Every once in a while, there seems to be a question in the book community of what book bloggers actually do, whether they’re valuable, whether they should be paid, whether they affect book sales, etc. To be fair, many people truly do appreciate book bloggers–the hours they spend reading, blogging, and promoting, and their own money that they spend on books, book events, and bookish merchandise. (See this great post by Drew on Sharing the Love: Book Blogger Appreciation). Critics often accuse bloggers of “only being in it for the free books,” but the reality is that many bloggers don’t get free books. Many bloggers don’t even ask for them. And receiving an ARC in exchange for hours of work isn’t really a great deal. (Besides: Professional reviewers are also sent reviews copies and are actually paid for their work.)
So it’s true that there is not necessarily a one-to-one correspondence where one blogger reviews one book and then one or more readers immediately go out and purchase that books. The effect book bloggers have on sales is often more nebulous and spread out across weeks or months. Especially since *gasp* most book bloggers do more than post a review for a book on their blog and then forget it. Most are doing far more work than that. Here’s a breakdown of what bloggers are generally doing to promote books:
1. Read the Book
This is obvious, but when you take into account that it generally takes at least 5 hours (on the very short end) to read a novel, then this is the first step to a significant time commitment a blogger puts into reviewing a book.
2. Write the Review
The next obvious step is writing the review, which seems to generally take bloggers about 30-60 minutes at least (many bloggers report it takes much longer than this, especially once you add in formatting, adding links and photos, etc.). Reviews are also influenced by the significant experience bloggers have in reading and reviewing books (many have been doing so for years). Many bloggers are also librarians, booksellers, teachers, publishing industry workers or interns, or people with other relevant college degrees, so their expertise is going into their reviews in addition to their time.
3. Post the Review–On Multiple Platforms
Most bloggers do not only post reviews on the blog. They generally also post them to Goodreads and may post them on retail sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. This significantly increases the number of people who will see the review.
4. Promote the Book on Social Media
Book bloggers are frequently on other social media where they share their excitement for books, including but not limited to:
This extends beyond simply promoting the blog post with the review itself. Many bloggers also post on social media when they receive a review copy or note that they are looking forward to reading a book. They may post updates as they read the book and then continue to discuss the book long after they have finished writing the review.
Promoting the book on Instagram also means a blogger has put a significant time into taking a quality photo and may even have invested their own money into buying props or a professional grade camera.
Additionally, social media posts may catch the attention of the publisher or the author who can then share the content and increase its exposure.
5. Revisit the Book in Other Blog Posts Weeks or Months Later
As with social media, talking about a book on one’s blog often is not a one and done thing. Bloggers may continue to mention the book in other posts on their blogs, including:
- Book hauls
- Weekly or Monthly Round-Ups
- Discussion Posts
- Lists of Recommendations
6. Optional: Run a Giveaway
Some bloggers who love a book a lot and have the funds to do so will run giveaways for books out of their own pockets, thus further promoting the book and guaranteeing at least one sale for the author.
Book bloggers put a lot of time, passion, and thought into their blogs–and their multiple other channels where they post! We genuinely love books, and the community is very strong. There’s really no better place to talk about books or to start promoting your book if you’re an author.