Thanks to Heidi from YA Bibilophile for agreeing to guest post for us here on the blog! For more about Heidi, visit her awesome, spring-hued blog—which we reviewed here.
When I signed up to guest post here at the Soho Teen blog I thought about doing an interview with another blogger. I never pass up a chance to talk with another book addict! However, when talking with Soho Teen about what I’d like to do I came up with another idea. I wanted more than one perspective on the questions I had. Any time I want multiple opinions I know where to go… Twitter!
I put together a Google form and sent it out to the Twitterverse. Eighteen awesome YA book bloggers responded. I loved reading through what they had to say. There were some great responses. I went through them and tallied up the comments. For each question I came up with the three most common answers. I added a bit of commentary based on the responses, as well as a quotation that really seemed to sum up what the majority of the bloggers were saying. I hope you find this as interesting as I did!
What’s your favorite part about blogging about YA?
- The community – Almost everyone mentioned how much they loved chatting with other bloggers, authors, and industry professionals!
- Sharing about books/authors – Bloggers are a passionate group! We enjoy sharing or passion for books and reading.
- Getting recommendations – As if we didn’t have enough books on our TBR piles already! Many people mentioned that they loved hearing about new books.
“This community of other YA bloggers is just incredible! There are always good ideas, great recommendations, and a sense of like mindedness that keep me going.” —Lisa from Lisa is Busy Nerding
What do you think is the biggest struggle as a YA blogger?
- Getting noticed – With the ever-growing number of YA blogs it can be hard to stand out!
- Time constraints – Between reading, writing reviews, coming up with content for a blog tour, and trying to engage with the YA book blogging community online blogging could be a full time job!
- Jealousy – Whether it’s over ARCs, publishing contacts or followers… the green-eyed monster can be a struggle!
“I think finding the time/not letting it take over our lives. Many of us have full time jobs and it’s hard to do all the things—read, write reviews, think of new ideas, do social media, work with pubs/authors. This literally COULD be my full time job…”—Anonymous
Since you’ve been blogging, have you seen the YA community change at all?
- More competitive – As more and more blogs come on the scene there seems to be a growing sense of competition … for ARCs, for the spotlight, for publisher contacts!
- Increase in number of blogs – There are more and more blogs everyday! It’s great to see so many people excited about YA lit and those involved in the community.
- Promotion heavy – You can’t refresh twitter without seeing a link to a promo piece from a publisher or author. While these aren’t bad by any means, they seem to be taking over reviews.
“Absolutely. There are more bloggers. Bloggers are focused less on quality of content and more on commercial content provided from publishers. There’s a huge push to gain spots on a publisher’s mailing list. I think for new bloggers all of these things can feel life consuming and very important. When you don’t get them I imagine there’s some sadness and feeling that you aren’t succeeding.” —Pam from Bookalicious
With so many online communities owned outright or effectively by the Big 5 (Figment just went to Random House, Amazon bought Goodreads, etc), how do you keep the conversations organic?
- Read what appeals to you – Don’t only read the book everyone is talking about. Read what you want to read!
- Be yourself – This is just a key to life. Be real.
- Seek out more than the Big 5 – Actively look for other books that might not be featured!
“I think the biggest issue is that the emphasis gets put on books published by the Big 5. Smaller publishing houses struggle to get the word out to bloggers that they are publishing quality books. I think they’re overlooked and that’s a problem. Social media helps. I think that small to middle sized publishers need a bigger ‘voice.’” —Anonymous
“I would love to have more of the discussion part of it on my blog, but that doesn’t always happen. I think when I post a review to one of those sites, it definitely has the ability to start conversations and I’m not big enough where there is any kind of interference.” —Jaime from Fiction Fare
What advice do you have for other YA bloggers?
- Be yourself – This came up time and again. Don’t try to imitate what you think a YA blogger should be like. Have fun and let your voice shine through!
- Don’t compare yourself to others – Yes, some people get all the ______ (followers, ARCs, tour posts, whatever!) Some people have all the great ideas for posts! Don’t compare your blog!.Just do what you do best.
- Have respect – For yourself, for authors, for other bloggers.
“Be nice. Be patient. Be thoughtful. Remember, books and stories don’t just come out of nowhere – someone (more like many people) have dedicated time to making this book you are talking about. People with feelings and they deserve to be treated with respect. Don’t let false sense of anonymity that can come with being online make you feel like you can do and say whatever you want. Also, be patient if you’re new to this! Have fun! Be enthusiastic! For the most part, the people who make up the YA blogging community are nice.” —Monica from The Fuma Files
Do you have any advice for YA writers or publishers about working with bloggers?
- Be Respectful – It’s a two way street! Let’s all just respect each other!
- Remember we’re fans– First and foremost, bloggers are fans! of books and reading! We are EXCITED! Also, we typically don’t get paid for the work we put in.
- Do what’s comfortable – Find the types of interaction that you’re comfortable with and stick to those. If you don’t like twitter/tumblr/whatever – don’t use it!
“Keep it professional. With everything that has been happening lately, use your discretion when dealing with a reviewer and realize that unless they are being paid, they chose to review your book simply because they wanted to. Not everyone is going to love what you write, and that is a fact of life and something that you have to be able to accept if you are going to have something you have done out in the world.” —Alyssa from Swept Away By Books
Basically, the YA book community rocks! What a great group of bloggers, authors, and industry professionals! I’m blessed to call so many my friends.
Soho Teen thanks Heidi for her awesome analysis (and her awesome blog; see our review here), as well as the bloggers who responded:
- Lisa at Lisa is Busy Nerding (@heylisarenee)
- Jaime at Fiction Fare (@jaimearkin)
- Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner (@brokeandbookish)
- Pam at Bookalicious (@BookaliciousPam)
- Nichole at YA Reads (@yaReads)
- Denise at Prologue (@dccmealy)
- Liza at WhoRU blog (@LizaWiemer)
- Orchid at The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia (@HauntedOrchid)
- Alexa at Alexa Loves Books (@alexalovesbooks)
- Chayse at Books with Bite (@Chaysebwb)
- Jennifer at YA Book Nerd (@yabooknerd)
- Monica at The Fuma Files (@mfumarolo)
- Kate at Booking Brilliant (@katnusseverdeen) < award for newest blogger and also most clever Twitter handle!
- Alyssa at Swept Away By Books (@alybabybooks)
- Amber at The Mile Long Bookshelf (@MileLongBookS)
- Jennie at We Still Read (@westillread)
- DJ at DJ’s Life in Fiction (@LifeinFiction)