Thursday, 28 May 2020

"Don't go....stay" - This Week's #ReadItTorial

Saaaaaam! Don't Go....! Stay!
We're officially on the slowly meandering path to eventual wind down here at ReadItDaddy Towers, but weird things keep happening to draw us back into the idea of "staying on" in some form or other after August 12th. I can almost hear the collective groans from our readers "Look, stay, or go, DO SOMETHING BUT DO IT BECAUSE YOU WANT TO!" but this week in particular, we've...

1) Been listed in a well respected journal amongst other awesome book-blogging royalty:

2) Seen a massive upsurge in hits on the blog - weirdly not from the UK, but we're suddenly 'big' in Alaska and North America. (Canada still hates us though, eh?)

3) Had several PR contacts from awesome publishers we admire with new review opportunities.

4) Had a stack of new books arrive after a relative drought as the lockdown kicked in.

The thing is, it's actually very difficult to just quit something that you've invested such a huge amount of time and effort in, but it's also equally difficult to carry on with something under the same conditions that made you want to quit in the first place.

It reminded me of that scene in the fantastic Terry Gilliam movie "Brazil" - the moment where Sam Lowry, the "hero" of the piece, is about to make the leap up the career ladder away from the cruddy information department he's been slaving away in. Only in his dream his boss appears as a hideous monster made of bricks, pulling him back down to earth as he tries to break away.

The Little Miss and Me have discussed what's going to happen after August and it's clear that we just can't carry on trying to cover stuff we've only got a fleeting interest in. PR folk are lovely, and it's extremely difficult to say no to folk who contact us with review opportunities of perfectly wonderful and brilliant books that we just KNOW are going to become someone's favourite. Often over the last few weeks I've elected not to reply to emails asking us to join blog tours, or to look at books we just can't find the time - nor the heart - to write about.

So what to do, what to do...

I really admire the approach a few other book bloggers (whose kids have also 'aged out') have taken, to deal with the transition. Some just carry on without their kids' input and their blogs are still as awesome as ever they were.

Some alter their blogs beyond all recognition but you can still hear their core 'voice' in there, even after substantial reinvention.

Some just quit, but still keep a beady eye on the whole business, and maybe contribute the odd think-piece here and there (and that's likely to be the 'slot' we fall into).

There's another option of course, to drop our output down to a minimum, only writing about the stuff that really catches our eye, that we genuinely love, or perhaps even carrying on with the retrospective (after all, we're only covering 100 picture books in the run up to the 12th, we could just as easily carry on writing about scintillating non-fiction, amazing comics, fantastic chapter books and everthing in between).

Little Miss is still talking about covering books herself and I can't wait to see how that goes and what she comes up with (tweenagers know their stuff, know how to make the best of social media, and also know how to convey their thoughts about the stuff they love with the language and clarity that their peers can relate to and understand).

So we're at a fork in the road. Not so much a fork as a spaghetti junction of options but still with the 12th of August looming on the horizon, and the decision not becoming any easier.