I started this blog eight years ago today
: March 16, 2007
. I’ve been at it longer than any job I’ve ever had, except for my current one. Sometimes I think one of the reasons I haven’t seriously looked for other employment for a while –something closer to home, at least–is the outlets and opportunities this blog has given me. They are sources of creativity, expression, and satisfaction I don’t need
to look for in my day job now…and so I don’t.
The biggest source of satisfaction blogging has brought me is the community I’ve found, and the friends I’ve made. There are so many of you I’d love to shout out here, and so many more I would unintentionally leave out if I attempted to do so…but I’m going to attempt it all the same.
Many book blogs have come and gone during that last eight years. Some have cut back, and some have left and come back. Some don’t technically have “book blogs” any more, like Trish and Bryan, but it feels like they’re still part of the tribe. On my eighth blogiversary, I’d like to mention eight book bloggers who have been fixtures in my feed reader for most of those eight years. I rarely skip their posts—although some don’t post as often as they once did—and I’m privileged to have met most of them in person, and to call them friends.
At my most recent count, there were nearly 150 book blog feeds in my reader. Some are inactive and need to be culled, and I don’t add new ones nearly as often as I used to, but I do try to keep up. I am so glad to be part of this community, no matter what.
In honor of this occasion, here are Eight Things That Would Never Have Happened If Not For Book Blogging::
- Getting paid to read and review books. I don’t get paid for talking about books here, but I would not have been offered the chance to be a paid book reviewer if I hadn’t been able to provide samples from the blog to support my application to write for Shelf Awareness.
- Making friends from all over. I’ve gone from the pen pals of my youth to marriage to a man I met via an online dating site, so the idea of making genuine connections through writing wasn’t strange to me, but the give-and -take of blogging has introduced me to people like me—and people I like—from all over.
- Learning about publishing. When I started this blog, I wanted a place to record my thoughts about the books I read, which I usually bought or received as gifts. I had no idea that I’d be able to get books directly from publishers and read them before they were published, but as my exposure to the industry grew, I became curious to know more about it and understand it better, and I feel like I have a small but genuine place in it.
- Learning about the writing life I’ve had the chance to get acquainted with writers—those who write books, and those who write about them (and sometimes they’re the same people). I’ve learned about what the working life of a writer is like. One of the things I’ve learned is that I’m not in a position to make it my life’s work, but I care enough about doing it to want it to be part of my life, period.
- Being part of the change in the publishing industry, Book blogging became big at a time when the ways in which books were produced, published, and promoted were in a state of flux. Ebooks and self-publishing exploded as major publishers consolidated and marketing budgets shrank. There was more to read than ever, and bloggers became a trusted source to help readers sort through it all.
- Event planning and participation. I’ve planned and participated in panels related to book blogging at several conferences. I was part of the team that founded and grew the “virtual conference” Armchair BEA, which runs independently during Book Expo America week. I’m currently one of the veteran bloggers coordinating the Book Blogger Buddy System.
- Changing what and how I read, part 1. For the last couple of years, I’ve found myself able to walk out of bookstores empty-handed…and it still feels weird. Thanks to advance copies, I rarely buy print books any more. If I didn’t get a new book in galley format and I don’t want to wait to read it, I buy it in ebook or audiobook. (To be honest, getting an iPhone probably played a bigger role in my audiobook conversion than blogging, but book bloggers have helped guide me through it.)
- Changing how and what I read, part 2 My reading interests have shifted and expanded during the past eight years. I read less “women’s fiction,” and opened up to both the more literary and genre-oriented ends of the fiction spectrum. I’ve found that books about interesting topics appeal to me, and often find myself more excited about reading nonfiction than fiction. I’ve learned I’m not too old for (some) young-adult literature. And I strive to engage more fully and thoughtfully with whatever I read.
Even if you rarely comment here, I hope you will today, because I have a couple of questions for you:
- As I mentioned earlier, I don’t add new blogs to my feed reader so often these days. What newer book blog would you recommend to me?
- What’s something that would never have happened to you without book blogging?
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