Book Related

Ten Book Blogger Confessions For A Year of Book Blogging

Once upon a time, many moons ago, I took a four day weekend off work. It was the first real long weekend I’d had in a couple of years, and I was excited for free time and relaxing in the lovely spring weather (because spring came stupid early that year).

But once the long weekend finally arrived, and my partner took off for work, I found myself bored. I hadn’t had this much free time in ages, and I had no idea what to do with myself. I’d been writing book reviews for a while on Goodreads, and had been reading a lot of blogs and watching a lot of BookTube, so I decided to start my own blog for books.

Now, I’d run a couple of blogs before, but they’d never really been successful. Maybe a couple of followers, maybe a few posts, but I’d always give up on them. So I wasn’t really expecting it to go anywhere or last particularly long. It was just something to do over the weekend while everyone else was busy.

And a year later, here we are. So that’s fun.

It’s been a great year, actually. I’ve discovered a lot of great books I may not have bothered to read otherwise. I’ve read some incredible posts that made me think about what I was reading. I had the chance to read some books before they were even released, which is a bookworm’s dream. I’ve gotten to work with authors and publishers to promote books. I’ve met some great people. And I’ve bought way more books than I actually need.

To celebrate surviving my first full year with Songs Wrote My Story, I’ve compiled a list of 10 confessions I have after a year of this! (I debating doing a giveaway, but I think I’m going to wait for something a little bigger to celebrate – maybe *insert number of* blog followers or something like that. You’ll have to stick around and see!)

So here goes nothing!

1. I don’t pay attention to character descriptions, and so I just make up my own.

I read them, and then promptly forget them. And then my mind just decides what it thinks the person should look for. Since I live in a super multicultural city, it’s not uncommon for me to imagine characters as a wide variety of cultural backgrounds, skin colours, attire preferences, etc, because that’s what I see day to day. Which is fine, until someone points out that some books are all white characters, or a character isn’t supposed to have brown skin, or isn’t supposed to be wearing a hijab, and I get super confused. (Recent example – lots of comments about how Maas’ books are all white characters. I’d always pictured Dorian with brown skin, and a couple other characters of different skin tones. Insert tonnes of confusion here. Whoops.)

2. Hype is more likely to ruin a book for me than it is to make me excited about it.

I’ve never been good at following a crowd. And sometimes a book is hyped up and I get my hands on a copy right away and read it and love it. But more often than not, I get my hands on a book, and don’t touch it, because I’ve heard so much about it, I’ve lost interest in it.

Some examples of this include: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken, This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab, The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen, The Serpent King by Jeff Zetner, among a few others. All on my shelf. All completely untouched.

3. People who review books and just rephrase the summary drive me bonkers.

I already read the summary! Why are you repeating that? I don’t need that information. I need to know if it’s good, how the characters are, can this book be read without previous books, how’s the pacing or the plot? Don’t just write three paragraphs about what the book is about, and then say it was great and nothing else!

4. I turn down any review request I receive in which it is clear that the person contacting me didn’t read my review policy, no matter how good the book looks.

This is obviously an entirely different thing than if someone I worked with before emails me, or it it’s from someone I emailed first, and they saved my contact info. In that case, fine, because you’re coming from a different place.

But if it’s clear you got my contact information from my blog, and you didn’t bother to read my review policy, even though it’s rather concise and simple, I will say no to you. Even if it looks like the best book I’ve seen in ages. The number of people who ask about reviewing historical or romance books, even though I say in my policy I don’t accept either of these, is baffling.

If you can’t be bothered to read what I’ve written, I can’t be bothered to read what you’ve written.

On the other hand, if you send me a nice, even a little bit personalized email (even if it’s something as simple as ‘you include music in your blog, and my book includes a lot of music!’) will get me to consider your book a bit more, even if it doesn’t sound super interesting.

5. I write in my books.

In pencil (incase I decide I want to get rid of it later), but still.

Books give you thoughts. Thoughts are kinda useless if you don’t remember them later on, so it’s idea that you write them down. If a book gave you the thought, why not write the thought in the book, and keep everything together?

6. I love reading negative reviews of books I love, and positive review for books I hate.

Multiple perspective are always interesting.

7. I hate hardcovers.

I know that they look nice and are more hardwearing and all that stuff. But they’re just so darn heavy and uncomfortable to read.

I will actually special order paperbacks from other countries, since Canada has a thing where they don’t release the paperback until a year after the book is released in hardcover, and wait weeks on end for delivery, rather than buying a hard cover.

I have 118 books currently (excluding ARCs and picture books). 15 are hardcover, and most have never been read. I only have them because of mega sales, or getting free copies.

8. With the exception of Saturday Song posts, all my posts are written in advance.

Weekly stuff (such as Top Ten Tuesday or Waiting on Wednesday) are usually done the weekend before, sometimes earlier. Discussion posts are a minimum of two weeks. Book reviews are usually 4-6 weeks ahead (the book reviews I have going up this week were read and written a month ago right now).

I don’t know how people just post stuff. Could not do that. Would have a heart attack.

9. Books I love are the hardest ones to review.

Because it’s harder to critique books I really enjoyed.

10. Acknowledging that book bloggers basically provide free marketing for publishers and authors has changed how I approach my blog.

There are no ‘free books’ from authors and publishers. They’re sending them to you because they want you to advertise that title for them. You can consider that copy your payment, if you want, but it’s not free.

With this knowledge in mind, I started approaching review copies and ARCs differently.

First, I don’t take on books I wouldn’t want to promote.

Second, I give priority to the books and authors I want to support the most (I give Canadian books and authors some extra consideration, as one example), because if I’m putting my name in line with that book, I want it to be something I believe in.

Third, I never take on so many review copies that it ruins my own reading. Sometimes I get great review books I’m stoked to read, and it’s not a hassle to read them. Sometimes it is, and so I don’t read them, and choose something I’m more interested in. If I’m not enjoying it, I’m not doing it.

As this blog does not contribute to my income, it remains a hobby for me. I knew what I was getting into when I started taking on review copies, and I don’t mind being a free marketing tool – I would be talking about books anyway, and I get more people to talk to here than in real life. But you better bet that my work for your book is going to be on my terms.

So there we have it! Any confessions of your own you’d like to share in the comments below?

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39 thoughts on “Ten Book Blogger Confessions For A Year of Book Blogging

  1. Happy anniversary! It’s sooo cool that you’ve been blogging for A YEAR already! I hope I’ll still be here too in 2018 😀 I’ve only had my blog for about a month but I totally agree with the pre-written posts! I try to schedule everything AT LEAST a week in advance because it makes everything a lot less stressful for me! Great post, I really enjoyed reading it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi there! I just came across this post of yours and your blog in general and I couldn’t help but comment and tell you how much I love this! Keep up the great work, I am going to follow you so I can keep up with all your new posts!

    Like

  3. Congrats on making it to a year! My blog anniversary is coming up in a few days as well. 😛
    Point 3 is my biggest blogging pet peeve! I want more than just a few words in a review. 😪
    Point 4 is interesting! I only put a review policy up on my blog very recently, and I haven’t been contacted by anyone so far. I’m curious to see how that might go in the future!
    I write in my books too, but only books I have to read for uni, cause I need notes and underlined passages for my essays. When I read in my free time I prefer to be more chill about it and just take a few notes on my phone for my review.
    This is actually a super neat idea for a post! Would you mind if I did this as well and linked back to you? 😃

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Congrats yourself then! 🙂
      I always wrote in my university books as well. I still have most of them (since they’re still useful and because I wrote in them…), and they’re just a mess of notes, scribbles and highlighting… But if it helps you learn, right?
      Not at all, I’d love to see yours!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I also make up my own character descriptions. Then I get super confused when the movie comes out and they are all different. I thought Slitherin’s colors were red and gold b/c in my head read is evil. haha. And I also can’t stand reviews that just restate the synopsis. I include the synopsis but then my review is underneath it and its all my thoughts. B/c what even is the point of the other type of review. I could just go to goodreads.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy 1 year!!! and #7 – YES! They are just so awkward to hold and the edges hurt my hands. A nice big floppy paperback is a book lovers heaven! And why Canada, Why? Sometimes paperbacks are released quickly but there have been times where it was almost 2 years! I really wanted to read it but the hardcover was 40$ – NOPE! I’ve recently started ordering from Book Depository because they have paperbacks right from the start of the books release

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!
      Exactly! You can curl up and just curl your floppy paperback up with you! Canada’s silly for that. I don’t even understand. And the ones that don’t release hardcover first charge a million dollars for the paperback. Book Depository is a lifesaver on that front.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Congrats on 1 year of blogging! That’s so awesome!!! And I definitely agree with writing reviews and blog posts. I always post in advance. I usually make my posts on the weekends and schedule them later that week. It’s definitely so much helpful! And I find writing reviews for books I love harder than books I do not like- for some reason I can pinpoint the negatives in a book more easily than the positives. It’s great I know somebody in the same boat! There’s a difference to me between fanboying about a book and reviewing one! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!!
      Scheduling posts is the greatest thing that has happened to blogging, I swear. Otherwise, I’d have ten posts on Saturday and none through the week…
      It seems the common consensus that positive reviews are harder. Fanboy/girling is definitely easier than reviewing too, but less readable haha.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Happy bloganniversary, Hilary! 😀 And this was such an interesting post to read, as always!
    I do agree with most of your points, and can relate to them a lot.
    Character descriptions are something I struggle with. If they’re given at the beginning of a story, I feel cheated because I’ll get biased whenever I imagine the characters. If they’re given afterwards, it annoys me because it goes against the image I had in my head already. Most of the time, I just prefer if no description is given, period.
    Hype does usually turn me off, too, especially if it’s too much hahaha I’ll usually wait until it dies before I try the book out. Also, if someone does not give me any reasons why they do or don’t enjoy a book, it’s not a review. It’s a synopsis. And it’s pretty useless indeed.
    #6, #9 and #10 are spot on! But I would never write on my books XD I just think it’s too messy and would otherwise damage them (in my opinion). Sometimes I will schedule posts but more often than not, will totally forget about it and do it a few hours before it’s due hahaha (I’m such a bad blogger) But I’m working on it!
    Thanks for sharing! ^^ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!
      That’s the best idea – no character descriptions. Then there are no problems trying to remember details 😜
      That’s usually a good plan. Or if the hype sticks around for a really long time, I’ll give it a go because it’s obviously surviving beyond its initial release.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Congrats on a year! My settings are messed up as apparently I had a WP blog that I didn’t even use just so I could post comments on someone’s blog (it was for a game I played) and so it thinks I have been blogging for three years. I’ll have to keep track manually, lol.
    I read blogger confessions like yours and then I wonder….do I do that in my reviews? Are mine boring? And I get a mini heart attack. I always wonder if the people who I follow don’t read my blog back and that’s why I don’t see them comment! Maybe I’m doing too much of this and too little of that? 🤷‍♀️
    So that’s my blogger confession: blogger confessions freak me out, lol! 😂🤣
    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. At least you’re not using that to get more review books or something 😋
      That’s a legit confession. I know I’m guilty of not reading/commenting on your posts as often as I should (which is terrible because I love your reviews). I’m just awful at keeping up with everyone I follow… that should have been one of my confessions actually.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yay, stalk me all you want, lmao! 😂
        I get your posts emailed to me, so I see them. I do that with certain blogs I’ve been following a long time. I don’t want to miss the good stuff…and I have been staying on it so now I don’t have 1400 missed emails lol!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well, when it gets creepy, just remember you said it was okay 😛 (kidding! maybe…)
        That’s a smart idea. I should set mine up to do that, because there are some blogs I miss far more than I’d like, and it’s easier than searching backwards through everything.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. So that person in the bushes right now ISN’T you, right? I’m hoping it’s my other stalker…one is enough! 😂🤣🤣😂
        Yes. It makes my life easy. I don’t miss any of my fave posters. And if it’s something I don’t want to read, I just delete. Or like it. And then I move on.
        It’s not for everyone. I do check my mail a lot. If I went all day it would stack up. But depending on how many you actually do that with, you should not ever have too many emails. I do it with too many. But maybe 10 or 20 at most would be good. 😘😉

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Nope, not me this time 😀 Still trying to figure out where I put my passport so I can get out of Canada. You’ve got some time before it’s me 😛
        That’s so brilliant. I’m gonna need to go do this (and then probably get annoyed by all the emails, but just a matter of finding balance, right??). And then I’ll be able to bother you MORE 😀

        Like

  9. I 100% agree with you about #3. When a review has the summary from the back of the book, and then the review goes on to spend half of the review summarizing it again, my eyes do a lot of skimming until I can find the actual review content. In my own reviews I summarize the book in one sentence, which can be tough but also a fun challenge! But mainly I do this because I hate reading long summaries and especially writing them, lol. I also agree with you about the difficulty of reviewing books I love- they’re a great experience while reading, but then when I go to review it’s a whole lot of figuring out different ways to say “it’s great!” But I want to review it so that others may pick it up! Reviewing books I have issues with are so much more fun to pick apart, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I totally agree with you on #3! I like to put the synopsis on my reviews, but I separate that from my actual review where I actually talk about what I thought about the book! I’m also with you on #9, it takes me way longer to write a review for a good book, plus, most of the time, my reviews for those books are like 50% shorter than my others lol! 😛

    Liked by 1 person

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