In all my years of book blogging, I’ve often wondered about success. I’ve often watched bloggers, mainly in other niches, lifestyle bloggers and food bloggers and so on, getting incredible opportunities, making money, hell, making a living out of their blogs. More often than once, when they stumbled upon my vision and on my instagram feed, I thought:
Damn, these bloggers really made it.
Even if I like to talk about travelling every now and then, even if I love reading lifestyle blogs and so on, I’ve never been one of these bloggers. I’m a book blogger, 99% of the time. Making money as a book blogger isn’t too usual, making a living out of it is a, let’s face it, gigantic dream.
Yet, money and making-my-life-out-of-this-hobby aside, more often than not, I’ve wondered about making it. In so many years of blogging, I wondered whether or not I would get this moment telling myself “damn. I did this. I really made it, somehow.”
You know what? Thinking about it, somehow, I kind of did.
What does “making it” as a blogger really means?
The thing is, feeling like you’re successful, feeling like you made it, relates to me a lot to “feeling like you did something right”. I don’t know if it’s a side effect of living with anxiety, or just a side effect of being me, but I often wonder, every time in my life and everywhere, if I’m doing a lot of things right. If I’m doing life right. If I’m doing this blogging thing right.
I know it’s a silly feeling and you’re probably shaking your head left and right as you read this, but….what can I say, welcome to living in my mind.
Misconceptions about “making it” as a book blogger
Obviously, I had this idea in my mind of “making it”. Of being a fabulous book blogger that would live the dream, somehow.
I thought that being able to “make it” was time related. It’s not.
It’s not because you’ve been blogging for billions of years that you feel like you made it and you’re awesome. It’s not because you’re a brand new blogger that it will take you months, years, a decade, to get to these book bloggers you admire.
I’ve seen some book bloggers starting their blogs and, in a month, getting where it took me YEARS to get to. In terms of design, aesthetics, stunning and eloquent blog posts. Everyone has their path, their pace and every blogging journey is different. We shouldn’t compare our journey as book bloggers to others.
I thought that being able to “make it” as a book blogger was all about ARCs.
*insert small moment to collectively gasp here*. YES. I SAID IT and I had to. I’m not going to lie here.
I didn’t get into book blogging because I wanted all the ARCs in the world -honestly, that would be…. really really un-logical of me, given that I’m an international book blogger.
Yet, when I first started and even years into book blogging, I thought that I had to get all the ARCs to feel like I “made it”. To feel recognized and valuable as a book blogger, to publishers, to the community, to the world.
Not going to lie again: I felt like I made it when I first got approved for an e-ARC. And a physical ARC. But it wasn’t all about it. It’s not because you don’t want ARCs or just aren’t getting some at the moment, that you’re not a real book blogger.
Because you know what? Being a real book blogger is reading and talking about BOOKS. ARCs or not.
I thought “making it” as a book blogger was numbers-related. Followers, likes, social media accounts, money. It’s not.
Very few book bloggers are making money, even fewer book bloggers are living out of this hobby. Book bloggers don’t have ten thousands of followers or enough pageviews to monetize their blogs well with ads and everything else… or very few do.
I’m not talking about these gigantic booktubers that have millions of followers and monetize their videos, have 50k on social media and book deals and such, by the way. I’m focusing on book bloggers, because booktubers aren’t just my field at all.
So.. you don’t have to be an “old” book blogger, you don’t have to get millions of ARCs, you don’t have to have 100k followers and everyone loving you on social media to make it. I used to think you did, but now…
Then how can you make it as a book blogger?
Let’s take a turn down memory lane and see what made me feel like I made it.
What made me feel like I “made it” as a book blogger
As my little blogging years went by, I slowly realized that there are many, many things that made me feel successful, even just for a fleeting moment. There are many things that made me feel like I was a real book blogger, somehow nailing this.
When I got my first follower
Just one person, somehow clicking that follow button. Then two. Then ten. Then 100, 500 and I don’t know. Some days, I look at that follower count and I need to close my eyes real tight and open them again minutes later just to make sure I’m not dreaming.
When I got my first comment on a blog post
An odd thing to say, today, as people, publishers and life seems more focused on social media interactions than old school blog comments. Back in 2014 when I first got a comment on a blog post I wrote, I was like, wow. Someone wants to interact with me.
Related blog post: how to get followers and interactions.
When I got my first e-ARC…. then ARC
I sometimes don’t realize that I’m reading a book that’s going to be released a couple months away. I think I might have had that blinking-for-a-long-time-and-in-a-daze feeling when I first got approved for an e-ARC. I know I had that moment when, after years of unanswered emails, I had suddenly one unread email in my mail box telling me “yes, of course we’ll send you that book.”.
Said so naturally, so easily.
It was a Friday evening in early September 2017 and I sat on my couch holding my phone and I screamed. Naturally.
Related blog post: My story with ARCs as an international book blogger.
So…. yes. Despite everything I said before, all of these ARE kind of numbers related.
Despite what I said before, I’m not denying the feeling these little things gave me. The personal success I felt at getting these.
But, to be completely honest with you, these are not the things that warmed my heart the most. These above, the ARCs, the numbers game, made me feel like I made it in the capitalistic world obsessed with numbers and success and productivity, somehow.
These below, made me feel like I made it as a book blogger, in my heart.
When someone picked up a book I recommended
In almost 5 years, I talked about A LOT of books and, when I see someone buying a book because of my review and my endless screaming and fangirling about it all… I feel it.
When I get a notification from an author
Like a like, an answer to my tweet, an author agreeing to be interviewed for my blog. Authors are my rock stars and I’m deeply fangirling inside while trying to answer a tweet or an email without too many hearts or exclamation points.
When I blog. Just when I blog.
- When I’m drafting blog posts for hours while getting mad at myself because it’s not perfect, yet still going because I love it.
- When I’m brainstorming ideas and endlessly bothering my sister to ask her whether or not this idea is good.
- When I’m answering to blog comments and blog hopping and chatting with the community
- When I go back to my blog posts, the one I published days ago, weeks ago, years ago and realized that… well, it might not be perfect, but I actually kind of like what I did. Or wanted to do there even if back then the graphics of my blog posts were terrible and so were my writing skills. I’m growing.
Almost 5 years later, I’m still there and that means something.
Making it as a book blogger is, for me, all about the love. The strength of the relationships you make, the friendships and screaming about books. The work you put in your blog posts, the hours, the happiness (and yes, frustration) on your face when you’re doing it all.
If you’re worried about making it as a book blogger…. Try not to. If you love what you do, you’re making it already.
☂️ You might also be interested in: My goals and dreams as a book blogger.
What do the words “making it” make you think of? Money, pageviews, success, making a living out of it all?
In your days, months or years of blogging, what are these little things that made you feel proud of yourself? I’d love to hear your thoughts and all the positivity in comments! Be proud of yourself, friends, you’re amazing.