Blog Thoughts: I'm Still Blogging About Books Over Here!

Blog Thoughts


Jessa Crispin has been on an internet tour to let everyone know she is shutting down Bookslut, the website she founded many years ago. She's been busy.

Last week in an interview for The Guardian she said, "So we're not allowed to say, 'The Paris Review is boring as fuck!'" The Paris Review responded to their "boring as fuck" status by offering a discount code BORINGASFUCK to new subscribers. Well played.

I appreciate her honesty in these pieces. She has nothing to lose at this point, I suppose, but I can't agree with everything she's been saying. This week Crispin took on online book culture, which I take to include book bloggers, in another article for The Guardian. Her thoughts are that people writing about books these days are in it for the money and has nostalgia for the old days.
Back then (the early 2000s) the online book culture was run mostly by enthusiasts and amateurs, people who were creating blogs and webzines simply for the pleasure of it, rather than to build a career or a brand.
Sure. But she goes on to write as if those people, me, don't exist anymore. Um, we're still here!

I have myself lamented the changes that have taken place in the book blogging world. I've been book blogging for nearly 10 years. New bloggers arrived on the scene, the ones looking for the "free" books, the instant audience, but I think many of those bloggers found out pretty quickly how much work and little payoff there is in book blogging. If you are book blogging for the money, I have some bad news for you.

Even with the ads on my site, the ones that need you to click on them, I've a yearly income of approximately $20 from blogging. I can take my daughter to Starbucks twice with that kind of dough! Making it raaaaaaain!!!



It is true that I don't have a crazy amount of traffic. Yes, as an enthusiast I don't "get much attention." But I don't believe that attention is everything, as she says. I do like to have people read what I write, of course, but if a few dozen people read my review of whatever I picked up at the library last month, that's fine. I've made friends online, people who do read what I write and I've had some fun discussions with them here or on Twitter or their blogs or wherever. And, you know what, I've rarely had to deal with trolls, or had some kind of controversy involving how I communicate with publishers or any of that drama.


I get to write about what I want. I do write about the "books everyone has already heard of." I also write about books I bought, borrowed, or found for free. I've written about forgotten books, and books no one has ever heard about in a hundred years. Book blogs do give a platform, however small it is, to those books that need the attention. It's not clickbait, but a good review means something to the reader that loved that book too.

At the end of the piece, Crispin says that money is not the reason she's shutting down Bookslut. Her reasons are much the same as the ones I've seen from bloggers who gave up book blogging. Other interests are dividing her time. That happens. Book blogging is a time consuming hobby. Reading, then reviewing a book takes a lot of time. I found it difficult when I was working, and you would think that not working would free up all my time to write, but no. I have a busy teen, appointments, I exercise, I have an online shop that requires attention, other hobbies, and a husband. So many bloggers have left after a big life change: wedding, college, a baby, a move to another country. It makes me sad, but I understand.

Some of us enthusiasts are still here. Maybe we're not as prolific as we once were or we've spread ourselves throughout the internet. But we're here if you would just look.

18 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Yes, a thousand times over. As I tweeted to Teresa from Shelf Love yesterday, I just feel like she's bemoaning her lack of revenue and fame, while wanting to appear to do the opposite. The interwebs are too big, and she's not the special snowflake she once was. But you're right--we enthusiasts are still here. Even if I get ten visitors a day and only one or two comments, that's meaningful to me.

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    1. It's bigger now than when I started out and that was a few years after she did. I feel like I used to know just about every book blogger but not anymore!

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  3. Yep still here and not planning on leaving. Even if it's just me and three other people reading.

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    1. That's my attitude too! Some days it does feel like only three people, or no one.

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  4. My blog costs me money. I pay for my domain name and to use sites like Blenza and host giveaways of books I've purchased. If someone figures out a way to make money from book blogging, more power to them.

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    1. Oh yeah, I forgot about that. I pay for my domain too. With the Canadian dollar being terrible, it cost me nearly $30 this year. There goes my Starbucks money!

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  5. I found her comments in that piece off-putting, too. She acknowledges the existence of the enthusiast blogger, seems to consider herself one, and then acts as if there aren't any others out there still. I think she just came along so early that it was easier to get influence or attention as an enthusiast in a way that has become more difficult. I can appreciate, too, some of her frustration at how quality and popularity and profitability are way out of alignment. But that's not a problem that's unique to the internet, nor is it new. And the Internet, flawed as it is, has provided a creative and conversational outlet that lots of people would never have had. That hasn't changed, even if the money never came through for most of us. (And in her case, I'm sure her blog helped her land those book deals.)

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    1. I'm sure having a big literary blog helped her.

      She seems completely blind to the small independent blogger. We were there while she was at her peak, we didn't get her popularity, but we're still here. I don't know if she ever saw us.

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  6. Love this post! Idk, I kinda feel like Bookslut's experience was unique. Her blog was much more successful than most others - I can guarantee if I shut down my book blog the Guardian would not be interested. Perhaps she was hoisted by her own petard, so to speak.

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    1. Ha! No, I don't think The Guardian would for me either.

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  7. I just want to add my YES to this and my STILL HERE TOO! :)

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  8. Yeah, I just -- there's a ton of things Jessa Crispin has been saying lately that have made me want to kick her in the shins. I mean, I wouldn't. I am fundamentally nonviolent. But yes, she seems just really super uninterested in people whose experience is different to hers. I read her book The Dead Ladies Project, and even though I super liked certain parts of it, she seemed reeeeally contemptuous of other women.

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  9. Sure, free books are exciting -- if you are a voracious reader (I am). But really, I do it because I love it. I don't have any ads (I know I wouldn't make $ anyway), I don't get paid in anything except occasional free books.
    And I don't plan on stopping. I am really passionate about finding and championing books / authors that are likely to drowned out among the "airport" titles, as I call them.
    s

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  10. When I started blogging review copies were not even a blogging thing yet. I had my fun when they became a thing... But now I hardly ever accept review copies any more. And, I definitely blog for fun and have never really attempted to achieve financial gain. I basically sit in the background and watch the drama unfold... Sometimes I comment... Most often I shake my head. lol

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