Over the last three years I have been blogging about books and bookish things, and my friends and family have been aware of that fact. However, recently I’ve gotten more serious about this hobby of mine, and they’ve started to get curious. Often, I’ve gotten some variation of “How’s your blog, and what do you do with it?” So I decided to give you all my thoughts on what it means to be a book blogger.
What’s a Book Blogger?
In the most basic sense, a book blogger reads books and then writes about them on a blog (short for weblog, or a website created with the intention for personal writing). There are variations on how the books are discussed- reviews, comparisons, reports, etc. The beauty of a book blog is the ability to just nerd out about the books you have read or are in the process of reading.
What do book bloggers actually do?
Besides what I mentioned above, there’s a lot of effort and creativity put into book blogging.
First off, there’s the creation of the blog itself- naming, formatting, theme, etc. This takes time, and is tweaked based on the focus of the blog. Straight forward book blogs may focus solely on reviewing or reporting about books, however, many book bloggers expand into writing about book-related topics. Additionally, lifestyle bloggers (those who discuss various topics on their life style) may create a section of their blog solely for books, as they may for fashion, home decor, or fitness. Again, the beauty is in each individual’s spin on the space they create.
Then there’s creating the content. When I first started my blog, I would read a book once a week and then write a review post- and that’s how I populated my blog. No photos, no hashtags, just the bare minimum. Then after observing the book-blog community (we’ll talk about what that means in a minute), I decided to build up my blog so that I was actively posting content between two and four times a week. I’ll discuss that further in a future post, but I found that the more frequently I posted (and the more visually appealing the post) the more views it received.
Finally, there’s getting people to actually look at the blog. I am constantly active on social media, promoting new posts and future posts to come. I’ve also been working on marketing products like bookmarks and business cards, and I also bought a stamp to use in the little library books to drive local traffic. Then, there’s good old word of mouth, when its’s appropriate. Essentially, as a book blogger, you become your own promoter and must market your site to keep it active and for your posts to be seen!
Basically, all that means is that I became an amateur writer, photographer, graphic designer, website creator, promoter, and on occasion, reporter. It may sound like fun (and most often, it is), but there truly is a ton of effort put into book blogging.
Like, how much effort?
It varies from person to person, but the more active you are, the more time it takes to create content and maintain the blog. Personally, I put hours (HOURS) into my blog on a daily basis now. Back when I started, I maybe put in about 5 hours a week. I can easily do that per day now. I time manage LIKE A BOSS.
I additionally have to factor in time away from the blog where there’s actual reading being done, bookish events (and libraries and book shopping, etc) to go to, and time spent on photography, social media, and if you do giveaways, running around trying to ship things.
On a regular day, I spend a minimum of an hour reading (this is where audiobooks save my butt on busy days), about 1-3 hours maintaining my blog and writing reviews, and around 30 minutes to an hour taking and editing photos for the blog and social media. Some days are more hectic than others though especially when trying to balance work, life, and blogging, so a nice thing about blogging that there is some flexibility when you need it. If I need a day away from the computer, I don’t feel bad doing so!
Over the course of the month, I try to do additional bookish activities such as hosting a giveaway (where I donate a book to followers of the blog and social media), visiting bookshops and researching new books, and if they are available, going to author events. Sporadically throughout the month, I also check on the little library and stock the shelves. Finally, every other month, I read a book club book and then get to hang out and discuss it with my book club buddies!
What’s the bookish community?
The bookish community is full of people who discuss books through various outlets, including book blogs. Or, to put it in layman’s terms- it’s where the book nerds unite! There is no discrimination on who can or can’t be the community, and the vast majority of those people are super supportive. When I started out, I didn’t call myself a book blogger, mostly because I didn’t feel like I was qualified enough. However, there really are no qualifications- if you blog about books, consider yourself a book blogger!
The following are considered part of the bookish community:
- Book bloggers
- Booktubers (those who discuss books via YouTube or video blogs)
- Book Twitter (the bookies on Twitter)
- Bookstagrammers (the bookies on Instagram)
This is just small selection, as there are many other social media websites and apps (like Facebook, Goodreads, Reedsy, Bloglovin’, Litsy) that are utilized within the bookish community.
The other thing to keep in mind about the bookish community is that it isn’t just online. There are numerous book clubs and reading groups, libraries, publishers, authors, bookshops, etc. etc. that discuss books, sell things related to books, and promote books! The main goal for all is to promote reading, circulate books, discuss topics and issues mentioned in books, and enjoy things that make reading fun!
If you need an example- think about the Harry Potter franchise. JK Rowling put out the first novel. The bookish community loved it, it became a bestseller, six more books were made, eight movies, tons of merchandise, and now a theme park. The bookish community (well, those who support the franchise anyway) helped make this happen.
What do you get out of it?
I initially started book blogging because of a new years resolution. I didn’t know it at the time, but the bookish community is incredibly welcoming, and they’re all just as excited as I was to nerd out about books. At school, I was always to girl who was reading at her desk instead of paying attention to the teacher. When I entered the real world, I stopped making time for myself to read. In 2016, I decided I wanted to read again, and made the resolution. So, first and foremost, I got a big part of me back- the nerdy book girl. Then, I found a community of book nerds who welcomed me with open arms.
Now, I am a part of a local book club, which makes me feel more connected to my community in the real world, as well as the ability to give back to that community with my little library. And yes, there are perks too- like knowing when best selling authors are in the area and getting tickets to meet them, or getting approved by publishers to read unreleased galleys (new books that haven’t been published in stores yet).
Lastly, there’s knowing that there are people out there who are looking for a certain book who may come across my review, and then they make the decision to buy (or not) the book based on my recommendation. I’m not going to lie- that makes me geek out the most. The fact that someone trusts my opinion enough to do that? Gah- it squeezes my lil’ heart.