Well, no, I don't get paid for any of this and yes, it is a lot of work. But honestly: I don't care. I think any book blogger has been met with similar thought/questions form others--or even themselves; I know I've even wondered similar things myself. Because of this, I decided to write a post that attempts to explain exactly why I love book blogging.
I'm going to try to break this down into a few main reasons:
1. To encourage others to read.
Whether I'm encouraging people who don't read that much to pick up a book, encouraging regular readers to read a book outside of their comfort zone, or just encouraging readers to continue loving books, it's all great and something that I love. Reading is a brilliant way for people to expand their knowledge of the world and to discover different cultures, worlds, ways of life, and so much more. It's a way to enhance your vocabulary, to spirit you away into different worlds, to de-stress, to learn to write, to spark your own creativity, to find a home--the benefits are endless.
For me, there are few things more enjoyable than sharing my love of books with other people and furthering their own interest in books. In order to share a love of books with others, there needs to be other people that also love to read, and in this day and age the best way to get people to do that is to share your love of books online where others can see it. It's important to get out there and promote reading, and I think that book blogging is a fantastic way to encourage other people to read.
2. To promote authors/publishers!
I am more than aware that most big publishing houses actually have paid publicists and marketers that do their own promotions in a professional and much more effective manner than I do, but that doesn't mean that I can't also help to promote books and authors in my own way. I especially like to promote smaller presses and self-published authors whenever I have the ability to because I understand that sometimes the traditional route of publishing just doesn't always work. I have a pretty busy review schedule normally, but I always try my best to include self-published review requests. This can be daunting, especially since it means I get a lot more review requests than I would if I didn't, but I like to do it when I can because I want to help get the word out about new authors and their books. I can't always accept every review request, but I try to do what I can. Even if a book isn't necessarily 'my thing,' it my just become the new favorite of someone who read my blog and found it that way. I want to do my part to help spread the news about the books and authors I encounter through my days of reading.
3. To stay on top of and improve my own reading.
Book blogging really holds me accountable for my reading. I think I'm much more likely to read more when I know that there are more books out there that I want to read and review, and blogging makes me painfully aware of how many books there are out there that I want to read. It almost adds pressure in a fun way, if that makes any sense (?). Sometimes it does feel overwhelming, but that's when I just step back and remember why I'm doing this. Similarly, reviews help me think critically about books and also remember what I read better. By taking the time to think over the book, its characters, the plot, the pacing, the writing style, etc., I have a chance to ingrain the book more in my head and also work out those analysis skills I spent four years of college fine-tuning. In turn, this also helps me figure out more carefully exactly what I enjoy and look for in a good book, which is always a plus when picking out new books.
Another huge plus is that blogging also keeps me abreast of the upcoming releases and the great new books that are coming out, which is something that I was never good at doing before I started my blog. It used to be that I would find out that a book in a series that I really liked came out... almost a year later. Except Harry Potter--we always knew the release dates for Harry Potter books and movies.
4. I like to stay busy.
Honestly, I like work. I like having things to do. I love free time, but I go crazy if I have nothing to do and this is somewhat my 'free time' because I enjoy doing it. I'm crazy about having schedules and productive things to do, and book blogging helps me do that. Also, books are great for my mental health and really help me in ways I can't even describe.
5. The community
Holy hell, guys--who knew that I was missing out on such a fantastic bookish community all of the years before I started my blog? I have yet to meet a book blogger who is not amazing and welcoming and all-around fantastic. You don't even have to have an active blog to be a part of the book community--if you read and participate, you're welcome! Much of my experience with this community has been great and full of some of the most open-minded, hard-working people that I've ever met. I look forward to what the future holds for the book world, but I'm already incredibly pleased with how it is at present.
6. I love books!
This the most important reason, and the primary reason that I even started a blog in the first place. I wanted a place where I could talk about books and share my one main passion in life. I don't have a ton of hobbies other than reading (though I do have a few, I should probably add more) and I love having a place that I can talk about them all the time. I love having discussions with people and being able to visit the blogs of other like-minded book bloggers, and that just makes everything worth it. I may have started using affiliate links on my site, but in the end, it's all about the books (I'm just trying to keep eating also, I've become quite used to doing that).
Well, for those of you that made it through all of that -- thank you! Would you believe me when I said that all of that was the majorly edited down version of everything that I normally wrote? Because it was. I hope I managed to get across everything I meant with this post. I love doing this.
What is it that you love about book blogging?
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