Happy New Year!
Crikey! It’s been a bit of a year here on Linda’s Book Bag and as I publish this first post of 2019 and look back over 2018 I’m a little bit overwhelmed by it all.
I first began the blog in 2015 as a tentative means to share my reviews of the books I read, little believing that anyone would bother to look at it. It seems to have been a bit like Topsy since then and, having hit well over 11,000 followers on Twitter, in 2018 I decided to showcase as many authors as I could through a ‘staying in with’ idea; particularly those writers from small publishers, or authors independently published, who don’t have big teams behind them. I wanted to help as many writers as possible get noticed by as many readers as possible. I was inundated with requests and eventually had to turn away more people than I could accommodate, but 271 different authors came along to ‘stay in’ with me and showcase their books. I blogged 603 times in 2018 with only a handful of duplicate authors so I think I may have achieved what I set out to do!
In fact, I’ve been amazed at the seeming popularity of Linda’s Book Bag and I was certainly absolutely thrilled to win the Best Overall Blog in the Bloggers Blast Awards this year – so a huge thank you to whoever nominated me and to those who voted for me. I was overwhelmed.
However, all these blog posts have come at a cost. Over 2018 I’ve been struggling to keep on top of it all and fulfil promises I have made for blog slots, particularly with Mum being so unwell and needing my time and attention so often. Each of my blog posts takes a minimum of an hour to put together, including emails to and from the authors and publishers, tweeting and sharing in various groups on Facebook, setting up the post, researching authors, finding images, author links and so on. Of course, many posts take much longer, and that’s without any reading time for reviews too.
I estimate that average working days are the equivalent of 9-5 with at least 30 minutes off for lunch. This means that, aside from the times when I didn’t blog at all when I was on holiday in Uganda, India, Bali and Indonesia, with the posts I have blogged in 2018, I have spent the equivalent of at least 75 to 80 days or 15 to 16 weeks blogging solidly as if I were still working full time!
I’m exhausted. I usually spend three to five hours a day on what is supposed to be my hobby and I have come to realise that whilst I’ve been trying to help others to get their books seen by as many people as possible, I have not given myself enough time to do the thing I enjoy most – read. I’ve tried to be all things to all people and I can’t maintain the pace!
Add in the time taken up by my elderly mother, my complete inability to type accurately, osteoarthritis in my fingers and sight problems (a tiny hole in my left retina, an epimacular membrane as a result of PVD, conflicting astigmatisms in each eye, myopia to -12.5 in my left eye and -12 in the right with cataracts now developing in both eyes), I have decided this level of commitment to blogging is unsustainable. And I know I keep saying this, but I really would like to have a go at some writing of my own and finish that languishing novel…
Therefore, I’ve decided to be selfishly kind to myself and I’m taking a bit of a blogging sabbatical in 2019. I did wonder if I might stop blogging altogether, but I love it too much to do so and I am enormously grateful for all the exciting opportunities it affords me, especially when I get to meet favourite authors. I had already agreed to participate in 14 tours and guest posts in 2019 before I made my decision and I’ll go ahead with them as planned and I am already suffering terrible FOMO as I keep declining some utterly wonderful books and tours.
However, I’m involved in what I hope will be a fabulous Literary Festival in the area where I live and I need to devote some time to that.
I’m also off to Sri Lanka, Singapore and Malaysia for almost a month, so for the first six months of 2019 it is my intention to step back a bit from blogging and concentrate on reading and reviewing at my own pace without the commitment to guest posts and blog tours that I’m currently finding quite stressful. I already have some cracking looking books for 2019.
I hope all the authors, publishers and tour organisers who’ve asked for slots in 2019 whom I’ve turned down will understand, and I’d like to thank them for their interest in appearing on the blog (except perhaps for the one who sent me an unsolicited e-copy of their book via email with a message that simply said, ‘Madam. Here’s my book for you to review immediately’ with no other salutation or message at all! I confess I put that straight in the trash without replying!).
I’m looking forward to sharing my reviews of some superb books in 2019 – and knowing me I won’t be able to keep up my intention not to take on anything else as I hate letting people down, but for the moment, my blogging new year resolution is to have some time to myself to read, read, read!
Happy New Year everyone and keeeeep reading!
To celebrate the love of reading that I am going to concentrate on here on Linda’s Book Bag in 2019, and to thank all of you who have been so brilliant in supporting the blog through sharing posts, taking part on the blog and providing books, I’m going to start the year by spreading some book love of my own.
If you would like to enter to win either a £20 or $20 Amazon voucher or a £20 National Book Token if, like me, you prefer to support a local bookshop, click here.
The giveaway is open internationally and closes at UK midnight on Tuesday 8th January 2019 after which time I will not retain your details under those pesky GDPR rules! Good luck and do take part – this is open to ALL.