Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Putting On My Lip Gloss: Can A Book Blogger Be a Reviewer and An Author??

      I love Emily’s Reading Room. It is one of my favorite resources for blogger tips, tools, book reviews and various giveaways and promotions. I came across her blog one day searching for a way to create a progress bar to provide a visual for my status in various reading challenges I participate in through the year. Emily’s Reading Room provided the “how-to” in a simplified, orderly fashion that helped me succeed in creating what I wanted on my own blog. I have followed her posts ever since, finding more and more helpful hints on how to improve my blog in addition to the numerous, applicable and creative posts.  

Thus, when I opened my daily email from Emily’s Reading Room, I found it as no surprise then to find a post so in tune with what I am doing and so moving that it begged for a special response. 
I never even thought to ask myself this question from the vantage point posed by Emily’s Reading Room. Honestly, the only thing I ever thought about the two roles crossing over was a matter of time – as in how can I properly budget my time to write a book if I’m spending all my free time writing for my blog? Emily’s Reading Room wanted to investigate what readers thought about bloggers who review books and also aspire to write their own book should they pen a negative review? Would this negatively affect other authors opinions of them or their future in publishing?
From Blogger Confidential: Bloggers As Aspiring Authors

Some of the more memorable quotes (in my opinion!)

“I think if I was an aspiring author, I would never write a negative review again…”~ Andye from http://www.readingteen.net/

“…honesty should be appreciated….” ~ Adele from http://www.persnicketysnark.com/

“…I don’t think anyone should stay away from writing or blogging because they’re afraid…” ~ Angie from http://angieville.blogspot.com/

…”If you write reviews that attack the author or publisher, you might have a problem.” ~ Sara from http://thehidingspot.blogspot.com/

“…the book industry, while being a small pond, is a big enough pond that this probably isn’t an issue.” ~ Trish from http://www.heylady.net/

For the full article and all the comments and replies, go to:


            As an aspiring author and book blogger, myself, you might imagine which stance I took towards this topic. I absolutely, 100%, think it is possible to do both book reviewing and writing. However, I am not closed-minded to those who feel strongly that there is no room or too much controversy surrounding the enmeshment of the two roles.

Like I said previously, my main thoughts on the whole subject involve the issue of time and how it might affect the quality of one’s work, both as a reviewer and as an author. First off, I think it takes a certain amount of responsibility to even begin to manage one’s time to make room for the two activities, and an even greater sense of obligation to one’s craft to make sure the time budgeted adheres to the quality and at times, quantity of output. When I first started blogging, I really felt like I had to make a choice between one or the other; either I was going to spend my extra hours and minutes writing posts, articles and book reviews or I would spend every 15-minute interval of time I could steal away working towards a first draft of my novel. I worked like this for a long time either blogging everyday or writing for my novel. In less than a year, I realized that this manner of thinking was not conducive to either my success as a blogger or an aspiring author. For all the time I spent blogging, I was losing time working on my novel and vice versa. As more and more time passed, it got to be past the point of no return as far as continuing to write my novel’s first draft, but I was having so much fun posting book reviews, meeting new people, finding ways to improve my blog and gain more traffic and hey, reading, after all is research for writing, is it not? When November 2010 came around it had been a long time since I’d worked on my story so I vowed to use NaNoWriMo, a month long effort to produce 50,000 words or 175-pages of a first draft, as my motivation to get back into writing; but just as my novel writing fell by the wayside when I was blogging, so too did my blogging fall short (read: became nonexistent) when I was focused on NaNoWriMo.

Since then, I have adopted a less black and white view of my role as both book blogger and aspiring author and I even started to think that my writing in both areas might actually go hand in hand more than I once realized.

Why shouldn’t I host a book blog while simultaneously writing a novel? For one, as a book reviewer, I feel like I am constantly evaluating books based on their plot, theme, characters, fluidity, etc. whether because someone asked me to, I wanted to or the book simply motivated me to. Through reading and reviewing I am constantly learning more about the types of books I like, what draws me to them, how I want to write my own and more. I am able to pick up on grammatical and stylistic choices. I can see where my writing falls short compared to that of published authors, where i need to improve on my limitations and hone the skills I do have as a writer. Overall, I get a firsthand glance at “how the pros do it”. From a business perspective, book blogging has been a fantastic tool in networking for me. Not only have I been exposed to more and more books and authors for the sake of reading the latest releases (and some oldies but goodies) but I have also had the great pleasure of meeting authors who I probably never would have known had I not created my own book blog and these authors have become the best resources as I go through my own experiences and journey towards becoming a writer.     

So now that my eyes have been opened a little wider to the various perspectives on book blogging and becoming a writer, what do you think about it? Are you a book blogger and aspiring author like myself? Do you think there is room for the two simultaneously in a person’s life or do you think it’s too controversial to take on both roles? What else do you think about the subject?

Thanks to Emily’s Reading Room for broaching this subject. You’re great post really got me thinking today and it’s one I’ll be looking back on frequently.

To visit Emily’s Reading Room for her post on Bloggers As Aspiring Authors visit:


Or visit her homepage for the latest posts on her blog:


Putting on My Lip Gloss is a series of blog posts that represent my personal thoughts, ideas and general ramblings related to chick lit reading and writing. Every day is an inspiration – I never know where my next post is going to come from, but when it does, I always feel like putting on my lip gloss! Thanks for reading.

5 comments:

  1. I am a book blogger and aspiring author. I think (and certainly hope!) you can be both a reviewer and an author. In order to be a great writer of any kind, you must be an avid reader. We're just publicizing our reading while other aspiring authors are not. Thanks for posting the link to Emily's Reading Room. I'm sure I can get a lot of great tips for my blog just like you did. By the way, your blog looks great! Thanks for taking the time to write this excellent post!

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  2. Great post! This is realy helpful for aspiring authors and fledgling book bloggers such as myself.

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  3. Thanks, ladies! I really appreciate the compliments. I agree that this was a very important topic - I'm glad Emily's Reading Room brought it up.

    Great point about how we publicize our reading and how writers benefit from being avid readers; thanks so much for sharing!

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  4. I think it's great to be a reader, reviewer, book blogger, and aspiring author. I think book blogging can be a great way to interact with established authors as well as other reviewers and the simple acts of reading and writing about reading can be a way for any author (published, amateur, or aspiring) to polish their skills and fine tune their voice.

    In terms of negative reviews, I think all reviews should be honest but I think there's a big difference between criticizing a work and digging into the author or publisher. It's one thing to say something along the lines of "this work was poorly edited" versus saying "the editor of this book must have been drunk at work". I've read reviews along both those lines and I always find the former much more helpful and professional. Yes, it can be amusing to be a bit snarky in a negative review but I don't think there's anything beneficial about insulting the people behind a work just because it was not to a particular reviewer's taste.

    Great question - thanks for spotlighting the discussion!

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  5. Thanks Lisa - I agree - as book reviewers who publicize the hard work and efforts of published authors, we should be respectful and professional at all times with what we write. I know waht you mean though - I see others who choose to voice their opinions in a more blunt way for comedic effect but really, I always think, how would I want someone to give me constructive cristicism??

    ALso, and UPDATE on EMILYS READING ROOM: Today's post is about adding HTML to your blog's sidebar to show off links to your social networking sites. I have been trying to figure this out forever! Yay! If you;re interested, here's the link:

    http://emilysreadingroom.blogspot.com/2011/03/ask-htmily-7-social-networking-icons.html

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