Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Burnout recovery-sort of. Blog changes and rant

So many of you may have noticed that I was not very active in August.  That was because  I reached a really low point in my blogging.  Over the past several months, I have been feeling detached from this.  It had become a second job.  I was losing site of the reason I started this in the first place, combined with no matter how many wants of others I gave into, few to no one seemed to appreciated it (not saying no one did, just didn't seem like it).  After taking a partial hiatus, I have decided to continue this blog but there are going to be some small changes

So what helped lead to this level of detachment?  

--Tours, blitzes, etc.  These took a lot out of me.  I actually stopped these almost entirely over the past 3 months.  I was tired of posting a stop, even if the post was mostly ready made, and no one made a single comment.  Not a visitor or even the author or tour host to say thanks.  did anyone notice the post?  Did it help the author?  Was the author grateful?  I have no idea.  Then review stops.  I would submit my interest in the tour, hear nothing back until a week before they expect me to have the review up.  I would have to sop everything and make that book my number one priority.  It was not healthy for my personal life, nor fair to other books I was reading.  I needed books more in advance and time to read some weeks.



--Then there is Arc and general reviewing pressure.  I get a book, even unsolicited and less than 3 days after getting the book I have the author or publisher asking when I will have a post up, what I thought of the book, etc.  Again, I cannot just stop  and read someones book when it suits them alone.  I have lots of books to review and then when I inform the author or publisher that is is going to be a few weeks, they would send a nasty email reply.  Very depressing.  I don't even ask for arcs anymore outside of Netgalley or Edelweiss.  I just have too many and the time pressure is too much.

--The latest and greatest hyped titles.  I love introducing new titles to people.  While I live the next Hunger Games as much as the next people, I love finding hidden gems of the books world.  When I started this blog, I shared a mix of new, old, popular, Indy, etc titles.  Now it is almost all current (within the past couple years) titles, or high popularity with few exceptions.  I never cared if the book came out last week or 20 years ago before.  Now much of my time is spent keeping up with the newer titles and I my older, unread shelves have become extremely neglected.



--Other wantings of others.  The biggest thing I heard the people wanted after the first year was a change in my blog layout, them, header and backround.  I am NOT a tech savvy person.  What few computer skills I have are self taught.  I didn't grow up with them as a regular part of my life.  I didn't use them in school even except for the rare printed final reports needed in high school.  I have never even used photoshop or many other common programs.  So things that take coding and such is a no go.  I spent an insane amount of time and favors just to get the header I have and the color coordination and legal backrounds, etc.  So changing it is not an easy task to ask.  I happen to like the colors and backround (except that it isn't quite even).  I even use the dragons for my rating.  So to change it, changes everything.  That is a lot of work and it is NOT something I enjoy.  But still the request for change kept coming.  So 3 times over the past year, I asked for help.  Who or where can I get a header for free with no skill.  Anyone willing to help?  No answer there.  Just more of "You need to update and keep with the times."

--Lack of involvement.  Outside of memes or giveaways, no comments or involvement from anyone.  If I didn't do giveaways or memes I honestly wonder if I would even have 2 comments a month on anything.  I tried more discussional posts, or asking questions. Even offered to do interviews of fellow book bloggers her to promote some cross traffic.  Nothing.  Silence....This is probably the most depressing aspect.  Am I posting to myself?  Honestly I cannot express enough how much simple comments can mean to show that what I am doing matters on some level.

So all these things have just been piling on more and more lately that I was having a hard time seeing the good in it all.  Granted, it is partly that I am not a very social person.  It is difficult for me to ask an author for a guest post or interview.  I don't chat much in forums.  I was getting better and being more social in other blogs but then felt I neglected my own.  On average I was spending 30-40 hours a weeks creating posts, responding to comments, trying to keep everyone happy, etc.  And I ended up failing on all accounts.  I chased my own tail so often that I wasn't even reading much anymore.  What was the point of a book blog if you hardly ever read?!

 Now none of this is saying this fits or involves all of you.  I know there are several of you who like and appreciate this blog.  And you are the reason I intend to continue.  So those of you who have stuck with me through the past, who visit and comment regularly, a huge THANK YOU!!!  You're involvement is what gives me hope.


But to certain aspects, I am saying screw it.  I will read what I want, when I want and share it here.  If people read it and get something out of it, great!  If not *shrugs*...  Don't misunderstand, I still love this blog and want it to be an amazing place to share and learn about books.  But I cannot live on this site.  I have family and other interests and I cannot continue to exclude them to try and keep up with the status quo.  I run and operate this blog alone and it is a lot of work.  But it needs to be fun for me again too, as well as the rest of you.  If this offends anyone I apologize but these things must change.

I will still do some tours but not very many.  I will still take on some review books but not nearly as many as I was.  You might get a new released title or you might see a review for a title written in the 80's.  It might be a bestseller, or something that only 10 others have even heard of.  

I am not doing major changes to this blog.  I might update sidebars or something once in awhile or add fancy borders when I have the time.  Otherwise, what you see is what you get.  Unless you are offering do do the work, accept this blog the way it is.  I like the colors and I spend the most time having to look at it. 

Stacking the Shelves will likely be every other week.  I will start putting forth more effort for guest posts or interviews once in awhile again, but that probably will not improve much until 2016.  Fall is a really busy time for me.

I will try to share a bit more about me as a person and might through up a completely non-book related post just because.  Be it to share something I find cool, share a bit of my life or just share what is on my mind.  I will work harder to be more social on goodreads and other blogs again.  Basically I would rather have a few loyal bookish friends than a ton of followers who never actually look at what is happening.

I am still willing to here feedback but I ask that you help offer a solution or if I do what you want, respond and be involved!  Without involvement, chat, etc this will simply become more like a bookish journal the public can view.

On the plus side, I did get better buttons this summer for connecting with me.  Also,I have been spending time updating the archives here.  They are still way behind but should be up to date by the end of this month.  Then I will get back to comment responses.  Hopefully by January things will be caught up completely, and kept up and this blog will have a better flow once more that I can love once more and that we can all still find new amazing books!

10 comments:

  1. Great honest post.
    You need to do what makes you happy to blog!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Blog burnout is very common, and it's good to step back and think about your blog now and then. But I cannot believe you actually have people telling you to change the design of your blog! That is the rudest thing I've ever heard! You do what you want and don't let other people tell you what to do.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've read all these reasons for book bloggers burn out and can totally sympathize. I don't do blasts anymore because I feel so separate from the book, and I totally hate when a tour isn't acknowledged by at least one of the primaries involved. I never comment on blasts, and actually don't even read them anymore. I've never had aggressive authors or publishers, I'd probably shut down anything from them.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love it. Happy you found a solution to make you happy with blogging. I do thoroughly enjoy the blog, even if I don't comment often. I read every email sent. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow, people told you to change things about your blog layout? I've never had anyone really say that, although I've not asked. I'm a lot like you, I don't know coding and stuff. So I've got a new header to use, but am waiting for someone to help me get it set up. The person who did the design before I can't even get ahold of, so I don't know if I need to keep her name on when I do some changes or not. I feel your pain. Glad you are going to stay though, and do what you want! I'll still be following!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I feel the same about the blog tours. I was doing 3-7 a week and nobody was commenting on them except occasionally the author. It became something I HAD to do instead of enjoying it. Also I was up to my eyes in reviewing books with deadlines and I was in a panic to get things done on time-it wasn't fun anymore plus I wasn't getting any time to read the books I'd bought for myself so my tbr went up close to 1000 books. I had to step back from it all. I haven't done a tour all year and I have done a handful of read and reviews for author friends but on a lesser scale and it has been much better!

    I don't think there is anything wrong with your blog design. I visit blogs because I like what the blogger posts and talks about. How they choose to design the blog is their choice and I never interfere! I would say, stick to a design you like and only make changes that you want to do. Don't be pressured into changes you don't want to make!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Just do your blog the way you like it , it must stay a pleasure
    I would be happy to read your review even if ( or perhaps even more) if it's on books you choose to read, be them less known or famous it's not the most important

    thank you also for not giving up

    ReplyDelete
  8. Very good post, I feel for you! I only just started blogging in June, but at times I feel it's not worth it. I do enjoy talking about books I've read and all, but it feels disheartening when you feel you're only talking to yourself. But I'm going to try to stay with it myself for a few more months, finagling things until I find a happy medium of how much time I devote to my blog.

    I'm sorry to hear that people have commented on your blog's layout without actually trying to help if they really felt things should be changed. It seems kinda of like someone saying, "Hey your tire's flat" but not offering a tire iron, jack, or even a cellphone to call for help if you don't know how to change one.

    I'm glad you're sticking around, as I just started following you recently! I hope your recovery plan helps keep the enjoyment level high!

    ReplyDelete
  9. If you love the look of your blog, there's no reason to change it. I'm confused - are people just offering you unsolicited advice or are you saying you said, "Hey, what would you like to see change around here?" and lots of people mentioned the design? I really hope it's the latter - but either way, if you love it, there's no reason to change! I love your girl and the dragons, by the way!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great honest post! You should only blog because you want to. I can't believe people complaining about the layout of your blog (maybe if they were willing to change it for you). You should read the books you like and talk about them only if you want to!

    ReplyDelete

Comments are welcome and appreciated!
I love to know what you think!