The thing you’ll hear a lot around the book blogging community is that no one gets going on here because they wanted a million followers and hits and ARCs and all the lovely benefits that come with talking about books online.
And for the most part, I believe this (though there are totally people around who get into this because of the ARCs and review copies, but this isn’t about that).
But the one thing I’ve found the longer I’m running this blog is that I do look at the stats. I check my page views religiously, and keep charts of how much my stats increase, how my followers increase. At first, it was because it was cool to see how it was growing. My reviews and posts were getting attention, and that was really cool.
But then I had a month that fell short of the last. I’d been busy with life and gotten up less posts, read a bit less than the month before. And my stats reflected it.
When it comes down to it, I’m not reviewing and posting for the stats. I enjoy talking about books, and I like writing reviews. But I’m also not going to say that the stats don’t matter to me.
And the longer I do this, the more I find myself comparing my blog to others, especially those who started around the same time I did. And especially especially the ones who are so clearly doing better than me, if follower numbers and ARCs are anything to go by.
I know I’m not the only one, because I’ve seen mention of this before, on blogs and on Twitter. Which is nice. To know I’m not alone.
But it’s funny how the approval and acknowledgement of others is so important to us as bloggers. How we measure our success in the number of books we’ve received for review or the number of people who subscribe to our page.
This article talks about approval on a more basic level than our blogging, but it still makes a good point. We’re conditioned to seek approval from when we’re really young, and we just change the definition to suit our needs as bloggers. I’ve also read an article (forgive me for not linking it – I can’t find it again) that says that every ping to our phone with a comment or a like from our blog page or social media causes the release of dopamine in our brains. We feel good when we see that someone likes our stuff or wants to follow us.
Book bloggers also take this a step further, because we are rewarded for larger followings and more hits with books. Granted, we owe work for this book we receive, but if you’re going to be reading and reviewing anyway, it’s a pretty sweet deal. And it makes sense. Publishers and authors aren’t going to send books to people who only have a couple people reading their posts, when they have the option of sending it to someone who may get dozens of hits on a review.
So basically, book bloggers are trained to watch their stats and to care about their stats because it’s indicative of our success as book bloggers, and we’re predisposed to crave the approval of others, especially those we deem important.
Which kind of sucks. But that’s the reality of what we do.
And maybe you’re sitting there, thinking to yourself, ‘I don’t care how many followers I have’. Good for you.
But for the rest of us, how do we deal with the doubt that comes along with seeing blogs and bloggers that are far more successful than we are?
I can only make suggestions, but this is what I’ve found helpful:
1. Track your own stats to watch your growth. I especially track the number of followers I gain each month, because this number typically goes up, rather than fluctuating.
2. Acknowledge your real life. Sometimes, I have lousy stats for a month, but a lot of great things were happening outside of my reading and blogging life. And that’s worth the trade for me.
3. Use it as motivation. Quality over quantity is a good rule for blogging (among many other things), so use those feelings when you see someone outstripping you on the stats front and get better at what you do. What could you improve on? What could you do to make your blog unique? If you’re going to have those feelings anyway, might as well put them to good use.
4. Decide whether you’re happy with how your blog is going, and go from there. This is a big one for me, because I know I could be doing more and better with my blog if I had more free time. But I don’t. So I note the fact that I got three review copies this month, I had a good month for my blog, and I am pleased with the posts I published, and decide to be happy with it.
Do you experience this too? Got some thoughts? Got some suggestions? Let us know in the comments below!