I just did something that was really difficult for me...something that I have been hemming and hawing about for months and months now, but I haven't been able to fully commit to.
I just said goodbye to my book blog.
For real this time.
I started my book blog two years ago. It was never supposed to be a book review blog...in fact, I didn't know anything about book blogging at the time, and I certainly had no idea there was such a large community of book bloggers. I really just started it as a place for me to talk about the books I was reading and share them with the members of my online book club. I never "reviewed" books or gave star ratings, I just talked about what I liked or didn't like about a book and that was it.
Somehow it grew. It took on a YA focus. I started participating in memes. I started getting ARCs from publishers. I started getting followers. It was so exciting! I had a real blog with a real audience! I made it pretty, I bought a domain, I felt like a legit member of the YA community.
But from there it became a lot of WORK. I somehow started posting every single day. Seven posts a week. That was a LOT of reading. And a LOT of typing. I was participating in ARC tours, which was awesome, but those come with reading deadlines, and I was putting off my writing so I could read/blog in time. I still loved my blog, but it got so involved that it wasn't really fun anymore.
Then I started hearing advice from out in the world about writers/aspiring authors publicly reviewing books. As in, they shouldn't do it. It can be a liability for many reasons.
I'll make it clear, I have ALWAYS been professional when discussing books. I have never bashed an author or talked trash on a book. But I had posted about every single book I had read, and I didn't love every single one of them. I didn't have a glowing review for all 200+ books I've read in the past two years. And suddenly this was a liability.
I couldn't stand the idea of giving up my blog! It was my baby! I had worked so hard on it! But the more people I asked (writers, authors, agents), the more I heard the same thing. If you want to be published, you shouldn't be reviewing books.
There were two major things that helped me make the decision. Back when I first brought up this issue on my book blog I got lots of comments from both sides. However, one piece of advice stood out more than any other.
Tahereh said: i think maybe you have to ask yourself what your main focus is -- are you more of a writer or more of a reader? are you hoping more to cultivate your career as a writer or a book blogger?
Well, duh. I don't want to be a blogger for the rest of my life. I want to be a writer! So that's where my focus should be, right?
It wasn't that easy for me, though. I still thought and thought and thought about it. I couldn't just GIVE UP 500+ followers. I couldn't just give up my ARC tours. I tried to throw myself back into my blog but...it just wasn't there anymore. I read two highly anticipated new releases and I just didn't like them that much. But I couldn't bring myself to say that on the blog anymore. But I didn't want to lie, either. So I just said...nothing.
My posts went from daily to maybe once or twice a month. I wasn't reviewing every book I read anymore, because I didn't always have glowing things to say.
Then came the second major thing that helped me decide. I had read many blog posts and followed many twitter conversations about this writing/reviewing issue, but it was this post by Susan Dennard on Regan's blog that made me realize that it was really just time to let it go.
So tonight I made it private. You can't see my book blog anymore.
I'm sad about it. I'm sad about losing the little community that I created over there. I'm sad about not being able to talk openly about every book I read like I used to. I'm sad because I know the ladies on my online book club really counted on my blog for YA recs. And worst of all, I wrote my blog address in the book my friends and I gave John Green and now he has no way of finding me online!
But in other ways I am glad. It had stopped being fun awhile ago, and it was feeling more like a job. My time has been stretched so thin lately that having two blogs in addition to two jobs and everything else I have going on was just silly. I was actually feeling stressed out by being contacted by publicists and publishers. I started to dread signing on to blogger.
So, while it's sad, it's also a HUGE relief. It's something big off of my plate. It's one less thing possibly keeping me from my dream. IT'S KEEPING MY PRIORITIES IN LINE. Because I want to be a writer, not a blogger, and I need to remember that
You'll never get me to stop talking about books I love, though. I'll have to designate a day here on this blog where I do book raves, because if there is one thing I love more than anything it's spreading the word about books I'm in love with, and not having a dedicated book blog is not going to stop me.
So, what do you guys think about the whole writer/reviewer debate? Do you think I did the right thing?