6 Blogging “Failures” at Pages Unbound

We have had our fair share of success at Pages Unbound.  This is our seventh year of blogging and, somehow, we have managed to grow our audience and make connections with tons of fabulous readers and bloggers.  Still, not everything goes as expected when you’re running a book blog.  This post is to celebrate all those times we (meaning, mostly I, Krysta) thought we had wonderful ideas–only to realize that no one else understood how wonderful they were!  So, next time your post seems to flop, remember that we have all experienced that same sense of confused disappointment!

Your Entertainment Outlook

For awhile, we thought it would be fun to post updates on upcoming books, TV shows, and films.  We even announced fun news like the time a new stink bug was named after a Tolkien character.  We did this sporadically for awhile and then every week.  But almost no one read or commented on these posts, so after three months of weekly updates, we stopped.  And no one ever complained.

Wizarding School Adventure

In July 2015, we set up a Wizarding School Adventure where participants could go school shopping, get Sorted, attend classes, and more.  It got a fair amount of comments, but I was expecting massive views.  Since we didn’t get them, I scrapped the next adventure I had been setting up.  It would have been weeks of planning for little interaction.

Read-Alongs

We have hosted three read-alongs here, including one for L. M. Montgomery, one for C. S. Lewis, and one for Tolkien (along with Stephanie at Chasm of Books).  We were lucky if three people participated.  I guess bloggers have so much to do, a read-along can sometimes seem like additional stress!

L. M. Montgomery Reviews

There are tons of L. M. Montgomery fans in the book blogosphere, so every time I write a Montgomery review, I gear myself up for some joyful fangirling.  However, I have come to realize that Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea get all the fangirling.  My favorite girl Pat?  Not so much, unfortunately.  However, if you’re looking to expand beyond Anne, we have recommendations based on your Hogwarts House!

Flow Charts

I started experimenting in 2017 with more visuals, so I created a few flow charts to recommend books to readers.  The Tolkien one was pretty popular and so was the L. M. Montgomery one.  However, the Halloween flow chart was pretty much the opposite of popular and the C. S. Lewis flow chart only got three commenters.  I’m still trying to figure out if the less popular ones are failing because of the author/theme or because they’re not intricate enough.

“5 Great Things ABout Project Gutenberg”

I thought a post about how to obtain free books legally would be massively popular.  To my surprise, it hardly got any clicks!  I mused that perhaps people aren’t familiar with Project Gutenberg and so won’t read a post about it.  Maybe it sounds boring if you aren’t aware that there are free books involved.  At any rate, this is just another example of how something I thought would be a guaranteed success instead silently disappeared.

44 thoughts on “6 Blogging “Failures” at Pages Unbound

  1. hannah @ peanutbutter&books says:

    Loved this!! Personally, reading your post over, I think none of the ideas were failures. They were all so creative ❤ It's definitely difficult to deal with the pressure of having to produce content that will always promote interaction/interest amongst the blogging community. It's also super easy to get lost in the numbers :')

    (ALSO HOW HAVE I NEVER HEARD OF PROJECT GUTENBERG UNTIL NOW)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. highonlollypops says:

    I liked the project gutenberg one. to be fair I’ve known about it for a while now since I first used it to help me with sourcing quotes for my English assignments at uni 😉

    Like

  3. Holly says:

    I can definitely relate to this post– you never know what will be popular! Also, I really enjoyed your Project Gutenberg post. I read so many books for courses that way! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dalindcy Koolhoven says:

    I love this, you present failrues as something one can learn from ,instead of something one should be ashamed of.

    Also, I like the flow charts, but I would lik to see them designed a bit differently so they’re a bit easier on the eyes (or just easier to read in general). but the idea of them is pretty awesome!

    Like

      • Dalindcy Koolhoven says:

        I don’t know maybe it’s more the background or just the small text. I’d recommend making the flow chart in a Pinterest-shape photo size (I don’t links what it’s called, but it would show up as a bigger photo on the blog and you’d have to scroll a bit), that way you would make more use of the space. 😀

        Like

  5. Ali says:

    This is a great post! I’ve been blogging for about, wow this is my seventh year, and I still love it. We’ve all had our fair share of that didn’t turn out the way we had thought it would. I’m glad I’m not the only one that it’s happened to lol. I’m surprised your flow charts didn’t get more comments, I love visual stuff like that! Happy Reading!

    Like

  6. Rachel says:

    Thanks for sharing this! Blogging is such a trial and error. I have quite a few features that I started and ended up getting rid of due to lack of engagement. I’ve seen lots of bloggers do read-alongs and I always want to join, but I usually have such a backlog of books that I feel like I wouldn’t be able to balance it all. Maybe someday.

    Like

  7. Grab the Lapels says:

    The problem with Project Gutenberg may be that they have books whose copyright has expired, meaning old books. If your readers jump on the new-book bandwagon, PG isn’t for them. You’re also right about book readalongs; I don’t see people doing those because the person organizing is making the assumption that lots of people want to read the same book at just the same time. The best “readalong” (in quotes because it’s not really a readalong) is a challenge called 20 Books of Summer. I would guess close to 100 people do this challenge with Cathy over at 746 Books. You choose your 20 books, but you only get a certain amount of time to finish them all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      We have a lot of readers who like classics plus Project Gutenberg is, I think, associated with Open Library so I thought we would get at least a few more views. It seems even some classic fans don’t know about Project Gutenberg as I know some people pirate classics of all things… It isn’t cool to steal a special edition of a book you can free legally in other places. Sure, it might not have the foreword and footnotes, but it is available.

      That sounds like a fun challenge!

      Like

  8. Mai says:

    Such a shame that these ideas flopped! I would especially have liked to participate in the read-alongs and wizarding school…. sigh. Well, better luck with your future ideas! c:

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      It’s admittedly difficult to get more complex because I can only go so far horizontally and you can’t go down vertically more if you don’t have horizontal room, as well. :/

      Like

  9. (Danielle) Books, Vertigo and Tea says:

    Fantastic post! I have to admit I fail at read alongs and never partake anymore. But I have thoroughly enjoyed your LM Montgomery reviews and the flow charts! I am honestly surprised to see both on the list. I think they have been fantastic ❤ I certainly would not label them failures. The charts were unique, creative and engaging.

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      I usually end up following other people’s read alongs and commenting on their posts, but not actually reading the book with them. It feels less stressful!

      I’m glad you enjoyed the reviews and the charts! The flow charts really seemed hit or miss. Maybe some of the topics weren’t interesting for people. Gail Carson Levine, for instance, doesn’t seem to have the same audience she did years ago….

      Like

  10. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

    I love the premise of this post. It really points out to me how different bloggers think of their own blogs. For example, most of the things you commented about above are things I never would have considered. I never really think about the clicks or comments with my blog posts. I care more about the interaction with others, in person or online. Sometimes, it’s enough for a completely silent post to be mentioned to me in public by a friend.

    That said, I can totally understand how all the work you put into the Hogwarts Adventure and Read Alongs could be disappointing and worth pulling out of. There is nothing worse than spending a bunch of time and effort on a project no one cares about. O_o

    Do you have a post outlining some of your best victories at Pages Unbound?! I’d love to read that…

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      That’s an excellent point! “Success” and “failure” can mean different things to different people. In this case, I think I went with views and comments because it seemed like a more objective measurement? There are probably things that flopped statistically, but that I really enjoyed or that generated positive interactions that were valuable. But I’m it’s harder to look back and find them since WordPress doesn’t measure and catalog that sort of interaction!

      I think, too, that it’s sometimes easy to let the “failures” seem bigger than they are. Maybe I’ll do something and one person will complain and suddenly I feel like, “Ugh, no one likes this! I did a terrible job! Noo!” Because of one person! But maybe five other people loved it but said nothing. Or one other person did say they like it, but their response got drowned out by the negative one. It’s important to try to hold onto perspective, I find.

      Hm. I don’t have a victories post planned, but that does sound fun!

      Like

  11. Paula Vince says:

    This just shows it’s hard to predict what’s going to take off. I personally love fangirling over all the L.M. Montgomery books, and it’s sad to think only the first two Anne books get the acclaim they deserve. And I did read and enjoy the Project Gutenberg post too.

    Like

  12. theorangutanlibrarian says:

    Wow seven years is seriously amazing!! hehe I can relate to flops though 😉 Wizarding school adventure sounds cool but a lot of work. I really liked your flowcharts though- it probably had more to do with the authors than anything else. Now I’m feeling weirdly dorky for loving that you gave some love to Project Gutenburg…. But don’t worry- I’ve had my share of posts that I thought would be used for positive reasons just get ignored- so whoopsie daisy, it happens to all of us!

    Like

  13. Milliebot says:

    I don’t participate in too many readalongs. I use them for bigger books but it’s so hard to follow a timeline. Even buddy reads are a struggle at times.

    Like

  14. Aayushi says:

    I am so surprised people don’t know about Project Gutenberg?!! I mean, that site is a treasure trove for classics and many other popular books! I thought everyone knew about it?

    I think its amazing that you have tried out multiple things. A lot of blogging is about trial and error, since there are no set rules and no one knows what might stick with the audience. Great post!

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      I think a lot of book bloggers read only YA books, so maybe they don’t really care about Project Gutenberg. But it is good for things like school, too!

      Like

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