6 years ago today I started a new blog with no idea that it would soon change my life. To celebrate The Mile Long Bookshelf's birthday, help yourself to cake and discover 6 things I've learned in 6 years of book blogging. And of course there's a giveaway, too...
Hauls aren't everything
Back in the day, I guess you could say I was pretty insecure when I did book hauls. I seemed to get a lot fewer books than other people did. These days, I've come to realise that you don't need lots of books to be taken seriously as a book blogger. Sure, it's nice, but I actually prefer months where I get fewer books because the videos are quicker to film and easier to edit, and I value quality over quantity. Where's the fun in getting loads of books if none of them look like your kind of thing? Basically, your worth isn't measured with the amount of books you get to review. There are much more important things to think about... like blog post ideas.
ARCs are not necessary
Again, your worth is not measured with the amount of ARCs you get. You don't need them to be a blogger. In my first year or two of blogging I strived to get the coolest ARCs but nowadays, if there's a book I want and it hasn't already been offered to me, I'll buy it or borrow it. Publishers are not your personal shoppers! It's nice to get ARCs but, if we take away the 'glamour' associated with getting them, they're just books, and usually not as good quality as the finished editions. The writing inside is still the same, and that's what matters.
Blogging is a great stepping stone
In the ten years I've been blogging, I've been lucky enough to have a lot of amazing opportunities come my way. And guess what? I'd say 95% of them happened because I blog. (I mean, I'm not great at maths so it might not be 95%, but whatever.) Hey, I even got to study my A Levels simply because I have this platform. The jobs I've had over the years? I'm pretty sure it's my blogging experience that made my CV stand out from the rest. In fact, one of my employers explicitly said that. I don't know where I'd be without this blog. Probably extremely sad with no money, no qualifications and, likely, no friends. I don't like to imagine it. The point is, a blog is so much fun to run - it can also be a great tool.
People are weird
Do you want to know some of the things people have Googled to end up on my blog? "Underfoot", "First thing's first I'm the realest", "Frog chocolate" and my personal favourite, "What is Amber's salary?"
People will find you eventually
That sounded a lot less stalkerish in my head. What I mean is that, if you blog under your real name, someone you know offline is going to find your blog eventually. A few weeks ago I got a Facebook message from someone I used to go to drama school with, someone I hadn't spoken to in about five years. She told me she loved my blog and asked if I had any tips. And when I started college, there was a handful of emails waiting for me in my school inbox about my blog. It can be awkward, but it'll happen. (And eventually you'll stop feeling awkward about it, it's all good.)
Being yourself is the best way to be
Cheesy, but true. I've learned this through writing posts that were excruciatingly awkward to write, but then getting comments and emails that told me I wasn't the only one dealing with whatever I happened to be writing about. I also realised this because there are a few posts on this blog, mostly very old ones from when I first started, where I've tried to be what's expected of me as opposed to who I actually am. Not only did they not get many comments but they were the least fun to write. Being yourself is probably a lot better for your well-being, it's more fun and will attract like-minded readers and friends. Uh, here ends your free counselling session. On to the giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I am so, so grateful to all of you for taking the time to read my posts, whether you've only read a couple or if you've been here for years and read 'em all. This post from last year says everything I want to say, really. To thank you for being so lovely, I'm hosting an international giveaway where you can win a book of your choice up to the value of £10 from The Book Depository. Good luck!
Here's to another year!