The term ‘book influencers’ has been floating across my social medias, and I wonder the impact it has on us. Behind The Screens is a discussion series I’ll be starting so that people can truly understand that there is a lot more to being a bookstagrammer and book blogger then just posting about books. It almost seems like some of us are too scared to speak up about these issues, we’re all stuck in the cycle of not wanting to ruin our ‘positive book community’.
The main reason I am starting this is because I felt so alone. I thought I was the only one who was struggling with being a bookstagrammer and blogger or even being a part of the term book influencers. Turns out, that is not the case and there are so many of us who are suffering silently. We need change, and it starts with recognising issues within the community.
Oh and whilst we’re at it, I did start this in November 2019 and you can read this post here. Although I expressed my concerns, I did brush over them to keep that positive mindset. But that’s not the approach I want this time. And if you’re interested, this is my bookstagram!
Hyped Books, Are They Ever Worth It?
I typically read most genres and more so YA books. What I love about reading is that I learn so much. Through people, relationships, race, religion, culture. And so I was excited to be a part of a like minded community. Except this wasn’t the case. I have only ever seen hyped books most likely within the YA genre and more often then not written by a white author.
I felt the pressure to be reading new releases constantly and to review them as soon as I could. The pressure of buying books I wouldn’t normally buy before bookstagram. I felt scared to voice out the lack of diversity and how I never felt represented as a South Asian girl. Heck, I felt scared to voice out my opinions about a book when I disliked it.
Why? Was it because of protective fandoms? Or was it because I felt I was the only one who saw these issues? It came to a point when I was reading a book not for enjoyment, but just to get that review out. So I could post a picture about it, knowing it would get a decent amount of likes due to its popularity. I couldn’t even have my escapism within reading because I constantly kept thinking of things to mention in reviews.
Underrated Books Can Overpower Hyped Books?
And so on my mini break, I decided to give myself a challenge. I went on the Waterstones website and just browsed for books. With nothing in mind except not clicking on any hyped or well known books. And I loved it so much. It would have been better in the bookstore, but hey, Covid-19 is still a thing (daily reminder to wear a mask)! If any of you have been feeling like this, then I would recommend trying this out! Reading books because of deadlines and the hype isn’t doing my mental health any favours.
Liking Hyped Books, Are You Less Of A Reader?
But then on the flip side, people who only read and enjoy hyped books are less of a reader. A lot of book influencers do have high ratings for the books they review. They know their taste and it’s perfectly okay to read a book knowing you’ll love it. Just because someone only has 5 or 4 star ratings, it doesn’t mean they are easily pleased and that their reviews are untrustworthy. It just means that they read for enjoyment, not every reviewer is a critic. For me, I’m trying to branch out into genres I wouldn’t usually read and that inevitably means I won’t like every single book I read.
Can Change Happen Within Our Community?
I always wondered why someone else hasn’t spoken up about this. And then I realised that maybe we’re scared for change, scared for the followers and likes to drop. But maybe that means we will have a more genuine audience.
If we want change in this community, we need to point out its flaws. I hope I haven’t been talking to a brick wall and you related somehow. Maybe even felt inspired to change your ways. Book influencers have more to the surface then most will know.
I’d love to know your thoughts on this and what other issues you think need to be addressed! This is only the start, there’s a lot more left to uncover.