The Musings of a Book Blogger
By: Leonard Tillerman
The single most common question I get asked since I entered this industry is “Why did you become a book blogger?” “Afterall, they say, it takes so much of your time and effort to do this and the rewards are minimal.” While the first half of that statement is correct- the second part is not. The truth is that I do invest a huge amount of time reading books, reviewing books, and promoting authors I like on Social Media. I also do all of this while I maintain a full-time job which keeps me exceptionally busy. Any monetary reward I receive is in the form of a donation to my website which is used to keep it up and running. In fact, I purchase all of the books myself and do not accept free copies. When this is all considered, the question which begs to be answered is why?
The answer to that aforementioned question is quite personal. I am not motivated by external or monetary rewards. I have only put a donation button on my website so I can keep it up and running without suffering a big loss. I believe that is just fair to my family. Anyone who wants to get rich from doing this should truly consider doing something else. To be a top quality influencer in the world of book blogging requires intrinsic motivation. There must be a personal reason for doing it… without any expectation of an external reward.
In my own case, I blog about books and complete book reviews in order to help quality authors get discovered. So many amazing writers out there are not having their voices heard. For many years the major publishing companies have controlled the industry. Without them the chances of having your book published was a big fat zero. My Grandfather was an incredibly intelligent and amazing writer. He wrote five top-notch books which have never seen the light of day. Ultimately, he could not break into this difficult publishing market and his books remain on a solitary shelf with little hope of ever escaping. So in essence, there is the answer to the question I am always asked. I want to help people like him! In truth, that has always been my main motivation, and with the rise of Indie publishing- there is a new hope for all.
All that being said, the Indie author does have a natural enemy. Who is that you may ask? In short… it is the Indie author. Let me explain that provocative response a little further. Yes- I have read some absolutely amazing books by Indie authors and hope to see them on the bestseller list soon. There are exceptional Indie authors out there who treat this vocation with the utmost respect it deserves. These are the people I strive to help. Nevertheless, there are also the opposite. They put out ill conceived books which have poorly developed plots, flat characters and an abundance of typos and errors. In some cases the books do not even appear to have been proofread at all. Instead of putting forth the required effort needed to produce a piece of written art, some Indies are more interested in just getting them out and onto the shelf. The quicker they can do this, and the more books which they can produce, seems to be the ultimate goal. In my opinion, that is the true enemy of the Indie author.
Readers in general are wary of Indie authors right from the start. Afterall, it is a pretty new phenomena, relatively speaking. So when they finally decide to take the plunge and purchase a book by an Indie… it better be good! If not, they will never come back. That in turn negatively impacts the reputation of the entire industry. That is essentially why I have changed my own review policy. I used to only publish book reviews if they were 3 stars or higher. I did not start doing this to harm anyone’s career was my reasoning. If I purchased and read a book below that threshold I would refuse to review it and send a message to the author telling them why. However, I have since determined that this does more harm than good. There needs to be a clear distinction made between quality Indie authors and those who are not. Otherwise they will all be lumped together.
Once again, these are my personal musings and there will undoubtedly be those who agree with me and those who do not. I have been doing this for a while now and if I was going to give any advice out it would be to take the time needed on your work. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and a get a second, third and fourth set of eyes. You will write…rewrite and repeat. It is a damn hard job…but oh so worth it!