Tuesday, 1 December 2015

6 Things I've Learned in 6 Years of Book Blogging

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!

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! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here's to another year!

19 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Amber. Six years... wow, that's quite an achievement!

    I've entered your giveaway. Holding thumbs. :)

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  2. Congratulations Amber! I hope to be as successful as you one day!

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  3. I'm a relatively new follower, but I have enjoyed your blog immensely. Great tips!

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  4. All this made me laugh because what people don't realize is bloggers can see what typed searches you made to get to our blog. I get the strangest stuff on my blogs, Book & Movie Dimension a Blog and The Huge Anime Fan. Great write-up, Amber.

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  5. Congratulations Amber! You've come so far :) xxx

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  6. Wow, congratulations Amber! I've been following your blog for about 8 months now, and I always look forward to your next post! :)

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  7. Congratulations!!

    In general I have learned that life is good.

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  8. Wow, congratulations indeed! Six years is a real milestone, and I believe with what you said about just allowing the people to find you. If you continue being you and posting what you believe is fun for yourself, people would naturally be attracted to visit your blog. :)

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  9. Congratulations! This post made me really happy. I've learned a lot as well, especially that a sense of community is really important in book blogging. You can't just churn out reviews and never have discussions and comment and explore. Blogging is wonderful and the people in the blogosphere are fantastic. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

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  10. I've learned that I like the idea of blogging but as with basically everything (this includes life as well) procrastination is my deadly enemy.

    Congratulations on the 6 years! :D

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  11. Congrats on making six years! I really enjoyed learning all the things that you've learned from blogging experience. There are so many things. Thanks for sharing!

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  12. Congratulations!! I've really enjoyed reading your blog. The main thing I've learned this year is to focus on who I am, and not who I think I should be (or on who others think I should be). Congrats again- here's to many more years!

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  13. Congratulations, what a great milestone. I've been blogging about 18 months now and I've learned that the bookish world is full of friendly, helpful people. We all share the love of reading. Keep on sharing your love.

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  14. Congrats on your blogerversary. I'm so glad you are still enjoying it and all the things that have come with it. I have learnt that blogging is fun and I am keeping it as my stress relieving hobby.
    Thanks for a great giveaway.
    Amanda.

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  15. Congrats on blogging for so long, Amber! I always enjoy your posts. :) I think being yourself is always the most important thing in blogging, and it's surprising how many people don't do that initial because they think they are supposed to blog a certain way.

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  16. Happy blogoversary!!! I've learned that you cannot please everyone at the same time so just do what you like. :)

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  17. Wow, I haven't blogged as long as you. I've been blogging since August 2013 but what I've learned that it's such a great community.It's close knit but we're also everywhere. Also, a little effort can go a long way like in early 2015 I have maybe 4K followers and by December I reached 10K. This was a huge milestone for me and I was thrilled. It feels like such an accomplishment. I enjoy putting up reviews and content. It's been amazing and i'm still loving it. Congrats to you and thanks for the giveaway :) -Zulfa a.k.a Zee

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Feel free to leave me a comment. I will get back to you as soon as I can! :)