A Word on Book Blogging

Why don’t bloggers always cross-post their reviews to Amazon and Goodreads?

I hear this question posed all the time. I’ve argued about this with one of my closest author buddies over cocktails. She debated they should while I unabashedly defended the blogger. I get the blogger. I was a book blogger. I know why. But I am also an author. And I understand why the author is desperate for the review.

I hope this doesn’t spark too many blogger-author words, but here area few book blogging facts:

Time from start to finish for a book review:

5 hours to read an average length book

1 hour to write comprehensive review (including edits and proofreads)

15 minutes to format blog post including all the book purchase links and links to author social media sites

5 minutes to schedule the blog post and add links to Facebook and Twitter.

30 minutes a day for email correspondence.

This is close to a full day’s work. One full day’s work that bloggers don’t get paid for, hours that are often crammed in around full time jobs, child care, and other daily activities.

Sometimes I think authors forget this.

And before scribbling a scathing comment, understand that I am an author, too. I struggle to secure reviews just as you do. I know exactly how frustrating it can be. I cross my fingers that a blogger is going to cross-post their reviews over at Amazon and Goodreads. But I completely understand if it doesn’t happen.

Why?

Because I know they have a life outside of books. Your novel(s) is your whole world. But it’s not theirs. And as much as they may love books, it will never be theirs.

I’ve run the book blog Novel Escapes for over five years so I understand firsthand the enormous amount of effort that goes into running a book blog. I no longer review or handle the correspondence due to time constraints with my full time job and writing schedule, but I still manage the posting of reviews and social media and it still takes up several hours a week. And it’s the first thing to slip when life throws a monkey wrench at me. And there have been many a curve ball that the Novel Escapes ladies have seen over the years.

In just over two years at Novel Escapes between four reviewers we had:

Three house moves

Two pregnancies and births

Three gravely ill parents

One engagement

One wedding

The death of two parents

Life shuffles and skitters on around us and when something has to give, unfortunately it is often the blog. It doesn’t put food in our mouths or roofs over our heads or look after our children and parents.

Honestly, sometimes just getting one review written or review posted can be taxing; looking at the TBR pile, exhausting.

Some food for thought if you’re waiting for Amazon and Goodreads reviews or considering a blog tour:

  1. If the review policy states they’ll post it on Amazon and Goodreads, then they should. If it doesn’t state anything about it, don’t expect one to appear.
  2. Bloggers don’t get paid for this. At all. Not even a little bit. Yes, we get books. This is wonderful. And we thank you. And we love to review for you. But sadly, we often run very short on time. (And any affiliate links we have or Google ads we earn from make us peanuts. They pay for the blog’s annual fees – because we have those. We have overhead. But we do it anyway even if we make nothing. Because we love books.)
  3. Many bloggers schedule their reviews in advance so Amazon and Goodreads are often an afterthought. They’ll go back and post them there when they have accumulated several to do.
  4. If you’re considering a tour strictly for reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, maybe suggest to the tour coordinator that you only want bloggers who guarantee they’ll cross-post.
  5. When seeking bloggers, carefully read their review policy. It should clearly state their stance on this, and if not ask when you’re pitching and clarify that you’re looking to have the review cross-posted in addition to the blog review.

Bloggers just want to help, really. We know you need the reviews. We are reviewing. On our blog. We just can’t always post it elsewhere. And I can’t strong arm the ladies who review for Novel Escapes to do that. And I can’t post them to my own personal Amazon or Goodreads pages which has always been part of the problem because they frown upon that kind of thing.

And honestly, sometimes it’s a miracle that you’re getting a review posted at all. There have been weeks where I’ve sat back and thought “I have no idea how we collectively managed to do all that this week.”

Some bloggers can do it all. I don’t know how, but they manage. I never realized how demanding and overwhelming running a book blog could be. But it is. Know that. And that it takes an extraordinary amount of (unpaid) time.

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One thought on “A Word on Book Blogging

  1. Holy cow. You said it all, Lydia. And you said it so beautifully. I hope your insights are shared throughout the blogosphere. Book bloggers give a tremendous amount of their time to share their love of books. I not only cross-post my reviews to Amazon and Goodreads, I re-post the blog post that contained the book review on my Facebook, Google+ and Twitter feed. There have certainly been weeks, even months of my life where my own writing was put on the back burner because I over-committed to reading and reviewing and had trouble saying no. I love books. I love writers. I love reading, reviewing… But more than all of that, I love writing. I found that most of 2013 and 2014 was spent reading and reviewing and building my blog following and then I kicked myself when I realized how little I got done on my own writing. And you’re so right about life interrupting. I’m seeking more balance for 2015. My husband is forever asking, “When’s YOUR book going to be finished?” I’m having trouble justifying my excuses these days. I love book blogging, but often wonder if I need to seek help with the blog. I dunno… All these thoughts rolling around in my head…

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