Blog Size, Commenting and Cliques

As much as I want Shelf of Melanie to be successful, I don’t want it to be one of the “big” book blogs. Now don’t get me wrong, I follow a number of “big” book blogs – I love them. I love the amount they’re able to post; I love the amount they’re able to do visually (either because they’ve learned all the computer wizardry or because they’re paying a host for premium things or both); I love that they have ALL the newest books; I love that their reviews all use the same layout; I love that they can afford to run giveaways; I love the bloggers themselves… But, I have noticed one or two things which I personally don’t want to happen to me:

1. Having ALL the ARCs to read and review at certain times. Yes, I LOVE ARCs as much as the next book-hungry beast, but I also like to choose what I read and when I read it. If I have fifty bazillion new releases to review under obligation then reading becomes stressful and I have it all lined up for me with no room for choices or books I can read just for me. I use the library; I read older books; I have fifty two books on my shelves I haven’t read yet; I re-read my favourites… All that would have to end for me if I had tons of ARCs coming in all the time. And that would suck. And would I have time to duck out of reading-for-the-blog and read a huge, chunky book just for my own pleasure? Probably not. It’s a hobby and I’d like it to stay that way. The minute it becomes a chore it isn’t worth doing. But if you can make it work and you enjoy it, great!

2. Commenting and Cliques: These really “big” bloggers often don’t have time to respond to comments. Some of them do (and this makes me happy!), but others don’t. There are blogs where I’ve commented more than once on various posts with comments I feel warrant a reply and no one ever replies to you. I get that they are receiving fifty comments each on three daily posts, or whatever, but that to me is the problem. No human being can keep up with that! And yet this is what blogs are all about. Community, discussion and commenting. I guess I just think that the bigger you are in the book blog world, the less time you have for your followers and the greater the distance there is between you and them. Personally, I’d prefer to be at the heart of my readers, able to discuss and chat with them. Having time to visit their blogs in return. Responding to everyone, and not just the people you already know and are friends with (this is something I’ve seen on some of my favourite “big” blogs. It can make me feel like (in terms of the blog), my “Follow” is worth less than someone else’s.) Where’s the fun in that? It’s supposed to be about discovering new people, new books, new blogs…

That said, I would like to say that I can kind of understand why the “big” blogs rarely respond to comments. I mean, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the amount of comments I’ve seen on some sites. But this is something that’s important to me and so I’d much rather be smaller and more community-driven. I want to sit with a group of people and discuss books, not lecture in a university theatre. Biscuit , anyone?

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