FAQs New Book Bloggers Have

FAQs New Book Bloggers Have

Are you new to book blogging? Do you have questions about blogger expectations, or just the way other book bloggers do things? Read on for a list of commonly-asked questions from new bloggers and our take on what book blogging currently looks like.

Star Divider

How often should I post?

The simple answer is as much as you want! There is no right or wrong way to blog, and you will find many bloggers with many different schedules. Blogging is, for most book bloggers, a hobby and supposed to be fun, so there is no need to stress about posting.

However, if you are trying to grow your followers and gain traffic, a more practical answer would be that posting at least once a week would likely be beneficial in this regard. You want to post with some frequency so you have content for new viewers to engage with and explore–so they can see if they think your blog is a good fit for them–and so your blog appears to be active. If you haven’t posted in two or three months, old followers might keep your blog in their feeds, and thus see when a new post is published, but others might not click the follow button.

smaller star divider

What should my blog/sidebar absolutely have?

Our guide on How to Start a Book Blog covers this question (and others) more in depth. However, it is worth noting that your blog should absolutely have a follow button! While it is possible for other bloggers to add a blog to their feed manually, it is more likely that people will follow if it’s easy for them and they can just click the button. Other things to include are a small bio, a search bar, your social media links, and recent posts.

smaller star divider

Do I need to answer every comment on my blog?

Discussing books and bookish things is one of the best parts about book blogging, so many bloggers do make a commitment to interact with their comments. Interacting can also an effective way to grow your followers, if that is a goal for you. However, life happens and people understand that. So if you sometimes take awhile to answer comments, or answer only the ones you have time for, or just miss one by accident, that’s okay. It happens!

smaller star divider

Do I need to comment back every time?

Many bloggers do because they think it is polite, or because it is considered one way to gain more followers and/or traffic. People can find your blog more easily if they see you commenting around other blogs. However, blogging is a big time commitment and not every blogger is able to comment back every time. And that’s okay, too! Book bloggers are generally very friendly, and no one is keeping track.

smaller star divider

Should I answer every e-mail I receive from authors wanting book reviews?

The answer will vary from blogger to blogger, but many book bloggers don’t–especially if their review policy already clearly states that they are not currently open to review pitches. It seems like many authors or marketers have a, “Why not try?” approach and simply e-mail every blogger they can find. In such cases, they probably aren’t really keeping track of who hasn’t answered. Also, for what it’s worth, I used to e-mail back politely declining every request and some authors would just respond with different pitches the next day. So either they weren’t reading my response, or they didn’t respect it. Consequently, I now only answer e-mails when I want to respond in the affirmative. And this saves me a lot of time.

smaller star divider

Do I need to be on all the social media platforms?

A few years ago, there was a sense that book bloggers had to be on all the major social media platforms to stay relevant and get views. Recently, however, more bloggers have committed to staying only on the platforms they genuinely enjoy interacting on. It’s also worth noting that, at least here at Pages Unbound, social media does not drive a lot of traffic to the blog. It’s just another way to connect with fellow book lovers–if you want.

smaller star divider

Do I need to participate in memes?

Memes are a great way to interact with fellow book bloggers, create content when you are stuck for ideas, and get some traffic from others who are doing the meme. Here at Pages Unbound, we did more memes when we were just starting out and it was an invaluable way to find links to other blogs we could follow and enjoy! However, as with most things in book blogging, it’s really up to you!

smaller star divider

What are ARCs and how do I get them?

ARC stands for Advanced Reading Copies–books that may not be in the final state for publication, but that are given to readers to be reviewed ahead of the publication date. Publishers used to be more forthcoming with physical ARCs for book bloggers, but more and more seem to be moving towards digital copies only. Many bloggers use the websites Netgalley and Edelweiss to request digital ARCs for review. You can learn more about requesting ARCs on our Complete Guide to Starting a Book Blog.

smaller star divider

Do I need to request ARCs to stay relevant?

Not at all! Many bloggers do not request ARCs. Reading ARCs often means having to read to a deadline and feeling pressure to keep up with new, hyped releases. Many bloggers choose to read what they want, when they want to avoid the stress. Also, reviewing backlist and midlist titles is perfectly acceptable!

smaller star divider

Can I blog about topics other than books?

Absolutely! Many bloggers also write about movies, TV shows, music, and their personal lives. Some even have combination blogs like books and makeup, or books and running. It’s your blog. You get to write about the things that make you happy!

Do you have advice for new bloggers? Let us know in the comments!

8 Post Types for Your Book Blog That Could Lead to Search Engine Traffic

Are you looking for ways to grow your book blog, or just wondering how other bloggers seem to get so much search engine traffic? I don’t specifically write blog posts to get traffic, but here is a list of post types that, after 11 years of blogging, I have found tend to get readers from search engines.

smaller star divider

1. Recommendation Lists

This makes sense because “books like The Lord of the Rings” or “middle grade books about mermaids” are exactly the type of thing people tend to Google. I can’t say that every recommendation list we have made is a big hit, but a lot of them do become popular with search engines over time. Our post on books to read if you like Jane Eyre was one of our top-performing posts on the blog for years. Something like “books with dragons” might be too general and face a lot of competition for a top spot on Google’s search, but if you hit the right combination of “things people are looking for that a lot of blogs haven’t posted about yet,” you could hit search engine gold.

2. Posts about What Order to Read Book Series (or Authors’ Works) In

Again, this is something confused readers tend to Google. If an author has a lot of books, or a lot of series set in the same world, people might be wondering where they should start and what order they should read them in. So if you can think of an author where a post like this would be useful, you could be helping a lot of readers out!

3. Discussions of the Endings of Books

I don’t know if people are searching for spoilers or trying to cheat on school assignments or actually looking for discussions about what happens at the end of books, but a lot of our posts about the endings of books have become pretty popular. For example: this post on the ending of The Giver.

4. Posts about Books Frequently Assigned for School

There are definitely people plagiarizing our blog posts for their schoolwork, which I can tell just from some of the search terms they use to get to our blog. Other people are probably using our posts more legitimately, to help orient themselves to a work they’re reading for class or see what other people are saying it. But whatever their motives, texts that are frequently assigned in school get a lot of traffic on our blog, and I can even watch the cycle. For instance, this post on Chaucer’s “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” tends to get popular in December (aka the end of fall semester in most US universities).

5. Reviews of Books Soon to Be Adapted into Movies

If you can post about a book that’s set to be adapted into a movie or series at the right time (that is, before everyone else starts posting about it), you can definitely get a lot of traffic!

6. Posts about Classic Children’s Picture Books

I don’t know if I have a clear explanation for why this happens, but a lot of our posts about classic children’s picture books like The Giving Tree tend to get a lot of search engine hits. Is it teachers searching for something about them? I’m not sure!

7. Advice for Writers

Again, this is something people obviously Google! So if you’re a writer yourself and have advice to give other writers, whether it’s actually about writing (ex. how to write a convincing romance) or something more organizational (ex. how to find time for writing), try writing a post!

8. Advice for Bloggers

Finally, book bloggers are often looking for advice on how to make their blogs even more awesome, or even to figure out some of the basics. So write about how to pick a blog host, or how to migrate your blog, or how to get ARCs, or anything useful to bloggers, and you may find yourself getting search engine traffic.

What kinds of posts get the most search engine traffic on your blog?


What I Look for in a Book Review

What I Look for in a Book Review

Writing an effective book review can feel like a struggle. But, there are a few key aspects that book reviews I really enjoy and find useful all share. Find the traits I look for in book reviews below!

Star Divider


Bloggers often protest that blogging is a hobby, not school, so what they learned in school no longer applies. However, the basics of writing that are taught in schools are useful in the real world! And, what is more, they actually can make writing more effective!

When I read a book review, I want to see a structure that will guide me through the review and give me an easy way to understand the information being presented. At a minimum, this means I prefer to see some sort of thesis sentence at the end of the first paragraph (basically, is the reviewer recommending the book or not–bonus points if they say why). And I want the paragraphs to be organized in a coherent manner, with each paragraph addressing one main idea or related ideas at least, and transitions between paragraphs. There should be a conclusion again stating if the reviewer is recommending the book or not, which readers they think the book will appeal to, whether they will continue with the series or more books by the author, etc.–any sort of thoughts that wrap up the review in a logical way.

Because I recognize that blogging is just for fun, my standards are obviously not going to be as rigorous as if I were reading a research paper–and, indeed, my own blog writing is far more informal and less rigid than anything I would do for school or for work. However, a logical structure really is an effective way to get one’s point across in an easy, accessible manner. And so it is something I value because it makes my reading experience more enjoyable–I do not have to work to guess what the main point of the review is, or what the review is trying to say. Blogging might not be for school, but the principles of effective writing still apply.

Also check out Briana’s post: “Four Things I Learned About Writing in School I Also Use While Writing My Blog”

smaller star divider

An Actual Review (Not a Summary)

Summaries just tell a person what a book is about–and the official summaries for a book are easily found online on sites such as Goodreads or booksellers. When I read a review, I want to read an actual review, not a lengthy recap of the storyline. A review can touch on various aspects of a work–characterization, plot, pacing, prose, illustrations, and more. But it should give the reviewer’s original, personal views on how/if these aspects of the work contributed to a good story. I should leave a review having a clearer understanding of whether the book is something I want to invest my time in.

smaller star divider


Because blogging is a hobby, I hesitate to say that there is a standard size all book reviews must be. However, I do think it is a fact that a longer review is going to be able to provide readers with more information. A one paragraph review only has time to gloss over a few, main aspects of a work. A review that is four to five paragraphs has room to expand on different aspects of the book. I prefer to read longer reviews because those give me more information to make an informed decision about what I want to read.

smaller star divider


It’s fine to write negative reviews! Indeed, I would argue that the existence of negative reviews is necessary to keep reviews useful. If we only have glowing reviews, those are not reviews–that’s just advertising. However, there is a difference between respectfully pointing out aspects of a book or story that did not work for a reader, and personally attacking authors. I appreciate negative reviews, but I don’t like to interact with reviewers who seem spiteful or out to get authors. Authors are people, too, and, like everyone, they deserve common courtesy.

Also read: “Negative Reviews Aren’t ‘Mean;’ They’re Integral to Selling Books”

smaller star divider


Writing an effective, informative review can be difficult! It is a skill that many reviewers spend time practicing and mastering. I know that I have to keep working on my own reviews, trying to write the kind of content others hopefully find valuable. But it’s definitely worth the effort!

Star Divider

You Might Also Like

There Are Two Main Ways to Increase Traffic As a Book Blogger

Knowing Your Blogging Goals Can Help You Pick Which One to Pursue

After 11 years of blogging here at Pages Unbound, reading tons of blogging advice, and asking other book bloggers what they recommend to boost stats, I have come to the conclusion there are two main ways book bloggers in particular can increase traffic:

  1. comment prolifically on other book blogs
  2. focus on improving SEO.

These tactics bring in traffic from different sources, however, so knowing what you most want from your blog can help decide which to focus on. (Or, of course, you can dedicate time to doing both!)

smaller star divider

Commenting on Other Book Blogs

If you value engagement and are hoping to get more people commenting on and interacting with your own blog posts, commenting on other book blogs is a valuable strategy.

Of course, you want to be genuine and leave comments that add to the discussion and try to make real connections with other bloggers. You don’t want to simply pop by and leave a short, “Nice post!” on something you barely even read, nor do you want to just leave a link to your own blog.

However, commenting and blog hopping is valuable because people can’t really find and read and (hopefully) comment on your blog if they are not aware it exists. Commenting frequently on a wide variety of blogs is likely to bring other bloggers back to your own site to check it out, and some will naturally become followers. This is great for engagement because other book bloggers are the readers most likely to actually leave comments on a blog, unlike more casual followers.

Improving the SEO of Your Blog Posts

If you are interested in getting a massive increase in page views, focusing on improving your SEO in your blog posts is a good bet. A lot of book bloggers report that the vast majority of their traffic comes from search engine hits (which is definitely true here at Pages Unbound; our second highest source of traffic is from the WordPress reader and app, and it doesn’t come close).

The only caveats here are:

  1. visitors from search engines generally do not leave comments, so this is a good source of traffic but not engagement
  2. sometimes when they leave comments, search engine visitors are more aggressive than book bloggers
  3. you might have to think about writing “the type of posts people would search for,” as opposed to writing and posting whatever personally interests you.

In regards to point #3, you can, of course, try to optimize SEO on nearly anything. Some bloggers put a lot of effort into utilizing SEO on their book reviews, for instance, and these can end up as a significant source of traffic. Alternatively, you might simply think of things people are likely to Google, which are often lists (think: Books Set in NYC) or informational articles (ex. How to Write an Amazing Book Review).

If you are a book blogger who has written a post on SEO for book bloggers, feel free to leave a link in the comments below!


Both strategies will take time, but a lot of book bloggers have found they have paid off. If you only have time to pursue one, think about which you would enjoy more (engaging with other readers/the technical puzzle of good SEO?) and about what you want in return (possibly more discussion on your own blog/views from the general public using search engines).

Happy blogging!


How My Blog Traffic from Pinterest Is Doing Now That I’m Pinning Less

Pinterest Traffic While Pinning Less

In 2019, I decided I was going to be serious about using Pinterest to see if I could finally, actually get traffic for my blog. So many bloggers cite Pinterest as one of their top sources for traffic, and before 2019, every time I tried it out for myself, I never saw results. In 2019, that changed: I read a lot of articles about how to use Pinterest successfully, and I put a lot of time into making pins, visiting Pinterest daily, pinning my pins to a variety of boards, etc. The result: In 2019, Pages Unbound got over 9,000 views from Pinterest. In 2020, we got 22,500. That’s more views than some book bloggers get in total on their blog all year.

In 2021, I started devoting less time to using Pinterest because, frankly, logging on all the time to Pinterest, making multiple images to pin for each post, etc. is time-consuming. So our views decreased from 2020, but we still received nearly 17,000 views from Pinterest.

Now, at the beginning of 2022, I’m barely using Pinterest at all. In an ideal world, I would like to get back to using it “properly,” but the time currently is not in my schedule. So my “strategy” right now is mainly making pinnable images for each discussion post or list (anything that’s not a review) and pinning it one time to one Pinterest board.

I admit that I am not seeing much Pinterest traffic to our new posts because of this. However, our older pins are still going relatively strong, so we get a noticeable amount of traffic to things I pinned a couple years ago. We seem to be getting about 15-30 views per day from Pinterest traffic right now. And while that’s certainly a decrease from the numbers I was seeing while I was using Pinterest seriously, it’s also nothing to sneeze at! It means we had about 950 views from Pinterest in January and about 700 in February which, again, for a book blog, is meaningful traffic.

The takeaway? The time I put into Pinterest in 2019 and 2020 is still paying off, even though I spend close to no time using Pinterest right now. So if you’ve been pondering using Pinterest for your blog and you think you have the time to devote to it, I would encourage it.

Check out some of my previous posts on using Pinterest for your book blog here:


How to Write Compelling Discussion Questions That People–Including Yourself!–Will Want to Answer!

How to Write Compelling Discussion Questions

What makes a good discussion question? The kind that not only generates a conversation in others, but also makes you, the originator of the question, want to answer it, as well? Read on to find some of our tips for crafting discussion questions that get people talking!

Star Divider

Go beyond “yes” or “no” questions–or questions that will only generate a sentence response.

A compelling discussion question requires an answer that needs at least a few paragraphs to answer. On a basic level, this means going beyond questions such as, “Do you like to reread books?” (which could prompt one to answer simply, “Yes,” or “No”) and adding a little bit more, such as, “Why or why not?”

However, it also means avoiding questions that would generate easy responses that do not in turn generate more discussion. For example, a question such as, “Where do you like to store your books?” even though it is not a “yes or no” question, will likely receive simple answers such as, “On my bookshelf” or, “On the nightstand.” There is not a lot more to say in response, except perhaps why (“It’s convenient,” or, “I ran out of room on the shelf”) and even that requires only another sentence. Furthermore, these answers are unlikely to generate further discussion from other readers unless someone comes up with a really novel and useful way to store books. The conversation will end with each person saying where they keep books and no one really talking to each other.

In the same vein, questions with numerical answers may not necessarily generate much discussion, either. A question like, “How many times have you read your favorite book?” or, “How often do you visit the library?” again requires only a short answer: “X number of times.” A really thought-provoking question needs just a little bit more to get people talking.

Instead of asking questions that have an easy, one word or one sentence answer, try asking questions where respondents might have to think through different possible answers. For example, a “how” question would make people consider multiple outcomes. Take a question such as, “How could the library be improved?” or, “How do you decide what to read next?” Respondents can probably think of several changes they would love to see in their library. And they probably have various answers for how they decide what to read next because what they want to read might vary on their mood, their available free time, what reviewers and websites they have been reading, and more.

But thinking through possible answers might also mean that mean that, even though a respondent might immediately think of their answer, they can also imagine other people answering differently. For example, “Do you think the public library is still relevant? Why or not?” might automatically make many people want to scream, “YES!” But they probably also realize some people might want to scream, “No!” To write a convincing response, they will have to demonstrate why they think the library is still relevant by providing examples and anticipating counterarguments. Their answer will have to be at least a few paragraphs, and it will be easier for their answer to inspire a continuing conversation.

smaller star divider

Get controversial.

An easy way to generate discussions that continue for awhile is to think about questions that generate controversy. This could mean tackling trending topics (such as when Twitter get upset at people calling their book exchanges “libraries”) or responding to questions that still continue to energize and divide the bookish community (like whether Susan Pevensie was treated fairly by C. S. Lewis). Controversial questions do not have to be questions that make people angry–just questions that have multiple potential responses people might make. They are questions that do not necessarily have easy answers, but ones that might require some more research, thought, and nuance.

smaller star divider

Do some research.

The thought of doing research might make some bloggers cringe. They aren’t in school, after all! But looking up information is key not only to answering questions, but also to generating new ones. The internet will often take hold of an idea and present it as fact, and others will usually take that information at face value. Try questioning others’ takes! Reading up on the issues will often present new facets to be taken into account, which might raise thoughts such, as “But why?” or, “What if?” or, “How?” or, “Then what?” Follow these thoughts to generate new, invigorating questions that can in turn become a discussion post. The nuances of a question are often what make it fascinating, and these nuances are often only revealed after some research provides a fuller picture of the issue.

smaller star divider


Much of this advice boils down to one thing: when crafting a discussion question, try to imagine how other people might respond. If it seems like they might only have a reflexive one-word or one-sentence answer, that means either that they do not find the question interesting (They’re responding in a kind of, “Well, of course!” way) or that the question itself might not be that interesting (It happens.). Ask questions that require some analysis from responders, ones that make them consider different points of view than their own, or ones that enable them to imagine different possible answers. The types of questions without easy answers are the ones most likely to generate a conversation, since people will offer different perspectives, thus keeping the discussion going.

Star Divider

Additional Resources

What are your tips for writing a compelling discussion question?

7 Book-Related Blog Post Ideas for When You Haven’t Read Anything Recently

Bookish Post Ideas

Need a post idea, but haven’t read anything recently? Here are some book-related post ideas for your book blog!

Star Divider

Movie and TV Reviews

Book-to-film adaptations come out all the time! If you have not read a book recently, why not review a film or a TV show that is book-related? And there are plenty of twists to put on this. You can talk about changes you liked (or didn’t), or do a “Who did it better?” type of post. You could even come up with your dream cast for an upcoming adaptation, if you do not have a film ready to review.


Game Reviews

Books can inspire more than movies. If you enjoy playing a game that is book-related–anything from a Lord of the Rings board game to a Nancy Drew video game. Or, if you do not want to do an entire game review, you can do mini reviews, lists of recommendations, or even a reflection on what playing a certain game has meant to you. You could even come up with a list of your dream games, or books that need games!

Collection Tour

Show off your bookish merch! Highlight special editions, beautiful covers, and cool illustrations. Or take pictures of some of your non-book bookish items–figurines, bookends, bookmarks, tote bags, T-shirts, whatever!


Recommendation Posts

Recommendation posts do not have to start with books. Try recommending titles for people who enjoyed a certain movie, TV show, video game, or music album.


Everyone loves a good quiz! Try coming up with a personality quiz or a trivia quiz based on a favorite book.

How-to-Read Guide

Are you a fan of a long or complicated series or franchise? Explain to readers how the series works. What is a good starting point? Do they need to read the books in any certain order? Or can they jump in wherever they want? (Such a guide will work for comics, too!)


Cover Commentary

Highlight several covers of one of your favorite books–then discuss. Do some work better than others? Are some completely off base? Which ones are your favorites and why?

Star Divider

You Might Also Like

How Using Non-generic Graphics Might Increase Your Blog Traffic

When people ask for tips to increase traffic their book blog, I usually recommend a couple basic things that result in direct increases: comment around more on other blogs and utilize Pinterest. I would say these are the biggest ways we’ve increased traffic at Pages Unbound over the past couple years (and I can also see a decrease in traffic when I don’t put as much effort into these things). However, there are also less direct ways one can improve traffic, like working on SEO or posting more frequently. And one of these “minor” ways that a lot of bloggers overlook is by having custom, specific graphics for every blog post.

For a discussion post, a custom graphic means having something that specifically says the title/topic of the post. For a book review, a specific graphic could just be a picture of the book cover; it doesn’t have to be something you ~create~ in Canva or a similar program. The basic idea is that you want a graphic in the post that tells readers exactly what the post is about and that differentiates it from all the other posts on your blog.

Making an original graphic for every post is time-consuming, of course. I myself used to default to generic heading graphics that said things like “Discussion Post” or “Movie Review,” and I only really started doing specific graphics for every post when I made a concerted effort to add our posts to Pinterest, and I needed more original title graphics for that. However, even if you aren’t going to use Pinterest for your blog, unique graphics for every post will help your posts stand out where you DO share them, whether that’s on Facebook or Twitter or just the WordPress reader.

The WordPress reader post preview generally pulls in either one graphic/photo from your blog post, or four, depending on how many are in the post. (See examples below.)

Personally, I am MUCH more likely to be interested and click through to a post if 1) there is a graphic at all and 2) that graphic tells me specifically what the post is about. If I see an orange square that just says “book review,” that does not catch my eye. And it also makes it difficult for me to distinguish between posts from the same blog. I know I’ve seen the orange “book review” heading before, but have I seen it for THIS post? I don’t always remember, and I don’t always keep reading to find out.

Social media, of course, similarly provides scrollers with a preview of the post you are linking to, and I also am more likely to click on a link on Twitter or Facebook if there is some kind of graphic that tells me exactly what the post is about. If I see something that simply says “book review,” it’s hard to see what book the review is for, and I don’t have the cover image to give me a hint as to whether the book is MG, YA, adult, fantasy, nonfiction, etc. I don’t have a lot of free time to devote to reading things I might not be fully interested in, so I usually keep scrolling.

I’m not saying that switching up your graphics and putting a unique one on each post is going to miraculously increase your traffic by 50% or anything, but it’s my personal opinion that this IS a a thing that affects how many people click through your links, whether they see them on social media or on the WordPress reader. Having a unique graphic that says what the post is about can quickly catch readers’ attention and make them less likely to simply scroll on by.

What do you think? Do you find yourself passing on generic graphics more than specific ones?


4 Things I Learned about Writing in School I Also Use While Writing My Blog

Whenever Krysta or I bring up the structure of a blog post or the idea of research or evidence in a blog post, we get a flurry of comments to the effect of, “This isn’t school!” No, it isn’t school, but my theory is that the things I learned about writing in school are not ONLY for writing research papers about Shakespeare; they’re also guidelines for how to write things in daily life! So while I admit I don’t put the same amount of rigor and structure into writing for the blog that I would have for a serious academic research paper (I agree; this is still just a hobby!), there are are things I do while writing to try to make my blog posts more cohesive and readable.


Have a Thesis

A “thesis” is just the idea that the text has a main point, and that the main point is clearly stated somewhere in the opening paragraph or introduction (if the introduction is more than one paragraph long). This means that, for discussion posts, I try to make the main argument or question clear in the beginning of the post. For reviews, I try to end the first paragraph with a clear statement of whether or not I enjoyed the book and what main aspects of the book led me to like/dislike it.


Write Topic Sentences

This is probably the area where I’m flakiest on the blog because I put A LOT of effort into writing topic sentences for academic papers, and I don’t put nearly the same amount of thought into them for my blog. However, I do still try to write them! Using topic sentences helps the reader know what the paragraph is going to be focused on, and they help me as the writer stay focused on that thing, whether I’m discussion the pacing of a book, the logic of a plot, or the characterization of a protagonist.

Use Evidence to Back Up My Points

The idea that you should back up your arguments with evidence has been a strangely controversial point on our blog in the past, but I think it’s immensely important! “Evidence” is just the reasons I believe the things I am writing. For a factual discussion post, this could, in fact, mean research and reading studies and articles to cite and link to. For instance, if I want to make a claim that “no one reads audiobooks anyway,” I should probably look up what percentage of readers do (or do not) listen to audiobooks.

The important aspect is recognizing what is “just my opinion” and what is a claim that could be proved or disproved with actual research. I have awkwardly seen book bloggers make (sometimes very angry!) claims about why publishers do X, why ebooks cost Y, why libraries do Z, etc. that are . . . just factually wrong. I know “research,” for a lot of bloggers, sounds like something that they shouldn’t have to do for a hobby they are just doing for fun, but I believe it’s important to try to make accurate claims when possible.

And for topics that ARE more opinion-based, I still think evidence is important! If, for instance, I say in a review that the plot is slow, I try to give an example of why. Or if I say a character is brilliant, I might give an example of a time they did something exceptionally smart.

Evidence is important to help your audience understand why your opinions or arguments are what they are, and help the audience decided whether they agree.


End with a Conclusion

This might be the most obvious point on the list, but I do try to end my posts with some type of conclusion. In a discussion post, I try to sum up the main point and any final information I want the readers to take away. In a review, I make a final point about whether or not I recommend the book to other readers, and why.

Conclusions can also be good for SEO. I’ve read that readers like seeing them, and having a clear conclusion can increase how many people finish reading the post. Using clear heading tags like “introduction” and “conclusion” throughout the post can also be useful for SEO.

smaller star divider

And One Thing I Don’t Do As Much As I Should: Proofread

I literally proofread professionally, but I can’t stand reading my own work. Sometimes I reread a post once it’s published and notice some typos I need to clean up, but I admit I don’t do much proofreading of my own drafts. Please forgive me.


Why I Think Comments are the Single Most Important Way to Support Book Bloggers

Disclaimer: Ok, some people would probably argue paying book bloggers is the #1 way to support them, but not every blogger has a ko-fi or Patreon where they are asking for money, and I’d personally say paying bloggers should be on publishers/authors/people asking for marketing and not other bloggers. This post is more about how blog readers can support bloggers.

A consistent theme in the book blogging community is that many of us started our blogs to connect with other readers– and that we value conversations and friendships more than anything else. When people answer questions about why they love blogging, they often answer “the community.” When people explain what they consider success for their blogs, they often say “connections with my followers.” So, while conversations about whether blogging is dying, whether bloggers should be paid, and whether bloggers are valued continue in the community, I personally believe that the most important thing we all can do to support other bloggers and keep blogging alive is to leave other bloggers comments.

In recent years, I’ve noticed that our traffic here at Pages Unbound has grown, but the number of comments we receive on each post has gone down. In casual conversations with other bloggers, I’ve had many report the same: they just don’t seem to have as many conversations with other readers as they used to. No one is quite sure why, though speculation includes the fact there are just so many platforms (Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, TikTok) that it’s hard to keep up with them all to the fact that people might just prefer other platforms entirely. A lot of people seem to think it’s simply “easier” to comment on something on Twitter than on a blog.

But what is the result of this? Bloggers feel that no one is valuing their content, and that can be a depressing thought to someone who has put hours into planning, writing, formatting, and promoting a post. And when people feel that they’re “wasting their time,” they might decide it’s time to quit blogging. I’ve never thought that blogging is dead, or even necessarily dying– but it might die if tons of bloggers decide they’re not getting what they want out of it, which is readers who are interested in what they are posting and conversations with readers about books. To me, it seems clear that the one thing that can really revitalize blogging, even more so than (some, probably the biggest) bloggers being paid for their work, is readers leaving more blog comments.

Yet I also think that more blog comments can lead to the payment that some bloggers are seeking. When bloggers request ARCs or payment from publishers or authors, they’re generally self-reporting their stats. I assume the majority of people are honest about their page views and visitor count, but a publisher can never be sure. I myself have been confused by blogs that claim to have a billion followers and views yet, when I look at their sites, have zero comments on every single post. Are they lying about their stats? Are their page views from bots? From people who don’t really care about their content? Who can tell? When I go to a blog and see every post has 40 comments on it, however, I know I’ve found a blog that people like to read. This might also be interesting to publishers when they decide where to give out ARCs and, maybe, money.

No one is obligated to anything, of course. I myself don’t comment around as much as I’d like or as much as I’d use to, as real life responsibilities catch up to me. However, if you’re really invested in supporting bloggers, I think commenting is the way to go. Retweets and likes on posts are nice, but it seems that what people really want are readers who are interested enough in their content to take the time to leave a comment and say so.