Adventures of a Bibliophile is almost five years old! Hopefully that means we are out of the awkward stage. Honestly, I feel like this blog has become more reflective of my personality and what I feel passionate about over the past few years. I’ve gotten into the groove of blogging (for the most part) and feel like I’m part of this amazing community. But it wasn’t always smooth sailing.
When I started Adventures of a Bibliophile, I wasn’t new to blogging (fun fact: I actually ran a pretty popular nail art blog for about four years). But book blogging is kind of a different beast than anything I’ve done before, and there is a learning curve. And while I will never regret starting this blog, there are some things I regret doing when I started out. And today, I’m coming clean! Hopefully it’ll inspire you to not make the same mistakes I did.
Inflating my Ratings
When I first started reviewing books, I was definitely guilty of exaggerating my ratings. Mostly, I felt bad giving books negative reviews, even when I didn’t like them. But – and I’m sure many of you can relate – it’s can be difficult to honestly review books that were sent to you. It feels like a big deal, and it’s hard to say “thanks for sending me the free book, but I didn’t like it and I’m going to tell all my followers”. I’ve gotten over that fear, and in the past year or two have been more honest in my reviews. If I hate a book, I’m going to tell you. Even if it means that publisher won’t work with me anymore (which has happened). There will always be more books, and I don’t always need to get a review copy. I like reviewing backlist books, or books I picked up just because. It’s more fun that way. And I feel better posting honest reviews than exaggerating them out of guilt. (Side note: it’s totally okay to give a book a bad review, but please don’t tag the author in it. I never tag the author, even if I love a book, because the reviews are for the readers.)
Saying Yes to EVERYTHING
Like I said, it can be really exciting when you get your first ARC. It’s still exciting for me. But the excitement can also make it hard to turn books down. When I first started my blog, I said yes to pretty much every book that was offered to me. Which was not a great idea, because I ended up feeling obligated to read and review books that weren’t my cup of tea. I did discover some great books, but I was also overwhelmed, both by the sheer number of books I “needed” to review, and the guilt of not liking a lot of them. There were some books I received to review early in my blog that I ended up really disliking. Mostly self-published books that could have really used an editor. And, most of the time, I never published a review because I felt bad giving them a bad one. I’ve learned that, even if I have to purchase every book I review, it’s worth it. I feel better about what I’m reading and I’m putting out better content on my blog. You don’t have to say yes to everything, even when it feels great to get the offer.
Buying ALL THE HYPED BOOKS
Yes, I still definitely buy way too many books. But I can definitely say that now I buy a lot of books that I really want to read (or am at least interested in reading). When I first started blogging, I bought way too many books just because I had seen them mentioned in a blog or on BookTube. I would buy books for the sole purpose of blogging about popular books, rather than blogging about the books that I actually wanted to purchase. Which is a bad idea. Because I have read very few of those books. And I can’t think of a single one off the top of my head that I actually loved. I am so much happier now that I read and talk about books that I genuinely wanted to read as a reader, not just to get more hits on my blog (which doesn’t work anyway, just so you know).
I’m sure I made a lot more mistakes when I started this blog, but these are the ones I still don’t feel great about. But we live and we learn, and the best I can do is stop making these mistakes. I’ve been so much happier since I did!
What’s a blogging mistake you regret? Or one you almost made, and are glad you didn’t? What’s one thing you wish you had done differently?