Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Maintaining Community: Let's Talk Cake!

Day 3 of Book Blogger Appreciation Week (BBAW) is a continuation of Day 1, where we discuss the book blogging community; however today, we take a look at how we keep our community rolling, or where we may need to improve to bring us many more years of blogging in the future.  After writing here at Tif Talks Books for more than four years, I have many thoughts on this topic.  To save you from being bored, I am going to limit my thoughts to a three-tiered system!  And, nothing is a better visual of three tiers than a wedding cake.  (Yes, I love sweets!)

Tier 1: The Individual

I think the number one item to being a successful blogger is YOU!  Throughout the years, I have discovered that this blog exists because of my desire to write, to discuss books, and to share in the love of literacy.  My passion for these three things is truly what keeps me writing here.  There have been times that I have wanted to step away.  There have been absences, and some that were longer than others.  For some reason, I continue to return to my writing and to this community.  Maybe it is because this connection has been my constant (I have moved twice to different states since the beginning of this site).  Maybe it is because writing is a release for me.  Maybe it is because I simply love talking books and it is better to talk to myself than to someone who looks at you like you are One Who Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest!

The point is . . . Your site has to be about you!  You have to want to put in the time.  Being a book blogger is a lot of work.  It takes time and oftentimes, money.  If you lose the passion and it becomes more of a dreaded chore, then you may want to ask yourself why you continue.  Maybe you just need to make some changes.  Maybe you need to not post every single day.  Find your niche.  Find your style.  Take pride in what you do.  Blogging can be a great reward in and of itself . . . if you want that reward to be blogging!

Tier 2:  The Online Community

Once you have established your site, branch out into the book blogging community.  For the most part, your fellow bloggers are very encouraging, supportive, and enthusiastic about having you join.  Yes, you will find the crabby ones.  My advice to you on those ones . . . ignore them!  There are hundreds of us out here in cyberspace that are willing to welcome you with open arms!

You will find some sites that have literally thousands of followers.  Then, you have people like me that don't quite have that many!  Is one better than the other?  I don't think so!  We just have different goals and purposes behind our sites.  Personally, I don't shoot for the thousands.  I have found a very devoted group that I can rely on interactions and friendships with.  I choose to focus on those and cherish many of them as noted in my post from Monday.  In addition, blogging is my hobby.  As you discovered from Emma and I's interview yesterday, I am a busy person outside of my site.  I simply don't have the time to market and post like some people do.  Knowing your limitations and appreciating others are key.

Tier 3:  The Community IRL

This last level goes beyond yourself and the online relationships, and propels you into the real world.  Get out and meet with other book-ish people in your local community.  Frequent your local bookstores (and participate in #indiethursday on Twitter!).  Try out a book club or two until you find one that fits your personality and desires.  Utilize your libraries.  Go to your local author events.  Meet up with other local bloggers (like the amazing Utah community does on a regular basis!).  You never know what opportunities may present themselves.  You never know when you may find your next best book-ish friend.  And, you never know when you may discover a new book-ish love.

This level is one that is still fairly new to me and I continue to work on it on a regular basis.  In fact, only a few months ago, I brought back a feature here called Literary Locals and have had a blast highlighting my local literary loves!  And, without this last system, I would never have had my latest opportunity of branching out into the world of freelance writing which you can follow through my Walrus Report.  You simply do not know what life may bring you in this area until you venture out and try a little something yourself!

Overall, I have grown over these past four years.  I have seen my peers develop and I have experienced blossoming friendships that I will never forget.  This community has so much to offer and I thank my lucky stars every day that I am a part of it!  Today and every day, YOU are my lucky stars, and I am thanking YOU.


  1. The IRL community is one that is pretty tough for me. As someone who is shy it is tough to put myself out there.

    I like your Literary Locals feature.

  2. I really like this analogy (and looking at pictures of cake while I read your good advice!). I really think it works. I'd have to say, though, that my third tier is a bit weak. With so many bookstores closing, we're down to a couple of B&N stores, and I've yet to meet more than one blogger in my area. I do have a great book group, though it's completely separate from my blogging world. I guess there's no reason the IRL community and the blogging community have to be the same, eh? (Thanks for letting me think through all that in your comments section!)

  3. Excellent post, and I'm always up for cake! :)

    Being a blogger is more work than I expected and I've had a few absences as well. But I keep coming back, because who else would understand staying up until 4am to finish a book?

    Like Teresa, I'm kind of shy IRL so the third tier is tough for me. Love the online community though, but need to work on tier 3...

  4. I love your cake analogy … even though it made me hungry. I've not done anything with Tier 3 and I think I need to work on that. Great advice!!

  5. The cake analogy is so perfect! Love, love love it!

  6. Teresa ... I can completely understand about the IRL. I really have to push myself at times, but I can't believe the pay-off I've experienced because of it! And, I'm glad to hear you like my Literary Locals feature! Feel free to join in for your locals!

    Erin ... You are so welcome! Did the cake analogy make you as hungry as it did me while writing it?!? :) No really, I don't think that IRL and blogging have to be the same. Sometimes I have them cross and others I do not. Thankfully, there are no rules that bind us in what we can do!

    Alexia561 ... LOL!! I love your reasons for why you keep coming back because it is so true and probably why I've stuck around for so long (combined with some great supporters along the way)! Consider Tier 3 food for thought! :)

    Jenners ... I'm glad you enjoyed it! After writing it, I definitely wanted some cake myself, but I had to settle for a muffin! :)

    lisa :) ... Glad you love it!


Thank you in advance for your comments! I love to hear reader's thoughts and respond to each one within the comment section. Please feel free to subscribe to the comment feed to ensure you can fully participate in the conversations.

Comments on posts older than 14 days are first approved through comment moderation. Word verification should not be turned on, so please notify me if it randomly appears.