Friday, May 30, 2014

Armchair BEA: Relevance in Blogging

Today is the day to talk about something that you feel we have missed or that you want to spend a little extra time chatting about. 

Something I've wanted to blog about for a long time now is "relevance." What a loaded word that is nowadays. I hear the question asked time and again:

Are bloggers relevant? Has blogging lost its soul?  Why is the number of bloggers shrinking (though I daresay this is NOT the case for book blogging)

A simple Google search will turn up more articles than you can shake a stick at, but the gist is this:

Some people believe that with the rise of microblogging and varied social media platforms, namely Tumblr and Twitter, that blogging is no longer necessary or desirable to readers who want a quick snapshot of information.

I call BS. Twitter is a great place for a teaser, and it's a great place to exchange ideas and engage in conversation about a topic, but a landing space with more information is necessary. So, yeah, I dispensed with that part pretty quickly. Ha! Slaying the dragons, here.



But the inevitable next question is:

Are book bloggers relevant?

To which my response is always...to who (whom? whatevs)? This question is sooo multifaceted, so let's look at some varied scenarios where book bloggers might be relevant.

Relevance to the publishers and publicists:
Book bloggers are relevant to the publishing industry because we are zealous sharers of information. We help publishers advertise. If we weren't relevant, there would be no ARCs flowing through the place. Believe that. If we want to stay relevant and respected, we also need to stay on top of issues like this one. 

Relevance to the publishing industry and the decisions they make:
Maybe. We can surely stir up a brouhaha of conversation about diversity and other timely topics. Only time will tell if our outpouring of opinions has a tangible effect on what gets published.

Relevance to authors:
YES! Bloggers serve a similar function to authors as publishers and publicists. We're helping spread the word about their books! Many of them are also hella cool, nice people. We forge friendships. We're their fans!
Relevance to critics:
Probably not. In general, they're too busy looking down their noses at bloggers and other mortals.

Relevance to advertisers outside of straightforward publishing:
Hell yes. If we're doing their work, writing their sponsored posts, and sharing their paid content.

Relevance to other book bloggers:
I should damn well hope so. However, this is where our glorious similarities and differences come into play. I read mostly backlist books because reading ARCs feels like homework to me. I don't go above and beyond to foster relationships with publishers because I rarely read ARCs. The exception is for the Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon. I occasionally reach out to authors to gush about their books or engage in conversation. 

So am I irrelevant because I don't make a concerted effort to review the latest and greatest? That's not really the right question. The question is still WHO am I relevant to?
  • I am MOST RELEVANT to other bloggers. 
  • I am MOST RELEVANT to bloggers who don't mind reading backlist, who enjoy literary and contemporary fiction, travel and foodie writing, memoirs, and graphic novels. 
  • I am MOST RELEVANT to bloggers who enjoy occasionally exchanging experiences beyond books including food, weight loss, decor, and other personal topics. 
  • I am MOST RELEVANT to bloggers who occasionally want an advice from an old-timer (9 years!). 
  • I am MOST RELEVANT to bloggers who value relationships and community since I like to "be friends" with the people who read here, and I like to foster community events and involvement. 

Relevance is entirely a question of degrees and multiplicity. So maybe the question we should be asking is not "am I relevant?" Maybe we should be more focused on WHO we want to be relevant to! THAT is the question that shapes our individual blogs and blogging experiences and can ultimately bring us to a state of contentment with our blogs or drive us stark raving mad. 

Be happy with your blog and your blogging practice. It all starts with you and what you want! 



101 comments:

  1. Really interesting post, Andi! I hope I'm at least relevant to other readers if no one else, because that's who I really blog for (as well as to gush for myself).

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    1. Thanks, Ellie! I absolutely hope so, too. I wish there was some way to gauge who reads and gets reading recommendations from my blog but who doesn't actually blog on their own. That's a demographic missing in this post but totally nebulous to me.

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  2. Great post. I totally think book bloggers are relevant and important. With the loss of bricks and mortar bookstores publishers are worried about discoverability. And that is where we come it. Readers turn to us to see what they should be reading. If bloggers like a book it is sure to become a hit.
    People are also loosing faith in traditional reviewing and news sources. Again they turn to bloggers. Yes, Twitter and Tumblr are great for a tease, but bloggers will give you more depth.

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    1. Thank ya! You're so right. And bookstore owners (who are left) turn to us, as do librarians, as do other readers who don't blog. I get comments from professors at the university where I work who've heard about my blog and get recs from it. That blows my mind a bit. And yes, agreed in regards to traditional news sources as well. Let's face it, there aren't many who will still review a book! Ugh!

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  3. Amen. Excellent post!!

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  4. Excellent post! I think book bloggers serve readers in a unique way - so many of the book "recommendations" that come through the media are based on marketing/promotion. Bloggers are providing recommendations having actually read the books…which is not necessarily the case with magazines and newspapers' "best picks for summer" lists (or similar things). As long as we can stay independent of the marketing machines so our reviews stay honest, I think we'll always have a place…at least for readers.
    I, like you, don't foster relationships with publishers…I read what I want to read and review it honestly. I certainly will accept ARCs if they happen to overlap with what I want to read, but I really don't proactively seek them out.

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    1. I want to emblazon this on a t-shirt: "As long as we can stay independent of the marketing machines so our reviews stay honest, I think we'll always have a place…at least for readers." YES YES YES! I will occasionally seek out an ARC of a book that really flips my switch, but I'm not interested in amassing tons of them and having to schedule what I read and all. That just weighs me down and sucks my love of reading away.

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  5. Great post, lots to think about.

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  6. This is a wonderful post. I think we are very relevant. Definitely to authors, since 'professional" critics are reading books they are assigned and not necessarily books they would pick for themselves. There are a lot of books I might not have discovered if it weren't for other book bloggers.

    Twitter only gives a small amount of info. Someone may say they like a book but they won't say WHY they liked it.

    Again, great post!

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    1. Same here! My reading horizons have opened up greatly since I started blogging. My shelves sag under the proof. lol Thanks for your feedback!

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  7. Great topic! I suppose it's a question that's floated at the back of my head sometimes--do we contribute to the publishing community in some way? Aside for my own way of expressing my love of books, how else do we contribute to the general book community?--and your post hits all of the questions in the head :)

    By the way, wow, nine years! I think you're the first blogger I've met who's been blogging for a longer time than I have :) (my blog turned seven a few months ago)

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    1. Thanks, Lianne! And for me its been a struggle with myself whether I SHOULD be reading all the latest books. Does that somehow make me more valuable to the blogging community? I've decided I don't really care because it feels like work. lol

      There are quite a few of us who have been around for a hella long time who came into blogging together: Les from Prairie Horizons, Tif from Tif Talks Books, CapriciousReader, Iliana from Bookgirl's Nightstand, Nancy from Bookfoolery. Check 'em out! :D

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  8. You're relevant to me, Andi! Great questions and answers. This is something I'm going to think about.

    If publishers decided that we were no longer relevant and stopped ARCs, I think there would be bloggers quitting, the ones in it for the ARCs, or maybe they would discover other sources because they liked book blogging, but the bloggers doing it for themselves would stay. When I think about when I started, there wasn't a blogger/publisher relationship, but there was still an enthusiastic community. It might have been smaller, but it was there. I would hope it would continue.

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    1. Thanks, Chris! I agree that there would be some "fall off" if the ARCs stopped flowing, but I think die hard readers are die hard readers. Maybe the ones who would stay are the same people who endure blogging FOREVER and try like hell to avoid burn out? There definitely wasn't a blogger/publisher relationship when we started. It's interesting to be on the front end of it and look back over the way it's morphed. The good, bad and ugly. I choose to think many of us would continue. I know a lot of bloggers who I would bet on.

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  9. Terrific and thoughtful post. I'd like to think we have some relevance to readers who aren't bloggers, too, but that one is hard to measure.

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    1. Thank you, Joy! Yes, that audience of readers who don't blog are quite nebulous. I do know several professors at my university have helped spread the word about my blog, and I've had others tell me they don't blog themselves but they use it for recs. I wish I knew who they are! :D

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  10. Thank you--this is very interesting and helpful. As a new blogger, I've really been struggling with the issues of how much I should court the favor of publishers. I got into this because I wanted to talk about the books I read...but now, suddenly, I've been feeling a lot of pressure to review ARCs and develop a consistent following to show my "clout"... this isn't why I got into this! So I'm kind of struggling to find my place in the blogging world. All I want to do is read great books, write insightful reviews (and if no one reads them, fine--but if other bloggers do and want to chat about them, great), and make some connections with other book lovers. I don't want to spend a lot of time promoting my blog, because that sucks away time from reading. But I have been wondering this week if that makes me not very "relevant."

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    1. Leila, I'm glad you stopped by to share your experience as a new blogger. I've been around SO LONG, sometimes I think it's easier to take this stuff in stride. I was blogging before there was a blogger/publisher relationship issue at all, so I can look back to "the time before." But even for someone like me who rarely reads ARCs and doesn't seek out publisher relationships, I still get self conscious about issues like these, so I KNOW others must be feeling the same types of feels. As for promoting your blog, the further embedded into the community you get the less it'll be straightforward promotion. Does that make sense? Because I've forged so many friendships in blogging and a lot of those awesome folks follow me on Twitter, where we chat about everything, when my blog post goes like at 2am and automatically posts to Twitter (because yay settings!) it's already being "promoted" and I don't have to feel scummy about it. It tends to be a byproduct of growing those wonderfuly bookish relationships.

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    2. Yes, thanks--make sense! I imagine I'll develop these relationships--with other bloggers and with publishers--over time. I'm never gonna have a high "Klout" score, but uh... I think I can live with that! :) I do think Twitter is a nice, easy way to send your stuff out there--it doesn't feel too much like an icky "marketing" thing. Thanks for your thoughts!

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    3. LOL, Klout can kiss it. Seriously. Twitter is awesome. Such a great gateway to convo.

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  11. I do read some ARCs, but the majority of what I read and review are library books. Some current releases, some a year or two old that I'm late to the bandwagon on, and some that are years older than that. I honestly don't care if I'm relevant to the industry, as long as I'm relevant to other book bloggers and readers.

    (And yes, readers who aren't bloggers are a nebulous group. Judging by some of the search terms I get, and which posts get a lot of views but few to no comments, I'd like to think that there are "regular readers" reading my blog and getting something out of it. But how do we really know?)

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    1. Amen sister! Same here. I just wish I knew more about that group of nebulous readers. Would they stick around long enough to do a poll? Some would, I think. Some have popped up on Twitter today after I posted this post. lol

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    2. That was my thought. Even back when I was a lurker, I would be willing to take a poll... as long as it was anonymous!

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  12. Great post, Andi! I totally agree with you about the micro-platforms having little to do with the obsolescence of blogging - there are some things that just can't be well discussed in 140 character snippets.

    For me, blogging is a hobby just like other people knit, or scrapbook, or craft. My desire to produce something beautiful or wonderful drives my processes and what kind of money that I put into the blog. As far as the books, let's face it, I was going to buy them anyway.

    But I think that blogging is a unique hobby in the sense that we have a much larger platform in which to spread our creations. So this goes back to remaining relevant with other bloggers - fostering that sense of community is fabulous, and seriously, there's no way to get that with knitting. :)

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    1. Thank you, April! They're great gateway platforms, but they have to have somewhere to land. This made me LOL, but it's spot-on: "fostering that sense of community is fabulous, and seriously, there's no way to get that with knitting."

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  13. Andi, I adore you. I LOL'd at your assessment of traditional critics. Really, I think that's where bloggers shine. I feel like old school critics aren't allowed to like anything that isn't way over my head. They can keep their snobbery to themselves, thankyouverymuch. I don't typically gravitate toward speculative or (what I think of as) highbrow literary fiction anyway, and that seems to be all the big critics enjoy. My goal in blogging was to write the sort of reviews that I would want to read. I find myself incredibly relevant... To myself. Added bonus: badass bookish friends. Group hug. Bring it in, y'all.

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    1. Hugs for Katie! Yes, yes, yes! There aren't the restrictions on bloggers that there are on critics. In fact, the only restrictions we endure are the ones we put on ourselves. Isn't that a liberating feeling? Yay badass book friends!

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  14. Amazing post Andi! I've been thinking about this particularly after the "Blogging for Books" situation. It is hard to use that word, relevant, since as you point out, it depends on to whom is this being determined by and for. For me our community of book blogging is relevant on so many levels of my life. I love reading all the posts that came out on this subject!

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    1. Thank you!!! It really brought this to the fore for me, too. And totally agree re: our relevance as a community. As it grows exponentially, it's so important to keep the events and opportunities for connection going strong. And part of that is commenting....a topic I'm going to tackle next week. :D

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  15. As usual, Andi, you make some fantastic points.
    I think so much of the stress of blogging comes from wanting to be relevant to publishers. And that is good, to a certain point, if that is what you want. But I think the joy of book blogging come from using our blogs as a scrapbook of our personal reading experiences and finding other bibliophiles to enjoy our books with us.

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    1. Thank ya, Lindsey! Yep! When I left that particular stressor go, my blog blossomed because I was free to try out so many other things. Review formats, types of books I read, discussion posts. You name it! I love the idea of a blog as a scrapbook of our reading experiences. That's exactly what this blog fulfills for me because I'm so highly unlikely to keep one any other way besides the digital. lol

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  16. Being a non-ARC reader myself - except in vary rare instances - I appreciate other bloggers who focus on books and not freebooks (which I think has become a one word, entirely separate idea from books). And I agree that relevance is remarkably loaded. For me, the blog only needs to be relevant to me anyway. Everything else is just icing on the cake.

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    1. Hahaha! "Freebooks" is a great point. I saw some "freebooksitis" on Twitter this week with #BEA14 going on. Amen sister! We have to be happy with our blogs first and foremost or burn out follows.

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  17. Yes! What a great topic! I've wondered about this subject a million times...I'm glad that you put it into words :D You're good at that!

    Screw the critics, ha ha!

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    1. I try! Screw the critics indeed!

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  18. I Indeed think that blogging has relevance. I have my own blog tour organization business and that also makes me realize how important book bloggers are, without them I wouldn't be able to do the work I do. Great post!

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    1. That's awesome, Lola! Yours is a perspective I don't hear very often, so I'm really glad you chimed in. It's amazing the opportunities that can bloom from blogging, your profession being one of them.

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  19. What a great post! I like the way you framed relevance. I think, using your framework, I am MOST relevant to readers and who are looking for diverse reads, and to writers who are looking to shake up the industry :)

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    1. Thanks, Leonicka! It's kind of refreshing and liberating to take a look at who we ARE relevant to rather than wondering if we're relevant at all. Just a slightly different spin on the insecurities that seem to seep into bloggers' heads (my own included).

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  20. Great post! I mostly just book blog for myself and to dump my thoughts out into the universe, and all the great people I've "met" online and other blogs I've discovered through it (like you and yours!) is an awesome bonus. Yay!

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    1. Thank you, Kristin! It's wonderful that the brain dump capacity and the community can be so intermingled. A huge bonus! And I've found (like today), that when I do a thorough brain dump, I love having people to discuss it with. :)

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  21. Such an awesome post. Heck yeah we're relevant! Definitely to each other, I agree. I think 90% of the books (both ARC and backlist) I've read since starting to book blog have been because of other bloggers. It sounds like an especially high number, I know, but I'd gotten to the point where I just couldn't think of what to read. So many choices, and I felt frozen and couldn't decide. But hearing real people's honest thoughts - people like me, people I can (and do, in many cases) consider friends, not "professionals" like the critics - that is what gets me excited about books. So yeah, this community of avid readers? We're relevant!

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    1. I remember the days when I could go into a bookstore and browse forever and have NO IDEA what to read. Since blogging and BookTubing, I never have that problem. lol Yay relevance!

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  22. Great post, and I found myself nodding in agreement. I'd just like to point out that we were never relevant to critics who we scare because we are taking over their jobs. They have done everything to downplay us since book blogging started.

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    1. Thanks, Mark! And you're so right about critics. In this digital age with the outlets for critics shrinking (unless they jump on the digital bandwagon), I think you're right. We begin to take over that purpose and space whether they admit it or not.

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  23. YES YES YES!!!! Thank you Andi. I really really struggle with the "am I relevant" question because of all the things you mention MAKE YOU RELEVANT. I don't do the ARCs. I don't have thousands of followers. I don't have relationships with publishers. Sometimes I get a little envious of those bloggers who do--especially the new bloggers who just whip up through the ranks in no time flat. But you're absolutely right and there is room for all of us.

    One more thing...I am relevant to ME. Cue cheesy music and self-hugs. :)

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    1. We all do, lady. We all do. When those insecurities and envious thoughts start creeping in, I like to remind myself that I will go ape-poo crazy if I accept a bunch of ARCs. Stick a deadline on it, and I don't want to read it anymore. I'm not willing to sacrifice my fun for an insecurity. RELEVANT TO ME! Another t-shirt waiting to happen.

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  24. Fantastic post! I like the way you reframed (expanded) the question. I think blogs are still quite relevant since some ideas and communication just need the space and flexibility that a blogging platform provides. I think that the various forms of social media can work well together. Just consider how many book bloggers also tweet, tumbl, vlog, etc. I see these avenues as more ways to help me connect and nourish relationships.

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    1. BTW, I don't try to be relevant to authors and publishers though I'm not opposed to that. My focus is other readers. I love the book blogging and vlogging community! (Side note: Auto correct just tried to change "vlogging" to "flogging." Silly auto correct.)

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    2. Thanks, Terri! You're sooo right (and said it so well) with "flexibility that a blogging platform provides. They definitely all need to be looped together for maximum effect. I see Twitter and Facebook as a gateway to discussion more than anything. And I'm not opposed for other people. I am opposed to myself fostering author/pub relationships because I know enough about myself to know that it kills the reading enjoyment. Though, it's easy for some nasty insecurities to sneak in and trump me sometimes. LOL re: flogging.

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    3. "Flogging" may accurately describe how some of us feel about the idea of vlogging. LOL

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  25. Excellent post, Andi - and a timely one, too. You are most definitely VERY relevant!

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  26. Great post Andi — I love this.

    I'd add that its important for content creators, such as authors and bloggers, to own their content.

    On social media platforms, your content is subject to the restrictions and terms of use set in place by that platform. Other platforms provide a good way of discovering amazing content but they are not a replacement.

    Social media is the tease, individual websites is where all the cool stuff is.

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    1. That's a great point, Kallen. Love "social media is the tease." So true!

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  27. Great post. I believe that book bloggers are relevant to each other as well as the non blogging reader. Now that I've found myself in more of a reader role than a blogger role, I would much rather hear about someone's experience reading a book than what a "critic" has to say.

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    1. Thanks, Teresa! Same here. I'll never go back to gaining my recommendations from critics, even if I stopped blogging.

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  28. I want to just say - BEST POST EVAH! This is so timely a discussion and I think this is exactly what we should be focused on instead of whether we are relevant to publishers. I mean if #kloutthecrown has taught me anything.....lol

    Also, totes share this in the group tomorrow! It's awesome.

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    1. THANK YOU, dahling! Poor Crown. Poor, pointy-headed Crown. lol

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  29. And you are SO great at fostering community, Andi! I can't imagine what the blogosphere would look like without you! *hugs*

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    1. Thank you, Jenny! Hugs to you! You made my day!

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  30. Well, to me you're relevant to anyone who loves books. ARCs or not. I've been blogging for, I dunno, way too long (late 2002). I've always blogged about books, reading, and writing because there lies my passion. I did it before it was relevant to anyone, and I'll continue to do it whether anyone finds me relevant or not.

    I had tons of ARCs at my disposal when I worked for Borders. Couldn't keep up. With the decline of my parent's health, it became too difficult to keep up my blog on a regular basis so any blogging was catch-as-catch-can. I would mount assaults and attempt to get at it but life would intervene.

    Since my mom died in August, I've been picking up dropped threads. I'll do an ARC if I have one -- I do continue to get a few; but, I'm mostly writing about books I'm reading, books I've read, or books that help me illustrate some point I'm making as with RL Stine's Goosebumps series today.

    Much depends on your intention, your goals, your passion. Blogging will remain relevant for no other reason than it's a stellar platform to publish for the everyday person and for writers who have something to say. The search engines alone will keep some relevant, even long after they draw the blinds on their blog. Nothing dies on the Internet. LOL

    Book blogging is still young. Its place within the industry is evolving. The levels and types of book blogs still being shaped. I say read, write, and explore until you find the place where you belong.

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    1. This was such a lovely reply, Vikk. Thank you for taking the time to leave this comment. This was my fave part: "illustrate some point I'm making as with RL Stine's Goosebumps series today." I love the format of the RL Stine post, and I hope to craft some that wonderful and insightful myself!

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  31. I think, most importantly, bloggers are relevant to readers. We're knowledgeable about what books are available in our chosen genre, and offer detailed evaluations of titles. We talk about what is coming out, what an author has done before, and ponder ways to be better consumers. I know not everyone reading my blog has a blog of their own.

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  32. Great post and a reminder that everybody thinks about whether they're relevant or not. :)

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  33. If you haven't already checked it out I think your content dovertails very well with what Lisa over at Just Another Rabid Reader had to say on her topic of choice post - Who Are You Blogging For?. I agree though that we remain relevant as log as we consider ourselves relevant. Traffic ehh, free books nice perk but just icing on the cake, Klout scores bunch of hooey someone dreamed up to rate us like grades in school and not everyone can make the cut. Ok as an avowed perfectionist who shoots myself for not making the grade more often than not I am learning how not to go crazy for not having high enough traffic and Klout scores but seeing other people put it in writing and putting it in writing myself helps to realize it is all just a bunch of numbers and really in the end what does that matter another month or two from now when everyone's life goes through rollercoasters of experience and Klout scores may or may not remain stable. Just as reviewing is subjective I'll bet the process of determining a Klout score is also subjective. No scoring system no matter how exact is fully objective because it is in some way attached to humans who cannot be 100% objective.

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    1. I am definitely going to check out Just Another Rabid Reader's post. It definitely does help to put things in perspective when we put these concerns/insecurities/bits of hooey into writing and let them out into the world. Glad you stopped by to comment!

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  34. Great post, Andi. I'm all for the backlist - I find such gems every day just hopping from book blog to book blog. My TBR would be a whole lot smaller if it weren't for other book bloggers.

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    1. Thanks, Belle! I find more gems in the backlist than I do in the frontlist. Presumably just because they've been vetted longer. I don't have time for "meh" reading. lol

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  35. Great post! Sometimes I question myself about blogging and this post has definitely made me feel better about it! Blogging will remain relevant, in one form or another. I like social media but to me, it's a supplement , not a replacement for blogging. Each platform has it's own uses and pros.

    I've definitely branched out the types of books that I read because of blogging as well as found some gems through reading other bloggers' reviews.

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    1. Thanks, alice-jane! SUPPLEMENT is exactly it! My TBR exploded when I got into blogging. There used to be times I could go into the bookstore and not know what to buy. Ummm, yeah. No more of that. lol

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  36. I actually chose to go in a similar vein today. I wrote about remembering who we are blogging for. I think relevance goes right along with that. It is important to remember why we are here and what we hope to accomplish. I would love to be the type of blog that everyone visits and comments on and talks about, but at 2 years in, I am not there yet. I do have a little bit of a following and I like engaging with people when they do comment, I just wish they would do it more often.

    Lisa @Just Another Rabid Reader

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    1. Hey, Lisa! I tried going to your blog to read your post yesterday but it looked like it was down. Either that, or my computer decided to be uncooperative. I can't wait to read your post! I have a post coming up in the next week or two about comments. Maybe you'd be interested in that, too.

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  37. Bravo! Excellent post, Andi. My blog has evolved over the past 8 years from purely book reviewing to more personal posts (with lots of photographs). My readership has probably suffered from my sporadic activity, but I don't worry about my stats anymore. I'm doing this more for me than anyone else.

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    1. Thank you, Les! As long as we're happy with our blogs, that is the key. Readership, large or small, the people we've connected with via our content will be around. That's that awesome friendship part I enjoy so much. :)

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  38. awesome post! and seeing the number of comments, you definitely ARE relevant, and I'm glad I know your book blog

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  39. These posts is why you are relevant Andi! If in doubt I search your blog for posts like this and your sustainable blog post to get some courage to make my own decisions.

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    1. Thank you, Ciska! That means the world to me!

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  40. Such a great post! I keep hearing that blogging is out of fashion now, but I think that's just for people who don't actually read the articles that people send them links to (but like them anyway) and never click through on Twitter. My first (and only) BEA in 2012 was the year the Book Bloggers Conference was changed to Bloggers Conference and, visiting some publishers' booths, I felt a bit as though book bloggers were the ugly stepchild of the book industry. Maybe it was Crown, seeing book bloggers simply as grasping book hoarders!

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  41. YES!!!! I keep wondering where the heck that's coming from? Whose fashion because it's obviously not out of fashion here! lol Ugh! That attitude would turn me off in a heartbeat, for sure.

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  42. This post is all sorts of awesome (as are you, Andi!). I'm overwhelmed at the proliferation of book bloggers and the RANGE of what book bloggers do. So maybe the book blogging slice of the blogging pie has come into its own? Gotta say though that beauty bloggers are another huge force out there!

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  43. This is such a good post. I wish I had more articulate things to say, but my brain is fried and I'm just not making sense even to myself :)

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  44. Great post great post! We are definitely relevant. The fact that bloggers have sites to access ARCs tells me they find relevance in us...why else hand over any type of free copy? I think this falls in line with what I feel about teachers on this topic. I think there is all sort of relevance and meaning here, but much of it goes unsaid. You just need to know for a fact that you're making a difference and hold on for those moments when it's proven to you.

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  45. Redefining relevance - I love this. Too often relevance has been defined as the latest and greatest book to hit the shelves. And if that's your shtick, that's great. Me? I'll leave that to the newer blogging generation -- I'm too tired to keep up. ;) I have enough trouble just keeping the library holds going after I read their latest and greatest reviews --- so keep expecting my reviews to be perpetually 3-4 months behind the release date. This used to bother me - no longer. These days I see this as a nice reminder for those who missed this book when it first came out.

    Find your niche. Find your comfort area. Find what makes you happy. Find what makes you want to BLOG. As long as you're talking (versus blurbing -- and I do think there is a big difference), people are going to listen and you'll find your audience.

    Excellent post, Andi -- as always!

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  46. I love this. You're 100% right that the question of relevance is dependent on who, exactly, we're trying to be relevant for. (Oh, I just ended a sentence with a preposition... but since I haven't had my coffee yet, I'm not going to try to rewrite that.)

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  47. This piece is so good on so many levels! Thank you so much! I'm bookmarking this one to refer to often. It's a good reminder to know that we are relevant!

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  48. Like TIf I am bookmarking so I can read this again...a refreshing and relevant post on blogging! Thank you.

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  49. I am late to the party here, but I was out of the country! I think this is a fantastic post. So many times, I wonder if my blog is "worth it," but worth what? My time and effort and sweat and tears? Well, there's that, but I mostly feel that if I stopped writing I would somehow stop reading and lose all the friends I have made, and that would be hard to take.

    I really MUST believe that blogging is relevant (or at least important) because honestly, so much about the publishing industry and the way people read needs to change. I HAVE TO BELIEVE that by highlighting more diverse subjects and authors and series, that we are making a positive difference.

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  50. I'm late getting here but wanted to add my cheers to all the others. Perfectly said. I really appreciate how you foster a sense of community among the book bloggers. You rock!

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  51. Wonderful post! I'm sure we all ask ourselves this question from time to time, and I love how you just spelled it all out perfectly. :)

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  52. Just found your blog through following a link on another blog, and I love this post! I'm a newer blogger yet, and I started my blog as a way to showcase some of the hidden book gems out there-ones that may not be in the spotlight and are usually a bit older. I don't participate in things like ARCs and other book/review exchange programs. I also don't own any books, and instead read/review library books. I'm definitely a bit of an odd duck in the book blogging community, but I think I'm still relevant :) I'm also having a smashing good time!

    Now following your blog through bloglovin :)

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  53. I love this post! I have gone through the motions with blogging a lot. I started blogging because I just wanted to write. And when I asked myself what I wanted to write about, books were the first topic to pop into my mind. They seemed personal enough to be interesting but wouldn't require me to get uncomfortable. The problem is that I don't read as much as I though I do. Or I didn't know how to write about books in that compelling way. Or I just wanted to branch out. And now my blog is a mixture of reflections and confessions. I still write about books every now and then but more than anything, I show up to write and share bits of myself. And that is relevant. I think that book blogging or blogging of anything will always be relevant because this is a record of who we are at a certain point in time. If nothing else, these blogs serve a purpose for us personally. And isn't that the best reason to keep showing up and writing?

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Thanks for taking the time to comment! Blogger has been a beast lately, so I hope you do not have any troubles leaving your thoughts.

 
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