First of all I don’t want to sound ungrateful or whining with this post. I just figured I’ve been feeling like this for some time now and writing has always been my chosen method to work things out.
When I say I used to be a writer I’m not calling myself an author, but this week I decided to revise some of my “work” and my old texts. I was good. I’m not bragging or fishing for anything, I actually was good. Writing was my thing, much more than reading and I’ve ALWAYS been a hardcore reader.
When I first met my “original” book friends on the internet (shout out to my American, Austrlian and South American friends), it was (probably still is) the best thing that could have happened to me. It was 3, maybe 4, years ago. It was charmed by a blog I came across one day looking for a new book to read. I used to read almost only paranormal books, because I became obsessed with them for a while. Back then ai couldn’t find any new releases in the bookstores, books took so longto get here translated, that’s how I discoveed ebooks.Good thing I could read in English… So I found this blog called Supernatural Snark. And I was CHARMED by it. By a girl who reviewed books, who got them before they were published because her opinion mattered. I was charmed by the fact people actually looked for other people’s opinions on books. I’ve always been a hardcore reader, but for me it was always a very lonesome activity. I was never bullied for reading, but people didn’t get it. Most still don’t.
Actually reading is kind of a “new” thing here in Brazil. Sorry fellow brazilians, but it is true. I used to be friends with the librarians at my school (I went to a catholic – jesuit – school and back in the day they couldn’t even buy The Devil Wears Prada, because of the title) and they even asked me if I wanted them to order me books withtheir discount. When the dean was changed I saw the library changing too. And more people started to go there for the books and not the computers. It was thrilling, they started making awards for whoever got more books (I got them for 3 years haha) and it was always my place. Where I felt at home.
Back to Supernatural Snark. So I was charmed and thanks to it, I got new recommendations and got hooked on Goodreads. And then I found even more books. I used to read fanfictions too. So I read FSOG before it was FSOG, when it was a fanfic about Bella and Edward. A couple months later I saw this book called FSOG on Goodreads. The rest is history. I met those five original book friends (Kim, Kelly, Rosie, Pam and Elmarie) through Goodreads. And they introduced me to Book Groups on Facebook. Because of them I met other friends, became a part of countless groups and started interacting with authors….BAM! It was almost like I was in that library at Loyola (my school) again. But ten times better. I was actually “friending” and talking and interacting with AUTHORS.
I’ve left some groups, I’ve became closer to some new friends, I started my own groups and I started my own blog (back then this was called Sex and the Books).
I remember when I was in one of my first FB groups I met girls who were writing their own books. These were the days all authors we know now were indie. THAT charmed me and I started to think I could go back to write again. I could publish my own books!
I didn’t go through with it. For no reason whatsoever. But this week I realised it’s been almost 10, I mean TEN, years I haven’t written! I have stories, I have character’s profiles, I have notebooks and notebooks filled with my words. When did I become the girl who doesn’t write???
I’m not complaining, because in a way I’m still the girl who reads, so that is more than enough for me. Because opinion in a book actually matters to some people. People come to me for recommendations, authors actually are friends with me, I get to be mentioned in acknowledgements, I get asked for help, I get to help authors translate to Portuguese…I get to be me.
The struggle is real, when you do prefer to live inside of a book or in your Internet life, because people actually gets you. Does it mean I forget my own “real” life? Hell no! I’m still a student, a teacher, a friend…but living inside the books is what makes everything so worth to me.
Why am I telling you all this? Well, I’m mostly grateful to know reader friends and author friends. I’m beyond honored when they choose to talk to me, to be my friends, to mention me. But lately I’ve been seeing the Book Community I love so much turn into something I don’t like so much. I actually thought of leaving Facebook, Goodreads, friends and books…Of course you might be thinking I’m a whining bitch wanting attention…Am I? Maybe! Change is always frightening and I’ve seen Book Community and Indie World change so much already!
I’ve seen authors who were truly indie become something else, I’ve seen bloggers stealing author’s work, I’ve seen jealousy, I’ve seen cattiness, I’ve seen the Book version of Mean Girls…and in the end of the day I still think it’s all worth it. Because deep down we all love our authors, our books.
I am too intense, I take things very seriously, specially if it’s something I love. And I can say with absolutely certainty, there’s nothing I like more (except for my family and a few friends) than reading. Than interacting with authors, than helping them and helping spread the word about them. Them recommending books. Than discussing books. Nothing. Do I need I life because of that? Well, that’s people’s opinion, because in mine I chose to make this all part of what I call “life”.
The idea I had about what my life would be now 10 years ago is so different than what it is now. But I have to say, sixteen year old me would be off the charts proud of what I decided to take as such a great part of my life. I hope one day I can really make this love I have for books my life, but so far I can rejoice in the fact that even though to some people I have no life, to me and my book friends, this is the life!
So why is this called The (Not so) Lonely Blogger? For some time now I’ve been feeling lonely, because I’ve been seeing so much jealousy and ass kissing around the book world. The blogging world. I don’t even like to call myself a blogger..Not because of that, but because I have 100% sure I’m a shitty blogger. I can throw a bunch of excuses, my Internet suck, my computer suck (that one is the worse, because my computer can barely turn on for me to write my posts ;/)…but the truth is, I’m not even half the blogger I want to be.
But I am still a reader and even if my blog is to small, or too unknown, or too honest, or too simple. I’m still a reader, whose opinion should matter. I’m tired of the comparisons between the BIG blogs and the small ones. What makes a big blog BIG? Is it their massive following? Is it their reach, or their opinion? I’ve unfollowed so many blogs lately. They might be big, they might be small, but they should remain honest.
When the blog was Sex and the Books I got a bigger reach, because people looked for “sex themed”stuff on their searches and my blog would pop out! I know Sex sells…but I don’t want to be definited by it, or by the fact I don’t have a HUGE reach.
This post is not a jab at bloggers, God, no! I LOVE bloggers, just for the fact that they started this whole thing we call Book Community. They spread the word out about authors, they work so, so hard. But lately, it’s become such a business. I miss the good ole days where it was all about our opinions. I know it’s hard. It’s hard when we are friends with an author and we don’t like their story that much, it’s hard when we get an ARC and we don’t want to hurt anyone. It’s a fine, fine line. But isn’t it worse when people lie? When people kiss ass in exchange of a friendship? For me it’s all about honesty. I decide if I should write a review or not when I don’t like a book. Lately I haven’t been reviewing books I dind’t like, but I haven’t been reviewing that much…mostly because my computer is really bad and I don’t feel like it, because sometimes it seems that my small blog opinion doesn’t matter.
I get CHILLS when I recommend a book and someone thanks me for it. Do you have any idea how much rewarding it is to have this kind of impact in someone else’s life? Than you know how it must be for authors. I can say that I’m always honest about it when I praise them, when I pm them, when I fangirl them. I don’t ever ass kiss someone for a mention. Do I feel like a kid in a candy store when I get recognized by an author? Hell yeah, I’d like to see who wouldn’t feel honored by it. Do I expect it? Hell no! I pimp them, I spread the word out, I love them, because of them. Because of the words they weave to create stories that have such an impact in my life!
So if you ask me if I will ever get back to that dream of publishing my own book…my answer would be probably not. Not because I can’t. But right now I just feel like it’d be an immense pressure. I sure don’t know how you authors deal with all that. Not only the pressure of putting your ideas into paper, but the pressure of waiting to hear people’s opinion, the pressure of pleasing others, the pressure of having the right people pimping you, the pressure of having a good cover…so I RESPECT each and every person who has the guts to put themselves out there! Not because I don’t have the courage, but because you are my HEROES! You create the one thing I can see myself doing for the rest of my life!
And that is the sole reason I want to keep being a part of this Book world. Actually no. That’s not true. My friends, my incredibly special, supporting friends, either readers or authors or both. You’re the reason I keep going. You’re the reason I keep faith Book Community.
Of course ass kissers will never stop, of course jealousy will ever be present. Of course haters gonna hate. To each their own tastes. To each their own form of pimping, of blogging.
But mine will remain based on honesty. On love and on the extreme proud feeling I get when I call authors friends. On the fact that although I might not have a huge following, my opinions matter.
So authors, never forget our opinions (the genuine ones, not the rude ones, please ignore the stupid people who are rude, they are not even worth it) matter, either we are big, small, just a reader, a fellow author…whoever we are. After all, book exist because we readers, read and have opinions on them.
And readers, never forget your opinions, our opinions, do matter too! Spread the word out, leave the reviews, support your authors.
No one will ever please everyone. I have authors whom I love, I have authors whom I used to love but not so much now, there are books everyone loved and I didn’t, there are books I’ve been called “sick ” for liking. But you will never see me bullying someone for having a different opinion, for not liking the same things as I do. In fact my best friend (hi Aud o/) has such different tastes than me, but yet we discuss books and also have the same opinion on them. My friends can atest, I LOVE discussing books, even when someone has a different opinion them me. I’m very, very picky. I love controversial talks and sometimes it feels like no book can please me. But when some do, they make my whole day, week, month and year!
I’ve seen some people saying they didn’t want to leave a 3 stars review in fear of offending an author! That’s someone else’s prerrogative, but since when a 3 stars is a bad thing? For me it still states I liked the book. Of course 4 stars mean I really liked it and 5 stars mean I can’t shut up about it the book. But how did we become a world where we are afraid to offend an author for having a different opinion? In my belief, if you are honest, but respectful, I don’t see why someone should be angry or offended. You like the book, not as much as you would have hoped, but you still did.
I can put myself on the authors shoes too. OF COURSE, they hope to get raving reviews, of course they want 5 stars ratings. And putting yourself out there for this kind of scrutiny is not easy AT ALL. But I like to think they also want the truth and kind words. I have NO RESPECT for a reader who is rude about their opinions, or a fellow author who dishes another author.
I feel lonely sometimes not because I’m a small blogger, because I live far away and can’t meet authors (that’s probably why being friends with them is so special)…As I said, I KNOW I’m not a good blogger. But I also know I’m an HONEST one. So I feel lonely in a sea of fish kissing asses, because I refuse to do so. Because I refuse to become a blogger who is just following trends, because I refuse to be the same as everybody else.
I’ve felt unnapreciated so many times lately. Because by labeling a blog BIG we sometimes forget the small ones. The BIG ones were once small too. I know most people call them BIG because they reached a huge following. Do I wish a lot of people followed me? Of course I do! Do I resent them for having that and I don’t? Never. I respect them and I look up to most of them for reaching that point. But to me, if I have ONE view on my posts, that’s still a person who took her time out of her life to read one of my posts. So to me, the real BIG thing about blogging is actually doing for love.
Doing not to get ARCs, not to get recognized, not to be mentioned, not for the following. I don’t consider myself or my blog big at all. I do consider this post BIG, huge actually ahaha. I disgressed so much, but I want you all to see where I’m coming from. Because I’ve dedicated 16 years of my life, more than half of it, to reading. So to everyone one out there who ever read one of my posts, who ever read a book I recommended, who ever asked for a recommendation, to every author who ever talked to me, THANK YOU, because that is what make it all worth it. It’s not about being BIG or FAMOUS, it’s about being real and to me you all made my life in the last 4 years, in all its flaws, in all its adversities, in all its problems, the best 4 years ever.
This week a new author I’ve discovered made my whole day. I wrote her first review and she actually put it on her website. I felt so happy, because somehow me being a no one from Brazil, from a small blog I impacted her somehow. I wish all the BIG blogs get to read her book, because she deservers all the recognition they can give her! Wheneve a BIG blog reads a book by one of my favorite authors or one of my author friends I feel immensely PROUD of them and of the fact I know them! But sometimes the whole book community makes it look like the opinions that matter are the ones from the bigger blogs. I love them too, I love the fact them can reach so many people. But everyone’s opinion matter!
Being a no one from Brazil is actually more rewarding than you could ever believe because without knowing or meaning you all made me feel like someone in a point or two. She will probably never see this, but to the lovely owner of Supernatural Snark, you impacted my life more than you could know. You started the chain that brought me closer to what I know I want to do for the rest of my life!
To everyone new blogger who ever felt insecure, keep up. Everyone started from somewhere. If you love doing it, you are already being rewarded! To every author out there, thank you. From the bottom of my heart, either I’ve read your work or not, I truly appreciate your courage! To every author who ever trust their work to me, thank you too! I try my best to honor it!
And to all those authors who are my friends, you have no idea how much I appreciate it. You make my day just by being you! There is no feeling like discovering a new book, a new author and spreading the word out about them! And when people like it and thank you for it and become friends with them too? It really feels like my work has being worth it!
I swear, this is not a jab at anyone, this is me needing to pour my heart out. I’m not looking for recognition, attention or to brag. If you’re thinking “you should get a life!”, I often thought so myself. But what can I do? Booking is the life! 🙂
And if you are wondering…I’m still friends and I still LOVE those fantastic 5 girls who introduced me to this world, even when I feel like I don’t belong to this world anymore, I still LOVE the feeling of meeting new book friends. And I still CHERISH the fact I can be friends with authors and spread the word out about them! And I still CHERISH the feeling of gratitude everytime one of them talk to me. So this is no jab, this is no critic (maybe to ass kissers, sorry, but that I can’t change), this is just me trying to find the sixteen year old girl in me who would go to a library to feel at home.
And writing this I realise I’m not lonely at all. Even when I think differently, even when I don’t kiss people’s asses, even when I’m small…I might not consider myself a blogger, at least not the one I could, and should, be. But I consider myself the most lucky reader. I might feel lonely as a blogger, but as a reader, I feel like I won the lottery everytime I finish a book and get to talk about it to my friends and to its author! So yeah…home for me is actually not a library, but this (not so) little thing called a book.
Oh…and authors, the first ever Latin quote I’ve learned so many years ago is still my favorite and that’s why I cherish you forever:
“Verba volupt, scripta manent” – The words fly, the what’s written stay…