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Sunday, 19 June 2016

Guest Post: Because Books by Joshua


Today I'm very pleased to welcome Joshua to my blog, as he's written a fantastic blog post about the book blogging community. Thank you so much for your great guest post, Joshua! I really appreciate you taking the time to write it. I hope you enjoy it!
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The internet has many different communities. In a sense, the internet is for communities. Whatever you enjoy, the internet can help you enjoy it more and find other people who enjoy the same thing, and it’s not hard to see that this is the case. Take a look at YouTube, and you’ll find people making videos about literally anything. People make videos of them playing games, there are videos of people showing you various cross stitch techniques, and there are people recording their washing machines and putting it onto the internet. None of this is a bad thing necessarily, it’s all to do with the sense of community.

But to outsiders, a community is quite strange. We see this all the time in real life situations. I’m assuming you, the reader, are a book lover, so if that’s the case, how many times have you been questioned for liking books? Or how often do you see others being questioned, or worse, insulted?

The book blogging community is no exception to this. To me at first, way back in 2014 when I was first getting used to all of this (plus having no idea that ARCs even existed), it seemed a little strange to me too.

I remember seeing bloggers like Lucy at Queen Of Contemporary, or George Lester, along with Michelle at Tales Of Yesterday, Virginie at Chouett along with so many more incredible bloggers, and I was blown away by it all. That’s genuinely the only way I can really describe it. I set up my own blog, hoping to try and join in. The book blogging community is an especially welcoming one, as I quickly learned, and nobody’s afraid to talk to anyone, which is amazing.

But ever since then, a single question has always struck me as really important; Why?

Why do we do any of this? Why do we work as hard as possible, in return for often little more than free books? I know that most book bloggers put more work into their blogs than some people do at their day job. Why do we blog? It’s a question that strikes me as important, as I’m sure it will be for outsiders to this community, looking in and wondering what all of this is about.

For me personally, I love the buzz that surrounds books. As bloggers, we play some part in the buzz, but there’s the build up to a book being published and there’s an element of being able to champion a book we really love and just want the whole world to know about. In the year and a bit I’ve been blogging, I’ve had a few of these books. The one that comes to mind right now is The Next Together by Lauren James. (You could imagine how I felt when I saw this as well)

Back in March 2015, The Guardian published this piece from Andy Robb, telling the world why he was starting the UKYA Blogger Awards, and he said that “I know you’ll be there to support your fellow mouseclicking musketeers, because you’re a community.” And I think that statement sums up the whole reason any of us are part of this.

I can’t think of a single blogger who does what they do for any reason other than because of their own pure passion and love for books.

The book blogging community is one of the strongest communities I’ve ever known, and I think everyone who is part of it is bursting with pride for how tight-knit it is (everyone’s willing to help everyone else out) but how welcoming it is as well. The community, or at least how I interpret it, is built on a collective passion for books, and we see it all the time with blogger events, or when bloggers guest post on other blogs (sounds familiar…). Plus, we can prove how welcoming it is; #ukyachat wouldn’t trend every week, and remain trending for a while after it’s officially ended, if
the whole book community wasn’t welcoming.

And then of course there’s the books. When we’re introduced by the publishers who decide to share the news of their upcoming titles with bloggers, we’re all able to spot the books we think will make it big individually, but we’re all able to help create a buzz. Andy Robb said in the same Guardian piece, “Without your laptoptappery and the online buzz you generate about books and what you like about them and what they mean to you and how they’ve affected you, my book wouldn’t have got half that attention it did.”

In a way, this isn’t so much a piece about why anyone blogs, but more of a celebration of what’s great about the book community. There’s lots of different subgroups within books (UKYA, UKMG etc.), but collectively, I think we all share the same ideals.

When others see that I blog about books, and they ask “Why?”, the answer, for everyone, should be this: Because the community is welcoming. Because we’re all passionate. Because nobody hates one another.

Because books.

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Josh is a blogger from the UK, who depends on the availability of chocolate and an internet connection. As well as writing for his own blog (ohhiimjosh.co.uk), he also set up and manages the Big Book Project (bigbookproject.co.uk), and contributes to various other websites. He also tweets/posts on Instagram @ohhiimjosh.

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