Hello Readers and Friends!
We are two weeks into the new year already. I hope 2016 is proving to be a great one for you all. I don't want to make this a long post, but I do want to touch on a few things with you all. Over the past couple of months, I have received countless emails, tweets, messages, and phone calls inquiring about 'where I've been'. As any of my fans and readers will have noticed, I have really slowed down lately. I have gone from posting several times a day to once a week or less.
It's a huge change.
So what happened?
Well friends, I'm not going to beat around the bush and lie to you. I've been burnt out. I'm tired. And honestly... life. Life has happened. I'm behind on everything. I'm barely able to get my work day, food, and a decent amount of sleep into my schedule, much less reading and blogging. I've fit it all in for a long time, but here lately, it's been one trial after another in my life and the book world has had to take a long trip to the backburner.
Am I happy about this? Yes and no. Any of you who know me and my backstory will know that I came into the book world at one of the most trying and stressful points of my life. This blog and all the work I have done as a result of it were all ways in which I could remove myself form the realities of life for a brief period and immerse myself into something I was passionate about. Somewhere along the way during these past two years, things changed. Little-by-little, this blog and my bookish adventure began to take over my life, becoming far more work than I ever anticipated. I was spending more time in a day blogging than I was at a day job for which I was being paid (for the record, I do not participate in affiliate programs nor do I receive any monetary compensation for my blog at this time).
How can I justify spending that much time on something?
I love it. I love the book world, I'm so incredibly thankful for all the memories and friends I have made. I look back on these past two years as some of the best times in my life. Traveling across the country to meet my idols or sitting at home messaging with fellow bloggers and industry professionals, I've had the absolute time of my life. I wouldn't trade these memories for anything. I have amassed a collection of signed novels that astounds me. Every personalized message warms my heart. Every time I get the chance to speak to an author I've grown to love as a friend, it makes my day. I have so much respect for each and every author in this world. It's such an incredible talent to put words to paper and bare your soul to the world.
So in short, I was doing what made me happy.
I don't care about numbers. I don't care about followers. I don't care about the awards, the spotlights, the praise (though it is extremely nice and an amazing way to be recognized by your peers for your hard work), I was doing this to make me happy and to help out my friends and favorite authors. That being said, as anyone in this community will tell you, there's a whole lot of drama. Bloggers, authors, publishers, etc, they all have brought a fair share of drama to the book world. I hate drama. I hate having to pick sides, I hate having to get all rilled up and feel like I have to prove myself to someone. Because guess what? I don't.
With all the drama in the book world over the past year, I've come to a pretty shocking discovery of my own. The place of the blogger in the bookworld is becoming less and less significant in the grand scheme of things. Promotional sites, bloggers who have made the jump to a higher calling, publicity companies, and even the authors themselves are doing more than ever before to promote new releases. I'm not saying blogs don't help, because I certainly believe they do, but I have seen a huge decline in readership this year. I don't know why that is, but I have my theories. It's heartbreaking to see blogs that I've followed for years now throw in the towel and quit due to issues. I know I'm not the only blogger struggling right now. So many of my bookish friends have expressed similar views on the topic. On top of that, new blogs are appearing each and every day. It's hard to stay on top of the competition and make your own work stand out.
So I took a different route.
Rather than just blog, I sought out other bookish jobs to help out and broaden my horizons. In the past year I have worked with literary agencies, publicity companies, and two publishers to work a plethora of book-related jobs. While I learned more than ever before, this really caused me to become even more burnt out. While working so hard to make a difference, I began to resent the book world.
Each and every review request I received made me groan. The constant stream of emails asking for promotion, posts, shares, etc was driving me up the wall. Authors/Bloggers Behaving Badly became a daily part of my life. I rolled my eyes more than I stared straight. I was just done. I needed a break. Two years of pouring my soul into this blog day in and day out had turned me into someone I didn't even know anymore. I didn't want to be around my real life friends or family, I had no desire to live a live outside of books. Until one day it just hit me. Life hit me.
I had to step away from the laptop. I had to put my Nook away. Work got crazy, new shifts resulted in me having little-to-no time for reading which meant days away from what I had grown to love, but it truly was a blessing in disguise.
After weeks of being away, posting only pre-made HTMLs or easy posts with no original content, I was able to set aside my book life for a little while and regain control of my REAL life. In just a few short months, I have really changed a whole lot. I've begun to take control of my health and lifestyle and as a result am on my way to a level of fitness I haven't seen in over a decade, I've bonded with both old friends and new, forming lasting memories AWAY from the screen with friends who I've truly grown to love with all my being, and I'm finally beginning to battle some of the darkest demons in my life without fear for the first time. I'm taking charge of my life. Ethan is taking a stand. 2016 is going to be my year!
So what about the book world?
Well friends, rest assured. I'm not going anywhere. Though we're facing some dark times, I'm not throwing in the towel. I'm going to hold on as long as I can. I'm not going to let my brain child go down without a fight. One Guy's Guide to Good Reads is here to stay. Now, that being said, I'll be making some changes.
While I will still be reviewing, posting, sharing, etc, it will no longer be in the capacity it once was. I'm going to try to set new goals for myself and try to keep the blog filled with regular content my readers want to see. You can still stop by for all the fun you've seen for two years, but please don't expect 10-15 posts a week like you've seen in the past. In short, I just can't do it anymore. Maybe in the future I'll have more time for this, but as for now, I HAVE to take this major step back. I know you will all understand and I appreciate it more than I can ever say.
For the first time in months, I'm excited to get back into reading. I've got a TBR list a mile long and I'm so excited to escape into the literary world once more with renewed enthusiasm. I've been gone long enough and I'm ready to come home.
What started out as a short note to my readers has now turned into a near-novel of my own so I'll try to wrap it up here.
I'm still around friends! I'm alive and working to make a better life for myself in all departments. It just means I need to take control of my time and learn to say no to some things.
I greatly appreciate all the love and support you have all given me over the past 21 months and I absolutely cannot wait to see what we can accomplish together in the future. I've got a handful of huge announcements coming up soon that I think you guys are really going to love. Be sure to stop by and check out all the fun.
I look forward to another amazing year of blogging and all the bookish adventures that will ensue in 2016! I've got my official schedule coming up soon so you'll know where you can find me this year at signings and conventions.
And for those of you who still may be wondering: nothing happened. No one event has caused me to be burnt out and I'm not looking for anyone to 'fix' it. We all know these things do happen from time to time. I would like to say that I have so much love for my fellow bloggers and all that you do. This can be a very lonely, thankless job at times. It's hard work and all 'behind the scenes'. I urge everyone reading this to reach out to their favorite bloggers or industry professional and give them a huge high five or cyber hug. Let them know you care. Comment on their posts, share their reviews, etc. Let them know their work doesn't go un-noticed. You could be the person to stop them from giving up on their dreams.
Thank you so much for stopping by and for your love and support. I couldn't do any of this without you all.
Here's a a 2016 full of fun times and great new bookish memories.
Until next time, Happy Reading!