Hi friends! I hope you are all well and staying safe 💛
There have been a lot of discussions lately about book bloggers and their work and, no matter where you take this from, in the end, it all comes down to this: book bloggers’ work is cruelly undervalued, undermined and underestimated, from all sides, if you ask me.
I’m not trying to put everyone in the same basket here. I know some people, whether they’re part of the community or not, whether they’re publishers, authors or just people on the outside passing by, appreciate everything we do and for that, I’m so grateful.
That being said, I also know that a lot of people don’t realize book bloggers are still here. It’s easy, with bookstagram, booktube and whichever media will come next, to forget that book bloggers are here. It’s even easier for some to forget that book bloggers are the ground the book influencing community is standing on.
But you know what? Book bloggers are still here. Book bloggers are book influencers, have always been and will always be, because YES, despite everyone moving on to bookstagram and booktube and elsewhere, book bloggers STILL have a future, too. I truly believe that.
You know what else? Book bloggers do an incredible amount of work for so little appreciation, so little boost and so little recognition, sometimes.
Today, I really wanted to underline that. Everything we do, every single day, all the ways in which we work hard, with all of our hearts and passion and love for books.
So here it is. Everything book bloggers do. This list may vary, of course, depending on each and every book blogger out there. I’m talking about my personal work, a personal work, I’d like to underline, that I’m doing on the side of a full-time job, too. Like I said it before: blogging is a lot of work. It’s a labour of love.
What does a book blogger do?
Way to state the obvious, Marie. As book bloggers, we’re book lovers, therefore we’re reading books.
The thing is: saying we read books is too limited, because we don’t only read books like any other reader would. At least, I personally don’t.
Let’s stay onto the book aspect for a minute. I don’t only read books as in finished copies: I also, when I get lucky enough I scream and happy cry, read ARCs. Meaning, Advance Reading Copies of books that aren’t released yet.
I also read books with attention and care, because, as a book blogger, and no matter how underappreciated or rare they might get sometimes, I also review books.
I read books with more care because I review them and recommend them. I read books with even more care, because I know that, as a book blogger and as someone talking about books online (you too, no matter what your following is, by the way), I have a voice there. I can help people finding the books of their dreams and I can warn people to stay away from problematic work, hurtful content and just plain bad recommendations, too.
Okay, but reading books is a hobby. Isn’t that why you’re here? YES but did you mention the fact that as a book blogger, reading books can become work, too? When you feel obligated to read all the hyped books to fit in and still be relevant? When you’re feeling less of yourself because you can’t even read a book per week while you’re seeing other book bloggers reading 10 books in the same amount of time? How about we talk about the fact that I feel less of a book blogger than ever when I don’t read as much?
I’m going on a tangeant here, so let’s keep that topic for another day and keep it at that: as book bloggers, we read books.
⏳ How much time do I spend reading per week?
Honestly? Maybe 6 to 7 hours?
Despite their unpopularity, I started book blogging because I wanted to review books and 5 years later, I still do that and it’s still a big, big part of my work as a book blogger.
I don’t review every single book I read, because… well, let’s be honest, I’m not inspired to write full-on book reviews for each of them on my blog, nor do I have the time to do that. But I do review the books that matter, the books I want to talk about, as well as the ARCs I got lucky enough to receive.
Reviewing books might seem like an easy task, but let me tell you: it’s not. When I review books, I take back the little notes I wrote down in my notebook to put myself into the book again. I write down the trigger warnings I found in the book and scan others’ reviews on goodreads, on google and blogs to see if I might have missed any to add to my review. I think about the story, the characters, the setting, my feelings on the book, I write bullet points and write full-on sentences. I take my time, I start and leave it for another day, I delete and start again.
⏳ How much time do I take reviewing books per week?
Approximately An hour and a half to 2 hours, to more, depending on the book.
Write blog posts
If book reviews are a little less present on book blogs, it’s because there are so many other, incredible, creative content on book blogs now.
Discussion posts, both on books themselves and on blogging. Lists and recommendations, creative posts, there is just so, so much imagination and work around the blogosphere, it’s absolutely stunning and humbling to see it, really.
There is so much work that comes into writing blog posts. Let me try and break down my writing blog post process in quick bullet points:
- Brainstorm ideas
This involves a lot of thinking, a lot of hanging around with my list of over 40 ideas and screaming about the fact that I don’t have any ideas (aerm). This also involves stepping away, reading blogs and answering to comments and suddenly getting a random idea for something. This involves a lot of me rambling to myself.
- Write the blog post
Writing isn’t just about writing down the words and calling it quits, at least, not for me. It’s writing bullet points, a skeleton of the blog post with my main points. It’s starting to ramble on alone, wondering how the heck I’m going to write this. It’s writing a first draft, deleting bits and starting again, over and over again, researching for the post….
- Designing the layout of the blog post
Once the writing part feels okay, I’m stepping up to the designing part. Meaning: adding real structure to the post with paragraphs, titles and lists, but also adding images, GIFs, separators, links to other relevant blog posts, book covers and links for a book recommendations post…
- Creating images for the blog post
I usually spend time creating my featured image for my blog post before going into the layout… sometimes before writing it, even. I don’t know, it inspires me. This step is basically me spending way too much time scrolling and obsessing about a particular angle of a photography, screaming and trying out 10 pictures before picking one out.
- Re-reading the blog post once, twice, three times
Once I’m approximately satisfied with the way my blog post looks, I… re-read the blog post once, leave it for a couple hours, leave it for a day when I have time, re-read it again. THEN I make my sister read it because I’m extra like that.
- Hitting the schedule button
FINALLY, I hit schedule and put the blog post in a pretty green color in my book blog’s schedule to make me feel validated about my work. Then I think about it a little bit until it publishes.
⏳ How long does it take me to write a blog post?
It depends on the post, really. Some blog posts take me 2 hours, some blog posts take me 6 days, from writing the first draft to hitting the schedule button. Some posts take me weeks.
☂️ Related blog post: How to give your book blog posts that extra spark
Promote my blog
I could do much, much more when it comes to promoting my blog. There are so many strategies, from getting into Pinterest to finding collaborations and partnerships and I don’t know, MORE.
Yet, to be completely honest with you: I’m not getting any money from pageviews and I don’t want to obsess about blogging statistics too much right now, so…. the ways I promote my blog are mostly by being slightly active on social media (twitter and instagram), sharing my posts there and, most of it all, by being a part of and engaging with the community. I think, for book blogs, the best way of really promoting your blog is to just, be part of it all. Obviously, not going to lie: I know a lot of things that can make your traffic skyrocket, too, but I’m leaving it for another post later on.
⏳ How long do I take promoting my blog?
Only to talk about scheduling and promoting my own blog posts, I’d say about 1 hour a week.
Engage with the book community
Engaging is both a big part of promoting your blog, growing your blog, setting your place as a book blogger and a big part of blogging happiness, if you ask me.
What does engagement mean, really? Engagement is all about exchange. Engagement is all about conversations, to me. It’s about talking to and with others in the community, about the books you love, about the blogging struggles you face, about this little adventure you all are onto.
Engaging is also about screaming about the same books you love, together, which, when you think about it, is basically free book promotion, too.
I know, right now, most of the bookish community is off on bookstagram or twitter, engaging there through easy and quick comments, stories and tweets that are quickly getting viral. Book blogging still has A LOT to give out, when it comes to engagement. I mean: we still spend a lot of time writing blog posts, people still comment and share their recommendations on book blogs, people still engage and share blog posts they loved.
So how do I engage, personally? I spend time tweeting and bookstagramming a little bit, because let’s face the music here, these places are important, too. I spend the most time, however, supporting and engaging with book bloggers on my and their blogs. Answering and leaving comments, appreciating their INCREDIBLE work this way. Always being genuine and not falling for fake engagement traps.
⏳ How much time do I spend engaging?
Uuuuh. Honestly, I wish I could count, but it’s probably over the 10 hours a week-mark.
☂️ Related blog post: My top 5 tips to interact with the book blogging community
Book bloggers work so much and are so underappreciated
There’s so much more to book blogging that I could talk about.
The time spent on the book blogs themselves, designing them from scratch and making them ours, branding them to our image.
The time spent on other social media such as twitter and bookstagram.
The way we bend and crawl and rebrand ourselves and extend our book blogging selves to new platforms, to meet expectations and brands and to get more opportunities and recognition no one wants to give us on book blogs because, apparently, we’re not enough.
The time spent thinking about book blogging and screaming about the books we love and the heart, passion and love we pour into, a time that isn’t quantifiable, in any way because it’s just TOO big.
In case this post doesn’t show it: book bloggers do an astonishing amount of work. They’re so creative, so passionnate, so hard-working and so wonderful and so, SO UNDERAPPRECIATED.
We’re not getting paid for our work and if we ever try, I’m afraid we’d laugh in our faces. We’re not getting as many opportunities as other book influencers on booktube or bookstagram. We’re not growing as fast as them, either. We’re not getting as much views and as much love. (No shade on other communities’ work here, at all (!!), just stating the truth.) Hell, when people talk about book influencers, they don’t mention book bloggers AT ALL.
I wish it didn’t take stupid behaviour and things happening on twitter for people to boost book bloggers. I wish it didn’t take A SINGLE THING to recognize that book bloggers have been here and will still be here later, too.
I wish that all of this, THIS work I mentioned above and more, was understood and recognized more. We do it because we love it, otherwise we wouldn’t be here, but I think it’s so important to underline, understand and put into perspective all of these little things. These little hours added up together make A LOT of time and they’re made out of a lot of love.
So don’t tell me book blogging is easy.
Don’t tell me book blogging is dead, either.
I’m still here. There are literally THOUSANDS of book bloggers that are still here standing, screaming, working hard for the love of books. They do so much for so little in return and they’re still standing. I’m still standing.
I love book blogging and I hope, if you’ve read, skimmed this or anything, that you’ll take this one last thing out of this post, at least:
Book bloggers work so much. Appreciate them every single day, please.
☂️ If you’re looking for ways to appreciate bloggers’ work more, read on: Why and how you should support book bloggers
Book bloggers (and bloggers alike), can you relate to some of the work I listed here? What else do you do as a book blogger and how long does it take out of your day/week/month? Do you also feel like you do, well… a lot??
As always, if there’s any blogging topic you’d like me to talk about more in depth, feel free to let me know in comments!