Beyond the Blurb | What to Do When You Fall Out of Love with Blogging

Morning, bloggers!

Blogging is mostly a hobby for people. Some find their niche and brand, then work off of them to make business. Others don’t. And that’s okay. More will fall out of love with blogging. And that’s also okay.

When I found my Mom’s diagnosis, my life got turned upside down. And blogging helped me cope with what was happening. But once everything settled, I almost fell out of love with my blog and questioned if I should keep it. A part of me never wanted to admit that fact. I didn’t. However, being honest is kind of my thing on here. I open up more than I have in my personal life. But it took me a while to accept that I wanted to stop. But that time is when I appreciated it and the book community.

Over the last three years, I have grown as a blogger and reader. And I’ve found close friends who I love and cannot imagine not having them there for me. So what happens when you’re in the same situation? Well, that depends on you as a blogger. But I’ve figured out which pieces of advice you may want to follow if you’re struggling with your blog. Here they are:

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Beyond the Blurb | Why Age Shouldn’t Matter When Reading YA Books

Morning, everyone!

I’ve come to terms that people will question why I, a 30-year-old reader, love YA books. They won’t understand how I started reading those titles, why I continue to do so even when I’m not the target audience, or why I champion these books and authors. And I’m okay with that realization. I truly am. I don’t need to explain why I read them.

What I’ve had enough with is the shaming or the expectation of adult readers must be excluded from the YA community. Now, I don’t want the adult voice to silence the teen voice. No, that’s not my intention or opinion here. What I want to discuss is how age shouldn’t be a factor when reading YA titles.

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Beyond the Blurb | How Blogging Has Helped Me as a Reader

Morning, darlings!

I am not ready for Monday. I wish I had a few more days to rest for the upcoming week, which is surreal for me and my family. Mom is taking her last chemo treatment, and I felt as if we’d never make it to this day. So I treasure everything in my life more.

Typically, my discussion posts highlight a negative topic. So for this new post, I want to talk about something positive. Blogging is stressful. Blogging full-time is even harder. When I first started it, I was naive. But with three years under my belt (yay blogging anniversary!), I realized it gives me a support system I needed, a place to know I’m with my own people, and a way to grow. Here are the five ways blogging has helped me as a reader:

 

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Beyond the Blurb | Why Mental Illness Rep in Books Is Needed

Morning, readers!

For the last seven months, I have struggled with my mental illnesses. And even though next week, my Mom will complete her final chemo treatment, I feel the utter power my illnesses have over me. And it doesn’t matter if I have coping mechanisms, which aren’t working anymore, if I’ve fought them before and beat them, or if I talk with friends. They’re still here.

But the only solace I’ve found is in literature. It always has been even if a reading slump finds me. Mental illness and health are prominent on my blog, and I want readers to find a safe place here. Although I’ve talked a lot about each topic, I haven’t shown why the proper mental illness rep in books is not only needed but desperately wanted from readers. Kal from Reader Voracious inspired my next discussion post, which I’ll examine why this rep is important. Let’s get to it.

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Beyond the Blurb | Should We Bloggers Stop Tagging Authors in Reviews?

Who’s ready for another discussion post?

When I first started out, I loved the fact I could interact with authors. But etiquette is a delicate matter to uphold, especially on the Internet where anything and everything can be screensaved and reposted. Over the last year, I’ve noticed that the Twitter book community has jumped on the cancel culture bandwagon. Now, some situations deserved that treatment, but not others.

So are we all that surprised there was another Twitter scandal? Give me a second to stop cackling. Let’s get to the next one. Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give and On the Come Up, announced that we reviewers should stop tagging authors in reviews. Now, at the time, the wording was slightly different from what she’d meant to say. Take a look:

Perhaps the words “good reviews” are what stuck with everyone, who took offence. That assumption is what I came up with, but I can be wrong. Maybe the mention of all authors is what bothered people. And I see why some reviewers would feel somewhat offended. Many of us find our next favourite books from other readers. And often times, I see several authors retweet reviews, which made me look at their titles.

Later on, she clarified that she meant the bad ones, which is completely understandable. I haven’t written in several years, nor have I drawn anything since high school. But as a creator, I hate criticism. Yes, it comes with the territory of creating. However, criticism easily morphs into criticizing. The two concepts blur together. So I’ll never criticize authors for separating their work and their mental wellbeing.

So how do we handle a situation that has turned into some Internet brawl? Cue the music for the upcoming tips, please:

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Beyond the Blurb | Should We Readers Ever Accept Kathleen Hale?

Morning bloggers

I feel as if we’re back in 2014. Now, I wasn’t blogging then, but I remember hearing about Kathleen Hale—the author who stalked a Goodreads reviewer who happened to give Hale’s Now One Else Can Have You a low rating—and somehow she has wormed her way back into our community again. Now, what utterly vexes me is how BookPage decided to bring more attention to Hale. Carla Jean Whitley from BookPage sat down with Hale to discuss Hale’s past and her upcoming book, which I see no point in publicizing on my blog. But the title is rather fitting, if you ask me.

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Beyond the Blurb | How Bloggers Can Protect Themselves from Threatening Authors

Listen up, bloggers!

Do you know how writing this post makes me angry? No, angry isn’t a good enough adjective. I am livid. There. Over the last week, I’ve seen people plagiarize bloggers in our community, then I witness bloggers go on the defensive because an author attacked them. Why? That said author hated their review.

Am I surprised? No, not in the least. I’ve watched how authors on Twitter fetishize incest and feel the need to attack their followers who questioned their Tweets. So, no, I am not taken aback by this action at all.

So even if you’re a seasoned blogger or a new one on the block, I have some advice you may want to follow.

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Beyond the Blurb | Book Blogger Interaction Etiquette

Okay, book bloggers!

You know I can’t offer author interaction tips without giving you some. I’ve witnessed several bloggers struggle with interacting with authors. So learning proper etiquette at whatever stage in your blogging career isn’t bad. You’re growing as a blogger. And I, too, am constantly learning in this ever-changing environment.

In my last Beyond the Blurb post, I discussed how authors should interact with us. For my next one, I want to provide tips to bloggers who may not know how to communicate with authors. Again, I’m not an expert. But I wish to give any advice that has helped me.

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Beyond the Blurb | Do Bloggers Need to Use Trigger Warnings?

Morning, everyone!

Let’s talk about trigger warnings. They may be a hot topic in the book community. But they’re important to readers.

I know several people who believe they’re more politically correct. I disagree. People forget why others need them. They’re similar to the film and TV rating systems. You don’t see viewers complain about the system, now do you? Probably not. The systems help adults decide what their children should or shouldn’t watch. So why do people complain about trigger warnings?

Perhaps political correctness does come into play here. Maybe people have had enough warnings and being conscientious of other people’s thoughts or mental stability. Heaven forbid we people try to be, I don’t know, proactive to prevent a trigger. Their primary reason is to inform potential readers of subject matters that may adversely affect them. A good example is sexual assault in literature. I had a hard time finishing Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander because the assault and torture of Jamie Fraser are almost too much. I wish I had paid attention to some of the warnings, but I didn’t.

So in my next discussion post,  I want to discuss why I believe bloggers should use trigger warnings and why they’re essential to the reading experience.

 

Warning Readers Who Have Faced Abuse Can Prevent a Harmful Response

I have a hard time reading about any type of abuse in books, especially sexual. I am dealing with my past, and it’s hard enough to wade through my memories. But when a book contains a trigger, sometimes, I may remember what happened to me. Since I have PTSD, depression, and anxiety, I need to know how severe these scenes are in stories so I don’t need to add another outside force into the mix. I have my mind to do that for me.

Many other readers are dealing with the same issue. And they deserve to have some warning, even if it may have been seen as a spoiler so they can avert a potentially damaging reaction. But what is a reaction though?

Triggers aren’t simply a bad feeling from reading a scene in a book. A trigger can lead to suicidal thoughts, flashbacks, nightmares, depression, relapses, and self-harm. As a blogger, you need to realize that it’s your responsibility and job to tell readers.

 

They Help Readers Decide if They Will Either Read or Purchase a Book

I have followed trigger warnings from other bloggers when I decided on buying a book. They gave me that warning. And if I have more concern than normal, I’ll ask for more details. I appreciate that notice. Sometimes, I don’t immediately read the book I’ve recently purchased. So if I’ve waited past the return policy, I’ve wasted a lot of money when I could have spent it on another book.

 

Not Every Author or Even Publisher Will Inform Readers of Negative Topics in Books

When I first cracked open Girls of Paper and Fire, by Natasha Ngan, I let out a sigh when I saw the trigger warning in the book. I don’t see that in most books. And most of the time, I don’t see authors telling readers about anything. Now, I’m not saying I don’t see warnings from authors at all. In fact, I see them in the reverse harem community. And I love how readers and authors are informing new readers.

 

Trigger Warnings Are Personal, so You Don’t Decide Who Does or Doesn’t Need Them

Yes, when people prevent themselves from seeing/reading triggers because they have a mental illness, that action isn’t always a healthy coping mechanism. They can’t heal from their trauma when they avoid it. However, that doesn’t mean you get to decide when they process and handle their trauma. You don’t give them a deadline. They need to make that decision, not you, the author, or the publisher.

Trigger warnings will always be personal. So do not insert yourself into someone’s decision.

 

They Will Never be a Spoiler

Do you know what a spoiler is? Someone yelling “Snape kills Dumbledore!” Trigger warnings are not. At all. Get that out of your head. They warn readers. No, they do not go into detail about topics or situations in the book.

 

So what is your opinion on trigger warnings? Do you believe they’re warranted, or do you believe readers should go in blind?

Beyond the Blurb | Why We Should Defend Negative Reviews

Morning, bloggers!

Bloggers sometimes dread writing bad or low-rated reviews. Authors possibly fear them more. So why is writing them such a taboo topic? Frankly, it shouldn’t. As reviewers and bloggers, we make some unspoken promise to be honest with our readers. How can we not? But I’ve seen other bloggers face attacks for their honesty.

Jenn from Jenniely inspired me to write this post (thank you, deary!). She discussed the reasons why she doesn’t write negative reviews. And I agree with her. For my next discussion post though, I want to address why they’re important and why we should write them.

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