. ;) Reviews have actually been more difficult lately…mostly because I’ve been reading more (yay!), but I’ve been neglecting jotting down notes in between books. So I have to go back to the book or other reviews, get the memory juices flowing and then write the review from scratch when it’s not fresh in my brain. Which is a pain. I should just force myself to take notes or post-its on the spot.

    I’m working pretty hard to avoid both stat-checking and NetGalley/Edelweiss right now. I have a few review books I need to read (and two I’ve read but haven’t written reviews for yet), but I’m doing my best to grab books from the massive unread stacks on my shelves. And it’s working! I think seven of my last 11 reads came off my shelf. :D
    Kel (Booked til Tuesday) recently posted…Top 10 Blogging ConfessionsMy Profile

    • Covers do really often reflect the quality of the book, so I’m right there with you! Marketing departments work hard to make the cover appeal to a certain demographic after all, ha.

      I absolutely require myself to jot down strengths and weaknesses about a book as soon as I finish since otherwise I basically can’t write the review!

      Avoiding stat checking is a good call, just makes life more fun, ha. I’m horrible about it though since I’m reaching the point where I want to know which posts are drawing in the most people ;-). I keep telling myself that after these two review books I’m going to pick something from my shelf, but it keeps being two review books out >.> I’m embracing mood reading though, so we’ll see what I try next!

  16. Adelynne Chang says:

    I always judge by covers, and I’m still always shocked when a book with an ugly cover is good. :D I don’t usually comment that much, but I read all of your posts. I guess it’s because I always read your posts from my email, so I never actually go onto your site. Still, I love your blog and your reviews, so I’ll be waiting for your next post! :)

    • I’m completely with you! I feel so bad, but I just can’t bring myself to get as excited about books with ugly covers. Part of that also is that I think about what the review is going to look like with that horrendous cover on it and I don’t really want ugly covers to show up on my blog :(

      According to my site stats you’ve commented 18 times in the past few months, that’s more than a lot of people :D. Is there anything that you think would make it easier for you to come by to comment or to encourage/remind you to comment (not that I’m saying you must, I’m more thinking for my email followers in general, hehe)? But thank you so much for saying that, I completely understand about reading reviews without going and commenting since I read most blogs in an external website for my convenience and have to force myself to remember to click through and let them know I liked their review :)

      • Adelynne Chang says:

        I really don’t know! I guess it’s kinda like what you said- I have to remind myself to click on the link to leave a comment. Sometimes I just wish I could comment on the email. But I’ll definitely try to get into the habit and stop being lazy. :D

        • Haha, I completely understand! Sometimes I’m just in the mood to skim through posts and not type anything. I also wish you could just reply to the email in order to comment…. hmmmm, there’s a very cool idea right there actually!

  17. Hmmm. I haven’t checked my stats for my blog yet, but I would definitely be happy to see if my blog was growing. Though I guess at one point it’s just going to level off. Oh well.

    “Reviews are the easy part” Well then I’m envious. I often have a very hard time when it comes to writing reviews, just because I can’t seem to organize my feelings about the book. Plus it’s hard to put thoughts into words haha.
    Valerie @ Innocent Smiley’s Reviews recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday #18My Profile

    • That’s something I’ve been wondering about actually. It seems like there is no reason your blog traffic would have to level off since there are so many people in the book blogging community and the internet book community as a whole that it seems new people should be continuing to find your site. I think the hard part is turning one time visitors into frequent visitors *sigh*

      Hehe, you might think about hand-writing your thoughts on a book down right when you finish and then using those as a kind of outline for the review? I find that I absolutely must first hand-write my strengths and weaknesses on a post-it and then I decide on the order and expand on them once I open WordPress. For some reason writing helps me think through my ideas better.

  18. I think everyone is pretty cover biased. As in biased to pretty covers, not exceedingly biased lol. They’re just so sparkly you can’t look away!

    I think reviews are pretty easy too. I don’t use a little post-it note to write mine, though. I usually have my review template filled out when I start and kinda add things once I’m near finishing. I once tried to take notes in the book but I kept stopping every few pages to writing something. Really dragged it out. So how do you make it work??
    Kate @ The Book Bee recently posted…REVIEW: Masquerade by Melissa de la CruzMy Profile

    • I completely agree, it’s really hard to ignore what the cover tells you about a book unless you are reading the blurb electronically or something. I do have real life friends who insist that they don’t care about the cover/format/prettiness of hardcovers and only care about the contents of the story, and I just nod and smile at them ;-)

      Oo, I like that strategy too. I don’t actually generally write notes while reading unless there is something important early on that I’m worried I’ll forget to mention. Instead, I pull out a square post-it once I’m finished, draw a line across the middle and list short phrases that capture the strengths and weaknesses of the book as a whole. I use the post-it to force myself to focus down on the essence of each element I want to mention. I then open up a new post with a template and expand upon those ideas on the post-it :)

  19. I wish I could say I share a bunch of these with you, but being new at blogging I haven’t had the chance to actually have quirks yet. Loved reading this though!
    Lauren Webb recently posted…Very First Book Haul!!My Profile

  20. I enjoyed reading your confessions. I just started requesting ARCs from Netgalley and I’ve only been approved once. I figured out how many views my blog gets to add to my profile and my average was 56 unique visitors for the past 11 months. Make you feel better? I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t like scary, Supernatural (the tv show) is about my limit.

    • Thanks :D. I definitely started out in the same place, but it is great that you are tracking those stats already since you’ll be able to see it just keep growing :D

      I was totally going to say that about Supernatural too! I can watch some of the episodes by myself, but some completely freaked me out and even watching it during the day in a room full of people was hard for me. I used to want to try to get through it, but I’ve kind of given up ;-)

  21. My blog has grown, but it’s less than a year old, so its pretty hard not to when you start at 0. And I am with you, I really only want to grow with meaningful followers. I’ve seen plenty of ways to gain “followers”, but they would be superficial and I don’t much care about that. I pretty much only get my books from NetGalley (and just started Edelweiss), BUT, I have definitely changed my habits and only request things I know I want to read. I do way less impulse requesting and try to keep my ratio at/above 80%.
    Lisa (@TenaciousReader) recently posted…The Magicians by Lev GrossmanMy Profile

    • Hehe, that’s true that there is only one direction to go when starting out, but it is awesome that you are seeing growth since I think it took my blog a looooong time to get off the ground ;-). I like that the stats emphasis has shifted towards pageviews and unique monthly followers since I think that that is much more real metric than how many fake email accounts people have signed up with to win a giveaway or something.

      I was doing quite well with NetGalley and Edelweiss about a year ago since I didn’t even try to request the really big titles, but then I started to just to try and most of the time got turned down so it didn’t matter, then I started getting accepted for more of those titles, sometimes after months of being pending, so all of a sudden I had way more books than I expected to! I’m completely grateful for the chance to read them, but it came as a bit of a surprise, ha.

  22. It’s somewhat comforting to hear that you get turned down occassionally too! I’m just starting to request titles and it feels like I get turned down all the time. I wish I had my reviews down to a more set formula since it seems like I’m doing something different every time. Thanks for sharing!

    • <3 That's great to hear since I was hoping that that confession would dispel some of the infallibility of requesting that seems to hover around more established bloggers. I think it's great for you to be trying different things with your reviews right now since that's the only way to figure out what works best for you! It just takes time and practice and I do recommend trying to write reviews as often as possible and not let them pile up ;-)

  23. I think these are great confessions. I feel very much the same. My blog hasn’t grown at all this year and that is a bit sad. But, I love the people who do check it out. I also feel that I get less comments than I used to. Probably because I’ve had less time to comment myself. I think you are right about the older blogs saying they get turned down too. I do too–I still send out the email request and never hear back. And Anya–I think you always have amazing discussion posts!

    • Thanks! Yeah, I can’t decide whether I should just accept that this is the best my blog can do without going nuts or breaking into new genres, or keep trying to read more people *shrugs* Probably I should just not worry about it, ha. I do accept that I would get more visits if I commented a whole lot but I just don’t have time to do more right now without giving up reading time D:

      Aw thanks so much hun! I have more ideas for discussion posts and I think once I get off this heavy pain med dosage my brain will be more up for writing, haha.

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