A lot of blogs lately have been doing recaps of the first half of the year, listing their favourite books, the ones they thought were duds, all that stuff. I’d be tempted to do the same, except that, well, I don’t have too much to say on the subject, since I don’t read as fast or as much as a lot of others who read and blog about it.
However, I can’t say that some wonderful things have not happened to me since I first made the decision to do this.
When I first started, I figured that I’d maybe end up making four or five posts each month, and that nobody would even bother to read what I wrote until I’d been around for at least a year. People don’t often read much from newbies to the field, and I can’t exactly blame them. Newbies don’t often have access to as many new and up-and-coming books to review, haven’t made any contacts with which to do author reviews, don’t bother so much with giveaways because they haven’t established themselves, and aren’t quite in the swing of things yet. I wouldn’t blame anyone for not reading this blog.
On the other hand, I now have four followers. That may seem piddly to others, but that means that at least four people care enough about what I have to say that they want quick updates about it. People out there actually like what I write! That feels amazing.
I learned more of the value of self-promotion and networking, since not only do I post reviews here but also on GoodReads and LibraryThing, and post links to my review on Twitter and on Ning’s BookBlogs community. In the past, I probably wouldn’t have bothered doing any of that, figuring that if people can’t find me on content alone, then I must not be worth reading.
Ironically ignoring, of course, the fact that such places often lead me to new and interesting blogs that I maynot have found otherwise.
I’d drool with envy, at first, when I read about bloggers getting ARCs and free books from publishers. Maybe in a year, when I’m more established, that’ll happen to me, I thought. As it was, a few smaller publishers started contacting me to ask if I’d review books of theirs, and I was glad to accept. After only a few months in the game, I was getting what I had so evnied in everybody else, and I felt proud and humbled.
(My roommate often takes advantage of me getting new books like this, since he too loves to read, but has a hard time deciding what to buy from the bookstore. He’s been disappointed one too many times by good-sounding books that turned out to be crappy and thus lead to wasted money, but now he gets to read what comes in the mail for me, and also gets a heads-up from me about what other people are saying is awesome, too.)
I have made friends by bookblogging.
I have been invited to a bookbloggers’ conference, that alas I couldn’t attend because it was in the States and I had neither passport nor money to get there. But the fact that somebody thought to invite me was an amazing feeling.
I have had the chance to read books that I might have passed over before, and to find new authors whom I adore reading. For years, I was the type to stick to the “tried and true” books that I’d read before and knew I loved, maybe leaving about 25% of my reading time open to new things. But often those new things were just new books by authors I already knew and loved. Nothing wrong with that, but I began to notice just how much I was limiting myself, and I wanted that to stop.
So I stopped it. Now less than half of the books I’ve read this year have been rereads, and I’ve found so many more books that I’ve come to love because I was willing to take a chance on something that was, in my opinion, untried and untested. Sure, I found some duds along the way, but I also found some real gems in books that I wouldn’t have looked twice at had I not been doing this blog.
This has been one of the most amazing projects I’ve ever embarked upon, and I’ve only been doing it now for a little over six months. I hope that the rest of 2010 is as good as the first, and that however many years I spend doing book reviews, I hope I enjoy them all!
(I can’t imagine myself stopping any time soon. I’ve been an avid reader for nearly my whole life, and I can’t imagine that changing now!)