Coming Back From Book Blogger Burnout


First of all sorry this may be a long read! 


I do tend to ramble when I get going, I mean it is right there in the blog name!  I stopped blogging back in 2017, I’d had enough but I restarted my blog this year summer and when I took steps to restart I looked to see if anyone else had rebooted a blog after a long time away. I struggled to find anyone I could relate to so I thought it might be helpful to jot down my experience.

Let’s go back to the beginning....


I started blogging back in February 2014 as a hobby, I’d been made redundant and wanted something to keep my brain ticking over,  I literally had no idea what I was doing, I’m sure a lot of you were the same.  

I didn’t know jack about social media, proper etiquette for posting anything, when and what I should be posting, I just made it up as I went along, trial and error.



A food blog?



You may not know but I didn’t actually set out to be a book blog! I had recently discovered the joys of Pinterest and I lusted after the beautiful images set out by the food bloggers, colourful cupcakes, exquisite slices of cake and patisserie to die for.  

I wanted to be a food blogger, I very quickly realised that this would be a bad idea, I love food, I can occasional but it is a bugger to photograph so I decided to move to books!



The Joy of NetGalley



I started off reviewing my own extensive book collection, I hadn’t heard of NetGalley or Edelweiss, I did however, discover Goodreads and through that I got sent some ebooks and physical books, I was in heaven.  Then I clocked someone mentioning NetGalley, what was it? A virtual heaven of “All the books” I quickly signed up and I gobbled up all the Read Now options.  This was the life.


All the books



Then I discovered something called a book tour, there was also a book blitz, and a cover reveal, I could do those too and I did!  I signed up for so much, I read some great books, some not so but I loved it.  Meanwhile I was accumulating a better rating on NetGalley so I was able to start requesting books and before I knew it I had lots and lots to read.


As the years progressed I started receiving book mail and got auto approved on NetGalley from some great publisher and most importantly I started to discover other great bloggers and it was nice to chat to other people about our shared interests,  I was in my total element until I wasn’t.



Hitting the wall



I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when I started to feel that my hobby was turning in to more work than it should be.  I know I started to feel that I wasn’t producing enough unique content, I started doing features that required extra research along with trying to keep up with the reviews of the books that were piling up.

I remember totally forgetting a scheduled book review, Having to stay up late to read the book and then getting up really early to write the review.  This wasn’t fun anymore.  Quite frankly though to be honest I was all of my doing.




The End?


So in September 2017 I shut up shop, I did say in my final post that there was a chance I’d be back but in my heart of hearts I really didn’t want to.  Reading was no longer a joy to me, it was a slog and I wanted to read without the pressure of reviewing and posting and crossposting.  I’d tried to do too much.

Fast forward to 2020, I am still an avid reader and have definitely reignited my reading spark but then on the night of the 23rd of March the UK went in to lockdown, COVID-19 had hit our shores.

Lockdown



Like a lot of people I worked from home but then I was put on furlough. So I locked the door, switched on Netflix and got my books out.  A few months in something started to niggle at me, I was reading some fantastic books and I wanted to share how great they were, my husband quite frankly is a “burn all the books” kind of guy so he wasn’t interested, but I knew a community who would be.  So in June I took the tentative steps to come back to blogging, I don’t regret it.

But I will say don’t expect people to realise you are there, your readers from the past will have moved on, you need to re-engage with the community, don’t expect them to come to you.

Book blogging is still a great thing but I do feel the likes of #bookstagram has put us down the food chain a little bit, don’t get me wrong #bookstagram has some incredible creators on it and it’s wonderfully visual of course....I think what I’m badly trying to say is blogs are still relevant, I don’t go looking on Instagram for book reviews, I’m going to look online at a book blog to find out what they think and maybe find someone great to follow at the same time.



The 5 Things I Did Wrong The First Time



I requested all the books
It was fantastic but there are only so many hours in the day...


I signed up for too many tours, book blitzes and cover reveals
I was in contact with some fantastic companies and authors but I signed up for too much.


I never said no
“This book will be a great fit for your blog” says PR person - “Oh ok then” says Me


I didn’t have a proper schedule
It’s Tuesday what should I post today, argh I have nothing to post!


I didn‘t have a bulk of scheduled posts
Oh my days, I have nothing to post (again!)




5 Things I Am Doing Right This Time

I’m not requesting all the books
This was helped by the fact I had to restart my NetGalley from scratch and my new mantra that just because everyone else is reading it doesn't mean I have to.


I have weeks and weeks worth of scheduled content
Such an obvious game changer, at this moment in time I have 18 scheduled posts, 19 once I finish this one.  I don’t have a freak out that there is nothing there plus I have draft posts ready to spring in to action.


I’m saying no
“This book will be a great fit for your blog” says PR person - “No I’m sorry it won’t be, thank you though” says Me


I’m not comparing myself to other blogs
This is difficult to do, especially #Bookstagram but I am not doing this to get 20k followers, it is my hobby!


I’m treating it as a hobby not a job
I’m not a super duper influencer, I don’t get paid for this, it is my hobby, my choice and I will be more relaxed about the whole thing.



If you are still here, thank you!, let me know what you think in the comments below, have you had a long hiatus and came back to blogging?


47 comments

  1. I hear about bookstagram taking over and I'm sure it has in many ways, but you know there are still a TON of book blogs out there and lots of amazing content, so I sorta keep plugging on lol. I definitely hear you though, it's easy for it to feel like work and then the fun goes away. I'm glad you came back though, so many bloggers move on and when one comes back it's always nice. :)

    I do think not doing netgalley helps me- I can only speak for myself but I feel less pressure because I just post whatever I want, I don't feel like I have to meet these review commitments? Otherwise I'd probably be gone too haha! Treating it like a hobby too- definitely.

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    1. Thanks Greg. There are so many book blogs out there, I think I notice the most if I’m doing top ten Tuesday, the links go in to the hundreds there.

      I’m hoping I’m older and wiser now!

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  2. Thank you for your honesty. I think we have all been through this in some way or another, except maybe for those super organized people; they invade any field! I have not ever totally stopped since 2005 but I have scaled back, reorganized, tried different things. You are right. It is a hobby, the interactions with other readers is what I enjoy most. Bottom line: do what you want and what works for you.

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    1. I’d love to be super organised, maybe one day! You are totally correct, you find your own way and go with that!

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  3. I can't tell you how pleased I was to see your name pop up in a comment recently! Quite a few bloggers I've enjoyed connecting with over the years went for extended breaks and never came back or never got back in touch. I was in a similar fix in 2014-requesting too many books and doing too many tours/reveals and I had too many deadlines that I was struggling to meet. I had to step back when my mum was diagnosed with terminal cancer and that was time I used to re-evaluate my blog. I cut out all the tours, reduced the groups I was in, took on fewer review books and concentrated on my own content. My blog is improved but I still struggle with how long everything takes, especially book reviews!

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    1. Thanks Chuckles!

      I think when we first start we all go a bit over the top don’t we requesting and signing up, then there is panic when you can’t fit it all in.

      Book Reviews can be a nightmare can’t they, Ive been trying to approach some of them differently but I can spend an hour trying to put my thoughts together.

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  4. Great post, Heather. Thank you for sharing. I can really relate to a lot of this from when I was a book blogger. I was completely burned out and hated it after a while which is why I changed to lifestyle and stopped doing my book tours! Glad to have you back though :) xxx

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    1. Thanks Jenny, it’s good to know it’s possible as well to move from one area to another - your blog always looks great!

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  5. Good to have another place to visit. Whatever you do you should only really keep on doing it as long as its *fun* or you're being paid a TON of money and you're using the job to pay for something you really want. I look forward to your future posts and thanks for visiting my place.

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    1. You are most welcome! It’s nice to come across somewhere new to visit!

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  6. Hi there Heather!

    You are looking for a fellow passenger in you life-boat - look no further! Here I am!!!! I also left blogging 3 years ago. Mainly because I went through a terrible personal crisis just lost the urge to do anything on a "regular" basis.

    I had a Netgalley account on my previous blog and I wasn't all that happy with it. I've only reviewed like 17 books on Netgalley (they don't easily send books to SA), but I've only really enjoyed 3 of them. So I am still contemplating if I will go back to Netgalley.

    Reading and blogging should be fun and if YOU are having fun, it will reflect on your page.
    For instance: I think your blog template is GORGEOUS. I am green with envy. It is soooooo interactive and accessible and so many other great things. My little stupid White Kitten template is ancient and I believe Noah himself wrote it. BUT!! I love my little white, fluffy kitten. EVERYTHING is a plug-in and there are easier ways to get your posts done than with my little template. But I love opening my blog and seeing my cute kitten and think of WHY I am back here.

    I just want to talk books and bookish things. With people who are like-minded.

    Yes, I see the Bookstagramers all the time. But hey! We are also on there and we post what we want and it doesn't take us 6 hours to post a photo.

    And now I'm rambling.

    Glad to have you in my boat. Let's just continue rowing for now in calm and welcoming seas. We'll handle the tide and stormy seas when we get there.

    Have a good weekend! Here's my Weekend Book Friends

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    1. Welcome aboard! First of all thank you for your very kind words! There is nothing wrong with your template and I’m of the opinion you can never have enough cats anywhere - your kitties always make me smile!

      I think it takes me 5 minutes to do an instagram picture, I haven’t the patience to nicely set things out.

      I’ve got my sea legs ready to go, let’s sail!

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  7. This is a really great post - I think it could even help newer bloggers. It's awesome that you were inspired to come back, and that you were able to identify the things that didn't work the first time and changed them. It's nice to participate in things like blitzes and cover reveals and tours, but when you're doing more for others than for yourself, it can really take the fun out of it.

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    1. Thanks Angela for your kind words! You are correct, I think it’s important to do the blog for yourself not for others, it’s my little island on the internet!

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  8. Bookstagram really has taken the bookish world by storm. And it seems like a lot of authors/publishers turn to bookstagrammers for promotion over bloggers these days. But my reading/blogging is rarely driven by arcs or promo posts so I haven't really been effected. I tend to read what I want (backlist books from my own shelves) and only post when I want. It's the only way I've managed to avoid burnout. Glad you've found a happy medium! :)

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    1. Bookstagram is wonderful it looks like incredibly hard work, I just don’t have the patience!

      I’m setting my own schedule now and doing what I want and it feels much better.

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  9. I love this post! Its fun to see a blogger's journey and compare it to my own. The longest I ever took off blogging was a month, but I've definitely had my ups and downs. Also, I'm jealous of how many posts you have prescheduled! I wish I had time for that😁

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    1. Thanks Tammy! I’m just glad I can schedule just now, I have time whilst I’m job hunting, it does make such a difference but yep it can take time to do.

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  10. Sounds like you learned what works for you and what doesn't. I think that's fantastic! I don't have the talent for Bookstagram or the desire to do booktube. so, I will scream into the void, but at least I am enjoying it.

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    1. The thought of putting myself on booktube fills me with dread! Definitely not for me!

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  11. Sounds like an excellent blog plan. I definitely know the dangers of over-requesting on NetGalley and Edelweiss, plus accepting way too many blog tours. I'm trying to work out my own plan to make it a bit more manageable for me. Good luck!

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  12. Being able to figure out what works for you is a great feeling. Plus, it's always nice to have plenty of posts scheduled. :)

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  13. I relate to this post in so many ways. I was a prolific book blogger, with multiple blogs in fact, and I just got burnt out. First I stopped reviewing, then blogging about books so for a few years I only really did food, and then I stopped that for a year as well.

    I decided to come back this year, and I am loving it. However, I am conscious of the lure of the new book through Negalley, and I still do succumb a bit more than I should, and so I have to be careful not to unnecessarily add pressure where I don't need it. I am also trying really hard not to get envy of other bloggers.

    Who knows what the future holds but for now I am enjoying being back on the blogger ride.

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    1. NetGalley is the killer, I’m trying to resist it but its not easy.

      Blog envy is also definitely a thing but we are all different so our blogs should be different, it would be boring if we were all the same.

      I don’t what will happen in the future but I’m the same I’m enjoying the way things are just now but I know it could change in an instant but I also know what I did wrong the last time so I’m trying to follow my own advice!

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  14. I understand your thinking here. It has to be fun, or why do it? I have never really done anything at Netgalley or Edelweiss. I tend to forget about books that I can't see. And, honestly, I prefer picking my own books, whether they are current books or older titles.

    I'm glad you rejoined us in book blogging world!

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    1. Thanks Deb, I’m glad I rejoined too! NetGalley I will always have to tread carefully with, I tend to forget books I have requested then everything gets approved at the same time. I am trying to be more organised this time round!

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  15. I am really happy you came back as a blogger. And I think what you explain here is something a lot of bloggers struggle with. I know I've had times that it all got to be too much and I slowed down a bit on the blogging or even times where I wondered if it was better if I quit for a while, but in the end I always managed to find that i love it too much. I also changed some things over the years to deal with it better and most of those are similar to the ones you list here. I still join some tours and sign-up for review copies, but I make a note of them and don't sign-up for more than I can handle. I schedule posts ahead like you do and that helps take the stress off as you know you have content for the foreseeable future. And seeing it as a hobby not a job is so important too. It's supposed to be fun, not work. I am happy you got back into blogging and it sounds like you're doing what you can to not burn out again on blogging.

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    1. Thanks Lola, I’m happy to be back!

      I think my problem the last time was not properly organising myself and not saying no, being hopefully older and wiser I’m trying to have a proper schedule and stick to it which so far is working, I must not deviate from the schedule and I know exactly when everything is to be done.

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  16. Blogging should always be about fun. As you wrote, it's a hobby and not a job. When blogging starts feeling like a chore and makes one feel stressed, it's better to take a break or walk away. I'm happy you are back and learned what works for you.

    Happy readings! :)
    Tânia @MyLovelySecret

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  17. I no longer do book tours or take review requests from authors, except occasionally for a chosen few. I love NetGalley and read at my own pace. That's the only way to book blog, I think. I have limited myself to Sunday Posts, every now and then, and not every week. This prevents me from coming down with a blogging block. Glad you are back.

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    1. You are totally correct, you go at your own pace, that is the best way to do it.

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  18. Love this post! I'm so glad that you decided to start blogging again and that you're trying to put less pressure on it. I definitely go back and forth on pressure, but overall, I do this because I love it and I love the community. I do need to be better with scheduling ahead. I have various posts too, so it's not that I'm starting at square one. It just takes a lot of time to even format posts and create images if need be, etc. Ah well, one day I'll be more on top of it. I'm glad you're doing so well with being ahead though - that's awesome! It really does make it easier to blog and blog hop and not feel as pressured.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. Thanks Lauren. I really missed the community, I only have one other person in my life who shares my love of books so its nice to have everyone in the community to talk too.

      It does take time though, I always find myself tweaking posts so they look better and if you are doing graphics from the start it takes time too.

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  19. I totally hear you on the burnout. To be honest, I burnt out for a while, too, even though I didn't quit blogging. I'm still finding my way. And I definitely need to cut back on review books. I only take books I think I want to read, but it still adds up, and then I feel overwhelmed. Especially now.

    Anyway, I'm glad you are here, and I'm enjoying your blog!

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    1. Hope you manage to get through your books, sometimes you just have to step back and have a break. Thanks for your kind words!

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  20. I've only recently discovered your blog (either via Deb or Marg) and I found myself nodding my head as I read this post. I've been blogging since 2006 and have taken a few breaks myself. I used to get a lot of ARCs when I worked for Barnes and Noble, but I stopped accepting galleys from publishers when I realized I was getting a lot that I wasn't really interested in. I didn't want this hobby to turn into a job (an unpaid job, at that!). Now that I'm retired, I find I have much more time to blog and haven't fallen behind with reviews in over three years. I post about each book I read, as well as sharing some recipes that I've recently discovered. I also blog about our RV travels, but those posts tend to be long after each trip. And, all of this is purely for my own enjoyment and record, but that added bonus is the wonderful friendships I've made along the way. There is nothing better than talking about books, food and travel with kindred spirits. My advice is to do what you like and follow your heart.

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    1. Hello! I found that as well I was ending up with books that my heart really wasn’t in reading, I just found it so hard to say no, I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. Now I am reading for me and reading and posting what I want, when I want, it feels so much better.

      Thank you for your kind words and for stopping by, I’ll be over to visit you!

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  21. I blogged actively from 2009 - 2016 and just came back in June. I had a one-two punch knock me out. One of my best friends committed suicide in May 2015. Beyond the obvious grief, I stepped back and evaluated what was important to me. I realized I was spending way too much time on my blog and not enough time with friends and family. Then in August 2015, my department at work went from 2 full-timers and a part-timer to just me. I had backup in another building but they really just covered when I was on vacation. So I tackled that and grew the workload exponentially and had nothing left over at the end of the day for anything. I never even decided to stop blogging, it just happened. I had a handful of posts in 2016 and then just disappeared. I'm taking it easier on myself now. I'm not working while we're traveling with my husband's job. I make sure I turn the computer off when he gets home. I had mostly given up review books even before I stopped blogging and I'm sticking to that. Reading on someone else's schedule has always felt like work to me. There's a reason I hated all the books I had to read for school even though I've always been a voracious reader! 😂 I would like to get posts scheduled ahead but I haven't gotten that organized yet. I'll get there. I've learned this has to be fun for me. I know that means less followers but I'm okay with that. This is for me. It sounds like you and some others here reached the same conclusion. I think our model is more sustainable in the long run!

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    1. It sounds like you had a rough time of it. Blogging can all consuming can’t it, sometimes you either need to step back or step away completely. I’m glad you have came back to it, I think we just need to do what we want when we want , I’ve been made redundant so I have time at the moment to devote to it but when I get a job I know it’ll change again.

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  22. Great post, Heather. I could resonate with much of it. As you know I'm a blogger who loves twitter. I tried Instagram for about 5 minutes, but I'm not a creative photographer in that way, or prolific enough. I've recently found Pinterest again and I think that's my visual platform of choice over IG.
    I love my blog and it does take up a lot of my time. But, I've made some changes this year and I feel less stressed.
    Every day is a learning day. x

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    1. I love Pinterest, I’ve rediscovered it too, it’s great fun. I do like IG too but it’s dangerous when it comes to photo envy. I’ve tried to change my blog and my process so it’s easy and not stressful!

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  23. What a great post! Really interesting ☺️

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  24. I can relate to a lot of this!

    I first started blogging back in 2012 and loved it but by 2016 I'd completely hit a wall and my reading slowed down to barely one book a week as I'd burned myself out so badly... My reasons were much the same as yours. I deleted my blog and all the social media and before too long (about 6 months) missed it so took the plunge again in 2017. I did everything differently and even though I've hit the occasional road bump with slipping into old habits, I've managed to pull it back. :)

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Thank you for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it and will make the time to come and visit your blog, maybe not today but soon as I am always behind!

Sorry due to lots of Spam I am moderating all comments - no spammers I don't want to buy whatever it is you are selling!