Chatterbox: Remember Why You Started

November 29, 2015 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | Books, Chatterbox, Features


I just attended my third PTALive event, a book event held for YA bloggers and readers by Penguin Random House. I’ll be doing an event recap on ibrary shortly.

Unlike previous years, PTALive this year was focused on the reader (instead of bloggers and booktubers). PTA said as publishers, they have noticed a lot of bloggers feeling the pressure to be part of the conversation and to read ALL the books and every new release that’s out there. Lots of bloggers are now burnt out from the constant pressure to stay on top of things, which is certainly what I sense in the blogosphere as well.


Reading should be a hobby that you can relax and enjoy, it shouldn’t be about a competition to read the latest releases. It doesn’t matter when you pick up a book, or what book you read, or what genre it is. Switch things up. Reading is a passion, but by pressuring yourself to keep up with the long TBR, it can become a chore.

I appreciated this reminder so much. It definitely reflects how I’ve felt about the blogosphere for a long time, but haven’t had the courage to say. But with this fresh on my mind, it couldn’t be a better time to say it.

It’s easy to forget why you’re blogging, or even why you’re reading, when you get ARCs and review copies. I mean what could be better than getting free books sent to your door, even those that haven’t been released yet?

I don’t know about you, but I’m not immune to ARC envy. I see people being hurt, saying nasty comments, and even subtweeting when they don’t get a coveted ARC. I’ve seen the community divided over those who thought they deserved to get it, and those who criticise those who get it.


Blogging is not a competition. It has never been a competition for me. I do this because I LOVE books and I love chatting with you all about books. I don’t blog to get free books. But let me tell you, there are people who do, and unfortunately it’s easy to tell.

Remember why you’re blogging guys. Remember why you’re reading. You’re reading because you love books, not because it’s a competition. ARCs do not define your value as a blogger. YOU define your value. Read widely. Cross books off your TBR that you’ll never get to. Read books released years ago. As long as you can stay true to yourself and why you are doing this, you will endure. You will keep enjoying this hobby. The worst thing is creating stress and pressure around something that you should be enjoying.


Penguin also reminded us that publishers want to see honest reviews. While positive reviews are great, it’s those honest, negative reviews on your actual and true opinion of a book that they appreciate. Publishers can learn what readers’ tastes are, and focus on publishing books that readers truly enjoy. This is something that I’ve always, always focused on at Happy Indulgence. I write negative reviews (see my 1 star review of Allegiant). But that hasn’t had a detrimental impact with publishers.

If you’re constantly loving every book, or every single book you review is positive, your readers can tell. Just be you. We’re here for your honest opinion, and often its those negative reviews that find out what you like and don’t like. And hell, sometimes negative reviews make me interested in a book more! We can’t like every book. And oftentimes, what doesn’t work for one person, will be exactly what another is looking for.


As someone who gets a lot of review copies (and I appreciate each and every one!), let me tell you the flipside that’s rarely spoken about.

  • I have so many books that I will never finish my TBR.
  • I don’t have time to read all of the books that I want to, because much of my time is taken up reading review copies. If I get time to read at all.
  • I have run out of shelf space, with many books that I don’t think I’ll ever read.
  • I have so many books which are double stacked that I accidentally bought a copy of a book I had already. SAME EDITION.
  • Many proof copies are not finished copies with pretty covers and extras.
  • I get sent lots of review copies that I will never read. For instance, I don’t think I’ll read a dragon romance that is the 3rd book in a series I’ve never heard of or a middle-grade juvenile sequel to a book I didn’t enjoy.
  • I actually don’t have a strong attachment to a lot of my books because I HAVE SO MANY. I give and donate a lot of them away.
  • I don’t care if I can’t pick up a new release ASAP because I have so many other books to read.

While I appreciate getting review copies, just remember they aren’t free. With these books, come an obligation to read and review them, which is fine if you don’t have 200 other books to review (I wish this was an exaggeration). I’ve seen so many bloggers let this pressure consume them, which is where I was at earlier this year as well. But I made changes, I got co-bloggers, I blogged less. I don’t want to forget why I’m blogging, and Happy Indulgence is my place to share the passion of reading, that I want to continue, for eons.


Just a final reminder. We don’t blog for publishers. We don’t blog for readers. We blog for ourselves. Remember why you started your blog. Remember why you put so much heart and soul into this hobby. It’s not easy, but we do it because we love it. Treating it like a competition, or continuing down the path we’re going isn’t going to create a sustainable community.

Whether we blog, bookstagram, booktube, tumblr, or whatever, WE’RE ALL READERS. We are a community of people who are passionate about books, and we should be appreciating how each and every one of us contributes to the love of reading. There aren’t enough people in the world who appreciate reading as a hobby, so it’s important to love, enjoy and appreciate it together.

Just remember that.


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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Tiktok@happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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84 responses to “Chatterbox: Remember Why You Started

  1. nereyda1003

    Nick sent me this post when it aired and I loved it but haven't had a chance to check my feed until now…
    I love every single thing you said. I hate that people feel dishonest now 🙁
    I feel like everyone wants to be excited for every book and love every book, so they can keep getting ARC's. I feel like a lot of bloggers are now blogging for publishers instead of for themselves. There is so much fakeness right now from certain bloggers and it boggles my mind how other bloggers/authors/publishers don't see that…
    My recent post Review: The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine

    • I completely agree Nereyda! It's so easy to see how some people are just all about the ARCs, it's easy to tell when someone is being dishonest. And it's actually more frequent that we realise.

  2. Olivia-Savannah

    Sch a brilliant post because I feel like a lot of us could use this time and time again <3 We all forget sometimes and the pressure can really get to us. But we are human, and reading should be something we enjoy doing – and blogging too! If it becomes too much maybe a step back and a rethink and center on the original reasoning in creating what you have is needed.
    My recent post G.I.Joe: The Rise of the Cobra (Movie Review)

  3. Zeee

    I admit to ARC envy but I don't really affect me all that much. So this is me – ARC envy for about a minute then move on. If I really, really, REALLY want the book, I should just cough it up and purchase it or if I don't have the cash, I would just wait for the book to be available at the local library.

    I love how you said that blogging is not a competition. I totally agree. The reason why I love to blog about books is because I love to read. Nobody at home reads the same books I read so I don't have anyone to talk to and nlogging helps with that.

    So many bloggers forget the reason they started blogging in the first place. I'd like to think that everyone started to blog because they want to share their love for books and not as a way to get free books/ARCs.
    My recent post Bookish Discussions: So Much for My Happy Ending

    • I completely agree with this Zee! I support the local library or buy books that I really want to read, I can afford it and don't need to feel bad if Id on't get an ARC! It's definitely not a competition and it's easy to forget why we're doing this, which is why we get tired out. We need to remember the basics.

  4. I think it is so, SO important to remember why you started your blog in the first place! And I think, when you're no longer blogging for yourself, you've lost sight of that. That's what happened to me, and it's something that I recognized and knew I needed to change when my 3rd blogoversary had come up. Sure, it's fun to work with publishers and authors, but what about doing posts that YOU want to do? What about making sure you're doing things for yourself too? I think a lot of people get caught up in the ARCs, and the special blog events, and the need to please publishers (especially since you want them to invite you for stuff and send you books). But then I've seen people get burnt out on all of that, because the hobby started to feel like work and an obligation (and ARCs, in some way, ARE an obligation, even if you aren't obligating yourself to review them all). I think it's easy to forget a lot about why you're blogging when you turn it into a competition, not only with yourself but with other bloggers.

    I think, just so long as you're making YOURSELF happy, then that's all that matters. And if you've found a good balance between doing things for others and yourself, between reading ARCs and backlist titles, doing whatever, then it makes it all worth it. But when you start to treat it as a job, then it's time to take a step back and remember your beginning, and your goals with your blog.

    Great post, Jeann! It's something I've thought about A LOT lately, and I hope all of that made sense. Haha.
    My recent post Checking In for November: The Month for ALL the Social Events

    • It's definitely happened to me too and I almost stopped blogging because of the pressure, but that's definitely not I want! I love this and chatting about books too much to give it up because of some petty competition or drama. I completely agree, it's about doing the posts, reading the books and writing the posts that YOU want to do, not anyone else!

  5. Jade @ Bedtime Bookworm

    Fantastic post Jean! This is definitely something I was thinking about recently as I reached my 1 year blogging mark. I've found I have a higher chance of enjoying backlist books just because they have more feedback and I can pick ones that I really think I will enjoy. I don't get many ARCs as it is, but I don't think that's going to be one of my goals this next year. Instead, I want to just read whatever I want because that's how I will enjoy the most books!
    My recent post 1 Year Blogversary + Giveaway!!

    • No problems Jade! I'm so glad you're reading backlist books and reading the Patrick Ness books, because the more we do that the more people want to pick them up too! So glad you've learnt that early 🙂

  6. kimberlyfaye

    I love this post. It was a great reminder that we do this because we love it, not for arbitrary numbers – or as my boss likes to call them when we're talking website stats, "imaginary internet points". Blogging should be about the love of the books and it should be fun. 🙂
    My recent post That’s a Wrap Weekly [20]

  7. thesepaperhearts

    Thanks for this post Jeann! Sometimes I really need reminders like this because I feel like there is a lot of pressure that can come with blogging, especially with ARCs. Honestly, I'm not a fan of ARCs because of that feeling of pressure. I think I was a happier reader when I just read whatever I wanted whenever I wanted too, rather than trying to force a tbr list :/
    My recent post How Do you Judge a Book’s Villain?

    • No problems Steph, that can definitely happen especially with the ARCs! Yeah, at first it was new and exciting but when you have so many, sometimes it can get a bit daunting.

  8. aentee @ read at midnight

    This is such a fantastic post Jeann! I've been reevaluating my blog a lot on my holiday as well. And I have come to the same conclusion that I want my reading and blogging to remain a passion instead of a chore. I love sharing my thoughts and would never want my appreciation of books to wane just because I get too many of ones I feel meh about. Such an important post especially at this time of year!

  9. I definitely agree with the fact that we need to remember why we started blogging, Jeann! And my love for books and reading is still why I do it. Sometimes, I'll leave an ARC aside for a long time, to read books I really want to read right now, even if I've requested the ARC in question. This is my hobby, and whenever I post a review, I think that's good, you know?
    Have a terrific Tuesday!!
    My recent post Review: Reaver – Larissa Ione

    • Exactly! We should be patting ourselves on the back everyday for being able to love and enjoy our passion that we blog about it and review books!

  10. infinityreads

    Thank you so much for this post! I wholeheartedly agree with everything you've said. Having attended PTA myself I was going to make a discussion post about this very topic myself. Seriously we NEED a reminder in the book community about this

  11. This is a fabulous post, Jeann! And it's SO true. I am so, so guilty of all of this. I am competitive, I guess with myself? Because how do you even measure such a thing!? You can't!, I am overwhelmed and stressed and exhausted. My eye twitches. Like, not even kidding. I finished NaNo but have fallen so behind on commenting and now I have heaped all this guilt onto myself and I will probably have some kind of breakdown soon 😉 I am seriously going to try to take your advice here- because I DO still love blogging so much. Which is why I am guilting myself, I guess. But I still need to calm down so that I DO keep loving it!

    I LOVE that Penguin was so supportive of HONEST reviews. That is one of my absolute biggest pet peeves as a reader AND a blogger. I am sorry, no one can like every book. It isn't possible. ANd it is SO easy to tell when someone has like, 2 sentences like "This book was so great, I loved the characters and the plot. I definitely recommend it." Yeah, thanks for that, NOW I know all about the book.

    OH and totally off topic, but your review for Allegiant summed up my feelings perfectly. I am still pretty salty about that book.
    My recent post Shiny New Books from Shiny New Authors

    • I AM THE SAME with myself Shannon! No matter how much I say I'll take it easy, take breaks etc. you'll find me staying up and working tirelessly on the blog! That's no good hun, you really should be taking it easy too especially when you find your eye twitching. Mine does that sometimes as well. We have some amazing publishers here in Australia! Yeah, you CANT like every book no matter how hard you try. That's why I stopped doing blog tours (unless invited by publishers). LOL yeah looking at that review conjures up all the bad memories *shudders*

  12. I appreciate when I receive ARCs in the mail, but honestly, I'd rather not. I don't read physical books, and I want to be in control of what ARCs I bring on. Because like you said, they aren't free, and I don't like to feel obligated to something I'm not interested in. Also, I don't feel like I need to 'keep up' with others. I mean, I'm perfectly fine waiting for a series to get several books in before it starts, but that doesn't mean I don't get excited or eager to read them when I see others are already. I want to read so many of the books because I think they sound good, not because someone else is reading it. At the same time, thankfully they are reading it because I might've missed it otherwise. Anyway, I'm tired and rambling. lol.
    My recent post Misconduct by Penelope Douglas

    • I kind of know what you mean Christy! like you want to be in control of your immediate TBR pile instead of having to make time for some ARCs that you know you won't need to read.

  13. This is such, such, such an important post Jeann. With all the glamours of blogging – ARCs, page views, comments, etc – sometimes it's easy to forget that we didn't start blogging because of any of these things; we started to talk to other book lovers. Thanks for sharing this and, as always, fabulous post! <33

    *stands up and applauds*
    Something that A L L bloggers should be reminded of – big or small, tiny or tall. We need to spread the positivity around here and bring people up. All of us started because of our love of books, after all!

    • Thank you so much Aila! It's definitely a stark and confronting reminder that hopefully help many in the blogging community enjoy their hobby <3

  15. It's only recently I cast aside everything I thought about blogging and now blogging stress free and what I want and when I want. But I've been lucky and have only been through a rough patch once in almost three years of blogging. I've always blogged for myself though, to share a love of books and was blogging for 12 months even before receiving my first review copy. Nowadays, I rarely request anything, but still receive quite a few unsolicited copies which I endeavor to read, but not fussed if I don't. I don't put the same stress on myself that I used to, or else blogging feels like a chore, not something fun to share. the biggest difference is now having Kynn to share it with. It's reminded me why I started blogging and how rewarding it is personally, to help someone decide for or against a book. Great post Jeann, really important with so many in the book blogging community at the moment struggling to blog <3
    My recent post The White Rose… I love this series!

    • I'm so glad Kelly that you learnt about the whole review copy stresses long before many of us. It can definitely feel like a chore if we have a massive pile of review copies and that's all that we're making time for reading. I'm so glad that you have went back to your roots to enjoy it a lot more! Thank you so much <3

  16. *slow clap*
    Very well said, Jeann! You did a fantastic job with wording this post and you spoke nothing but the truth. The state of the blogging community these days is really concerning. It seems like people have become so lost in the race to get more ARCs and to read more ARCs that they've forgotten why they started to blog in the first place.

    I admit that I was one of those people. It got to the point when I was so obsessed with them and I realized just how miserable it made me. I've broken up with them for the most part and I'm loving how much time I have to read older re-releases. I recently re-read the whole Lunar Chronicles series and let me tell you, it was awesome! If I had been in that ARC phase, I wouldn't have had the time to do so.

    And I 100% agree with you on the honesty. It's so easy to see through fake reviews. You can tell when a person has a positive review but didn't really like the book and only wrote the positive review because they are scared of backlash.

    I'm really proud of you for posting this discussion Jeann!
    My recent post Review: Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

    • Thank you so much Nick! I was speaking from the heart. It definitely sounds like lots of us have gone off the path of where we started, and I found it was important to remind ourselves of it. Thanks for sharing your story, I actually felt the same as well where I was rushing to read all my review copies and latest releases that there were books I wanted to read, that I didn't have time for.

    • Thank you so much Lucia! It was a great reminder at that event and I'm glad to hear that you found it helpful. Thanks so much for sharing!

  17. Your post is beautiful but you already knew that <3

    I literally agree with everything you're saying. I am the kind of person who gets overwhelmed really easily and with the 10,000 things I have going on right now, I have really started feeling the pressure of blogging. A while ago I started thinking and I was like, I need to change up my approach to blogging in general otherwise, I am going to burn out within the year and never want to be on the internet again (and I wish this was an exaggeration.) So I sat down and started listing all the things I wanted to do that weren't reviewing. One of the things I am still struggling with is finding ways to promote review copies received that isn't by writing a review. I am exploring and widening what I am doing but I hope that someday, most of what I am writing won't in fact be reviews.

    ALSO so real about arc envy. I would never want to make someone feel bad about receiving a coveted arc but sometimes I'm just like I WAAANT and I hate hate hate feeling this way because ARCs are literally not why I starting reading. Luckily, I am starting to see the light at the end of this long, dark tunnel. I think my new year's resolution for next year will be to read more books that aren't arcs and ease up on the reviewing. Maybe just give myself time to be ME and read what I love.

    ALSO before I post this long comment… One of the things I have done for myself recently is not going out of my way to read books I know aren't for me? I usually only stick with those that actually sound like something I'll like or I've heard really good things about so I feel like I've only been reading mediocre books as opposed to REALLY bad ones (except one book that I read recently which was BAAAD). So YAY! 🙂

    Anyway, thank you for posting this amazingly wonderful post, my fabulous friend *blows kisses at you*
    My recent post Discussion Post: Foreign Language Books I’d Love To Read

    • Thank you so much Rashika! I'm the same with feeling anxious and overwhelmed as well. I totally agree that you NEED to change things if you're already feeling the pressure because otherwise everytime you go to blog you would just feel stressed. I actually promote review copies I receive by taking photos of them on Instagram and also talking about them on Twitter (tagging authors and publishers). Hope that helps too!

      Oh yess, I have so many ARCs I am drowning in them. Hence why I listed above the "other side" of getting lots of ARC copies. I definitely want to focus more on reading for myself, too. Because that is what will prolong our love for reading.

      That's great that you've learnt to cull books that you know aren't for you! I think I need to do that too, otherwise if I force myself to read books then I'm going to get into a reading slump. *big hugs*

  18. Braine-Talk Supe

    I can very much relate to this. I had my longest slump in 4.5 years. I'm still coming out of it, but at least I'm out of the woods now. Here's to hoping I manage to stick to this stage, the enjoyment stage, and not stress myself over blogging.
    My recent post Loved It: Blood Kiss by J.R. Ward

    • I\’m glad you\’ve overcome your slump Braine! I tried to take a break but I felt so sad because I enjoy this so much. I completely agree we should focus on what we enjoy first and foremost!

  19. lekeishathebooknerd

    Great post! I've only been at this for almost 2 years, and I have noticed a lot of things that you pointed out here. I've stopped requesting so many ARCs on NG and EW because it took away my reading of my personal books, which is why I started blogging in the first place. I think every blogger needs to read this post. Thanks for sharing!
    My recent post Stacking The Shelves 65 #RollTide

  20. This is such an excellent post!! I needed this reminder. It's so easy to get caught up in blogging, arcs, reading, etc and does start to get overwhelming at times. You made some great points and ive made a promise to myself that I will remember why I'm blogging and get back to that.

    • Thanks Cezanne, I think a lot of us needed this reminder! It can definitely get overwhelming, we have to remember this is a hobby we enjoy on the side.

  21. drizzleandhurricanebooks

    This is such a great post, and great reminders of why we first started book blogging. Some days, I tend to forget that, and then it makes me feel all kinds of messy and annoyed at myself. I just want to print out all of this post and read it from time to time, to remind myself of everything you just pointed out. So, thank you for that! <3

  22. Ooh, so much truth here. SO MUCH. Although I'm lucky and haven't actually witnessed and ARC envy or meltdowns. Well, just the occasional wails, but I always see the ones that are just in good fun. 😛 And, omg, I do wish sometimes that publishers wouldn't send unsolicited books that are in series. Like, what am I supposed to do?!?! Go read the first 7 books of a series I had no interest in?!? GAH. So I guess publishers expect that not everyone will review that…but I feel SO GUILTY for having unread books. (Giveaways are great, but one needs money to host. D:) But I definitely think blogging should be about the gloriousness of enjoying what you do. And just enjoying reading!! I agree it's uber important to remember that.

    • I know right? Sometimes I\’m just like uhhh not sure what I\’m going to do with this one! I feel guilty too, but if we keep on pressuring ourselves to read books that aren\’t our thing or that we know we won\’t enjoy, it\’s probably not going to be fun for us.

  23. Those are some really important points.
    1. DEFINITELY. I see so many people stressing out and saying they never re-read, because they don't have the time for it. It makes me sad that they seem to feel pressured to always read the newest books, while blogging should also be about reading the books you LOVE.
    3. Not a competition, yes. I often see people making comparisons between their blogs and someone else. You should just look at your own blog and how it makes you feel, without looking at others 🙂

    • I completely agree, and I\’m actually one of those people as well! But it would be so fantastic to just re-read and enjoy a previous favourite, just to remember why we loved it so much. So many comparisons are out there! I agree Mel, focus on within before being able to judge outwards.

  24. Lucy

    This post made me tear up a bit! It is so true that unfortunately we bloggers sometimes forget why we started blogging and why we love reading! I've had such a hard time keeping up with my blog because of personal reasons such as school and work, but I still absolutely love my blog and reading. And because I love it so much it makes me feel sad that I haven't posted anything in a while… T_T And at the same time it brings a huge smile to my face when I think about the day where my life slows down enough so I can write again. Thank you so much for this great reminder Jeann <3
    My recent post Book Review #6 (+Giveaway) | The Water Travelers: Heir of the Unknown by Daniel Waltz

    • I know, I was feeling pretty emotional myself while writing it lol! But I've come full circle after struggling a bit earlier on the blog especially when things in my personal life got pretty tough. But this is what I enjoy and I wouldn't want to give it up <3

  25. thebigfatf

    Jeann, this post literally made my day!!! Just last night when I was arranging my shelves, I realised the review books I hadn't finished or just hadn't got to yet. And it made me feel so bad but then I realised that I started blogging because I love reading. Thank you sooo much for this post, Jeann!!!

    • Thanks Emily, PTA gave me a big kickstart to write what's been on my mind for a long time! I know you've definitely been busy but I'm glad you haven't stopped blogging altogether. Keeping busy is good, because it means you have a lot more to bring back to us when you do blog!

  26. Oh I love this so much!! There seems to be this weird stigma against critical reviews, especially with a lot of more self-published focused blogs. I just want to choose my books, read them, and give my opinion good or bad. That doesn't seem to be happening among a lot of my peers. It's more choose read and review only if I can give it 5 stars. I haven't gotten shunned by publishers at all because of more critical reviews.
    My recent post ARC Giveaway – The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry

    • I can totally see that, but that's what reviews are for – for readers to determine whether the book is for or not for them! I can see where it would get muddy if we use reviews for promoting books for authors/publishers, because that by definition, isn't what a review is!

  27. Thanks for this post, Jeann! It had so many great reminders for the community 🙂 I also think that it's important to read and blog for yourself. There's nothing more draining than having a huge stack of review copies that you need to read and review on a deadline. I stopped going on requesting sprees and I'm so much happier now that I can read mostly what I want, at my own pace.

    • No problems Jenna! I'm so glad you're learning that early in your blogging career. It's definitely more about reading as an enjoyment as a hobby rather than reading constant review copies for pubs!

  28. Ebony

    Absolute fantastic post, Jeann! I definitely needed this post coming back into the community after being overwhelmed by it at the beginning of this year. Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

    • Thank you so much Ebony! It can definitely get overwhelming if we let it, but I think if we take it slow and focus on why we love it so much, that is the key.

  29. Rayna C.

    Awesome job, Jeann! I think you touched on a lot of great points that many people (including myself) needed a reminder on. I think I'm going to talk about this subject on my blog, too, sometime next week. Do you mind if I quote you in that post? I'll be sure to link your blog in that post and link that post here when I write it.

  30. booksbonesbuffy

    Awesome post and a great reminder, Jeann:-) I tend to do all the things you've mentioned, reading nothing but review books and feeling like I have to make publishers happy. One of my resolutions for the new year is to get back to reading more books for me, even if I have to push aside review books.

    • Thanks Tammy! It can definitely take it's toll if we're pressuring ourselves so much for publishers. But TBH they want us to keep enjoy reading, which is music to my ears! That's a fantastic resolution. I think I'll do something similar as well, and read those books on my backlist which I've had to read for a while.

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