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Winner Best Literary Fiction Blog - 2008
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Climbing the Blogging Ladder

Sometimes I think I am not that motivated. Of course, if I really examine that idea, it is ridiculous. I hold two college degrees, own a consulting business, am constantly starting new projects and learning new things, get excited about traveling, and I have been blogging here since 2007…consistently putting out content week in and week out, year after year. Clearly an unmotivated person could not accomplish all of this.

So what is it about climbing the blogging ladder to success that just makes me want to bury my head in another book and shut down my computer? This week Wallace at Unputdownables wrote a really great post which talked about the dilemma of monetizing her blog, changing blogging platforms and reaching higher to try to make money at the thing she has grown to love. I admire that kind of drive, but I have no desire to do it. The obvious question is: Why not?

Years ago, I was at the height of my career as a physical therapist. I had been working as a clinician in a variety of settings for quite some time and got the opportunity to take a high paying, high profile position as a Director of Physical Therapy for a rehab company in the San Francisco Bay area. The job had a lot of perks which appealed to me (great benefits, a new car, a travel budget), but I also thought I should not miss this opportunity to climb the career ladder. And so, I signed a contract and stepped into the job. I learned a lot in that job: how to supervise other professionals, how to navigate the financial maze of the medical field to help my company make a profit, how to rub elbows with hospital administrators and physicians at social functions where I felt oddly out of place, and how difficult it is to sit between upper management and the clinicians delivering care. I excelled in my new position…but I also was learning something else less tangible, but no less important. I missed being in the clinic, working one on one with patients, listening to the stories of their lives, helping them to achieve their goals, and wrestling with the challenges of developing treatment programs. In short, I hated my new job and longed to go back to just being a treating physical therapist again. I lasted as an administrator for nearly three years before I decided to find my joy again as a treating therapist. People asked me how I could give up a high profile position and a cushy salary. My answer was: “Because it did not make me happy.

Why am I talking about physical therapy in a post which is supposed to be about blogging? Because I think my experience in my work might explain my reluctance to keep doing more and more here on my blog.

I love writing about books. I love blogging. I love the people I meet through my blog and the fantastic opportunities I have had to interact with authors, publicists, editors, and other bloggers. I am afraid that if I start to look at this blog like a business, I will lose my joy in blogging. Instead of something I look forward to, will blogging become an obligation? Instead of posting what I feel like posting from day to day, will I begin to feel that I must post certain content in order to maximize my blog? I struggle with that familiar voice on my shoulder telling me I should always keep climbing higher. “Go to the next level,” the voice whispers. And yet, there is another voice which comes not from outside me, but deep within me…and it is telling me to enjoy what I have created, and that more is maybe not better. I think I need to listen to that inner voice because after five decades of life, it has rarely steered me wrong.

I still admire those bloggers who are going for more – it takes a lot of effort and determination, and for many it is a dream they are eager to pursue. I wish them the best for success because when one of us succeeds, we all succeed. But, I won’t be climbing the ladder with them. I like where I am. I’m comfortable in the space I have carved out for myself here. I hope that I fill a need in the blog-o-sphere, a place where other readers can come and read honest reviews, and maybe get a glimpse into my life with my animals and quilts and home in the mountains. It makes me happy to put out those posts every week…and there is something to be said for the simplicity of just doing something because of the joy it brings.

What about you? Are you happy where you are in your blog? Do you feel the temptation to reach for the golden ring? What plays a role in how you make decisions about the direction in which to take your blog? I would love to hear your thoughts!

*Photo credit for Joy art.

47 Comments

  1. July 12, 2011    

    This is a very wise post. I think monetizing the blog comes at the cost of some of the enjoyment of it.

  2. July 13, 2011    

    I love this post, Wendy. I have also felt that pressure — in the workplace, with my blog, as a parent, etc. — to do more more more. And sometimes I question whether my inner voice is correct, or whether I’m wimping out, not realizing my potential. It’s an ongoing struggle. As for my blog, I just know that if I tried to “go to the next level” I would not be able to sustain it because of commitments to work (that pays the bills!) and family (wouldn’t sacrifice them for anything!). I also think blogging for a living wouldn’t be as much fun as “hobby” blogging. But like I said, it’s an ongoing struggle!

  3. July 13, 2011    

    I’m really happy at where I am with my blog and am not looking to continue climbing the ladder! I’ve found a balance where I still enjoy reading and writing reviews, and am excited about my blog and all it brings. If I start looking at taking it to the next level, like you, I’m afraid I’d lose that. Since it’s a hobby, the enjoyment factor is what matters most to me.

    Great post, this is something that was on my mind recently as well.

  4. July 13, 2011    

    Your post is lovely and it’s a subject I’ve been thinking of lately. I don’t wish to monetize my blog or climb the blogging ladder, but I’ve noticed that things change when other people do, and I’m not sure it’s always for the better.

  5. July 13, 2011    

    I go back and forth on this issue. I’ve tried a few things but they didn’t make much money for me. I’ll be curious to see how Wallace does with her plan.

  6. July 13, 2011    

    I have also thought of monetizing the blog, but I just can’t seem to get comfortable with the idea. I like writing for myself, and I, like you, would feel too pressured and maybe even a bit overwhelmed with trying to do that. It would be nice to make money blogging, but I don’t think I would want to make the changes necessary to do that, and I also think it would be giving up a lot of my freedom.

  7. July 13, 2011    

    While I don’t think seriously monetizing my blog would make me lose interest, the effort and time required is more than I’m willing to put toward it right now. Maybe if I weren’t working full time I’d seriously consider my blog as a source of income, but for now it is a hobby and I like it that way.
    I didn’t realize you were a physical therapist! I work with PT students, though I have no background in health sciences myself.

  8. July 13, 2011    

    I blog for fun. When it becomes about something else, it becomes work and there is enough of that in the rest of my life. 🙂

  9. July 13, 2011    

    Such a great post, Wendy! While it may appear that I am no longer in the book blogging world due to my lack of recent activity….the truth of the matter is that I think I have harbored this ‘all or nothing” mentality: either I jump into to the book review community with both feet, or I have to fade away. I think what I have come to realize over these past few months is that my interests are more varied than just books – and I want the freedom to blog about it all.

    So taking my blog to the next level will not define success the way the world does; taking my blog to the next level will mean writing about all the components of my varied life because it brings me joy and satisfaction.

  10. July 13, 2011    

    Amy: Thanks. I read your post about “jealousy” and I think it merges nicely with this post, too. I think we are always going to be under pressure to do more, to keep stepping up…but I agree, I think in doing this, we run the risk of losing some of the enjoyment.

    Laura: Well, you and I are so much alike that I totally “get it” what you said. I feel the pressure even more so in my job – people are always telling me I should be a Director, etc…but I am happy where I am. I pretty much work for myself, make my own hours, etc…I think one of the reasons I’ve had longevity in the medical field is because I have resisted that pressure to climb the ladder…and I feel the same way about my blog. When we try to do it all, something eventually has to “give.”

    Swapna: I love your blog just the way it is 🙂 I think this is a very personal decision…and no one should feel the pressure from “outside” to take the next step. I hope that my post here will help balance some of the talk about doing more and more…it is not for everyone, and that is totally okay!!

    Kathy: Things change so quickly on the Internet … it is hard to keep up with it all. And sometimes I just don’t want to!! LOL!

    Chris: I’ve done the affliliate thing, and never made a dime. I think to make money will take an extending effort and exploration of other options (which has to include some type of advertisement).

    Heather: Yes, the freedom thing. There was a time I would not have even blinked at that…but as I’ve gotten older, I really protect my freedom to do what I wish to do. Life is too short!!

  11. July 13, 2011    

    Julie: I agree – I think that if you have another source of income (as I do) and you see blogging as fun and more of a “hobby”, then monetizing just doesn’t feel that important. Yes, I’m a PT 🙂 What do you do with students? Just curious!

    Kailana: LOL – I agree!

    Molly: You are the kind of blogger who I wrote this post for!! LOL! I think there are a lot of us out there – bloggers who love books, but who also like to use their blog as a creative outlet and sharing other things as well. There are bloggers who see their blogs as a career path, and those who see it as a creative outlet or “hobby”…and either way is okay. I think we need to just be honest with ourselves and never feel like because the popular wave is to make our blogs “professional” that we need to jump on the bandwagon and do something that does not feel right for us.

  12. July 13, 2011    

    I’m actually the librarian at a university that offers the DPT as their main degree. We also have programs for OTs, OPAs, and a doctorate program for health sciences education, but PT was the main focus of the school when it originally opened in the 70s. So I help the PT students with their research (finding case reports and clinical articles, etc.).

  13. July 13, 2011    

    Julie: Thanks for answering my question! I bet they kept you busy 🙂

  14. July 13, 2011    

    my blog is only monetized in the sense that some companies have bought text ads in the sidebar and through affiliate links, but these don’t earn much. I really don’t mind not earning a lot through the blog; I’d rather earn it by editing books, but that’s not in the cards now. I’ve loved talking about my books and poetry, and I plan to keep it that way. I can see how monetization would make it tougher to enjoy blogging…and we all have to do what is right for each of us. I applaud your strength to step away from the ladder!

  15. July 13, 2011    

    Thanks, Serena 🙂 I think it is very hard to make any money through blogging – but I know some people make it work through sustained effort and determination.

  16. Lu Lu
    July 13, 2011    

    I just recently posted something similar on my blog about the pressure to make the blog more than it is. I would love to make money off my blog, but I just don’t know that I have the time and energy to do so. I know that my blog is not as big as it could be and I kind of like how small it is. There’s not as much pressure. I don’t know… it’s something I go back and forth on regularly.

  17. July 13, 2011    

    It probably is very hard and I really don’t want to work that hard for too little money…if you know what I mean. I have other jobs that pay. 🙂 I applaud those that can make a go of it, but I’m not that determined.

  18. July 13, 2011    

    My blog is about my love of reading. It’s a hobby. I don’t expect to make money from it and am continually thrilled when I receive review books. That’s payment enough, I suppose. I want to keep my blogging uncomplicated and I think monetizing would be one more thing to keep track of. Great post!

  19. July 13, 2011    

    Motivated and ambitious are different things. I’m motivated to do my best at my job and my life, but I am not ambitious to work more or at a different job. (I like my comfort zone.)
    I still like blogging, and reading, but I liked how it all started, making friends and sharing books. I don’t like the direction it has taken which feels like so many people competing to be bigger and better. I’m the old man on the porch, cranking about how things used to be. But I like my porch, and the small circle I still keep contact with. It’s a lot of work to enlarge the circle and I don’t have enough time to do that. I know I miss out on some great conversations and people.
    Great post Wendy. And I love that painting!

  20. Amy Amy
    July 13, 2011    

    I’m with you on this one, I have no desire at all to monetize my blog or make it into a job. I often think I should spruce it up, update it, add money making stuff… but I would much rather spend what little time that I have reading, writing, and chatting. And so I do them instead. It’s about priorities and what makes me happy really 🙂

  21. July 13, 2011    

    Great post! I agree with you. I am happy with my blog, doing it how I want and posting what I want to post and when. I don’t think I have the time or the energy to try to make a business out of it, and then it would just become another obligation. Blogging is a hobby, a passion, an outlet for me. I wouldn’t want to ruin all the fun I have. However, for those who want to climb the ladder, I wish them luck and hope it works out for them. 🙂

  22. July 13, 2011    

    Wendy, I could relate to much of what you wrote in this post. I am an OT and in a similar fashion as yours, I was encouraged to ride that career ladder into management years ago. It was not for me either, and I returned to treating patients which is where my heart was. I then had a child and as an older mom ( in my mid thirties) chose to stay at home for about 10 years as I had ridden that career ladder and had wanted to be a stay at home mom. Now, I have been back to work in a PRN and part time basis and have found my niche in pediatrics in the school system although it has its challenges. I need to talk with you about your consultative role and making your own hours as I’ve been giving that a lot of thought this past year. Back to blogging, my blog has been a work in progress and one that I enjoy more as a hobby and creative outlet. I have met many amazing bloggers who have become friends and connected to authors on a level that has been wonderful. I have thought about the monetization part as it sure would be nice to make money from something that is your passion and interest but for me, I think that it would spoil my enjoyment. I do have google adsense (haven’t made a penny) and affiliate with amazon which is not very much and goes directly to postage to mail books out for giveaways and to share with other readers. I’m glad that you wrote this heartfelt post, it definitely has stirred great conversation.

  23. July 13, 2011    

    I know what you mean, and I feel the same way. I have considered “going up the ladder”, but what I like the most about blogging right now, is the lack of restrictions – I don’t feel I need to post every day or keep up with what’s happening all the time. I can easily shut down my pc and not feel like I’m neglecting some work. Plus, I can focus more on reading than blogging, which doesn’t happen all the time anyways.

  24. July 13, 2011    

    I quit a job once rather than take a supervisory position, so I really understand what you are saying! Re blogging, even just self-hosting is a step up I am not taking, at this time at least. But I think there is a “group pressure” thing that always goes on as well.

  25. July 13, 2011    

    Thank you! I feel completely the same way. It took me awhile to get to this point (of deciding exactly what I want my blog to be and, to a lesser extent, where it fits in.) I’ve settled into a lovely quality, not quantity place. I want to read quality books and write quality posts. I want quality readers. I don’t need page views or followers to reach a benchmark. I don’t really care if it takes me a week to read a book, nor am I willing to not read longer books because it can mean fewer posts. I had to make my blog about me again. Yes, I love the community and the interaction, but ultimately, I would still blog even if no one read it. I like having the ability to review my thoughts on books, films or tv whenever I want. I’ve had the same thought about using it to make money. I do take in a bit through affiliate programs, but that’s enough for me. It’s a nice bonus. I want to keep my blog as a labor of love precisely so it won’t feel laborious.

  26. July 13, 2011    

    Eek! I’m afraid somehow my post must have not been written very well if this was in rebuttal to it.

    I have a very small blog. I have lovely, loyal readers who engage in fun and meaningful conversations with me. They make reading a JOY and I adore writing my blog. I write for me and I write for my readers, many of whom I consider friends now.

    I am not a big networker, hence I was not enthusiastic about BEA. I don’t enjoy competing against other bloggers, hence I don’t enter my blog for awards (I did when I started two years ago, because I thought it was what people did, but I pulled out because I realized it wasn’t for me). So, I am not in blogging for recognition nor to become an important voice in the book world.

    Like you, I left a job immediately after being promoted to a supervising position. I didn’t believe in the direction the school was going in and didn’t want to have a bigger hand in doing something that I didn’t believe in. So, to clarify, I’m not an ambitious, money-hungry person.

    I am unemployed right now, and thought it would be really nice to be able to find sponsors (companies that are book related – that I LOVE and honestly enjoy), that would buy a button sized ad space from me so that I can try to gather a little bit of money from something that am I spending a lot of time doing already. I don’t want to change my blog at all. In fact, I don’t even want to move to a self-hosted blog; I want to keep blogging super simple.

    So, by growing and monetizing my blog I mean I would like to find a way to make a living doing what I love. That’s all. I don’t want to climb the ladder, so to speak, anymore than you or any one else who commented here. In fact, most of you are much higher on the proverbial ladder than I am (and I’m fine to keep it that way). What I do hope to accomplish is aiding in getting rid of the social stigma that those of us who would like to (or happen to need to) find a way to make money, aren’t classified as people who aren’t blogging for the love of it. That’s very much the vibe that seems to be running through the book blogging world, unfortunately, and we seem to be one of the only large genres of bloggers that have this line drawn for each other.

    I hope that clarifies some of my ideas. I will update my post and add this to it, so that there is no misunderstanding. I am in no way thinking that everyone needs to make money from their blog. I am jealous (in a good way) of those of you who have full time paying jobs that you love — good for you! So glad you have been able to find it. I hope to have that ability as well – even if it means blogging for money and still being accepted in the book blogging community. 🙂

  27. Pam Pam
    July 13, 2011    

    I think it is up to each person and how that person wants to proceed. I blogged about music for a long time before I did book blogging and my music blog was highly monetized. We make a fair amount of money at home from monetizing my husband’s 10 year old tech blog as his traffic is large because of the audience and his job title, knowledge and length of time blogging.

    I don’t know where I am, whether I am large or small or medium or purple with pink polka dots and I don’t care where I am at in the book blogger hierarchy. This I do know. I will at some point monetize my blog because I work hard at it and it is more than a hobby for me and the blog has allowed me to be paid to do speaking engagements and I think my traffic is worth something to someone somewhere.

    I don’t think it changes the blog or the blogger, I don’t think it makes the blogger or blog any less real, it just means there is an ad on there and I may make a piddly amount of money that I can use to advertise my blog somewhere else.

  28. July 13, 2011    

    I tried to climb the blogging ladder and for a while I was making a reasonable amount of money from my blog. I think that the challenge of making new and interesting content motivated me and improved the content of my blog. Everything changed when google changed their search algorhythms back in February. Overnight I lost almost all my income stream. Despite the lack of money I still love blogging and continue to do it, but I do think it has reduced the quality of my blog. I am no longer motivated to spend hours researching a new topic and simply review the books I’ve read. I agree with everything Wallace writes in the above post – I just wanted to make money from doing something I love. The fact that I now can’t do that means that one day soon I’ll have to find another way to bring income in and that will reduce my blogging time further, reducing the quality of my blog even more. I understand your desire not to climb the ladder, but I think you’ve probably gone a fair way up it anyway 🙂

  29. July 13, 2011    

    Bravo, Wendy! I have a certain standard of blogging that I’m working on but I don’t want to climb the blogging ladder and start making money off my blog. That’s not a direction I’m willing to go.

  30. July 13, 2011    

    I had a friend ask me a while ago if I would like to make my living blogging, and my thought was that yes I would, if I could continue to blog in precisely the same way I am now–and I don’t think my way could ever be all that lucrative. I just don’t have any inclination to work on SEO or even to self-host, both of which seem essential to earning enough to live on. (And I’m skeptical that anyone but the biggest bloggers could earn enough to live on, regardless of how much they put into it.)

    That said, I have no problem at all with bloggers finding ways to monetize, if that is their inclination. I read blogs that interest me; whether the blogger is making money from it doesn’t affect my opinion of the content. If the effort to make money causes the content to shift and become less interesting–which may or may not happen–I won’t read anymore.

  31. July 13, 2011    

    Lu: I don’t think you are alone in this – I have gone back and forth too, at times. But my efforts were pretty minimal when it came to monetizing…and eventually, I just decided it wasn’t worth it.

    Serena: I agree – I applaud those who do it too…but I don’t want the work either 🙂

    Mary: I enjoy the review books too (although sometimes that even gets to be a little much *laughs*)

    Elizabeth: The book blogging world has definitely evolved…not all of that is a bad thing (much of it is great), but I don’t think anyone should feel any pressure to keep growing the numbers. My stats have stayed pretty even for the last couple of years…and I don’t really care if I get much larger.

    Amy: You touched on one of the main reasons I don’t want to move up to making money off my blog – time. I feel I have so little of it now, that I don’t want to lose more of it…

    Anna: In no way am I against any blogger who wants to make money on their blog – I think it is great if you have the heart to do it…but like you, I just don’t want to turn my hobby into a business.

  32. July 13, 2011    

    Bonnie: Nice to talk to another therapist 😉 I also tried Amazon affiliation as well as Indibound…have never made anything with either. To be honest, after a day working with patients, I don’t really want to have to think to hard on my blog *laughs* Feel free to email me at caribousmom@gmail.com if you want to talk about the consulting angle. I love it!

    Aths: I agree – it is nice to have no pressure…which I think does happen when you are trying to earn a living from your blog.

    Jill (Rhapsody): I couldn’t even consider self-hosting – I am not that technically savvy *laughs*

    Carrie: I think there is much in your comment that resonates with me. I am, by nature, not a rule-follower…and so I don’t usually pay attention to the recommendations on how to get followers *laughs* I actually only look at my blog stats when someone asks me about them!

  33. July 13, 2011    

    Wallace: Oh please don’t take this post as a rebuttal. I didn’t mean to insinuate there was anything wrong with what you are wanting to do (I admire your drive to do it, actually!). I just wanted to flesh out why I don’t want to go that route. I absolutely think there is nothing wrong with bloggers making money on their blogs…I just know it is very hard to do, and it takes a lot of work. If I were not working full-time, perhaps I would be more motivated to look at the options (and I do understand that not everyone is working outside the home, so for them, making money on their blog makes perfect sense). I in no way think you are a money-hungry person. I love your blog … and I won’t stop reading it if you put ads on it 🙂 I do think that for many bloggers, trying to monetize will change how they view their blog and the pressure to put out content…for me, this would rob me of the enjoyment of what I do here. But, that is just me. I am excited for you Wallace…and I do wish you much success!!!

  34. July 13, 2011    

    Pam: I agree that whether or not you make money on your blog does not make you better or worse than anyone else, or more or less real. I do think that when we view something as a business vs a hobby, it changes the way we approach it…whether that be subtle or more obvious. For me (and really this post was just about the way I thought it would feel to me), it would make my blog feel like work rather than fun.

    Jackie: I think your thoughts about quality are very interesting…something I had not really thought about, but it makes sense. If a blogger is trying to generate income, and is actually successful at generating income, they are probably spending even more time on the content…and that can be a great thing. I know that on weeks where I am exhausted, I don’t always put the same level of care into my posts…on the other hand, I am a perfectionist, and I don’t like to post content I am not personally proud of…so I think it tends to balance out!

    Vasilly: I don’t think you are alone 🙂

  35. July 13, 2011    

    Teresa: I completely agree. I read from Google reader, and to be honest, I couldn’t even tell you who is making money or not! I read the blogs I love.

  36. July 13, 2011    

    For me, I already work full time so it would have to be really easy for me to ever monetize my site and if it would mean me compromising anything or selling out in any way then heck no, I can’t do it!

  37. July 13, 2011    

    Wendy, what a thoughtful and important post. Blogging has evolved to such a creative form that I put it in the same category as your quilting or my photography. Yes, it’s possible to do it for money, but for some of us, that puts the pressure on and takes the joy out, and joy is why I pursue my creative endeavors.

    I went through this process years ago re: music performing. I loved (still do) doing it and think I could have made money at it, but the business end of it was so grueling and unenjoyable that I’m sure I would have come to hate it, and I never wanted to feel that way about my music.

    I think you’re wise to follow your heart with this. You do such a fabulous job with your blog and reviews. I hope the service you provide to your readers gives enough back to you to make it worthwhile. I’ve always been impressed with how diligent and consistent you are. As you know, my literary blog has gone the way of the carrier pigeon lately! so I admire anyone who can keep it up as well as you do, considering all the other things you have going on in your life! I’m glad you love it, because that means you’ll keep doing it!

  38. July 14, 2011    

    I can relate to your feelings on this quite a bit! For me, my blog is totally a hobby and I have no desire to make it more than that. I have a job in corporate America where I work really hard, make money, deal with stress, and everything else that comes with that, and I’m not interested in my blog being anything but fun for me. I am even afraid to go self-hosted because I fear it might require more time and work on my part! So yes I totally get what you’re saying here, and while I really admire those bloggers who can turn their blogs into more than a hobby, I don’t see myself ever becoming one of them.

  39. Colleen Colleen
    July 14, 2011    

    Great post Wendy! I can relate to your being drawn to the call to climb the ladder at work -I struggle to find work/life balance and feel with each potential promotion I need to consider the impact it will have on my life and not let ambition blind me.

    As for blogging, it is my outlet from work and I can’t devote the amt of time necessary to make it profitable but am ok with that because this is a hobby for me. If I were home or unemployed I might have more time to dedicate and then it might make sense. I think the key is just to listen to that inside voice.

  40. July 15, 2011    

    Great post, Wendy. I agree that we’re being conditioned to constantly “look over the fence” for the next great opportunity, rather than enjoy what we have. I’ve never, ever wanted work to take over my life.

    And I kind of feel like that with my books’ publicity, too. While it’s important for an author to market–sure–it’s more important to make those authentic connections. Every time I feel like I *should* be doing more, I remember the quality, not the quantity and enjoyment of the connections I’ve made via blogs, in-person presentations, emails, etc. etc. I think of it like good chocolate (high cocoa, dark, YUM) to cheap-o chocolate (grocery store checkout). Give me the good stuff in smaller quantities.

  41. July 17, 2011    

    I think I’m happy with where I am at with my blog. I don’t even think about how many followers I have or stress about which posts get tons of comments and which don’t. I feel like I’ve built a “home” and I like what I have.

  42. July 18, 2011    

    Amused: Yes, same for me – it would have to be very easy for me too.

    Terri: Thank you for your supportive comment – yes, I liken my blog to all creative endeavors (like your photography, my quilting, etc…). I have often thought of trying to sell my quilts, but the pressure it would put on me to make them “perfect” I think would rob me of the joy in making them. I see this blog as an escape for me…so that is one reason I don’t want to think about the money angle. I just don’t want it to feel like another job!

    Heather: I do think self-hosting would be way too much work for me! I really am not being critical of bloggers who do want to make money from their blogs, like you – I admire them – but I also think that those of us who do NOT want to go this route should not feel that our blogs will be “less than.”

    Colleen: Thanks, I agree. We all need to do what is best for us individually.

    Aine: Yes, exactly! I think in this day and age of constantly evolving technology, it is easy to get caught up in the next thing, moving forward at high speed, instant communication with everyone…it is very tiring!! Stopping to just enjoy where we are is always a good thing.

    Ryan: And that is the most important thing – building a place that feels like “home” to you…whatever that may look like.

  43. Em Em
    July 18, 2011    

    Very interesting post!
    I agree with you; making it a business would most certainly take some of the fun out of it.
    I also consider my blog as a leisurely activity; however, I’m sometimes conscious that anybody might be reading my posts. Sometimes, it does annoy me as I might be less spontaneous. Most of the time, I remember that I do this primarily for myself and I want my blog to be genuine and reflect who I am (I tend to be the same when applying for a job; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t). Some nice surprises have come along the way, and I’m sure there might be more in the future…

  44. July 18, 2011    

    I totally agree with your thought that monitizing or “having” to do anything on my blog would totally take away my enjoyment of doing it. My blog became my outlet and I would need a new outlet if I had to do my blog.

  45. July 21, 2011    

    I’ve been neglecting my google reader lately so I’m just now getting around to reading this post. I LOVED It!! I do this for fun. If it ever feels like work or something I ‘have to’ do I will shut down the blog. I hear the subscriber numbers of some blogs and feel like a tiny fish in a big pond and then I remember that the 200 or so subscribers I have is about 195 more people than I ever thought would read my blog when I started it 5 years ago. I happily ignore most of the stuff that people tell me I ‘should do if I want to be considered a serious blogger’ because this is not my job. I’m perfectly content at the level I’m at and still enjoying talking about books with the folks I’ve met through blogging.

    That’s absolutely not a negative nudge at bloggers who do want to go all out and do whatever they choose to do to reach whatever goals they desire, because it’s a ‘choice’. I’ve made mine, they’ve made theirs and you know what? We can still happily talk about books together.

  46. July 21, 2011    

    I take so much joy in book blogging, but for me a lot of that joy comes from climbing the ladder of success and always thinking of new ways to make my blog more relevant and more productive. Compared to a lot of book bloggers I haven’t been around that long (less than a year) and I don’t make much money at this point, but my long term goal is to grow my blog into a business. I love the rush of reaching one of my traffic/subscriber/monetary goals and the feeling of having a schedule to follow.

    I think of blogging as an occupation (if not a job, since I generally think of a job as paying a reliable salary), not just a hobby, and I love it that way. I think it’s just a matter of personal preference. I greatly respect book bloggers who put a lot of time and effort into their blogs and get no monetary return. I also respect bloggers who try to turn their favorite hobby into a paying job. And I love that in the book blogging world everyone, whether they make money from their blog or not, whether they review for a media outlet or just on their blog, everyone is on a level playing field. We all love books and we can all have fun talking and writing about them.

  47. July 24, 2011    

    Em: Yes, although for me this is really a hobby (leisure), I also realize that people are reading what I write here…and so I do spend time on my posts trying to make them as perfect as I can…still, though, it does not feel like work to me 🙂

    Amanda: Exactly!

    Suzi: Yes, exactly – and in no way am I being critical of bloggers who chose to make this their business. I enjoy talking books with EVERYONE. For me, the reason I read a blog is not whether or not someone is making money doing it, but because the blogger has things to say that I am interested in!

    Kate: I could not agree more! This is truly a personal decision that bloggers have to make for themselves. I do think that bloggers who have come into the arena in the last year or so are much more focused on making their blog a business than those of us who have been around five years or more (when I started blogging books, it was pretty impossible to make any money doing it – publishers did not even recognize us as a serious marketing resource). Either way, I wish success to all book bloggers – as I said above – when one of us succeeds, it benefits us all.

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