Dear Book Bloggers,
Bestselling author Paige Toon is the reason I started a book blog. I read her Summer book, The Longest Holiday and she politely asked me to write a review on Amazon for her. It didn’t have to be an essay, just a few sentences expressing my thoughts. I agreed to it willingly because I was becoming such a fan of hers. When she mentioned writing my thoughts down on a blog, I didn’t know what to think of it. I’ve had blogs in the past whilst I was at University with a few short stories here and there. But I didn’t want anyone to see them and after a while, I would close the blog down and start fresh. I never had the time or patience to continually let my blog run. I thought about Paige’s comment about creating a book blog and I thought it was a brilliant idea. I started my blog with reviews of Paige’s books as well as others, knowing that she would back me one hundred per cent and still to this day, she’s true to her word.
I joined the book blogging community in June of 2012 because I wanted to express my love for books even more. I wanted to make friends with people who loved books just as much as I did. When I spoke to a few of them for the first time on Twitter, I thought it was wonderful. They all had such big hearts, such passion and love for books. I was in my element. Book blogging very quickly became like a drug to me. I literally couldn’t get enough. I was glancing through pictures of book hauls, reading everyone’s reviews and I would retweet like the Mad Hatter. After a while, they did the same for me. I was becoming part of such a big, loving family. Still to this day, I haven’t spoken to every single book blogger, it’s literally impossible as there are hundreds upon hundreds of us.
My blogging life changed when I started receiving review copies in the post. Simon and Schuster were among the first to send me books as they knew how much I was enjoying Paige’s. I’ve built up so many relationships with publication houses such as Headline, Hodder and Stoughton, Penguin, Quercus, Head Of Zeus, Little Brown, Simon and Schuster, Random House and many more. I am incredibly grateful to those employees who email me weekly and ask me whether I’d like to review a particular book. Publication houses have been wonderful to me over the past two years and I couldn’t be more grateful. They have allowed me to become a reviewer and someone who they can trust to promote their books.
My relationship with authors has also changed. When I was in a book shop pre the reviewing days, I would glance at books not really knowing who the author was and not really taking an interest in their life. That has done a complete 360 and now when I see books in shops such as Waterstones and even supermarkets, I fan girl over seeing them. Recently, I’ve been going into my local Waterstones and seeing You’re The One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher and thinking, “wow, I got to read that in February” and it was only released in May. Book bloggers are extremely privileged people and sometimes, I don’t even think we realise it. I joke that receiving book post is far better than Christmas because if we’re really lucky, books arrive every day of the week.
I’ve had a great relationship with many book bloggers but not all. Last year, it was an extremely difficult time for my family and I when my Mum found a lump. It was Cancer and thankfully, she had it removed and now, all is well. The book bloggers who I’m very close to became my support system. I have friends outside of social media but for some reason, it’s easy to talk to people who don’t really know you. I am speechless with how much they all helped me. Every day, they asked me how my Mum was getting on and what they could do to help. I was amazed to find publishers were emailing me and Charlotte from Harper Impulse very kindly sent my Mum some Crime novels for when she was on Chemotherapy. I’ll never be able to thank you all enough. However, some people weren’t as pleasant as others. I received emails and tweets from particular book bloggers “claiming” that I had made the whole thing up. I was speechless once more but not in a good way. I understand fully that I’m not the nicest person in the world and I will always defend myself until I’m blue in the face, but that was one step too far. For over a year now, I’ve been on the receiving end of hurtful tweets and yes, I tweet back in order to protect myself because if it was someone else, I would stick up for them. I don’t know what I’ve done to these bullies but I’m sorry for being myself. I’m sorry for having an opinion. I’m sorry for making the most of my life. I’m sorry that you feel the need to constantly watch my Twitter feed for my next tweet. I’m sorry that you have nothing better to do with your day than to post hateful comments and silly pictures. Your words have haunted me for far too long and it’s about time it stopped.
The book blogging community isn’t what it used to be. A lot of us have noticed that and it’s a real shame. Nobody runs the community and if anyone did, it would be the publication houses and the authors. They’re the ones who write the books, the ones who publish them and they also allow us to read them months in advance. The community has turned into a competition – who can out do the other. Well, that’s where you’re wrong. Nobody is the best. This isn’t a competition and it needs to stop acting like one. I created a readathon for July because I wanted to bring more people into the book blogging community, but even that has now turned into a competition. It’s really not fun anymore. I love books and I always will do but attempting to compete against someone else is extremely immature. I know that this post will make people talk and that was my intention. The bullies will continue to post hateful things because they have nothing better to do. I’m asking you, as part of the book blogging community, to put a stop to this bullying. Nobody deserves to be bullied.
The book blogging community ought to go back to the way it was – no bitching, no drama, no silly comments here and there but I guess there will always be one person who spoils it for everyone else. We’re all one big family and yes, not everybody gets along but it’s horrible to bring someone else down. It’s just not fair. I would never do that someone and it’s sickening that someone would do it to me. I was brought up on the saying, “treat people how you wanted to be treated.” I treat everyone with respect. Social media can be a very cruel place. The ring leader is a person who we don’t know, sat behind a phone or a laptop. They don’t know the victim, they don’t know how they live their everyday lives but they’re deeply affected by the hateful words. Quite frankly, it needs to stop. As someone who loves the book blogging community, I’m putting a stop to this on behalf of others who I have spoken directly to. I’m protecting people who I’ve known for years, months, weeks and even days. I would hate to see someone else be victimised the way I’ve been. Building an army up against one person is disgusting and you ought to be ashamed of yourself. Oh and for the record, I would never dream of pretending my Mum had Cancer. Believe me, I wish it all was a dream because that is the most pain I have ever felt in my entire life.
I love being part of the book blogging community. Thank you to all the employees of the publication houses who kindly send me books, to the authors who I love talking to on a daily basis and thank you to my fellow book bloggers, we may not always see eye to eye but at the end of the day, we love books and that is what is important. You’re all beautiful and creative in your own individual way. Embrace that. Don’t be jealous of personality traits others have because you’re wonderful just as you are. Be proud to be part of an amazing community once more. Thank you for being my support system. This isn’t the end of my blogging life, I would never dream of leaving the community.
Emma Louise xx