Sunday, January 15, 2012

Discussion: When blogging makes me cry (and how I smile again)

Blogging is a TON of fun, right? You know this, that's why you blog! But most things in life aren't ALL good or ALL bad, and blogging is no exception.

Today I want to discuss some of the pitfalls of blogging, or, if you're hyper-emotional like I am, the things you may encounter that will make you want to cry.

So today, let's talk about envy. As a newbie, this is an especially common feeling (but you know what? oldies feel it too!).


Your EVERYTHING is better than mine!

This is that feeling you get when you look at another blogger's design, followers, ARC-filled mailbox, comments, post ideas, whatever, and feel totally and utterly inadequate in comparison.

I admit, I've succumbed to this on more than one occasion. And I still do. It's hard not to when you see something you want but don't have. Or don't think you have. I may have even wailed (once or twice) that NO ONE LOVES ME AND EVERY PUBLISHER HATES ME AND I AM A FAILURE AT BLOGGING AND LIFE AND THE WORLD!

Yes, I can occasionally be a little dramatic (it's the Gothic fiction fan in me). It's easy to give into those kinds of feelings, but it's also important to look at things with a little perspective.



Everyone has more followers than I do!

The feeling: Why don't people want to read my blog? What am I doing wrong? Am I unlikable? Publishers will never take me seriously.

The reality: Some of my absolute favorite blogs have lower follower counts. I read their posts and wonder why in the world they don't have thousands and thousands of followers. They're amazing! I would follow them twice if I could. Follower numbers aren't always a reflection of the quality of the blog. Remember this especially when you're feeling down!

The solution:
  • Try the tips I mentioned in my Tips & Tricks series How to Attract Readers to Your Blog
  • Participate in memes like Feature Follow Friday and The Book Blogger Hop
  • Give it time. Seriously, it takes time to gain followers
  • Utilize social networking resources like Twitter, Facebook, message forums, etc
  • Follow blogs in your niche (i.e. other YA book blogs)
  • Recognize the value of the followers you DO have
  • Don't compare yourself to others
  • Forget about your stats and just blog
The wider you cast your net, the more likely you are to gain TRUE followers. And you will! I promise. But like most things with blogging, remember, quality over quantity. One loyal, devoted, quality follower can make this whole blogging endeavor worthwhile.



My blog design is ugly and everyone thinks I am an eyesore!

The feeling: My blog doesn't look as good in comparison to other blogs. No one will read my blog because it is not visually attractive.

The reality: Yes, honestly, I do make snap judgements on the appearance of a blog. I am more likely to stop and read a visually appealing blog. But, a blog doesn't need to be flashy to be visually attractive. Some of my favorite blogs have extremely simple designs. A neat (this is key! Don't let your sidebar pictures hang over their edges!), easy to navigate blog is more important to me than a blog with professionally designed graphics.

The solution: This is probably the easiest lamentation to address. Don't like your blog design? Get a new one! There is an endless number of free and pay-for sources for you to choose from.

I haven't used any of these services and so I can't vouch for them, but here is a list to start you off:

Designs to buy (some have free or low-cost options, too):
Free backgrounds:
Free templates (codes):

    Everyone else is a million times more creative than I am!

    The feeling: Everyone else is coming up with all of these really inventive features, and I can't! Everyone's reviews are so creatively written and mine feel like a snooze-fest book report. My blog doesn't stand out in any way and no one will want to read it. I'm plain vanilla boring!

    The reality: Creativity is a fickle thing. It comes. It goes. You can't control it, so don't stress out trying to. It will come when it comes and stressing will only muck up your creative juices.

    Also, some people are naturally more creative than others, or naturally more creative in certain ways. Take me, for example: I'm a creative problem solver but I can't for the life of me write fiction. Really, I'm awful. Such is life. Focus on your natural strengths and don't stress about the rest.

    The solution: Stop looking at other people and start looking in the mirror. What kind of post do YOU wish were there? What would YOU like to read? When reading a review, what do YOU want to know about the book? Chances are, if you want something, then someone else wants the same thing. Make it happen.

    And don't forget, creativity is great, but there is something to be said for the expected. The traditional. As much as I love "creative chocolate" like truffles or fancy chocolate bars with nuts and pretzels and toffee pieces and whatever, I will never turn down a good old-fashioned plain chocolate bar. Never.

    So when the muse is out on extended vacation, embrace the basics. There is nothing wrong with a review blog with nothing but reviews. You don't need to be THE NEXT BIG THING to offer something of value.


    There are so many cliques and no one wants to be MY friend!

    The feeling: I want to sit at the cool kids' table, but they don't pay any attention to me. Do they not like me? I feel awkward and like I stand out...and not in a good way.

    The reality: Want another "hard truth"? Yes, cliques exist. Not everyone will like you, and YOU aren't going to like everyone. That doesn't mean there is anything wrong with you (or them). It's just that different people have different tastes and click in different ways. This is natural.

    The solution: Don't try to force a friendship. If you like someone's blog, then follow it. Comment on it if you enjoy commenting. Do it because you enjoy it, not because you want them to pay attention to you. If you're a good match, then a friendship will grow naturally.

    Good friendships build over time. Lots of time. Don't stress if you're not immediate BFFs with someone. You WILL find friends in the blogging world.

    Also remember that blogging is time consuming and most bloggers have careers, family, and school that command even more of their time. If you leave a comment or follow someone, don't get discouraged if they don't reply immediately. It may take a month or more for a blogger to be able to get back to you, but that doesn't necessarily mean they aren't interested. They may be very interested, but also very busy (I know this is 100% the case for me!).


    What about blogging gets you down? What makes you feel better again? Do you have any advice to share?

    When you see a smaller blog, what do you think about them? What about blog designs? Do you judge a blog by its "cover"?

    80 comments:

    1. I definitely hate feeling ignored by other thought-to-be-more-successful bloggers. Honestly, it always feels like a slap in the face. Whether I'm ignored in comments or on Twitter, it's always bothered me. Luckily I've gotten better at not taking their ignoring to heart and have made plenty other good blogging friends.

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      1. Oh i felt the same for some time. Now i'm ignoring their tweets completely. Lol.

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      2. It makes me sad too. :( There are some big blogs I read but don't comment on because I'm still too shy and the lack of response doesn't help. Though most of those no-responses I know are because the blogger is just really busy, and I get that. So I'm happy just reading.

        There are one or two blogs that I've stopped reading all together because I felt so left out (they DO respond to their friends).

        But that's ok. I've found my own space in this blogging world and I'm happy. I just hope no one thinks I'm purposefully ignoring them. :)

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    2. You've NAILED it, girl. I've gone through pretty much every one of these feelings at least once in my blogging career. It's hard not to suffer from blogger envy, but knowing a lot of us have it makes it better, right? Lol.

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      1. Haha well *I* feel better knowing I'm not alone in those feelings :P It's like validation. But even more, it's always interesting to see how everything goes in a circle.

        Someone will feel like their design is horrible and they'll covet a professional design, but in reality there are a ton of people who covet THEIR design. Or their mailbox. Or their circle of friends, etc.

        We're all in a circle of envy, but it can actually be a little up lifting in a way. Kind of like how maybe my cookie seems dry and boring next to a cookie someone else has, but as soon as I find out that they actually want MY cookie, well, my cookie looks pretty awesome now! :P

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    3. Great thoughts! Would definitely agree with you, particularly on the second one - I love it when people reply to me, but I understand how busy they can get so definitely try not to take it personally if they don't.

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      1. By second, I meant fifth, because I somehow managed to scroll down past the second, third and fourth... not sure how that happened. Now I've read the entire article it's even better! :)

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      2. Haha it happens! :) I'm the same way. I love getting replies (and it can be sad if I don't get one), but I realize how busy people can get. I'm struggling with time management now, and it seems like I have so much less going on than some other bloggers (I only work part time!). So I can see how difficult it must be for them too, especially when they're bigger than me.

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    4. Everything is so true!!! I had all those thoughts as well, but after time i manage to get rid of them. Except maybe the one about the blog templates, there are some really great blogs out there. The only thing that makes me feel good about it, is that i didn't pay for mine XD

      Though my biggest letdown was how unfair is for the US/UK people the blogging world. We can't take part at half giveaways, events and publishers don't really pay so much attention at us. Thank god, i managed to get over it as well. I mean, i'm doing great without live in a special country so yay! ^^

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      1. You're right, there are some awesome blog templates out there. And guess what...YOURS is one of them! Every time you change your template I think, "Oh no, I loved your template!" and then I look at the new one you've made and it is gorgeous! The fact that you make them yourself is SO impressive.

        Oh good point :( I always feel so awful when I have to restrict things to US only. NetGalley must have changed blogging significantly for non-US bloggers. Although I have seen UK bloggers get REALLY lucky with some publishers. For the publishers that do give out to the UK, smaller UK blogs seem to have better luck getting books equally sized US blogs. Less competition I guess. At least that's my non-scientific observation from looking at mailbox posts :P

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    5. The not having a ton of followers is my biggest disappointment. But, it's mainly because I rarely get comments, not because I mind having so few followers. I just wish they'd comment more! Participating in memes has definitely helped me though. I just hope I can keep it up once I am back in school. Your posts are so helpful with all the tips you give :)

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      1. The biggest thing I've found that helps with comments is leaving comments yourself. Which is a ton of work because for every five comments you leave, you might only get one back. And then that makes me depressed. But, and this is so hard for me to accept because I'm super impatient, comments will come with time and patience. :)

        I'm so glad you found this post helpful!

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    6. I definitely just blogs by their design...if it comes across as "messy" or hard to read...I just can't visit often.

      And the creativity thing is my worst problem as a new blogger. I want to be creative...I want to come up with new ideas to make my blog fresh and stand out but every time I think I have one...I see that it is already being done!

      Plus I honestly just don't have the time to do a whole lot more than what I am right now. I squeeze blogging and reading in hear and there...so though I get disappointed with myself I need to remind myself that it is just a hobby...and if all I can get done in a week is a tour a review and a few memes...that's ok... (Of course now I';m feeling how "not ok" that is!) lol

      ♥ Melissa @ Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf

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      1. Me too (messy blogs). I feel awful, but there are a few blogs I LOVE but I only read them in my feed reader because their designs either crash my browser or hurt my eyes.

        I totally hear you about the creativity part! Doesn't it seem like every idea has already been thought of already? Ahh it's so frustrating. But I think when being new it's actually better to NOT focus on creativity and doing something revolutionary. No one will see it! And then it feels like a waste of time (and if another bigger blogger has the idea AFTER you, it will seem like it was their idea because they got the word out to more people).

        Personally, what always grabs my attention with newbies (or new to me blogs) is the quality of their reviews, and that doesn't need to be anything original. Just helpful and pleasant to read. Original features matter to me only after I've already decided I like their reviews.

        I hear you on time too. You're absolutely right. It is a hobby and a hobby should be fun! You do what you can, and there's nothing wrong with that :)

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    7. I'm with Natalie, I've experienced each and every one of those feelings since I started blogging! The envy one especially, it's hard to see people tweet pictures of a package that just showed up in the mail knowing you made the same request but didn't receive the books. I think it's impossible not to ask yourself why at that point. What aren't they seeing in my blog that they're seeing in that other person's? I still get that feeling every now and then, but it's so much less now that I'm comfortable with my blog and have made some awesome blogging friends. The follower obsession took a long time to get over as well, but it went away eventually and now I just have fun hopping around to my favorite blogs and commenting:)

      Really fantastic post Small, it's always nice to know you're not the only one experiencing certain feelings! Misery loves company ;-)

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      1. Oh my gosh Jenny, you are a perfect example of what I meant by jealousy circles :P I'm convinced that every blogger we look at and feel jealous about is looking at someone else and feeling envious too. It makes the jealousy seem a little silly. We all so clearly find value in one another and need to learn how to recognize that value in ourselves as well.

        To me, you are one of those Big Bloggers who gets all the ARCs I wish I had and has all the followers I wish I had! You're such an asset and an inspiration.

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    8. I've been blogging for almost 2 years and my follower count is really low. It took me FOREVER to get over this. I like the way I review. I like how my blog is presented. If others don't follow me by GFC, that doesn't mean people don't read it. It's just one of those things I had to get over, because there really is nothing else I can do about it. I don't want followers anymore who follow out of necessity and unfollow later. I'm done with that, but that's just me.

      I also get discouraged at posts with low comments. I get over it quick, but sometimes I think maybe there is something wrong with me or whatever. This is really just because I have emotional issues, LOL! But, then I realize everyone HAS A LIFE! I know that sometimes I can't reply to comments for weeks because I have work and 2 kids and a husband and EVERYTHING taking up time in my life. Plus, I read and everything just takes time. It has to be the same for others. Anyway, I feel a little bad saying this, but it's nice to know I'm not the only "oldie" who feels this way. :D You rock Small! I wonder if you know how many posts of yours really help me out and how they make me feel! Like this one for example *wink* and your DNF posts, etc... Thank you!

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      1. Two years?! See, you are exactly what I meant when I said some of my favorite blogs have lower follower counts and I can't fathom why. I adore your blog.

        You bring up a great point about GFC, too! Before I started blogging, I followed the blogs I read religiously...but never publicly. I didn't even know HOW to follow in any public way (I bookmarked their blogs).

        Aw, low comment posts make me sad too. Life is kicking my butt lately and I haven't commented on SO many of my favorite blogs lately (yours included! I'm sorry!) I have all the posts I want to comment on all starred in my reader though. Now all I need is TIME. :P

        Oh gosh, don't feel bad saying that. :) Oldie or newbie, we're all human and I think these are very human emotions.

        You're so sweet to say that! I was actually borderline terrified to even post this! I pulled it off auto-scheduling at the last minute last night, but then (obviously) made myself get over my anxiety and just post it. I had visions of GFC follower numbers plummeting!

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      2. Plummeting??!! If I'd never read your blog before and this was the first post I ever read. I'd follow you just because of this post!! *hugs*

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    9. Wow. This post was like walking down memory lane, though I am still constantly WOWed and whiney about other blogger's awesome feature ideas. I am also so envious of the time some have to invest. I think my blog would be a lot better, in my eyes, if I had the time to invest. BUT, I am content with what it is, and it can only get better, methinks. :)

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      1. Right?? I WISH I had more time to spend on blogging. There are so many things I want to improve and so many people I want to support...but, argh, no time. You're right, it is so important to be content with what IS.

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    10. awesome post
      you made me all warm nd fuzzy inside

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    11. Thanks for these posts! As a new blogger, I keep referring to your site for info!

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      1. You're welcome! I'm so glad my blog can be a resource for you :)

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    12. Great post, Small, and as always the pictures you chose nailed it. Hilarious!

      Who hasn't felt that way, sometimes? I like how you format each "problem" following it up with "reality" and the "solution" Yeah, it's never as bad as it seems.

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      1. Thank you! I'm so glad you liked the format I chose. You know, finding the right pictures sometimes takes longer than writing up the post :P

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    13. Small-
      Very good post! I don't judge a post by it's cover. I certainly look but it's never about looks, but about content. And a lot of smaller blogs I've found have great content! I try to help out by following and if I find a particularly good post I tweet about it.

      I get discouraged at how many actual books some people receive from publishers. I get discouraged when I think I've written a good review only to find that no one commented on it. Or the same two or three that always loyally comment on it. But then I go to other blogs I follow and other than a few (yours) I find that most of them are the same way. So I feel better. I'm not the only one that has low comments. I appreciate the ones that always comment no matter what. I try to do the same.

      And you're right that over time, you do develop friends with people in the blogging community that you have something in common with. I have people I call and talk to now. And people that we trade emails back and forth. In general, the blogging community is a warm friendly place, despite the cliques. Just find your niche and don't be afraid to ask for help.

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      1. Thank you! Yes, I agree, content definitely matters more than appearances. I do have to admit though that I make snap judgements. That's so nice that you tweet! I've noticed sometimes people tweet my posts and I am SO incredibly grateful to whoever it is that does that.

        I get discouraged about the same things. You're right though, many blogs don't have a lot of comments. I've noticed comments seem to come in waves (and pageviews). I think people are just really busy a lot of the time, like around finals/midterms or over the summer.

        Yes! The friendships I've developed warm my heart every day. I never expected that part of it, but I am so thankful for it. :) Such good advice you give: "Just find your niche and don't be afraid to ask for help" Spot on.

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    14. This is such a great post! Seriously, I think you give some of the best, to the point, and HONEST advice in the blogging world. For me the toughest thing was the friends issue. Everyone is so nice in the community but it still hurts sometimes when I go onto twitter to talk to people and no one responds. I have to remind myself that people are busy and if I get tweets when im at school or work, I'm not able to respond until much later. It takes some getting used to trying to break into the blogger community side of things.

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      1. Thank you so much! I'm so relieved you think so. I was super worried about posting this. Like, who am *I* to give advice??

        Great point about being at work or school and not being able to respond ASAP!

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    15. Hi Small,
      Another great informative post. I am glad I am not the only one that doesn't always appreciate other blogs IMM feature, I for the reason you mentioned above personally decided not to run it. I know as a reader I don't partocularly enjoy reading what other bloggers got in the mailbox, to me it is almost a form of bragging, plus readers don't have access to those books. Do you want to make your readers feel bad because they don't have access to all the freebies? I thought I was the only one, but I am glad to know I am not alone. Blogging friendships take time and effort. Such an informative post! Keep up the great work.

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      1. Oh you are definitely not the only person who isn't a fan of IMM. Lots of people don't like it. Personally, I love it...if presented well. Some people overtly brag and that's a big turn off for me. I want to get excited with people over books, and I don't mind getting excited that someone I like was able to snag a great ARC, even if I didn't. I'm happy for them! But the braggers seem like they're trying to make people feel bad, and that's just not cool.

        But if done well, I find IMM is a great resource for adding books to my TBR. I don't mind so much that I don't have access to the book now, because it's not like I could read it now anyway (I already have more books on my nightstand than I can get to this month!)

        I like being able to see the actual book too, so I love it when people take photos of the books they have. I can get a better idea of the length of the book that way.

        Plus, I'm also just a huge sucker when it comes to photos of books. I can't look away!

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    16. Small, I hope you know that you are amazing.
      This post was amazing, because you are amazing.
      Thank you very much for such an informative insight on how to deal. ;)

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    17. Just this weekend I have noticed the trend of my site hits climbing into 30-40 hits daily instead of the usual average of 10 it used to be. Although it made me feel a little deflated that I wasn't getting very many comments. Still I shouldn't let it get me down.

      I've noticed that a lot of comments I receive (and even a few followers) are obtained when I comment on their blog. I always try to leave at least one comment on each blog I visit. One blog I stumbled upon has the best review for Dracula that I have ever read and it made me want to write like that with my reviews.

      There's a couple followers I have that are starting to become good friends in the blogsphere. That means more than having hundreds of silent followers.

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      1. Congrats!! It's always so depressing to see a bunch of pageviews and very few comments. But I'm a lurker by nature myself, so I can't hold it against anyone for wanting to read and not comment.

        Yes, commenting is a fantastic way to get comments. I think it's also the best way to grow friendships in the blogging community.

        Do you have a link for that Dracula review? You make is sound so amazing. I was going to try to look for it until I realized, um, how in the world would I even begin? I can't exactly type in "Dracula review" into Google and expect to find it :P

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    18. What an encouraging post, Small. You hit on many of the feeling I have had or continue to have. I'll heed your advice and continue to exercise patience. Thanks for the upbeat, encouraging post. You rock!

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      1. You're so welcome! It is so much easier to say "be patient" than to actually BE patient :P You write such a quality blog that it is only a matter of time before you reap all of the rewards of your efforts. I can't even tell you how many times I have compulsively clicked and reclicked the GFC follow button on your blog!

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    19. I think I may be a little in love with this post, Small! It's perfect! When I actually stop and think about it, many of those points are things I can relate to or have related to. I value each and every comment I get on my blog and it's easy to spot the bloggers who do take the time to interact with you and those are the ones I appreciate the most. Of course, you aren't going to start a friendship with each and every blogger out there, but the ones you do get are valuable. It can be a little disheartening when some bloggers make no effort to reciprocate comments or blog visits, but some are genuinely lovely and make a brilliant effort to ensure smaller bloggers like myself feel included. I always visit/follow/comment on blogs that have visited mine as I know how encouraging it can feel.

      Thanks for this post! :)

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      1. Aw, I am so happy you like it! :D It can be very disheartening, but try not to let it get you down. I made an effort with a blogger for what seemed like forever and got no response. And then all of a sudden they started commenting on my blog! I think they were just extremely busy when I first started commenting on their blog.

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    20. Your as amazing as always Small! I may have just started my blog but believe me, I've already felt this way sometimes (your posts are amazing!). Though, I completely agree. I would much rather have only a few dedicated followers, than a bunch of followers that won't pay attention. Thanks for the encouraging post!

      Mackenzie @ Oh, For the love of Books!

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      1. That's so sweet of you to say! Thank you!

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    21. Amazing post!!!
      I admit to Blogger Envy and for a long time I felt very lonely and wondered what I was doing wrong? why no one liked my blog - I'm onto my fourth year of blogging and for the first two and a half and I was unknown but to 10 people who followed me and whom I adore.

      Eventually I learned that I had to reach out, and I love that you say you ought to follow because you like the blog and not to be noticed, I think those words are so so true.

      My blog design give me fits, because Im not very tech savvy and I used to be one those who changed the layout every time I could, but eventually I just grew tired of it and decided on a theme to keep going. It's not perfect and sometimes I still want to change things but I'm comfortable.

      While I don't think that we shouldn't judge blogs by their looks, I think that you also shouldn't make your book too crowed or too dark, those things tend to make it hard to read and if it's hard to read chances are people won't be coming back to read you again.

      As for cliques. Yeah, they exist, but that's why I love events like Busting the Newbie Blues, it gives you a chance to meet and greet and maybe find new friends.

      and for what makes me feel better? Well... books.
      :D

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      1. Thank you!

        You're spot on--reaching out is key.

        Your design is "you" to me now so I have positive feelings for it. I agree, I think it is less important to have a "pretty" blog and more important to have a functional and easy to read blog.

        You're right, books make everything better :)

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    22. I just gave you a standing ovation! (I got some strange looks from others in the laundromat - but hey, it's the laundromat! People expect odd things here.) J/K!

      I am slowly getting over a lot of these feelings, but it is a struggle most days. Especially the whole being ignored by the cool-kids. But I am trying so hard to ignore that feeling. I know I've only been blogging for six months and that I have improved so much in that time and will improve much more over the next six months. But sometimes those inadequate feelings are hard to ignore.

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      1. hehe thank you! :D

        It is a struggle, but you have such a great approach to it. Ignore the bad and focus on the positive! It IS hard to ignore feelings of inadequacy, especially when you're feeling down for other non-blogging reasons, but keep pushing through. When I'm feeling down, I like to look over the things I have accomplished and can be happy about.

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    23. Oh My Gosh! What an fantastic and so true post!!! And, yes I know exactly what you are talking about and I admit having had the blogger envy! I just can't help it - and especially at the beginning it was rather discouraging - but once you are over it, blogging life is so much more fun!!

      Also, I think it's important to get over the Follower count madness. Although, I admit I have a hard time getting over it as well. Specially after we moved to wordpress and this means we loose all the followers that signed up before.

      But!!! You know what counts more? Having a readership that not only reads your post but also comments!! Seriously, having a comment on my post makes me day! So much more than even a new Follower! It is wonderful when someone takes their time to leave their thoughts, even by only saying Hi, or I liked your Review.

      Last year, I was so busy with finishing my PhD that I had not much time to respond to comments and go to other blogs. Now, that I finally have my life back I have more time to visit other blogs and respond to each comment on my post.
      THIS is rewarding! I see that the comments are going up and seriously this makes me so incredible happy!

      can now truly say - follower numbers? Who cares, I care about invested readers!

      Oh and one last thing about designs: I am myself a design junkee (as you might know - thanks for linking back to my site hon !!) and I tempt to stay longer on a blog where I love the layout and at the same time I tempt to skip blogs that have a horrible layout. I know it is superficial but... as with eating - the eye "reads" too :-))
      (oh and I hate the state of our layout right now - and I will work on getting it again better *sigh*)

      Thanks for this wonderful post :-))

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      1. Blogging is SO much more fun when you focus on the positives and not the negatives like envy.

        You're totally right about getting over follower obsessing. It's totally out of your control! But also don't worry, your follower numbers will shoot right back up again (it took me about a week to figure it out, but I eventually realized I needed to add your new feed to my reader! Fixed now :P)

        I couldn't agree with you more about comments versus followers! Active and involved readers are awesome. I also try not to forget about the lurkers. I am a lurker by nature, and even though it's sometimes easy to forget about those readers because you don't SEE them, they're still there and still very important.

        It is rewarding giving comments. It builds friendships :)

        I know you're a design junky :) I LOVE your designs. I can always spot your style. I try to mention your site whenever I can.

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    24. This is a brilliant post. You are so wise!

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    25. Great post, Small! I think we all suffer a little bit from blogger envy from time to time, but it's important not to take it all seriously and just do the best we can do with our blogs. :)

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      1. Thank you! 100% agree. They're natural emotions, but we can't let them dominate us. :)

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    26. Wonderful post and fantastic advice. There are definitely times where I still feel all down about at least one of these, but at the end of the day, it's all a matter of perspective. Positive outlooks on all things blogging really goes a long way :)

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      1. Thank you! Perspective is key. I think most situations in blogging can be looked at on a positive side or a negative side, and it is so much more rewarding and fun if we focus on the positives.

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    27. Fantastic and encouraging post...:D

      I remember when I first started, I was so overwhelmed and almost gave up. Everyone had huge packages from publishers, thousands of followers and tons of friends....Im glad I stuck with blogging though, its been a great outlet for me and Ive made a few friends....:) Of course there are times when I still struggle with clique envy but its all about having fun and being yourself in the end.

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      1. Thank you!

        It's so hard not to get overwhelmed and discouraged in the beginning. You're exactly right with sticking with it. I had to keep reminding myself that all of those awesome mailboxes came as a result of time and effort, and that in time they could come to me too.

        Excellent advice. Having fun and being yourself is definitely what it's all about :)

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    28. Thanks for this post. It was very well-written, the pictures you chose were great (Martha Stewart made me laugh!), and you were so honest and genuine! I'm so glad I found your blog as I got rolling this year. You make a great blogging mentor ;)

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    29. A very honest and thoughtful post, Small. I have to say that it took me a while to get over my pettiness and stay focused on why I blog and how to improve. I know many people are miffed about GFC discontinuing but to me I think it might be nice way to get read of the follower count.

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      1. Thank you! I'm a numbers geek, so I'm going to miss GFC. BUT, I also agree with you. I think GFC is such a source of stress and heartache and it will be nice not to have that constant stat reminder and the competition and hurt feelings that go along with it.

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    30. It's like you've read my mind! I've experienced every one of the feelings you describe (and still suffer from them occasionally).

      I'm a huge judge of blogs' design. Although I work for a web design company, so I'm a bit of a snob. :p At the same time, I am blown away by the fact that the blog owner him/herself doesn't seem to realize when their design is bad (mine, to be fair, is not fabulous, but it's clean and easily read). I want to leave a comment and be like, "Yo, I'd love to read your review, but your yellow text on a black background makes it hard." But that seems rude.

      Reading in an RSS reader is helpful, actually. It makes everything very simple, and strips out design elements.

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      1. I still suffer from them occasionally too :)

        I agree, I'm always surprised that the blog owner doesn't notice, but then again, I think my vision is worse than the average :P I'm also a neat freak.

        And, as much as I can't stand reading dark blogs with light text, um, my first live journal years and years ago was...yup, black background with RED font. I thought it was the height of cool :P

        I agree, some blogs I only read in my feed reader.

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    31. Great post! And I love your design. And I think you are extremely creative with your posts. You help give book bloggers a good name!

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    32. I'm a brand-new book blog newbie, and while I've felt some of the things you described, I can see myself possibly feeling the others someday. But your blog really helps to make it so that maybe I won't have to feel that way - I'll just take your advice and head off the jealousy and self pity before it even has a chance to take hold! Thanks so much for your advice - I keep coming back to your posts again and again as I start up my new blog.

      Andrea

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      1. You're welcome! I hope my post helps you head off and handle these negative feeling! :D

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    33. Can I just say how much blogger envy this post made me experience? :) Thanks for talking about this, I still need to hear it!

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      1. Haha thank you :) And you're so welcome. I always have to remind myself of these things.

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    34. Hey Small...sorry I haven't commented on this yet.
      The thing that hits me most often in blogging is jealousy over ARCs. It drives me crazy when smaller blogs than me get ARCs that I really want. But generally I figure it's my own fault because I've been too lazy to ask for it.
      Commenting is definitely how I've built up most of my audience - mostly through my comments on people's memes. My consistent audience comes from people whose blogs I comment on almost every day. I'm sure I'd have more consistent visitors if I visited more blogs every day, but there are only so many hours in a day :-(

      Blogging is cliquey, but I've yet to find a facet of life that is not cliquey. I don't think many bloggers purposefully try to exclude other people. It's just that we all have our friends. Most of my "friends" are people like you who started around the same time I did and we've grown together. I can definitely make friends with new blogs, but it takes time to get to know them.

      As for creativity, I definitely think people - you especially - are more creative than I am. I also knew that going in. I figured that my "schtick" would be having consistently solid posts. I may not be super original, perfectly well-written, or hilariously funny, but you can get consistent reviews. But, I would still like to have a blog as cool as yours :-)

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      1. No worries! I totally understand--we're all busy. :) Thank you for taking the time to write such a substantive comment!

        Yes, I always get hung up on the "fairness" of ARCs. I forget who said it, but someone made a great point about ARCs. They said that it's important to remember that the squeaky wheel gets the grease and some bloggers BEG repeatedly for ARCs until they eventually get them. Me, I'll ask once and then let it go...if I even manage to muster up the courage to ask in the first place!

        You're spot on about cliques. It's human nature and I agree, I don't think most TRY to exclude people. I know I try to go around and visit all my friends, but then that takes up so much time I don't have time to visit new blogs as much as I would like to.

        I love your reviews. They are consistently helpful, informative, and a pleasure to read. I love your personality in your posts, especially when you're talking about Twilight. Your happiness is contagious. Goal accomplished :)

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    35. I have severely felt all those things at one point or another (like now), so I LOVED this post.

      I used to have 100-ish followers and I was very unhappy and down with blogging, but ever since I started participating in giveaway hops, my follower count has really taken a jump and I'm pretty happy with almost 300 (as long as I don't look at the 1000-follower widgets lol) I do agree though, the whole follower idea doesn't change the fact that you have a set number of readers unless you do something about it.

      I felt that my blog was terrible-looking and boring ever since I started a couple months ago, and I'm happy to say I FINALLY did something about it for the new year and completely changed my blogger template and now I'm very happy with it. It's not like those professionally-designed beauties, but it was free and better, much much better. I started my own meme too, which though not popular, is really fun, and I changed the way I do reviews a bit so I'm content there too =)

      I actually never thought about cliques in blogging. Never knew they existed until now. I always felt that almost everyone in the blogging world was completely friendly. This is news to me.

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      1. Good for you for identifying something that was bothering you and taking steps to make yourself feel better! That's exactly the right mindset, and now you have all of those things you DID to be proud of :)

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    36. Totally brilliant post!
      Seriously!
      While I don't suffer from blog envy anymore, I did when I first started out.
      You hit all of it on the head.
      Great advice.
      And you're right, some people are brilliant and don't have many followers.

      My truth (what I remind myself): Sure I could get on Twitter and grow my followers but I wouldn't have time to visit as many blog and it's not about quantity of followers it's about the quality of followers. The connections I make with my followers and the conversations we have is what's really important to me.
      So every blogger has to ask themselves, what matters to you most.

      As for cliques, I handle them the way I handle myself in real life - I jump in there with a smile and hope people will like me. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. But it's worth a try :)

      You by the way are destined to be a big blogger.
      You're like the champion of bloggers.
      Kudos dear!
      Kudos!

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      1. Aw, thank you Juju! You totally made my day :)

        I feel the same way about Twitter. I know it would help grow my blog, but I already feel like I don't have enough hours in the day. Asking yourself "What matters to you most?" is SUCH a great piece of advice.

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    37. Fantastic post, so much that rang true for me. Jealousy is a tough one to fight.

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      1. Thank you! Jealousy is so difficult to deal with, but I think it's something we can all relate to at some point or another. It may be hard to fight, but it's possible to overcome! :)

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    38. Seriously, I am SO glad that I found you via Mindful Musings who was participating in Busting The Newbie Blues! You are a treasure - and have SO much to say, very organized, thoughtful, and awesome!

      I had been doing good with followers when my blog first started and I posted regularly, but when I let my blog fall off the map, they stopped coming (naturally). Now that I've come back, I don't have nearly as many comments - but you know, there are a handful of people who still kept track of me and said hello when I started the blog back up. Which I truly appreciate!

      I blog for the sake of sharing my thoughts on books and sharing books :) There may be other bigger and better blogs, but honestly I like being a "small blog." Less pressure and more fun!

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    39. I'm a total newbie blogger, but I enjoy looking at other people's blogs when they're better, more content-filled and have nicer designs than mine. That's where I get my inspiration from! I love working on my blog to improve it. I'm pretty happy with the design now. I especially love looking at yours, because on every page I find at least 3 new inspirations for my own blog. In fact, your blog was the reason I started blogging! Thanks! (:

      Awesome Book Assessment

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    40. Wow i can say that this is another great article as expected of this blog.Bookmarked this site..
      10etext

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