Dear Blogging Me

sj,

You’ve been letting this whole blogging thing get to you lately.  You’re stressing yourself out and comparing yourself to other bloggers, but that’s not fair.  You’re you.  You’re not them, so why are you allowing yourself to feel down when you see that someone whose content you deem inferior (there you go with your snobbery again) has twice as many followers/comments/views as you?  You really need to knock that shit off.

The people who read your blog read it for what you (you, uniquely) bring to the table.  They don’t expect you to be anyone else, because if they did, they would be reading that other blog and not yours.  Remember last year when Mandy wrote her Blogging Manifesto?  You need something like that to remind you why you’re even here.

To make things simpler for you, I’ve compiled a list of things I hope you’ll keep in mind when you’re frustrated with how you think things are going (plus, we both know you love the shit out of lists).

  • Your stats are not indicative of your worth as a blogger, or as a person.  You’ve done so much better lately, I’m proud that you no longer check them as much – but you still freak out when you think you’ve posted something fantastic and you don’t think enough people are reading.  Please stop that.  Just because something resonated with you, doesn’t mean it will push the buttons of everyone else on the planet.  
  • You will stop looking down on people who only post the various weekly memes.  Just because it isn’t for you (because you HATE them) doesn’t mean other people don’t think they have worth.  You are not everyone else, and you can just not participate (like you have been for always).  Don’t be tempted to fall into that trap, though – we both know that if you did, it would only be for the sake of page views.  You’re better than that.
  • You will stop apologizing for absences/breaks from blogging.  Everyone has shit happen to them in their real lives.  They don’t expect you to be any different.  You do not need to explain, and you really need to work on that apologizing for everything thing that you do, anyway.
  • You need to remember the joy you felt when people first started reading and commenting.  Be happy when someone new comments, but don’t be sad when people stop following/commenting.  Not everything is about you.  Maybe they have their own shit going on.  The previous point?  It doesn’t just apply to you.
  • Stop making everything the end of the world.  Seriously.  It’s annoying and you know you hate when you do that.
  • You will STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO EVERYONE ELSE.  Dude.  Even I’m starting to get pissed off at you about this one.  Knock it off.  You’re coming across like a whiny asshole.  Stop it.
  • You don’t have to review everything you read.  You’re doing better about this one this year, but I know you, and I know you’re still looking at all the things you’ve read so far thinking “I really should try to write about that at some point.”  No.  You don’t.  Stop it.  If you force it, it’s worse than just not writing at all.
  • If you find yourself worrying/agonizing about your blog, take a step back.  This is something you need to get better about.  You do this a lot, and you let it get you down.  This is not healthy.  Writing this blog is not your job.  You started this blog for fun (and to get out of NaNoWriMo, but that’s another thing entirely), and when it stops being fun you’re missing the point.   That’s not to say you can’t still write about things that make you angry, just…stop sweating it, okay?  For realsies.

You’re worth reading, but you are worrying too much.  Keep this around to re-read when you’re getting sad/frustrated/annoyed/furious.  No, don’t argue with me, just do it.  But not like Nike, cos you don’t like their shoes anyway.

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Thanks for making us all look like jerks, jerk.

So, by now I’m sure you’ve all read (or heard about via twitter/the blogosphere/wherever you get your daily dose of scandal) the NYT article about Book Reviewers for Hire.

In case you haven’t heard (or are too lazy/fascinated by my writing to click over), here’s the gist.  Todd Rutherford started a business writing reviews for Independent Authors.  For $1000 one could theoretically purchase 50 rave reviews of their book…and no one had to read it!  Of course, there were different price plans, but that was the one that stuck in my head.

Here’s my problem with this scenario (and what I think most of us immediately think of after the initial “Wait, I could get PAID for that?” or possibly “Hey, I can PAY FOR THAT?”) – essentially, every rave review that is written by anyone other than a major publication is now called into question.  I don’t rave lightly.  I think you all know me well enough by now to know that I’m generally pretty hard on most of the books I read, but if I love something and write a glowing review, it’s because I found something to love and make me want to shout it from the rooftops to everyone.

Crap, I realize I’m too worked up to make a whole lot of sense right now.

Um, look.  I have written more positive than negative reviews lately, but it’s because I LIKED THOSE BOOKS.  In some cases, I even loved them.  I HAVEN’T EVEN WRITTEN ABOUT THE BEST BOOK EVER YET!  No seriously, if you thought I loved some of the things I have written about recently, you haven’t seen anything.

Anyway, here’s the deal.  I know there are a lot of book blogs out there that write reviews that make you think that every single thing they read is full of glitter and rainbows and other happy things.  That won’t happen here.  I dislike more things than I like, and if I haven’t written about a lot of them lately, it’s because I have been trying to be more positive for myself and part of the way I can do that is by putting more positivity out there.

I’m not an asshole, and I don’t appreciate being made to LOOK LIKE one because of this jerk who makes us ALL look like assholes.

I don’t like asking for review copies of books, because I feel more comfortable being honest about something that I’ve paid for.  In some cases (like with the Robot Army), yes, I get advance copies of their books, but I’m still completely honest about the things that do and don’t work for me.  Every star you see me mention here is something that has been earned by the author.  I’m not going to sugar-coat things to spare feelings, and I’m not going to lie to you to get more readers/keep someone happy.

Let me say that again, but a different way:

Praise is something that must be earned, it is not a right.

Things have been pretty crummy this year for book bloggers.  We’ve had some bloggers being/feeling attacked for sharing their feelings about certain books and authors, we’ve had plagiarism scandals, authors asking their fans to downvote negative reviews of their work AND having negative reviews written about their “competitors”…brouhahas all over the place.  It’s disheartening.

So when I read about something like this, it makes me wonder if there’s a point to even continuing.  Do people pay attention to honest, critical reviews when they come from an amateur, or do they assume we’re all full of it – since it’s been proven that some of us are full of it?

I really have no idea.  I like to think that anyone reading this will know that I am not and never will be a sycophant here, but it’s hard to be sure.  Do I keep posting the glowing reviews, along with the things I don’t like, or do I stay middle of the road neither praising nor condemning too harshly?

It’s a question I’m still searching for the answer to for myself.

Things I Don’t Understand About Blogging

This is the Snobbery’s 100th post.  I started with a rant, so I’m celebrating this milestone with a rant.   Appropriate, yes?

  • The ideal post length is 250-450 words.  Says who?  I hate that we – as citizens of the future – have such short attention spans that we can’t pay attention to things for longer than a paragraph.  It makes me sad, really.  I had a friend the other day tell me that she skims my posts because they’re too long and she’s got chat, email, facebook, etc going at the same time.  I’m not mad at her for being honest, but if that’s the case – and you know I get long-winded – why even bother clicking?  To tell me that you didn’t read it?  
  • Mediocrity is praised and quality content languishes in relative obscurity.  I read a lot.  Books and blogs, and this is a problem for both currently.  We don’t want to take the time to read something that is well-written and thought out and (god forbid) makes us think, so we pass it by in favour of the shorter, less engaging read.  Because the first (arguably) better blog/book/whatever was skipped past, we have no idea what we’re missing, so that crap sandwich the second book/blog/whatever is feeding us starts to seem like it tastes pretty good.
  • Tagging things as ‘Humor’ when you (as the author) are perfectly aware that your post is not even remotely funny.  If it’s a story about how your kitty dying led you to accept Jesus as your Saviour…THAT IS NOT FUNNY!
  • People who click on every post with a given tag, only to ‘like’ it without reading the content.  I’m serious.  There are a few people I’m positive open every single blog that tags a post ‘Books,’ click like, then immediately move on to the next one.  It’s obviously a ploy to drive traffic to their own blog, right?  Why is this acceptable behaviour?  AND WHY DO THESE PEOPLE HAVE THOUSANDS OF FOLLOWERS?
  • For the Freshly Pressed gods – why do your ‘Tips For Being Freshly Pressed’ say that you don’t pick mature blogs, and that you’ll ask people to fix typos before they’re put up?  Lately I’ve been seeing a LOT of mature content and the worst typos ever being featured.   It’s disheartening that you’re not even following your own rules about it.  Please make an effort to at least have something worth reading once in a while?  Please?
  • Photo Blogs.  Okay, so there are some that make sense.  Some people actually are photographers, and their work is amazingly beautiful, and I can understand why people want to look at it.  What about the people that are just posting crappy pictures of their vacations, though?  “Here’s me in front of some stupid sign that no one but me will think is funny!”  SHUT UP!  Why are we praising this?
  • Oops, I’ve hit the word count limit, you’re probably not reading anymore.  Oh well.
  • So-called Curators.  These are the blogs that don’t even bother trying to come up with their own content, they just re-blog all the other idiocy some other lazy person came up with…when usually they stole it from someone else in the first place.  It’s even worse for me when the ‘curator’ doesn’t even take the time to comment on the stuff they’re re-posting.
  • Bloggers that don’t even acknowledge when anyone comments on their posts.  Ever.  Why leave it open for comments if you’re not even going to answer a direct question?

Back tomorrow with less ranty content.  There are a few books that Meg and I have both read, so we’ll be talking about those.  Thanks for sticking with us through 100 posts, guys.  <3

Snobbish Self-Promotion

Look, guys – we don’t mean to be snapebags or anything, but we kind of realized lately that we’re lacking in the necessary promotional skills to have a semi-successful blog.  I mean, I’ve got this thingy hooked up to my twitter account (which you should all follow because I’m sometimes funny there in 140 characters or less), but I don’t even post on facebook – mostly because I haven’t really told many of my friends that the Snobbery even exists.  I know.  I suck.  Anyway, we were hoping you could help us all out, and to do so we’ve come up with a list of reasons you can give why people should read us.

  1. We’re awesome.
  2. We’re super awesome.
  3. We think our awesome haiku/low-ku should be shared with the world.
  4. We have Trashy Tuesdays.  Everyone should love Trashy Tuesdays.  Everyone.
  5. Meg’s eyes are MESMERIZING.  For realsies.  Don’t look too close, she’ll hypnotize you.

You are getting sleeeeeepy! You want all of your friends to subscribe to the Snobbery...there's an easy little button for them to click on the side...

You’re all going to run right out and share us with the world now…right?

Sometimes People Are Stupid

My friend Heather over at Becoming Cliche put up a really well thought out post last week about the issues she’s been having with Amazon and her new Kindle Fire.   That post was picked up by the Consumerist, and (while it drove traffic to her site) she’s since been having to deal with the comments of people who either didn’t bother to read the entire post, or who focused on the wrong part of it.  The gist is this:  she doesn’t have credit cards, she doesn’t want credit cards, and she should have been able to purchase Prime with the gift card her husband got her for Christmas expressly for that purpose…especially since it doesn’t say ANYWHERE on the gift card page that it can not be used to purchase that service.  So many people (on her page and on the Consumerist) have decided that it’s her own fault for not having a credit card in the first place.  THAT IS NOT THE POINT!  The point is that her husband bought her gift cards for Amazon to use for this one thing because it doesn’t say anywhere on the page that they can’t.  Why would her husband charge it on a credit card, when it was supposed to be a surprise…a gift?  How was he supposed to put a subscription to Prime under the tree?  He couldn’t!  So he did the next best thing.  Get.  Off.  Her.  Back.

I guess the thing I’m most tired of is people who think they know it all coming into a situation and passing judgement.  I’ll be the first to admit that I judge people, but I don’t condemn them on their own blog (or in the comments of other blogs) for it! I do it privately – snarkily – to my friends.  The way it should be done.

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On a completely unrelated note, but still regarding stupid people…I’m a little over halfway through the last Earth’s Children book.  I read somewhere that there was talk of a 7th book, so I went looking for information about it.  In the comments of an interview with Ms Auel, someone said that these books are “a must read for anyone who is into paleontology and romance.”  Paleontology?  REALLY?!  Hmmmm, maybe the books would have been better if there were dinosaurs.  I imagine something like this: