Blogger Bites: On International Blogging

bloggerbites

I live in the Philippines.

I’m sixteen.

I’m a book blogger.

This isn’t fundamentally a cut throat combination. I’ve endured on this planet since ye olde ’97, and not once have I looked askance at my ostensibly permanent whereabouts smack in the center of what seems a nondescript group of islands, detached from the rest of the edifice.  The Philippines is an active community, representing a sizable fraction of the literary fan base. As such, I don’t exactly feel as if I’ve been indubitably left out. There is a 4-story branch of Fullybooked at Global City, an annual book fair at SMX, no shortage of blogger forums and book signings, and not to mention the fact that books are readily available for shipment to this country (the post office is none too shabby, I do concede, although they still have much to work on). However, I do think that as an international blogger, much is left for want. I’m not a grumbling citizen, and though I wouldn’t mind a ticket to LA or something myself, I don’t think I’m bitter with the regards to the fact that I don’t live wherever all the books, publishing houses, and opportunities are available.

Not one bit. Even if I have more than enough of a reason to be.

But of course, I still do think I’m at a disadvantage.

design1. Many publishers are not open to the idea that international bloggers are capable of forming coherent sentences in English and are able to review their books all the same.

This applies more to eARC’s than anything else, but of course, the same applies to other formats. I myself have not ventured into requesting the authors and publishers themselves for early copies of books I am hellbent on reading, mostly because I am apprehensive of the likely outcome in which I depress myself after dismissal. There are bloggers, of course, who are still able to snag copies of books from publishers, and kudos to them for their diligence and persistence, coupled with the fact that not all the publishers have completely shut the door in our faces and thrown away our fair shakes, lock and key. In that light, I shower hugs and kisses upon the publishers who have been open-minded and have given international bloggers a chance well deserved. However, there is, and always will be, a greater chance of acceptance for a blogger who doesn’t live on the other side of the globe. Understandable, on the part of the publisher, but it’s not our fault that we live here and not there, either, and I know for a fact that we want to read certain books just as much as they do, and then some.

2. We can’t attend the BEA and ALA (+ other events), unless we’re willing to spend that much on a plane ticket and hotel reservations. And we’re not.

Unless of course we’re Paris Hilton. Okay, maybe we don’t have to be heiresses to massive fortunes, but really, it’s not that simple. BEA and ALA are book blogger dreams for crying out loud—they’re something like endless parties, where authors, publishers, bloggers, and simple fans alike gather to share their love for the written word. And I know that because I have experienced sitting here, in front of the computer, scrolling through endless posts on raves regarding other people’s experiences at these events. And I do not deny shifting in my seat uncomfortably, thinking to myself that I would have loved to be a part of it. I’m no voodoo, but I can assure you that I’m not the only one who’s had to go through this. I know there are opportunities for me back here as well (remember the MIBF, and the forums?), so I consider myself lucky, as a Filipina, where I don’t miss out as much as the rest of us do. I am aware, however, of the fact that in some other countries, there are no signings, no forums, no book fairs– and in exchange just a heaping pile of in-your-face nothing. Nada. Zilch. How’s that for a reason to be bitter.

crying

Sometimes I just UGH

3. Our time zone is bonkers.

Better traffic is generated when you’re awake at the same time as the rest of civilization, but that’s hardly all that matters. A lot of the fun stuff happens while I’m asleep, and goodness knows that’s something I can hardly appreciate, even if sleep has, for the last ten years, been an indispensable prerequisite. It’s never a good feeling to realize that exciting things on the blogosphere occur on a day to day basis and you’re never really around at the time, unless you pull all-nighters, and don’t mind the eyebags as repercussion (and I really do). The time zone here for example, is something like 12-16 hours ahead, which means that my waking hours stand in complete opposition to yours (unless you live nearby, in which case, you’d get it. Right?)  But of course, I am rarely online during the rush hours of book blogging, when almost everyone is actively commenting and interacting with one another. I have never been much of a socialite, but I know ‘missing out’ when it’s staring me in the face.

4. Our libraries don’t stock up on all the good books.

Honestly, I never even knew you could borrow legitimate, non-text books from libraries, or books that haven’t been around since the goddamned Middle Ages for that matter. I myself have only ever visited the library at my school, and even then only to escape the hustle and bustle of the corridors, and guiltily enough, I sometimes stay there for nothing more than the air conditioning (it’s a tropical country). I’d understand why they wouldn’t care to stock up on young adult books and the like, because they’re welcome distractions, but I’ve honestly never heard of a blogger from my country who’s gotten most of his or her books from the nearby library. We have to buy most of what we read, and even if I myself would prefer my own copy of the books I review, there is an undeniable perk in the string of words ‘FOR FREE’.

 

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 So what happens now? I’m not going to leave my own post empty-handed, and certainly not without reconciliation. International blogging is a feat in and of itself, so of course there is pride and self-glorification the moment you can call yourself one of the people who do. In conclusion, here are some tips for international bloggers like myself, to help keep your mind of off the cons, and focus them instead on the indisputable pros:

Think of what you have, instead of what you don’t. You can never read every book you want, but neither can the rest of us, international or otherwise. There is a perpetual shortage in this world, so make sure to be thankful for the things you have been given (and I am almost sure there is a lot to be thankful for).

Don’t be afraid to speak up. Rant on your issues all day long, if you can help it. There is a certain sense of satisfaction and release in venting, and I know that, because I just did. Tell a friend over Twitter, rant back and forth to each other, and take comfort in the fact that people will always be around to understand.

Realize that there is no harm in trying. Even in light of the fact that you are indeed an international blogger, don’t close yourself off to the opportunities completely, because something like that isn’t on the publisher—it’s all on you. Don’t be afraid to request for books the best way you can, and be ready to accept the reply, whatever it may be. There are lots of publishers out there who are generous with their books, and believe me when I say, it is no small victory if you can get to them. If like me, however, you are content otherwise, then stick to your thing because I can assure you, your pile is massive as it is.

Know that this is no competition. Even if I sounded like a total drama queen just then, I’m here to tell you that this is not the blogging Olympics. We’re not here to get jealous over what someone else has, and bitter over what you yourself don’t. Sure, someone out there receives copies of books on her doorstep without batting an eyelash, and sure she gets to go to all the important events you can do nothing but miss out on. But keep in mind that your blog itself is no small feat—you’ve made good friends and have helped readers with reviews. You may have met an amazing author, gotten a book or two signed, and attended an event reserved for a chosen few. With a little extra push, there always will be that chance that sooner or later, you’ll have no reason to complain.

thumbsup

YAY YOU!design

What about you? Are you an international blogger? Do you relate to the circumstances aforementioned? What do you do to keep up? Do tell! Sound off in the comments and make my day 🙂

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30 thoughts on “Blogger Bites: On International Blogging

  1. International blogger here! 😀 And I agree with all your points. I guess I can keep up with the time zone by pulling all-nighters (which I do) and end up sleeping in class. 😛
    I would really love a signed copy of one of my favorite books or attend BEA! And my library does not have Hush Hush but has the second book in stock. What’s with that? I have another point-the library collects rental money for each book I borrow! And the books are slimy and stained. I’m done ranting! 😀 But being an international blogger means having a different perspective of a story due to our different culture.

    Great post Jasmine! 🙂

    • HAHA hi! 😀 I’d want to pull an all nighter, but I really want to graduate with legitimate grades so I can’t afford to slack off XD And yeah, sometimes the library books aren’t in top dog condition anymore which is sad you know 😦 And thanks for stopping by Lillian!

  2. I promise you – you aren’t missing out … that much. I went to BEA once, and although I live in driving distance of NYC, I haven’t been back. I grabbed a whole bunch of books and 2 years later, I still haven’t read them all. I don’t want to do that.

    I don’t accept advanced copies of books. I don’t think my blog is any worse off for it.

    And guess what – I search the internet all the time for books by authors from other countries, and I always come up short. I would love to see more book bloggers talk about books from their countries. We don’t need more US centric blogs. That’s been and is being done to death. And yeah, I live in the US 🙂

    • You know what, hearing that from a US-based blogger does make me feel so much less left out XD I’ve never really thought much about what I am and am not potentially missing out on, but I know that this is a frustration of so many international bloggers like me. I guess at a distance, the BEA is cool, and I still do wanna attend, but we’ll see how I feel about it when I get the chance to do so! I don’t accept ARCs if they’re not electronic. And no, I don’t feel like my blog is worse off without that either! I don’t know though about blogging on books from my country, because only a few of the authors here write in genres I find interesting. The few that do though, I make sure to feature and put on some temporary pedestal XD So yeah, thanks for sharing! 🙂

  3. International blogger here too! I have these same issues too and I hate them 😦 I too almost never get ARC’s and definitely not physical ARC’s. And those book signing events are so cool, I really want to go someday! I always buy books on Amazon.co.uk, because here in Holland we always get the new books I want to read about 4 months later 😦 And of course a problem you did not mention: giveaways for US only!

    • Ohhh you’re from Holland! Never knew :O And right about the giveaways! There are all sorts of them, but mostly open to US readers only which is sad. Fortunately, I don’t enter them, but for those who do, it’s a bummer D: On the matter of ARCs, I’m actually trying not to request anymore. They CAN get stressful, and I don’t need anymore of that! So yeah, but we can cope! Hopefully, at least 😀

  4. I’m with you! Being a Dutchie makes it hard sometimes. The time zone prevents me from joining on Twitter chats sometimes, my wish is to go to BEA but that’s not very realistic for now and indeed, most publishers don’t want to take a shot with you. I have 2 though and that’s special to me, so I’m more than happy 😀

    • HAHA woohoo for being able to relate XD Yeah, sometimes I miss a lot of the fun stuff, and I still do wanna attend the BEA 🙂 but of course, I’m happy with what I have at the moment too! 😀

  5. I don’t live in the US but I don’t consider myself an international blogger. I live in Canada and while I may not have access to as much as American bloggers do, blogging (and reading) for me is an amazing experience.

    I’ve heard a lot about the hardships of international bloggers and it sucks! But I’m happy that you’re making the best of it! And you’re right, the fact that you can thrive as an international blogger as well as American bloggers is something to be proud of!

    And Jasmine, if you ever need someone to cry with about not being able to go to BEA and ALA, I’m here. Sometimes, I wish I could just block all the book haul posts because it makes my heart ache. One day, one day…

    • HAHAHA I don’t think you can officially consider yourself one– Canada is pretty accessible, quite near to the States 🙂 But yeah, blogging has been awesomazing so far, and whether or not I’ve been given as much of a chance at events and ARCs as US-based bloggers, all is still well because I’ve accomplished so much 😀 Yup, there is a lot to be proud of! HAHA about the BEA/ALA, I think a lot of us still really wanna attend, and I am quite keen on getting to! Maybe not now, but someday we will 😀

  6. I’ve had my fair share of ARC envy. I mean this or that blogger has a copy of Just One Year or Crash Into You and it sucks because I’m dying to read those books. 😦 But I agree with you- we should think about what we already have. My TBR pile is already massive and a lot of them are supposedly really good. So I tell myself that when I’ve gone through those books from my pile, the book I’ve been waiting for would have probably been released already. That makes me feel less aggravated and antsy.

    As for bookish events, I think I’m satisfied with the what we have here, given that they’re quite bountiful compared to other international countries, but I still dream of going to BEA and ALA. (Not giving up on that dream!) The time zone’s fine with me since I’m a pseudo-insomniac and can stay up late, haha. I am, however, so disappointed that our libraries here suck. Libraries should make effort to stock up better books or at least have a variation of them for all types of readers.

    Anyway, awesome post, Jasmine! You really hit this topic well. 🙂

    • Right? :O I’ve been wanting to read Just One Year for the longest time, and I have a feeling I’ll be wanting to read Into The Still Blue as well– and so many people have been talking about Crash Into You! Sometimes, when you see them in the hands of a different reader, something stabs at your chest 😦 but of course, its high time I get past that, and I’m glad to say I have! I’m just thankful of what I have right now yeah, I think my TBR pile is also really impossible XD I think the bookish events here are the bomb, but I am not giving up on the BEA/ALA dream either. As for the libraries… ugh. I just want to go to a really massive one with plush couches and crash into one of them with a pile of books for one night. Haha! Anyway, thanks for stopping by Hazel ❤

  7. Does being an Australian count as being an international blogger? Most of the issues you bring up do apply. Like the time zone thing. I can’t ever watch Tea Time during the livestream because it’s ridiculously early in the morning! And all the Twitter chats and stuff seem to be when I’m sleeping.

    And OMG the eARC thing! WHYYYY! I mean, I get that there are apparently issues with copyright or sth, but don’t actually understand why they’re there. Also Edelweiss hates me and I never get any replies to requests. Dang that blue “pending” button.

    And BEA *weeps*

    • HAHAHA I think so 🙂 I feel left out of the Twitter chats too, which is just sad sometimes D: I don’t do Tea Time, but I guess that’s another reason to feel out of your element! I think most, if not all of the ARCs I got declined for had to do with the fact that I live in the Philippines *sigh* but I can review just as well! D: Anyway, at least we don’t leave empty handed. There is much to be grateful for even as an international blogger, yeah? 🙂

  8. Raises glass for ’97

    Well, for me it’s a tad bit harder. Giveaways and direct shipping is out of the question. Buying an elephant would be easier. That’s why I kind of feel guilty when I enter a giveaway. It’s like, if I win, someone’s going to have to pay a LOT of money to ship the book. Naah, it’s not worth it.

    On the bright side, though, I can talk about my country and culture and it’ll still be interesting for some. It’s not everyday that you come across an Egyptian blogger, so there’s that. I wish I could go to BEA though

    • Oh cool I never knew you were my age :)) anyway, I think it’s cool that you hail from Egypt! I’ve never had an Egyptian friend before, which isn’t much of a surprise because I’ve never been there either (I will get there though. One day!!) but yeah, I never enter giveaways for the EXACT same reasons. It’ll make me feel guilty 😦 but hey,at least you have a rich culture! It’s something I’M interested in, definitely 😉

      …. I do want an elephant of my own though.

  9. International Blogger here! All the way from tiny Israel (one of those who have NOTHING. Sucks to be me, but as a fellow blogger who drooled at all the BEA and ALA photos, you get it)
    I agree with everything in this post. I’ve yet to try publishers (mostly because I want to give them an offer they can’t refuse, once I try, and by that I mean more than the 300 followers I have xD I know I have almost zero chance of getting it otherwise, and I get it. Shipment sucks ass. LOL

    I don’t think I realized before now that you’re an international blogger too. That’s actually kind of cool 😉

    • OH HELLO! 😀 Israel seems like a cool place to hang out, but right you are that we can do nothing but drool at BEA/ALA photos (for now!!) I think I have little to no chance of getting approved by a publisher, so I’ll wait that out too. Haha! I don’t try shipment. It seems so complicated 😦 And oh, really? I’m as international as it gets in a way! But yeah, it’s cool that there are lots of us who still thrive in the blogosphere 😀 But of course I do love meeting awesome Americans and Europeans! They’re all super friendly 🙂

      • It’s a cool place to hang out, sure… but not in bookish terms. I can’t meet any of the bloggers I love, getting signed books is damn near impossible (which is one of the things that sadden me most about INT blogging; ARC I can deal with, despite the envy. I don’t mind buying the books and supporting the authors. But signatures of authors I love are dear to my heart, and those are somethings I desperately want… but alas), giveaways are very few because… again – shipment sucks!
        But I do love the fact that we exist lol

        To be quite honest, I might be one of the more geographically challenged people on this plant. It has not once occurred to me that “Philippians” are considered INT @@ I’m lucky I was born at the age of GPS, or else I probably would’ve been lost in my own city… >>”

      • HAHAHA yup, Israel definitely has a rich history, but it’s still sort of tucked away. That’s why it seems so peaceful 😀 And YES about signed books! There actually are authors who come here to sign books every so often, but they’re authors with works I don’t read, which is either my fault, or my location’s XD I guess I have it better since they come, but that just cements my belief that international blogging is a challenge! But hey, we have our own share of perks, what with the interaction, and the ARCs nice publishers are willing to give us 🙂 So yeah! There will always be the factor of envy, but the fact that we exist is enough to make me proud XD

  10. Well, I know you know I hate the PO office. :l

    The other stuff don’t really bug me, except for BEA. In terms of bookish events, the Philippines is actually quite nice. But nothing can really compare with BEA. I mean, it sounds like book blogger heaven.

    • Yep, I know you do 😐 The BEA does sound like heaven, and many of the bloggers who attend seem to cement that belief! D: I WILL get there one day. But yeah, we have some nice events of our own 🙂

  11. I grew up in Australia, so I know what you mean about feeling left out, even if I’ve never lived quite as far removed as you. I can say though, that your fellow interenational bloggers and readers appreciate your content. It’s nice to read about someone in the same situation as yourself.

    • Australia’s quite near to us, but I do think we’re more “far removed” like you say it! 🙂 I’m psyched to see my fellow international bloggers, and non-internationals too, liking my content and keeping on supporting the blog 🙂 So for that, I think I am more than content 😀

  12. Such an amazing post! I’m an international blogger (Ireland) too and fins myself green with envy when fellow bloggers from the US post pictures of published books they received months before they come out. But to console myself I joined NetGalley, which is an amazing tool even if I’m not the biggest fan of ebooks. A lot of the publishers can be very generous when deciding when to allow or deny access to a book. However, of course you don’t always get permission to read a book, but that’s just life. I’m making do, trying to get through my massive TBR pile! Great post!

    • Nice! I don’t usually feel anything much more than appreciation and sheer joy for the person who gets to go to events and comes up with pictures, but sometimes, when I think long and hard about it, I do realize that I want what a lot of us do, which is a better chance at exposure in general. But of course, I don’t hold it against the non-internationals that they live where they do 😀 It’s always fun to see their enviable content XD I keep getting rejected on NetGalley though, which is weird. I’m going to have to break up with ARCs soon, since I have to catch up with my own TBR 🙂 And thank you for sharing!

  13. AMAZING post!!! I’m an international blogger, too and – in many of your points – I hear you! I think what bothers me the most is time zones. ARCs, I don’t absolutely need – there are enough books collecting dust on the shelves. Same thing applies to libraries and bookstores. I’m not even very, very mad that I can’t attend ALA or BEA, but it absolutely sucks that most fellow bloggers go to bed when I get up in the morning. I hate that! If only because whenever I am on Twitter, I feel like I’m the only person in the world!
    I personally was lucky enough to move from Germany (my homecountry) to London (for Uni) and I imagine that will make blogging easier. If only because the bookstores here, obviously, feature English books ;D Then again, I really think there’s a lot you can do as an international blogger that others can’t. I mean, one of the most important things about blogging (in my opinion) is expressing personality and having something that sets you apart from the rest. We just have to use this special characteristic instead of trying to do what everybody else (in the US and Canada) does… 😀

    Greetings,
    Laura @ the Booksmartie

    • AWW thanks for that advice Laura! 🙂 I do agree that the time zone is one of the most agitating things about international blogging, but I think that I have a lot to be thankful about being one– its definitely been amazing to talk to people from other side of the globe, and I do think that it would have been less special to me if they were on my side instead XD But yes, I am grateful for having been set apart 😉

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