5 Reasons Book Blogs are Great Places to Promote Books

Although publishers seem to be concentrating their marketing an efforts on bookstagram and booktube, sending influencers on these platforms ARCs and even monetary compensation that book bloggers often are not offered, book blogs are still excellent places for promotion. Here are five reasons publishers and authors should still work with book bloggers to have their books featured on blogs.

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Bloggers Who Feature Books Generally Read the Books

I am not saying that bookstagrammers and booktubers don’t read books; clearly they do. However, it is also very common on these platforms for large influencers who have been sent books for promotion to only run a promotional post (perhaps because they are given so many books they literally cannot read them all). So they wave the book in their air during a video, noting they were sent the book and it looks interesting (but they haven’t read it), or they post a pretty photo on Instagram and write a caption with the book summary and say it looks interesting (but they haven’t read it).

Book bloggers are much less likely to do this. When book bloggers post about books (barring posts like TBR lists), they have generally read the book. They aren’t recommending it because they were sent it for promotion and are being paid to tell people to read it; they’re recommending it because they actually read the book and liked it. And genuine recommendations are worth a lot.


Bloggers Post Full Reviews

Booktube and various social media are great for generally putting a book on my radar, for letting me know that the book exists in the first place and other readers seem to be hyped about it. But if I want to really know whether I should read a book, to try to decide whether I would like the book or whether I should spend the money to purchase the book, I look at reviews on blogs. Some bookstagrammers and booktubers do long reviews, too, of course, but I personally find them most accessible on blogs; I don’t like listening to ten minute videos, and my eyes sort of glaze over if an Instagram caption gets too long. Book blogs are the perfect platform to find full, in-depth reviews that actually help me make up my mind about whether or not I am going to pick up a book.

Blog Posts Have a Long Life, Marketing Books Long After Release Date

If I tweet something, I’m lucky if people see it 20 minutes after I posted it. My Instagram posts get the most interaction the day they go live. On my blog, however, I have people looking at posts I wrote 8, 9, even 10 years ago. Getting social media attention for a book around release date is important, but keeping buzz about the book alive long after its pub date is worthwhile, too. Blogs can help backlist titles find new readers and make new sales for the author, even long after the blogger posted about the books.


Bloggers Post on Multiple Platforms

These days, few book bloggers have just a blog. If you send a book blogger a book to review, it is highly likely they will also talk about the book on Goodreads, Instagram, and Twitter, not to mention a variety of other platforms ranging from Amazon to BookSloth to Pinterest.

Blog Readers Love to Discuss and Debate

Blog comments are a great place for readers to discuss and debate books. Blogs aren’t just one and done things where the blogger posts a review and that’s it; often readers will continue discussion of a book and what did and didn’t work for them in the comments. This is also a place where readers might discuss questions a book raised or themes it touched on, which is exciting for authors who hope their book will get people thinking and talking.

What are some of the best reasons you think book blogs are excellent places for book promotion?


Are Spreadsheets the Secret to Successful Blogging?

Over the past year or two, spreadsheets seem to have become increasingly common in the book blogosphere. Bloggers routinely share scheduling habits with their followers, explaining how creating a spreadsheet keeps them organized and on task. Some bloggers may even offer their spreadsheets for others to use, as well. The complexity of some these spreadsheets can be staggering, with bloggers recording everything from season of the year to genre to age range, then determining how to arrange it all. Whatever keeps a person organized is probably a good idea! But does every blogger need to keep a spreadsheet to be successful?

The proliferation of spreadsheets can sometimes make it seem like there is only one “right” way to blog. And the sheer complexity of these spreadsheets can make them seem authoritative. Surely anything that has 15 columns and a sophisticated color-coding scheme must be the secret to successful blogging! However, I think it is important to remember that, ultimately, there is no one correct way to blog, to write, or to schedule. Everyone’s personality, habits, and style are going to be different, and what works for one person may not work for another.

One helpful way to look at this may be to recall how writing is taught in schools. Usually, teachers inform their students that the writing process consists of brainstorming, creating an outline, writing a first draft, revising the draft extensively, and then editing/proofreading. The process laid out tends to be very linear, and to suggest that all effective writers go through the same steps in the same order. But do they?

My writing process, in fact, looked very different in school. Most often, I would simply think about a topic for days or weeks, perhaps jotting down quotes or snippets of ideas on a piece of paper. Then, I would sit down and write out the whole paper, revising, not at the end of the draft, but as I wrote the draft. I do not believe I ever did a major revision of a draft because I had already done that work previously. I never did a mind map or anything else students are taught to do in order to brainstorm. And, if I was required to turn in an outline for credit, I would simply make one up, or I would create what is called a reverse outline, relying on the full draft I had already written. I suspect a good many students also create their own, effective writing processes that are nothing like the process they have been told they “ought” to do.

I think blog scheduling is very similar to this. There may be good organization ideas or “rules” out there that make sense and provide a good starting place. But they are not rigid. Just because one person likes to color-code books by genre does not mean everyone needs to do the same. My own scheduling process, in fact, tends to be very loose, and it is something I store in my head rather than in a spreadsheet. For example, I know that my co-blogger posts reviews on Mondays and I post reviews on Thursdays. Either of us can post a review on Saturday. Friday is reserved for our Classic Remarks memes. The rest of the dates are flexible, though I like to post discussions on Tuesdays since so many other people tend to post memes on that day, and I think it makes our content stand out. I also keep in mind seasonal trends, remembering to schedule reviews of spooky books in October, lists of romance reads for Valentine’s Day, and so on. The organization is simple enough that I can memorize it without spending time creating a spreadsheet, filling it out, and color coding it. Personally, I would rather spend time blogging than fussing over a spreadsheet.

The current popularity of blogging spreadsheets suggests that they are a tool many people find useful. And that is excellent! However, bloggers who are unsure about starting a spreadsheet or who do not feel enthusiastic about it need not worry. Just because something is trendy does not mean it is the the only way to do something. Everyone has their own unique blogging style–and that includes scheduling. Starting a spreadsheet may be worth a try, if a person is looking for more structure in their scheduling or a more effective way of scheduling than they currently have. But if scheduling without a spreadsheet works, then it works! In the end, there is no real “secret” to blogging success, just different approaches that may all achieve the same goal.

What do you think? Have you tried keeping a spreadsheet? Why or why not? If you have, did you find it useful?

What Would It Take for Me To Want to Monetize My Blog?

Previously, I wrote on why I prefer not to monetize my blog for now. And I hold to that. I blog as a way to relax, to enjoy myself, and to connect with other book lovers. I don’t want blogging to become an actual job because then I would have to treat it like one, with all the stress that would come with it. However, I have watched the conversations book bloggers have had over the years about monetizing, and it has made me reflect on what might make monetizing worth it.

Book bloggers often seem to conceive of monetizing as an easy way to earn passive income. But, from what I have seen, monetizing is not so straightforward. The majority of book bloggers who have tried to monetize–from affiliate links, bookish gift shops, paid content, etc.–generally do not share their annual income. Those who have shared seem not to be making all that much. So, the question for me becomes, how much money would a blog have to generate for it to make up for all the time and effort spent in attempting to monetize it?

Because there’s the key problem: monetizing a blog is not necessarily a source of passive income. Passive income, in the colloquial sense, is money earned by a person with little or no effort. One might think of a book written years before, which still generates royalties. Or a rental property one has invested in that leads to a monthly check. For a blog, one might conceive of doing minimal effort like setting up some affiliate links or formatting a post, and then watching the money roll in. But if I were to monetize my blog, I would want to know. How much time and effort am I actually putting in to format and write and link and schedule everything? Because we bloggers know that even a bit of copying and pasting and formatting of images can take a good deal of time, in the end, and that is before adding in work like a social media component. Is the hourly wage I would be making comparable to what I could be making if I were just to go out and get a part-time job?

The current minimum wage in the United States is a paltry $7.25 an hour, and it might seem easy to make that much from an hour’s worth of work on the blog. However, I would want to calculate out the actual time spent on the blog over the year, and my annual income that resulted from the blog, to make sure that I am actually working for a fair rate. But then I would also consider that many states have much higher minimum wages, perhaps up to $15, and that even employers in states that follow the national minimum might be offering more than $7.25. If I could make anywhere from $9.50 to $15 an hour working a part-time job, instead of spending time blogging for less money, I would start to wonder if I shouldn’t just go out and go a part-time job instead.

I also would consider that income from blogging is taxable, once a person starts making above a certain amount. Income from self-employment or freelancing is generally taxed at a higher rate than income earned working for an employer, to make up for the taxes that an employer would usually take out automatically and to account for the taxes the employer would pay. I would want to determine whether the money made after taxes is more or comparable to the money I could make working for someone else.

Of course, I suspect that many bloggers are not particularly interested in breaking down their annual income in the way I am. Some bloggers may simply want to make a bit of extra “beer money” and may not care about the hourly rate their blog income would equate to. Some bloggers might be happy working more hours for less money, if they do not have to report to a boss in return. Some bloggers may not want to get a part-time job and are just hoping for any extra income they can get. However, for my part, I believe that my time is equal to or even more valuable than the money I could earn blogging. And it would bother me if I thought that I was working long hours for little in return.

Right now, I am not convinced that monetizing my blog would enable me to earn a fair hourly rage. And I certainly do not think I could do as I am now and make some easy passive income. To convince people that my content is worth paying for, I would have to put in a lot more time and effort into making the blog look professional, changing the content, improving the social media marketing, and more. To me, it’s not worth it. I would not make enough money to compensate for it all. So I am content for the moment to continue blogging as a hobby, because it is something I enjoy and not because I am hoping for money in return.

What do you think? How much would you have to earn to think that monetizing your blog was worth it?

I’m Okay with Not Being Paid to Book Blog

Okay with Not Being Paid to Book Blog

Book bloggers have debated the pros and cons of being paid for their work for years, with most of the bloggers opposed arguing that people cannot trust a review that was paid. Bloggers who advocate for publishers paying for them respond that many professional reviewers get paid for their time–and no one doubts those reviews–and that all the hard work bloggers put into their content and their sites deserves monetary compensation. While I appreciate the desire to be paid for one’s skills, I personally prefer not to be paid by publishers for book blogging–and it’s not because of the reviews.

When I first began book blogging nearly ten years ago, I understood from the start that this was a hobby I was choosing to put my time and effort into, and that I would not be paid for it. And that was great! Book blogging as a hobby means that I have complete control over my time and my content. That’s exactly the way I want it.

If I turned my hobby into a job, that means I would have to start treating it like a job. I would have to invest even more time (and probably money) into it, to make the blog look professional. I would have to work towards deadlines that publishers gave me. I would have to create content that publishers want, instead of content I am interested in. Finally, even if publishers did not demand I create a set list of content, I would have to change my content anyway, in order to generate more page views so I could remain competitive with other bloggers.

One aspect of getting paid that I do not ever see anyone mention, is that one usually has to spend money to make money. The influencers on YouTube and Instagram whom book bloggers envy most likely own professional cameras and may even hire professional photographers. To compete, book bloggers would probably have to start doing the same, paying for professional website design, professional graphics, professional cameras, and, of course, self hosting. Even bloggers who try to do all this on their own might have to invest money in a course, or, at least their time. And time is money, right? Now, obviously, plenty of bloggers already do this sort of thing–that’s why they want to get paid in return. But bloggers who are currently happy doing their hobby practically for free–like me–may think twice before investing in a venture that might not actually provide any compensation in return.

Additionally, getting paid by publishers would mean that I would no longer have the creative freedom I now enjoy. Currently, my blog is an eclectic mix of reviews (middle grade, YA, adult, classics, and nonfiction), lists, and discussion posts. Publishers, however, might very well want to work with a blog that has more of a “brand” so readers know what to expect: lots of middle grade love, all the latest on YA fantasy, etc. They might also provide me with a set list of content they want published: a cover reveal, an author interview, and a review. The posts I used to write discussing classics or asking readers to show some library love? Probably they won’t fit into the new brand.

Another likely outcome of book bloggers getting paid is that book bloggers would begin to see each other as competition. Publishers have a limited marketing budget, and they would understandably want to spend it on the bloggers who could give them the most views and interactions in return. To achieve higher stats, bloggers would have to become even more secretive about what they do to succeed–perhaps choosing to no longer publish free tutorials for beginners, hiding their statistics, and sharing fewer roundups or link backs. Bloggers might also have to change their content to generate higher views, perhaps focusing more on listicles, for example, than reviews or discussions. That’s not really a road I want to go down since I started blogging to discuss books with people, not merely to generate stats.

Finally, I am just not convinced that all the additional time, effort, and money I would have to put into a paid blog would generate meaningful income in return. It seems unlikely that I would be making enough to quit my day job (and, even if I did, the terror of doing so would prevent me since I wouldn’t believe that blogging gave me real financial stability long-term). Doing all this work, and changing everything I love, just for extra “beer money” would not be worth it for me.

I acknowledge and I appreciate all the hard work we book bloggers do! I understand that we possess unique skills, such as writing, photography, coding, web design, and more. And I can understand that people want to be paid for using those skills. For me, however, blogging is most enjoyable as a hobby. And, for now, that’s the way I would like to keep it.

7 Concrete Ways to Boost Book Bloggers

How to Boost and Support Book Bloggers

Throughout 2020, there has been a near-constant cycle of discussion on Twitter about book bloggers’ feeling under-valued, particularly in comparison to other segments of the online bookish community, such as a Booktube and Bookstagram (and maybe even BookTok, which is very new!).

The vast majority of book bloggers blog because they enjoy it. There is no payment received, and many bloggers don’t even receive “compensation” in the form of ARCs or free books to review. Many bloggers who do review ARCs, especially international bloggers, only have access to digital galleys, so they’re not even receiving a physical product–just early access to reading a new work.

However, it can be difficult to spend hours a week reading, writing, formatting posts, taking photos, making graphics, promoting posts on social media, etc., even when you love it, if you feel as if no one is reading your content or if they don’t think it’s as valuable as other types of online content. To help address some of that, I’ve put together a list of some ways to boost and support book bloggers.

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Read Book Blogs

This is obvious, but it’s also so essential I think it deserves the top spot on this list. Bloggers blog because they like to do so–and really nothing is more rewarding than knowing other people are reading and enjoying the content you are posting. However, reading book blogs also boosts their stats, which can help bloggers who want to ask publishers for ARCs or even ask to be paid for their time: more people reading the blog means the publisher is more likely to agree to their request.


Comment on Book Blogs

Comments are basically the lifeblood of blogs. Bloggers can know people are reading their content if they look at their stats and see they’re getting pageviews, but comments mean people found the content engaging enough to take the time to respond to it. Bloggers love this and love having discussions! And, again, comments can help bloggers who want to receive ARCs or other compensation or even just grow their audience because other people can see the comments and that the blog has an active and engaged audience.

Share Links to Book Blogs– Everywhere

If you want to help book bloggers boost their audience and influence in the online bookish community, sharing links to blogs–either the homepage or to specific posts you find interesting–is key. People can’t read blogs if they don’t know they exist.

Places you can link to and promote book blogs include:

  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Facebook
  • Youtube description sections
  • Reddit
  • Goodreads forums
  • Podcasts
  • Your own blog posts
  • Anywhere else you post online

The idea is to expand beyond the book blogging community and bring book blogs to the attention of people who might not normally read them or even be aware of them.

Write a Post (or Video/Instagram Post/etc.) about Why You Enjoy Book Blogs

In a world where “experts” are constantly saying visual platforms like Youtube and Instagram are the future (or, at this point, the present), some people may need convincing that book blogs offer something worthwhile. So, if you like reading book blogs, it can help to explain to other people why you like them and to point out what features blogs have that platforms like Youtube and Instagram might not.

Boost Book Blogs in Awards When Possible

There are frequently online “awards” for bookish things, and sometimes these awards (like the Epic Reads Book Shimmy Awards) have categories that essentially amount to “best bookish influencer.” Book bloggers are not often nominated for these awards. (If they are, there will be about 10 Booktubers/Bookstagrammers nominated and one blogger.) So, when possible, you can nominate and vote for book bloggers!

If You Have a Blog Tour, Share the Blog Posts

This is directed more towards authors/publishers, but if you are asking bloggers to take part in a blog tour, asking them to spend time reading a book and creating content, or to post authored content on their blogs, and to do so to a specific schedule in order to promote a book– you should share that content! Link to it on social media and encourage your followers to read it!


Talk about Book Blogs in Real Life!

There are a lot of people who are not involved in the online bookish community AT ALL. So if you can work some book blog promotion into real life, blogs might get more readers! If you have a blog, you can even start with promoting your own, either by mentioning it to friends or “casually” leaving your own bookmarks or business cards in library books or other places. Or you can tell people about other blogs you like to read!

*Katie from Doing Dewey says, “I’ve recommended bloggers who review a specific type of book several times when non-bloggers have asked for book recommendations :)”

Blogging in the Time of Coronavirus

Finding time to blog during a pandemic can seem not only futile, but also pointless or even insensitive. Many people are juggling telework, schoolwork and childcare, all from home. Many people are experiencing indescribable suffering, from the loss of income, from illness, or from illness or death in the family. Writing about books may seem silly at best, offensive at worst. How can the world go on pretending everything is normal?

I know I have had less time to read and to write in recent weeks. My situation is better than most, yet I struggle to find the opportunities to do what I once loved. I also struggle to find meaning in it all. I try not to obsessively watch the number of cases and deaths in the U. S. and the world rise, but I cannot help but be affected by the shutdown, and what it could mean for the future. In such a time of uncertainty, musing over literary techniques, cheering on fictional romances, and falling into fantasy worlds simply seems hollow.

However, I still think it is important to try to go on and to recover some semblance of normalcy. The pandemic and the shutdown are likely to continue far longer than anyone had predicted. It is no good sitting on floor and staring at the wall, trying to shut the world out. It is far better to try to accept the world as it is now and to find a way forward. So far, I have been doing that by attempting to maintain a routine, making sure I eat healthy, and making sure I get outside at least once a day for a socially-distanced walk and some exercise. A sense of anxiety never fully goes away, but I get by.

As I reflect on my way forward, however, it seems important not only to maintain a healthy schedule, but also to return to some of the activities I love. Staying at home will be the new normal for some time, and I know I need to do more than simply get by. Finding comfort in reading, in writing, in connecting with others online, is not merely escapism. It is a necessity.

Trying to find happiness in times of misery is sometimes viewed as inappropriate. But wallowing in fear ultimately helps no one. It only makes things worse. Reading and writing are activities that help me relax, give me a mental break from the tragedy around me, and help me process my thoughts. So I’m making a new commitment to continue blogging. Because being at home does not have to mean losing the activities I love.

Do Book Bloggers Influence Book Sales?

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A recurring piece of “advice” for authors, circulated on Twitter but likely other platforms as well, is that “bloggers don’t influence book sales.” I don’t have widespread statistics on whether this is true (Does anyone?), and I’m certainly under no delusion that I, as an individual blogger, am inspiring mass purchases. I admit that very few people come to my blog, read a review, and then prance off to their bookseller of choice to purchase a book I just praised. (Bloggers who have affiliate links might have a little more insight on direct purchases, but they still can’t tell if someone bought a book later because of their review or bought it in-store or bought it but not through the affiliate link.)

However, of course no individual person is going to sell a significant number of books. The real question is whether bloggers in aggregate sell books–or essentially whether the existence of blogs has any marketing value at all. I’m certain they do, and anyone dismissing bloggers out of hand is likely giving up a lot of free publicity.

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Think of Bloggers As Word of Mouth Publicity

It might be helpful to start by thinking of bloggers as word of mouth publicity, something which is also difficult to measure–but which most people would say is valuable. Bloggers are, essentially, avid readers and book fans who like to talk about books publicly and recommend them to other people. Again, of course most people aren’t going to hear about a book just once, even from their best and most trusted friend, and then immediately purchase it–but bloggers provide more than one time exposure. When bloggers pick up a book, readers see and here about that book from multiple sources. There’s a marketing theory that suggests that someone needs to hear about a product about five times before they consider buying it. Bloggers do the work of making sure people hear about a book multiple times, which puts it on their radar and makes them more likely to read or purchase it.

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Book Bloggers Do More Than Blog

Next, consider that most bloggers aren’t just writing a book review on their blog and calling it a day. They are promoting the review across multiple platforms, often across days or even weeks. A single blogger who reads and review a book could promote it on:

  • Their own blog
  • Goodreads
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Amazon
  • Other review sites
  • Instagram
  • Youtube
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Other sites

And they might continue to promote the book by mentioning it in subsequent blog posts like lists of favorite books or round-ups. They might even do a giveaway and pay for a copy of the book with their own money to give to another reader.

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Bloggers Are Often Book Pushers in Their Day Jobs

Also take into account that a disproportionate number of book bloggers are involved in the book industry in more than just blogging. Many are teachers, library workers, and booksellers. So a blogger who came across a book solely from blogging (i.e. would not have received or read an ARC or other promotional material at work, even if they do work at a library or bookstore) now has the opportunity to recommend the book to students, patrons, and customers.

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And Most Book Bloggers Do This Free

And this is all free publicity and marketing for the book. Some bloggers do charge and make some money from blogging (especially if they’re actually more popular on platforms like Bookstagram or Booktube), but the reality is that the vast majority of book bloggers are doing all this work free. If the price of having a single blogger (never mind dozens or even hundreds of them) write thoughtful reviews distributed across multiple platforms and create social media mentions across multiple networks is basically nothing, it seems strange to say that bloggers are irrelevant, don’t influence book sales, and aren’t worth authors’ time.

Yes, of course, things like individual booksellers stocking and hand selling your book and getting an interview on a major television show or getting a movie deal are going to be massive movers for books. But bloggers aren’t exactly doing nothing to market and sell books either, and for an investment of literally $0 (or maybe the cost of a review copy), it’s worth giving them a chance.


5 Things My Favorite Book Bloggers Do

5 Things My Favorite Book Bloggers Do: What Makes Me What to Read Your Blog
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Write Informative Reviews

I’ve posted about how I think it’s possible for a book blog to not have any reviews at all, but I’ve also written about why I think book reviews really aren’t going away and personally…I like reading reviews on book blogs. Specifically, I like reading medium to long reviews that really get into the heart of the book, what’s working and what’s not and why. I also like to know about the themes or any interesting questions the book raises, since that’s the most interesting thing to me, not necessarily whether the plot is fast or the characters are witty. Reviews that are actually mostly summary or that are too short to really help me decide whether I’d like the book are less interesting to me.

Write Discussion Posts

I think unique and thoughtful discussion posts are what really help certain blogs stand out and brand themselves. Specifically, I love blogs where the discussions go beyond common topics like “Do you comment back on other blogs?” and “How many books do you read at once?” to address questions I might not have thought about myself or that I haven’t already seen a dozen other bloggers discuss.

Include Evidence in Their Posts

This is apparently a bit controversial, as the one time Krysta talked about including evidence in blog posts and backing up claims, a lot of people disagreed and said blogging is just a hobby and not an academic endeavor, so they didn’t need to do research. However, “evidence” is a broad term, and mostly what I mean is that I like to see bloggers support what they’re saying. In a review, this is as simple as giving an example or explanation of why, “The main character is whiny.” If the reviewer gives a quote or explains a scene where they think the character is whiny, this is helpful to me.

For discussion posts…more research might be necessary, and I appreciate bloggers who put in the time to do that. There’s a lot of incorrect information on the Internet and that can bleed into the book blogosphere. A blogger who does research is less likely to make incorrect claims like, “Children’s books are not priced cheaper than adult books” or “Libraries don’t pay a lot of money for ebooks,” and I love following bloggers whose posts I can trust.

Elaborate on Their Lists

Books lists are a really fun part of the book blogosphere, and I love when bloggers go beyond simply listing titles to explain more about the books they have chosen for the list. For example, has the blogger read the books on the list and what are their opinions on them? Or was the list mostly curated by Googling something like, “Books set in Antarctica,” and the blogger doesn’t really know much about them or whether they recommend them?

Write Posts They’re Passionate About

I’ve seen some complaints that (in particular) big bookstagram accounts and big booktubers often seem to be more about marketing than sharing a love of books, and while I think this is less common in book blogging, I do think readers can tell when someone is writing posts they love and when they’re writing posts they think will get traffic. My favorite book bloggers write about topics they’re passionate about, even if those things aren’t the best for getting page views, and it helps their blogs seem vibrant and unique.

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I think a common theme among these points is that I like following blogs where I feel I am getting valuable content. For me, blogs are about reading, learning, and discussing, and my favorite bloggers give me robust information that I can think about, form an opinion about, and engage in conversation with them about. Again, this does not in any way mean I am expecting book blogs to be academic blogs with a bunch of sources and a Works Cited at the end, but I do appreciate blogs where I feel I’m getting unique perspectives and voices and informed content that might not be getting elsewhere.


How to Get More Traffic for Your Book Blog in 2020

How to Increase Your Blog Traffic

I’ve written a couple posts on getting blog traffic, specifically for book blogs which can sometimes feel a bit different from more popular niche blogs like fashion, lifestyle, travel, and finance. For example, in 2019 I shared 5 tips to drive traffic to your book blog. This year, however, I’m presenting what I feel are some of the most fundamental ways to get more page views for your blog, if that happens to be one of your goals for 2020.

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Comment on Other Book Blogs

This is the number one way I see other book bloggers, including rather large ones, say they increased their blog traffic. Admittedly, if you follow some of the big bloggers’ “methods,” it will be time-consuming. Some of them comment back on the blog of literally every single person who comments on their blog. This is admirable if you can swing it, but also really not necessary! Just make sure you’re engaging authentically with the community and commenting because you want to and have something to say, and you’ll soon begin building relationships. After all, no one can find and comment on your blog if they’re not aware you exist, and commenting on their blog is a good way to say “hi!”

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Write Original Content

There are a lot of book blogs, which is fabulous, but it can also make it hard to stand out from the crowd. So what will inspire someone to follow your blog over another blog? In many cases, the answer is original content, and I’ve seen many bloggers say they prefer reading this and that one of their goals for the new year is to write more of their own.

For some inspiration, check out my recommendations for bookish discussion post prompts.

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Join Pinterest

I spent nearly the whole of 2019 preaching the good news of Pinterest for traffic–because with a medium amount of effort, Pages Unbound went from getting 500 page views from Pinterest in 2018 to getting nearly 9,000 in 2019. That is to say, I didn’t even do Pinterest “right,” and I saw a significant increase in this source of traffic. Bloggers who are really committed claim to have 1,000+ page views for their blog daily. So if you go from not using Pinterest at all to using it moderately, this could also be a new source of traffic for you this year.

Related Posts

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Post Consistently

Taking a break and having a life outside of blogging is fine (actually, encouraged!). However, I do think consistency is key for maintaining an audience for a blog. When bloggers I like and follow simply disappear for month, I admit I often forget about them. Posts titled things like “I’m Back!” frequently pop up in my reader…and I have no idea who the blogger is or when they left. Scheduling posts ahead of time can help with this, as can posting consistently in general. You don’t need to be some sort of super blogger posting daily, but posting several times a month keeps you on readers’ radars and helps them get to know you and become invested in your content.

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Revive and Boost Old Content

This is a great method to help boost traffic if you’re short on time. If you’ve written something interesting that was popular in the past (or you think should have been popular but just didn’t get the attention it deserved at the time), try updating it and resharing it to get new traffic. This can mean updating lists of books with newer books that have been released, tweeting out seasonal content, or even just linking back to old posts in a new one you’ve written.

What are some of your best suggestions for increasing blog traffic?


The Circularity of Book Blogging (Discussion Post)

The Circularity of Book Blogging

Krysta and I have been blogging for over eight years now, and while she recently wrote a post about the things that have changed in book blogging over those eight years, both of us have also been struck by how much has stayed the same.  While scrolling through posts in our readers or brainstorming our own discussion post topics, we’ve both noticed that there seem to be perennial questions, that things we wrote posts about five years ago continue to pop up as new conversations.

I’m sure this is partially because there’s a decent amount of turnover in the book blogging community, both in bloggers and readers.  So although we wrote posts on things like “Do you comment back?” and “Why I Don’t Listen to Audiobooks” quite a while ago, these questions are going to seem new to people who simply were not blogging or reading blogs five years ago.

Yet even questions that seem as if they ought to have “settled,” like whether paper books are better than e-books, whether listening to audiobooks counts as reading, and whether YA books have any value or are trash written for children, come up year after year.  Even when one thinks the debate is over and the topic has been discussed from every angle possible, the conversation continues.

It’s interesting to note that the same questions repeat themselves, but sometimes it makes it a bit difficult to be an “older” blogger.  Sometimes this is because I’ve already read a large number of posts on the same topic over the past eight years, so unless something new is being brought to light in the discussion, I have no personal interest in reading the most recent posts on the issue.  This means I can scroll past a dozen discussion posts in my reader and not want to read a single one.  Sometimes it also feels as if it makes it difficult to write discussion posts.  If “everyone” seems to be discussing something like “why adults should be allowed to read YA” but I already wrote a post about that—maybe even more than one—a few years ago, do I write another?  Can find something new to add to the conversation?

I love that people read and discuss books, and of course I think people should blog about what they like and realize that the conversations will in fact be new to many readers.  That’s why they get so many comments and engagement!  Yet on a personal level, I do sometimes struggle with the repetition, if only in the sense I personally no longer find these topics as shiny and new and interesting.

What do you think?  Have you seen some of the same conversations repeat while you’ve been blogging?  What is your reaction?  Do you keep reading the posts?  Keep writing new ones of your own?