Blogging “Rules” I Ignore with Relative Impunity

Request ARCs to Stay Relevant

I like to think that books remain relevant because we continue to talk about them for months and even years after their release date.  If I have a recent release, sure, I’ll review it, but I don’t worry about “keeping up” with everyone else.  In fact, many bloggers seem to get tired of seeing reviews for the same book in their feed, so why not switch it up?

I also just don’t see the need to request ARCs.  In the U.S., interlibrary loan means that, even if my library doesn’t own a book, I can request another library mail their copy to me.  This basically means I have access to every book in every library in the country.  I may have to wait for a new release (most libraries keep “new” books for patrons), but I have plenty to read while I wait.  (I understand not every country has a library system like this–I am merely explaining why I don’t request ARCs.)

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Participate in Tons of Memes to Get Views

We used to do memes, but, after a few years, I realized all my Top Ten Tuesday lists featured the same book.  (My favorite characters, favorite quotes, and favorite settings all, strangely enough, come from my favorite book.)  This seemed like it would be kind of boring for our readers, so I stopped.  However, I don’t think traffic has decreased because our most trafficked posts are discussion pieces and not memes.

Furthermore, I have seen other bloggers note that their feeds look all the same on Tuesdays and Wednesdays–everyone is doing the same memes.  So, again, I want to switch it up.  A blogger might randomly pick my meme out of dozens of the same meme to read, but I think there’s a larger chance that they would select my post to read if it didn’t have the same title as a bunch of other posts in their feed.

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Comment Back without Exception

I try to visit the blogs of people who leave comments, but I don’t stress myself out about it.  When I have time, I’ll go through recent posts and try to get to mostly everyone.  But, after a designated amount of time spent doing this, I stop and move onto the other things I have to do.  I think most of our readers understand that real life comes before blogging and several have commented that they don’t expect anything in return for the comments they leave.

Personally, I think this is a freeing thought.  Bloggers do like to comment back and be friendly–that’s one of the great things about book blogging!  However, they’re also very understanding that sometimes it just doesn’t happen and that’s okay, too.   So no one should feel bad about not having enough time to do everything they “have” to do.  I see bloggers apologizing all the time for being away for health problems or family situations, but no one should feel guilty for putting their health and happiness before blogging.  It’s okay.  Take the time you need!

Of course, it is true that bloggers typically see increased traffic on their blogs when they comment on other blogs.  This is why so many bloggers post about the need to comment back.  However, I believe that even commenting should come in moderation.  While it is important to get your name out there, it is also important to focus on building relationships with bloggers whose work you actually like (rather than commenting literally everywhere under the sun) and important to focus on your mental health as a blogger.  If trying to comment back on literally every single comment out of 50 comments is too much, try commenting on maybe 20 instead and go from there.

What blogging “rules” do you consider optional?

77 thoughts on “Blogging “Rules” I Ignore with Relative Impunity

  1. Greg Hill says:

    I don’t request ARC’s either. I just don’t really see the need? I mostly buy or borrow what I want to read, and there’s no shortage. I do occasionally miss getting them, but not that often. And I agree with you on the other points too, especially on commenting. RL does have to come first, and it’s supposed to be a fun hobby, not a chore, so you’re right about that. Great point!

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      I don’t see the need for ARCs, either, frankly. I am perfectly capable of waiting for new releases to get to my library, so even if I am excited for a book, I don’t typically request an ARC. When I was younger waiting would have been more difficult, but I guess patience comes with age? Other things just seem more important than getting a book before everyone else.

      Like

  2. Kelly | Another Book in the Wall says:

    I completely agree with all your points! I will request ARCs on occasion, but I’m often not in much of a hurry to read new releases. My shelves are already packed to the brim with unread books! I also use to participate in several weekly memes, but eventually decided to limit this to just one or two. Although I would love to comment on every blog post in my feed, it is time consuming, so if I have more pressing matters to attend to, I’ll probably only comment on a few. Great post! ❤️

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Yeah, I am trying g to get through a lotof old releases I want to read and some of the unread books on my shelf. I find it very freeing to read what I want when I want! And I am enjoying some great books that I would more as out on if I were to try to read mostly new books.

      We participated in more memes when we were a new blog and it was a good way to find other blogs. But, after so many years, a lot of the topics seem to be repeating, so I don’t see the point of redoing the meme!

      Yes, I do try to go through my feed, but I am afraid I can’t comment on everything! Especially not if I want to actually read the posts and attempt to leave a semi thoughtful response!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jheelam says:

    The last rule is so passe. I do selective reading of blog posts, comment to ones that I like, without except any reciprocation. The words like ‘have to’ or ‘should’ in blogging make me want to crawl into a hole and lie there.

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Yeah, I do feel uncomfortable with the idea that bloggers have to do something. Yes, increased commenting means more traffic. But blogging is supposed to be a fun hobby and I am not in favor of making our hobbies feel stressful with proclamations that we all absolutely must do certain things! Life is stressful enough!

      Like

  4. Alexia Cambaling says:

    Great points! As a new blogger, I worried at first about increasing traffic for when I decide to request ARCs but now, I realize that I have so many backlist books to read so I din’t need to request new titles. Also, I’m a busy college student and forcing myself to request and read ARCs will just stress me out.

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      I do find having to read books somewhat stressful! At this point, I would rather read what I want and at my own pace! Plus, I have found that ARC reviews do not get much traffic on our big. People read and comment more when they have had time to read the book, too!

      Like

  5. itsareaderslife says:

    I completely agree with the arc’s! My TBR list is so long that I don’t really have time to read any other books. I also recently stopped doing TTT because I was using the same books every week. Great post😊

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Right now I am focusing on cutting down my TBR and reading the unread books on my shelf. I have been enjoying it a lot! Perhaps this is not surprising since I selected these books as something g I would like, so I do have a greater chance of enjoying them, versus reading all the new releases.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. fantasybooks411 says:

    I’m the same in that I don’t follow the crowd and read the same books as everyone-else. I tend to be a latecomer to new releases, only selecting the new books that peak my interest. Other than that, I pick what I read based on the blurb content and cover image. 🙂

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      That sounds like a great system! I just read a bunch of books from 2015. They were still great! Being three years old didn’t make them not worth reading! And more people can comment on my posts since they have had time to read these books, too!

      Like

  7. nicolinesimone says:

    Great post with an interesting view! I agree with all of your points. One needs to remember the joy of blogging in the first place and not feel obligated to do curtain things just because it is “expected” of them.

    Like

  8. Rachel says:

    I agree with all of this. I’ve gotten ARCs before but it’s only when the author comes to me about it. I try to read whatever I can find at my bookstore no matter how “relevant” it is now. If I’m interested in it now, then I’ll read it now.

    I try to keep up with reading and commenting on other blogs, but time certainly does get away. I try to spend about an hour a day going through my WordPress Reader, but sometimes I can’t even do that.

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Commenting takes more time than people realize, I think! I can spend an hour commenting just on my blog. Add commenting back and getting to the posts in my feed and I could spend all my free time commenting and working on the blog! I want to comment back, but I do have other things I need or want to do! 😅

      Like

      • Rachel says:

        I know what you mean. The WordPress app on my phone is constantly going off with comments on my blog. I try to keep up, but I do have a life too, lol. I’ll get on the computer and it’ll take me so long to go through them and reply.

        Like

  9. Tammy says:

    This was a great post! I agree with your thoughts on commenting. It’s hard for me to just leave generic comments, I want to actually have something to say when I visit other blogs. And I try my best to return comments but it is time consuming, and I’d rather spend my time working on blog posts. As for memes, when I participate it’s because they are FUN. But I don’t think the thrill of getting an ARC in the mail will ever go away. It’s pretty cool😁

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      I agree! I feel bad when I leave short or generic comments, though I do sometimes leave those to acknowledge I read and enjoyed the post. But giving thoughtful comments will take a long time and we dont always have enough time, sadly.

      Like

  10. mall3tg1rl says:

    I’m *slowly* starting to learn all of this. I haven’t requested an ARC in a bit, because a) I’m currently swamped with them, and b) I find myself stressing out over “oh no, what if I don’t like it and everyone else loves it!” I have noticed that the only time I really get a lot of views is when I participate in memes, though. Like I’ll put up a discussion post, and get maybe five hits. But a meme? I get sooooo many more. I do try to leave thoughtful comments, but sometimes I don’t really have much to say.

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      I do find it freeing to read what I want at my own pace! ARC deadlines can stress me out, so I would generally rather not worry about them!

      We used to get more meme views when we first started out. Maybe our audience has changed or maybe they got tired of seeing me answer LotR for everything?? 😂 But I think some people do like reading memes because they have more books to chose from when commenting g. So there is a greater chance they have read one.

      Sometimes I have nothing to say, too! 😅

      Liked by 1 person

    • Grab the Lapels says:

      One “rule” that I don’t follow is that we should only post largely positive reviews, because if we didn’t like the book, we should just not review it. I’ve lost relationships with authors that way, but it’s not fair for authors to expect bloggers to be their free praise. Reading and reviewing is time intensive, and not only that, it’s not my job to prop up the author’s career.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mall3tg1rl says:

        That’s a good one! I wrote a pretty scathing review and it’s my most read one to date. When I worked for a magazine, our editor would only publish positive reviews and it made me so angry.

        Like

          • Krysta says:

            Yes, well, when you see those stories of “authors behaving badly” (and they are few and far between–hence why they turn into “news!”), it does seem that they aren’t taking in consideration the fact that book blogs are almost primarily run as hobbies. Pretty much no book blogger is making money and, if they are, it’s not for reviewing. If a blogger invests hours into reading a book and maybe hours into writing, taking photos, formatting, and editing the post for the review, the blogger deserves some respect for doing all this free.

            It seems strange to me, then, that some authors make demands about how the review should be written, where it should be posted, etc. Yes, sometimes there is a book in exchange for review, but the cost of the book is usually not going to come close to what it would take to pay minimum wage for the hours spent reading and reviewing. If someone did some marketing for me free, I don’t think I’d feel entitled to complain about how they did it….

            Like

        • Krysta says:

          I have noticed that professional reviews tend to lean towards positivity. Even negative reviews are typically written very carefully–maybe four lines of positive and one or two lines at the end suggesting that maybe, just maybe the prose doesn’t work or the characters were flat. I suppose the editors want to remain on good terms with publishers and authors.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Krysta says:

        Yes, I know some bloggers prefer to post only positive reviews. But, for me, seeing negative reviews from a blogger reassures me that they are posting honest reviews. If I see a blogger like absolutely everything, I start to wonder how that is possible!

        I see reviews as meant for readers, not authors. I’m not writing to hurt any author whose work I thought was not yet up to par. Rather, I am explaining honestly to readers why they might want to spend their time and money elsewhere. That’s why reviews exist! For READERS to talk about books! Of course, there is a different between writing a critical review and attacking an author–but I think the majority of reviewers and authors understand the difference.

        I understand that authors work really hard to write books and some people believe that means authors should only get positive reviews. However, I have worked very hard at plenty of things and come out with less than stellar results. It happens. I could be an entire board full of Pinterest fails by myself. I don’t feel like we need to pretend that my crafting skills are excellent just because I spent eight hours on something that looks terrible. 😉 I can accept failure and move on.

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  11. Joce says:

    this was a really relatable post!! i always feel the need to review the most relevant books, but then i realize i don’t have time and it just ends up stressing me out haha!! when it comes to memes, i used to do them once a week and would have a decent amount of readership, but i think you’re 100% right that you get the most views on discussion posts, not memes

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      I imagine views vary by blog. Our audience doesn’t seem to be into memes but they apparently get a lot of traffic for other bloggers. So I guess the main takeaway is to do what works for us and not feel we have to do what other people are doing! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Samantha Duffy says:

    I started requesting ARCs as soon as I started my blog because it seemed like that was the thing to do. I got accepted for at least a dozen books, but if I am being truthful, I have only read one so far, and probably will not request any more. I personally don’t like reading on my kindle, I got one for the purpose of reading ARCs but cannot find the motivation to pick it up when I have an entire shelf full of physical books to get through…but that is just me.

    I agree about the memes though. I started out by doing as many as I could, and then I realized that all my answers contained Harry Potter… so now I only do the ones I am interested in. I also do not participate in weekly memes because like you said, my entire feed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the exact same posts, and while the same could be said at the end of a month/beginning of a new month, I enjoy those posts, and am more likely to click on those than the weekly ones.

    This was an awesome observation and I am super glad you posted about it :]

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      There are studies suggesting physical books are best for reading lengthy works so I can see not wanting to read on a Kindle. But it does seem most ARCs are digital these days!

      Yeah, I kind of scroll through my feed on Tuesday and Wednesday and everything looks the same. I get confused about what specific blog or post I am looking at sometimes!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Samantha Duffy says:

        YES! and I completely agree with you about not worrying too much about reading the newest and most popular books. It does get tiring to see the same books reviewed at the same time so adding a little spice (by ways of older or lesser known book reviews) is a nice pick me up :]

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Camilla @ Reader in the Attic says:

    I request eArcs mostly, because many publisher really don’t ship to Italy, and is kinda my only way to get access to an early copy. But that, as you said, change from country to country.

    I tend to partecipate to tags, sometimes to memes if the theme of the day is interesting, but I never post them consisntly, unless I’m passing a period of stress and writing them relax me. Plus I don’t like to leave the blog uncovered for too much time.

    I don’t comment back. I know that is one of the first etiquette rules I read around, but I barely have time to comment on the post I’m interested about. I really don’t manage to comment back too. I appreciate that people do that and I admire the one who can, but my stress would take out my mental strenght

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Well, I certainly don’t get early copies from the library! XD I sometimes have to wait six months, but I don’t really mind. I have a lot of books to read in the meantime. I just downloaded some from Project Gutenberg, so I’m excited about that!

      I think it makes sense to participate in memes and tags you find interesting! We don’t generally do tags here, but sometimes one catches our eye and we then we do it! Life’s too short not to do things you find fun, right? 😀

      I think people push commenting back because it’s the easiest way to get traffic. However, a lot of people don’t mind not getting huge stats and would rather focus on building relationships or just quietly writing away on their blog or whatever. There’s no right or wrong way to blog! If commenting is too stressful, I would definitely not do it! I don’t comment nearly as much as I would like to, but it’s sometimes hard just to keep up with my own blog!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Sammie says:

    I’m so glad you said this. xD This encompasses so many of my thoughts! Except the ARCs. I LOVE me some ARCs, because I am horribly impatient and want to read the books I’m looking forward to, like, yesterday. If I ever invented time travel, I would travel just long enough ahead in time to read the books I’m looking forward to. It’s sad but true. I also don’t have the same access as your library, which sounds wonderful. My library is connected to a ton of libraries, so I get some additional access, but they’re all small rural libraries. I mean, I’ve had holds on books for six months at a time before I’m able to get my hands on them. But that’s just me, and I wouldn’t begrudge anyone who doesn’t want to play the ARC game. I just get excited when I manage to get an ARC I really wanted, which is what I’m usually going for. 🙂

    I’m totally with you on the other two. I started using memes/GIFs because I thought that’s what you were “supposed” to do, but I really hate GIFs. And while I enjoy a good meme, I prefer to get it via Twitter on occasion. I don’t tend to read blog posts that have a ton of GIFs or memes, either, because I’m really easily distracted and it annoys me and makes it hard for me to focus on the actual post.

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      My library is in a system with other libraries and you can request books from any and a van brings the books by every few days. This is separate from requesting an interlibrary loan. Usually you can request books from system libraries through your library’s computer catalog but ILL requests are handled by the reference department. I am not sure if your library does ILL but thought I would clarify just in case.

      Yeah, I am not a fan of GIFs. People tend to use them to replace content, but I want to know what people thought of a book and why. I dont want a picture representing the state of their emotions. But that may just be me.

      I can see requesting ARCs if you are excited about the books! I think it is sad though when people feel pressured to get any ARCs just to say they did and then end up feeling overwhelmed by their pile of deadlines!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sammie says:

        Oooh that sounds like a good system! No, we don’t have anything like that. But then again, we’re also about 45 minutes away from the two closest libraries. Very rural. Then, probably an hour and a half away from maybe four or five libraries. So it’s quite a distance to cover regularly. We do have Overdrive for large area of the state my library is in, which is nice, but the wait list can sometimes be a nightmare.

        Yeah, I see people complaining about being overwhelmed and I feel bad. Reading isn’t supposed to be a job! Well, unless it’s, you know, your job. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by needing to read my ARCs in time, but it’s more of a “why are all these awesome books coming out on the same day?!” sort of a feeling.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. AB Guy writes says:

    “I try to visit the blogs of people who leave comments, but I don’t stress myself out about it” – absolutely, agree. I love connecting as much as I possibly can, but online interaction – like “real life” interaction, can be exhausting! Self-care and energy management are v. important.

    Like

  16. annelogan17 says:

    This is a great idea for a post! Hmmm in terms of rules that I regularly break, when another blogger tags me in a meme, I typically don’t actually respond to that meme/award. I thank the other blogger for the nomination of course, but I rarely write a post on it-too many books to read!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Elley @ Elley the Book Otter says:

    I try to at least reply to all comments, and if a comment is especially insightful or funny I’ll go check out the commenter’s blog (if they have one). I tried posting a few of those memes, but frankly I don’t really enjoy reading them on other blogs so I pretty much stopped that right quick, haha. And I request ARCs to read the books, not out of any attempt to stay relevant. I 100% agree with your statement about a flood of reviews for the same new release in your feed. I don’t need to read 30 reviews for the same book, thanks. 😉

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Yes, I prioritize replying to comments on my blog, but that can making commenting back difficult! And sometimes comments on my blog seem to slip through the cracks and I’ll run across them three months later and wonder if it’s too late/weird to reply! XD

      I think that’s a good way to approach ARCs. It makes sense to request ARCs that you actually want to read! 🙂

      Like

  18. (Danielle) Books, Vertigo and Tea says:

    This is such a fundamental post! I could not agree more. I do pick up ARCs, but only the ones I am vying to read. It just is not worth it to stack new releases for the sake f staying current. Books old and new offer incredible value and discussion opportunities 🙂 I particularly enjoyed your thoughts on commenting. I have been struggling with this. A year ago, I was super active in the community and commenting on everything, but now health and time do not allow. So it is important to remember we all get it!

    Like

  19. Cairene Librarian says:

    I’m kind of lukewarm about requesting ARCs…one of the issues I have with e-galleys is they’re often badly formatted or fantasy novels are missing maps. In that case I’ll usually just wait for the book to come out. Plus I completely agree that it’s more interesting to pop out of the blue with a random book folks haven’t heard of or haven’t seen in ages.

    I suuuuuuck at replying to comments on my own blog, let alone commenting anywhere else…the “like” function makes me lazy because I can just like a comment and then I’m satisfied that the person knows I’ve seen their comment.

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      A fantasy book without a map?! That sounds truly terrible! I would want the physical copy, too! And I love looking for random books at the library and discovering a gem! So often book bloggers talk about the same books and it seems we miss really great ones!

      Haha, that’s okay! Commenting takes a huge amount of time. I barely keep up with the blog sometimes.

      Like

  20. Never Not Reading says:

    Oh my gosh, all of this! I have yet to request an ARC because there are SO MANY BOOKS already on my tbr that I’m dying to read, why would I read something I’m lukewarm about just because it’s new? And if I’m dying to read a new book (Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik!!!!!), I’ll pre-order it to support the author.

    I also don’t care for Weekly Memes. In addition to not wanting to write them, frankly, I don’t want to read them either. Especially since so many people just give a title and a picture and no explanation about why they chose it. Snooze.

    And commenting back? Who has time for that?! I have two kids and a full-time job. I’m lucky if I have time to READ someone’s posts…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      Good point! I know what I like so it does make sense to read what I will enjoy rather than read something because it’s “big” or new.

      That’s true. Memes do tend to be image heavy, though I always wondered when I did them if anyone was reading the text or just skimming the images to find a book they could comment on!

      Yes, I imagine you are quite busy! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Sam @ Sharing Inspired Kreations says:

    I agree with all of those!! And I am totally guilty of doing all three when I first started blogging…and for quite some time after – haha! But, no more of that nonsense for me. Of course, if there is a meme I am interested in participating in, then I will, but not merely for the sake of getting page views, which is a reason I used to do it.

    Like

  22. theorangutanlibrarian says:

    I totally get what you mean about ARCs (though I get them occasionally) and staying relevant- if a book’s good, it’ll still be good in a few years time. I wish we could just request a book from anywhere, that’s pretty neat (you can request, it’s just it’s per borough and there’s a fee, so I don’t do it all the time). And yeah, I really agree that when lists become samey it’s a good idea to change things up 🙂 I really love your point about returning comments- I personally find it really tough to not feel guilty about this- but I also hope and think people are understanding when I can’t reply or return the favour. I do try to get about the blogosphere, but it just takes time to do it. So yeah, I love this post!! 😀 ❤

    Like

  23. buffywnabe says:

    I used to do a lot of the Top 10 Tuesday and Waiting on Wednesday posts, but like you said, a lot of the books are the same for everyone, and so I haven’t been doing those as much anymore. I reply to every comment on my posts, but I almost always only go comment back if they leave me a link. If I know exactly who it is, without a link, I’ll try to comment back, but otherwise it depends on the time I have, which isn’t always that much! Fun post!

    Check out my April Discussion Post

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Yeah, TTT was more fun when we first started out. But then even the topics started repeating/overlapping after a few years.

      I used to comment back more when we started out, too, but we also got far fewer comments then so it was easier to do without spending half my day just commenting around!

      Like

  24. Cahleen @ The Alt Story says:

    OMG, this was such a breath of fresh air! I’m still trying to figure out the “rules” of book blogging. I’m actually not a huge fan of memes, but It’s hard to know how else to get your blog out there when you’re new. Some other rules I’m bad about following – posting frequently enough (I only have time to post once or twice a week, otherwise I wouldn’t have time to read), and social media. I’m just not that into social media, so I feel so lucky that I happened to randomly come across you when I was actually on Twitter! I don’t think I would have found your blog otherwise since I don’t read YA, but I can already tell that your blog is about way more than that because I’m going down a rabbit hole of clicking now.

    Also, yes about everything you said about ARCs! Ahhhh, I feel so much better after reading this.

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      I think memes were more helpful when we were newer as they were a great way to find other blogs and for people to find us. Now that we’re more established, however, and the themes of some have started repeating, I don’t feel that we need to do them as much.

      People seem to have different ideas about how often to post. We post more often because there are two of us, but I have seem many bloggers say they prefer other bloggers post less so they have a chance to catch up on reading everything!

      Like

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