{Bookish Babble} What’s Happening to the Book Blogging Community?

Posted January 23, 2016 by Rachel Lightwood in Memes & Features / 31 Comments


It’s about time I got some stuff off my chest. If you didn’t know the other day a shitstorm broke out on Twitter about a post that had been written by some book bloggers. Since then I’ve read and seen post after post subtly or even directly calling out these bloggers for a range of things (most of which are untrue). Their post has been interpreted in a bazillion different ways and I need to add my two-bit in. I don’t normally get involved in anything remotely ‘drama-ish’ in this community, but I’ve been rattled. I’m disappointed and angry at the responses from their post, but I’m mostly disappointed in the way that a lot of bloggers are treating the bloggers involved. They’re our fellow bloggers, friends to a lot of us – do they really need to be treated like this?

As a community, we’re all about having ‘safe places’ to voice our opinions, to talk about the problems with this community without judgement and fights (because as much as we’d love it, we aren’t all sunshine and rainbows), but as soon as we voice those opinions, they’re shut down. I don’t agree with everything that was listed in this post, and I’m not going to pretend to. I’m my own person. I have my own thoughts and opinions. But do I think they should have posted what they did? Absolutely. It’s their opinions, and it’s their blog. All the blog posts I’ve read so far have criticized the girls about their views on paid blogging, and said that bloggers should be able to blog how and about whatever they want to, without judgement… so I’m having a hard time dealing with these double-standards. You don’t have agree with everything everyone says on their blog. If you don’t agree with the post’s content, don’t comment, don’t involve yourself. I think a lot of bloggers have handled this cowardly. Being spiteful and plain old rude isn’t the way to deal with disagreements. Do we all have to go back to primary school and relearn manners and how to deal with conflict? It isn’t hard to agree to disagree agreeably (something my religion teacher says all the time).

But getting to the point of my post: in their post the girls talked about everything they love and loathe and get annoyed by in the book blogging community, and today my main focus of this post is that I want to do something of the same.

I haven’t been in this community very long, maybe a year or two, so I don’t remember the “good old days” like some of the bloggers that have more experience talk about… But I want to. I want this community to be less drama-prone. I want it to go back to being about the books were reading and sharing our feels. I’m lucky that I haven’t been effected my any of the major dramas, but I feel like as a community were getting less and less about actual reading. We’re turning into selfish promotional sites where we brag (to various degrees) about our publishing/author friends, about the gazillions of ARCs we read, about the “famous” friends we have. In the last few months we been shaken by scams, an upsurge of plagiarism and is it just me or are the trolls on a rampage lately? I’m getting spiteful/hateful/downright nasty comments on my Goodreads review because I wrote a negative review. When did we get so petty?

We’re caught up on this ideal of what it means to be a successful blogger but we have to remember that we’re all here to blog, to talk, to share our love for books. I don’t want to be hated on. I don’t want scroll my Twitter feeds and be bombarded my bloggers friends criticizing my other bloggers friends or just being spiteful. And while I encourage everyone to post about whatever the want to (as long as it’s not rude/mean etc.), it makes me sad to check out my favourite blogs and see a tonne of promotional posts and publisher-sponsored questionnaires/unboxings/whatever. When did we start getting so scared of our individual voices? I want discussions and hilarity and opinions and books. I want to read about bloggers! About books! I want open a post and hear what you have to say. If you can work out a way to be paid to sell something you probably don’t even care about, kudos for you being able to amke something you love into a job that pays (I’d do it in a heartbeat myself)… but don’t be scared to go write your own stuff. Don’t think that this is the only way to be, that it’s the way to ‘get popular’ or become a ‘big blog’. Your blog is yours, your outlet, entirely your own space on the internet. Choose what you want to post and never, ever be afraid to let your uniqueness show.

All I want is for us to be freer and less conflicted as bloggers and readers. I want us to break down the walls and unite as a community, really unite – to take a stance and promise to just be ourselves instead about wondering what our image is like, whether we’re popular enough, our blog is impressive enough, whether we get enough attention… I wish more of us could see what we’re becoming and fight it.

I know I’m guilty of some of this stuff myself, bBut I’m making an effort to be a better blogger, be a better person. I’m moving away from the drama. I want more for our community. We have so much to offer each other. We just need to take a step back and see what we are really doing. Do we need to be the way we are now? I don’t think so, so why not make that our aim for the year? Let’s move on, pass this phase. We have a lot to offer. Let’s make the most our what we, and only ourselves, can bring to the table. Let’s start promoting uniqueness, not uniformity.

I’m only this far away from deleting Twitter altogether so let’s not let it get that far.

Best of luck everyone. I know we can do it.

Rachel Lightwood


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31 responses to “{Bookish Babble} What’s Happening to the Book Blogging Community?

  1. Very well said. I think all people are entitled to share their opinion without being burned at the stake for it. Due to lack of internet, I actually missed all the drama but I think I get the gist of it. So bloggers want to be paid? Well why I don’t think its realistic, it would be awesome if it happened. As you said, who wouldn’t want to get paid for doing something they love! At the end of the day though, I think people need to remember why they started blogging in the first place. Was it not to share your passion for reading and connect with like minded people? I know that’s why I started, but I agree with you that blogging suddenly seems to have become a popularity contest. I too hope 2016 will be a better, more friendly year for us book-bloggers.

  2. Great post Rachel! I recently saw N&N’s post and there was so much I agreed and some that I didn’t but I still appreciated the post. Blogging is different for everyone and everyone will not and are not going to do things the same way. it’s what makes things interesting. I’ve been blogging for two years and there are still things I’m learning or changing about how I blog.

  3. I am so in love with this post, you have no idea! So, I commented on the follow-up post, basically rescinding my anonymity and then explaining the hypocrisy. One of my confessions was that I am not at all comfortable sharing my opinions because of the constant fear of drama and backlash. It’s so ironic, because the thing I feared was exactly what happened- and shouldn’t have at all. So, I 100% stand by everything I have said. And I stand behind Nick and Nereyda’s post, because they have every right to post their own feelings on their own blog. And the same for your amazing post, Rachel.

    The thing that got me the angriest was that, like you said, I may not have agreed with every single opinion, but I sure as hell respected the person’s right to have it. And when I thought about it, I realized that I DO do some of the things that other people didn’t like, but I did like them, and I don’t care if anyone else does- because I am doing things that make me happy, and things that aren’t causing harm to anyone else. I had a clean conscious, and pride in what I spew out there 😉

    But other people took offense to different activities or behaviors that someone else didn’t enjoy. At no time was ANY person (or group of people!) targeted or singled out or made to feel bad in any way. So if someone feels bad, it is going to be because they are feeling bad about their OWN behaviors- not whether some other blogger likes a certain trend or topic or whatever.

    I am done hiding and being too scared to share my thoughts. I feel like I am pretty decent to people in general, and I will continue to do so. But I am also not going to tiptoe around the damn internet worrying about who is going to take offense by every statement ever made.

    Just… LOVE this post. THANK YOU for it, you did an amazing job! ♥

  4. Soooo, obviously I’m stalking your blog this fine evening, ladies. And now my neck hurts from all the nodding I do as I read along. I’m also with Emily, in that for the most part my co-blogger and I have been EXCEPTIONALLY FORTUNATE to have good experiences and to somehow miss out on most of the drama. I’ve actually read this post twice very carefully to understand what the original problem was, and then I attempted googling it (to no avail). Needless to say – FOR NOW drama passes us by (probably because we’re the tiny, weird classmate in the corner drawing on their jeans, zoned out). Even so, I can’t possibly agree more with the general sentiment of (a) live and let live, and (b) do unto others… etc. The moment an opinion becomes invalid because someone else doesn’t like it (or, worse, because it doesn’t cater to the norm), we as a community and as a society are in big, big trouble.

    This really needed to be said. And thank you so much for saying it, Rachel.

    • It’s good to hear to have that support so thanks Lexie! I think we’re lucky to have missed out on all the drama, but this time I really just had to add my two-bit in. It’s important to me.

      And I’d link up the post but the girls have gotten so much hate and attention from the post that they’d prefer to stay anonymous. Nothing personal, I’m not ‘hiding’ them or anything, but if you’d seen some of the comments and responding posts you’d understand.

      Like you said, I wanted this to just be a general message to say be unique and happy with your own voice, let other bloggers blog what they want to and just and live and let live (couldn’t have phrased it better, Lexie!). Thanks for the show of support. It means a lot!

  5. Bravo Rachel! I was so infuriated when I saw this all blow up. It was just ridiculous and I felt the same way about their having their own opinions and being able to share in their own safe place. We should not have to censor ourselves just because we fear upsetting others. It was their opinion to post and there was never anything written that said “If you don’t agree with us, you’re wrong”. People just love to blow things out of proportion and it’s just sad.

    I am so over the drama in this community.

    Jessica@Lovin' Los Libros recently posted: Weekly Wrap Up: January 17-22
    • Thanks. I couldn’t have put it any better, Jessica! I was completely furious too (as you can tell from my post!) and am just disappointed that people don’t seem to understand that the girls had every right to post what they did… but that they don’t have the right to sledge other people for having opinions that they don’t agree with. The world doesn’t work that way and you’re right, it’s just sad.

  6. Great post! I was thinking about this after I read their post. They were just discussing their opinion on the likes and dislikes of book blogging. Is that not okay? I’ve not seen such judgmental people as I have in this community. I just feel like telling people to grow up. Of course there’s gonna be things we all agree and disagree with. It’s life! It’s a damn shame we can’t voice our opinions without fear of backlash.

    Ashley @ Ashleyz Wonderland recently posted: #Promo #PreOrder #Giveaway Rush of Insanity by Eden Summers
    • Thanks Ashley! I think it’s completely okay that they posted a post about their opinions. Obviously. What’s not okay is how so many bloggers reacted. I think we do need to tell them to grow up! It seems they’ve forgetting all their lesson about manners, and what constitutes as the appropriate way of dealing with conflicting opinions.

  7. I think I must actually live in a bubble or something, because my experience of the book blogging community has been nothing but positive! I mean, I read that post and everything but it seems so…far away from my experience of this community. Which I think is a good thing?? I’ve never been a fan of drama so maybe I’ve just managed to stay away from it 🙂

    • Is there room for two in that bubble of yours, Emily? 😉 I know what you mean though. I’m pretty lucky too that I’ve never really been involved in anything drama-ish myself, but I have seen a lot of what was mentioned in that post on Twitter which is why I had to say something this time. All the people bashing the girls seem to be people that were called out in the post, but they didn’t have to react like they did so I should stay away from it, but I think this was just something too close to home for me not to put my support out there.

  8. So because my presence on twitter leaves a lot to be desired this is the first I am hearing of the incident. I’m not going to go and add my two bits and fuel the explosion, so I’ll just comment here. I’ve been here for two or three years now so I don’t know about the good old days either, but there will always be aspects of book blogging we all like or don’t like. They should be free to express that as they mentioned. And like my mother tells me, if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all… I AM working towards making my blog more successful but that is a personal goal. The root of it all really is to talk and discuss about books and we shouldn’t want to ruin this. :3

    Olivia Roach recently posted: Nails Extravaganza - Suit Up!
    • You’re lucky that you managed to avoid the drama then, Olivia! We all do want to talk about books, and I think the thing ruining it is that there’s only some aspects (the good bits) that some bloggers want people to talk about. I know what you mean about saying only nice things, but at the same time, we cannot hide that we aren’t perfect as a community. If people aren’t willing to admit that, and want to discuss it, then it’s just going to fester. I think that even though it’s not pretty or maybe even pleasant, we have to be in state of mind that we can freely post anything we want to talk about (as long as it isn’t rude or spiteful).

      And I have to say, Olivia, that I’ve always been impressed with how enthusiastic and kind you are. You’ve managed to grow your blog into something very successful, and you’re modest and nice about it all. I remember when you just started up and I cannot believe how far you’ve gone since then. Cngrats to you for that and I hope that you can continue to work towards your goals, whatever they may be. <3

  9. Liza

    Rachel, I was thinking about this very thing last night and I’m so happy that you put those thoughts on paper.

    I think that society as a whole has become very critical, has less tolerance, empathy, and are more reactionary. Yes, we do have freedom of speech, but a line needs to be drawn when an opinion becomes hurtful and spiteful. Tolerance of letting others express their opinion is beautiful thing.

    I have been blogging for almost five years, and I remember those “good all days”. The community was smaller, but also, book bloggers were not seen as an asset and it was much harder to get an ARC. Netgalley and Edelweiss didn’t existed and we read books that we purchased and got at the library (I still do a whole lot of this!) I love the blogging, and I understand – as I hope all that read one or write one do – that blogs are personal sites to express our opinions. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Try not to be offended by it. Hate creates more hate. On the same token, tolerance and even love, create the same.

    • Thanks, Liza! <3

      Exactly! We need to allow other to speak out what's on their mind otherwise we're just promoting uniformity and oppression. You don't have to agree with someone's post to understand that they have the right to post what they won't to. We just have to be understanding and open. Don't hate on people because of their opinions, let them be free to discuss what they want and if you don't agree, then don't involve yourself.

      I've heard so much about what it used to be like and I"m sad that I wasn't into blogging then. But I love what you said and I agree. These are outlets. Express what you want, and don't hate on others. It's an easier concept when you think about it like that, and we'd all be so much happier if everyone accepted that.

  10. I’m with you! I’ve only been blogging for a couple years so I don’t know much about what it used to be like. Realistically, all communities of people have drama. I think of my friend group or my parents’ friends and they all still have some drama from time to time. It’s inevitable when people spend a lot of time together. But aside from that, I think it was pretty hypocritical that people were posting things about how upset they were about what was said, and that they should be able to blog/post about what they want without being criticized… when that’s all the original bloggers were trying to do! Everyone should be able to share an opinion. As long as you’re not being specifically mean to one person or calling them out for no reason, you should be able to share how you feel.

    • Thank you, Lauren! I agree with everything you said too. Yes, all groups do have drama but I think we’ve hit our limit. We’re just getting worse and I wish we could something to quell it. And I don’t understand those other posts at all – which is why I had to write what I did. How can they write a post promoting writing whatever you want without judgement while completely judging what the girl shad written? It’s completely hypocritical and that’s what makes me so mad. If it isn’t abusive, then there shouldn’t be a problem with people speaking their minds.

  11. I saw the post that caused all the drama and TBH I really don’t see why.
    I understand that some people maybe felt like they were called out so maybe I do understand them, but otherwise I don’t think that post was too mean.
    I obviously wasn’t a part of this community so I don’t remember ”good old days” (although I do follow some big blogs for years now).
    And honestly I don’t see why is it so wrong to be sponsored for your posts. It is a normal thing in other blog communities. And I am not talking about book reviews, I think that you have to be honest if you claim that you are.

    • I think a lot of the people responding negatively towards the post are the ones that were called out in it – maybe they just don’t like that some people were brave enough to call out their bullshit? I think that’s why I”m so disappointed – if they didn’t like what was being said, they shouldn’t have reacted. It’s okay to disagree with people, it’s not okay to be rude.

      And eh, I’m still half and half on the situation. I like that people are able to make a living from blogging, but at the same time I don’t like the idea that their creative sides are being squashed as publishers/authors etc. tell them what to write… or pay them and influence their opinions. I want honesty in this community. I think it’s one of the most important ingredients in any relationships.

  12. This is why I don’t have a Twitter account, and also why I deleted my FB account last year. So tired of all the drama llamas out there acting like kindergarten bullies. I don’t know what latest drama you’re referring to is, but I’ve been in and out of the book blogging community for a few years now and unfortunately the crap stuff seems to be escalating. I just ignore it and do my own thing over in my little corner of the blogging world!

    • I was close to deleting my Twitter account myself, but I thought about it and I decided that I didn’t want the bullies to have that much control over me. I should be able to use social media without all these ‘drama llamas’ (love that phrase!) harassing my friends and ruinign everyone’s day… so I’m staying on principle. Same! I try and avoid it all by staying to myself. This time though, I just couldn’t.

  13. This community sucks big time. I hate to say it, but It’s true. All the pettiness and drama is uncalled for. And the main ones who got angry over that confessions post,are guilty of whatever offended them in the first place. Everyone is all “look at me and my such and such”, when it should really be about our own opinions of books. I think I’ll be going back to just reviewing on Goodreads before the year is out. I don’t like being bothered with pompous, rude butt kissers.

    LeKeisha recently posted: Stacking The Shelves #71
    • I think that’s why I was so annoyed too, Lekeisha! I hate that most of the people calling out the post were saying that we should be allowed to blog without judgement and all this… why completely judging the girls! Hypocritical much? And yes, unfortunately there’s a lot of hate in the community at the moment. And oh no, I wish you didn’t feel like you have to leave. If that’s what you have to do, do it. But I’m sad that you feel like it’s gotten to that!

  14. I haven’t heard anything about this post, I’m curious what this was about now, maybe somebody has a link?
    To be honest, I don’t think there is a book blogging community, really. The community is what you make of it,the people you follow. If you’re feeling like the atmosphere’s getting toxic – unfollow a couple and follow new ones!

    • Eh, I was trying to keep it as anonymous as possible sorry! It’s just that the girls have had a tonne of abuse about the post and were trying to avoid even more… sorry.

      I understand what you mean, and I’m lucky that the closer circles of bloggers I do ‘hang with’ are incredible and completely supportive. But I’d just love if we could unite on a larger scale. I don’t want there to be cliques and everything. I mean, I know there will be. We cannot entirely eliminate that but I just wish there was someone we could. And yeah, that’s a good idea. I just went on a massive purge the other day on Bloglovin’ and unfollowed a tonne of blogs/bloggers.

  15. Nice post! I see a lot of things on Twitter that make me mad but now I just ignore it because I don’t want to get hate mail to stress me out! My book blog is small and I don’t get bothered by how many people are following me. I’m not obsessed with becoming big and popular with 40 comments per blog post-frankly I wouldn’t have time to deal with being that popular! I do my blog to share my books and thoughts and most of my posts get ten views and no comments. So I don’t get any abuse and I also moderate every comment to stop offensive stuff getting through. On Goodreads, only my friends can comment on my reviews which stops trolls but I notice that if a troll leaves a nasty comment and you don’t respond in any way, they get angry because you won’t engage then finally give up and go and annoy someone else. I’m happy with my small blog and quiet life!

    • Thanks! I think that’s what a lot of bloggers do to avoid the drama, but that makes me so sad. We shouldn’t have to miss out on things or avoid social media sites because other people are drawn to creating conflict. But sometimes avoidance starves off the perpetrators, like you said – they want attention, so maybe you’re on the right track with that line of thinking!

      But I’m so glad you’ve been able to find a way of blogging that makes you happy. You’re right – the number of comments on your posts doesn’t determine your worth as a blogger. I personally find comments to be my favourite part of blogging (I love interacting with it everyone!), but sometimes people don’t think before they type and it can get ugly. I guess you have to do whatever it is that makes you happy though.

  16. Beautifully written post Rachel! Book blogging has changed so much from what it used to be, and it seems more bitchy and competitive than actually being about reading and about books these days. Frankly, I’ve gotten tired of seeing that on my Twitter feed and I’m sick of reacting to that. So I’m surrounding myself by people who ARE genuine and who DO want a more positive book loving community, instead of those drama loving souls.

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted: Winter by Marissa Meyer Review: Fangirling over my OTPs
    • Thanks Jeann! I’m glad to hear that this is not just me over-reacting. I just feel like we’re losing touch with all started out to do: talk about books. Like you said, we’ve become bitchy and competitive and it’s so damn tiring. I’m lucky that I have some really fantastic blogging friends and am so incredibly grateful for the wonderful bloggers still out there who are so kind and generous and honest. We need more people like you, Jeann! Let’s hope 2016 will be the year that everyone decides to finally unite.

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