Book blogging can be a time-consuming process. It requires bloggers not only to read and review books, but also to read and comment on other blogs, host blog tours or other special events, guest post on other blogs, maintain several social media accounts, design a website, and take book photographs or make other graphics. After all this, it can be very disappointing to see that barely anyone is visiting. As a result, many bloggers feel pressured to change their reading or blogging habits in order to raise their statistics.
This is an understandable reaction. After all, we blog because we want readers. We want to interact with other book lovers, not scream into a void. However, though I do take into consideration what our readers seem to enjoy, I do not allow the lure of page views to impact my reading or writing habits in a noticeable way. That is, I will make small changes, such as scheduling posts on days that get more traffic, reading a popular book (that I wanted to read anyway) sooner rather than later when possible, and making sure that I schedule a discussion post every now and then since readers seem to enjoy them more than they enjoy reviews (at any rate, they get about four times the traffic). I will not, however, make changes that make me dislike blogging, keep me from reading the books I enjoy, or feel like reading is a chore.
I don’t have any real secret for my success in managing to stay above the pressures that says we “have” to read certain books, “have” to get ARCs, or “have” to post about certain things or so many times a week. All I have is a simple attitude: I am in charge of my blogging. To say that I “have” to do something would suggest that I am a powerless victim at the forces of some vague attitude floating around the book blogosphere. But I refuse to be powerless. I take full responsibility for my choices in reading and in blogging. I am in control and have the authority to say “yes” or “no” to certain books, certain posts, certain schedules. It’s immensely freeing.
Sometimes it can be helpful to remember that we are in charge. We don’t have to feel like we “have” to do something just because someone else wrote that we do. And I like to think that putting ourselves in charge actually can benefit us in the long run. If we all “have” to do the same things, no one would have any reason to choose our blog over someone else’s–all blogs would, after all, have the same content. Putting ourselves back in charge opens us up to originality and creativity–two things that will surely help draw traffic in the long run.