Good morning everyone! Today’s post is geared more towards book bloggers and aspiring book bloggers.
One question that came up for me when I was deciding to start Spine & Leaf Books was “How many books should I review, and do I need to review every book that I read?”
Since I’m sure others have had the same question, I’ll share my thoughts and personal experience on the topic after about half a year of blogging. I’m eager to continue with the blog and this post will also serve as some inspiration as to why I dedicate so much time to reading and writing.
Book Reviews on a Book Blog
Let’s start with another question: “Do you need book reviews on a book blog?”
To me, this is an easy answer of Yes!
Spine & Leaf Books is based on having a mix of book reviews, book discussions, and book recommendations. It’s important to me to have reviews that can show readers what types of books I read and discuss here as well as to offer feedback.
Not every bookish blog is based on reviews and many only feature them as a bonus in addition to their recommendation lists or book cover reveals. You can absolutely have a successful book blog without a single book review.
Reading Faster Than I Can Write
Another problem with writing book reviews is that most book bloggers are avid readers. Which means they read faster than they can ever write.
If you’re part of the crowd reading 100 books or more per year, that means not only are you reading over 5,000,000 words per year, now you’d have to write even a modest 500 words per review to hit 50,000 words every year (that’s basically writing enough words for your own novel!). Plus editing, adding pictures, adding tags, and creating promo posts on social media for each post. And you’d be posting about every 3 days. Now, that is a reasonable goal for some bloggers, but for others that is just unattainable, especially if you’re a hobby blogger.
Your reading hobby will cut into your writing time and the more you read the more you will need to write. It’s an infinite circle of creating more work as you take up more free time.
Not Every Book Deserves a Review
I’ve had plenty of DNF books and I’m sure other book bloggers have as well. Those books don’t deserve a review because 1) it won’t be fair to only judge half the book, and 2) you want most reviews to be kind to the author and realistic for the reader.
There are also books that do get finished but were a real slog to get through. These also don’t deserve any more of our time if they weren’t really something we liked.
Blog Readers’ Preference
I think it’s fair to say that most book bloggers are writing their blogs for themselves and a select few other crazy book lovers. The potential audience is more limited than a blog about say, travel or food.
The reality is that book blogs aren’t getting as much organic traffic as other blogs so it can become a labor of love for the writer.
If you are the type of blogger who cares most about page views, then book reviews should not be your primary source of content. Book reviews get far fewer views over time than discussion posts or book lists like: 10 Must-Read Books Inspired by Nature.
If you’re writing for an audience, fewer reviews are better than a lot. Maybe a few reviews are better than none.
I Like Reviewing Books
If the above doesn’t apply to you and you’re writing your blog solely for your own writing goals and book tracking habits, then write as many reviews as your heart desires!
There is nothing wrong with creating a blog that no one reads. It’s a statement of your life and your pursuits and it doesn’t matter what anyone else has to say about it.
If you like reviewing books, then review books.
About 3 a Month
If you want to know what I do as a new blogger: I review about 3 books per month.
And I read about 8-10. So I choose the best out of every 3 books and spend my time focusing on writing between 500-800 words about the book.
My reviews tend to include a synopsis (without spoilers!), something I liked, something I think could have been better, and who I recommend the book to. Each book is unique so there’s always something new to explore and comment on.
As with all bloggers, I’m still learning this new thing I’ve chosen to do. I’m figuring out what works for me at this time in my life.
I’ll be very happy to look back at this post a year from now to see if my thoughts on the subject have changed and how Spine & Leaf Books has changed and grown.
So, book bloggers: do you review every book you read?