Friday, May 20, 2011

There Be Angst (and a winner!)

First order of business: the winner of Soy Chai Bookshelf's Birthday Giveaway is, of course, Alley from What Red Read.  Congrats, Red!  Send me an e-mail at jlmarck at gmail and I'll order your copy of Never Let Me Go.  I say 'of course,' because she is the only person that entered the contest.  Which brings me to my second order of business...

Ever since posting that giveaway, I've been feeling very unhappy about my blog.  Why don't people want to enter? I ask myself.  Is my blog that bad?  After a year, why do I only have fourteen followers?  Should I give up?  I mean, what's the point if nobody reads what I write?

My husband stopped just short of forbidding me from quitting the blog, which I suppose is appropriate.  However, this in no way made me feel better (nor did the fact that an article on yahoo linked to a blog post of his - congrats Sweets, I'm proud even if I am jealous).  So I was still feeling bad, yet persisting in tweeting giveaway reminders every day, even linking to a new author whose book you could win in the hopes that she would retweet it (she didn't).  Things were bleak.

But then, Ellen at Fat Books & Thin Women posted this.  And she linked to The Reading Ape's recent series (first post here) on the purpose and styles of book blogging.  I had never heard of The Reading Ape before, but I sucked in each post and sat back to ask myself why I started a book blog to begin with.

Of course, I didn't start a book blog to begin with.  My first post was about tea, then there were some book reviews, but also some personal posts, and even some recipes.  It took me a couple of months to realize that what I wanted to do was blog about books.  Shortly thereafter, I discovered that my very long, rather in-depth reviews didn't appeal to many people.  Soon after that, I discovered that the way to get anybody to read my blog was by participating in memes like Top Ten Tuesday.  After awhile I told myself that the only way to get any real number of followers was to hold a giveaway (FLOP).  And now here I am, whining about having an unpopular blog and not even thinking about the books anymore.

So I'm reevaluating.  I'm going to write reviews that are however long I want, make my Top Ten lists because they're fun, and start enjoying books again.  This may even mean I fail at some of my challenges because man do they take the fun and spontaneity out of reading (more on that in a separate post).  I'm also going to start seeking out more bloggers that read the kinds of things that I read (most of the bloggers I follow do not), and maybe become more active on Goodreads.  I'm here to discuss books, first and foremost, not win popularity contests.

After all, like my blog I've always been relatively unpopular.  That was never a reason to not make the most of myself.


  1. Ahhh! NEVER contemplate deleting Soy Chai Bookshelf ever again! You're the reason I've decided to stop neglecting my own blog and start writing about books... whether you have 14 followers or 14,000, I love your posts :)

  2. I've been there and I think almost every blogger has. You have an interesting and unique writing voice, i think you just need to give it some time.
    14 followers who actually like the way you write are better than 1400 who 'follow and forget'.
    Does this mean you aren't accepting followers anymore cause I cant find the button.

  3. Thank you guys so much! Your kind words really mean a lot to me!

    Che- I am ideally accepting followers, but I can't find the button either. It shows up when I'm logged in, but when I'm logged out, I can't see it. Blogger Help isn't too helpful - I will try to figure this out! In the meantime, thanks for at least wanting to follow me!

  4. Your blog is one of my favorites, and sometimes I'm surprised too that you don't have more followers. (I feel the same way about the number of people who get my blog in a feed, too - aren't we so good at what we do that everyone should be following us?) I'm so happy that all those posts from the reading ape have helped you think about your blog and what you want it to do, though, and I'm glad that you're going to stick around. At this point I don't worry too much about how many people read my blog, but when I have before I usually end up by realizing that...I don't LIKE most of the blogs are that are popular, because many of them are nothing but memes and giveaways that force people to follow their blog. I don't want my blog to look that like. I want it to be full of reviews and what I think about reading and maybe, one day in the future, writing; I want to write the types of reviews I'm interested in reading, whether 300 other people care about them or not.

    Oh, and I tried doing a giveaway once too, a few months ago. No one who read my blog entered, but it somehow found its way onto some forums that are devoted to getting free stuff - so all kinds of random people were entering. I wound up deleting it, and I think for about a week was in a funk about why no "real people" wanted to enter. Anyway, good lesson: I'm better off writing reviews than trying to give away books.

    -- ellen

  5. Please don't delete your blog! Don't worry about follower numbers. They aren't important. I agree with Ellen, so many of the popular blogs with hundreds upon hundreds of followers are mostly memes and giveaways and they aren't that fun to read. So they have a meaningless number of followers that don't actually read what they have to say. What's the point in that?