We recently spoke about becoming an authority figure in your chosen field and what that may entail. Because this is such a broad idea, we obviously narrowed it down in regards to publishing. Penguin Random House, Harlequin, House of Anansi Press and more were used as examples in their fields as excelling in the genre that they publish. It got me to thinking about becoming an “authority” figure in the YA blogging world, and how difficult it is to carve out a name for yourself in this industry.
Blogging is competitive no matter what you are blogging about. In order to become a blogger who people automatically go to, it takes a ton of time, dedication, creativity, personality etc., etc. I could go on and on about what it takes to make a “great” blogger, but I think it’s important to remember that everybody blogs differently and there isn’t a right way or a wrong way to do it.
I remember when I first started getting into book blogging, over 2 years ago now, and how excited I was just to create a space where I could talk about books and share my love for them on the internet. Little did I know that that was only just the beginning. I had to gain a following, I had to make friends, I had to review the new books, the advanced books and the already published books. I had to have a great blog design and a thousand followers on twitter. It was never ending. It wasn’t until I was almost a year into that I realized I don’t have to have all of that in order to be a great book blogger. I have to have passion. Which I do! An abundance of it to be exact. Reading is the love of my life, and blogging has become a top contender. But I also have to remember that I need to keep enjoying it, mainly because I don’t want it to become a chore. And I really don’t want to start hating it.
Maria Popova, the creator of Brain Pickings, wrote an article on her 7th blogoversary about all she has learned in her 7 years of writing on the internet. My professor, Suzanne Norman, used the seven points Maria lists in her lecture this past Tuesday and they really resonated with me and my experiences blogging.
1. “Allow yourself the uncomfortable luxury of changing your mind”
Don’t be afraid to admit you’re wrong, write something and change it later because you aren’t sure it’s what you actually wanted to write, and write what I damn well want to write. Don’t be afraid to look silly because of what you say and learn from the pro’s.
2. “Do nothing for prestige or status or money or approval alone”
This is something big in the YA blogging world. The race for an ARC is brutal and the secret jealousy (that’s totally not a secret) is rampant. It’s hard not to get caught up in that feverish desperation for an ARC, but when your tbr pile starts building up and you’re overwhelmed with how many books you need to read in order to get the review out before the publication date, it makes me grateful that I took a step back from requesting all the books and instead only the ones I really really want and know I will read.
3. “Be generous”
Be kind and dole out the love for the people who work hard to write the amazing books I get to read. Be kind, but honest. Push and promote the hell out of the books that I love on people I know will love them. Take gorgeous pictures of books that I buy/receive/borrow because I think book photography is the best (look at my instagram (on the right sidebar) if you don’t believe me).
4. “Build pockets of stillness into your life”
Take time to reflect on how life is going, and if it’s getting to be too much, take a step back. I had to unfortunately do this with Adventures in YA Publishing, the blog where I was partner and cohort with some other amazing ladies. My time with AYAP taught me so much about publishing, running a website, networking and so much more that I will forever be grateful to Martina Boone. However, as sad as I was, it’s been a huge stress reliever stepping down and i’ve been so much more productive with school. Find that stillness and use it to your advantage.
5. “When people tell you who they are, Maya Angelou famously advised, believe them” but more importantly, “when people try to tell you who you are, don’t believe them”
This one is pretty self explanatory but it is something that is so important. Don’t let others dictate or misunderstand who you are. Be who you are, but also be who you want to be in life. Have ambition and inspiration and don’t let other’s discourage that. Be a dreamer.
6. “Presence is far more intricate and rewarding an art than productivity”
Rather than attempting to put out content every day that sucks, work damn hard at a few posts to make them the absolute best you can. Quality over quantity is an overused expression but it’s overused for a reason. Make your place known in this world, no matter how small.
7. “Expect anything worthwhile to take time”
We are the generation of instant satisfaction and that can translate into any aspect of our lives. It’s important to remember that the good things take time and effort.
I don’t know if this would necessarily make me an “authority” figure in the YA book reviewing world, but it sure makes a passionate one, and I really think that’s what is important. Blogging has been a series of ups and downs, drama and blogging breaks, great friendships built and amazing experiences had. To me, it has been so much more than becoming a person someone goes to for a book recommendation; it’s become an outlet for my passion for all things books. My space of the internet isn’t huge, but it is important and it is me. It reflects who I am and what I love and that is what makes me an authority figure in my mind.