Why Everything I’ve Ever Told You About Book Blogging Is Wrong (and Also Right). Let’s Discuss.

Posted April 8, 2017 by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction in Let's Discuss / 38 Comments

Have you ever gone back and looked at your old posts and realized just how much you’ve changed your book blogging habits, opinions and processes? I’ve been blogging now for four years, and I can definitely say that I’ve grown—both as a reader and as a blogger. It can make me cringe just a little bit when I look at some of my baby-blogger posts and think, “Why on earth did I think that?”

This is especially noticeable to me when I look at posts that give “advice.” Sometimes I look back at those old posts and I feel almost hypocritical because, while the things I was suggesting were great for me at the time, I’m no longer following my old advice at all anymore. Either I couldn’t stick to it, or it just stopped working for me as my blog grew.

Does that mean the advice was bad? Should I go and delete those old posts and pretend that they never existed? (Hide the evidence, so to speak.) I don’t think so. I think the methods I was using were great for where I was as a blogger at the time—and the advice I gave would probably still be helpful for newer bloggers now. Plus, it’s good to see a progression, right? Why try to rewrite history?

I thought it might be fun to look back at some of my old discussions and tips posts and see what I think about them now! I’m prepared to cringe a little, and that’s okay.  🙂

2013/Early 2014 (The Beginning):

  • I didn’t post many discussions in my first months of blogging. Most of my early “discussion” posts were me asking people for help and advice. I had no clue what I was doing with this blogging thing, so I wrote posts asking people about what tool they used for commenting, or begging for BEA advice
  • I also posted my very first Spam-a-lot post, which makes fun of the spam comments I’ve received. I still do this every once in awhile today (I have some fun ones saved for an upcoming spam post right now, in fact), so I guess some ideas stick around!

Second Half of 2014

  • I posted my very first real discussion in May of 2014. It was about how the length of time I waited after I reviewed a book could affect how I rated the book. I was wondering if I should change my reviewing process. Actually, I find that I still have this very same issue and I really haven’t changed my reviewing style much—though I do tend to wait longer to write most of my reviews nowadays. I give this post a thumbs-up for current relevance!
  • Then I posted some random fun discussions that get a general thumbs-up for relevance because, well, they’re just fun:
  • A few that I shrug about:
    • In July of 2014, I pondered adding a co-blogger to FYFA. Although, I’ve considered this strongly at some points (and I still sometimes think about it), I’ve never actually gone that extra step and done it. Maybe it will happen in 2017? Who knows?
    • I also asked for advice on Pride and Prejudice related movies, TV shows, etc. after I finally read the book. I never did actually watch (or read) any of them, though, so I guess this one gets a thumbs-down. Why ask for advice if you’re not going to take it, Nicole?
    • I told you Why I Can’t Choose a Favorite of Anything. But I actually think I have settled on the Unwind Dystology as my favorite series of ever. It’s always the first series that pops into my head when I think about books I love, so …

DON’T Follow My Advice! (Or Maybe Do? If You Want to.)

But here are a few posts that really struck me as possibly hypocritical: 

  • Are the Number of Followers You Have Important to You? Basically, in this post I talked about how I always follow back and how and why I get my followers. Except I don’t follow all of the advice I gave in that post anymore.
    • I don’t always follow back (though I still usually do). I’ve gotten a teensy bit pickier about what types of blogs I follow.
    • I don’t focus on email followers at all anymore—though I actually think I probably should because email followers are probably some of my “best” followers. But I actually barely follow any blogs via email anymore because it got too overwhelming and my inbox turned into a crazy nest of insanity and made me cry.
    • I made a statement about how having a lot of followers would help you get ARCs. Ummm … I don’t know where baby-blogger me got that idea, but I don’t think it’s really true. At least that’s not the only element. I mean, sure if I had only 100 followers, publishers probably wouldn’t send me stuff, but I think the biggest factor here is time. I’ve proven myself by being around (and being very active in the blogging community) for four years, so I’m just now starting to get publishers who are contacting me about books. It took hard work and lots of time to get here—not lots of followers.
    • I do still love Bloglovin’! And I still pretty much ignore Facebook. I’m a lot more active on Twitter, though (which seems to be kind of sort of essential in the blogging world). Bookstagram really wasn’t a thing when I wrote this post.
    • I recommended Feature & Follow Friday, which I no longer participate in, but I actually still think it’s great advice for newer bloggers! I also suggested hosting giveaways (or doing tours with giveaways). Again I don’t do as much of this anymore (I almost never do tour stops that are just spotlights with a giveaway, for instance), but I think it was a great way to build up my blog in the beginning. (In December of 2014, in fact, I wrote a whole post about why I was taking a break from blog tours.)
  • Sometimes I contradict myself practically right away. For instance, in April of 2015, I wrote a post called Why I’m Thinking About Changing My Ratings. And just ten days later I wrote a post entitled What I’m Doing Instead of Changing My Ratings. See why you can’t trust me? (To be fair to myself, I was very unsure in that first post and asking for advice.)
  • Do you Use Affiliate Links? I wrote a whole post about how we should support each other by trying to shop through each other’s affiliate links whenever possible. Except …
    • I removed Amazon affiliate links from my blog altogether. I just wasn’t making any money from them and they felt like more trouble than they were worth. Plus, my husband now works for Amazon, and I wasn’t sure if that would somehow be a conflict.
    • I tried. I really tried. And for a little while I went through someone’s blog every time I went to Amazon, but I could never quite turn it into a habit. Eventually I mostly forgot about it. I’m so sorry!
  • My Quest to Organize My Bloglovin’ Feed I’m ashamed to admit that I don’t keep up with Bloglovin’ as much as I used to. It’s still my go-to feed, but now that my blog is bigger and things are crazier in my household, I find that I have trouble with keeping up with just replying and commenting back, so my Bloglovin’ feed is like my third tier of blog searching—and I’m not getting to that third tier nearly as often as I used to. My Bloglovin’ feed is undoubtedly back in disrepair. So is my advice in this post still good? Probably—but I don’t follow it very well. (If you’d like to follow it, also check out my post about how to create folders in Bloglovin’.)

But these old “advice” posts are still great! (At least, I think so.)

Have you ever looked back at your old posts and wondered what you were thinking? Ever taken the time to take a walk down memory lane and check out those “early” posts? I want to know!


38 responses to “Why Everything I’ve Ever Told You About Book Blogging Is Wrong (and Also Right). Let’s Discuss.

  1. I’ve definitely looked back at some of my old posts before and been a bit confused about why I thought certain things, or realised that I’ve outgrown my own advice. I kind of like that though, because as you say, you can look back and see how you’ve progressed, and it gives you a bit of nostalgia over your early blogging days 🙂
    Great post! 🙂

    • Yes, even though there were definitely some posts that made me think, “Why on earth did I say that?” it was still fun to see how I’ve progressed over the years. And a lot of the advice I no longer follow was actually great for me at the stage I was at, and it would probably still work well for bloggers who are newer.

  2. Sam

    Let me just say, you are awesome. I have been contributing to my blog since January, and I mostly do reviews and inconsistently some memes (WoW, TTT, Stuffed Animal Saturday, Signed Book Sunday). I have a dozen half finished discussion posts, but I feel so meh about them. I did spin my two Signed Book Sundays into discussions, though, which is a step in the right direction. I will definitely be clicking those links to read posts I may have missed.
    Sam @ WLABB

    • Sometimes you just have to get those meh posts out there so you can grow and learn and get to the good stuff. Even these days, I still occasionally put up a post and later look at it and think, “Eh, I could have done better.” Growing and learning never ends!

  3. Hi Nicole,
    I am new to your blog, and I am so glad to be here. Your advice is helpful. I haven’t done any discussions, and I don’t have that many followers. I mostly post book memes and the occasional book review. It took me a long time to figure what the heck I want to discuss as a whole. So, I kind of jumped genres a bit.

    Dina recently posted: BR: The School For Good and Evil
    • Thanks so much for stopping by! We all had to start somewhere—as you can see, I’ve recently been spending a lot of time getting nostalgic about my early blogging days, and it’s been fun! The best thing you can do to grow your blog is to just keep visiting other bloggers and get your name out there! 🙂

  4. I haven’t been posting discussions long enough to even go look back at “old” posts lol. Though I did look back at a random writing tips post one day (literally the only writing tips post I have because I thought my blog would also be about writing and then I never ended up doing any writing in order to even give tips on it, haha) expecting to cringe, but it actually wasn’t so bad. I agree though that just because you’re not following the advice anymore, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad advice. There is no one thing that works for everyone, so it’s still helpful for people to take in different advice in order to find what works for them, which means your advice may still be useful to lots of people!

    Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight recently posted: Book Review: Nightingale Girl (Sparrow Man Book 2) by M. R. Pritchard
  5. I never follow blogs via email because it is so frustrating to keep up and then I can’t comment on their post via my phone because I read most of my emails on phone so I use Bloglovin. I like to think I have gotten better at keeping up with posts but I slip up when I’ve got lots of school work or when I’m in a slump!

  6. I love all your advice, especially the fact that you are always willing to change your opinion and learn from mistakes. I don’t think anyone could possibly take you as an authoritarian handing down immutable rules; it’s clear if one looks even a little further that you work out of a different spirit. So don’t feel bad – we’re all learning from each other, and that’s one of the things that makes blogging so great.

  7. I don’t look at my old posts. I’m sacred. They’re probably terrible. I know that some of them have messed-up colors and formatting because I’ve radically changed my blog layout several times in the last few years. I’ll just pretend that the old posts don’t exist. It’s safer that way.

    Aj @ Read All The Things! recently posted: The Sunday Post #92
    • Oh, the formatting—ugh, don’t even get me started about that. When I switched over from Bloglovin’ to WordPress, a LOT of the formatting on my old posts got wonky. I’ve slowly fixed some of them when I’ve run across them or linked to them for some reason, but it’s WAY too much work to fix them all. When you go to my old posts, you’ll see missing pictures and general ugliness. That definitely makes me cringe.

  8. Woooo what an awesome collection of your blogging history. You’re right though we change so much over time and it can sometimes be funny to look back at our earlier posts. That doesn’t make them wrong, just not accurate right now. So we write new ones with our evolved opinions and build on that and yay more content lol

  9. Aw this is so fun, a stroll down memory lane! I worry about reading my old posts sometimes because who KNOWS what Past Shannon said thinking it was true! I shudder. I feel like the main thing for me, is that after 3.5 years, I still know NOTHING. Maybe I will do a post about THAT, actually. (Look at you, inspiring me!)

    You are so right though about how things change. I mean, as we learn new stuff, or get involved in different areas, of course our outlook changes- and I wholeheartedly agree with you about taking everything you read, all the advice out there, with a grain of salt. Because really, everyone has their own goals and agendas and styles, and maybe they just don’t mesh with yours- not that it’d be a bad thing, it just… IS. Love this, Nicole!! 😀

    Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight recently posted: Reviews in a Minute: April Books, Part 1
    • Yeah, I think that’s what looking back at that old posts made me realize—I was like, “Oh, look at those silly little opinions that baby blogger me had. Hey, wait a minute—I’ll probably feel that way about the post I just wrote last week in a year or two!”

  10. What a great post, Nicole. And even if some of if is a little tongue in cheek, it’s still great to get your perspective on what still works, what never did, and what might still work for others. I’ve only been around half as long as you and already there are some things I no longer do, things that no longer work for me or that I’ve “outgrown.” Seems like the learning process is always ongoing. 🙂

    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books recently posted: REVIEW: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
  11. I think it’s totally fair and normal to change your mind about things! I don’t think I did a lot of advice posts in my early blogging, but I’m sure I wouldn’t be listening to half that advice now if I did. One thing I do notice from many advice posts, particularly by people who seem new to whatever they’re theoretically advising other people on, is that it’s often a collection of advice they’ve read elsewhere. If you’re three months into blogging and writing about “how to blog,” you’re really just summarizing how OTHER people suggest blogging ought to be done. You just don’t have the personal experience to say “This is what has actually worked for me.” (This is a generalization, of course, and some newbies probably do give great advice, but overall I do think you need to be doing something for a while to definitively say “This did/did not work for me.) I’ve read a lot of blogging advice that I tried that simply didn’t work. Then I wondered if it even worked for the author because they never provided numbers or evidence. It’s one thing to say “Doing this will get you blog traffic from Pinterest.” It’s another thing entirely to say “I did this stuff for 6 months and it tripled my traffic from Pinterest.”

    • Yes, I think my posts from when I was a newer blogger were applicable at the time—and they definitely helped me build my blog up into something that people actually read (rather than a blog that I just write for myself and wish someone would come visit). So, in that respect, I think a lot of the advice is still sound—but of course there are things I’ve changed now that I’ve been doing this for four years and some aspects of blogging that I’ve realized didn’t work quite the way I thought they did. LOL!

  12. Some of what you say here that doesn’t work now might have worked at the time you wrote it. It’s just that the book blogosphere has changed a lot. Discussion posts used to be rare. Everyone just did book reviews. Maybe one or two memes. Now tags and discussion posts are preferred as they receive more hits than reviews. And follower count used to be required to receive ARCs but I think publishers have realized that your visits mean more than your followers. You can have followers who aren’t really reading your blog, after all.

    • You’re right about the follower numbers. I have LOTS of followers who probably ignore me completely. I’d love to say that isn’t true, but it is. I still stand behind the fact that I said that there’s no harm in getting those followers and then trying your best to produce high-quality content that will get them to click on your posts!

  13. I’ve gone through old reviews from time to time and cringed at my style and how it has improved over the last 4 years. I can definitely say I’ve evolved as has my advice.

    But as I approach my 4th year, I really should go through my guides and update them! I’m sure half of my info is not applicable any more!

  14. Oh yeah! some of my old posts just make me cringe! I want to delete them! LOL I love your baby-blogger metaphor. I used to write post about all my blogger stages 🙂 before I was born and I was stalking blogs, when I was a newborn and learning about EVERYTHING, then when I was a toddler in the bloggers’ play ground exploring and making friends. My last was a teenager. I think that’s what I’m still are. MAYBE approaching Young adult. 🙂
    I love all your discussion posts! 🙂

  15. Fabulous old post, and I am glad I have found it. I will just carry on doing what pleases me with my blog and some people must like it as I get new followers every so often.

  16. I haven’t been blogging long enough to look back at my old posts and shake my head, BUT when I first started my blog, I looked through all the reviews that I had posted on Goodreads. I had about 4 years worth of reviews and I could tell my review process has really changed over that time. There were some reviews that I KNOW I would have said different things. And yes, some I was a little embarrassed of.

    You said you’re starting to get contacted by publishers to review books. I would love to get to that point!

    And side note: I now have about 10 tabs open to your past posts to read those, too. Onto reading then!

Leave a Reply

(Enter your URL then click here to include a link to one of your blog posts.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.