On and off in the last several years, I’ve bounced around about my stance on including book reviews on my blog. Even though it’s a book blog. There’s a lot of variety in the way book bloggers handle their content, and I think it’s important to include whatever content you personally want, and stick to it.
A lot of my content is book reviews. I make sure to include two non-reviews a week (sometimes more), but ultimately, you’re looking at about 65% of my content being reviews. For a while, I felt like this was just filler content. But I’ve changed my mind.
There are three main types of book blogs I’ve seen:
- All book reviews, all day.
- Bookish content, but actual reviews are rare.
- A little bit of both.
I like to be in the third category. As bloggers, we have the right to choose which group we’re in. Some bloggers use memes, some only discuss, and some only use book reviews. And there’s a whole spattering of other blog styles around that.
As a rule, I don’t follow any blogs that are review exclusive. I’m sorry if this includes you! For blogging content, I want to read articles. If I’m looking for exclusive reviews, I’m going to jump on Goodreads every time. When I go through my WordPress reader, the only reviews I read are those on books I’ve already read (because curiosity) and those I’m considering reading. If you can show me a blog where every review is perfect hilarity, I’m in. I think BookTube has a pretty good potential for review-exclusive channels and still be entertaining. It’s not something I’ve experienced in written blogs.
Despite the fact that I don’t read them often, a lot of other people do. To give you some insight on the statistics here at The Literary Phoenix, 80% of my hits on any given day are book reviews. Book reviews bring in outside readers. And when it comes to upcoming reads, people want to know what to add to their TBR. My reviews this year for The Gilded Wolves and Enchantée both received decent traffic around the time of their posting.
I also get regular hits on The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me, Fourth Dimension, and Banished. The books I’ve read that are older or smaller press get consistent hits from search engines, because there’s not as many blogs out there featuring these books. If you read books outside the hype, featuring them on your blog is important for both your recognition and theirs – these books don’t have as much of a modern audience, and if you loved the book, you should scream about it. Hyped reviews will excite your current readers, but it’s the obscure that build new connections.
But beyond your readers, there’s you to think about.
I refer to my backend log and front end archive all the time. In my blog, I’ve built a library of my own reading independent of Goodreads platform. Should something happen to Goodreads, or should I decide to leave the site for some reason (although what reason, I have no clue), then I have a visually beautiful archive here.
Over the years, my review quality has evolved. My review of A Dance with Dragons is hilariously bad… being only a couple of sentences. Back when I reignited this blog, I broke up the reviews into specifics as I wrote. For a while, I tried a list format, but that didn’t really work for me either. Ultimately, I ended up where I am now – my reviews are a mixture of reactions and technical analysis. I try to format them in such a way that if anyone else has read the book, we can have a discussion. And, if nobody has read them, they’re still conversational and I enjoy writing them.
I think, though, at the end of the day, it’s up to the blogger. While I may not always read reviews, I do believe that they’re a plot of the book blogging platform. It’s a bit odd to see book blogs without any reviews on them. It makes me pause. Discussion posts spark better overall engagement, but if you love books so much, why aren’t you screaming about them in reviews?
So, in short, yes. I think book reviews are worth adding to your blog. I think they’re rewarding. How you choose to include them is your choice. I love it when bloggers do collections of mini-reviews, and that keeps individual reviews from clogging up your blog feed. But whatever you choose, remember that it’s your platform, and you should do what you think is best.
This week’s Book Blogger Hop asks:
Do you check how many views your posts have received?
Short answer: Absolutely. I find statistics interesting, though I don’t obsess the way I used to. I always find it fascinating when old posts get attention months or even years after publications. I get hits on my Alice in Wonderland posts (one & two) every month, as well as my Book Recs. for Slytherins post.