Monday, May 6, 2019

Doing Something: Announcing #RomBkBlog

There's a phrase from the Batman movie, The Dark Knight, where doomed Harvey Dent tells Bruce Wayne that you either die a hero or live long enough to become the villain.  In the case of romance book blogging it's more like you live long enough to become the cranky old lady who mutters about "kids these days" and "why can't it be like it used to?"

I've been blogging since 2003. Prior to that I was kicking around a few Yahoo Groups and reviewing for The Romance Reader (which existed from 1996 to 2007-ish).  Do the math.  I'm one of The Olds.  And I'm cranky.  I'll admit it.  I'm about three steps away from a housecoat, foam hair curlers and 3.5 cats.  But we all have hills we're willing to die on and apparently mine is blogging.

In 2003 there were a hardy few bloggers in Romancelandia.  2005/2006 really is when the big explosion happened and blogs were The. Thing.  It's been a slow descent since then, with a lot of bloggers completely closing up shop, either going to platforms like Twitter full time, or simply vanishing entirely.  Even the few of us who have hung on by our fingernails have curtailed our output for various and sundry reasons. (Mine is work - my career now is light years away from where I was professionally in 2003...)

But I still love the small blogging neighborhood occupying a quiet tree-lined street in Romancelandia.  However, it's hard not to get disheartened.  I feel like blogging has regressed back to the early days where you didn't know if anybody was reading.  Which was fine...back then.  But after the boom years when people actually, you know, visited your blog and left comments - to look at the dwindling site visits these days is just depressing.  As in, Why The Heck Am I Even Bothering depressing.  To make it more disheartening?  When word gets out that yet another blog is closing up shop, there's much sadness and boo-hoo'ing and hand-wringing on Twitter.  Which, hello?  The horse done left the barn - did you do anything to try and keep it in the stall?

Look, I get it.  Not everybody gives a hoot about blogging in Romancelandia.  You do you.  But the fact remains that romance bloggers are still writing interesting posts, putting real thought into what they write (well, not me but you know - other people are...), and providing thoughtful content to be consumed, digested, and savored. 

I love you Romancelandia Bloggers.  I feel like we're survivors of a shipwreck living on a tiny island and occasionally The Love Boat stops by.  Well, I want more people to visit us.  I'm thinking me writing this snotty blog post alone isn't going to do it - so I'm creating a hashtag.  I'm hoping it will increase visibility.  I'm hoping readers of our blogs will use it to highlight posts they like.  I'm hoping we'll use it when promoting our own, and others', posts.  Am I deluding myself?  Probably.  It is, after all, one of my favorite pastimes.  But I want to do something and this is what I can do.  Create a hashtag.

And so #RomBkBlog was born.  Use it. Follow it. Nurture it. Love it.  Promote blogs you like, promote interesting blog content you see. Help readers desperate for book related talk find it.


azteclady said...

I love (LOVE LOVE LOVE) that you are doing something while so many of us (me included) are...not. So, THANK YOU, MIZ WENDY!

I do have one question: the hashtag should be only used to highlight only romance-specific blog posts? Reviews, industry think pieces, what have you? (probably, likely, yeah, almost certainly, but I'm one of those people who need to know the rules of the road so I don't stupidly crash through the front window).

Wendy said...

AL: That's sort of my intent, although I won't be heavily policing it. Certainly, a lot of romance bloggers write non-romancey posts now and then - and if someone uses the hashtag to highlight a Rom Blogger posting about their new pet or a personal health update I'm not going to be an ogre and smack them down :)

But yeah, it's a hashtag to highlight Romancelandia so...primarily romance.

azteclady said...

Thank you!

Bona Caballero said...

I love your idea. I think I'm going to use it, even although I write primarily in Spanish. I think it can be useful.

Phyl said...

Romance blogs opened my world. I'll be forever grateful. I even tried my hand at it for a while. But I found writing reviews to be too stressful and eventually let it go. Still, I'm here in deep lurk mode. Thank you and all the other bloggers for what you do. Yes, so very grateful.

Dorine said...

Thank you SO much for persisting, Wendy. I'm one of The Olds, too, and I appreciate that you're not giving up! I just had the same conversation with myself last month - the why am I doing this conversation. But the truth is that I love blogging and I'm grateful for those who love it as much as I do. I'm happy to join in on the hashtag. Let's get this thing rockin' again. :)

Vassiliki said...

I was late to the blogging party having started in 2010. I am kinda hanging in but my blogging has slowed down completely due to life pressures having taken over. But I am reading everyone else whenever I can so having a hashtag as a guide is excellent! Thank you for your amazing initiative.

PS I too am a grumpy old woman these days. School kids fear me on public transport. Not a good reputation to carry!

Elissa Christmas said...

Just wanted to say I'm still here! I read less romance than I did once upon a time, but I still enjoy your blog and keep up with it. Of course I'm old too! :)

SandraAntonelliAuthor said...

Thanks Wendy.

I've missed reading the old Romance blogs.I read your blog and a handful of other (I'm looking at you, Vassiliki.) I find so much vitriol attached to what I see on twitter. I like blogs because they are thought-provoking. Comments on blogs foster discussion, unlike on twitter, which gives a quick hit, lacks discussion of any substance, and often boils down to who shouts the loudest .

Regardless of if anyone reads it, I maintain my blog. It's romance specific, with a slant that focuses on ageism, older women and romance fiction, something I'm passionate about--probably because I'm someone who actually wore sponge curlers and watched the Love Boat.

Wendy said...

Bona: Yes, rally the Spanish bloggers! I'd love to see the hashtag used for all romance readers, regardless of what language they're primarily writing in.

Phyl: I miss your reviews :( - but I totally understand. I used to be able to EASILY post 3-5 times a week. These days I'm lucky if it's one post a week, two if I'm feeling particularly dynamic.

Dorine: Blogging really has given me so much - friends, the camaraderie, heck the RWA Librarian of the Year award! I can't see ever entirely giving it up, but it's been a rough couple of years....

Vassiliki: LOL! My career is just in a totally different place now than it was in 20013. Heck, even in 2011. It's been getting harder to carve out the time for my blog, and yet I persist. I suspect mostly out of sheer stubbornness!

Elissa: Waving madly!!!!! Hello Elissa!!!!

Sandra: LOL! There are things I really like about Twitter...but yeah, all of what you said. I've been taking longer absences of late, even though I was always a bop-in-bop-out kind of user. It has helped.