You’re Beautiful and Unique – Don’t be Afraid to Show It!

A few weeks ago I opened up my Feedly app and saw this:

Cover reveals for Burying Water by K.A. Tucker

I felt like I was hit with a wall of identical posts. And I swear I didn’t even Photoshop that; they were all right in a row without anything else in between.

Now, to be fair, I didn’t read every single one of those posts so many some/most of them included personalized text explaining why they loved the cover or were excited for the book. I’m not here to criticize people for participating in cover reveals. I just want to talk about what it’s like when you open up your reader and see anywhere from 5-50 posts on the exact same topic (even if the post content differs slightly).

I’ve talked about something similar before in regards to memes clogging up readers:

Waiting on Wednesday memes in my feed reader

Waiting on Wednesday memes in my feed reader

Waiting on Wednesday memes in my feed reader

Waiting on Wednesday memes in my feed reader

This really got me thinking… not necessarily about memes or cover reveals, but about originality and blogging.

  • How many of you have accepted pre-formatted HTML posts that you just copy and paste on your blog?
  • How many of you have accepted a guest post that may have appeared on multiple other blogs?
  • How many of you have participated in a cover reveal that 20 other blogs are also doing?

And, most importantly, how do you feel when you publish those posts, knowing that many other bloggers are publishing the exact same thing?

You are unique! Your blog can be too

You’re an interesting, inspiring, unique individual. You have thoughts and ideas and the potential to spark discussion. You have opinions that are different from other people. We want to hear them!

Your blog is a reflection of who you are. It’s a place you can pour your heart and soul into. It’s a place for you to voice your thoughts and for us to get to know you. Your personality can shine through and attract new readers, or it can be lost in a sea of pre-formatted copy and paste posts.

When I decide to follow a blog it’s usually because they post content that’s different. It doesn’t feel like the same ol’ same ol’, if you know what I mean. I see discussions I haven’t seen before; topics that get me thinking; questions that make me want to respond; or just really pretty pictures (I’m a photography whore). I love it when I can see a blogger’s personality in their posts, even if just because they post about something different because it matters to THEM. I feel like I get to know these bloggers and even if I never actually speak to them one-on-one, I feel like I know them.

This kind of intimate, personal connection gets lost if YOU are not present in your blog. If you’re copying HTML from tour hosts or putting up a WoW with book data but no personal comment, how can I get to know YOU?

You are an amazing person with something to say and a personality to share. Now show me!

Your blog is your stage. Now go out and show the world how amazing you are.

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  1. I never post a pre-formatted HTML post, I only post guest posts with original topics that appear only on my blog and I only do cover reveals for exceptions on my blog. Memes like Waiting on Wednesday are a bit filler for me if I don’t have anything else to post or if I just really want to share a book I’m excited about. I try to be original with all of my posts so I don’t want to post something everyone else already posted.

    Bieke @ Istyria book blog recently posted: Bookish Babble: Comments & Commenting back
    1. Yeah I used to do Waiting on Wednesday until I realized that even as I was writing them, I considered them to be filler posts or “easy” content to write. Then I decided that I didn’t want my blog to be “easy”. Striving to be original is the way to go!

      1. I know what you mean. I’ve been doing Wordless Wednesday posts, but 1) I’m not a wordless kinda gal, and 2) I find I’m struggling to create them, when I could share the same pictures with a great story if I wasn’t pigeon-holing myself all the freaking time. So I stopped. Like, 30 seconds ago when I read your post and had my “ah ha” moment. #lol

  2. Yeah, I’ve decided (after two months of blogging, mind you) that I don’t want my blog to look exactly like dozens of others – I mean, what’s the point?
    I do get why some people use loads of memes (it’s easier to post content every day if you don’t have to think up original posts all the time), but it just doesn’t work for me.
    That said, not all memes are created equal, I think ๐Ÿ™‚ There are some discussion-oriented ones out there that I enjoy quite a lot and they just offer prompts for debate and connect bloggers – I think that’s a good thing.
    I don’t think there’s a right answer – I guess everyone should just post what they’re comfortable with and if they manage to get/keep readers, why not? ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Yeah I think that’s the problem:

      “I do get why some people use loads of memes (itโ€™s easier to post content every day if you donโ€™t have to think up original posts all the time), but it just doesnโ€™t work for me.”

      People think they need to post every day so they fill up their blog with “easy” content or content they can copy and paste (blitzes). But if your blog is so “easy”, do people really want to read it? I’d rather read a blog that posts less often but has higher quality, more original content.

      1. Yep. If I had to pick out my top 5 favourite book blogs, they would be the ones with little-to-no memes. And sometimes the bloggers only post once a week or so, but I always read their entire posts, while I almost never read a Waiting on Wednesday or the cover reveals or similar stuff.
        But you know – apparently some people DO like to read this kind of thing, otherwise those blogs wouldn’t have all those followers! So it’s really a matter of opinion. I like your blog – so this is probably why our opinions are similar ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Well, when I started blogging I fell in the blog tours-blitz-cover reveal madness. I never posted a html post but a few months later I deleted all blitz posts, the most of blog tours stops and covers revealed.

    Later I changed Cover Reveal section into A Beautiful Cover, I usually sign up for cover reveals, also I’m on a Mailing List with Between the Sheets but only If I really really like the cover I post it. I don’t post blitzes, blasts, or promotional events anymore, The only guest posts I left are 100% original same case with the Author Interviews.

    I post WOW when I really am expecting a book, also I have a widget on my sidebar with the book I’m expecting to the dead. If I post a meme like WOW, Teaser Tuesday or Music Monday I always write a few sentences about it. I try greeting to the readers, tell about my week or something like that, but you know what? the readers don’t answer, I know they see the post but nothing else.

    Right now I’ve been taking advantage of my summer break at the college for planning new features on my blog, I don’t know if they will be unique, impressive or something like that, but I’m really excited about them because I’ve tried to put in practice my education as journalist in them, or my creativity.

    When people say is so easy having a blog I really want to slap them!

    Great post Ashley, it gave me an idea!

    Savannah @Coffee, Books & My Kindle recently posted: Audiobook Review: Dark Taste of Rapture by Gena Showalter
    1. Good luck with the new features! Even if the idea isn’t “unique” you can easily make the posts unique just by working hard on each post and really incorporating your personality. Sometimes people just forget about the personal touches. This is often the case with memes where bloggers just answer the question or throw up book information and leave it at that.

      One thing I’ve seen a lot that I find is weird is where a meme is question-oriented and the blogger puts NO effort into it. Here’s an example (just made it up but I’ve seen things exactly like this):

      Question: What’s the last book you read by a debut author? Tell us about it! Was it good or bad? Do you have a lot more debut authors in your TBR pile?

      Answer: I’ve never read a book by a debut author.

      So the blogger has an ENTIRE POST dedicated to that one line response. I feel like the question doesn’t apply to that blogger, so the ‘normal’ reaction would be to skip that meme that week. But instead, the blogger puts up a post basically saying one sentence of “This doesn’t apply to me.” And that’s it. It’s like they think they need to post SOMETHING that day, so they put up a post that basically says nothing. There’s nothing wrong with not posting a day!

  4. I’ve only ever participated in one cover reveal, but I made the decision a couple of months ago to not participate in any blog tours/book blitzes/cover reveals because I didn’t want to be clogging up people’s feeds with things that I technically didn’t write. And even with memes, I take part in as little as possible so that I can post more things that I’ve come up with myself. It might be harder work to be more original, but it’s definitely worth it ๐Ÿ™‚

    Louise @ Nerdette Reviews recently posted: On Being a Fangirl
    1. Yeah I kind of feel like there’s no point in blogging if none of the content is going to be YOURS, you know? Blogging is fun because you spend time to write posts that you’re proud of! And those are the posts that readers will enjoy the most and result in even more readers! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. This is the reason I don’t participate in cover reveals and most blog tours. I’m never interested in reading those copy-paste posts. The two tours I’ve been in so far had stops with different content – those are fun to read ๐Ÿ™‚ I think it’s very important to come up with your own, original content.

    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted: Review 280. Kristin Cashore โ€“ Fire.
    1. I totally agree! Tours with original content are totally fine. I don’t do those often, but I do participate sometimes. I just can’t stand the tours that actually BRAG about having “HTML ready for you to paste into a post!” Is that really something to brag about? Your tours require zero effort? Really?

  6. I do participate in TTT most weeks, but that’s just because I really enjoy that one. I used to participate in WoW, but stopped that because I wanted more original content on my blog. I always skip over cover reveals and book blitzes, and honestly sometimes even blog tour material. I just think those posts are boring. I would rather read reviews, discussion posts, and original posts. When I see cover reveals and the likes, I almost feel like those bloggers are just posting for the sake of posting. I would rather post less and post original posts that reflect my personality than throw up a pre-formatted post that will be on 20 other blogs that same day.

    Rebecca @ The Library Canary recently posted: Discussion Post: The Agony of Waiting
    1. TTT is one of the better memes because it usually results in personal comments and discussions. Even WoW can be okay if people put up more than just book info and leave it at that.

      But yeah, the reveals and blitzes are a real pain. It’s horrible when you see the same posts copy and pasted everywhere.

      And I totally agree. If it came down to posting “filler” content every day or unique content only three times a week, I’d choose the later. I prefer quality over quantity.

      It amazes me when I see some bloggers who post not one but like 2-3 blitzes EVERY DAY. It’s like their blog is just drowning in promos and advertisements. ๐Ÿ™ Do people enjoy reading those?

      At that point it’s not even really a personal blog; it’s just an advert blog.

  7. I used to use HTML posts, but now I really don’t like having them on my blog. I just think they don’t look very good and take down the overall quality of my blog, so I’ve stopped accepting blog tour posts. Sometimes, I like the meme posts (like Waiting on Wednesday) because it introduces me to so many new books, but I think they should be personalized to the blog and the person.

    1. Yeah I agree! I used to rely on WoW posts to discover new books. But I always ignored the ones that only posted book info and nothing else (no personal comment). If they’re not excited enough about the book/post to SAY something, why should I take the time to read it?

  8. Excellent post! I’ve only been reading book blogs for a few months now and I’m overwhelmed, and turned off, by the repetitiveness of all the cover reveals, book tours, memes etc that so many blogs do. It also applies to ARC reviews- so often 20-30 different blogs I follow will all review the same ‘hot’ new book on the same day/week/month. It’s so hard to find book blogs that are unique and do their own thing ๐Ÿ™

    Finley Jayne recently posted: Bout of Books 11 Reading Goals!
    1. Ugh, yeah that ARC thing is true as well. I guess it’s harder to avoid, but it saddens me that I can get tired of seeing the same book over and over again. After a certain point I stop reading reviews for that book because I’ve seen enough.

  9. I used to do blitz for books I was really really excited for. However, the more I saw these things on other blogs, the less I used them. Cover reveals can be really exciting. I’ll admit, that is one of my favorite features on Wicked Scribes and All Things Urban Fantasy. This isn’t anywhere close to their only content though. It is once a week and multiple covers in each post. It is unique to them, so I am okay with it.

    The only meme I participate in is Broke & Bookish’s Top 10. For me, it is a way to discuss a certain topic with readers. Some people may still say it is “easy content,” but I put a lot of thought into answering those questions, and it is a discussion opportunity for me. Like I said, though, that is the only one I do.

    I won’t post pre-formatted HTML or things that I consider spammy like mass cover reveals, blitz, or promotional pieces. That is what social media is for! Share it on your Facebook, but don’t clog up my blog feed with it please.

    1. Yeah I like it when blogs put a ton of cover reveals together (like Cuddlebuggery does that sometimes). It’s fun to see new covers all at once and I can really see the effort they put into collecting all those!

  10. Sometimes I find it funny how accurate my rss reader tells me what day it is. If most of the posts are Top Ten, I know itโ€™s Tuesday. When WOW posts clog my reader then itโ€™s Wednesday. Personally, I stop doing this scheduled/prepared post long time ago and decided to post whatever I feel posting. My posts are reflection of what Iโ€™ve been thinking recently that I wanted to share.

    Mitchii @ The Aeropapers recently posted: RE: some my fave shoujo series!
  11. Not tooting my own horn here, as the saying goes, but I am an eclectic reader and so I don’t think I fall into the sameness seen on many blogs. I do participate in memes, but since my weekly wrap up is my own version of Sunday Post and It’s Monday, What’re You Reading it’s totally my own. I just started TTT and that isn’t too repetitive. I understand what you are saying, that is caused by a publisher getting

    Rita @ My Home of Books recently posted: Jot It Down!- random thoughts
    1. continued from above, hit send prematurely…
      a whole bunch of bloggers to “bomb” facebook and twitter at the same time to raise its awareness. I don’t do that; I hope to not be part of the pack. I won’t even review a couple of popular books right now because there are just way too many similar reviews out there.
      Okay, enough bragging here ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks Ashley, for pointing out a current problem with social media dictating behavior to bloggers. It’s something we should all think about.

  12. When I first started book blogging, I used to do just that. Now I realize it is SPAM! If I was getting irritated when my feed was full of the exact same cover reveal, the exact same blitz, etc, then my readers must be getting irritated as well. So I went back on a clean up mission and removed all those spammy unoriginal posts and only keep and accept unique author guest posts/interviews/etc. I’ve been trying to focus on more original content of our own and reducing the amount of posts when that isn’t possible. So yes, I’m with you, we should all strive for originality in our blogs and not just do the same ol thing everyone else does.

  13. I don’t do cover reveals, unless I’m guaranteed exclusivity. It defeats the point if 50 other bloggers are posting on the same day, about the same cover. You only need to see it once…

    What I’ve fallen in to a trap with recently is publicists letting me know about audio book deals, or special things they’re running, and asking me to post about them, and I say yes and see the exact same post a few days before mine goes live on another website. It just makes me sad.

    I’ve recently made the decision to cut down on my posts, get rid of the Book News posts I do, because every other Chick Lit blogger does them, so I don’t really need to and focus on the original stuff. I don’t do many memes except Top Ten Tuesday, which is so much fun!

    It’s hard to be unique, though, I will confess. I’ve been doing a Monthly Releases Post since the beginning (5 years ago) and now two other fellow Chick Lit bloggers post the same post – and one always does it a couple of days before mine goes live. It’s hard to be unique, when other bloggers don’t give you courtesy. ๐Ÿ™

    1. Yeah that publisher thing is a bummer. And once you’ve said yes it’s like you’re committed and it’s not niec to back out.

  14. When I first started blogging I totally fell into this because I thought it was the “right” way to become part of the community. And it did help me connect, but my blog is nothing like that anymore. I do participate in a few memes – but I feel like they are the ones that let me talk about myself or share some fun and connect with other bloggers. I also do participate in some tours/cover reveals but if I’m participating you know it’s because I was really excited and wanted to share – not just to have an easy post. I love having my blog as a place to post whatever I feel like. I mean I did a movie review of Sharknado last week just because and I’ve started this Outlander Thoughts because I have a lot to say about the show. Who knows what I’ll do next ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Yeah memes can be a good way to get the initial word out about your blog. You can link up and people will visit and those might be some of your first visitors/followers. But I think people also start to fall into a trap and don’t get out. They keep doing them more and more and more, when really they should be branching out and trying new things!

  15. That’s actually why I quit doing memes all together & became a lot more selective with tour posts. If it feels repetitive or I’d only be taking it because it’s an easy filler post I turn it down. I realized how sick of seeing the same things over and over I was and realizing I was only adding to that. Now I only post original things with maybe the occasional tag I was asked to do thrown in here or there & I’m much happier with my blog. It feels more “me”.

  16. I haven’t yet participated in a cover reveal, and I don’t think I’ll do the guest posts (unless they’re just for me) or the copy paste thing. I hadn’t planned to in the first place, but your post just makes me feel better about my decision. I do Tweet about stuff, but I try to stay true to my purpose. I really don’t do much specifically designed to drive traffic, just plug away at what I enjoy, and hope for the best. My blog is really clean and bare bones, which sometimes makes me doubt myself. Then I read something like this, about embracing what makes me different, and I have a little more confidence. Thanks.

  17. I try not to say this very much.. because a lot of blogger do blog tours and all that jazz. But I can’t stand them. I skip them and have never bothered to stop and read them. I will never head down this road and mainly because it’s boring to me. Plus.. does it really bring more traffic to a blog?? Meaningful traffic?? I don’t know. I am glad you posted this and hope others might see it and realize what they are doing.

  18. I only do memes from time to time. And as for tours, only for authors and books I like. I’m very choosy about them. I always try to put my own personal spin on them though. I hate pre-formatted HTML because it’s just so boring and never fits in with my style.

    Ashley recently posted: Giveaway : No Blog Left Behind
  19. I fell into the blog tour/release blitz/cover reveal trap when I first started blogging, mainly because I was so happy to be included in these things.

    But the shine wears off quickly when you realize you’re just one out of a hundred posting the same content on the same day. And NOBODY is clicking on it because readers are tired of seeing the same thing all the time.

    I’m now trying to focus on original features and content that are more “me”. My blog is not a billboard.

    Mo @ The Scarlet Siren recently posted: More Than Everything by Cardeno C.
  20. Agreed. For the past few months my issue has been part a lack of time and part deciding what I want my blog to be from now. I’ve never really done cover reveals. And I’m done with blog tours altogether. I know I will be posting fewer memes. I think the one I’ll keep around is Top Ten Tuesday. I only participate when it’s something I’m really interested in though. I still love having features because they work well with my OCD brain. I think the shift in my daily schedule is good for me though. I’m not able to schedule all my posts the way I instinctively want. I write when I have time now, and that’s all I can do. I think it will be better for me.

    That was a little rambling, but hopefully all relevant.

    Laura Ashlee recently posted: Bout of Books 11 Goals & Updates
  21. Ashley, thank you for reminding us to be unique! It’s so easy to fall in step with other bloggers because they’re doing blog tours and all these promos and then most of us forget to be our own blogger. In a sea of blogs, we must let ourselves stand out and show people what makes us special. This was a lovely post!

    Hazel @ Stay Bookish recently posted: Book Haul #23: August 2014 Haul
  22. Ugh, I DESPISE cover reveals and Waiting on Wednesday. I hate seeing them in my feeds & email subs! I unfollowed a lot of people who participate in those things because I don’t care to read them.
    I’m ashamed to admit that I used to participate in things like that…but that was in my first year of blogging. I can’t believe copy/paste memes are still a thing!

    Jessi @ Novel Heartbeat recently posted: Review: Rebel by Amy Tintera
  23. The only memes I like are the ones that force you to be original, like the Thursday confessions at Jessi’s blog above, or even the Sunday Post, because people talk about what happened during the week. I guess it’s all discussion posts really. I hate filler memes and I won’t do them. I also don’t accept pre-formatted posts anymore. When I get them, I re-do them to suit my blog, because, well, it’s MY BLOG. Not theirs.

    Jennifer @ The Bawdy Book Blog recently posted: We are moving!
    1. You’re totally right. It’s YOUR blog and the posts should be YOURS—not someone else’s.

      I’ve done the same thing. On the rare occasion that I participate in a blog tour and get a pre-formatted post, I always pick it apart and recreate it myself.

  24. I actually immediately say no when they offer an HTML-ready post. It makes me think the hosters aren’t looking at certain blogs because they think they would fit for the promotion, they just want the first 25 people who say yes to post their material. I’ve stopped doing other memes and have started my own just to try and be a little bit different. I know I don’t read every single WOW post, they irritate me more than anything else. So I don’t want to clog other people’s feeds up with mine.

    Also, WOW! I can’t believe all those were right in a row like that! WAY too many….

    Cassie (Happy Book Lovers) recently posted: Magic Arrows: Just One Wish
    1. Yeah same. I never even consider HTML-ready. And if it’s HTML-ready then it’s going to be the EXACT same post on like 25 other blogs. What’s the point??

  25. I was thinking the same thing the other day. And I had decided to change what I blog about – how many memes, cover reveals, etc that I do. I probably won’t even do cover reveals anymore because after being away from the computer for a few weeks, I logged into Bloglovin’ and found tons of the same posts back to back in the 1000+ posts I need to flip through. Pretty much I ignored the ones that were all the same… which sucks, but that’s what happens when you are swamped with the same thing over and over.

    I agree with the being original and that’s why I’ve taken a step back from my blog and the choices I made in the past. I’m working on a new vision for my blog so that I can be truer to myself and more original. There might be fewer posts in the future, but at least they will be all mine. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I love reading your dicsussion posts. They are one of the things I look forward to when I flip through my feeder.

    Chrystal @ Snowdrop Dreams of Books recently posted: Inamorata by Megan Chance | Review & Giveaway

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