The Plight of the Eclectic Blogger

The majority of you who read my blog know that I read just about anything—I read adult and YA fiction and pretty much every genre that fits within the realm of fiction. I also read non-fiction—memoirs, biographies, books about history, books about ideas. Sometimes I go on kicks where I’m reading a lot of YA or a lot of classics but I always have variety. I am like a T-Rex of reading who doesn’t discriminate  and will consume just about anything in my path–small children, trees, other T-Rex buddies, etc.  My other blog that I created and blog on with a group of friends, The Broke and the Bookish, is an extremely eclectic blog as there are so many of us with many reading preferences. I love the diversity. I enjoy discovering books that I might not have otherwise seen before. 

Initially this never was a problem for me when I was just a reader. Six months ago it all became a little more complicated when I began blogging. I didn’t have a niche. In college this word was one that was always thrown around in my classes as I was a business major. I’d talk about niche markets and how to market them and blah blah blah. I never thought I’d be contemplating a niche anything outside of school–much less in my own personal hobby.

What is this big pickle I find myself in you ask? Since I don’t have a niche–who are my readers?  My blogging identity is muddled. I’m not a YA blogger but I sure read a lot of YA. I’m not a “classics” blogger but I’ve been reading a lot of classics this year. I’m not an “adult fiction” blogger but I’ve got more than enough adult fiction to talk about with any other voracious reader of adult fiction.I’m so busy thinking about what I’m not that I haven’t stopped to figure out WHO I am as a blogger. I call myself eclectic but sometimes that doesn’t suffice.

I feel like sometimes, as an eclectic blogger, that I get overlooked–by other bloggers and publishers. YA readers might get bored if they see too many adult fiction titles and adult readers might just lump me in with all the other YA bloggers out there. Publishers might question my audience and think that I’m not the right “fit” for their book but fail to see that I get quite a positive response on both my YA fiction reviews and adult reviews. Sometimes I feel like my readership is pretty even.

I’ve contemplated so many times about just sticking to one or the other for the sake of pacifying my blogging woes but then, in the same moment of apparent “clarity,” I realize that would be so untrue to myself. Ultimately this blog is for me but I really enjoy discussing the heck out of books with people and have grown quite fond of my readers and our interactions. I love that my discussion posts bring readers of all genres and levels together but will it make them stay? Will they just ignore the books that don’t interest them and stick with me and wait for something to pique their interest? Will I open their eyes to a book they might not have considered before because it wasn’t in their typical reading genre?

My Google Reader consists of so many different types of blogs. I need this.  My life gets too bland with just one genre or type of music. I get weary and just plow through books and they don’t shine as brightly for me as they once did. But then I read something so vastly different from what I had been reading and my eyes are opened to some new wonder and that thrill of a new story and being transported into a new place is back. I feel like I’ve discovered my love for reading all over again. I am often breathless after finishing a book. I feel like then, when I go back to what I’m reading, I am refreshed–a cleansing of the palate so to speak that renders my future reads to be vibrant and new.  But that is just me and some people don’t get burnt out reading the same type of genre. Sometimes I envy those people. They must not have that gene that makes them often discontent and bored. I guess that’s just me, in general, though. I get bored too easily and need new experiences and new things to be interested in. Reading has never become boring but that’s probably why I read so eclectically or else I would tire of it.

At the end of the day, I’ll still blog and I’ll still read so it doesn’t matter, but sometimes I do contemplate this.

Anyways, there has to be other eclectic readers/bloggers out there that share my plight? Who are your readers? Do you ever have a hard time getting people interested in your blog? If you do have a “niche”, do you ever feel guilty for wanting to blog about other genres? Do you ever get burnt out of a certain genre? Publishers–how do you handle eclectic blogs? Honestly, do you pass them by or do you consider how well they do reach people?

Please tell me I’m not alone in this struggle.

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she’s actually that old. When she’s not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.

Comments

  1. GoddessLibrarian says:

    I'm an exclusive YA blogger, but that's because I'm an exclusive YA reader with an occasional side of picture books (for kids' bedtime) & baby poop books (less so, since I've seen it all already). The adult books I've read have all been crossover books that appeal to teens as well.

    I think that before you worry about your niche, you have to look at why you're blogging in the first place. Do you want to share your love of reading–of all books–or do you want to make a name for yourself? Do you care more about the potential reader who may find an unknown book on your blog, or about the potential publisher who wants to send you one?

    It seems to me that you are a lover of books, of all books, and that you don't need to be pigeonholed into a genre or reading level. If pubs pass you because of it, so be it. If some readers pass you because of it, so be it. Your love of the written word is clear… readers are drawn to it, regardless of the specifics. 😉

  2. Aw thank you! You are right. For me, I truly am just a lover of books so the "image" part doesn't matter that much to me. And I'll read regardless if publishers never send me any books. lol. But sometimes it's hard because I feel like if someone visits my blog on a certain day and sees an adult title or vice versa on my blog that they will go right on to the next one. I mean, there is always another potential reader to connect with but sometimes I just have a hard time figuring out who I am as a blogger. I know who I am as a reader so I guess I need to figure if that is how I want to be as a blogger.

    I just want to share books that I love or didn't love and discuss many bookish things..which I think I do!

  3. StephanieD says:

    Hi, Jamie- Misha pointed me in your direction. I'm glad I stopped by as I too am an eclectic reader. I post anything from YA, historical fiction, nonfiction reviews, as well as bookish topics like this post. I find that since I post on a variety of genres and topics and tend to mix and match, different readers will respond when the topic or review is of interest to them. Sometimes I'll post something and these commenters will come out of the woodwork who have never commented before. I think that quite a few lurk until they have something to say.

    So, just blog about what interests you – no one else has your voice and your perspective. Expressing both makes your blog unique and interesting.

  4. Jamie – You know me, I'm an eclectic reader like you and I've found myself thinking the same thing.

    But ultimately – the readers come. There are lots of us out there and I tend to gravitate toward blogs that post a variety of books rather than one specific genre. I can't stay in just one genre, it doesn't work for me and it doesn't work for a lot of people.

    Keep doing what you are doing – I've been too quiet on the commenting front, but I do appreciate your reviews and I love bouncing things off of you with Twitter as well.

  5. I'm with you! For me I get on huge rolls where I only read one thing- for awhile now it's been alot of paranormal YA, with the occasionaly contemporary YA thrown in. I do real alot of historical fiction as well and when I'm pressed to catagorize my blog I tend to say "YA blogger, who will read and review just about anything else." For me, for right now, I think that lets people know that I'm primarily reading/reviewing YA, but that I'm not stuck with only that.

    I really don't worry about the readers on my blog so much. I know that every book I love or read is not going to be loved by every reader, but I hope that I reach someone with each and every review. I love when I post something that seems off topic and have comments flood in from people saying "me too"! That connection is the best part of blogging for me, regardless of the book or genre.

    I think if you write consistantly honest and well written reviews both publishers and readers will eventually realize that even if you don't have a niche, you are still a blog worth looking at!

  6. JessiKay89 says:

    Jamie, I feel you! I have often wondered where my eclectic taste puts me in the blogging world, and I've often wondered whether anyone even pays attention to my blog. It's not so much that I count followers, but I just love to talk about the books I'm reading, so I'm always afraid that if I'm not reviewing the latest huge YA novel that no one will read my posts or want to talk books with me.

    I have to agree with Lydia, though. The readers will come, and honestly, the readers that I have are really great. I follow a chunk of YA blogs, but I've noticed that I really tend to gravitate towards those with more of a variety. I'm like a T-Rex of reading, too, and anything that shows me books I've never heard of is good in my book. It can get tiresome seeing review after review of the same book just because it's the newest thing.

    I think it all comes down to doing what works best for you. You've got a great blog, and I don't think any of your followers, myself included, would want you to change the way you do things. We love you the way you are (as cheese-tastic as that sounds)!

  7. Cat the Librarian says:

    I just started really book blogging, but could easily end up in your position. If it helps, I follow you BECAUSE you have a variety… Others will too. 🙂

  8. Jamie, I have found myself in the same boat as you have since I started blogging a few months ago. When I first started blogging I always wondered if anyone was looking at my page or what they thought, etc.

    The way I see it though now is this. I read for myself and I blog for myself and that is what's important. As long as you are enjoying the books you are reading and you are saying what you truly feel in your blog you're doing it right!

  9. I am somewhat eclectic, although I mostly read YA this year. I think a lot of my readers are YA lovers too because those reviews are the ones I get comments on the most. But I really wouldn't worry, because being true to yourself if the most important thing! And you post great thought provoking discussions which I am sure many other bloggers (myself included) wish they could emulate 🙂

  10. What Cat said — I also follow your blog because it's eclectic. My reading tastes also vary widely (wider since I started blogging!) and I like to know there are others like me who read a bit of everything. Life is too short to focus on only one or two genres.

  11. You are most certainly not alone. I often feel like I'm missing something because I don't fit into a niche either. I just remind myself why I'm doing this and keep on reading what I enjoy. I hope that my readers can appreciate that. Who knows, they may stumble upon something new. That is one of the big reasons that I enjoy the more eclectic blogs.

  12. Nooooo don't ever feel like you need to contain yourself just for this silly little niche business! I–and most other people would probably agree with me–read your blog because I want to know what YOU like. Regardless of whether that is YA, adult fiction, the classics, nonfiction… whatever your heart desires! As an eclectic reader whose blog is nearly all about YA, I can tell you that there are downsides to placing yourself in a niche as well: sometimes I just want to rave about some adult or classic that I've read, and find that I don't get the same response from my readers when I do. Who knows, I was thinking of changing that a bit more this upcoming year, maybe highlighting some of my favorite classics or whatnot. My point is, as long as YOU are happy with your blog, then we will be too! In fact, I should get your recs for some adult books so I'll actually get around to reading them! 🙂

  13. To answer your questions, I feel this way all the time. I feel guilty for being in a niche and be classified as such. Granted, my project makes it easy to classify me in the "classics" niche, but I enjoy so much more than that. In the last couple of months, I took time away from my classics and I think that made my readership go a little wacky.

    But at the end of it all, I just want to read what I want to read, and I don't want to be judged for it.

    Don't worry about trying to "fit" somewhere. Read what makes you happy and people will continue to read your thoughts. All I look for in reviews is some intelligent thought, and clearly you give that. You enjoy what you read and what you do and that is wonderful to see every time I come here. 🙂

  14. As obvious from all the comments you've already received, you're certainly not the only eclectic book blogger out there and you shouldn't worry about filling a niche. Read and write about what make you happy and your audience will find you. And like you said, people will probably gravitate to your posts about the genre they prefer, but they'll most likely stick with you through all of it.

  15. Don't stress about not fitting in one particular genre. I really like that you read such a wide assortment of things, because it means that you're open-minded and honestly, I just think it gives your reviews more weight.

    When I started my reviews blog, I didn't even think of turning it into something with a whole lot of readers, or that I would get books from publishers or anything. My blog is strictly me reading whatever I like – I feel like my reviews would be really, really dull if I stuck to whatever I thought might get the most attention.

    Anyways, keep up the good work! I love your ecclectic blog!

  16. TNBBC Super Mod says:

    Hey Jamie, don't let the pressure of niche blogging get you questioning your style. Being eclectic IS a niche… It's the "You Never Know What You Are Going To Get" niche.

    I am similar to you in the fact that, while I niche myself as an 'indie' blogger, I read all genre's within fiction – does that affect my reach or acceptance within the blogging or publishing world? No, I don't think so. Like most have said before me, I blog because I like to. Not because of what it can or might get me.

    You have a lot of loyal followers (as evidenced by the comments they have created here)… what you are doing WORKS. Keep it up! It's what keeps me coming back too….

  17. Hey Jamie!
    I am a very eclectic reader myself. I read literary fiction , historical fiction, women's fiction and YA fiction too. When I first started blogging, I would feel very lost because there were so many YA blogs. I felt that I should probably stick to YA genre only.
    But what is important is that you blog about what you love. I love being an eclectic reader and I won't change that for anything. Earlier I used to worry to about getting followers and comments , but that doesn't bother me anymore , as long as I am doing what I want to do.

    I am always on the lookout for eclectic bloggers (which is how I came across your blog 🙂 )and am glad to find that I am not alone.

    P.S I love this topic and you blog!

  18. Hi Jamie, I want to say 'please don't change!' I'm an eclectic reader too, and I just blog what I read, I don't worry about trying to fit into something particular. But then again, I'm not trying to be a professional book reviewer, I just love reading and love to share my thoughts and hear what others have to say about books too. I follow tons of blogs from all the genres too, and have to say the eclectic ones, like yours, are my faves.

  19. I think eclectic IS a niche – many readers like variety and look for blogs that will deliver that. I read and blog eclectically too and try to focus on making connections with the readers that do come to my blog and try to make the content of a quality that will bring them back.

    I can relate to your feeling like a niche would help – I feel that way often too but I want to blog in way that reflects how I read – eclectically! You have a great following – people will definitely keep coming back!

    Great post!

  20. Hiya Jamie

    I have to throw my hat in with the "don't change" crowd. I think most people are just like you with their reading habits. Most people aren't a one-genre only reader. If there's a book I'm not interested in on someones blog, I just skip over that specific post. I don't unfollow them or anything dramatic.

    So don't change 🙂 we <3 ya just the way you are!

  21. Midnyte Reader says:

    I feel that if you have post well and connect with your readers then that is the most important things. Just because I may not be interested in reading a book, doesn't mean I don't want to hear your opinion.

  22. I'm primarily a cat/pet blogger, but I'm an avid reader of just about everything (and I also go on category binges, where I'll read everything about mountain climbing or Queen Victoria or whatever). To suit the purposes of my blog, I review pet books in their own category, and lump everything else into an "other books" section. I'm sent pet books by publishers, but not other topics. I realize you'd be forced to make a choice regarding your primary/favourite genre if you triedd this, but it would still allow you to review everything you read. That said, I'd only suggest you make this change as a business decision; if you're worried about blog readers, I think we like your eclectic content!

  23. I am an eclectic book blogger. I don't feel as if it's "hard to fit in" because I feel that if I blog about something that I enjoy, and if there's people out there liking what I write, then that's an extra bonus for me. What I think is a big huge bonus? is when authors and people write to me and say: "hey, your reviews are awesome and your tastes in books are so varied that it's great" that gives me the biggest smile ever. Do I get burnt out of a certain genre? yes, but that's the beauty of being eclectic. You can just switch to something else without feeling bored. If publishers pass me by, it doesn't bother me although I have to wonder why if they want to increase the hype and exposure they shouldn't limit it to a certain niche. Whatever. I have millions of other books to read anyway.

    In a nutshell; I like being eclectic and I'll never change.

  24. April (BooksandWine) says:

    Jamie, I completely know how you feel. In the very beginning of my book blogging, I was an eclectic blogger. Then my focus shifted to a more heavy YA, with the smidgeon of adult books here and there. Then I burnt out on YA (very very recently). I'm not exactly changing my blog focus since I never really started out with one, but I am just reading and blogging books that I am dying to read. (Right now that is Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett). I will be damned if someone snubs me because I'm not totally niched.

    So please, read whatever you want and damn the rest.

    Also, I think when you go to request books, highlight your reviews in the genre you are requesting, that way you can prove that you do have the audience.

    Just be yourself, follow your heart when it comes to reading and people will flock to your blog. I know from experience (oh and do lots and lots of contests with 10000 extra entries 😛 JK JK JK).

  25. literarywife says:

    I just have to say that I love all the positivity in these comments. Keep doing what you're doing, Jamie!

  26. I just wanted to say that I think it's great that you're such an eclectic blogger, Jamie! I am like you, in that I can never really pick a genre that is my favorite and I like to read just about anything. It makes for an interesting looking bookshelf to say the least, lol.

    I had thought about starting my own book blog but never really made the jump because I was worried it wouldn't be cohesive since my reading choices are very widely-varied, but I love seeing what you've done with your blog. I regularly read The Broke and the Bookish too, which I also love. I feel like your blogs better fit my own reading tastes than most of the others that focus on only one specific genre or type of book. In the end, I think the most important thing is that your posts are interesting (which they are), and that you're honest about who you are and what you read.

    Keep up the great work! 🙂

  27. iubookgirl says:

    I consider myself an eclectic blogger too. I like to think readers will read what they are interested in and skip what they aren't interested in. There's no way I could confine myself to only one genre of reading.

  28. Jaime, I might be a defined blogger, but I hear what you're saying, and I empathize. I think what you need to be encouraged by is the amount of people that read and participate in what you do! Look at this outpouring of support for you! Sometimes the smallest, seemingly-least appreciated blogs are actually the most appreciated. Remember that a TON of us are looking to you for what you have to say, and that makes all this hoopla worthwhile! Big hugs 🙂

  29. I think it's safe to say that there are plenty of other book bloggers out there that have eclectic tastes. (Recently I've read and reviewed: Dracula, Squirrel Meets Chipmunk, I Drink for a Reason, Alice, I Have Been, and Jane Eyre…) Gawd knows where I fit in, especially since I'm reading the YA triology: Immortal Instruments).

    I love reading what you have to say and as long as you love blogging then do what you want with it. I try not to worry too much about who I'm marketing to. My main goal is to build reading relationships and correspondences with others since I don't really have any book loving peeps in my hood.

  30. I am very eclectic like you – I read about 1/3 fiction, 1/3 non-fiction and 1/3 ya. It is an odd mix and I do feel it keeps people from following me because they are only interested in 1/3 of what I do, but I can't help it, it's who I am and I can't imagine stopping! Ultimately I will read and talk about whatever strikes me, and it seems there are enough others who do that too that it works. I'm OK with never being huge 🙂

  31. Ordinary Reader says:

    Hi. I have no idea what kind of blogger I am or what others would call me. I do tend to read a lot of classics, but I really enjoy some of the more current books as well, like The Cellist Of Sarajevo, The Help, and The Book Of Negroes. I don't read vampire stuff, but I do read the occasional YA. I've been writing my blog for about 10 months now and haven't gotten any new followers for quite a while, so I do wonder if
    my particular mix of books isn't all that interesting to other readers. There are so many variables that it's hard to say what would make my blog more successful. I haven't done any giveaways or contests or anything so that makes a difference as well. I'm thoroughly enjoying what I'm doing though and don't think I'd change my book selections just to get more followers. Don't get me wrong, I love followers and would love to have hundreds of them, but I probably will always be a 'small' blog and I don't mind. I always enjoy reading your blog. Have a Merry Christmas!

  32. Jessica Lawlor says:

    Another great post, Jamie! I read and review both YA and I guess what people would call chick lit, though I call it women's fiction. Sometimes I notice myself leaving out other books I read just to stay within the audience I've built. It's definitely difficult, but I think for you, since you've already sort of established yourself as eclectic (which is an awesome word, by the way) you're doing fine just how you are. I know for me, I'd stay subscribed to your blog simply for the discussion posts…the reviews are the icing on the cake! If you review a book I'm not interesting, I'll usually just skim over it in my reader, and sometimes it may even pique my interest! I think you've sort of built your own niche, which is awesome!

  33. The1stdaughter says:

    This is so my problem in a somewhat different way. I don't review very many adult novels on my site (well none really) and I do review quite a few childrens books. Well, I'm constantly wavering between worrying about who I'm reaching and then not worrying. In the end, I just give up and review what I like or what I get to review from publishers. What I strive to do always though, is be me and enjoy what I do read. When that stops, so will the blog.

    Don't stress about it, just enjoy reviewing and reading! The readers will be there. Some will come and go, but you'll always have those that stick with you. Besides, I think you are doing a fantastic job, don't worry! :o)

  34. Avid Reader says:

    You're definitely not alone. My blog is a mix off fiction, nonfiction, YA, classics and even an occasional book of poetry. I read what I want to read and I think that if people enjoy some of the same books they will stick around. I don't ever want my blog to begin to dictate what I read (though sometimes it's easy to get caught up in hyped books or publisher ARCs). I love to read and I don't ever want it to feel like a job.
    Side note, I love your blog and I hope you'll continue to read what you want. Genres and niches be damned!

  35. I guess I'd be considered an eclectic blog as well. I read women's fiction, contemporary fiction, historical fiction, memoirs, then the occasional YA or general nonfiction book. I haven't had many new followers lately and comments have been low. I wonder if I should host a contest or do something to spice it up, but I'm just trying to stick with why I started the site in the first place – simply as a way to discuss books! It's easy to get consumed by stats and ARC's, but I don't think that stuff is worth the worry.

  36. Lu @ Regular Rumination says:

    I missed this post the first time around, but I have to agree with you that I fall into the same category. Like you, I read a lot of YA, but not exclusively. I read a lot of adult, literary fiction. I read just a lot of everything. I like it that way. I wouldn't change it for anything, and even if that means I don't have a solid community within the book blogger community, I still think that there are plenty of people out there in the same boat as I am. Don't worry about it! Just stay true to what you like to read. That's what I'll like to read!

  37. nea barabea says:

    I love the subject of this post!! I was actually thinking about it these days. I started blogging because I was pissed of my student colleagues at the University for hating to share notes, reports, reviews of various subjects. So yeah, I was seriously pissed of. And so I decided to create a blog and upload ALL my reports online. I mean it was sad to me that all that work for a report, can be seen just by me, my friend who corrects my spelling and the professor. And so I've put everything online 😛 Then I moved to London for 3 months and I said "Why not use my blog so people, like my family and friends, could see what I am up to?" And so I started to write about my adentures in England. And then in the summer in London I figure all the amazing blogs around, that suggested me to read all the variety of books!! And I started reading 🙂 A LOT. I was so happy about it! YA books were made for me 😀 I still can't belive that it took me 22 years to figure YA BOOKS! And then I decided that I want to write about books too! 🙂 And so I started to write my blog in English. Ok, sometimes my spelling and grammar sucks, but you know what? 😀 I think in the end everyone gets my point, screw the grammar 😀

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