Let’s get the angst out of the way first, with a little reminder to #bloghonest, from April The Steadfast Reader. (In that spirit, all material quoted in this post is attributed and linked to the original source.)
The whole thing started when a blogger (DT) noticed that bits and pieces of her content were appearing in recent posts made by AW. She appealed to a small group of bloggers on what to do about the situation.
Based on the group’s advice, DT emailed AW and requested that she remove the plagiarized content. She did not admit wrongdoing, but she did immediately remove DT’s content from the post.
Though the content had been removed, the flimsiness of AW’s excuse spurred a number of us to look deeper into the blog, mostly to ensure that none of our content had been stolen. No fewer than eight posts had full paragraphs cut and pasted from other sources, none attributed. The sources ranged from other bloggers, to NPR, to Entertainment Weekly. Quite frankly, we were shocked, saddened, and at a complete loss of what else to do. AW was contacted via email once again upon the discovery of her more egregious plagiarism and again made no acknowledgement of wrongdoing…
At that point, knowing what I did and having attempted to deal with the situation privately ‘as adults’, but with absolutely no cooperation, change in behavior, or sense of remorse I felt the only avenue left open was to take it to Twitter.
Michele’s reflections at A Reader’s Respite helped her identify some “New Trends In Book Blogging for 2015,” Plagiarism is not among them (thank goodness).
Old School: Book blogs as commercial-like ventures.
New Trend: Small, independent book blogs that are as quirky and individual as the owners themselves. No more flashy ads, gimmicks to gain zillions of followers, daily commercial-like reviews. Book blogs are trending towards the more personal, with a small-town, indie-bookstore feel to them.
Old School: Daily/weekly reviews of the newest book releases.
New Trend: More focus on backlist books, favorite authors, opinion pieces, and essays. This is a very encouraging trend as there really were few things more irritating than opening up a feed reader and seeing fifty reviews of the same new release any given week.
Old School: Posting nothing but book reviews.
New Trend: Diversification…showcases the individuality of blog owners and really gets us away from the ho-hum of the generic book review.
Old School: Reviewing as many books as possible.
New Trend: Quality over quantity. We’re seeing more and more established book bloggers cutting back on the number of books they are reading and reviewing each year. This is an encouraging trend as more bloggers are making the move towards quality reading and posting over sheer volume.
I’m excited by many of these “new trends.” I’ve noticed them too; they seem to have been emerging over the last couple of years. And after nearly eight years on the blogging scene, what really strikes me is that some of these are old trends, making a welcome comeback. Chris notes this too, in her 2015 goals for Chrisbookarama (also turning 8 this year)
There was a time when book blogs were more diverse in topics, more personal. As bloggers tried to break into the professional side of things, they posted about their personal business less. I’d like to bring that back here…
There have been times when I haven’t agreed with the majority of the book blogging world, whether it’s an opinion on a book, or a discussion happening elsewhere. I’ve hesitated voicing that opinion, because of the drama it might cause. There is room for a dissenting voice.
Most of us who’ve been doing this for seven or eight or more years started out small and independent, reading and writing about whatever books we wanted to, regardless of how we got them or what format they came in. It’s good to reclaim that freedom to read–and blog–what we want, when we want. No matter how deep into the book-promotion machinery we may have gone, these blogging spaces have always been ours to use however we wanted to, and I’m glad if more of us are acting on that.
There have been times when I’ve felt like an imposter in identifying as a book blogger. I don’t post enough reviews, or post them frequently enough, or post about the right books…and I often post about things that aren’t bookish at all. If mixing up your blog content and making it less review-centric is a “new trend” in book blogging, I feel like I’ve been way out in front of it, and I welcome it with open arms!
Once you get past the five-year mark as a blogger, you’ve probably seen a lot of trends come and go. Stacy’s Books just turned 7, and trends have little to do with why she’s still at it:
My reading and blogging time is limited these days, but I still love it. I know my blog needs a major facelift and I wish I had more time to visit my blogger friends, but I choose not to stress out over it. If the blog causes stress then it’s not fun and there have been a few periods over the years when I’ve considered stopping, but I just can’t. I get too much out of it. And most of what I get out of it is the friendship with you who take the time to read and comment. I can’t believe that I’ve known some of you that long.
I’ve always appreciated the way Jennifer has openly confronted the struggles she’s had as a book blogger, and as 2015 begins, she feels that the Literate Housewife is “Stuck on an Escalator”:
I find that analogy works very well for my reading and blogging life, too. In 6 weeks I will have been a book blogger for 8 years. Right now that feels like at least one year too many. While there are many things about this life that make me get down on my knees and thank God for having this opportunity, I’m stuck. Over the past year or so I’ve tried various things to rekindle my love of book blogging, but thus far they’ve been no more successful than the people in that video. If the idea even makes it to my blog (most have not), I rather quickly end back up sitting down on the escalator stair waiting for the repair man.
Deep in my heart I love reading. I love just about everything and everyone associated that I associate with reading. More and more over the years reading and writing reviews has become a chore. I know this isn’t the first time I’ve written about this and I know that many others before me have come to this crossroads. Passion for anything can only take a person so far. Couple that with unrealistic vows and commitments and you find yourself right where I am. I’m not a 100+ books per year kind of reader, yet I have been forcing that upon myself. After all, I set my initial goal of reading 52 books because that was a stretch for me. After that, the joy I found in the community and its place in the publishing industry inspired me to read more and more books…(T)here’s a problem. The longer I’ve tried to be who I’m not because I’ve been tempted to take on more than I can handle and enjoy, the less energy and desire I have for something that means a great deal to me. When I found myself sitting on that escalator stairs contemplating pitching all the books over the ledge instead of reading them, I knew it was time to take action. After all, when I pitch a book I want it to be out of the deepest rage possible, not out of boredom.
A couple of months ago I was prepared to write an “Auf Wiedersehen” post on my next blogiversary.
I’ll be a book blogger for eight years on March 16. I started blogging in order to have a record of the books I read. I still want this blog to serve that purpose, so I’ll still write about every book I read, regardless of why I read it, where it comes from, or how long it took me to read it. On the other hand, that was never the only purpose of this blog, and I’m pretty sure it never will be, no matter what the trends are.
Bryan at Still Unfinished has rarely been one to get sucked into trends or succumb to blogging pressures:
This pressure of which I speak isn’t necessarily external, or from peers of book bloggers. In fact, often it is internal, self-imposed or a perceived peer pressure that isn’t there.
I will have been blogging for 10 years this coming October, book blogging for about 8 of those years. I have seen and been privy to lots of changes in the blogging and book blogging world. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned in that time, it’s that reading challenges and reviews won’t go away…
I think it all comes down to what are you going to do with the 168 hours you’re given (whether you believe by the universe or a Supreme Being). Worry about this pressure…or just read, period? I’m going to choose to read, read what I want. How much or how little I want. To blog when I want, for now on Sundays, and how I want, without formal and probably without informal reviews too.
This week, I want to blog about blogging. I’ll be back with more of it on Thursday. Till then, remember this: