Beyond the Blurb | Blogging during and Coping with a Pandemic

Morning, everyone!

So the pandemic has arrived, and we don’t know what to do with ourselves, right? Yeah, I know that feeling. Some of us are confused or scared. And I get that as well. So don’t worry. And certainly don’t panic, okay? We’ve had several pandemics before, and we’ve survived them.

But what do you do during a pandemic when you’re a blogger? Well, this is new to me, so you’re not alone. Here are some tips to get through this rough time:

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Beyond the Blurb | Why Reading Slumps Start and How to Fix Them

Morning, everyone!

This week, I needed a prompt hiatus from blogging. Lately, I have been doing great with my blog, but I haven’t been all that upfront about struggling with my mind. You see, my mental illnesses have gotten progressively worse. Why? Being a full-time caregiver and a part-time employee with zero help from family has caused me to burn out. I hate admitting that because I know that’s some kind of failure on my part. Or perhaps I’m wrong, and it’s no failure at all. I don’t know.

Then the dreaded reading slump hit. And I knew I was in trouble. I know many book bloggers have talked about this topic, but I wanted not only to give you advice but also to offer up reasons why you fall into a slump and how to avoid it.

So let’s talk about why reading slumps hit us readers and how we can kick them to the curb.

 

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Beyond the Blurb | Why Are Book Reviews Difficult to Write?

Morning, bloggers!

I typically talk about Twitter-related controversies in my discussion series. But I’ve wanted to discuss why reviews are so bloody hard to write. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been blogging. Reviews are intimidating. And sometimes, you just don’t feel like writing them. And given that I’m behind on my reviews, I’m okay with that. It takes a lot of effort to write just one. Just imagine writing two or more a week.

We bloggers are up against a lot: competition, other platforms that demand more of our time, life, work, and reading and blogging slumps. When life gets in the way of blogging, reviews don’t truly matter. They don’t. But guilt eats at you and me. So why are they so damn difficult?

Here are some reasons that stick out to me:

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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 | Stop Supporting the Sale of ARCs

Morning, friends!

In several discussion posts, I’ve addressed ARCs on a variety of issues. And I feel as if I need to discuss them further. Book Expo and BookCon have passed, and yet seeing ARCs being sold on eBay and other sites infuriates me. But it doesn’t surprise me.

At the starting price of $99 USD, Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo, sold for $255.00 USD (roughly $350 CAD) on eBay. Yes, it’s signed. And yes, this particular seller routinely offers ARCs. Unfortunately, the author and publisher will never see that money.

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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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