Notes of a newbie in the blogosphere

I started blogging 4.5 months ago. Even though it feels like several lifetimes ago, I think I’m still a newbie. I still get surprised by things considered ordinary. Here are some of them.

1. Acronyms and jargon of the blogging world

Life is short and book bloggers know it. There are only that many books that one can read and that many posts that one can write, so it’s only logical to contract as many words as possible and to invent new terms for things.

Twitter text says, Sorry I've been MIA. Finishing your TBR? I wish! New book haul instead, You? Still in a reading slump? Yeah, DNFed most of my ARCs of YA and NA.

Here’s the translation:

‘Sorry, I’ve been out of touch.’
‘Have you been finishing all the books you planned to read?’
‘I wish. I just bought tons of new books instead. You? Are you still stuck in this state when you don’t feel like reading anymore?’
‘Yeah, I dropped most of my advance reading copies of young adult and new adult genres’

Yes, it was definitely longer to type.

It takes time to learn all the terms and abbreviations. Once I got so desperate that I started googling for some list of all these terms. Turns out one blogger did compose a list of popular terms and acronyms!

Twitter text that says, Just saw a phrase: "My WIP is YA fantasy." Suggesting a translation: My whip is your fantasy.

(It actually means: “I’m writing a book of a young adult genre”)

2. To be or not to be a reviewer who posts negative reviews

Apparently, it’s a popular dilemma in the blogging world. This question reappears on Twitter several times a week and it always causes heated debates and attracts attention.

Twitter post that says, I don't read reviewers who give only positive reviews. They don't want to hurt somebody's feelings. I don't want to hurt my time.

Just a few months ago I naively believed that a book reviewer is a person who reviews books. Apparently, it’s not that simple. Some book reviewers are actually book praisers. They openly state they will never give a book a negative review. They say they don’t want to hurt authors’ feelings.

I actually think they also don’t want to hurt the publishers’ feelings as well, because they are afraid to be cut off from the free supplies of reading copies. So much for “in exchange for my honest review”.

Meanwhile, there are several reasons why negative reviews are needed.

  • A negative review still gives a book more exposure that no review at all.
  • A negative review helps making future books better.

These are not my primary reasons for writing negative reviews, though. I am here to express any opinion: negative, positive or mixed. There’s nothing like putting your feelings into words. If I can’t get this satisfaction from my blog, I don’t see why bother having a blog at all. (So subscribe to my blog for obviously honest reviews 😉)

3. Paper vs Digital vs Audio format

Another popular debate is on which books count as real books, or which books give a better feeling of books. In fact, whenever somebody brings this topic up, there will be some feedback. Long before anybody read my blog, I wrote my own opinion on paper vs digital copy too. I still like that post, so you can read it now, and tell me what you think.

Now, 4.5 months into my blogging life, I can summarise my updated opinion as: paper books are pretty, Kindle books are practical, audiobooks are a lifesaver if for some reason you can’t use the previous two.

4. Fantastic followers and where to find them

Of course I knew bloggers want to be read. Otherwise, why post anything online at all? But I hadn’t imagined the scale of this wish before I started blogging. For some, gaining followers becomes the most important thing. It’s almost like currency. People give it to each other, and some think others owe them “a follow” if they followed first. They can even withdraw their “follow” if they haven’t received the “follow-back” they expected! I wonder if dictionaries already added an extra meaning to the word “follow” because it’s definitely not just about reading something interesting anymore.

Meanwhile, another surprising thing is that more followers don’t automatically change anything for a blog. Google (and other search engines) are still the primary judges of how visible a blog should be. Followers are there to have fun conversations with. I love my conversations with: Sarah, Stephen, CJ, Herding Cats, Brittany, Melissa, Silver Screenings, CJStark, NS, Inge, Bella G. Bear, Norrie, Ova, Umut, Eva, Kelly, Evelina, Fay, Jee. I wrote them down from memory!

There are more things I noticed and found surprising as a newbie. I’ll write about them later, if anybody (including me) gets interested in the topic. Let’s keep in touch in the meantime. Subscribe to my blog, if you are not subscribed already, or just remember where to find me and come back soon! 🙂


59 thoughts on “Notes of a newbie in the blogosphere

    1. I know what you mean. It’s also so unpredictable. Sometimes I feel like I have all the time in the world, so I start a longer discussion and then I have to be distracted, and when I return the other person is probably busy too :)) It also depends on the way you treat it though. For some it’s always ok to reply much later.

    1. Hi Stephen! I’m glad you liked the post. It was not easy to write because it’s a new format for me and I wasn’t sure if it was needed at all. With all the feedback now, I’m happy I posted it, after all 🙂

  1. This is such a fun post and I can relate to so much of what you said! In particular the non-negative reviews book blogger doesn’t make much sense to me, nor does the follow for follow type but I guess everyone is different and we should respect that.

    1. Thank you Darina! How long have you been blogging? Maybe you are also a beginner, like me, that’s why some things still seem so unexpected and unusual for us? I hope, though, that my attitude will not change in the future 🙂

  2. 🙂 I have been blogging for many years and I have never used acronyms because I want people to know what I have discussed right away; they should not have to guess.

    Do have yourself a wonderful week.

    And, may you continue to blog!

    1. Exactly Renard! That’s what I think too. I want all kinds of people to read my blog, not only those who understand all the codes. Still, though, I once used “DNF” in my post, and that was my husband who noticed it and said that it was better to change it because it’s not an obvious word for everybody. And I didn’t even notice it, even though I specifically tried to be readable for all! All these acronyms stick fast, if one is not careful enough 🙂

      Thank you for your good wishes! Have a great week and enjoy blogging too! 🙂

  3. Great post.

    I’ve been a part of a number of different communities and I think they all have their in jargon. It’s all about giving people something for them to feel part of the community. But yes, there are some odd ones in the book blogging world. I still regularly have to google new ones as they pop up.

    The positive/negative reviews debate is an interesting one. I think the reasons you have stated above are definitely right for many people. I’ve seen some people state they just don’t want to put the time and effort into writing something that is clouded in negativity. They find it helpful for their mental wellbeing to focus on the positive only. I get that, and I think people should just do what works for them. I’ve always given my honest thoughts, whether those be positive or negative. I have faced some backlash from negative reviews from authors/publishers on occasion. But hey ho, such is life.

    Thank you for that shout out at the end. It’s much appreciated. <3

    1. Hey! Nice to see you here again. By the way, now when I’m from a computer I also see your photo instead of the cartoon. So, it’s nice to see you like that too :))

      About reviews, yes, I totally understand this in theory. I mean, in practice I cannot imagine how it can be more pleasurable to dislike a book in silence, keeping all the thoughts to yourself, rather than expressing your opinion and maybe even hearing back from someone who shares it. But, as we talked on Twitter earlier, all people are different, so I can’t really know how it feels for them.

      As for me, I don’t think I feel any negativity at all. It’s not a personal battle or an online war. Some people actually wrote to me that they were laughing a lot when reading my reviews, including negative ones.

      Anyway, bottom line is, as a reader I still prefer reviewers who tell it all to me, not only the nice and awesome things, but give me as much info as possible.

      It’s interesting that you still sometimes have to google for some acronyms. I don’t think people actually invent them artificially. I think they kind of happen, because it’s easier and faster and then the new words stay. As I said in another comment here, I have to watch myself carefully not to use them in my blog. I do use them on Twitter when I talk to people who I know will understand me.

      You are very welcome (about the shoutout). I saw THE Alexandra again in my notifications but didn’t have time yet to read the new tag post. Thank you for mentioning me! 🙂

      1. I changed my picture. I figured it was time for a change. I was going to draw a new one, but decided to be brave and show my face. I can only apologise! 😂

  4. Great post! Made me smile. As an author, it’s always fun/helpful to get the blogger/reviewer perspective! I think negative reviews are legit, as long as the reviewer isn’t just in a bad mood and venting. 😛

    1. Hi Rebecca! Thank you 🙂 It’s interesting that you also think so. I once talked to another author and he also said that negative reviews can’t feel pleasant but he still appreciates them because they actually show him how to get better.

      In fact, I don’t think any book ever was universally liked, that is if the book was popular enough. Once really large numbers of people read a book, there will be some with different values, tastes and opinions who will not like it.

  5. I struggle with the acronyms at first too but I think I’ve got it down now. Every once in a while something will pop up that I don’t know what it means so I have to research it.

    1. I find them quite fun. I like imagining other things they might mean. Have you ever heard about ICYMI? That’s the most recent one I saw. It means “in case you missed it”, but I like imagining other variants, like “I can yell my initials”.

      1. Yeah that was one that took me forever to figure out what it meant but I finally did eventually lol. Yeah that could be fun to come up with different meanings although I’ve never done that.

          1. I don’t even remember how I finally figured out what it meant. I think it just hit when I kept reading a comment over and over and I was like what the heck does that even mean.

      1. Good point!

        Sort of. I feel like I’ve made some very good connections though now. And I have a system set up for myself for reading/reviewing/requesting.

          1. Nothing earth-shattering. I’m just better now at organizing my dates, setting up my posts, and creating time for shares/ Twitter stuff, etc. I had no idea abt a lot of things when I started. I just looked at other bloggers and did what did. Ha!

  6. Oh the dilemma of the negative reviews… i don’t think any professional publisher would feel personally offended by negative reviews.
    I posted a negative review of a book once where the publisher asked me if i wanted to read it. Then a few months later they asked me about another book because i “did such a great job” reviewing the previous one. I rated it a 2, but they didn’t bother. 😀 As they shouldn’t, really.

    1. Really?! What a story :)) I love it, thanks for sharing! I’m not sure how it works there in publishing on deeper levels, but I can imagine it’s important for them to generate a hype, and if it’s a fun review that attracts attention it’s better than a generic good one maybe? Let alone, an absence of a review. In fact, quite a few people already told me that they wanted to read a book after my negative review because they got curious about the book.

      I hope they really do not care and the majority of reviewers express all kinds of opinions.

        1. I definitely get interested by negative reviews. They are usually so emotional, so I always want to know more about the book that got a person into such a state 😆

  7. I’ve been blogging for like a year and a half and I still feel like a newbie!!! There are still slang terms I don’t know!! I recently wrote a post on what NaNoWriMo was because I was seeing it everywhere and had no idea 😂😂 And I agree with your views on negative reviews and book formats! As long as someone is reading does it matter if its physical, electronic, or audio?!?! They each have their pros and cons!! And thanks for including me in your list <3 I love our conversations too!!

    1. Hi Brittany! I’m actually glad to hear that you still feel like a newbie. I hope to keep this feeling for as long as possible. It allows different perspectives at once 🙂 I knew what NaNoWriMo was because I even did it once, years ago. But did you know about Movember? Although it’s not book related. It’s when everybody grows moustache. Well, those who can, I mean … I think that’s probably what happened to Cumberbatch. :))

  8. Such a good post! I think I started blogging around the same time as you, and I’ve learnt those same things too. The abbreviations weren’t a problem, I still don’t like using WIP though. I’ve seen that some bloggers only seem to review books they enjoyed, but negative reviews are equally important as positive ones.

    1. Yes, I remember our blogs are the same age, it feels like they are going to pre-school together, or something like that 😄 I absolutely cannot imagine you calling your novel a WIP (and I still can’t help but think of a whip when I hear the acronym). So, do you mean you deciphered ICYMI easily?

      I totally agree about the importance of all reviews. Those are reviews, that’s in the meaning of the word.

      1. Oh yeah, forgot about ICYMI… you have a better memory than me. But that one is not limited to book blogger speak 🙂
        WIP to me just looks like ‘wipe’. It’s just a bit gross for some reason 😀

        1. hahaha, it’s even funnier with wipe. But I didn’t remember it was you who asked on Twitter about ICYMI (was it you?). I was just curious because it’s the most complicated one I’ve seen so far.

          1. You mean you don’t remember every one of my Tweets?! 😉
            I mentioned that I’d only just realised what ICYMI meant, after being on Twitter for a certain amount of time. It was a while ago. Maybe other people mentioned it too 🙂

          2. So then I do remember a tweet, but it wasn’t yours :)) Which means there were several of us at the same time wondering about ICYMI. Do you know HEA? Inge mentioned it and now I’m mesmerised by it, thinking what it might mean. It’s almost like an Australian pronunciation of “here”.

  9. I love this article – and I feel you’ve slotted into the reviewing community at lightspeed:). Thank you for the shoutout regarding the conversations – I find that’s the exciting part of being part of a book blogging community. After years and years of reading being a solitary activity, I am so excited that I can now discuss books with other folks! As regards the negative review issue – my take is that I won’t bother to finish books I basically dislike, therefore in all conscience, I simply can’t review them. However, if I have a problem or issues with a book I am reviewing, I make a point of mentioning it – and of course, what I might find annoying, other folks often like:).

    1. Oh Sarah, you said “article”, I now feel so proud 😇.

      As for unfinished books, to me, for example, it’s important to know when a book was dropped. I share my taste in books with some bloggers. On several occasions I attempted to read books they DNFed (acronym alert!), and had to eventually drop the book myself. Now whenever I see they DNF (again!) a book, I just don’t waste my own time on the book. It’s very useful.

      I think a post about an unfinished book is still informative, because the things that made you drop the book wouldn’t have disappeared if you had continued reading.

      And yes, I agree with you that any review is subjective. Everybody sees something different in a book.

  10. Ah thanks so much for the mention! Such a great post. I use WIP or Work In Progress all the time at work but there were other things like HEA and ICYMI that took a bit of time..
    I can’t praise you enough for wanting to write honest and if need be not so positive reviews too. I love to read them and figure out if it would stop me reading a book. I try to be honest too but sometimes I’m worried I might be too direct because I am like that. It’s also a reason why I try not to do many blog tours any more. If I read reviews then it’s the most amazing book they ever read but then it doesn’t get 5 stars on Goodreads or show in their fav at the end of the year.. so I’m less inclined to believe a review if it’s on a blog tour.

    1. Hi Inge! Well as you can imagine, I love “too direct”. 🙂

      I know very little about blog tours. Are the bloggers who are on the blog tours supposed to say only positive things about the book? I once heard an explanation like that and I thought I misunderstood. I notice I often ignore books from the tours because there are just so many posts about one book that I get tired of seeing the cover all the time.

      That’s the first time I see HEA at all. Sounds like some Greek goddess. I’ll google :)) So excited!

      1. Haha it’s when talking about the ending, they lived Happily Ever After or it had a HEA ending.
        The reviews on blog tours should be honest and bloggers are invited to inform the organisor if they wouldn’t give the book 3 stars or more so they can change from review to say guestpost so that’s good. It just strikes me that there are always so many superlatives and it’s like the best book ever. There’s definitely some expectation for a positive review but sometimes bloggers really overdo it.

        1. You are so right. I’m already deaf to all the superlatives. The reaction is almost like to all other advertising, the brain learns to filter it out.

  11. I had NO idea you only started 4.5 months ago!!! You have such a huge following already!! I thought you’d been at this for at least a year, if not more. You’re doing such an awesome job. 🙂

    Thanks so much for the shout out! I love our conversations, too! I hope to have more of them in the new year. This month has been so hectic with work, blog, and holidays, and I’m SO behind on everything! I am slowly working my way through emails and blogs and commenting today, haha. I’m always so grateful for the support I receive from you, and from so many others in the blogging community! 🙂

    1. Hi CJ! Well, the most important is not to worry about being on time with reviews, or comments, or posts. I have a feeling that many bloggers burn out exactly because of that. So you are all good. I always have a feeling that you are somewhere nearby in this blogosphere. We can always chat 🙂

      As for the following, it’s another illusion. :)) It adds my Twitter followers to my WordPress followers so the number looks that big. You can also change it in your setting if you want. It’s a comfortable feature because then, if you have prescheduled posts and they get posted while you are away from the computer, they get automatically posted to your Twitter timeline too. Also, you can add many other social networks there, like FB or Linkedin. And then the number of people from those contacts get added to the blog subscribers count too. But I actually do feel that I have an awesome following because of all the conversations I’m getting here. 🙂

  12. As someone even newer to blogging than yourself, this was really enlightening. I didn’t realise there were people who only do positive reviews. Seems a bit silly (although I haven’t actually given a bad one yet myself, just haven’t read a crappy book since I started). Do you listen to a lot of audiobooks? I’ve tried in the past and wasn’t able to appreciate it. Any tricks to it?

    1. Hi! I hope you’d still like to get my reply, I know I’m replying rather late. I’m sorry! How long have you been blogging?
      I do listen to audiobooks but I’m doing it less and less often because it’s so hard to find a good one. The main trick for me is to be doing something repetitive while I listen to a book, some housework, for example. If the work is anything that demands more attention, then my focus drifts off. Of course, I always try to preview the audiobook, because sometimes it’s just the narrator’s intonation or the voice itself that can ruin it. I also usually buy audiobooks that go together with the Kindle books I already bought. It’s cheaper this way if you buy a discounted Kindle book. An audiobook for an already purchased Kindle book is always cheaper.
      How are you with audiobooks now? Did you give up on them completely?

  13. I really enjoyed this post. You are so right! Bloggers who have been blogging for years forget that some newbies might not know the lingo of book blogging.
    BTW (by the way) I would have interpreted that last line as :
    ‘Yeah, I did not finish most of my advance reading copies of young adult and new adult genres’

    1. Yes, you are right about your interpretation, really. I should correct it.

      I know BTW 🙂 but there are so many that are completely knew. Sometimes it feels like whole sentences can be shortened this way.

  14. I remember WIP took me the longest to figure out xD

    I also still write negative reviews too (and I think they’re useful, I will always look for negative reviews when I am deciding about a book). But I don’t post them on the blog. I write short ones and post them on Goodreads / NetGalley / Amazon – where it matters – but writing and formatting posts on the blog takes so long, I don’t feel like wasting my time to write more stuff about something I didn’t like. So I just throw it onto social media without too much thinking 😀

    Follower numbers only really change how many review copies you will get when you request them, because you list your numbers, and they won’t consider you below a certain number sometimes. And also the numbers can make you feel less horrible about your blog xD at least, I suffered a lot when people had loads of followers and I almost didn’t have any. I don’t read YA, so that hurts my numbers a lot, but I always felt inferior about my follows. I have an alright number now, but it’s still two times smaller than most people who have been blogging for the same time as me. So when I am having a bad day, this thing bothers me xD but actually, subscribers still give you more visibility. At least a third of all my views come from subscribers. Another third from Twitter.

    1. I notice you write very profound posts. They are like full size serious articles for magazines (I’m not flattering you, it’s true!). So yes, I imagine what a hard job it would be to write that much and that profoundly about a book you didn’t like. It would probably be exhausting both to write and to read, taking into account there might be not so much positivity in a post. It’s not possible to write a fun post about a bad book every time.

      Well, as long as I stopped caring about review copies, I might as well stop caring about the followers’ numbers. But I do. To me they are an indication of how well I’m doing (which is not really fair, because I saw many good blogs with little following because they just keep to themselves and it takes longer time for other people to discover them).

      That’s interesting that you don’t read YA. But you do read kid books, right? I’m the opposite. I managed to read YA, but I can’t imagine reading a kid book at this stage. I just don’t have that part in me that would appreciate such a book.

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