Five years ago I never really understood what ‘blogging’ was and the word ‘blogiversary’ didn’t exist in my vocabulary. I certainly never anticipated that I’d be acknowledging my own and accepting that after all this time I can call myself a blogger.
I never started with the intention of ‘blogging’, I just wanted somewhere to keep my reviews together. Prior to that they were scattered over Amazon, NetGalley and Goodreads. I just though it would be nice to have my own space for them. Plus, I will admit, I thought it would make me seem more ‘professional’ to the powers that be at NetGalley so I stood a better chance of being accepted.
My very first blog post was my rather embarrassingly short review of The Hidden Legacy by GJ Minett. You can hardly differentiate the blurb from the review, but the important thing was I loved the book. It received ‘nil points’ in terms of views, but did have 9 the following year, so it did eventually get seen. As the subject of my first ‘official’ review and blog post, I was very excited to finally meet Graham to say hello, and yes of course, invite him to take part in Five on Friday. Although ‘Five’ was a much later innovation.
By the end of 2015 I’d made 8 posts and managed to attract 18 visitors, which is 18 more than I thought I’d get. I gradually dipped my toe into Twitter and started to join Facebook groups, but I always felt like a pretender. I found it difficult to accept that the other ‘real’ bloggers out there were actually talking to me as if I was one of them. But they did accept me, followed me and supported me. When I started to add authors to my growing circle of followers I was more than a little bit excited.
Over time the blog settled into a regular pattern of reviews and book hauling posts, with the occasional feature thrown in to add a bit of variety. I tinkered with Haiku reviews, dabbled with posts on wider issues and appeared to have a crisis of faith in May 2017, when I decided to step away from Twitter – not sure how long that actually lasted.
Interestingly 2017 proved to be a seminal year for me. Having had my ‘crisis’, confronted my ‘imposter syndrome’ and offered my views on blogging issues I decided to move forward. In July I attended my very first book festival (my now beloved Harrogate Crime Festival) and in August I launched Five on Friday. Behind the scenes I was coping with the fact that the lump I’d found the week before Harrogate was diagnosed as breast cancer.
While I may have doubted whether I was actually cut out for social media, it was actually social media, and the friends I’d made through blogging that made a real difference to how I coped through treatment. The friendship, messages and support I received was such a boost to me and I will always be grateful and appreciative of it.
Since then, Five on Friday has gone from strength to strength and is now a weekly feature, rather than fortnightly. I always feared I’d never be able to get enough people to appear, but somehow I do and my stalking prowess at Harrogate is a source of great amusement to many. It’s a feature that was very important to me throughout my treatment because it gave me something to focus on. When I wasn’t reading (and therefore had nothing to review) I still had my Five posts to prepare. My lack of reading also meant I got a bit more creative with my posts, something that still prevails.
My blog has ceased to be a review blog, but that’s OK, there are plenty of other lovely bloggers writing far better reviews than I ever did. Plus, the thing is, our blogs are exactly that ‘our’ blogs. I use my blog to write about what interests me, to share the book love about new titles, about ‘indie’ publishers, about what I’ve been buying (usually too much) and of course to feature authors via Five on Friday.
I love my little blog, for the focus it still gives me and for the many friends it has brought me. While I came to blogging later in life (I’m now in my 60’s) it’s another branch in my life long involvement with books.
So thank you, to all who read my ramblings, support and share my posts and make me feel that I actually am a real blogger.
A few facts and figures
My most viewed post – My pick of June 2020’s Kindle deals (you were clearly all desperate for lockdown reading!)
My favourite post – Memories of a reader Part1 : 1960’s I must start on the 1970’s soon before I forget even more!
My most viewed review – Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
My proudest achievement – being voted My VLF Best Book Blogger 2019
My USP feature – Five On Friday
About my favourite book of all time – Forever Amber, the Restoration and Me.
My most personal post – Pick any from my Boob Blog
Some of my favourite memories