I haven’t been in the bookish community for very long, in April it will actually be a year. The decision to be a book reviewer was it a quick one, but what platform to use; that was a harder decision. Book blogging or booktube?
Booktube can look like a really great platform. And ultimately I can’t say that it isn’t. Lots of people find great amounts of success on there, but it’s not the right one for me, and it doesn’t work for many others. Either way, I ended up choosing book blogging because I’m better at writing than speaking.
Yes I am a “diverse book blogger.” I’m physically disabled. I have something called Spinal Muscular Atrophy type 2. For me, this means I need help with my daily tasks, require the use of a wheelchair, and have limited use on my left hand. So far this has not affected me in any way that offends me, however it can leave me at a disadvantage for becoming something called a rep. You know those really aesthetically pleasing bookstagram photos? I can’t take them. I found that Instagram, blogging, and Twitter all go hand-in-hand. Multiple social media accounts help you stay relevant in a community that’s rapidly growing.
Bookstagram and Booktube are where you’ll find reps. These are people who represent and promote bookish companies. Reps get these items for free, in exchange for their honest reviews. And these reviews become promotion and marketing for companies. But it’s very rare to see a rep who is just a blogger. And because I’m physically disabled, I’m unable to take those photos. Or hold those objects up in video. Yes I could get somebody to assist me in this, but then is it still just my content? No not really.
This isn’t something that bothers me though. I did not get into book reviewing expecting to get free stuff. It’s just something that I know isn’t likely going to happen. And I understand the psychology behind the visual marketing for these companies. A consumer very often won’t buy a product until they interacted visually with it, at least three times. (I know this because I’m an author as well, and I’ve had to figure out how marketing works.) So it’s not something I can be angry about, because I understand it.
However, I do have diverse book reviewer friends who are both book blogging and booktubers. And I found out through them, that booktube is not nearly as inclusive as book blogging is. This non inclusiveness is due to so many reasons beyond racial, disabled, or other minorities. But think about this, what kind of videos do you like to watch? It’s likely that their high quality videos, with high quality audio, with a clear photo, preferably one with no audio to video lag, good lighting, and an awesome backdrop. Think about those things for a minute.
Book reviewing, on any platform, starts and usually stays as a hobby. Booktube? That’s an expensive hobby. Those nice high quality videos aren’t filmed on somebody’s iPhone. They have to have a fairly pricey set up. And if you don’t have it, or if you don’t have the cash for it, you usually don’t get the views or subscribers that you were hoping for.
Book blogging is considerably cheaper. Especially if you aren’t putting out ads of your blog. Yes, your content will cost money, unless you’re using libraries. If you are supporting your local library, good for you! But for a lot of us, we buy books as well. Books, brand new, are expensive. Anywhere between $15 and up to $50. Yes I have bought in the book for $50 before.
In my personal opinion I have found that book blogging is a lot more inclusive. I have never actually seen a physically disabled person doing booktube. Maybe I haven’t looked hard enough. Or maybe there just aren’t any. Who knows maybe if I ever become brave enough to be on camera, then maybe I’ll be the first?
Book Blogger @ Storybook on Wheels.
Kala is a blogger and author living in Alberta Canada. She lives with a physical disability and is confined to a wheelchair. She’s also an occasional artist, and Halloween is her favorite holiday. She likes tattoos and chocolate, and most movies directed by Tim Burton.
You can buy her poetry collection here: Witchcraft and Monsters.
#DiverseBookBloggersDiscuss is a way to boost diverse bloggers who are brilliant, have a lot to say and deserve to be heard loud and clear. What this is, is basically a guest post feature where every Sunday, one blogger from a minority will discuss things they are passionate about on my blog.