Inside Michelle’s Brain – Trends in Book Blogging Part 6

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While I haven’t been that active in visiting other blogs and commenting on various posts and reviews in recent months, I have noticed certain trends that have me rolling my eyes, raising my eyebrows and in general wondering about the state of book blogging. I want to take some time to address each one and hopefully start a discussion about them. As I have a lot to say, this is going to be spread out over several weeks. Think of it as a modern-day expose on the world of book blogging. I’ve discussed readathons, giveaways, blog hops, rules and reasons to start blogging. This week I tackle the idea of followers.

Followers. Every blogger wants them. To say otherwise would be a lie. Followers are what validate our writings, provide feedback and much-needed support. A well-timed comment can make a bad day a great one. However, followers do not make a great blog. One can have hundreds, if not thousands, of followers and still struggle with making connections with the publishing industry. It really is about content at the end of the day.

I must confess how dismayed I am at the recent trend of doing anything and everything to get followers. In my recent discussions of blog hops and giveaways, it was brought up over and over again by commentators that they felt these events were done with the sole purpose of creating a large number of followers for participating blogs. Maybe I missed something, but when did blogging become about the number of people who supposedly follow your blog and not about the content? Since when does all but begging for followers mean you are successful? As with everything else I’ve discussed, I don’t get it.

Call me naive but I really would rather have ten good followers, ones who stop by all the time to comment and with whom I have developed a great rapport than have 100 followers who sign up just because they hope to get something from me. Am I old-fashioned in this thinking? If not, why are SO many new bloggers so obsessed with followers? What am I missing?

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20 Responses to Inside Michelle’s Brain – Trends in Book Blogging Part 6
  1. Michelle
    April 13, 2011 | 6:12 PM

    I will admit that I get a thrill when I see my twitter followers and blog hits and feed subscribers rise. I mean, it's nice to know there are people out there listening. But the constant begging for follower and discussion of followers is annoying.

    I hope you will excuse me though when I have 799 or 899 or 999 twitter followers and I tell the world I need just ONE more to relax. ;)
    My recent post Purple Daze Book Review

  2. Patty
    April 13, 2011 | 9:47 PM

    I love and enjoy your insights on all of this…I think that you are bringing sense into this world of blogging. I think that when you first begin to blog…you do get caught up in the insecurity of not having a ton of followers. When I began my blog it was just before BEA in NYC and all I saw were tons of photos of stacks and stacks of books that people were sort of showing off…and I had no clue what this was or why this was happening…and then seeing Mailbox Monday's…and certain other weekly posts that I thought were required when you blogged…just worked to make me feel totally inadequate. I now realize that it is more important to find my own voice and not worry about any of that…but when you are new…it is a little overwhelming. I do feel more and more comfortable with my blog…doing it my way. I am so delighted to get emails from publishers and I feel really proud of the way I am doing it. My purpose is to write what I feel and slowly I am learning to do that. I do love comments though and can never get enough of them…sadly!!!
    My recent post Rainy Daze

  3. Michelle
    April 14, 2011 | 1:57 AM

    Chris, I agree. I have a small number of followers, compared to others, but still have to pick and choose among the requests I get on a daily basis. I'd like to think that if you and I can do so, then it really is the content that is most important.

  4. Michelle
    April 14, 2011 | 2:05 AM

    Julie, I can visit and comment other blogs but might not follow someone. My time is precious, and if I were to subscribe to everyone who I visited, I would never have time to visit everyone, let alone make comments. To me, the comments are the most important, not the followers. I do not follow automatically just because I make a comment. There are just too many blogs out there to do so.

    I do think that the number of subscribers/followers is tied to content, but more importantly, I think it takes time to develop the content enough to get the followers. Most of the big bloggers, those who have both the content and the followers, have been blogging for years.

  5. Michelle
    April 14, 2011 | 2:10 AM

    Michelle, I feel the same way, if I am going to be completely honest, but there is a reason why I don't have the "Follower" button on my blog. I don't want it because I don't want it to define what I am about.

    I'll forgive you having to ask for one more Twitter follower, but I'm not sure Jen will! She might have to kick you in the shin.

  6. Michelle
    April 14, 2011 | 2:16 AM

    Thanks, Cori! You and I have the same philosophy. I would like to have more followers and more comments, but I love those followers that I have and wouldn't trade it for the world. Visitors like you are what keep me blogging!

  7. Michelle
    April 14, 2011 | 2:18 AM

    Pam, I have a subscribers link but not a followers tab for exactly that reason. The content is what is most important to me.

  8. Michelle
    April 14, 2011 | 2:22 AM

    Thanks, Patty! I'm glad that I can be of service. This really just started with me wanting to vent and try to make sense of some things I was seeing myself. Blogging can be overwhelming even after several years! I think if you continue to do it your way, you will be fine. And I can never get enough comments either. ;)

  9. Michelle
    April 14, 2011 | 2:24 AM

    Sarah, I think the one thing that is important is that you are blogging your way. You are doing what you want and not subscribing to the hype or pressure from other bloggers. I like the individuality!

  10. TrueBookAddict
    April 14, 2011 | 6:06 AM

    I'm with you here, Michelle. It always amazes me when I stop by a blog that has been blogging for a year or less and they have 1000+ followers. WTH?! I've been blogging for almost two years and I have less than 400. But, like you said, I would rather have a few followers with whom I have a reciprocal relationship, than a ton who I never interact with. Good post. :)
    My recent post CAT THURSDAY

  11. amymckie
    April 14, 2011 | 11:59 AM

    I'm with you. I'd rather real commenters to just some number of followers. And I think you are lucky to have that :)

  12. Bryan G.
    April 14, 2011 | 2:11 PM

    Some people want more followers not for publishers, but because they're trying to promote their own writing, i.e. a book that they're writing. To me, that's okay, but that's not why I'm here. I don't know if I have the kind of mind, uncluttered, to write a book. That's partially why I have a blog: to "dump" the clutter on everyone else. :) In fact, even with my latest giveaway (one of only two I've had and this, the first one that I've followed through with), that's the main reason I'm doing it: to "dump" my clutter of books on others. I don't care about the followers. I'm glad for the loyal few readers I do have.
    My recent post Taking a break from one series to start another!! — and winners of giveaway announced TSS

  13. Ceri
    April 16, 2011 | 3:30 PM

    You said it, girl. There's way too much of the whole "You must be a follower/comment in order to enter this competition" etc. It all seems to tie into the idea of holding contests, giveaways, etc. in order to attract more people for the wrong reason. :S
    My recent post Using Insanity to get back to Reality

  14. Michelle
    April 18, 2011 | 1:53 AM

    I've been blogging for over two years and only have 42 official Google followers and less than 200 who subscribe via Feedburner! Maybe that is why I object to these newbies with thousands of followers in such a short period of time? LOL!

    I still feel that it is quality, not quantity. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

  15. Michelle
    April 18, 2011 | 1:53 AM

    Thanks, Amy! I know I am. I love my regular followers who I know will stop by to visit and brighten my day.

  16. Michelle
    April 18, 2011 | 1:59 AM

    I'm not looking to write a book, either. I guess I can see the "need" for a large number of followers if one is hoping to sell a book, but isn't it better to prove that you can write first? I would think a large number of followers before even writing it is a double-edged sword. Those same followers could cause a huge backlash if your book isn't very good.

  17. Michelle
    April 18, 2011 | 2:00 AM

    Yep, there is a definite theme going on here, and most of what I've discussed is intricately linked. I don't like most of it, but then again, I'm small potatoes compared to others.

  18. Michelle
    April 22, 2011 | 1:16 AM

    I wonder if it is a "generational" thing, meaning bloggers who have only been blogging for less than a year versus those of us who have been blogging for longer than that. I wonder if it is as easy as making that generalization. Thoughts?

  19. Jamie
    May 11, 2011 | 2:23 AM

    *comment rather than content lol
    My recent post Sometimes When I Cant Read I

  20. Michelle
    May 15, 2011 | 3:08 AM

    I am with you. I think there is a misconception among new bloggers that publishers are interested in followers. Then again, when the publishers on NetGalley require this information to establish criteria on accepting a blogger's request for a galley, it doesn't help our case, does it?

    I think your story is a testament to exactly the point I have been trying to make – to be truly successful as a blogger, it requires time and effort. It is all about making those connections, visiting blogs and putting forth the effort to network. I with others would share that message instead of trying to take shortcuts. These shortcuts mostly give bloggers a bad name IMO.

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