I don’t know many bloggers who don’t want to grow their blogs, and I think we’ve all heard pretty much the same advice. Post regularly (but not too much), review new books (but don’t make it all ARCs that other people can’t get yet), review the stuff your readers are interested in (but don’t get too specialised), take part in memes and tags (but not too many)… It can get to be an obligation. I don’t know about anyone else, but I find myself picking my next book because “oh, it’s been a while since I reviewed a fantasy novel” or “everyone must be bored of non-fiction reviews, I should pick something else”.
And you know, the advice isn’t bad if you just want to grow your audience, maybe sell some books through affiliate links (not one so far from mine!), be a popular blogger with a ton of followers, get all the ARCs…
But I found myself looking at the books I’m hoping to get for Christmas and briefly thinking I’d like to reread the rest of the series… and then thinking, hm, no, I reread that earlier this year, nobody wants to see me review that again.
Wait, what? Who am I reading for? Why have I suddenly turned my hobby into a job? Why do I have to periodically keep having this realisation?
I don’t follow other people’s blogs because I necessarily want to read the books they do, or want them to review particular things. I follow other people’s blogs to share the joy of reading, and I don’t have to share their taste closely for that. And it’s valuable to me to know if someone whose taste I know has read a book five times in a year, because hey, that means it’s exceptional in some way! And while I don’t read much of certain genres or authors, if I see a blogger tearing through all the books by a certain author, first of all, I’m glad for them, and second, maybe it’s worth a try as a gateway into the genre. Enthusiasm is a real recommendation.
So here’s my endeavour for the year ahead: read the books I want to, not the books I think I should. Reread when I like. Don’t worry about varying my reviews or writing some deathless original prose about a book I’ve read five times now. I’m just going to share what I’ve enjoyed, and why I’ve enjoyed it, and if that’s neither useful or interesting to people, that’s fine. It turns out I’m not here for the audience, for the affiliate link sales, for the ARCs. I’m here to share how much I love reading.
(Not that that means things will necessarily change. I like doing Stacking the Shelves, commenting on other people’s posts, reading and reviewing books of all genres. I just might not worry
too much at all about whether I’m posting too many non-fic reviews in a row or whether it’s excessive to read The Goblin Emperor again.)
Hence: Project More Joy. And to share a bit of joy around, here is Breakfast Bun hiding under a cabbage leaf.
“Sssh, I’m a secret!”
Here’s hoping you’re all along for the wild, book-enjoying ride with me.