Thursday, April 16, 2009

Conclusion: We all have something to learn.

This is a recap and my afterthoughts from this post yesterday, Cool and not cool?? Talk to me.

There were so many amazing thoughts that I won't be able to include them all, but you all certainly had very valid points to make. After the re-cap I have something to share about how my opinion has changed, and what we all can get from this (those who feel 'in' and those who feel 'out').

My favourite points from what you all had to say:

"I often find that the ones publishers love are very different to the ones I do. I'm looking for honest reviews, and people who have strong links to publishers often avoid offending them by failing to find faults in the books they review". -farmlanebooks

"I'm fortunate to live near a metro area with lots of great bookstores, colleges, etc., so there are tons of fantastic bookish events to attend. Even these events (and the blog posts that follow them) should be about sharing information ... not "I did this", but "I learned this, and I want to share it with you".

"There are some whose blogs I read and comment on who don't visit/comment on my blog. I've wondered about that, but in the end know that I enjoy reading these blogs, whether or not the blog author decides my blog is something that appeals to him/her." - Dawn @ She is Too Fond of Books

"I think the "in-crowd" bloggers are the people who do a lot to contribute to the book blogging society as a whole--they create challenges and organize online events like the read-a-thon this weekend". -Jena

"The only downside to the every growing blogging community, is that my feeder is growing leaps and bounds and I am not only finding it difficult to comment as much as I would like, I am beginning to not respond to comments as much as I would like on my own blog - and that bothers me. I would love to acknowledge everyone who visits". - J.C. Montgomery

"I think there are blogs that are better known generally, but that's because they host challenges and events and are just really active in the blogging world". - S. Krishna

"I subscribe to about a bazillion blogs because I like to see what's out there, but I only comment 1) when I have time and 2) when the post is really interesting or relevant to me. I just don't have the time to comment on everything I read, nor do I have something interesting to say about everything I read. Some of my favorite blogs are not necessarily popular, and some of the popular ones are, to me, not very impressive.

"I do think that bloggers who are able to be hyper-connected get increased traffic and attention, but I'm not so sure that's always justified". - The Book Lady's Blog

"I think there IS a cool crowd, although I'm not entirely sure who is in that cool crowd. I could guess at a few names and I think that there are a few that have grabbed the reins of the blogging community and are steering it in one direction or another.

Sometimes it is discouraging to be pushed to the edge by the bigger bloggers, but I think a lot of that is also in my head". - Trish from Trish's Reading Nook

"Would I like to get the page hits that some of my fellow bloggers get? Sure! But many of the more popular book bloggers work really hard on the content and look of their blogs and also really develop relationships with people in the book publishing industry. This takes time and lots of hard work and I commend my fellow book bloggers who do so well." - The Written Word

"I have found a set of bloggers that I am most comfortable with and I make sure I visit their blogs often and leave comments and in return, they visit me too! That is what is important to me.. the friend;y interaction and the sense of familiarity." - Ramya from Ramya's Bookshelf

"It's a matter of being 'discovered' in a way. If that makes sense. In other words, I can't visit a blog or follow a blog, if I don't know the blog exists. If a blogger wants to find connections, they'll seek out other blogs, leave comments, join challenges, participate in memes, join twitter discussions, join yahoo groups and such.

Somebody has to make the first step, has to reach out and say "hi" and I have found the community to be welcoming. Sure, it might be intimidating if you're shy to say "hi" and you wish that people would discover you and your great blog all on their own". -Becky's Book Reviews

My afterthoughts are expressed below to the separate categories, you need to relise that you might not be in the group you think you are, so read both and see what you think.

To those who feel they 'out' or even remotely close to it:

If you really want to make it into the 'in' crowd, you need to work on getting your blog viewer friendly. You need to make it easy to navigate, commenter friendly and a place where people want to come back to. There are some good programs online for designing a header and buttons and all those good things. The online photo editing program that I have used for all my editing is Picnik . It is very user friendly and easy to use, you just have to be motivated to do it

Help out!!! If you want to get to know more people in the blogging community you need to serve along side them, you need to help with a challenge, do a challenge, join in on community things such as the read-a-thon or host a challenge during that time.

If this makes it sound like I know what I am doing, think again....I am just trying to get things figured out on my own as well and wanted to share some tips with you that I have learned in the process. To me all these things are fun, I LOVE designing headers, buttons and working on the layout so that is why I do it. If you don't like it and want to get it right, pay someone, or ask for help!!

A sobering note for those who are not feeling cool:

The people who get visits do do a lot of work, yes they are not always the ones who work the hardest, but they generally are. They have usually been around longer and support more "community" events. If you are not willing to join in, if you don't have the time or really enjoy doing it that is fine, but that is how it works. I am not saying that every popular blogger is completely deserving of all the credit they get, I am saying that most of the time the have earned that spot in some way that you may not really know about yet.

Don't let jealousy limit your relationships, there will always be those who are better than you at what you love, that is just the way it is- if you love it, really love it, than it shouldn't matter. If you want to do it to get big, than there is work involved in that. I guess you just need to figure out what you are in this for.

To those who are 'in' or even remotely close to it:

You really do a TON of work, and so many of you help on all of the events, read-a-thon, challenges, helping other bloggers to design there blogs better, you are active on social nings, twitter, glue, facebook and such...yes you do so much! You have earned you fame I feel for the most part and you should be applauded, you have worked hard and made your blog a place where people want to be. That is awesome! I don't think you get enough credit for all the extra time you put into organizing things, and helping bloggers. Thank you!

The sobering note to those who are in the 'cool' crowd, but this is for all of us really!!:

For better or for worse you are in the 'cool' crowd and those who are not will have a hard time not envying you. If you want to make it extra hard, comment all the time on your stats, talk about how many visitors you had, or how bummed you are that you ONLY had 500 today. Yes, you are earning yourself enemies right and left when you do that. Come on folks, have some class.

In real life do you walk around with your yearly earnings written on your t-shirt!? Do you go into a party and comment on how you are so depressed that you only made $500,000 dollars last year? I hope not. It is fine to have it, you earned it, but to those who are scraping by it really is just rude and by doing it you are putting yourself in a place where you really don't want to be. Yes, we all should get over it, we should love you anyways! Would you? Its like that know it all kid in the class when you are struggling, envy and jealousy creep in quick.

It isn't fair that you should have to not mention certain things on your blog! And it is true that you earned it, you did! I really get that. I mean you do get 80 comments on every post! So I am not saying you need to hide things, but you can be discreet and careful of other people's feelings. You don't need to take your feedreaders off your blogs, or any such nonsense...just work more on being lovable by not pushing numbers, and go out of your way to be inclusive.

Disclaimer: I am not saying that either crowd does ethier of these all the time, I just notice it being an issue and it is what I got out of the converstation so I wanted to bring it up. We can all learn to work harder and not be envious, and also to keep others in perspective more.


trish said...

Great post, Bethany! So what do you think of bloggers who post how many Feedburner subscribers they have? Do you think that's a form of bragging?

Ali said...

Nice post, Bethany. I hope people will take it in the spirit it was intended--not to divide us or hurt anyone's feelings, but to give people something to think about. (At least, that's the way I took it!)

Now I'm off to go double check my stats and see if I'm in the "in" crowd or the "out" crowd.... Does Twitter count? Because I've got a ton of bubbly gals with laptops following me over there, so I'm thinking that makes me "in" with the cheerleader crowd.

bethany said...


ahhhh, you are killing me! You want me to tell you?

I don't know, I guess each individual blogger would have to see for themselves why they do it.
I can only see two reasons for having it on a blog, credibility and for bragging purposes. I think that a blog is credible when it is living, (getting comments, posting regularly, has a base of readers and so on) which is really obvious without the feedburner numbers right there. I say it is up to each blogger, but in my opinion I share them when publishers, authors and such- but I find it distasteful on my blog. That is me though.

In all truth, if someone is going to be jealous of you, and they want to be, they will find a way to do it. Because of feedburner, # of comments...and so forth.

I really hope so too. Really I do. I thought it needed to be said, but I know some people will never look at me the same way. :( No one is ever loved by everyone though. I wasn't thinking of anyone specific, just an overall feeling.

Thank you for understanding that.

Florinda said...

I'm linking to both your original post and this one in my weekend round-up on Saturday. I think you've sparked a very important conversation.

I do have the Feedburner count displayed on my blog, and I didn't add it until my subscribers exceeded a particular number I had in mind. It just makes me feel more "legit" when publicists and authors check out my blog - I don't know if anyone else but me pays any attention, and I really don't worry about it otherwise. I worry more about the comments I DON'T seem to get, despite the readers I supposedly have :-).

I think the last section of your post, in particular, is one of those tough things that needed to be said. Well done, Bethany!

drey said...

Awesome posts, Bethany! I admit I've wondered about other blogs that seem so much cooler, have so many more followers, etc. But y'know what? I blog to share my thoughts on books, and host the occasional (!) giveaway... If I can do something to get books into others' hands, great! If my words can inspire someone to check out a new author, awesome! Other than that, eh. I don't have enough time in a day to do everything I want to do, and I'd much rather be reading, anyway. =) So, if you like my blog, YAY! If you don't, I'm sure there are plenty out there that would suit you better. To each his/her own. =)

As for counts, etc. I'd agree that one reason to post them for the world to see, is to attract publishers. Me? I like to see the faces in the followers box. My visitors count is strictly for publishers (not that any have reached out!). And I wish I could find a way cooler widget for my commenters! =)

Ok, not writing a book (esp since I have lots to READ, lol!)... Have a great day! & thanks for the great posts.

Trish said...

Amen Bethany! I think that you summed everything up really well and made some great points.

One thing that I've been thinking about today: if we all said who we thought were the "cooler" bloggers, would those names even match up? Would there be names that are on everyone's lists? I agree with many of the commenters on the previous post that there are different circles.

And what the heck is a feedburner? LOL! I AM out of it sometimes. :)

Maw Books said...

As for publishing feedburner counts, I absolutely do not think that is bragging. Take a look at industry standard blogs of the best bloggers and they are all there. Once they hit a certain number, displaying a feedburner count is a way for your subscriber #'s to snowball. "Oh wait - they have that many subscribers, well, this has got to be good stuff and subscribe." Honestly, I have enjoyed seeing those #'s increase and I'm not going to by shy about displaying it. I think it adds a lot of credibility to the blogger. If nobody read my blog, I still wouldn't be doing this.

As for the post Bethany, I think you hit on some valid points but everybody is blogging for different reasons and how they accomplish that end goal is going to be different for everybody. Some things matter to some bloggers and others couldn't care less.

I'd like to think that I'm somewhat successful simply for the reasons that blogging has surpassed all of expectations when I got this whole thing started (noticed that's not a "I'm better than you" attitude - it's a self-evaluation). Am I going to apologize for it? No. Do I yell up and down my streets how many page views I get? No. But if you wanted to find out the answer, there are a lot of ways to find out. For any blog, in fact.

I could only hope that everybody both feels included and willing to reach out to others.

Diane said...

I've been really interested in this post. I'm new to blogging and I don't blog books at this point--although I'm a librarian so it's not too much of a stretch to think I would someday! I learned a lot about what seems to be going on in this small world--knowing that people are the same everywhere is really helpful when thinking about these topics. You handled the question, responses and your thoughts sensitively! Go Bethany!

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

Great wrap-up, Bethany; I like that you addressed your readers from both sides of the coin :)

To address Trish's question about Feedburner subscribers ... I don't think it's bragging; I don't list mine, but I'm not put off that others do.

I'm sure we haven't seen the last of this broad and interesting discussion; glad you got us going!

Elizabeth said...

I've been quite interested in this whole discussion - it was a great question. I wasn't sure if I was going to say anything, since most of my thoughts had already been articulated, but I do have one thing I'd like to add.

I think there is a "cool crowd", but most of the people who I consider wouldn't put themselves in that category. Several of them have commented on this thread. One of them owns this blog. The reason I think they are "cool" is because they have all been extremely kind and welcoming to be, a new blogger, and have made me feel like my voice is worthwhile. I definitely think "cool" is in the mind of the reader!

ANovelMenagerie said...

Great wrap-up post, Bethany.

First... what is glue?

I just have to say that I'm so not a Twitter'r. But, I do have my posts Tweet for those who do. I never know when to jump in and chat.

Can you imagine having 80 comments on a post? I've had that many on week-long contests, but not on a post. If I got 80 comments on a post I think I'd do jumping jacks while laughing and listening to disco!

500 visitors a day average? Man, if I ever get there, I'm advertising!

Your wrap up, again... was great. It made me feel a lot better about the discussion and much less sad.


BTW: I love making buttons and graphics, too!

Susan @ Reading Upside Down said...

Thanks for this and the previous post, Bethany.

As a new book blogger (although not new to book reviews), I am gradually getting my head around just why I am blogging and what I want my blog to achieve.

There have been some great points made in the comments of these posts that have given me some interesting points to consider.

Thanks for getting this discussion rolling, Bethany. I have to say that I have been surprised at the size book blog network, which I have found to be very welcoming so far.

I agree with others that "cool" is in the eye of the reader. I hope that I am picking up tips from visiting those blogs I enjoy that will eventually make my own blog better.

Melissa said...

Great posts, Bethany--both of them! I only just came across the original post this morning and have just finished reading through all of the comments. So many thoughtful and insightful points were brought up.

Trish - interesting you should ask about posting Feedburner stats. I went back and forth over whether to post them for the very reason you listed. In the end I decided to post my subscriber stats, but I opted to do that as a sign of credibility, particularly because my book blog will only be two months old as of tomorrow.

But I am such a believer in this book-blogging community. Personally, I felt welcome from day one of starting my blog, even though I'm one of those in the influx of the last few months :-) I enjoy finding new blogs I love and then putting them in my blogroll, hoping others will discover them, too. As much as I want my own blog to succeed, I guess I really want the community as a whole to succeed.

Wow, I think I'm starting to get sappy, not to mention I'm rambling away now, always a sign to close the comment :-)

But again, Bethany, thanks for the great posts and to everyone else for a great discussion. I think it gave everyone some food for thought.

Serena said...

Wow, I don't know that much about feedburner stats or where to even find that information out! LOL I must be retarded...

I agree that I think if we all listed our favorite bloggers, there would be a list of different bloggers and some that are the same.

Great discussion and wrap up post.

Ti said...

I'm not sure why, and I can't put my finger on it but this post made me sort of sad. I didn't think too much about the subject beforehand, I just try to be the kind of blogger that I would like to follow. But now I am thinking about it and it's left me... blue. Sort of.

Trish said...

Ti--this topic leaves me feeling kind of blue for some reason as well (don't know exactly why). The past few weeks have had a lot of blogging up and downs. I'm hoping the read-a-thon tomorrow will be a great pick-me-up.

bethany said...

Ti + Trish-
I am sorry :( Personally I can't wait to finish my book review and get that up and push this down...there is only so much conflict a person can handle and it is hard to deal with. Sorry gals...I promise my next debate post will be lighter. I don't think I can handle another one of these, it has been too much to stomach.