Not long ago, I wrote a post about how I try not to focus too much on stats because I could easily drive myself crazy (and because I never know what to do about any of that information I see!). Well, today I want to talk about the drawbacks to growing your blog bigger. Feed Your Fiction Addiction isn’t a HUGE blog, but it’s getting bigger, and I’ve noticed a few drawbacks that I wasn’t really expecting – or at least hadn’t thought about.
This post is in no way saying that I don’t think you should try to grow your blog or that you’re wrong for trying. But there ARE some things I wish I would have realized earlier. I thought I’d share! (By the way, it’s hard to write a post like this without sounding like I’m either A: complaining or B: making excuses for my own blogging shortcomings, but I’m going to try!)
Top Five Things I Wish I Would Have Realized When I Had a Smaller Blog:
You can’t do it all (at least not well). Sure, I can hang out with people on Twitter and post pictures on Instagram and write great blog posts and create pretty Pinterest-worthy graphics and interact with authors and … you get the idea. But I can’t do all of that all the time. Focusing my efforts is the best policy, but I’m still working on that balance, if I’m being honest. My current method is just to do what I want when it strikes my fancy and not worry too much about it. It’s working pretty well, for me, but I still need to remember this lesson occasionally!
It takes longer than you think to reply and comment back. I used to have this idealistic notion that I would reply to every single comment and always comment back. I have to confess that it was a bit of a point of pride for me – I loved building relationships with other bloggers, and replying and commenting back was a great way to do it! Problem is, once I started getting more and more comments, I started realizing how much TIME that takes. I homeschool my kids and edit part-time. Plus, let’s face it, my family doesn’t want me to be on the computer (or with my nose in a book) constantly. I could easily spend three hours a day replying, reading posts and commenting back. But I don’t always have that kind of time!
It’s harder to form deeper relationships with more commenters. This is the biggest thing that affects me. I just didn’t realize how much the time constraints would affect the time I spend on blogs I love. Even though I have more commenters now, I can’t keep on top of all of the blogs anymore, and I’m starting to visit even my favorites a little less (Paper Fury is one that comes to mind – I LOVE Cait’s blog, but by the time I reply and comment back on everything, I feel mentally exhausted and don’t end up going to visit. I end up heading there like once a week and binge reading, but it just doesn’t feel the same. Need to fix that.) And since I’m spread thinner, that means my relationships sometimes get thinner as well. I think I’m finally starting to find a happy medium with that, but I’m one of those people who wants to make everyone happy, so I fret about this a lot.
You’ll never be happy with those stats. I always thought that there would be some point at which I would feel like, “Yes, I have arrived. My blog is exactly where I want it to be.” But the fact is, no matter what size your blog is, there are challenges – there’s never a “perfect” sweet spot. (And no matter how many goals I reach, I’ll always have at least a little niggling voice at the back of my head that wants more.)
Pure numbers don’t guarantee publishers will notice you. I used to think that if I just got my follower count up to a certain number – or maybe my pageviews or something, the publishers would notice me and want to send me their books. I do think that pure numbers helped me get my standing on NetGalley and Edelweiss (as soon as my numbers got pretty high, I could generally get approved on those and even ended up auto-approved for HarperCollins Children’s), but it doesn’t seem to be a simple correlation between numbers and publisher attention. (Though I’m sure if my pageviews got really high that would help.) I’m actually fine with this, for the most part – but every once in a while that little voice in the back of my head tells me that publisher attention is what makes a book blog “successful.” (Darn pesky voice!)
I’m sure there’s more, but those are the things that come to mind easily. Mind you, I’m not complaining at all here. I LOVE that my blog has grown and that it’s a fun and vibrant place to hang out! But sometimes I have to remind myself that bigger isn’t always better. Instead of striving to get bigger, I need to remember to be happy with “just right.”