6 Lessons Learned from Book Blogging in 2018

Happy 8th Blogoversary to NovelKnight!

POSTED ON January 3, 2019 BY Austine IN Discussion

A laptop side-view with the text 6 Lessons Learned from Book Blogging in 2018, a NovelKnight Book Reviews book blog discussion

It’s here. 8 years of book blogging. Just. . . wow. I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for that long!

I started in this community as a teen and kept going through both my degrees, and still do it working full time. Nearly a decade of ups and downs, of great books (and not-so-great ones), of community building and finding a place where I could fangirl over books without judgment.

So thank you, to all of you who’ve supported me over the years. You don’t know how much that means and how it helps me keep going and doing this each and every day.

Last year for my blogoversary, I talked about some of the things I learned over the years. I really liked that post and it seemed y’all did too based on the number of comments so I decided to do something similar this year and discuss a few things from this past year that I think are important.

So let’s chat!

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First and foremost, take care of yourself and your mental health.

When you need to take a break, take a break. When you’re just not feeling a book, set it aside (I’m not saying you need to DNF or anything, just give yourself some time). Be a mood reader. Be a content creating monster. Be yourself.

One of the biggest things I’ve struggled with as a blogger is creative burnout. And it has a nasty habit of affecting not just content creation but the rest of my life too. 2018 taught me that book blogger stress is real and some of the pressures that we put on ourselves can be seriously detrimental to our mental health.

Did y’all know that I’ve barely read anything in the last couple months? I’m someone who used to read 3-4 books a week. But I just couldn’t find the energy or motivation to do anything. I was in a serious rut. So one of my goals for 2019 is to step back and just read again and I put that goal to all of you.

Remember why you’re talking about books in this community, why you started in the first place. But make sure you take care of yourself too. It’s okay to step back from the community. Guess what? It’ll be here when you return ❤

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Find a platform you like. Automate the rest.

NovelKnight has a presence on most of the big social media platforms, and a following on each one. Why? Because I automate the crap out of this blog and my content 😂

But real talk here, maintaining multiple social media pages can be a pain in the butt. No one has time for that unless it’s your full-time job. My guess? The majority of you talk books online as a hobby.

Am I right?

But having a presence on those other pages can be helpful. My largest following (about double my second largest) is on a platform where all the content is just cross-posting from somewhere else. So for all you trying to be everywhere at once, I gift you this lovely website:

IFTTT.com

If you hadn’t heard of IFTTT (If This then That), it’s a website that allows you to create “applets” which are customized actions that will execute when certain criteria are met. For example, you share a post on bookstagram. You could have an applet that shares that post to Twitter automatically. Or Tumblr. Or Pinterest. Or wherever you want!

Rather than spread yourself thing (remember my first tip?) put your creative energy into fewer platforms and automate to keep content flowing everywhere else.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t post to all of your social media pages. I’m suggesting to prioritize and save yourself some time and energy.

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Mute/Block liberally

This was on my list last year too and is still relevant.

Online, your feed is yours. There are no rules that say you have to see certain content if you don’t want to. And I think we need to get out of the mindset that when you block someone, it’s a personal attack.

More times than not, when I block someone, it’s because the mute function wasn’t working (looking at you Twitter) and I really didn’t want to see their content for XYZ reasons. I keep certain phrases muted too, including anything related to the current government on-goings in the U.S. I see it enough on the news. When I come online, this is my space to talk about something I love. So that’s what I want to see.

There’s no reason for you to see content that you find toxic.

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It’s OKAY to care about your stats

I’m honestly a bit tired of seeing people say that numbers don’t matter when I have a feeling that most of us have thought about our page views or followers or likes or whatever at least once. Probably more than once.

The numbers aren’t bad. In fact, your stats can be a great way to see how you’ve improved your content over time. Where it becomes toxic is when you start comparing your stats to others. Everyone has their own journey to take and may not get to the same place in the same way.

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ARCs are great until they’re not. Find the balance.

The BIGGEST struggle of 2018: nearly every book I read was an ARC. I don’t recommend it.

I started the year with this idea that I’d have ALL the time to read and review. Then I did my student teaching. And finished my Master’s degree. And went job hunting. And got a job. And it all went downhill. I ended up reading ARCs and new releases because I had them for review and didn’t have time for anything else.

Yes, I realize that it’s primarily my fault for trying to tackle too much. I love promoting authors’ work. It’s one of the reasons I started blogging, using whatever I could find in the library or what few books I had at the time on my shelves.

So lesson learned. Find the balance. If you see you’re reading a LOT of new/upcoming releases and not getting to any of the other books on your TBR, ask yourself why and try to balance it out. Your TBR will thank you and so will your reading life.

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Now my final piece of advice counters everything I just said:

Take all advice with a grain of salt

Everything I just said? It’s based on my personal experiences. Which means that it may not apply to you. I made the mistake when I started blogging of searching for posts about how to be a book blogger, how to write a good review, how to do this or that. And every post claimed they had the answer but I quickly learned that trying to mimic it all wasn’t working for me.

When it comes to advice, pick and choose what works for you. There are a million different ways to do something so find the one that works for you!

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Thank you for another fantastic year of book blogging, everyone!


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13 responses to “6 Lessons Learned from Book Blogging in 2018

  1. Wow, I hope I’m still blogging after 8 years! 2019 will be year 6 for me. I can relate to the creative burnout. I had to cut down on how often I posted last year because I didn’t have the energy for blogging. I’m getting better with block/mute/unfollow. I did a lot of that last year because people were getting on my nerves. I don’t want my feeds to be full of negativity and arguing.

  2. This was so good to read! Thank you! I am a newbie blogger and I have been overwhelmed multiple times in the last few months setting up my blog. I created it as a hobby and need to keep reminding myself! I also don’t want to be bogged down by ARCs I’m not interested in. I recently requested too many then put myself on a ban so I can read what I want. I hope 2019 is really rewarding for you!

  3. Congratulations on 8 years and thanks for the great advice! I used to use IFTTT but I stopped for no real reason. I just re-downloaded it.

  4. This is some great advice. I wish I was better at following it because I might logically have a lot of these points floating around in my head, but between anxiety and stress and a dozen other things, I fail at following through with putting the advice into practice. ^^;

    Congrats on 8 years of blogging!

  5. Lily M.

    Wow!! 8th Blogoversary :):) Congratulations!!! Thank you so much for this awesome opportunity 🙂

  6. Muting people is one of my favorite things to do. I am also all about finding the ARC balance. I get shot in the foot with late approvals, since many pubs leave you hanging, but I hope to keep it 50/50 ARC/backlist books. Congrats on 8 years!

  7. Gayathri Lakshminarayanan

    Great advices. I am still checking out ways to automate my work. But I am somehow not able to connect WP to IFTTT.

  8. These are such good tips and tricks! I actually hadn’t heard of IFTTT before but my social media management is atrocious, so I might have to give it a go!