Don't worry, I'm kidding on that last one. But it does bring up an interesting point.....
Feeding off Liz's earlier post on social media, and mine on hype, Brie joined into the fray with her own post on the subject - also tying in the concepts of book discoverability, the prevalence of eARCs, and the homogenization of the romance blogosphere. It hit me somewhere in the middle of reading the comments on Brie's post. I finally get it. I really think I've found the answer.
We're not all concerned about hype, overexposure, discoverability or even the ever popular topic of ARCs and who gets them. Nope. We're concerned with the question of relevancy.
Maybe it's because I have this huge stinkin' blogiversary hanging over my head, but sometimes I wonder, why do I even bother? Am I still relevant in the realm of the online romance community? For that matter, was I ever relevant? What makes me think I'm so special that anyone would give a flying crap what I think about....well, anything?
Now before anyone accuses me of fishing for compliments (Oh noes Wendy! We like you! We really, really like you!), the point of this post is to say that maybe - just maybe - we're concerned about hype only when we're not feeding into it. Ask yourself this:
"If I'm not reading and reviewing books by Author A does that automatically make me irrelevant?"
"If I am not crushin' and lovin' on Book X, does that automatically mean I'm not one of the cool kids?"
Now some of you are going to read this and think I'm so full of crap that My Man should put Roto-Rooter on speed dial. But I really think I'm on to something here. Maybe it's my online longevity (I've been kicking around in one form or another since 1999), maybe it's because I remember the blogging "good old days" when, if you got one measly comment a week on your blog you felt like you were a rock star. I took to blogging because I wasn't cool. Hell, I've never been cool. Which doesn't exactly make me elite, since having met so many romance bloggers over the years I can honestly say.....
None of us are cool.
Sorry to shatter that illusion, but dude - we totally aren't.
Oh sure, some of us think we're cool. But trust me on this - we're not. We're so totally not.
At the end of the day, even though we might publicly state that we started blogging for various reasons, when it comes down to brass tacks? We, all of us, were looking for a place to belong. And blogging, especially individually run blogs like this one, are at their core extremely narcissistic This is The Bat Cave and It Is All About Wendy. If I didn't want it to be all about me I would have hired on a team of reviewers about six years ago (at least). I want people to come here and like my blog. But I also want them to come here and like me. And if I'm not reading Author A or Book X - those books and authors that everybody else is talking about except me? Does this mean I'm not relevant? Does this mean that nobody likes me?
Yeah, maybe hype, overexposure, and social media aren't the issues we should be talking about. Maybe we all need to acknowledge that, deep down, this phenomenon reminds us all that we aren't cool. And sure, a lot of us will admit that when it comes to the outside world? We're totally OK with not being cool. But what about in our own community? What about in The Great Kingdom Of Romance Novel Land? Don't we all want to be cool there? Of course we do. Here's the thing though - we already are. Because every voice, no matter the author or book being discussed, is a "cool" voice. Because hot damn, it's a voice talking about books. And to book nerds like us? Nothing is cooler.