I've been doing the book blogs thing for about 4 months now, made a few friends, found a bunch of followers, followed back a bunch of people...I even keep track of these blogs using Google Reader, so I don't have to visit them all individually.
Still...every day, I get overwhelmed. It's probably catching up with me moreso this week than before because I went on vacation for a week and came back to utter chaos. Even on a normal day, though, I get about 50 new blog posts a day on Google Reader, and scanning the titles, I am at a loss to know which to click on and read thoroughly. I don't have all day, but I do want, in about an hour a day or so, to become a part of the blogging community. I want to be a good blogger who doesn't just post, but who comments on other people's posts. (Because there's nothing I Like more than comments on my own site!)
So, how do you do it? Do you follow back everyone who follows you, and then how do you keep up with their stuff? How do you decide which to read regularly? How much time does this take in a given day?
Google Reader allows you create folders and categorize blogs into those folders. I have a folder for each genre, a folder for favorites, and a folder for newbies. Each genre gets a day and I check the favorites and newbies everyday. I check the newbies everyday because I still remember so vividly being there and being excited for the slightest attention. I'm STILL excited at the slightest attention.
I will admit that I no longer follow people just to follow them because I actually keep up with the blogs in my reader. When I open my Google reader I have anywhere between 150 - 250 new posts to look at. It is time consuming but like I said, I split it up.
I have a folder for my favourite book blogs which I prioritise over my main book blog folder. I don't manage to keep up but at least I can remember who to check first!
I might follow back through gfc, but I'll only add to google reader if I think I can enjoy their posts and perhaps even pick up some good book recommendations.
I have recently realized that I can't possibly read every blog I follow on a daily basis, so I've divided my Google Reader into categories. One major category is called "Daily Reading" and those are the blogs I follow whose content is most relevant to my own blog, and to the types of books I like to read. When I log into Google Reader, I start with that folder and make sure to get through everything in it before moving onto anything else. My other categories are "Authors", which includes just blogs written by authors whose work I enjoy, "Bloggers", which is a catch-all of blogs that I follow that I like but don't necessarily always find relevant, and "Story Time", which I keep separate because I maintain a story time blog separate from my book blog and often need to access that information separately.
I do try to follow back as many people as I can, but I try to be somewhat selective. For example, I don't read or like paranormal fantasy books - if a blog only reviews those, even if they follow me, I don't follow back, because I know that's not a blog I'll regularly visit. Also, I don't always get a chance to read blog posts every single day. If I fall too far behind, I'll catch up on the past couple of days and then mark the rest read without actually reading them. Blogging is a hobby for me, and I don't beat myself up too badly if I can't always get to everyone's posts. I don't think I devote more than an hour a day to keeping up with other blogs. I definitely don't stress about it, because for me, I want blogging to be a fun hobby, not an extra job.
Hope that helps somewhat!
Secrets & Sharing Soda