Random ramblings: What a week

img_3630What a week this has been. It feels like it’s been a while since I randomly rambled. Now is as good a time as any to catch up on it. I don’t want you to see this as a negative ramble (it’s not intended as such) or particularly a Christmassy ramble (although I couldn’t resist posting Zippy Christmas who I saw in Manchester. Seriously… what?)

I’ve had a pretty fab week and the response to the Orenda Books week has been amazing. Between that and my #bookvent posts I’ve been hitting records galore on the blog and it’s hard to believe it’s still only 7 months old. I’m still amazed I get one view a day never mind dozens. And as for likes… I’ve been consistently seeing my like count going upward – still nowhere near super blogger status likes per post I’m sure – but as I see my blog posts as little more than vacuous ramblings, I’ll take it.

I have hit a lofty 100+ permanent subscribers to the blog on WordPress this week. That’s 100 poor unsuspecting people being hit with my blog posts every day/week on their readers feeds. I’m a gnats nuts away from 2000 blog followers in total which is crazy. I’ve made over 200 posts now (still not sure about what but I must have said something useful along the way) and this month have had over 600 likes of my posts (over 1700 ytd)… and the month isn’t over yet. It’s absolutely nuts. Crazy.

Now I was privy to, how shall I put this, an ‘interesting’ posting of opinion on Facebook this week that really got me thinking about blog posts and what reviews etc mean to the reader and the author (as in of the book as opposed to the post although I guess that too.) When it comes to reviewers, bloggers in particular, we are each and every one of us unique. There would be no sense in doing this whole shebang if we weren’t. And that is where the beauty lies in blogging. If you chose to write a long review or post you can. If you want it short and snappy you can write that too. If you choose to read the post… well that’s up to the reader. You may just skip to the highlights or the overall rating to get the feel of a book. Whatever your style, you should never be afraid to do it your way.

It was said (and I sincerely hope that the author of these comments was simply referring to Amazon reviews which can be, shall we say, not entirely relevant at times) that if you hadn’t written a book you couldn’t have a valid opinion. I am paraphrasing but that was the gist. Now this was to a community made up of 50% reviewers and 50% writers. Incredible no? To make matters worse, the author of said comments continued to dig their own grave by saying that they didn’t see why a reviewer thought their subjective ramblings were significant. I can only assume they had been marked poorly on Amazon at some stage and were still unreasonably bitter about it.

I would like to answer that question: Why does a reviewer think their subjective opinion is significant? Honestly, when it comes to bloggers and genuine reviewers – we don’t. We do as much soul searching when writing a review as an author does when writing a book. Am I giving too much away? Will the author understand what I am trying to say? Have I truly converyed my feelings about this book? Is my review too long, too short, too detailed or too sparse? Will anybody ever even bother to read this post? Have I used the word brilliant too often? Should I really, really publish this post?

If anyone really thinks that blogging and reviewing is easy (and I know that most genuine writers do not) then they are tapped. 100% certifiably crazy. It’s not. Yes, it is nowhere near as gut-wrenching watching our posts fly free as it is for the author who has spent weeks months and years pouring their heart into their work, but it is nerve wracking enough. We are permanently worrying that we have not done enough to convey our awe and our gratitude to the authors who have given our lives that little bit of sparkle and cheer. Hell, sometimes fear too. We leave a little piece of ourselves in every single post we write. Just because we are not published, does not mean we do not understand the writing process. We plot, we plan, we research author info, track down photos, we edit, we work for ages on formatting, we try to perfect our spelling and punctuation and we work to very tight deadlines at times for no pay and often around other full-time jobs, typically writing thousands of words, seven days a week. Sound at all familiar?

We embrace our favourite authors (sometimes literally – sorry Mr Bale), applaud their hard work and try to put just a fraction of that feeling into what we say. Sometimes, we just don’t get it. Just don’t gel with that particular book for whatever reason and we share that too. It’s a bit like being a parent. It’s as important to give bad, yet constructive feedback as much as it is to praise. It’s how people learn, grow, develop and improve. I can only assume this kind of constructive feedback was missing from this particular writer’s childhood. Because if you cannot appreciate the significance in all of this, in everything that a blogger or reviewer who loves books does to help support, grow and champion the literary industry then you, Sir, are quite frankly a cock.

Great authors are humble, often second guessing themselves no matter how much success they have had. These guys and gals appreciate all that readers do, the feedback that they give, and they totally rock. So do bloggers and reviewers and readers without whom books have no meaning.

Monday tomorrow. Final 4 days at work for 2016. Two visitors over from our Benelux sub for the next two days so I must play nice. But rest assured I will also be reading. Insignificant as that and my itty-bitty stats may be, I’m still gonna do it. Sorry but I’m in this for the long haul. You can stay with me if you like. I’m enjoying the company. Thanks to everyone who’s helped me get this far. Love y’all. The book community are absolutely bloody fantastic you know.

My #bookvent continues this week with the countdown to Christmas Eve and my top read of 2016. Just who, or rather what, will it be? Well – come and see me on Saturday and I’ll tell you. I’m also on a blog tour for ‘The Gift’ by Louise Jensen and have a bunch of Crimbo themed reviews including a very special guest reviewer. Exciting times.

Happy reading all

JM

*** A few stats for those who are interested. Clearly I am not a ‘writer’ but this month I have achieved the following:

Posts published: 41

Additional posts written and scheduled: 13

Total words written in December: 27044 (excluding titles, book links and author bios/offical book blurbs and pre-prepared posts.)

Total research completed (i.e. books read): 8

Pages read (excluding books in progress): 2842

And all of this by 18th December. So glad us bloggers are not ‘writers’ lol. The month is still young and I have another review to write up yet…

P.S. I don’t want anyone to think that I do not appreciate what authors do. It’s bloody hard work and they do it very bloody well. I love writers (most of them anyhow). They make bad days in my life more bearable; bring an escape, joy, laughter and tears. I can’t do that, but then again I have heard many writers say they couldn’t/wouldn’t feel confident writing a review either.  We all rock in our own unique way!!!***

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27 thoughts on “Random ramblings: What a week

  1. This might be my favorite post of yours I’ve read since I started blogging which granted has only been since Sept 30:) It made me smile as you put into words perfectly how it feels to be a blogger and put our thoughts and feelings about the books and authors we love out into the universe! Well done:)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Christine

    What an entertaining post this is, Jen. I have thoroughly enjoyed your reviews and other posts since I signed on with your blog a couple of months or so ago. Much reading and happiness to you in 2017!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well done and well said Jen! I think most authors do appreciate our hard work but not all. I had an author being quite rude to me on twitter as I’d left a full stop out in one post – along with everyone else I check my posts multiple times before sharing but… Can’t wait to read more from you in the future- a fantastic achievement šŸ˜Š

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Some folks are Just weird aren’t they. This one was a complete tool. If there was never a typo in their own work or posts… that’s the kind who doesn’t get repeat reviews. Or at least not polite ones šŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Emma. Love your posts and enthusiasm too. I think that thankfully most authors understand the difference between a proper reviewer and an Amazon troll and do appreciate our efforts. I love this bookish community we’re in. šŸ’œ

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  4. This is a great post, so true about reviews and putting ourselves as bloggers out there and yes, some of us write long reviews, some short, some are informal (like myself) and others have a more formal approach, but it’s those differences that make each blog and blogger unique.šŸ˜€

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Karen

    Well said Jen, I agree with every word. I follow your blog and love your posts and reviews. You’ve worked so hard on your fabulous features lately – I hope you have a lovely Christmas break.

    Liked by 1 person

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