February 05, 2019

Tell Me Something Tuesday: What Are Some Big Misconceptions You Had about Blogging When You Started?

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly discussion post on Rainy Day Ramblings, where the blog's owner Heidi discusses a wide range of topics from books to blogging. Weigh in and join the conversation by adding your thoughts in the comments. If you want to do your own post, grab the question and answer it on your blog.
Here is what is on deck this week:

WHAT ARE SOME BIG MISCONCEPTIONS YOU HAD ABOUT BLOGGING WHEN YOU STARTED?

Well...in my case, I wouldn't use the word "misconceptions"...it was more a case of "I didn't know what I was getting myself into". I didn't have any particular expectations, like becoming famous or getting ARCs (I didn't even know ARCs were a thing back then...). Then again, there were so many aspects of blogging I wasn't aware of before I actually started, and I bet most of them are the same for everyone (unless they're friends with another, more seasoned blogger, that is). Here goes my list...

Sorry, Ten. It's addictive...😉

IT TAKES TIME AND DEDICATION TO PUT YOUR CONTENT OUT THERE

I suppose that, back when I started, I sort of thought along the lines of...build it and they will come. I didn't realise that my posts would float into a metaphysical void until I advertised them...somewhere - and until I became part of the community. I mean, I didn't expect visitors to flock to my blog. But maybe I thought that posting my teaser reviews on Goodreads and waiting for Google to notice my posts was enough. Heck, I don't even know what I thought.


IT TAKES EVEN MORE TIME TO GET COMMENTS

You see the stats and...someone actually found your posts. They've been read (skimmed?). How come there aren't any comments waiting for approval? Someone made the effort to read your post...why didn't they leave a small, small comment? Don't they know how lonely it is in here? 😭

...AND IT TAKES LOTS OF COMMENTS ON YOUR PART, TOO

On the other hand. Do YOU comment? Have you commented on a post in the latest, I don't know, week? Or were you too busy producing "content"? Have you actively looked for blogs related to your niche, gone out of your way to meet other bloggers? Of course, one feels disoriented at first. I know I tried to fit into the community back when I started, but it was probably a heartfelt attempt. I joined a Goodreads group where people shared posts (hello Hannah Sophia Lin @ Bookwyrming Thoughts, my first follower in a follow-for-follow train, later to become a mischievous, but true friend 😉. There, there, don't cry now *hands out handkerchief*). I OCCASIONALLY commented. To say that things were slow would be an understatement. (BTW - even now, I'm not the most prolific commenter I know. Nor do I get tons of comments myself. But things are still going far better than they did back then...). 


YOUR FRIENDS WILL BE YOUR PRIMARY READERS (a.k.a. "the blogging community effect")

And then, as if by magic, you start making some friends. One of my firsts was Karen @ For What It's Worth, because we read the same book once 😂. (Seriously, I think we have, like, seven or eight books in common, so...). Plus she was hosting the Book Blogger Confession meme at the time, and I decided to participate, and...well. I met other people through it, most of which I've lost sight of over the years (I've gained some in the meantime though...). But that was when I started realising that your blogging friends will be the ones most likely to leave a comment on your blog, while passing strangers may read it, but rarely go out of their way to say hi, great post here. Your friends will occasionally even read a post of yours about something that doesn't interest them THAT MUCH, and comment on it...just because they're your friends and they want to cheer you. How awesome is that?

EVEN FRIENDS WON'T ALWAYS READ YOUR POSTS - OR COMMENT ON THEM - FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS (then again, the same will go for you...)

And yet. Sometimes a post doesn't get comments, or only a couple at most, even if you DO have friends. (Of course, I'm talking about small blogs like mine here). Maybe they didn't know what to say. Maybe they didn't have the time to leave a comment, because they don't like to just write "Great review!" or "Awesome post!". Then again, I'm guilty as charged too. Sometimes I do read a post but I feel like I don't have anything to contribute to the discussion (or maybe it's a review..."Great review!"??? No, thanks). So, basically...we're all in the same boat.


SOME REVIEWS WILL BE HARDER THAN OTHERS TO WRITE

So you've read a book, and it's review time. Sometimes you feel THAT power in your blood, and you set the page (well, the virtual one) on fire. Some other times you have too many feelings/points to make/opinions and you don't know where to start. Some other times the book left you lukewarm, but you still feel the responsibility to write a thorough review. Some other times...you're just lazy, or tired, or busy. What I mean is, not all reviews are created equal. Some of them just don't flow, or you don't even want to start on them for some reason, and you have to apply some discipline to the task...until the darned thing comes out, and sometimes it's even GOOD. But still - you had to WORK for it, dammit.

BLOGGING IS FAR MORE THAN SITTING UP AND VENTING OUT YOUR FEELINGS (at the very least, you'll need pictures and gifs)

And if writing reviews weren't enough of a slippery slope...whatever kind of post you set to writing, it's always MORE than spilling your guts. As I said, some discipline is involved. And lots of proof-reading, editing, polishing, you name it. Plus...you can't throw those HUGE blocks of text in your readers' face, can you? Where's the right gif when you need it?
And again. Of course you're supposed to speak your mind - it's your blog, after all. But you also want to sound professional, and steer the right readers towards a book, and be honest and all. So...your reviews will end up being a compromise between your aforementioned guts and...whatever inner truth the book possesses. Especially if you didn't like it as much as you expected, but you genuinely think it's a case of "it's not you - it's me"...


Well, that's it for now. And if you're interested in participating, here is the TMST prompt list for the rest of February:
  • February 12th: What Are Some of Your Favorite Recent Romantic Reads?
  • February 19th: Book Pricing: How Much Will You Pay for an Ebook? A Hard Copy? A Paperback?
  • February 26th: How Have You Learned to Keep Your TBR Pile in Check, or How Would You Like to Control Your Pile?
I'll be back for the meme on Feb. 26th, with a SHOCKING post LOL. Really 😉.

Now tell me something...did you know what you were getting into when you started blogging? In the long run, what preconceived ideas did you have to discard? And what truths did you discover instead?

24 comments:

  1. I think we were so lucky to start back when we were totally naive and clueless lol

    I knew absolutely nothing about arc's, stats and all that. If I did I probably never would have taken the leap.

    It's so hard to get started now - especially if you're looking for stats and arc's or even sponserships/ads.

    I had very few misconceptions other than it actually took off and became this ALL CONSUMING THING lol

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. Yep! If you sum the number of hours we spend reading, reviewing, making graphics, formatting, coming up with post ideas, commenting...ALL-CONSUMING is the right word LOL.

      Quote: "I knew absolutely nothing about arc's, stats and all that. If I did I probably never would have taken the leap."
      It would have been a great loss for all of us! and you too 😉.

      Delete
    2. I know there are authors and readers that do appreciate the effort (& have expressed their thanks!) but I don't think they truly understand how much time it takes and the time it takes away from other things. And we do it all for free because we love it. An arc is a wonderful thing but you can't keep this pace up just for free books. It's because we love and want to support authors/books.

      Delete
    3. Maybe some authors do, since most of them have day jobs and families and have to struggle to find the time and concentration to write...though posting a series of blog entries MAY seem a lot less work than revising a novel or something. Of course, we are our own bosses - but sometimes we have deadlines too (even self-imposed ones, but we still want to meet them for whatever reason). Then again, I'm sure that no one who doesn't have a blog truly understands what it means.

      Quote: "you can't keep this pace up just for free books. It's because we love and want to support authors/books."
      Amen to that!

      Delete
  2. Being part of a community is a LOT of work, but it's really awesome too. I am so glad I got out there and have a pretty amazing and solid circle of book buddies. I never had trouble writing reviews until I was blogging. I easily reviewed books on GR, but faced with a blog post, I all of a sudden have nothing to say.

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    1. Hah, true. You become self-conscious (especially if you know the author is going to read your review), or for whatever reason you don't feel like writing that day but maybe HAVE to because of a deadline...I sometimes have the opposite problem though - too many things to say and not a clue about organising them the best way to fit a review mold...It takes discipline!

      Delete
  3. Haha, thank goodness for friend comments, eh? In all honesty, I might have given up otherwise because it can definitely feel like no one cares about your posts if there aren't comments occasionally.
    I sometimes do have to force myself to make comments on other people's posts that I like that are more than two words - partially in hopes they will look at my blog, but also because I want them to know that someone actually TRULY read their content. I try to go back and read if they responded, but that can be hard.
    YES - I thought I could just rant...but I decided to make my reviews spoiler-free and "relatively" unbiased. Maybe that's why I don't get readers...but I wanted people to be able to be informed about the good and the bad rather than forcing them to read a book.

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    1. It DOES take time to gain a circle of followers/friends (which BTW is still small in my case after more than 6 years...so no worries!), and it's part of the "hard work" that blogging is. I hear you about comments. Especially with reviews, it's not always easy to know what to say...it's not like they are a discussion post (unless you have read the book already, that is).(Which reminds me that I have bookmarked your "Heaven" review for a future comment LOL).

      I have the same stance about reviews, always have. It's a delicate balance between fangirl and professional. But believe me, getting followers is not a matter of how one reviews. It takes time to find your voice sometimes (which is what people will end up loving...or hating haha), and much more time to put it out there. One thing that helps is straight-up putting a signature under your comments (that is, in your case, something like "Shayna @ Clockwork Bibliotheca" where the whole thing is turned into a clickable link). It's not invasive as you might think - lots of people do that. Also, having your blog link listed under your Blogger profile - though I might be the only person who does look and see if there's one when someone new to me comments LOL. And finally...in my case, Twitter helped, if a little. There are people who find you on it, and maybe won't go to the trouble of actually following your blog, but will get your updates on there and MAYBE visit if they strike their fancy. Do you have a Twitter or Goodreads account, BTW?

      Delete
    2. It can be really funny because I sort of want to say to people "I don't want to read this book, but great review" because I like the style of a lot of bloggers but don't read similar books.
      And thanks for your future comment ;)
      Thanks for your pointers, I really appreciate it. If I could just get somewhere closer to 20, I think I would be satisfied, haha. And true about Twitter...even if I only update it like I do my Goodreads, it might be useful. I don't have one yet, but it might be something to consider.

      Delete
    3. Quote: "I sort of want to say to people "I don't want to read this book, but great review"".
      Haha, same. Of course, it would feel a little awkward, especially since the point of positive reviews is to tell people that a book is worth reading 😉.

      Delete
  4. I definitely didn't realize that so much of blogging was shouting into the void. My blog is still pretty small by Tumblr standards, and though I have way more followers than I ever expected, some posts just don't take off--and there seems to be no way to guess what will and what won't.

    Tumblr's been having some issues lately, so I was thinking about putting together an independent blog over the summer when I have more time. But starting near the bottom again is daunting, and do I have time to maintain another platform, etc. etc. You're totally right about the community! That small group of people and sharing books we love make it really worthwhile. <3

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Quote: "I definitely didn't realize that so much of blogging was shouting into the void."
      YES. That's absolutely it. Same with the posts that "don't take off" - or that at least don't seem to, because if you look at your stats (which I do, like, once every six months probably 😄), you can see that those posts have been read, only they didn't generate comments. Reviews usually don't, which I can understand, since I'm guilty of reading them and not commenting sometimes. Also, it's not easy to convince someone to read a book they may never have heard of just because YOU liked it. In my case, I seem to have a bunch of friends who tend to read different genres than the one I favour (like contemporary romance or fantasy), so it's even rarer than we influence each other. I think you are the only person I know whose reading tastes overlap mine significantly.

      It would be great if you were able to start a self-hosted blog! But I hear you about starting anew. I don't know if there can be a way of migrating and taking your followers with you...in case you decided to drop Tumblr entirely, that is. Also, you might want to incorporate your old reviews into it (?), which I suppose would be nothing short of intimidating. If you decide to take the plunge though, I will promote you shamelessly among my five actual readers 😂.

      Delete
    2. Tumblr doesn't track stats the way a normal blog does because there's no way to know who's been viewing your post once it's reblogged, so activity (reblogs, likes, comments) is easy to check daily. Reviews are exactly the same there though. I might get one or two notes, usually from the same faithful, lovely blogging friends, and they almost never get reblogged. I'm not the only book blogger there who's frustrated by it. The Tumblr community reads mostly popular YA, so I'm half in, half out. I love how much our tastes overlap! 💛

      I probably won't drop Tumblr altogether because I really love it. But I was there for the fall of Myspace, and it looks like Tumblr is heading that way too unless they do some serious turnaround. They alienated a lot of bloggers by banning NSFW content, and while that doesn't affect my blog specifically, I don't appreciate censorship. Plus now a lot of blogs have been flagged for no reason, regardless of their content. It's messy. Thank you so much for your support though! If I get it up and running, you'll be the first to know. Moving nearly 400 reviews is daunting. I'd be lucky to finish in one summer. 😂

      Delete
    3. Quote: "The Tumblr community reads mostly popular YA, so I'm half in, half out."
      At least you're half in LOL. The only popular books I've read are probably the Anna Dressed in Blood and Jenna Fox series (before I had enough friends who would check up my posts) and now the Wayward Children series...that almost none of my friends have read (seriously - how come I can never score? 😂).

      Ha, I remember Myspace! I've a had a Queen one (I mean the band, of course 😂) for a while. I seem to remember that Tumblr blocked blog tours and the likes as well? stuff that might be interpreted as a favour exchange between authors and bloggers? I'm pretty sure I read something along those lines, and it was Tumblr-related...

      I would love for you to have a blog where I can comment LOL. Seriously, I mean, you deserve a better platform!

      Delete
    4. Tumblr has a bit of a Wayward Children following, maybe in part because Seanan McGuire has a really active blog there. She's known to reblog people's artwork and such, which is really awesome.

      Haha, nice! I used Myspace for roleplaying in high school. It feels like a million years ago. Now that we have more versatile social media, I don't think I would care for it. Oooh. I haven't heard anything about Tumblr blocking blog tours. That sounds like the kind of ridiculous rule they would have though.

      Lol! You're so sweet. I'm leaning hard toward starting one up in the summer. Better to be proactive, I think. And we get by pretty well, but I'd love it if you could comment too. <3

      Delete
    5. I'm surprised that McGuire is so active on Tumblr - she never seems to acknowledge mentions on Twitter. Then again, I suppose Tumblr is much more manageable LOL.

      Quote: "I'm leaning hard toward starting one up in the summer."
      Eeeeeeee! 💃💃💃

      Delete
  5. IT TAKES TIME AND DEDICATION TO PUT YOUR CONTENT OUT THERE -- yes & I did thought the same thing as you because I really don't like social media but I like participating in blog memes and prompts and events so that is basically how I sort of advertised because I don't like leaving my blog link on social media because then all your post there is all links and who wants to follow you for that?

    IT TAKES EVEN MORE TIME TO GET COMMENTS -- yes it does. sometimes I just wonder if writing a few words is enough, something like, 'hey, that's nice' just sounds a bit like you haven't read the post.

    ...AND IT TAKES LOTS OF COMMENTS ON YOUR PART, TOO - yes, I think leaving a comment is the best thing a reader can do which is what I do because I suck at social media.

    EVEN FRIENDS WON'T ALWAYS READ YOUR POSTS - OR COMMENT ON THEM - FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS -- commenting is a bit of an awkward business because you want to give your opinion but at the same you don't want to sound like a jerk or an advertisement for your blog. I do remember people leaving, 'nice blog' and then they leave their links which makes me doubt they have read the post and some of my posts are quite long.

    SOME REVIEWS WILL BE HARDER THAN OTHERS TO WRITE -- Technically I'm not a book reviewer but I can say writing any thoughts on a book is hard. but I do like honest reviews.

    BLOGGING IS FAR MORE THAN SITTING UP AND VENTING OUT YOUR FEELINGS -- actually, I believe some bloggers does do this and include photos and gifs. I see nothing wrong with that. I was drilled into the idea that a post needs a photo or a graphic because seeing a block of text is boring even if the words aren't.

    I had no expectations or misconceptions when I started blogging which is probably a lie though I can't remember now but I did have very low expectation. very, very low. I didn't expect to get readers right away and I suppose the novelty of having a place on the web didn't wear off until, well, maybe it never wore off because whenever I see an email that someone has commented on my blog, I get a little giddy.

    I'm sorry for the long comment, I can't seem to edit myself these days.

    have a lovely day.

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    1. Quote: "I don't like leaving my blog link on social media because then all your post there is all links and who wants to follow you for that?"
      If you frame the link gracefully, it's not so bad 😉. Then again, on FB or Twitter you're supposed to say SOMETHING from time to time, or at least to connect with what other people are saying. I understand it can be intimidating. I'm not the hugest fan of social media, but I can handle Twitter (it helps that I have a few friends there).

      Quote: "sometimes I just wonder if writing a few words is enough, something like, 'hey, that's nice' just sounds a bit like you haven't read the post. [...] I do remember people leaving, 'nice blog' and then they leave their links which makes me doubt they have read the post and some of my posts are quite long.
      That's the main problem with comments...sometimes I struggle with finding something more to say myself, because I HAVE read the post, and I WANT to leave a meaningful comment...but I don't really know what to say. That's when I end up not leaving any comment, even if I honestly liked the post and I would like the person in question to know.
      "Nice blog" or "nice post" is a telltale comment though. It's why I'm wary of those memes where tons of people participate, because there's always someone who's only in it for the comments (OK, everyone IS, but it shouldn't be the only reason LOL), and there's no way one can visit ALL the participants' blogs and leave a thoughtful comment. I prefer the smaller memes, even better if there isn't a linky.

      Quote: "BLOGGING IS FAR MORE THAN SITTING UP AND VENTING OUT YOUR FEELINGS -- actually, I believe some bloggers does do this and include photos and gifs. I see nothing wrong with that."
      You can absolutely be a blogger and do that. But I was talking from a book blogger's angle...which means you need a compromise between fangirling (for lack of a better word) and being professional, because a big chunk of it boils down to writing reviews, promoting books you love, criticising books you didn't like, etc.

      And you don't need to edit yourself! I love long comments, also because they make for great conversations!

      Delete
    2. I think my problem with twitter is that, I don't know why but I got a disconnected feeling when I was on twitter, I follow them, they follow me, but since I wasn't writing everyday life stuff (I was writing mini stories), I suppose it's why my tweets are not really conversation-worthy.

      that's often my problem too with comments - sometimes I just have nothing to say, well, nothing worth leaving, I really don't like to leave a almost dull comment as if I have no energy to type in a few words and also I don't like to use exclamation marks which might be why I sound a bit dull here and there.

      I sort of like it sometimes when book bloggers fangirl books - sometimes they really hit the point, know exactly what the book(s) is about, I think that's how I got to reading a lot of books I wouldn't otherwise read

      I do edit myself a lot when it comes to comments because I rather like to get to the point in as few words as possible and sometimes, I don't, but mostly out of laziness.

      have a lovely day.

      Delete
    3. Twitter is all about finding your tribe, I guess. I know someone who writes mini stories as well (most of the time, though for example we also fangirl about David Tennant and Doctor Who together once in a while LOL) but there are other people who do that - I see hashtags around for that purpose.

      I do like exclamations marks, but even if you don't use them, you don't sound dull. It probably easier to convey your feelings with stuff like emojis (that I admit to love a lot), but at the end of the day, you're entitled to your style, and people will end up getting used to it and loving it all the same. (Which reminds me I have your April Gale series bookmarked and I hope to make time for it one of these days!).

      Delete
  6. The community aspect is what brought me back to blogging (specifically book blogging), because I missed the friendships and conversations. Yes, there were people I still kept in touch with through texting, email, etc., but it just wasn't the same. I stopped when I started having kids, because I didn't think I could dedicate the time needed to run a blog. Although, I was also getting pretty bummed about blogging in general, so I deleted everything.

    Looking back, it was a rash decision, but it's what I needed at the time. I focused on myself, my kids, and things that made me happy. When I decided to rejoin the book blogging community, it was because I missed making those friendships and discussing books! I've made some of my very best friends through blogging, and Karen is one of them. We've even met up at events like ALA and been able to enjoy each other's company in person. How amazing is that? I love it when online friendships can work in real life, too. She's not the only one, but there are others I've met at events over the years, and it's so great to put online personalities with actual faces. People are amazing!

    And you! We don't often read the same books, but I love the content you provide on your blog. It's always well-researched and thought out. You care about the books you read, and the people that wrote them. You seem to be connected to the authors as well as their stories, even when their books don't always work for you. You make a point to appreciate the people, and it shows. I love popping in and commenting on your blog and seeing what you have going on!

    Personally, I respond to all comments left on my blog, and I make time at least once a week to visit everyone that leaves a comment. I also try to find one new blog to follow every month. It's been working so far! I like making friends I can converse with. ;)

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? 💬

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    1. I think, once you've been blogging for a while, you're going to miss it if you stop - even if stepping off it was the best thing for you at the time, or the one you had to do for any given reason. It's not only that you miss an outlet for your thoughts - you miss talking to the other people in a way that's different from emails or tweets. And you miss having a conversation with more than one person at a time about the same thing.

      You're lucky to have met Karen, I'm sure! As I'm sure that you got the chance to meet many other online friends who turned out to be awesome in person, too. It must feel like a small family when a bunch of bloggers meet one another at BEA, ALA or wherever. I'm envious LOL.

      Awww, you're so sweet. But I have to admit that you're right - I care about the books I review and their authors. Unless a book is an absolute disaster (well, to me at least - and thank goodness...and my researches...I've only had a few book disappointments so far), I always try to steer the right people towards it. I'm so happy that it shows!

      Comments eat up a lot of time...especially if you're the kind of person who likes to leave a detailed one (which you are 😉). And I understand that reviews hardly generate any comment (I'm guilty about that too 😟). But they are the heart and soul of this blogging thing, so it's all worth it!

      Delete
  7. GOOD MORNING ROBERTA. I'M HERE APPROXIMATELY A WEEK LATER TO SLIDE INTO YOUR MORNING VERY CASUALLY. And hey now, who said I was crying? Shouldn't you be the one crying? You're one of the people who watched me GROW UP.

    I agree with the whole comments thing and learned later that if I want to get comments (rather, continue), I would have to do the same as well. I guess in my defense it was kind of my anxiety? What if I reveal my true self and no one liked my quirky comments?

    "Even friends won't always read your posts or comment on them for a number of reasons." Stop attacking me, Roberta, OMG. I personally prefer commenting on posts that I can at least develop a meaningful comment to (sometimes there's nothing and well... it sucks).

    I think it's safe to say that according to one of my recent posts, I THOUGHT REVIEWING IS EASY SOMETIMES. It was easier to word vomit back then because I guess I was 15 and no one reads my little blog, hahahaha. What a big misconception there.

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    1. Haha, I just wished you a good afternoon on your site. And I should probably be crying now, like a virtual parent who saw her little girl grow up. But in that case, mine should be happy tears 😉.

      That's a valid point, being anxious about commenting. But I guess until we're respectful and honest at the same time, comments will always be well-received. Maybe it just takes a little time to realise that.

      Quote: "I personally prefer commenting on posts that I can at least develop a meaningful comment to (sometimes there's nothing and well... it sucks)."
      LOL, I wasn't thinking about you specifically - and I do the same thing on occasion. I think after you've been blogging for a while, you come to realise that some posts won't get comments, but it doesn't mean they were sub-par or not interesting - and you start to expect that, and to make peace with that.

      Quote: "I guess I was 15 and no one reads my little blog, hahahaha. What a big misconception there."
      😂

      Delete

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