Book Brats Reviews

The Popularity Rat Race: A Memoir

tumblr_mj8unnBHAu1ry8lyao1_500 (1)The Popularity Rat Race: A Memoir

I might be a jealous blogger, trying to recover from the woes of being bitter, resentful, and even at times smarmy, but I’ve begun to realize something as a result.

I am mostly glad that I’m not a big blogger. Imagine that pressure to perform day in and day out, cranking out reviews and interviews and being riddled with emails like crazy. And imagine doing it by yourself. I have Andi and Ashelynn and soon a new friend for you to enjoy (you’ll meet her soon if you haven’t already in the blogosphere) and yet I sit here feeling overwhelmed by the numbers of emails I get a day which require replies, which generally ranges from 0 to 3. One day I got 5 and almost had a heart attack.

Book Brats is not a traditional blog. Some blogs are sparkly, some blogs are focused, and some blogs are warm and open. Book Brats, or at least my part of it (which is a hefty chunk of the operation) is dark and dreary and sad half the time. I have a little problem called being brutally blunt, paired with the unlikable issue of having very specific tastes.

And another thing about being a big name in blogging means that you have more eyes peering at your every move. I’d rather just sit here at unconscionable hours of the night while I am half asleep dreading work the next day typing posts like this, little rambly segments of my life that I rarely edit and never think out ahead of time. I just like to sit here and write and giggle and drink cocoa after brushing my teeth.

Running a blog is like a business, especially if you deal with ads and solicitations and networking. I’ve done all that – minus the ads, which you’ll never see on Book Brats because Andi refuses to let me make a few bucks off the sidebar – and remembered why I didn’t major in business like my father told me to. I’m shy, nervous, foul mouthed, anxious, neurotic, strange, antisocial, and weird.

Sending an email, even a simple reply to a publicist reaching out to me, results in me doing this for a few minutes at the least:

This post started because I was wondering, “Why do I care so much about this?” Blogging for me is my hobby, admittedly born out of the false concept that blogging equals tons of free books. I blame Harriet Klausner and her interview in Time Magazine where she talked about reading and free books. Oh my God, I was so stupid to think that by blogging, publishers would throw books at you and all you’d have to do would be post a little sycophantic review that regurgitated the plot.

Needless to say, I came to my senses within like a week. My delusions never turned into a reality. In fact, as I got more and more into blogging, into the stage where a publicist emailed me about a book I was DYING to read by a favorite author (my first review request from a traditional publisher), I realized just how difficult it is to be a small blogger. And realization leads to a lot of thinking.

Being popular in blogging is a rat race – if it happens, it happens, but going out and actively seeking to be number one, at least in my opinion, leads you to hate yourself, others, the world, your mailman, your friends, etc. It becomes more an obligation and less of a fun thing. It’s already hard work without having to worry about having ALL ZEE FOLLOWERS!

Book Brats is not a hugely popular blog. My Twitter account is deceiving when it comes to followers. We’re not heavily visited compared to many, but we are slowly but surely gaining clientele who apparently like that I can’t keep things to myself. I might be shy and nervous, but I have a big mouth.

I put together a little list I call “Why I Like Being Unknown (Mostly)”:

  1. No hate mail
  2. No worries about being overwhelmed with review requests
  3. No pressure to be creative and witty
  4. I can review what I want when I want to review it (expect more books about cults, serial killers, 60s revolutionaries, and obscure science fiction in the near future)
  5. I can keep reading my weird books
  6. I can go a day without posting and nobody notices

Being a big blogger sounds like a hard gig in my opinion. It’s days like this, fraught with worry and contemplation, that leave me asking, “Why worry about it?” I do my thing and take what I get. In the end, it’s reading and talking books that makes me happy – not worrying about whether a publisher thinks I’m good enough, not seeing if I can get more followers, not having awesome contests just because I want more people to follow me for a day only to realize I’m a bitch.

The moral of the story – be happy, no matter what. Blogging isn’t worth having a panic attack over. It’s not worth making enemies and stabbing people in the back and alienating people over. Hell, it’s not worth the pain and frustration of worrying about a few extra hits or being better than someone else. It’s about having fun.

Don’t be like me, basically. Worrying sucks ass.

In other news:

Megan (246 Posts)

Megan is the founder of Book Brats, started as an unemployment project in June 2011. She's a twentysomething writer/reader/all around nerd with a love of cats, science fiction, fantasy, and film. With her master's degree, her goal is to one day be the US Ambassador to Japan and win the Best Original Screenplay Oscar.

Mar, 07 by

15 thoughts on “The Popularity Rat Race: A Memoir

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  1. I love how honest your posts are. Like, you just say it how it is and express your feelings very well. I struggle with this a lot as well, but like you, I also like being able to do/read whatever I want whenever I want. Everyone wants to be popular, but there’s also a price to that popularity.

  2. Yeah, the perks of being a little blogger. I said “F-this” last night and went to bed without putting up my post. I didn’t stress. It went up like at noon instead. Whatever, LOL.

    I like how blunt you are in your posts. You say what everyone else is thinking and it’s awesome. :)

  3. This is probably a good post for me right now. I post 3 times a week and I have no intentions of posting any more. I get overwhelmed by blogs that post too often (multiple times a day, WHAT?).

    I work hard on my little blog. I don’t want to be huge but I do want more followers than I currently have. You try everything. I’m having a giveaway right now for a book I really liked. 6 people have entered. One is a good friend another is one of my former Girl Scouts. I’m like “What he hell do I even do about this?”

    It is a rat race. And there are benefits to being smaller scale. But sometimes it can be so damn discouraging.

    PS I like this post. Can you tell it struck me?

      • We sometimes have two posts a day. Once we had three. I think more has it’s own benefits – if a subscriber has no interest in one point and doesn’t visit for that, they might visit for the other one. But yeah, too many posts is a totally different thing.

        • I understand sometimes you might need to post more than once, but there are a few blogs that will post daily: 3-5 cover reveals, 1-2 reviews, and 2-4 promo blitz posts. Then throw in whatever news they need to share and for me that is way too much. I know there benefits to posting more than once a day and can’t help it sometimes (a few days ago I did 3 posts).

        • The problem is if you use a feedreader such as google reader you miss a few days and come back to like 10 posts in your feed and if numerous blogs do that it gets overwhelming and you start avoiding google reader and fall behind until you have more time to catch up.

          I’m not judging anyone for doing it but I have unfollowed blogs in the past because I was overwhelmed and couldn’t keep up. There’s one blog I follow that does multiple posts regularly and I skip more of theirs than read them anymore even though I find them absolutely hilarious. I just don’t always have the time for that.

  4. I like being little and eclectic. Like you said, it’s less pressure, I can do whatever the hell I want without worry about offending people and I’m also meeting some really cool people who have weird tastes too. The day it stops being fun is the day I stop typing.

  5. 100% agree with your thoughts. Right now I struggle with 5 day postings and try to aim for 3 review postings a week. As for responding to emails, I never know what to say. I always feel awkward and sometimes let an email sit for a full day or two before responding. Sort of a, “I don’t want to appear too desperate” type of thing.

  6. Refreshingly honest and so, so true! Thanks for the great thoughts. I agree completely and I have to constantly remind myself of why I started blogging in the first place….because my IRL friends’ eyes have a tendency to start glazing over when I start talking books. ;-)

  7. I think this is a really, really, really, important thing for all bloggers to think about. Really how much is blog popularity worth?
    I honestly almost didn’t start blogging because of all the drama I’ve seen with bloggers. I try my absolute best to stay away from it and just do my own thing.
    Blogging is a huge job, I don’t need to take on trying to fight over something like viewers or ARCs. I think we all have enough on our plates to deal with.

  8. Great post and very true. I don’t have a blog because I already feel like I want to read what I want when I want. Not to say I won’t blog in the future, but for now i just post my reviews at Amazon. seems as if there is a line and you found it! Kudos

  9. I completely agree. I see the appeal of being popular, and I have gotten excited for comments and followers, but I don’t want that spot light shining on me. And ya know, this is one of my favorite blogs to visit. Your honesty is refreshing and I know reading a review here isn’t at all fabricated. The tell it like it is attitude is one I carry too and it’s nice to see others who are real. :) (I am actually mentioning you in a post I’m writing. nothing bad.) As always, love your post! ;)

  10. Awesome post!!!
    I agree on all the pros you listed of being an unknown blogger. I can definitely live without hate mail. Blogging is my hobby, and as a hobby it should be something fun, something I enjoy doing when I feel like doing it :)

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