Bloggy Musings: 5 Ways I’ve Changed as a Blogger After One Year of Blogging

 
 

Last weekend was my blogiversary blogoversary anniversary of one year blogging, and while I don’t have any real celebratory stuff planned, I do always find it fun to look back and see how much things have changed in life.

Some of these I think about quite often just because they’re so funny or absurd to me, but I’m sure we all committed some faux pas or had some weird thoughts regarding book blogging when we started, so I figured why not share them? Maybe some of you even felt the same way! And if not, well, I’ll just trust you all not to judge me too harshly ;-)

 

 

1. When I first started blogging, I was doing it for the authors.

The reason I started blogging was because I was discovering all of these amazing books that truly deserved to be read. The authors who wrote these books deserved to have them read and to know how much their books affected people. I wanted to help their books get seen and let them know what their books meant to me (if they chose to read reviews). Make no mistake, my reviews were always honest, I just started out by only reviewing books I genuinely loved. But over the year, I started reviewing more and more books, including ones I didn’t love, and my mindset changed. Obviously I still want to help authors I love by promoting their books, but I guess now I’m writing my reviews for the authors and the readers. I also do a lot more than just reviews now, and the discussion posts, the interaction with other bloggers, etc., that I do for me and for you all.

2. When I first started blogging, I made a rule to never accept review copies.

I had these lofty dreams of being an author myself one day (which is looking less and less likely considering the complete lack of writing I’ve been doing) and thought that accepting free review copies would somehow lessen my credibility or something like that. Ridiculous, I know, but I wasn’t involved in the online book community yet and didn’t know what was normal and acceptable and what wasn’t. I also only wanted to review books I loved, as I mentioned above, and I knew writing negative reviews would be inevitable if I started accepting review copies. But do you know how long it took for this rule to go out the window? My first offer from an author for a free book :-P

3. When I first started blogging, I didn’t use Goodreads.

I didn’t really understand it, to be honest. I already kept track of my books myself, so why did I need a website to do that? But eventually I started making bookish friends on there and through other blogs, and now I understand the social aspect of the site. I love that I’m no longer just sitting alone when I read with no one to share my thoughts with because I can always just post them to Goodreads! Also, I used to use Amazon to read reviews when deciding on a book, but now I mostly GR because I can see if any of my friends have reviewed the book and because it just seems like a friendlier, more genuine environment.

4. When I first started blogging, I was really impatient with my reviews.

I had sooooo many books I wanted to share that I couldn’t even wait, so I was posting entire series all in one week, sometimes numerous reviews in one day, etc. Of course only like one person was reading my blog back then, so all those amazing books are the ones that got the least views, haha. I do plan to repost some of them eventually because those really are some of the absolute best books I’ve read.

5. When I first started blogging, I had no idea such a strong community existed.

This was probably the most surprising, and definitely the most wonderful, thing I discovered. I actually feel like I’m part of something. And though I still feel like I’m a bit on the fringes sometimes since I don’t read many of the popular books or even watch the TV shows and movies everyone seems to love, I still feel like I’ve found my people and am grateful to all of you for your comments, your likes, your visits, your recommendations, your help, your reviews, your posts, your opinions, and your bloggy friendship :-)

 
 

Talk to me!

Do you do any of the same things I did when you were just starting out?
In what ways have you changed since you started blogging?

 

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33 thoughts on “Bloggy Musings: 5 Ways I’ve Changed as a Blogger After One Year of Blogging

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  1. Kaja

    Congratulations on making it through a year of blogging! :)

    I never really thought about how I changed as a blogger … I mean, maybe I cared about stats more at first? I haven’t checked my analytics page in two months now and if I need to update my NetGalley profile, I always need to check how many followers I have across platforms because I never know for sure.

    But I was surprised by how many people are willing to read my blog and interact with me, I think that’s the greatest part of blogging – I mean, if I wasn’t doing it for other people, too, I’d be writing a personal journal, right? :)

    Happy blogging!

    Kaja recently posted: Super Long Books

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks!

      I always have to check my followers when I update my profile too lol. I think I probably care about stats the same amount though. Which is to say I do care since I want to know people are reading my content, but not so much that I’m willing to change what I read or that I freak out over it. And I agree, we all want our blogs to be visited or we wouldn’t even create them in the first place :-P And it is a great feeling knowing that people care about what I have to say!

  2. Geraldine @ Corralling Books

    Oh I totally relate to sharing reviews all at once! Whenever I finished reading a book, I typed up a review and posted it immediately! Then I went periods without posting at all…I’ve learned since then to keep drafts for times when I won’t be able to post much! xD
    I don’t relate too much to the GR thing – I don’t know, GR just isn’t intuitive/easy to use for me? The mobile version on my phone doesn’t work too well, and I don’t get how to really talk about books there :/

    Geraldine @ Corralling Books recently posted: When I First Saw You | The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

    1. Kristen Burns

      For me it wasn’t even when I finished a book, it was that I already had a whole bunch of reviews typed up, so I was just churning them out like a crazy person lol. But in a way it worked all right since I’ve yet to run out of books to review. I’d probably just be more behind on reviews if I hadn’t done that in the beginning!

      Yeah, I didn’t know how to be friendly on there at first. I’m really bad at being friendly online in general. But now I post updates while reading, if I have a random bookish thought I’ll post it in a general update, I try to scroll through my feed at least once a day to like or comment other people’s reviews and updates, etc. The mobile version sucks though. I just go the desktop version of the site on the internet browser when I’m on my phone.

  3. Karen Blue

    I post a review as soon as I finish a book. I don’t have much planned ahead of time. I fail at scheduling posts ahead of time. Honestly, I write a post and publish it on the same day almost always. I don’t have much trouble posting only one thing a day though. I suppose if I wrote more than one post a day, I would schedule the other one.
    Great post! It is fun to look back and see how blogging has changed for you.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’m one of those uptight schedulers lol, so I’m the opposite of you in regards to blogging. It makes me less stressed when I’m organized. But hey, whatever works for each person :-)

      Thanks!

  4. Barb (boxermommyreads)

    So glad your blog has developed into such an interesting place to visit. I love hearing your thoughts and you have helped me discover lots of new books/authors. I especially enjoy that you read a lot of books not necessarily featured elsewhere because they deserve to be seen. Here’s hoping you stick around for a long time.

    Barb (boxermommyreads) recently posted: Weekly Reads (07/15/16)

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you so much!!! And it makes me so happy that you like that I post about lesser known books. I know I’ll never get the most followers that way, but those are the books I love and that I do feel deserve to be read!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, I’d definitely like to revamp and repost those book reviews at some point because it makes me sad that people still don’t know about those books. But yeah, I feel like review posts have gotten harder, maybe because I’m more picky now about trying to make them perfect, and that makes it more daunting? But also the more books things. I don’t time for writing reviews, I have books to read, haha.

  5. Lola

    Again congrats on your blogoversary! And here’s to many more years! I am still so glad I found your blog as I really enjoy your posts. So I hope you’ll stick around for many more years ;).
    That’s interesting you never planned to accept review copies at first and how your first review request broke that idea. I do hope you continue your plans of becoming a writer as I enjoyed that short story you once posted and I would be curious to see what kind of books you would write. And that’s fun to hear how your mindset changed from reviewing for authors and now for bloggers and authors. And I do think reviews are helpful for both of those groups. And for yourself as well, I always like organizing my thoughts and expressing them in my reviews. And knowing people actually read my reviews and value what I think is one of the things that still amaze me.

    Before I became a blogger I had already been reviewing on goodreads for a bit, just reviewing some of the books I read and after that I was a co-blogger for half a year, so by the time I started my own blog I already knew of some of the things involved with blogging. I never realized the importance of comments and visiting other blogs till much later though and I wish that was something I discovered earlier. The first year or so was pretty weird with how I blogged in my own bubble and hardly ever visited others and only got a few comments. And interacting with the community is one of the things I love most about blogging. Not only hearing what others say about my posts, but also seeing their posts in return. Oh and part of the reason I started blogging was for the free review copies, I know it’s silly to admit that, but I just loved the idea that authors would give you free books just in exchange for a review. The concept still amazes me sometimes.

    So my way to blogging was the other way around first goodreads then blog. I had a hard time keeping track of the books I read and actually stumbled upon goodreads while I was looking for something like that and I loved how I could list all the books I read on a site and keep track of it that way.

    I can’t even name or remember all the ways blogging has changed me. Part of it personal, like how I now have a place to be myself and express myself. Or like how my reviews style changed and I found my way/ style of reviewing. I also never realized how big and welcoming the blogger community was and I met so many great people. And even many new things I learned from blogging. I am still happy I gave blogging a try.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you! I’m glad I found your blog too as I also love visiting yours!

      Yeah, I think it’s so absurdly funny now that I planned to never accept review copies lol. And thank you about the short story! The book ideas are still bouncing around in my head, and it’s like, I want to write, but I’m stuck on certain things, and my brain just hasn’t been cooperating, so I haven’t even tried lately. Excuses, I know, but I guess the point is that I might eventually end up writing something, it’s just on the back burner for now. And yes, reviews are definitely helpful for both groups. And writing reviews for other readers does in turn help authors by getting them more exposure and sales and whatnot. And you’re right, it is an amazing feeling knowing that people actually care about what we have to say!

      I had no idea you were a co-blogger first. I had dabbled in writing articles online on other sites but knew nothing about book blogging when I started. I guess I figured out pretty quickly the importance of visiting other blogs since I joined with TTT. It’s weird, I actually, like, don’t quite remember how I did things when I first started or when I started figuring things out, commenting on other blogs, etc. But interacting with the community is definitely my favorite thing. And you know, the fact that I get free books still amazes me too. I feel like the majority of the bookish community, bloggers and authors alike, see it as, like, we’re doing the author a huge favor, but I always feel I’m the one getting the better end of the deal. Like, the author or publisher put all this time and effort and money into this thing, and here I am just getting it for free. Yeah I have to write a review, but I enjoy doing that part too.

      I’m sure blogging has changed me in other ways too, like what you said about having a place to actually express myself and have people read it. I’m also so happy I decided to give it a try!

  6. Pingback: Bought Bagged and Wrapping it Up #142 | (un)Conventional Bookviews

  7. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    Congrats on the first year of blogging. It always feels like such a huge milestone (every year I’m still blogging feels like a huge milestone). Isn’t it strange the ideas we have in our heads when we first begin blogging? I was expecting a lot less work, lots of books and reading and to instantly know what I was doing. I got 1 out of 3. I got lots of books (seriously my spending habits skyrocketed after I started blogging).

    Learning how to spread out my posts and learning that I didn’t need to post everyday was a big lesson I learnt. I didn’t post multiple reviews in one day like you but it did take a while to learn that reviews and TTT posts were not the only posts out there. I mean, now I just post whatever I feel like and I’ve discovered the joy of discussion posts and writing my own thoughts.

    I’m with you, though, I didn’t expect the community which I discovered. Everyone is so nice and I completely didn’t realise it. The social aspect of blogging is the part I was most worried about because I am a shy person. I’m not good at initiating social interaction so that terrified me. Turns out I had nothing to worry about. Who knew?

    Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity recently posted: Sunday Summary // 17.07.2016

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks! It actually doesn’t feel like that big of a deal though? I just thought the post would be fun since I did have some strange ideas when I first started lol. That’s funny though, I started spending less when I started blogging because of review copies, and I started finding more free books on Amazon, got a library card, etc.

      It also took me a few months to start doing more than reviews and TTT, but that was mostly because I didn’t have like any followers and figured no one would care about my discussion posts, and that would just be sad lol. But I get what you’re saying too because there was a point kind of a few months ago when it hit me that I actually did finally have my own blog, my own piece of the internet, and there were people who actually cared what I had to say, and all those thoughts I had about books and whatnot that I’d previously never had anyone to share with, well, I finally could! And that was when I started posting about feminism in books and stuff like that. So being able to express my thoughts like that has been wonderful.

      And yes, I had no idea about the community! I’m actually not shy in real life, but I am online, so that was hard for me at first, but I think I’ve gotten a lot better :-)

  8. Tanya Patrice

    Gosh – you made me really think about what’s changed since I started blogging, and I’d have to say, I no longer do individual reviews of books (more book lists), and I expanded beyond books a bit. I’m surprised to see that one thing that hasn’t changed is that I still use Goodreads to keep track of my books.

    Tanya Patrice recently posted: Currently … {I (L)ove July}

    1. Kristen Burns

      That’s interesting that you do lists now instead of individual reviews. And that’s great that you’ve expanded! If you’re passionate about other things, you should be able to talk about those things too. And Goodreads has definitely proven useful :-)

    1. Kristen Burns

      I was completely unaware too! Like, I wasn’t someone who followed a bunch of book blogs before making my own even. I kinda just jumped in. But it really has been fantastic!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks! I also kind of just jumped in and started blogging. I knew book blogs existed, but I didn’t even follow or interact with any until I started myself. But I agree, it’s amazing how much of an impact it’s had on my life already!

  9. Mareli Thalwitzer

    Hi Kristen! Loved reading this post and the comments. Well, let me just say – you have been one of the first blogs I started following. I also started blogging first and THEN started following. Blogs are not very big in South Africa, most of my close friends ONLY read my Facebook posts.
    It was wonderful to read your post and realize that I am truly not alone out there. You were lucky that you had a main aim for starting your blog – I just wanted to talk books….
    I so hear you on the review copies! I’ve registered for Netgalley, but haven’t used it very much yet. BUT when I got my first ARC from a publisher – it was better than Christmas. I still only want to review books that I loved…. It was hard to review my very first Netgalley book, because I didn’t like it. But I did it! So I guess that’s one hurdle down.
    I hope that after a year of blogging that I will also be able to look back and see the growth (Not only in the following numbers – but that will be great too!).
    Congratulations!!!! I think the blogosphere can be very happy for having you gracing us with your presence!

    Mareli Thalwitzer recently posted: Cover Characteristics - Balconies

    1. Kristen Burns

      Your comment just made my day! You are so sweet <3

      It took me a little while to really start interacting with other bloggers and following them too. And my real life friends don't read my blog either, but I don't blame them since they're not into books the way I am.

      It also took me like six months to actually start using Netgalley because I felt like I'd never get accepted for any book requests, but I was so excited to get that first book, haha. I still hate writing negative reviews, but I remind myself that they're still helpful in some ways, and I just gotta do it since I gotta be honest. At least with Netgalley you're not directly emailing the author, there's a buffer there.

      Thank you, and same to you :-)

        1. Kristen Burns

          No problem at all. I don’t know about Blogger, but I know WP has a setting sections that you can check a box to allow comments or not, so maybe it’s something like that? Or maybe something with whatever comment plugin/service you use? Good luck with it, I’d be stressed about it too :-/

  10. Leslie Myrick

    Congratulations on one year! Thanks for sharing your experiences. I am about 1.5 months in now, and it’s a lot more work than I thought it would be. I started off thinking I was only going to write about older books I loved because I didn’t think I had the time or energy to try to read new books too…but now I already AM trying to find that great new book (thanks to NetGalley – and I was lucky I LOVED the first two I read)…but I’m still reading older ones too, since so many are already in my bookcases. It’s stressful but fun too.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you! And welcome to the book blogging community! I too have ended up reading a lot more than I thought I would. I was afraid I’d run out of books to talk about just by posting one review a week, but I’m actually having the opposite problem, haha. But Netgalley is great, right?! It is good to still read backlisted books though, I’ve been trying to get my number of review copies down so that I can read some older books without stressing :-)

    1. Kristen Burns

      I really didn’t get it and am kind of shy and awkward online (or at least I used to be, not as much now), so I didn’t want to friend strangers which meant I would’ve just been sitting on Goodreads alone lol. And yeah, there are always going to be some bad apples in anything you do, but for the most part the community has been amazing! Thanks!

  11. A. Fae

    First, I’d like to congratulate you on your first year of blogging. It is definitely a chore at times, but I think you’ve made some honest and helpful observations.
    Your blog was suggested to me through Bloglovin’ and I’m really glad it was because I truly enjoy it. I am also in love with the layout.
    Lastly, I’d love to ask you to do some sort of guest post for my blog, You have my email address, so please contact me to discuss further.
    Thank you for sharing with all of us and continued success.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you! And I’m so glad you like my blog! And my design—I’m super indecisive about that and wonder whether I should change it all the time, haha, so it always reassures me whenever someone says they like it. I’m not sure if I have the time for guest posts right now, I’ll have to get back to you on that, but thank you for asking and visiting! :-)

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you so much!!! I worry constantly about how my blog looks and whether I should change it, haha, so it’s reassuring to know that you like it :-) And I majored in advertising, and apparently some of the stuff about branding and whatnot stuck with me, so the fact that you specifically commented on how cohesive the graphics are just made me happy lol. But yes, the community was such an amazing surprise! I had no idea all these people were out there and so friendly and great.