So this is going to be a long one, sorry, but it's best I get it all out now so I can move on. I started typing this out last night after a few glasses of Prosecco and had initially titled it "2017 a Retrospective" but then I realised that there was a lot that went on for me in the book community last year which wasn't so great and I didn't want it to become a whiny meandering post. Lets just say I started last year a large part of something which had been good, but had become something which took up the lions share of my time. It was also something I was doing entirely for free for the betterment of others which for the most part had become an utterly thankless task. As a result I shut myself out of the Indie community; the saddest part is that out of the many that I have helped, I can guarantee that about 90% haven't even realised i'm not around any more.
So, whiny stuff out of the way, how did I get to talking to you about this now? I can say that it all started at Chapter.con in London in August. Although I was only there for a small part of the conference, it had a huge impact on me. At this point I had pretty much decided to jack it all in, but I had the opportunity of seeing a dear friend who had travelled over from the USA, and no matter what I was feeling about the book world I just wanted to spend time with my friend. Chapter.con concluded with an awards ceremony, which I was humbled to have been nominated for in 2 categories. One gave me the closure that I needed and one gave me a huge shock. I had no idea that I had been nominated for best blog! Through inspiring talks with others over the weekend and having this surprise nomination gave me a real sense of purpose to not only carry on with blogging, but to also completely change up the way I was doing things.
It's fair to say that when I started blogging I actually had a very twisted view about what a book blog did. Much of my blogging experience had come from facebook page blogs, which contained mainly promo for authors (which is of course amazing as it's getting those names out there) but not always as much talk about books. Which is why for so long I didn't really know what I was doing and followed suit. Whilst thinking of how to reinvent my blog I came across a term, which actually made me feel right at home. I am "bookish." I realised that this is a platform for more than just promo and reviews, it's away to communicate with other bookish people and people in general.
I love this term so much and it makes me feel both part of something bigger and also that it's ok that I am now doing all this just by myself. I love my bookstagram account, through which I have discovered a whole world of bookish merchandise (I'm currently drinking a tea blend from Bookish Teas) and have also rediscovered my love for actual paper books. Fairyloot has also helped me on my way by meeting tons of great people through their associated groups. I'm still struggling with Twitter, but hey, I can't win them all! I have retained a few friendships from my time doing other things last year, which I am grateful for. It keeps my connection to not only them but also to the Indie community that I so nearly lost entirely.
What will 2018 bring then? Well, I'm happy to say that I'm still going to be doing this on my own. I have never felt happier in the book community since my choices last August, i'm doing things in my own time, in my own way and in a way that also lets me spend time with my family. I will be happily continuing with my bookstagram, my sister facebook page and I'm also pleased that I have just been accepted again by Netgalley! Twitter, well......
The hard thing for me this year will be to try and bring balance to blogging both about Indie and Traditionally published books. Being involved in one inevitably leaves the other behind. I think for Indies, the challenge is going to be battling high "print on demand" costs for their paperbacks. This is something that I really hope gets rectified soon as I have a feeling that I am not the only one who has moved away from reading from a screen. Either way, I am going to ensure that I try and dedicate equal time to both and hope that I don't alienate each audience by doing so.
I step in to 2018 full of hope for this blog and where it takes me, I would love to get to a point where my followers start to comment on my posts and I can connect with them more personally. But really, just knowing that people continue to read about me talking about books is plenty. If you're still reading, thank you for sticking with it and here's to an amazing 2018 for us all!