Monday, August 1, 2016

Ask Me About Blog Followers

"How many followers do you have?"

It's the battle cry of those who just found out you have a blog and (well-meaningly, most of the time) want to know more.

It's a question most bloggers who are open about their hobby with people they know in person have received—but it's a question that doesn't provide much quality information about the blog or the blogger.

So I'm here today to say that yes, I'm a blogger, but don't ask me about my follower count.

Instead, ask me about how I got into book blogging, how I stumbled upon one YA review site back in December of my eighth grade year, how I found several more from there, how I made a list of blogs to check daily. Ask me how, when I first decided to start my own blog, I got nervous and deleted my first post before trying again and putting it back up.

Ask me how impatient I felt the first few months as I searched for readers—but, even more importantly, blogging friends. Ask me how thrilled I was when a girl I talked to at a Twitter chat sent me a quick business email that spiraled into a long conversation that's now been running for more than three and a half years. Ask me about how getting an email from Summer is still a surprising daymaker (and how I currently owe her a response).

Ask me about the first convention I attended, ALA Annual 2013 in Chicago. Ask me how I labored for hours as I tried to design my own business cards because I was 15 and I didn't have a job and I was too cheap to pay a professional. Ask me how I counted down the months, weeks, days before the event, and how I couldn't stop car-dancing on the way there, even when we got hit by a surprise hailstorm en route.

Ask me how, as I talked to publicists and snagged ARCs on the showroom floor, I felt a passion for literature absolutely palpable in the air, and I knew for sure I wanted to work in book publishing. Ask me how I returned home bursting with excitement and carrying tote bags bursting with books. Ask me how the entire experience was so formative, so central to who I am today, that it served as the topic for more than one of my college and scholarship essays.

Ask me about the time I first met a blogging friend in person. Ask me how I felt when I first locked eyes with Willa in the McDonalds in the lower level of the McCormick Place Convention Center, where we had agreed to meet after a more-complicated-than-necessary text exchange, where I had begrudgingly ordered lunch despite my health-nut concerns. Ask me how a smile spread across my face, how it felt like one of those scenes from a romance movie when a couple is reunited after months apart, except platonic, obviously, and except "apart" was a norm that seemed less troubling thanks to the Internet.

Ask me, if you truly need to know about numbers, how many thoughtful comments my discussion posts get, how often I'm told "I'm going to read this book because of your review."

Ask me how much fun it is to embark on new projects like Lit Up Review or A Novel Chat with some of my best friends—not some of my best blogging friends, but some of my best friends, full stop. Ask me how much time and effort I put into these endeavors, in addition to the post-writing and graphics-making and tweet-scheduling I do for my own blog, but how it rarely feels like work because connecting readers with books is one of my greatest passions in life.

Ask me how incredible it is to have one of your favorite authors tweet at you to say they loved your review of their book. Ask me how incredible it is to have friends who will be even more excited about this seemingly-simple occurrence than you are.

Ask me how much I love being part of an entire community full of people who love reading as much as I do. Ask me how much I love being able to talk about every book I read—whether that means discussing it with someone who's read it or convincing someone who hasn't to give it a shot. Ask me how much I love blogging.

Ask me how, as long as I have friends and readers, as long as I get thoughtful comments, I'm not going to worry too much about follower count.

Ask me about the experience, about the details and events that have made my four years of blogging so meaningful, about my passion for reading and talking about books, about the people I've met and the places I've been and the goals I've accomplished. I'll be more than happy to answer.

This post was inspired by a tweet featuring impeccable GIF usage from Kaitlin at Next Page Please—go check it out!

13 comments:

  1. Does this post come with tissues? I think I am going to need a few to deal with the feels you just caused. You are SOOO right about how numbers aren't everything in our community.
    I try to be a blogger who does not care about numbers. I try to ignore the stats and how my blog is not adding up. But sometimes it is hard for me to keep trying. It took me a long time to realize the the book blogging universe was not made on numbers. The number of followers, visits, and comments is not the most important aspect of blogging. Our community was made on words, through books, short stories and poetry. I think we all need to realize that the numbers don't really matter as long as we have still have the words.

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  2. I stopped by your blog today. Thanks for sharing. It's an awesome journey for those who jump in.
    Ann

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  3. When I started book blogging, I thought getting thousands of followers is everything. But after a while, I realized that it's not everything. You can book blog without having thousands of followers. You share you bookish thoughts and favorites reads without having hundreds of comments. Followers are, of course, important if you want to get advance copies from publishers. But at the end of the day, that's not really my reason for book blogging right now (although admittedly, it was one of the reasons why I started book blogging).
    Great and lovely post, Emily!

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  4. Well, I almost cried while reading this! Honestly, this was just what I needed to read. I adore blogging and books and everything about this community... but sometimes it's easy to forget the why's. Like why I love it so much. And why it's important to me. This was just the reminder that I needed. This was such a beautiful and important post! Thank you!

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  5. omg wow. this post. it's...amazing. i'm just in a loss of words. i have nothing to say except: wow, wonderful, thank you.

    - Maha younicorn reads

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  6. this is the best blog post i've read this entire month. thank you, emily!! <333 - alexandra @ twirling pages

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  7. Ask me how much I love this post of yours. Because I'll definitely answer a resounding SO SO SO MUCH. :D

    Alyssa @ Diary of a Book Maniac

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  8. What a fantastic post! I went to my first ALA annual this summer and I know EXACTLY what you were describing!!! The followers make for good milestones and a tool for marketing your blog and pitching to publishers; but numbers don't matter. It's the human connection that matters. Great post!

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  9. THIS. I completely agree Emily. Followers come and go, but those friendships you make stay forever. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous post! <3

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  10. WOW, you have done a lot while blogging! Reading this post is so awe inspiring. Also, the point behind it is amazing as always.

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  11. Holy crap, this post is amazing. This has really inspired me as a teenager whose been blogging for about two months. I feel frustration and even desperation some days because I just want to get somewhere but I love these posts. I've favourited this post so whenever I need to remember why I'm blogging, I can read this. Incredible.

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  12. FYI: I linked to this post in my Sunday Summary this week.

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  13. This post was definitely needed for me. I'm still a bit new to blogging (I started a little over a year ago) and I sometimes get frustrated by the lack of followers I have gained this far. I need to focus less on numbers and more on just having fun and enjoying the community aspect you described here! Thanks for the inspiration (and the twitter follow XD)
    Katie x

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Thank you so much for leaving a comment! I love to hear your thoughts, and I read every one. You just became one of my favorite people, so I will try to visit your blog in return.