The Popularity Rat Race: A Memoir
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)”:
- No hate mail
- No worries about being overwhelmed with review requests
- No pressure to be creative and witty
- 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)
- I can keep reading my weird books
- 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: