Today we are talking about community again, specifically about finding your place in the blogging community.
The world of book blogging has grown enormously and sometimes it can be hard to find a place. Share your tips for finding and keeping community in book blogging despite the hectic demands made on your time and the overwhelming number of blogs out there. If you’re struggling with finding a community, share your concerns and explain what you’re looking for–this is the week to connect!When I have been thinking about what I wanted to write today, my mind kept on coming back to circles and so that is what I am going to blog about today - the circles of community within the book blogging world. This is a very different post to the one that I thought I would write when I started thinking about this topic a couple of days ago!
Events like BBAW are fantastic at increasing the sense of community which is a great thing. I know from personal experience that I always find many new to me blogs during events to this. Sometimes they are relatively new bloggers, but other times they have been blogging for years and our paths just haven't crossed before.
The thing is though, the book blogging community has grown exponentially over the years. When I started blogging nearly six years ago there was a vibrant community and most people connected in some way or another. These days though there is really no way that you can meaningfully connect with every blogger out there, or at least there is no way that I could, because there are just so many awesome blogs out there!
Firstly, if you are a niche blogger, look for other bloggers who share your interests. If you really love romance and you are going to blog predominantly about romance, look for other romance bloggers. If fantasy is your thing, or poetry, or GLBT, look for others who you know that you will be able to start interact with by leaving comments about books you have both read, participating in events like readalongs or blog hops etc. That doesn't mean to say that you shouldn't read blogs outside of your niche, just that you are more likely to find people with similar interests.
This is sometimes harder if you don't blog exclusively or predominantly in one genre which is where I find myself! At times I find myself thinking that I don't quite fit into the any "community" simply because I read widely across genres. Some days I feel kind of on the periphery of the romance and fantasy communities and at times wonder about my place in the historical fiction community! The thing is though, that actually reflects my own issues which is probably an important thing to remember. The one thing that you bring to blogging is yourself!
Another circle of community might be to look for bloggers who live in the same area as you. For me, this has meant finding ways to connect with other Australian bloggers whenever I can. Try organising to meet up with people if they are close enough. For example, this year I met up with a group of Sydney bloggers, attempted to organise a get together with Melbourne bloggers, have shared coffee and meals with Bree from All the Books I Can Read and a couple of other local bloggers. There is nothing more interesting than chatting blogging and books with someone who shares your passion!
Is there something missing in your local area? Recently I noticed that a group of Perth bloggers have set up a project to try and get more authors to visit Perth! The project is called Perth YA Fans Unite, and I am willing to bet that not only will the project raise the profile and hopefully achieve their aims, but some friendships will be formed and strengthened through the process.
Keep an eye out for local events and see if you can find other bloggers who are attending. Meet up for coffee or at arrange to meet up even if it is just to sit together. As much as I loved the author events that I attended at the recent Melbourne Writers Festival, my highlight of the weekend was getting to know Lisa from ANZ Litlovers.
So what if you don't have bloggers living near you? Perhaps your circle might include people who you see regularly on Twitter? If they keep the same hours as you on a regular basis maybe start interacting with them!
One of the most important circles that you can concentrate on are those people who you have already formed relationships with. For me, these are the people who I have become friends with, who started blogging about the same time as me, the people who comment regularly on my blog. If you find yourself thinking about emailing someone for any reason - do it! You never know, that one simple contact that you make could make their day!
At the end of the day, the only way to extend your circle of community is to reach out. Your effort might not always be reciprocated, but by the same token, you might find someone who is just as eager to extend their community as you are! One thing though, if you do have an established circle, don't forget to let new people in. We should be aiming for inclusion not exclusivity!
So there you have my theory on circles of community. Are there other circles that I should have included?