BEYOND THE BOOKS is a weekly meme where KissinBlueKaren throws out a topic (mostly non-bookish), and we blog about it.
I know this week's question is "Why I Started Blogging", but as most of you know this blog was created by accident when I was attempting to make a Google+ account to verify Rafflecopter entries. On a whim I decided to use it as a bookish personal blog just because it was there. This was my first blog post on September 5, 2013...
"I am well into a Words With Friends (Strangers) addiction, and I am letting it cut into my reading time, someone please help me..."
Ha ha; only one sentence with a small graphic. It received eleven views and one comment (from a friend). From then until January 1, 2014, when I posted my first full book review, all my blog post content consisted of was an image with a link to an interesting bookish article, or a random one or two sentence personal observation like the Words With Friends post above. In fact, the blog contined to be a random jumble of sporadic reviews and links to other blogs and e-zines for quite some time. I guess my old tagline of The Accidental Blogger was apropos!
The first author I formed a reader relationship with through Goodreads was A.G. Howard. In fact it was an ARC of one of her books I was trying to win when I accidentally registered this blog. The reason I am mentioning this is because between the several indie authors she introduced me to, the indie author I became friends with on a Harry Potter social site, and one I became acquaintances with via winning one of her books on Goodreads, I found my passion for promoting underappreciated, under-the-radar books and gained my reason for blogging.
So... I am going to tell you why I continued to blog seeing that there really was no "reason" I started to blog.
Because of this blog I was exposed to two influential things: wonderful books that get next to no attention and mediocre to awful books that get undeserved hype and exposure. So, in the face of this injustice, my blog is mostly about sharing indie and small publishing house books and authors with you. The little bit of exposure I do give popular and best selling books is only for my personal need to discuss them with all of my bookish comrades. I will admit it is nessessary to offer up some mainstream content every once in a while to keep viewership numbers up so that more people are also seeing the indies.
I get a few negative reactions each time I mention blog hit goals, or viewer milestones met. Some bloggers will say that's not why they blog, or getting high profile ARCs is not their motivation and that followers and blog visits mean nothing to them. Well, you know what? That isn't why I blog either, BUT... because my main reason for blogging IS so I can promote my hardworking, humble, fabulous story writing under-the-radar authors, THE STATS HAVE TO MATTER. If I was only getting a measely amount of blog hits, especially in light of my dismal followership numbers, the amount of work I put into this blog would not be worth it. I could just discuss and revew books on Goodreads with all of you and visit your blogs without all the blog time-suck.
The reason why my monthly stats are at the top of my sidebar? It certainly isn't to brag. In fact, they are still pretty mediocre. It is because, believe it or not, I still need decent blog hits to get most of the indie ARCs I request; sometimes the indie ARCs are more difficult to get approved for than high profile, big publishing house copies. One smaller publishing house told me that putting monthly viewership stats up at the top is one of the best things you can do because "all time" stats tell them nothing; they don't know how long you have been blogging, and they don't want to have to search through a ton of sidebar widgets to find that information.
Do I request highly coveted ARCs by popular authors? If I personally want to read the book, sure I do, but again that isn't why I blog. If I am lucky enough to get one I feel it is, in a far flung way, payment for all my blood, sweat, and tears blogging; no need to spend money on the book before I know if I'll like it. If I love a book I always buy a hardcover for my shelves anyway.
Don't get me wrong... I still love reading your opinions, happy dancing over mutually loved stories and grimacing over less than stellar book offerings! The friendship and camaraderie amongst my bookish buddies is what keeps me going here on the blog. You are my fuel. I love you all!