I’ve announced last year that I was taking part in the 2016 Book Blog Discussion Challenge, but so far I haven’t really followed through on that, have I? Well, I’ve noticed something and even though it’s not exactly news to me, I have started to wonder why exactly book reviews seem to be among the least popular posts on my blog. I know that I am far from being alone with this question, so I thought it was time for a discussion! What is up with the lack of interaction and traffic on book review posts?
Let’s start with something simple! Some of you may recall me asking you guys on Twitter whether you read reviews or not and to give your reasoning behind your choices. The answers given were very similar to how I feel about review posts and they are simple to summarise. I read them if:
- I like/trust/respect the book blogger. Whenever I see some of my favourite bloggers put up a new review, I am reading it, whether I am usually interested in the genre or not. I mostly trust their opinions and if they really recommend something, I am that much more likely to pick up that particular book myself afterwards.
- I loved/hated the book. Whenever I have a strong emotion for a book, I am seeking like-minded people or in some cases I just want to know what everyone else is thinking, even if their opinion differs a lot from mine.
- I am unsure whether I want to read the book or not. This means that I’ve had my eye on it, but I am not all there to put my money on the table to buy a copy.
- The person DNFd the book or gave it 1 star. These reviews are mostly interesting because they have an incredible entertainment value. I don’t like people who are negative for no reason, but a lot of bloggers are capable of criticising a book without tearing it to shreds and being hilarious at the same time.
- Beautiful Cover! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am a cover snob. Whenever I see a cover that interests me just in the slightest bit, I will want to find out what that book is about.
The only reason for not reading the review is therefore not being interested in the genre/book/cover or not wanting to be spoiled. Well, that gives us plenty of room as to why people should be reading these posts, so one must wonder why reviews aren’t more popular, right? There’s a simple explanation for that as well I am afraid. Goodreads and Amazon, amazing and helpful platforms that they are, offer the perfect venue to post reviews and for readers to find them. It’s like a marketplace – the demand for opinions on the books is there, because the readers are on the same sites and they easily want to find them. You can, of course, post them on your blog as well, but not everyone knows their way around the multitude of blogs on the interwebs these days. Unless you are a blogger yourself, it is far more difficult to find a site you trust in an instant without having visited a couple of times before.
I can only speak for myself here, but sometimes interacting on review posts is really difficult. Of course, I am going to give it a like/favourite/whatever-you-want-to-call-it, if I agree or found that it was a good post, but commenting on it? That is so much more difficult! If I haven’t read the book, there is likely not much for me to say just yet. If I have read the book, but it has been a while, I might not even remember the story in enough detail to comment on it. But there has to be something, right? So, here are a couple of suggestions of what you may be able to talk about:
- If a person persuaded or dissuaded you from buying a book – tell them! It makes my day whenever someone drops me a short comment about how I have sparked their interest for a book. It is also interesting to hear about people who think it isn’t for them, because that leaves room for discussion afterwards.
- In case you have read the book, try to think about your favourite characters. Maybe you can talk about your dream casting? Whether you want it to be adapted for the big or small screen? I am a huge TV and movie buff, so that always gets me going and it is fun to think about the casting together.
- Read the review carefully and see if anything in particular gets your attention. It’s really the most basic thing. Did the romance sound interesting? Was there a certain diversity to the characters? Did it have a theme you didn’t expect? Did the reviewer tease you with something funny that made you curious?
- If everything else fails, talk about the cover. I’m not sure this goes for everyone, but I for one enjoy gushing about aesthetics.
These are the things I try to remember when I read reviews. I want people to interact on mine, so I have to give them what I would like to have in return.
In the end, I suppose I definitely understand why not everyone is running to read all the latest reviews. Sometimes you are just not interested in the book, other times you visit sites like Goodreads where you can find a decent amount of opinions all in one place. I will admit that I don’t read EVERYTHING that’s out there either, but I do vow to at least try to interact more on my fellow bloggers’ sites. With work and all, I haven’t been able to be as active as I’d sometimes like to be, but in my opinion, if you want people to interact on your blog, you should always make the same effort in return (or at least try to).
Thanks for bearing with me during my first discussion post, I am not sure this is exactly what a discussion is supposed to look like, but what’s done is done! Now it’s up to you? Have you experienced a lack of interaction on your review posts? Do you interact on other blogs yourself? Do you vow to try and comment more on reviews as well? I want to know everything you are thinking about!