Back in June of 2011, there was an onslaught of posts on jealousy within the writing world and book blogging world. (I will put links to a few of these at the end of this post.) I enjoyed reading them because I related to most of what everyone said. I’ve dealt with my own feelings of jealousy since I started blogging in June of 2010, and the posts inspired me to share a little bit about how I felt when I first started blogging.
(Please note this is not a response to the other posts. It’s merely inspired by them.)
Beginnings, With A Side Of Jealousy
It was June 2010 when I started working on the design, layout, and content for The Well-Read Wife. I was meticulous from the start. And by meticulous, I mean I hired a blog consultant, the wonderful Megan Jordan, who explained the ins and outs of search engine optimization, social media, and the importance of quality content. I will be forever grateful to her because I get a large amount of traffic via Google and other search engines which I would have never gotten without her help. I was a bastion of preparedness ready to take on the Internet (where I was sure to be queen – so I thought). What I didn’t see coming was the inner “fame monster” that would begin to fester and grow as my blog did.
Despite all of my advance preparations and advantages, shortly after The Well-Read Wife launched I began to have feelings of jealousy towards the other more established book bloggers out there. This is only natural, right? But, I couldn’t help myself. Once I became active on Twitter, it was like there was this whole society of book bloggers that I was not a part of yet and I really wanted to know the secret handshake to become a member. Although most everyone was really nice and if not nice, then tolerant of my newbie questions, I still felt envy.
I would see a tweet where someone was writing about how they just read a book that wasn’t coming out until January or February of 2011 (remember this was back in June 2010) and I would wonder, How is it possible to have read a book that’s coming out almost a year from now? I was clueless. I eventually stumbled upon NetGalley.com on my own through a Google search that probably read something like: So, how the f*$% do I get a book that comes out in 2011?
Don't Hate the Player
Also, so many bloggers reached out and helped me. They helped me discover things such as Galley Grab and shared publicity contacts that would have taken me a long time to figure out on my own. Basically, this is an awesome group of people. Yet, I still felt jealous. But was I really jealous of the other book bloggers or was I jealous of their insider knowledge of the industry? Perhaps a little of both.
I started blogging right after BEA (BookExpo America) last year. So, there was much excitement in the book blogging world going on that I wasn’t a part of. And to top it all off, I had no idea what the heck BEA was! So imagine my confusion when post after post described amazing book hauls of ARCs -- and by the way, what is this ARC that people speak of? -- that I had no hopes of getting my hands on anytime soon.
Then there’s the stats. Was I jealous over stats? Kind of. I mean I really wanted to have awesome stats right away, but at the same time I knew that if I kept chugging away I would eventually see improvement. It’s a lot of work though. *whines* It’s like hard y’all! (please no "that’s what she saids" in the comments.) Having great stats is a lot more than just SEO, it’s relative to content. Sometimes the content just wasn’t there on my blog, and then I would look at a blog with an awesome post or feature and think Why didn’t I come up with that?
How Did I Deal With The Jealousy I Felt?
Most of my jealousy issues were related to insider information that I didn’t have. So one day I decided to quit feeling sorry for myself and ask for help with what I didn’t understand. I never had a nasty response from any of the bloggers I approached. I also started researching, going on publisher’s websites, and looking up contact information myself. Some bloggers (for example The Story Siren) even have sections on their sites dedicated to helping out beginning bloggers. Other bloggers have been an invaluable resource to the development of this site, and because of that, jealousy has become less of an issue for me. So my advice to frustrated beginning bloggers: Don’t be scared to reach out and ask for help. Until you understand the game, you’re probably gonna player hate a little.
Slaying The Fame Monster
Now, it’s over a year later. I now know what an ARC is, and I just got back from BEA with my own incredible assortment of books. My stats, after much hard work, are getting better everyday. So am I still jealous? Occasionally. I am a big Lady Gaga fan, and because of her I started referring to my jealous streak as my inner Fame Monster. Why call it a Fame Monster? I see it like this: We would love to have our blogs recognized and widely read, right? And what comes with a large readership? Fame.
Recently, I went to see Lady Gaga in concert. Her concert was set up much like a Broadway play. Every act of the concert slowly built up to Lady Gaga coming face to face with and battling the Fame Monster. The Fame Monster was a huge black blob that was brought out by puppeteers. Amidst the elaborate scenery and within the eerie atmosphere Lady Gaga managed to create, the Fame Monster was pretty damn scary. When Lady Gaga shouted to the crowd that we had the power to KILL the Fame Monster by taking pictures of it with our cell phone flashes on, I marveled at the twinkling lights that suddenly shot out of everyone’s hands. We have the power. We have the power to stop the Fame Monster by working together. I held up my cell phone and killed that bastard.
Here are links to posts I read that inspired me:
- Jealousy in Blogger – a stat whore’s take.
- Jealousy and Book Bloggers
- DEAR SUGAR, The Rumpus Advice Column #69: We Are All Savages Inside
Photo Credit: SapphireBlue.
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