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Random Thoughts: It’s About the Books… Isn’t It?

Random-Thoughts-1As a blogger some days it’s hard to remember that it’s about the books.

Some days are spent creating and formatting posts for blog tours and weekly features. Some days are spent trying to write those reviews that still don’t come easy. Some days are spent thinking up new things to do on the blog… some new idea that hasn’t been done over and over across the book blogosphere.

Some days are spent trying to maintain a social presence, be responsive to emails, visit other blogs, keep up with the latest news.

Some days those books just don’t get any attention. And sometimes those days turn into a week… or more.

Trying to keep up with blog maintenance, trying not to be left out of the loop, trying not to be forgotten as a member of the community takes time away from reading.

In fact, it is very possible to be a book blogger without actually reading or reviewing any books. The reality of which blows the mind.

Because it is possible to spend time promoting books you want to read without actually reading them. You can even promote those you aren’t in the least bit interested in reading. It’s more than possible to be able to create book release posts without actually reading those releases. To participate in a book blast or book tour you do not have to actually read the book. And there is no reading required for putting together discussion posts.

Even most memes don’t require you to actually have read the books you’re talking about. Selective meme-ing will allow you to participate without reading a single word. While those teaser memes require you to actually crack open the book to find a teaser, they don’t require more than that if you don’t want to, or don’t have the time to, do more.

And while some will say reviews are a must, they aren’t. Not really. For most bloggers book reviews are the least trafficked posts. They’re the posts that get the least comment love. They’re the posts that often require the most effort and get the smallest reward. Perhaps to be taken seriously as a book blogger you have to review books. But it’s not a requirement. You can be just as effective a promotional vehicle with or without a review.

But if you feel reviews are required on the blog, you can always take on guest reviewers.

Yes, there are many, many ways to be a book blogger without actually being a reader. With enough skill and dedication it is possible to even be successful at it.

But… WAIT…. Why?

Why would anyone want to blog about books without actually reading them? Why would anyone want to be a part of a community that’s purportedly filled with book lovers if they rarely get the opportunity to read those books? And why would anyone promote books if they were looking for reasons not to read?

Yet being a blogger sometimes requires each of these things. Sometimes it requires all of them. So, why exactly do we do it?

As a book lover my heart breaks a little when I find myself too tired to read. When perusing my unread books on my shelves or on my eReaders I am terribly saddened by the fact that they await my attention.

As much as I do love blogging, I miss the days when I was just a reader. I miss being able to read a book that I loved and just let it sit for awhile before cracking open the next one. I miss being able to re-read books as often as I used to. I miss just being able to read.

And I often wonder if blogging and all that comes with it is worth the sacrifice of not being able to read as much as I’d like to.

With all the tours and promotional events I’m involved with, I often feel guilty because it means less time for reading and writing those reviews. And on those rare days when reading feels like work rather than pleasure I have to fight the urge to give it all up. Because, for me, being a blogger is not worth losing my passion for reading.

But, just as in life, it’s so very easy to get caught up in the day-to-day. It’s easy to forget about the books amidst the deadlines, deluge of email and other demands that come with being a blogger. It’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy to be a part of the latest and greatest book tour or bookish event.

And, of course, it’s so easy to be distracted by the drama.

I see more posts, tweets, comments relating to drama than those just gushing about books. I don’t remember the last time I had a lengthy conversation about a book I loved, but I can pinpoint the exact time I talked with someone about bookish drama.

Yes, this also breaks my heart.

With everything that goes on in the blogosphere it’s way too easy to just be a blogger and forget that there’s supposed to be the word “book” in front of it. So it’s something that I try to remind myself on a daily basis when faced with opportunities to be part of tours, blasts, cover reveals, events and other distractions from reading that this community provides.

And while I realize that there is a tradeoff – there are only 24 hours in a day, after all – I ask myself just how fair, exactly, is the trade? Is the blog winning or are the books? How many hours are spent reading versus those spent composing posts, writing reviews, being social?

And when the balance shifts a little too heavily in favor of blogging I try with all my might to shift things back to books. After all, it’s supposed to be all about the books, isn’t it?

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