Chatterbox: What I’ve Learnt from 2 Years of Blogging

July 25, 2014 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | Chatterbox, Features, Reflections

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I’ve been thinking about this post for a long time, about all the lessons, trials and tribulations that I’ve learnt from my 2 years of blogging. Some have been made from trial and error, others have been made by learnings over time and others through analysing the statistics and talking to other bloggers.

You only get what you put in. 

Book blogging can be a very rewarding and exciting experience, but it also requires a lot of time and effort into reading, reviewing, writing posts and engaging with the community. If you are passionate and persistent about what you do and you stick with it, chances are your blog will continue to grow, especially if you connect to others. Similarly, if you start and stop all the time, only put up a post every few months or don’t take the time to interact with others, then you can’t expect to have lots of page views.

Your blog doesn’t grow overnight. 

When I first started blogging, I used to check my WordPress statistics all the time to monitor the number of comments and views. While it’s important to celebrate the milestones, I realised that followers and page views don’t just appear overnight. Get to know other book bloggers through their blogs and Twitter, don’t be afraid to promote your blog on Goodreads and sign up to giveaway hops so you can spread the word.

Comment often and comment freely.

It took a full year of blogging before realising that the reason I wasn’t receiving many comments back then was because I wasn’t going out and actively commenting on other blogs (even though I read them). Signing up to Bloggers Commenting Back was a fantastic way to discover other bloggers who wanted to build up a community of people who commented on their blogs and returned the favour. Have you ever left a comment on someone’s blog, only to never hear a thing in return? Don’t comment by expecting a comment back, as this isn’t a priority for everyone, and similarly, it’s important to reply to your own comments on your blog to interact with your loyal followers.

Make friends and talk about your passion. 

While it definitely seems daunting that everyone in the blogging community seems to know each other, if you take the time to say hi and connect with people, chances are they’ll probably do the same as well. We’re here because we love reading and books, and the more people we have to fangirl about things, the merrier. Getting to know other bloggers is also a great reason to build a network and to support each other. You never know what opportunities may arise, like starting a meme, event or group together.

Blogging is not a competition, but some will treat it as one. 

This was a hard lesson for me to learn, while I’m naturally a friendly and social person, there are others who will take notice of your success and try to bring you down. Whether they do this through subtweeting, shamelessly promoting themselves, bitching or making rude comments, the important thing to remember is to hold your head up high and not stoop to their level. There are also going to be people who will be elitist or judgmental or not return the favour when it comes to commenting but you know what? There are plenty who will, so just focus on the ones that do.

Book blogging is not about free books or making money. 

When I first started book blogging, I took the time to review all the books that I could, including the ones that I purchased and those from indie authors. It wasn’t until I built up a consistent track record of reviewing for authors before I contacted publishers and joined Netgalley and Edelweiss for ARCs. Publishers are able to tell genuine requests for reviewing from those just looking for free books, and it’s important to show that you’re a reliable blogger. You’ve also probably heard stories about famous bloggers being able to live off the ad revenue that they make from their blog which sadly, doesn’t apply for book blogs which Nose Graze explains here.

It’s the internet, don’t be surprised when others take inspiration from you. 

The best thing about the internet, is that we get to see everyone’s creativity. The worse thing about the internet, is that others can do the same to you as well. Most of the time people get their ideas from the internet and other people and yes – that includes you. While I’m certainly not encouraging blatant plagiarism, there are things that I see bloggers get worked up about which is associated with something they posted on their own blog. If you have actual proof that it is based off your own blog, contact the blogger privately, wait for them to reply and chances are it will be dealt with quickly. There is no point making a fuss about it, starting a tweeting war or shaming them out on social media, before you find out whether it was intentional or innocent.

Most importantly, remember to have fun. 

Plenty of bloggers including myself, have highlighted the pressure of book blogging, but it’s important to remember that we started one to have fun. The moment we start viewing it as a chore, it’s important to re-evaluate why we are book blogging and what we are doing that we are not enjoying. Whether you don’t reply to all of your comments, miss a few posts here and there or don’t get around to reading all of your review reads, it’s okay. The only person pressuring yourself is you, and this is a hobby, we do it for fun.

Have you had any of these experiences? What have you learnt from book blogging? 

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Jeann is an Aussie blogger, gamer, reader who loves to read, write, fangirl, geek out and eat food. You can find me glued to one of my many mobile devices 24/7, or fangirling over the latest YA book, TV show, movie or game. Chat with me on Twitter @happyindulgence

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113 responses to “Chatterbox: What I’ve Learnt from 2 Years of Blogging

  1. I love all the things you said here and I definitely think they could help a person who is thinking about starting a blog, or who has just created one.

    I didn't go into blogging thinking it would be easy, but I didn't realise how much time it would take up, either. And it takes up A LOT of time. But the thing is: I'm more than happy to spend my time this way. I love reading comments, and posts, and I love writing comments, and posts. I love interacting with readers, and making friends. It's what makes blogging so amazing.

    I remember when I first started out, I was pretty obsessed with the stats of it all, as well. I wanted to grow, I wanted my content to be read. I didn't want to just be shoving posts out there that never "saw the light of day". But eventually, that stopped mattering. I had my small readership and I loved each and every one of them. And once I learned the art of commenting, my readership simply grew naturally. I amde friends on Twitter, which lead to friends in the blogosphere – and vice versa. Sure, my blog might not be the biggest out there, or get hundreds upon hundreds of page views per day, but that's not what I am here for. I am here to enjoy myself, and I can say without a doubt that i enjoy myself – incredibly so. 😀 <3
    Chiara @ Books for a recently posted…Review: Earthquake by Aprilynne PikeMy Profile

    • Thanks lovely, like you I had no idea it would be so time consuming. I love it all the same! I was the same, I kept on looking at all the bigger blogs and wondering how I could get there. The friends made is definitely the best thing.

  2. Great post! I really agree with everything. "Your blog doesn't grow over night" is my favorite one. People who start blogging are always asking me tips and how do I do it. I try to tell them it's a lot of work and will take time.. time = years of work. People who have never blogged before don't understand why they don't have 100s of followers day 1. Such work!! I hope to see you continue to stick around the book blogging community
    Angie @Angela's recently posted…Harry Potter UK CoversMy Profile

  3. Woah, I can't believe I haven't seen this post before! It was very detailed and good! I started blogging not THAT long ago so there are things I haven't experienced yet (and hope will never too) like having rude comments and people trying to bring me down and stuff. I'm sorry if someone did or try to do this to you since…why would you deserve that? Yeah, interacting with the community is an important thing and I always try to do so but I must admit that my priority has always been reading and reviewing, 😛 And I guess some others too. Again, fantastic post. 🙂
    Lola @ Hit or Miss B recently posted…Review of Catch a Falling Star by Kim CulbertsonMy Profile

  4. I've just started actively commenting on other blogs! I used to occasionally but not often, even though I spent time every day reading posts and visiting sites. Now, I try to grab at least 15 minutes a day to go to other blogs and leave comments on a few posts. I've seen a dramatic rise in people commenting on my blog from it and it's only made me more motivated to continue doing it, even though I don't expect people to return the favor. Just being more active in the community as a whole has been great. I need to work on the friend-making tip, too. I'm so shy about approaching people. When I do, I have trouble mucking up the courage to continue talking with them. My new goal is to improve this!

    Thanks for the awesome tips!
    Ashtyn @ Wonderland& recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday #53My Profile

  5. No problems Aimee! I wish I had a post like this to guide me when I first started blogging, I was always wondering how to do better and get out there like other big blogger syou know? I totally agree with not taking your anger out publicly, have to stay classy! We are like a giant family in a sense and I just love the community so much. I joined bloggers commenting back when it first started and found a lot of my favourite blogs through there. Thanks for your lovely long comment 🙂

  6. I just checked out your blog Matt and really enjoyed the uniqueness of the posts, if you added Bloglovin I'd definitely follow. I think the key is finding types of bloggers who you can interact with, with similar posts. That way you can connect easier you know?

    • Thanks. I appreciate your time. Yeah I think that is the main point. I haven't found many posts like mine. Most writing blogs are either general advice or daily life of a writer types. I don't see many inspirational posts. I keep looking though.

  7. This is such an amazing post Jeann and I agree with everything whole heartedly. I've not been book blogging long, and I know our blog have a long way to go until I can call it successful and established but I believe that being part of the community and spreading positivity is definitely the way to reach my goal. I'm so glad I discovered Bloggers Commenting Back early on because it really did help in establishing connection with other bloggers, I think we found each other through there! You're one of the very few who visited our blog back when it was just finding it's own place in the book bloggingsphere Jeann and I'm forever thankful for that! At the same time though, I agree with you that you shouldn't always expect comment backs. I comment on blogs all the time and I never expect them to comment back. I appreciate when they do but I comment because I'm genuinely interested in their review/discussion and I want to share my own thoughts and opinion. I also love receiving ARCs and free books (who doesn't?) but getting declined for one is not the end of the world. You just have to wait a bit longer like everyone else when it comes out in stores. It's not like you will never get to read the book. And I especially agree with this:

    "If you have actual proof that it is based off your own blog, contact the blogger privately, wait for them to reply and chances are it will be dealt with quickly. There is no point making a fuss about it, starting a tweeting war or shaming them out on social media, before you find out whether it was intentional or innocent."

    If there's something that can be resolved privately, then do that first. This past year have thought me that. Amazing post Jeann, thank you so much for this! I honestly think I babbled too much but I seriously can go on and on with everything that you said but basically, I agree with EVERYTHING. <3
    Amir recently posted…Audiobook Review: Save the Date by Sadie GruborMy Profile

    • I totally agree with needing to solve things privately because we tend to operate online we are so used to sharing openly on social media and through the blog you know? But then that's how things tend to escalate because people gravitate towards drama, just have to remember how we would feel if that happened to ourselves.

      Thank you so much Amir, definitely being part of the community is important and it feels so much more rewarding. I am so glad you stuck with commenting and visiting my blog back in the early days when I didn't realise the importance of commenting! I am so proud to discover that you were one of the firsts hehe.

  8. Hi. Just stumbled in here, but glad I did. I'm always struggling with my blog, so it's good to get some tips. I've been struggling with regular posting, but I think I have that sorted now. I took a hiatus and used that time to write lots of advanced entries. My main problem is commenting on other blogs. I don't mind talking to random folks at all but I don't find many blogs like my own, so it's hard to build up a rapport with other bloggers. I'm not interested in commenting on each others blogs just to pat each other on the back but I am looking for people who generally interest me to build connections with. I think, like any blogger though, I'd kill for some comments on my blog. I've been blogging for years, but I'm so bad at finding the time that I haven't come close to giving enough time to building relations.

  9. Ah this is such great advice and especially for newbie bloggers who are just learning how to promote their blog. I'd have to agree with everything you said but most of this is learnt over time with your own experiences. Thanks for sharing this! Great job on reaching 2 years!
    Francoise recently posted…{Review} Four: a Divergent CollectionMy Profile

  10. Thanks for the informative post, Jeann!

    1. There are times when we're all busy and unable to put a post up, so page views and interactions definitely decline on those days. Life is important, but it's also nice to balance life with hobbies like reading and blogging every once in a while. 🙂

    2. Ah, that one's definitely an important thing to figure out. If you don't bother interacting or improving your content, blog readers won't just suddenly appear out of thin air. There's always room for improvement!

    3. Bloggers Commenting Back is a huge help when it comes to finding blog readers AND blogs to read. I've made a lot of bookish friends through that program. I really wouldn't like to comment on blogs if I won't get any sort of response back. I don't really require a comment back, but I'd like to know, somehow, that my comment has been read. 🙂

    4. Yes! Aside from all the books, I've joined the community to meet and talk to fellow booknerds. I wouldn't have lasted my first year in blogging if it weren't for the supportive and friendly community. I mean, look at all the bookish people flying to different continents just to meet each other! ^_^

    5. I'm, admittedly, jealous of those "bigger" bloggers, but I know that blogging isn't a competition. I use these successful bloggers as a basis to my goals. We shouldn't be bringing other people down. We should be supportive of each other since we're like a giant family! 😀

    6. While I love the fact that I get to read free books early, I know that it shouldn't be the whole point of blogging. I'm here to share and support the community. 🙂

    7. Yes. We're all trying to get creative, so it isn't a surprise if some bloggers don't have enough resources and will get something interesting from other bloggers. If you're not okay with it, don't take out your anger publicly.

    8. Hurrah for fun book blogging! <33
    Aimee @ Deadly Darli recently posted…Review: Flat-Out Celeste by Jessica ParkMy Profile

  11. You make so many good points. I love the community part the best and making friends and the interaction. It took me months at first when I was part of another blog to realize about the importance of commenting. Now it is one of the most fun but also the most time consuming parts.

    I hate the shaming and rudeness of some people. You just can't get away from trolls sometimes. I think being inspired by others is great especially when they mention you are the one that inspired them it always makes me feel so amazing.
    Tabitha @ Not Yet Re recently posted…Review: Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle MeadMy Profile

    • I'm so glad you've picked up on the commenting because that's how I've discovered your blog. Definitely time consuming though. Yeah, not everyone are trolls but setting the example sucks.

  12. Hi Jeanne! Thank you for this! What an inspiring and helpful post! I just started blogging this year and now I have a post that will be like my survival guide 😛 Thanks again. It's no surprise that you're now 2 years old (your blog, that is) I'm pretty sure that this is just your starting years. I'm now excited for mine! 😀
    Paula M. @ Her Book recently posted…The Bookish Bucketlist!My Profile

  13. I absolutely love this post! I am so shy when it comes to chatting with other, I have been doing this over a year and I still have such low self esteem when it comes to trying to talk to people especially on twitter. I always feel like I am butting in.

    When I comment on another blog I do it just because I want to, I never put a link back unless they have commentluv because I stopped by to check out your post if you want to visit me great if not that's ok.
    Michelle@Because Rea recently posted…#COYER Update Post 5My Profile

  14. Fantastic Post! I've only been blogging for a year, but can already attest to how much the things you're saying are true. I remember when I first started blogging, I felt really nervous about trying to become part of the community, but for the most part as I started commenting on posts I started getting to know people. Twitter was the real challenge for me, because I wanted to get into conversations, but felt like I was butting in. But gradually that started to feel natural too. I've come to feel that the community is the best part of blogging and I'm so glad I made the effort to get over my initial shyness. And I'm still discovering new-to-me people and blogs every day, so the fun continues 🙂
    Berls @ Fantasy is M recently posted…COYER-SV Update | We’re More Than Halfway!My Profile

  15. This is such a great post, SOOOOOOOO many helpful tips for the newbie blogger such as myself. One that I really have to work on is the commenting thing – I visit so many blogs and I so rarely comment. I know that I love to receive comments, so it stands to reason that other bloggers would as well! Also, how else am I going to get myself out there without actually meeting people so to speak? Don't worry, I'm equally bad at this in real life! Networking for my job is a pain in the arse 🙂

  16. You have made so many great points in this post! I took a step back recently when I realised it just wasn't fun anymore, and I think it's the best thing I've ever done; because I'm treating it as something to be enjoyed again – like any hobby should be.
    Wattle recently posted…Showcase Sunday #14My Profile

  17. Yeah, I totally agree Anne and even though there is Twitter drama and stuff, I try and stay out of it when it ends up happening. It's just not cool and just because it's on the internet, doesn't mean it's not hurtful.

  18. I'm so glad you've learnt some of the major lessons already Holly, and managed to make it into something that you enjoyed again. It's easy to get caught up in the pressure but at the end of the day, if we're not enjoying it then there's no point.

  19. Amen to everything esp the competition one. I learned that the hard way too and although it's not my intent, there were blogs that I used to follow in the past that makes it so. Avoided and unfollowed them and I'm better off. I'm here to have fun, the rest are just perks.

    Great discussion!
    Braine Talk Supe recently posted…Bought, Borrowed & Bagged #111 + Homeland S4My Profile

    • Yeah, it's so true that the more you get to know the community the more you'll get to know the good and the bad. I've been the same too when it comes to those who do things that I don't agree with.

  20. This is such a wonderful and informative post, Jeann! And I also learned all of these throughout my year in blogging. I know I still struggle sometimes with all the work I had to put in, but I'm glad I'm only co-blogging now. It certainly helps, especially with handling comments. Although with learning about the good sides of the blogging community, you also find the bad sides. And I agree that you should just keep your head held high and just choose to be kind. I think the most important thing about book blogging is enjoying it, even if it can get too much. Sometimes you just need to step back and gain ack your perspective.
    Francine Soleil recently posted…I’m being lent many good things this weekend. Blankets by…My Profile

  21. Yes I COMPLETELY AGREE! Truthfully, comments do make me happy, but I definitely focus more on the layout of my post and blog, and how I can make them better, over receiving comments. But then, ever since I've started commenting on other blogs and following the ones I really liked, I've been making a ton more friends, and even being some blogger's favorite. This really means a lot to me, and I've learned that to succeed in book blogging, you just have to have fun!
    Valerie recently posted…Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the UniverseMy Profile

    • That's great that you focus on your own blog, comments are not everyone's priority and I agree that focusing on your posts is great because you make sure you have the substance you know? That's the best thing about making more blogger friends 🙂

  22. I've never been the type to make friends or socialise via the internet. I just don't have the time, I'm always so busy and all. HAHA But blogging really changed me. There was one girl who told me she became a blogger because of me, I was so flatter that I just died inside. HAHA

    Blogging escalates drama and shit, but it's been mostly fun. I like to be entertained HAHA
    Chyna @ Lite-Rate-Tu recently posted…ARC Review: Free To Fall by Lauren MillerMy Profile

  23. You make so many great points here Jeann! Blogging is definitely all about the community, connecting with other booklovers out there and putting in the hard yards. Getting the 'freebies' of books is definitely a privilege, but we sure do put in a lot of work to read and review them. It's great to interact on social media to get the message about your blog out there, but also to find other people who share the same passion for reading that you do. I've come across so many other Aussie book bloggers this way (including you 🙂 and it's great to share opinions on books we come across, and participate in blog discussions when they arise. There is so much to learn in the world of book blogging, and I think that we discover something new every day!
    Eugenia @ Chasm of B recently posted…Cover Reveal: This is FallingMy Profile

    • Absolutely, and that's the best thing about the blogging community! You're so right about the 'freebies', it's just completely free like people think. I love the Aussie blogging community and I think it's awesome that we've all connected!

  24. Yes, yes and yes. On new years day my blog will be two years old, and for the first year, I was pretty much oblivious. The commenting, blog visits, I had no idea. What I've learnt from blogging I've learnt from you and Dre (if anyone has an issue with me, please direct all concerns to Happy Indulgence. Jeann taught me), but regardless, I don't think there's any wrong way to blog, but ways to be a better blogger. Gosh, I can't imagine anyone making serious money from Book blogging, unless it's through sponsors. I don't have affiliate links, but I can imagine you get next to nothing from them. I love the idea of Commenters commenting back, just checking it out now. A few blogs on there I visit semi regularly, but they don't return them *sobs* fabulous post Jeann darl.
    Kelly recently posted…Author on the Grill: Roses are Blue Blog TourMy Profile

    • I'm so happy that your blog has come a long way since we first met Kelly 🙂 Thank you so much for using me as a blogging mentor lol. I know right, I have affiliate links but seriously, I've had them for a year and a bit now and I've made $7 so far on Amazon, whoodee doo! Hello early retirement!

  25. Can I hug this post? I really wished that this post has already been published when I just started blogging so I wasn't so clueless and assuming.

    You only get what you put in.

    When I was still a newbie, I thought that I just have to publish a lot of reviews and presto, I will immediately gain a lot of followers. Thinking about this now really made me cringe. OMG! I was really clueless back then!

    Your blog doesn’t grow overnight.

    This is the one thing that I already understood even before I started blogging. So what I did is to create an action plan on how to grow my blog. However, there was something wrong with it as realized after five straight months of blogging. I didn't include "commenting" as a strategy to spread the word and make friends. I am anti-social so I didn't consider going from blog to blog and interact with other bloggers ya know.

    Comment often and comment freely.

    I absolutely agree with all of your points. I learned this the hard way…. back when I was still the noob blogger who is obsessed with page views and other stats.

    Make friends and talk about your passion.

    This was really hard for me to do because as I've said, I am anti-social plus the fact that I am really good at ending convos. But despite that, I think I was able to make friends even if it was a slow process. I hope you consider me as a friend, Jeann. Hahahah.

    Blogging is not a competition, but some will treat it as one.

    This. Although I am not envious with the big blogs, I still sometimes feel insecurities if I see that they were able to get ARCs that I wanted so badly (i.e. Winner's Curse, Cress). Hahahaha. *hides face in shame***

    Book blogging is not about free books or making money.

    You are so right! That's why I still review those ARCs that have been published months ago. I don't want people or the publishers to think that I'm just after free books. Oh well, this might also be because I don't want my review ratio to go down.

    It’s the internet, don’t be surprised when others take inspiration from you.

    I didn't know that there's another drama going on Twitter. Eeek. I am sorry but I am pretty clueless about this because I rarely visit Twitter. My tweetering skills suck big time. I agree with all your points though. I think it's okay to take inspiration because not all people have creative juices. As long as they made something new out of that inspiration, I think people should not react.

    As for copying reviews, that is just shocking! That greatly defeats the purpose of having a book blog.

    Most importantly, remember to have fun.

    YES! Although I am still stressed at the moment.

    Lovely post, Jeann!

    • Thank you so much for your super long comment Charlotte and taking the time to reply to everything! I totally know what you mean about the free books, that Netgalley ratio adds a lot of pressure you know? Yeah, there's always drama on Twitter but I mostly stay out of it lol. I guess as long as you focus on your content and the commenting when you have time, otherwise if you keep up to date with the comments then there may be nothing new for bloggers to come back and comment on you know? Take it easy Charlotte! x

  26. Very sage advice, Jeanne. Anyone looking to start a blog or who has a new blog should read this. The biggest surprise for me was how much time blogging actually takes up. This hobby can be very time consuming. I think the best thing to do if you want to start blogging is to read lots of blogs, bloggers seem to be very open about their blogging experiences. That's how I learnt. It took me awhile to figure out how important commenting was too. I would always reply to comments on my own blog, but even though I was reading lots of blogs, I wasn't commenting either. I comment as much as I can now.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Rochelle Sharpe recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday (12): Talon By Julie Kagawa.My Profile

  27. I know, i looked at all the big blogs when I first started and was very envious, had no idea that I could have grown to be like them. Yeah, I've heard about that too, lucky I haven't gotten too much in that way of nastiness.

  28. I've heard so much from people who felt scared or intimidated by comments but after reaching out they are usually grateful. I'm so glad you've learnt not to watch your blog stats all the time, it can be kind of frustrating sometimes.

  29. Thanks Tammy, it can definitely seem overwhelming, that's why I said your blog won't grow over night. I think people don't expect you to always comment back, but as long as you return the favour sometimes.

  30. It is tiring but it just means you can't do all the things at once. You're either writing posts or commenting or being active in the community so it's important to compromise somewhere. I feel you about the pressure, try and focus on what you really enjoy and it's ok if you're not on top of everything. Xo

  31. Thanks Faye, it definitely means your hard work has paid off! Absolutely agree with the subtweeting and everything, when people see those big bloggers do that then they might think it's not so glad. But I'm glad others like you set a good example.

  32. I think you hit the nail on the post with this chatterbox Jeann. I have been blogging for nearly two years and I'm still learning . I'm a lurker mostly around the Aussie YA scene since my blog is eclectic but I plan to go commenting more on blogs as I'm not actively doing it at the moment despite I'm reading a lot of them everyday and I love to make more blogger friends 🙂
    Tash recently posted…Review: The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su & Kate RorickMy Profile

  33. These are all. So. True. I seriously wish I knew some of these when I started blogging. Haha my first posts…weren't the best. I'm not the best at remembering to comment back, but I'm getting better at leaving comments! I don't think that non-bloggers really appreciate just how much time it takes to blog. Anyway, great post!
    Olivia (Bookcomet) recently posted…Review: SecretMy Profile

  34. I loooove this post! I've thought a lot about all of this since summer started. I've been bogged down with review books, stress, and the pressure to read as much as I can. Not to mention, the pressure to keep up with blogging, being social (commenting, discussing), and thinking of new ideas and features to make it more interesting. Since this summer hit, I've had to reexamine my blog and why I started it in the first place because I felt like I wasn't enjoying it. And you're right–you get what you put in. It's hard work; but it's so, SO rewarding. I agree with all of this, and I've learned so much since I started my blog. And I've finally found the place where I'm back to loving it, instead of thinking of it as a chore. Because if it starts becoming a chore, then something needs to change. 🙂
    Holly U recently posted…More Than Forever by Jay McLean Blog TourMy Profile

  35. I've only been blogging for a year, however I've been reading blogs for much longer, so I guess I learned this a bit earlier on. I love all the tips here! And you're absolutely right! You only get what you put into it. If you don't work for it, then it won't work for you. Fantastic post, Jeann!
    Marianne @ Boricuan recently posted…Do You Need a Happily Ever After in Books?My Profile

  36. I can only hope to be as active in the blogging community as you in two years! (: I found this post to be very helpful and can see it as being very helpful for newer bloggers. I definitely find it helpful and good advice

    Blogging is definitely something where the amount of effort you put in is evident. Like you said, you get what you put into it! Interaction is definitely key, especially if you want to make friends within the blogging community. I feel as I used to be quite shy to begin with, but now feel myself commenting more frequently on blogs and really enjoying the bloggy universe much more. You truly become closer with people by consistently looking on their blogs. Also, if you do this they're more inclined to check your blog out and your blog will consistently grow.

    I think having the mindset that blogging is fun is key. If you feel like what you're doing is a chore, it'll definitely show through your comments and posts. By having fun and interacting, your posts/comments will seem genuine and organic.

    Excellent post Jeann <33
    Larissa Holt recently posted…Discussing Through Midnight (40): How to become a bestselling YA AuthorMy Profile

  37. Ha. It took me three years to realize everything you've stated, Jeann. So you're lucky that you've got a good head start. I concur with your points, especially the commenting part. That's unfortunate that it took me a while to catch on, for sure. But I'm glad that the blogging community is a patient community. 🙂
    Joy (Joyousreads) recently posted…Bird Box by Josh MalermanMy Profile

  38. 'Your blog doesn't grow overnight.' YES. In the beginning you will hardly have any visitors and no people comment on the things you post. It's important to not give up at that point. For me, it wasn't so hard because I never thought I would grow so much! It all started out as a project for me; and I think it's good to keep that in mind. A lot of people are so obsessed with numbers that they seem to forget to enjoy their blog 🙂 and some seem to be so jealous, because you often hear that bloggers stop with showcasing their hauls because of nastiness *sigh*
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  39. Fantastic list and all so very true! Like anything in life the more you but into it the bigger the rewards. Comments/commenting is a big deal..you need to be out there to be seen. I never expect a comment back, but I always give one back. Now as I enter my third year I am trying to learn, that I can take a day off..that it is ok..LOL
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted…Deep Summer by Gwen BristowMy Profile

  40. I've learned quite some fo these lessons as well. I was the kind of blogger who almost never commented on other blogs at first and I never understood why i didn't got comments. I didn't learn a lot about commenting when i started co-blogging, so when i started my own blog I kept in the dakr about this for a logn while, before finally out how fun it is to comment on other blogs as well. I always was afraid my comments wouldn't be interesting or add anything and because of this fear i didn't comment at all. I finally learned to get over that fear.

    Although indeed book bloggin isn't about the free books, I am still happy when someone wants to send me their book for review. I still haven't gathered the courage to actually approach publishers and ask for a review copy, but I am on Netgalley and have asked a few indie authors for review copies.

    When I just started my blog I alos obsessively checked GFC to see how many followers I had. When I made the switch to wordpress I removed the GFc widget from my blog and I am happy I did. I don't check my followers obsessively anymore, but instead grow happy with each new comment on my blog.

    I especially agree with your first point, you only get what you put into it. This is so true and I notice every time that the more time I put inot my blog and interacting with other bloggers, the more I get back. And if I have a busy week and don't put that much effort into my blog, I also get less back.

    Book blogging can be a lot of work, but also a lot of fun 🙂
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  41. Awesome post, Jeann! There is so much to learn when you first start blogging, I agree. I had many of the same experiences that you did. And as far as commenting goes, it can be overwhelming to try to keep up with commenting back on other blogs. I am often so busy with a full time job, two kids and a house to take care of, that I sometimes just don't have time to get to every comment. I always feel bad, but I do try. It makes a huge difference to engage with other people, though!
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  42. I was talking to my mom last night about blogging and said the same thing: "Book blogging can be a very rewarding and exciting experience, but it also requires a lot of time and effort into reading, reviewing, writing posts and engaging with the community." If you want to progress somewhere, meet people and all that then you need to do all of this and it's tiring, but so rewarding. And it also puts immense pressure on you and I feel that a lot lately. Idon't comment on other people's blog to get a comment back, but it's nice to get one, you know? And after I've commented like full 2 weeks with very thorough comments, and the person still doesn't take time to leave at least "great review" or anything similar under my posts? Well. That's just ignorance and that's something I really don't appreciate. The only person whose blog I still comment on and haven't gotten a reply back in ages is Christina [Christina Reads YA] since she's my friend, she's super busy with everything and we talk often outside of our blogs and she used to leave the bestest comments in the entire world. And I enjoy her posts even if they're super rare. So that's like my only exception. However, I don't expect a comment back every time, that's not why I comment *shrugs* The last paragraph speaks with me more than the others since I'm feeling that pressure immensely right now and I need to reevaluate stuff for sure. I'm glad you did this post and shared your thoughts, lovely!
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  43. I just love all of these tips, Jeann! They certainly ring true from when I started, and until now on my 17 months of blogging! Even at 1 year of blogging, I only had less then 3000 pageviews, but now I get almost 13k a month, and it's only because of hard work and much effort to get your blog out there. I wouldn't have gone this far too without the help of my co-bloggers.

    And yes, blogging is not supposed to be a competition. We're all here to have fun, aren't we? We're all here to share our love with each other and to talk about books with one another. That's why I hate all this subtweeting I see on Twitter. Like seriously, I see A LOT of popular bloggers do it, and it's driving me crazy all the time, and sad too because I'm like, "Really? This is what we've come to? This is how low we are now, to make fun of others, to talk about them rudely behind their back AND NOT EVEN BOTHERING TO HIDE IT FROM THE PUBLIC EYE?" Seriously. It sucks. The very best thing is to ignore them, move on, and surround yourself with others who make you happy.

    Thank you so much for this post, Jeann. Very enlightening and made me remember why blogging is such a fun hobby. Going to share this!
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  44. Definitely some great blogging lessons here!

    Having fun is the most important lesson, I think. To be honest, I've never really understood the pressure that some other bloggers struggle with, and that's probably because I treat blogging purely as a hobby 🙂

    And commenting! Commenting is so important. I wish I had known that back when I was a newbie blogger!
    Nara recently posted…Review: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika JohansenMy Profile

  45. Yes! These are definitely all the experiences I've been through as well. The most important thing I've learnt is to have fun. Sometimes, it's easy to forget that it's meant to be a hobby. 😀 Amazing post Jeann!

  46. Fantastic post, Jeann!!

    I so agree with the need to interact with others to make your blog grow! When you start you do this in a very solitary way working on your reviews, finding how you want to do things, what kind of format or type of reviewing is more your style and end up checking other people's blogs and see what they do, then after a while it's easier to find your own voice and your own style and commenting on others' blogs and interacting with them on GR or Twitter and you realize that's how your blog can grow, by doing the thing we love best, talk about books!

    It's true that we need to focus on making our blogs better in our own style, and being inspired by other bloggers and taking some ideas and making them our own can be perfectly fine, but that IS if we take an idea and make it OUR own, not if we just blatantly copy everything, from the design to the reviewing style and let's not talk about those that copy and paste reviews from other blogs… I always wonder, what's the point of that? and what's the fun in that?? Blogging is supposed to be about sharing your opinions and what you loved or not about a book, so why copy someone else's, don't you have your own??
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  47. I absolutely agree on all of these! XD Probably very very much so on #1 and #3. I had no idea why my blog wasn't getting comments…then BOOM. I followed more blogs, actually got active in the community, and made friends aaaand…blogging became a much more fun place. People are so nice! You just have to make the effort to connect with them, right?! I love the bloggers commenting back thing. I never thought about going to other's blogs if they'd commented on yours, but I swear, that's why I get repeat traffic from random blogs. It's. the. best. These are fabulous tips, Jeann!
    Cait @ Notebook Sist recently posted…Mid-Year Recap on My Writing Goals || spoiler: I’m failingMy Profile

  48. Fantastic advice here! I think the most important one is to have fun with other bloggers and book-lovers – ultimately, that's why I blog. Not for the free books (although, of course, I appreciate those as well!). I've only started BOOK blogging this year and I already feel like such a part of the community – wouldn't give it up for anything 🙂
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  49. I agree to everything you said, Jeann. Starting my blog 2 years ago and being away for most of it (I took almost a year-long hiatus) made me realize that book blogging is really a commitment and I'm trying to be better at connecting to others through comments and I tell myself not to be disappointed when they don't return the favor. Also, I'm trying to take off all the pressure and just have fun and meet awesome bookish people and so far I think I'm on the right track.
    Sarah @ Smitten over recently posted…Review: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan DennardMy Profile

  50. So many valuable blogging lessons here! A lot I have learnt over a year but a few I still struggle with. Mainly the commenting, making friends, and effort categories. It's hard to find the time to put into blogging, and me being such a shy person makes it hard for me to comment and interact with a lot of others. But you and some other awesome people have really helped me come out of my shell a little and encouraged my extreme fangirling XD

    Here's to another few years of blogging lessons, fun, and fangirling!
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