Dear Teen Me,
Get off Google Analytics. Close that tab with your page views. Stop checking your Twitter notifications every 5 minutes to see if someone new followed you (or worse, unfollowed you). You’re hitting a blogging slump, I can feel it. Time to step back and re-evaluate what’s important to you.
This blog series is not intended to be what I think ALL (teen) book bloggers should do or know, but what I wish I could tell myself. But I hope that these posts are helpful to some of y’all (or at least start a decent discussion).
As a new book blogger, I thought that your stats defined your success. If I didn’t have XXX followers or XXX page views a month, I was a failure. Somehow I was insignificant compared to other book bloggers.
Note that word “compared.”
None of it was true, mind you, but in this case perception is key. This community makes claims that your stats shouldn’t matter to you, that you should blog because you want to, that it’s better to ignore the numbers. And there’s truth to that.
But when you request a book, the publishers want your stats. When you apply to be part of a book blog tour, they ask for your stats. They do matter, but it’s about putting things in perspective.
Blogging success is not defined by a magic number.
How do I know this? There’s no designated number of followers or views under the definition of the phrase “blogging success.” And honestly, there’s not much consistency when it comes to things more relevant to us book bloggers like book requests and tours. I’ve heard “1,000 followers” tossed around a few times but if you go to a publisher’s media page, you’re likely not going to find a list of stat requirements.
There is a lack of transparency between bloggers and publishers which I think really hurts a lot of people. How are we supposed to know what publishers are looking for? If you have the connections, you can ask someone in the industry for specifics but many bloggers don’t have that kind of access yet. And this feeds a sense of competition.
You might not notice it. You might not even care. And that’s great, truly. For me, when I was a newer blogger, I felt like I was competing with other bloggers for books. That I had to be “better” than the next person or I’d be looked over. I’ve learned since then but it is SO EASY to fall into that trap of comparing yourself to other bloggers.
Your blogging experience will never be the same as someone else’s.
This is an individual hobby when it comes down to it. Sure, we have a great community but YOU are running your blog. YOU are posting content and sharing it. It’s on YOU. Which means that your growth as a blogger won’t follow the same path as someone else.
I think this is especially hard when looking at social media followings. You can excel at one platform and struggle using another. Perhaps you have a preference for Twitter over Instagram, Tumblr over Pinterest, etc. You’re going to put more time and effort into the platform that you enjoy which means you might not have as high of a following on a different platform, so is it really fair to YOU to compare that to someone else’s?
Comparing yourself to others is only going to add more stress.
It’s okay to care about your blog stats. They’re a great way to watch your growth as a blogger and can be “easy” to set goals for. Just remember that your stats may matter to you, but YOU matter more.
Don’t let the numbers get in the way of doing what you love. You don’t want to fall into the trap of constantly worrying about gaining/losing followers, of not receiving “enough” comments on a post, of the changing tides of page views. Doing that can really suck the creativity out of your blogging and put you in a slump because you’re not doing as well as you think you should be doing.
There’s no right or wrong way to blog. Be you. Be authentic. You will be successful for that alone. Everything else will fall into place whether you realize it or not.
YOU determine your success.
Blog stats aren’t the only measure of blogging success, and to be honest, they’re not a very good one unless you’re personally working on improving/changing them. Think of success as achieving a goal. If your goal is to post once a week and you do it, you’re a successful blogger. If you want to write at least 2 book reviews a month and you do it, you’re a successful blogger.
It’s your blog. It’s your space. YOU are the master of your own success.
So where does that leave you?
Should you care about your blog stats? Should you toss them to the wind and say “screw you?” I think it honestly depends on what you do as a book blogger. If you’re requesting books for review, participating in blog tours, or doing anything else where your blog stats might come into play, then don’t ignore them. Just don’t let them rule your blogging. And if you don’t do anything that requires sharing those numbers out, ignore them!
Your blog stats are not a measure of how good of a blogger you are. They are numbers, plain and simple.