Tuesday, November 5, 2013

WHY AM I HERE?

I think I'm going through a blogging existential crisis. I have a few questions running through my head on a loop lately. What am I doing here? Why am I doing it? Am I happy with how I'm doing it?

The answers to the first two questions is easy. I'm here because I love books, and I love to talk about them with other book lovers. It's not enough for me to read. If I feel something, anything for a book, I need to be heard. I want to know that someone else heard me, and then I can let them somewhat go. The answer to the last question isn't as clear cut. In many ways I am happy with how I blog. I'm honest. I'm fair, or as fair as I can be. It's impossible to be completely objective when reading, we all bring our personalities and experiences to the table when we open a book. But I always try really hard.

But in some ways, I don't feel happy with what blogging has become to me. Or what it would become to me if I let it. I've found myself caught in the fray a few times. The competition, the quest to read all the new and hot books so that I can say I was there at the beginning. The numbers. Oh my gosh, the numbers. For a long time, I never paid attention to my blog numbers. I barely knew how many GFC followers I had, didn't even have a clue on how to search for the numbers of RSS and email subscribers. I didn't even have a page view count up for the first six months of the blog. But back then, I posted a couple times a week, and wasn't super active among the blogs. I only blogged because I loved it.

I don't know why that changed. Partially, it could be due to all the posts and tweets I saw from the bloggers with "authority". I woke up and thought "Hey, am I doing this wrong?" If I don't know what an SEO/unique visitors/etc. is, does that make me lame and non-legit? FYI: I still don't know what an SEO is, nor do I care. And guess what, it hasn't hurt my blogging opportunities one bit. Or maybe it has. But you know what? I'm okay with that.

This blog, while I do enjoy and take pride in it, is my hobby. I make absolutely no money, at all. In fact, it has cost me a lot of money in shipping costs, books, and time that can never be accounted for. I don't do Amazon Associates. I do have a Book Depository affiliate account, but I've never used it. I don't have ads, though I've been approached by companies to place them. Gosh, I've never even gotten off of blogspot, and I can't tell you how many times I've been told that's wrong.


**Please let me be clear, I am in no way saying that other blogs/websites shouldn't do these things. I'm only talking about me here.  **


I've taken steps to make sure that I'm blogging the best way for me. I've started limiting promotional spots to books/authors that I can confidently promote. When I write my reviews, I'm thinking of readers, and not trying to "out-review" anyone else. I'm doing giveaways differently, in an effort to focus less on my blog's numbers, and more on the book/author. To make it easier for a reader to just simply enter if they want a book. If someone wants to follow my blog in any, all, or no way....that's cool. Now, if I'm paying for a giveaway, I will probably include blog following options. I haven't decided. But I do know that nothing is required. This is simply to do what's best for me. I am a person who tends to get a bit too focused and obsessive. It's the same logic as to why I no longer count calories, why I had to give up my Wii fit and leave batteries out of my elliptical. I get too focused on numbers and results.

 
** Again, I want to stress that I am in no way speaking on how others blog. This is my way of making sure that I am blogging for the reasons and in a way that feels good to me and makes sure that I am not focusing on numbers. **


I'm not sure if I even know what I intended on when I began writing this post. I just know I've had these very conflicting feelings on blogging. I love the community, but dislike the competitive nature. I've thought about the blogs I admire, especially the first blog I ever really loved, For What It's Worth. I don't want to copy anyone, but I do want that spirit that Karen has.

If you're still reading this, thanks. I really try to keep feelings like this to myself, but it was either say something or just quit. I don't like feeling...whatever it is I'm feeling towards blogging. I'm too old for jealousy or competition. Some days, I feel thisclose to saying "Fck it" and being done. I just want to talk about the books I love, and be happy about it. If the day ever come in which I feel that way, I should just stop. But maybe just writing this will help lift the heaviness, and help me once again feel good about blogging.

I'll just be me...







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64 comments:

  1. Love you Andrea! Keep doing what you're doing because you're awesome! I could never do what you do! You are the first blogger I followed and tweeted and, if not for your positive example, friendliness, and being an all-around fabulous person, I wouldn't be involved in this book world at all. I would still reading on my own. You showed me a whole new world (cue Disney song! Lol) so I'm glad I started with you because I'm still here, thanks to you!=) ♥

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  3. Great post! I think a lot of blogs feel this way at one point or another. Some people take a break, others get past the bump easier, etc. I know I've looked at other blogs and wanted to do as well as them...but in the end, I'm a busy person. Blogging is mostly a hobby. Yes, I get paid randomly for things I post or ads I have, but I don't want to overdo things and make the blog clunky or not personal anymore. I just try and focus on the things that I love and find interesting and I hope others will too. :)

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    1. And that really all you can do. And you honestly have the most interesting posts!

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  4. THIS! Andrea, I've been feeling this so much lately, too. I remember when I had just started and was just happy to have made a few good friends who generally enjoyed reading as much as I did...you were included in that. I'm pretty sure I've been following you since before I started my own blog, and even if I take a break from visiting and commenting for awhile, I always make it by your blog when I do come back to it.

    I agree, there is a lot of competitiveness among bloggers, but I try to ignore than in favor of the awesome books and people out there. I often wonder why this publisher or publicist favors these people and not me, what I'm doing wrong and what I should do to get noticed. But then I remember that I already have an unruly TBR pile and I just need to concentrate on getting those read instead of acquiring more books. Even if those are the ones I REALLY want to read. :P

    You are a great blogger and a good friend, and though we don't chat as much as we used to, I still really value your opinion. So, just do what makes you happy and ignore the rest. I fixate on numbers, too, so I'll try to do the same. =)

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    1. Jen! We've been friends for a while now. You know I adore you and your blog. I especially admire your ability to step back when you need a break.

      Thanks, sweetie!

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  5. Awe, Andrea! I feel you, totally and completely. Lately, I've been wondering similar things, as well. The biggest question that always comes to me is why. Why are you doing this, Momo? Why does it matter? Why do you care? Why, why, why? Some days, it can become a whole lot of overwhelming and that's when I begin to question everything. Those are my fukitol days. ;p F this, f that, f you, f me. FUKITOL. Normally, when I get there, I don't post for a while only because this feeling of hate (I don't wanna use that word because it's pretty strong but some days...) for blogging takes over and I really despise everything.

    "I don't like feeling...whatever it is I'm feeling towards blogging." I think I know what/how you're feeling because I get that feeling every now and then. It's not just a one time feeling. It goes away and then it comes back and rinse and repeat. For me, though, I think it comes back to my insecurities and just wondering if what I'm doing is enough. Somewhere along the line, it seems like blogging became more of "who can do the most for so-and-so author" instead of "omg, i love this book! come chat with me and let's swoon and squee and fangirl." And that's where the lines blur a bit, for me.

    I want to help authors get the word out about their book as much as I can but I admit, I do get swept up in it so hard sometimes that I forget to come back down and be a fangirl, a reader. And it's hard and it's confusing and it's... conflicting. I want to do both but I don't know where the 50/50 line is or if there even is one. But for me, I think I need one... sigh.

    I have no idea where I'm going with this comment but... I just wanted to let you know that you're not alone. By reading your post, you let me know that I'm not alone, so thank you.

    I hope that... well, to be honest, I'm not sure. All year, the question, "do you want to quit blogging?" has been lingering in the outskirts of my blog and I keep batting it away so I don't have any wise words to impart on you but... I'm here if you wanna talk. <3

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    1. *in the outskirts of my mind*

      I talk a lot, no wonder there are typos. I fail. ;p

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    2. Ha! I love you, Momo! You and I seem to share a blogging brain, b/c everything you've said is what I was going for.

      Drawing a line between being helpful to others and blogging for yourself is hard, but necessary. For me, anyway.

      We can cheerlead each other!

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  6. This was a great post my friend and I understand everything you're saying. We've been blogging for 4 years and blogging today is nothing like it was then. It has become very competitive. It started as a hobby, and it still is but it also feels like a business now. Normally I'd be okay with that, it's the nature of sharing the the same space, but sometimes let it get to me because I don't feel like I'm keeping pace with the big dawgs.

    I'm going to tell you the same thing I tell myself when I have one of those woe-is-me moments. At the end of the day this is YOUR blog and only you can decide what's right for you. There's nothing wrong with playing the game, but remember to continue having fun with it. We all do this for the love of books and while I admire big bloggers like Mundie Moms, that doesn't mean we have to have the same goals.

    Good luck and love ya!
    ♥Isalys / Book Soulmates

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    1. Thank you so much, Isa! It's so nice to hear this from someone I respect/adore like you.

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  7. Aw, I hope you never stop blogging girl.
    I totally get how you feel which is why I took a break this week. Too much change going on right now to focus on blogging. I always feel like such a 'bad' blogger because I don't know what the hell SEO or another of those other terms are either. I took the page view counter off my blog too because that shouldn't make a difference to an author/publisher if they want me to review their book or not.
    I also started reading all the 'it' books until I am so freaking sick of them right now. So tired of all the same plots and oversexed storylines. I still love adult because it's actually tamer than most 'NA' books but I just recently started reading YA books again, which I didn't realize how much I missed.
    I can't read a book a day or post a review a day and that's okay with me. Awesome post, hope you get over your blogging slump. If not, a break does wonders :)

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    1. And I love that you took a step back this week. It's something I need to do more often.

      I adore you!

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  8. <3 You are my little heroine, Andrea! I've been having the same thoughts lately since everyone has their opinion on how you should do this and that, then there are the arcs, statistics, all sorts of numbers, all the new books--everything is so hyped and this community is so competitive even though the people in it are usually so nice and warm. Just as Nereyda, I can't read a book per day either. I'm working in addition to finishing my BA degree in college. I'm starting with the thesis next week and will have to do some huge huge huge work in order to finish next spring and then I'll probably go on with MA degree studies.. Plus, I have my own life as well. I don't want to be an asocial person so.. reading and blogging have to come fourth in this list of priorities and I've been really overwhelmed lately. I just want a fucking break. Excuse my French, of course. It's true though. I'd burn myself out if I'd still post 5-6 times a week like I did during the summer and early fall, so right now I'm posting as I feel like it. I don't really care, it's for me and my readers and I doubt that neither of us wish I had promo posts up every day in order to compensate for the lack of reviews and I really can't afford to read 200+ pages every day right now. So what I'm trying to say is, I get you. I don't want to leave this community, but this is my blog and I'll do as I please. You'll do as you please and we'll all love you for it! *hugs* :)

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    1. Siiri, I do not know how you do it, along with your studies. I admire you so much!

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    2. I've been there, with the thesis and studies, so I know what you're talking about. And, a little off topic here, I wish you a not just success, but also fun, and to have people to help you through it like I did. =)

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  9. I'm a firm believer that blogging in an intensely personal journey. As long as you know why you're blogging and your blogging activities line up with that why, fuck everything else. Do it for you, whatever that way is. You're only doing it wrong if you're not doing it the way you want to.

    The competition and jealousy and drama is only there if you engage with it. My book blog? It can exist without those. But it can't exist without books or reading, so whenever I get burnt out or annoyed or jaded, I read. Because that's why I started blogging in the first place. (Some days I avoid Twitter because all I see are comparisons and whining and drama and it's a drain on my energy.)

    Just be you, Andrea. We like you best that way. :)

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    1. You are awesome, Amanda. I love how you run your blog!

      Thank you

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  10. Whoa! That was intense and I can feel you're in a venting mood. I do hope that you're OK and whatever set this off has blown over.

    I do agree with some of your points with regards to the competitive nature of this sphere which escapes me because we're not getting paid and yet there's an underlying current on which blog is better.

    The only genuine satisfaction I get from this aside from this being a creative outlet is a platform for me to talk about my hobby and passion with like minded people. None of my immediate circle is as big as a reader as I am so at times I feel like a nut ball laughing or crying over a book. With my blog, I don't feel like a SPED student because I can gush and gripe and fellow bloggers like yourself "listen" to what I have to say. That's enough validation for me.

    I don't know what SEO is, don't know how to edit CSS, and I don't think I ever will, and haven't activated our Amazon Associates account. And despite our multiple social media links, I rarely go in it and hobnob with authors and blogger friends. I prefer to just leave comments and move on to the next blog. To each his own I guess but I've never been really social so at times I feel that impacts my blog negatively but I don't really care because I'm not very social in the first place. LOL.

    I'm personally taking extra measures to revert this activity back to a healthy, hobby level and not like this monster/machine that it has become. October was just horrible for me in terms of schedule, I was always cramming and it took the joy out of reading for the most part. November and December are looking better and I plan to keep it that way. Stick to tours for series & authors I personally support and are familiar with and read what I want and not because I agreed to a request or something.

    I hope that your little existential reflection brought you a little enlightenment.

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  11. I totally understand how you're feeling, and I am dealing with the same stuff as an indie author/blogger. I feel bad for posting so much promotional stuff on my blog, but then I want to support other authors, and I also have that problem of wanting to read all the hot new books, but at the same time I'm terribly behind with all the hot older books I haven't read yet! And the numbers...if I start to look at the numbers I want to give up. It's hard. I think there's just more and more stuff and people in this internet world of books every day, and it becomes overwhelming. I try to tell myself that if I've wedged myself in there even a little bit, it would be silly to give up now. But I know I will never produce books or read them fast enough to really keep up...

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    1. Stephanie, I cannot imagine how tough it is to be an author! Tiffany was just telling me she has the same feelings and I never think about it like that.
      You're awesome.

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  12. AMEN! I'm always so thrilled by your honesty, Andrea. I'm sorry that you're feeling this way, but know you're not alone. I want you to know that I admire you and your blogging. It's good that you know yourself well enough to know what your triggers are and when you need to pull back from things. I hope nothing in particular sparked this though. I know there is always talk around about 'bullying' on blogs and competitiveness.

    I'm experiencing a lot of the same feelings with regards to making sure I'm blogging how I want to - and still being present in my daily life. Particularly after the last couple of weeks - trying to balance what my family needed with what I'd committed to doing on my blog. I got into blogging for much the same reason as you...I wanted to be able to share my thoughts on books, and chat with others. I'm so happy and grateful to have met other bloggers like you. And I try to have FUN with blogging because that's why I do it. I guess I go through this blogging life with blinders (or rose-colored glasses) on. :) I don't know what an SEO is either. I don't even know how to do tags. LOL And I don't pay that much attention to numbers because I was sooo happy when only my daughter was following me. :) And I try never to compare myself - no one person is alike so how can our blogs be?

    Anyway, I hope talking about it has cleared your head a bit, Andrea. I hope you never give this up because I would miss you! I'm sorry this is ramble-y. I appreciate you sharing this, Andrea.

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    1. Thank you so much, Brandee! You know I adore you and your blog. I admire your ability to step back, and hope to do better myself.

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  13. Andrea, this is a wonderful post and I feel like I totally understand you. I will openly admit that I've had my competitive/jealousy moments too especially when it comes to ARCs and numbers in the past. And then I started to get tons of ARCs and ended up not enjoying at least 50% of it because I was just being greedy and getting as many ARCs as possible just so I could show off and feel as cool as the big blogs. But I've learned a lesson now. I only request stuff I know I would enjoy reading and I only join tours for books from authors I've worked with before and whose books I've loved. I feel like I'm devoting so much more time to reading books that I truly enjoy as compared to before when I was reading one crappy ARC after the other.
    Anyways, my reading time has also significantly decreased since starting college, so I make sure to get books I really want.
    I also try not to get too stressed out about blogging and having a post every single day. I'm actually planning on taking multiple blogging breaks so I don't feel burned out. I think I'm still blogging because it's like the only hobby I have and I do love the people I've met through blogging. I remember the time when everyone was moving onto Wordpress and there were 10000s of blog posts about how Blogger is shitty and about how some people will never comment on blogger blogs and that was one stressful period for me. I remember just ranting and complaining and freaking out with Siiri about it because I didn't have the funds to move to Wordpress and all. Now, I realize that my blog is my blog and blogging shouldn't be something stressful.
    Thanks for being honest, Andrea. I always appreciate that in a blogger.

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    1. Yes, Nick! You are absolutely right. I have experienced those exact feelings so many times. I honestly admire you and Siiri for pulling off university and blogging.

      Thanks!

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  14. I'm just here for the free food. Like it

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  15. I love this post. I decided to start blogging as a way to help me remember the books I'd read. That was it. It was really more like a journal kind of thing. And then I realized I could help promote authors, which made it all the more meaningful to me. I get that the hottest, latest books are what I get most of my comments on, but I'm not going to try and wear myself down reading the latest and greatest just for comments or pageviews. I read what I want when I want and that's that. Sure, I've gotten jealous of other blogs and felt insignificant because I wasn't getting the numbers and pageviews. But now I've realized it's not what it's about. I can get one solitary comment on a post and that's ok with me. If it means I've planted a seed in one person's head to read a book I loved then that's what matters.

    You are one of the few blogs I manage to visit when school isn't kicking my butt and I hope you never stop, but at the same time- I totally get your feelings and I like that you shared this with us. <3

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    2. You have such a great outlook on blogging, and I absolutely love it. Thank you for being awesome!

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  16. Wonderful post Andrea, and you touched on so many points I think we have all experienced. Since the beginning I have blogged for my love of books, of sharing and chatting with others. The numbers became minimally important when I wanted to read favorite authors, and like you I didn't add a views counter until about 6 months in. I do promos and tours only when I care about the book etc. To me it will always be about my love of reading. I think if you have a passion for it, and do it because you enjoy it..then the rest will come. Success to me is my happiness level and the minute this becomes anything less then pleasure I am out. My giveaways have an optional follow unless I am paying for the book. I no longer put giveaway in my titles since I want peeps to come to read review, etc not just giveaways. I read what I want, and you know I read everything from YA to Adult from historical to horror. I love the honesty and excitement of your reviews. Do what makes you happy sunshine!

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    1. I absolutely love the way you blog! And yes, it is obvious that you read exactly what you want. You rock!

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  17. LOL at the SEO stuff. Because I haven't a clue nor care either. I think your blogging numbers are awesome and honestly you have earned every single one of them.

    You are one of my very first blogging friends. I adore you. I hope that you don't quit blogging because I love your reviews. You have a way with words. I've always told you though, for years that first thing.. blogging and reading should be fun. The moment it isn't, then why bother. You do what your heart tells you. You don't owe anyone anything.

    I personally never got wrapped up in the competition side of blogging, though I've seen it and it's Fugly.. <--- haven't used that word in a while. lol. I guess I'm kind of rambling.. but if I had to voice a point it would be that you don't need a blog to share your love of books. There are many other outlets. Trust your gut, and the friendships you've made, well we aren't going anywhere. <3

    Love you.

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    1. Thank you! And wasn't I always supposed to come to you when I need a blogging reality check? Thank you for being you and always being my friend.

      Love you, too.

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  18. Hear ya, pal. Is there a right way to blog? Thought I could do what I wanted because like you said it's a hobby. I, too, make no money and actually loose a lot of money on it. I've tried to cut back on accepting every book because I can't keep up and I find myself reading what the publicists want me to and not what I want to. I do track page views. It's the only number I care about. I like to know someone is seeing what I put up there. Oh and what the heck is SEO's? No clue.

    You rock, pal.

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    1. I know we've both struggled with balance/. You know I think you rock. Thanks, Pal!

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  19. Yup I've definitely had lots of similar feelings. LOL I also don't have a single clue what SEO means. I honestly can barely work blogger. I won a book called how to blog for dummies or something like that but I've never had the time to read it. I am so busy now that I have cut way back on posting. But I know what you mean about worrying that I am doing it wrong. I only have time for like one or two reviews and a couple of memes a week and then you hear others saying there needs to be all these reviews but I like just posting what I enjoy and I can only do what I have time for. I haven't even read any books in weeks. So I just don't worry about it anymore. I also rarely go to Netgalley or request any books. I only take review copies from authors I have already reviewed so I know I will enjoy the books. I've been trying to read things off my shelf because I have learned I am a very moody reader and can only read what I want so I prefer to not feel guilt over not reading a review book.

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    1. Hey, Jennifer! I am so happy you've found a balance that works for you.

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  20. You're not the only one. I think a lot of us feel this way. I don't really pay attention to numbers too much these days. I only check and update my stats after an event that might actually push them higher, but I don't focus on it. I have at times gotten focused on one thing at a time. For the past year it was my facebook page because I was so late to the game, I wanted to push to get 'likes'. But what works best is keeping things as simple as possible and finding the platforms that work for you. I like to comment on other blogs and just strike up a real friendship with a few bloggers. I don't get to comment on as many as I'd like, but I try to let it go. It's all a time thing for me, I don't have time for everything. But I guess we just have to move past and do what works for us.
    I don't make any money either. I go through phases where I use my amazon affiliate account, but I haven't made a penny in 5 years. (Well, there might be a penny, but it's never added up to the $10 I need to actually get it.) If I'm telling people about a book they should check out I use my affiliate account and it hasn't made a difference. The only time I made something was when I got a gift card for writing about a website (which was just a post I'd been meaning to write anyway, it just had to include a mention of them, which was easy since it was relevant to the rest of it.) But yes, there's not money in blogging. Not about books anyway. I've been approached by people who wanted to blog who thought they'd get paid and boy, they walked away disappointed when I told them there's no paycheck and you have to pay for things yourself (design, site maintenance, etc).
    Anyway, I hope you are able to just relax and let things go. I have had some troubles myself but I just tell myself it really doesn't matter.

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    1. Thank you so much, Candace. Your blog has been around so long, and has such an awesome and well-deserved reputation. It's hard to believe you ever have doubts.

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  21. Aw, big hugs. It is so easy to get caught up in numbers, how many reviews, how many new books, etc. I have def been there.
    I think you do a great job, I love your blog and your reviews, and it would matter to me if you weren't around.
    Great post though, it is good to get it out there

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  22. Big hugs...keep up the good work and the rest hopefully will work itself out!! I love your reviews...thanks for all your hard work, it is much appreciated!!!

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  23. Thank you for your honesty hon. I really enjoyed this read because I too have struggled. I don't know what SEO is... or what an "authority" blogger is either. All I know is that no one should ever tell you how to run your blog. There is no right or wrong. I know plenty of blogs on blogspot that have been there for ages and have done well. I myself sometimes love blogspot even thought other times I want to strangle it for not working right heh. I hope you don't plan on quitting. I love your blog. I love reading your reviews and I look forward to reading it daily. As far as where the number game come from I have to say - and I might get heat from this - but i believe it's due to publishers. Unfortunately there are a lot of big publishers out there that want those numbers, and if you do not have them they won't even spare a look at your blog. Thus why many people battle for the numbers, especially if it's a publisher that is very picky on who they choose. Which is a shame really. It does create this odd competition in the book blogging world that I am not sure should exist. We do it cause we love it. I do it cause I love it and I do it the way I want to do it. The moment I stopped, I think I will grow bored with it or it will control too much of my life. I don't need stress from book blogging, it's suppose to be relaxing.

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    1. Lily, thank you so much! I agree with you, on the #s. The publishers put a lot of that out there, and I get it, it's a business. But at the end of the day, we work for no one. Just the love of books.

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  24. Aww Andrea I <3 you. I was reading this post and thinking THIS IS ME lol

    I'm sure you read my posts as I debated this topic. I almost gave up several times but I just had to decide what it meant to me. Like you - I can't stop talking publicly about books. I just NEED to get it out there but I also decided it was the friendships I made through the blog that were most important.

    I'm pretty sure almost all of my stats have gone way down but I'm fine with that. I don't look anymore. And really nothing has changed - I still get books offered to review. Maybe not the top books but honestly I don't have time to read and review everything anyway. I'm just posting when and what I want now.

    I think we all have this problem at some point. The excitement fades a bit - it gets harder to balance it all - guilt sets in but we all have to find our own way and do what works for us. Guilt free. And that was the hardest thing for me to let go of. Letting a day go by without posting made me twitchy at first but I'm ok now lol

    There's no "right" way to do this blogging thing. (I can't figure SEO either!)

    Do whatever works for YOU. We'll all still be here because it's not about the number of posts you write but the passion you bring to them. When the love of bloggin wears off and you're just cranking posts out it shows so do what you love!

    I think you are responsible for at least half my Kindle binges lol

    Sorry for the rambling....I think I'm still trying to work it out myself ;-)

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    1. Karen, I have no words for you! I always try to play it cool with you, b/c like I said, you're the sh*t, in my opinion. Whenever I question myself, I always think about how you blog.

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  25. By now, I think you get the drift that you're not alone with those feelings, Andrea. ;) And yes, I can chime in with most of what has been said (yes, I read all the comments, too, before typing mine): competition is there, although stupid, and blogging becomes a chore instead of a fun outlet. It's not fair, and it doesn't even make a lot of sense, but that's the way it is.
    I agree with Lily B that the numbers are, by now, mostly for the publishers, because they can afford to be picky. Alhtough I have to say: if you ask an authority blogger to review your book, chances are way higher you get a bad rating, because they have already read so much from the same category to compare to, and get way easier pissed and/or bored that way. Two sides to a coin, I say, but I doubt anyone besides me would look at it that way.
    I don't want to care about numbers, but if you do the blog not only as a hobby, but halfways as a business too, like I do, they become important. Nagging. And that's the part I really hate. We all love to blog about books, because we love the books, and we want to share. We don't get paid (technically, I don't get paid either, and I want to keep it that way!), but we give time and love into it. And sometimes, it just feels like we're giving it much more than it's worth. That's not true if you really enjoy what you do, and found some realiable, sweet people to closely share your experiences with. Blogger friends. They are what's important, not the numbers. Not the labels or the details. I have a slight clue about HTML and set-ups, but I don't know SEO or CSS, and I think that's okay, because you just can't do anything -- and you don't have to. You are your own person, and you do what you love to the best of your ability, with your creativeness. It's like an art, I think. And since you don't want to sell it, the only thing important is that you enjoy it. So keep doing what you do the way you want to. Nothing else matters. If you're happy, your followers, your friends are happy. <3
    Honestly, if it were only about numbers, I should've quit a long time ago. I've been blogging for two years now, and I can't say I have found one true blogger friend. You should think that of the 300 Followers (still not much for such a long time) I have reached, at least one would've stood out. But no such luck for me yet. Is it because I don't fangirl, because that's just not me? Or is it because I'm such a moody reader and reviewer, so I skip memes, I don't hop and backlink, and am sometimes just gone for two weeks because I feel I don't have a single word to spare for anybody? All that considered, does it make me a bad blogger? I don't think so. For me, my blog is about quality, and I put heart and thought into my reviews, like a journal. That no one seems to appreciates that... Yeah, sucks, but that won't get me to quit what I am doing. I wanted to start something big, and see it thorugh for once, for me, my precious treasure. And no stupid number or imaginary competition will take that away from me. Ever.
    I know you put heart and though into your blog, too. And that's why you shouldn't let anyone pressure you into anything, because it's your baby, and only you get to decide how it grows up.
    ... I ranted, but I feel better now, too. Good that it's out there. grr

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Caro! I treasure my blogging friends so much. I'm not sure how those relationships developed, except that we visit each other's blogs a lot at just cheer each other on.
      Your blog is excellent, and so are you!

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  26. Great job. You voiced almost exactly all of my feelings, but you already know this. I'm always calling you saying "Why am I doing this?" But I think I need to stay focused on my love of books and the fact that I've truly made great friendships since I've started and I wouldn't trade that for the world.

    I do Amazon Associates, but anything I earn through it is used in follower giveaways. Always. I think of it as my way of giving back to my readers.

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  27. I was just thinking about blogging this morning, Andrea. I work full time so sometimes it really stresses me out so I've been trying to cut back a bit. I'm taking a blogging break in December for two weeks to re-charge. I have no idea what SEO is and I rarely look at our page views anymore. I just want to read what I want and discuss with like minded people. I think I have my head buried in the sand most of the time because I'm not aware of the jealousies out there (thank goodness!), but I'm sure they exist. I'm not on twitter much so maybe that's why I don't notice?

    At any rate, I love your blog, Andrea! I love your reviews and thoughts and I have very similar tastes when it comes to reading so it's always a pleasure to read your reviews! I think blogging should be about sharing our love of books. :)

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    1. You know I adore you, Rachel!! And yes, we have such similarl preferences and thoughts on books. And I love your attitude.
      Thanks!

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  28. What a great post Andrea. I absolutely adore your blog, and look up to you as my bloggy role model. I know what your going through. Lately, I've been feeling burnt out, and I think it comes from trying to do it all and taking on too much. I've been feeling overwhelmed with over scheduling myself. I'm pretty obsessive too, and once I start something (anything), I tend to push myself too much. Maybe we should make some New Years Blogging goals. I need to retying some of my goals. Thanks for pouring your heart out and sharing your thoughts. You are very successful, and all of you hard work and amazing reviews do not go unnoticed! Hang in there friend! Much Love :)

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    1. I know exactly how you feel, Lindy. Here's hoping we both succeed in our goals.
      Thank you!

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  29. Andrea - this truly may be one of my favorite posts ever written by another blogger. I think most bloggers go through these phases when we do think "Why am I here?" Your blog was one of the first blogs I ever read when I started blogging. I loved your posts because you were always honest and fair and I've come across so many books I'd never have even picked up if it weren't for your reviews. You are a kind person and a wonderful blogger and I hope people realize how much you truly do. I admire you as a blogger and hope you continue for as long as it feels right to you but I can understand all the feelings you have. There are days - weeks even - that I've had to take a step back because I see all the competition and drama in the book world and it seriously overwhelms me. But anyways, I just want to say thanks for always being so honest and for being so welcoming to me. :)

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    1. Thank you so, so much, Allura! It really means a lot to me.

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  30. Awesome post Andrea and everything you said is so true. You are wonderful blogger and since I started blogging, I have always looked and you and your blog as sort of a mentor and someone who sets a good example to follow. I would really like to cut back some in December and then next year to read more of the books I would like to read and so many I've bought that I haven 't had time to. You make a great point and provide some really great pointers and I really appreciate all you do.

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    1. Thank you so, so much. You know I love your blog, Ellen! I hope you take that break.

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  31. What a fantastic post hon!! I definitely get what you are saying. As you know I just got back from a linger than intended break and am only posting 3-4 times a week rather than every day. I love blogging, but I need to do it the way it works for me. I have always loved your blog and will continue to love it as long as you keep it going. I don't focus on follower count on my blog though in the very beginning I did. I don't have a ton of followers, but I am grateful for each one. I also don't really get into the drama, but it does bother me when it is negatively impacting book bloggers as a whole. Everyone does things different. I'm glad that you only want to do what works for you and not give in to the pressure of what other people do.

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    1. Hi, Amy!!!! It has always been clear that you blog for the love of books. You're honest and sincere and I adore that about you.
      Thank you!

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  32. Your post really clicked with me. The things you describe - no ads, no affiliate links, only promoting books you feel good about, no focus on follower numbers - are what makes your blog pleasant to read. When you said you just wanted to talk about the books you love I thought "yes, do that! That's what it's about!". I don't know how, but reading this post not only wanted to make me encourage you in what you're doing but also encouraged me.

    I have a tiny geeky-meets-nail polish blog with 22 readers. I'm the same way about numbers, if I start watching them I get obsessed. But that doesn't work with my blogging style - I don't do promos and when I review something, it's because I want to, and it's often too snarky for anyone in their right mind to send me stuff to review. Which is fine, because that would make it a job and I don't want the pressure.
    Even my self-set goal of two posts a week and a regular Friday feature was too much pressure for me so I took a two month break right after redesigning the blog... but now I'm starting to feel like I want to blog again. Not try to impress anyone, just ramble on about Doctor Who and Star Trek and paint my nails once in a while without the pressure to take perfect photos.

    So I probably should do that. And so should you.

    Silvia

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