When I first started blogging, I had these preconceived notions about what constituted a successful book blogger. It was some combination of a beautifully put-together site, tons of comments, a huge social media following, and getting all the ARCs, whether from a site like Netgalley or unsolicited. I worried about how I would ever make my mark on the book blogging community or even achieve some of the things other bloggers do.
Over the past couple years, my definition of "success" in blogging has changed a lot. While I still admire the big blogs, I've learned that there are other ways to define success. We all talk a lot about stats and at least somewhat keep track of how many hits and visitors we're getting, but it's so much more than that.
I don't have thousands (or even hundreds) of followers, but I feel like most of my posts get a good amount of interaction. People leave thoughtful comments and give me their opinions, and I love it! I love that readers are connecting with what I'm writing. I feel like I've found a really amazing group of bloggers and we all support each other. That interaction and camaraderie makes me feel successful, like I really belong in this community.
I also feel successful when someone comments that I've convinced them to read a book or add it to their TBR. It's such a compliment to know that my recommendations are being taken. If it's a book that hasn't come out yet, making other readers aware of it, putting it on their radar, and knowing it might be something they'll enjoy is so fun. It's an even greater feeling when someone reads my reviews and wants to read a book because of it. As someone who loves to share books, I'm happy when I can bring a book that I've enjoyed to others. I want everyone to love the book as much as I did, so I feel like I've done my "job" well when someone else wants to read it, too, based on what I've said about it.
How do you define success as a book blogger? What makes you proud? Is it reaching a certain number of followers, posting a certain number of times per month, etc.?
I’m super competitive with myself, so I feel like success is always more than I have. I think a lot of people would consider my blog successful. I get more comments and pageviews than what’s average. I always want my blog to grow, but realistically, I have enough trouble keeping up with writing post and responding to comments right now. If my blog suddenly acquired a massive following, I’d have to spend all of my time commenting back.ReplyDelete
Aj @ Read All The Things!
I would consider you very successful! I know, success can kind of be a double-edged sword - it would be great to be a huge blog, but would it also be harder to maintain meaningful interaction?Delete
I'm not a blogger, but you have definitely been successful at getting my TBR to grow! There are just so many great books out there and it is awesome having a group of people I can follow to get recommendations and help me find new authors.ReplyDelete
I'm glad that my little hobby has helped expand your reading!
I was like you and thought it was all about stats, ARCs and followers. Well I don't have a ton of any of that and agree with you - thoughtful interaction is way more important. I love having people leave comments and see what they are thinking.ReplyDelete
Comments are the best! I love knowing that what I'm saying is really resonating with people.Delete
This is such a great post. I felt the same way about success in blogging: I imagined getting all the ARCs, the numbers, the followers, the high stats, everything like that. I have come to realize though with the years and being part of the community that what mattered and made me feel successful in blogging and everything I do, is when people comment on my posts. When they want to have a conversation with me, when they want to read a book I recommended, just when we share bookish recommendations and opinions. Honestly that's the best kind of success, feeling part of this community that way <3ReplyDelete
Thank you, Marie! I totally agree, the commenting, the sharing, the interaction, is all wonderful! I've gotten way more than I expected when I first started blogging!Delete
Such a great post Angela! You put my thoughts into words perfectly. At first I was also only thinking about the stats (and to be fair, I still sometimes do, even though I know I shouldn't), but really it's all about the interactions for me now. I may not have a "big" blog, but I love every comment I get and like you said, having someone read a book I recommended is already such a huge success to me :) This community really is the best, that's why I keep blogging <3ReplyDelete
Thank you, Lindsey! I totally agree, I love this community and being a part of it. I still check my stats, but the interaction is way more important!Delete
I couldn't agree more. The most rewarding part of blogging is all the bookish friends I've made. It's truly special to know you are not alone in your passion for books. I love interacting with other bloggers and would probably not get as much a chance to do so if I had thousands of followers. Great post!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Alicia! I don't think I realized the book blogging community was so big when I started, but that makes it fun! So many people to talk books with.Delete
I feel good about how I was able to become part of the community and found a night bunch of bloggers, who I regularly interact with. I am proud of the engagement my posts get, because at least I think there are some people "listening". I would love to have higher numbers, but the flavor of the week right now is Instagram, which is not my platform, as I love to read ebooks.ReplyDelete
I really like Instagram, but I only have a small following there. But I totally agree about finding a group of bloggers that all support each other.Delete
I worried a lot about the stats in the beginning, but this last year have backed off from that. I don't even check my stats that often. I go more by what I hear from blogging friends and also comments. I LOVED it when someone tells me I convinced them to read a book and then they let me know later how much they enjoyed it. I don't even mind when someone disagrees with one of my reviews because at least they're taking the time to interact. My all time biggest marks of success have been the few times that an author has commented on my review of their book. That has been pure joy.ReplyDelete
This is a really great post!
Thank you, Susie! One time I had an author share my review on her FB page and quote from it - that was awesome! And I agree, I love when someone picks up a book because of something I've said about it.Delete
I agree with everything you said. I find paying too much attention to stats just stresses me out and makes me enjoy myself less. For me, success has definitely become more about all of the amazing book-loving friends I've made since I started blogging. I just love being a part of such a wonderful community.ReplyDelete
I agree, becoming a part of the community has been amazing!Delete
Success for me is when the authors tell me they like my review, even when I don't give them a full five stars! And success for me is when a reader tells me that they want to read the book I've just reviewed, even if they don't click on my affiliate links to buy it.ReplyDelete
That's awesome! It's nice when authors can appreciate constructive criticism.Delete
Oh, and when I write a review of a book that I didn't like all that much, success is when someone reads that and still thinks they'll enjoy the book, despite my misgivings!ReplyDelete
I’m not even sure, Angela. I’m about 7 months in to blog and learning every day. I think like you said there’s a lot to be said for the interaction. You get great interaction on your page because of your thoughtful comments you make while visiting others. I appreciate all your visits to see me, and I hope I am offering the same support to you because you’ve been so kind. ♥️ReplyDelete
Aww, thank you so much, Jennifer! I try to leave meaningful comments because I know how hard bloggers work! And I'm so glad we've come across each other in the blogosphere, I always enjoy your comments and appreciate you stopping by!Delete
I totally agree with you about the satisfaction of convincing someone to try a book! It is hard when new bloggers are starting to not have those feelings. I still feel that tug every once in a while to check my stats. I find that the interactions are definitely the most rewarding aspect, for sure. :)ReplyDelete
I agree! I mean, why blog if not for the interactions, right?Delete
This is a really great post and something I am still struggling with even after two years of blogging. I definitely went in with an ideal in my head that was totally unachievable, and I am constantly working to find a definition of success that is different than my original idea. So far, I'm not there yet. I really enjoy this post and I think the way that you define success is really great. Being part of this community and interacting with people who love books as much as I do is an amazing feeling.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Molly! It's definitely still a work in progress for me, too. I still check my stats more than I should; it's just trying to change my thinking that the numbers don't always tell the whole story.Delete
This is a great post, Angela. My idea of successful book blogging has definitely changed over the years... it now aligns very closely with yours. I've been doing this for ten (!) years and no longer accept ARCs, review books, or commit to firm schedules. I haven't checked my stats in ages. What I love is the community interaction, reading recommendations, and friendships that have evolved over the years.ReplyDelete
Thank you, JoAnn! Although it's fun to get ARCs or requests for reviews, I like seeing seasoned bloggers move away from all that and just do what makes them happy. I think that says a lot for how to be successful long-term in book blogging.Delete
I am like you, I have a few people that will come and read my posts and I am happy about that. The fact that they read or buy the book or put it on their TBR makes me extremely happy. I don't have a ton of followers either and that is ok too. I am happy doing what I am doing and that is successful to me.ReplyDelete
I am so glad we have similar feelings on this, Mary!Delete
This past week I was thinking about what my book blog means to me as an author. I'm currently reading a book that a friend of mine wrote, and I'll be reviewing it (of course). If I can get people interested in reading these lesser-known books, then that's great! I'd want people to do the same for me.ReplyDelete
So I guess that having a small part in an author's success is a reward to me, whether they're someone that most people have never heard of, but I love their work, or they're a multi-million dollar selling author that I also love. Obviously meeting other amazing readers is another part of blogging that's awesome, but as an author, I have to think about the author community as well.
That's a great way of looking at it! I think I tend to talk about books that many other bloggers aren't, so it's nice to get those books out there and on the minds of others.Delete
I think if I reached out more to more bloggers I would feel more successful. I don't think I'll ever be big but it's nice to get a couple of more followers now and then who actually read my posts and I read their posts back. I like the interaction more than anything as well.ReplyDelete
I agree. My blog will never be big, but I think I've found a great group of bloggers, and I'm always excited to add more!Delete
In all honesty, a huge following and stellar stats are nice things to have but I haven't achieved those (yet?) and I don't wanna stress myself so I don't bother trying extra hard. Like you, meaningful comments are my currency as of the moment. I light up and I feel validated and seen whenever I get feedback in my posts.ReplyDelete
Jennilyn @ Rurouni Jenni Reads
I agree - this blog is just a hobby for me, so I try to keep it light and fun, and really any readers I get is a success for me!Delete
I definitely feel like my definition of success has changed too as I've blogged over the years! I used to think it was all just stats 😂and while I still like them...I think you're right that the more personal ones mean way way more?! Knowing someone loves a rec we give and making super good friendships are really special!!ReplyDelete
I agree! I admit, I look at my stats way more than I should, but I'm definitely trying to focus on other things.Delete
Great topic for discussion... And it is interesting reading through the comments from fellow book bloggers also.ReplyDelete
I think it all depends on what you're hoping to get out of book blogging. Personally, I agree with a lot of what you say, and would say myself that success in book blogging for me is having an engaged (very small) community of readers who I can chat all things bookish with.
Thank you! Right, I agree, I love having that core group of bloggers/readers that are really supportive.Delete
My definition of success has changed a lot too! I used to be all about my stats, but now I care about different things. I really love interactions with other bloggers and I feel good when I'm able to make time to do all the things I want to with my blog (reviews, social media, comments). I also like to create a blog that I'd read.ReplyDelete
That's a great notion, creating a blog that you'd read.Delete
I feel bad sometimes because I know get behind in replying to comments on my own blog, but I balance that with knowing I'm out commenting on other people's blogs.