How are you today? And how was your weekend? I hope it was as good as mine 😊
I spent most of it at the JAFF Writer/Reader Get Together where I talked to wonderful people who love the same things that I do, listened to interesting panels, and even had a chance to participate in one myself!
This year I was invited by Victoria Kinkaid to speak at the blogger panel along with Meredith Esparza from Austenesque Reviews and Sophie Andrews from Laughing with Lizzie. Sophie was going to approach social media in JAFF, and I thought that it would be nice to take same data concerning blogging with me because I always felt that people didn’t know much about blogging and bloggers in this community. I spoke about it with Meredith, and she kindly accepted to join me in this project, so we worked together to build 3 surveys to all those involved in the book blogging industry: Bloggers, Readers and Writers. After we retrieved the results, we analyzed them and presented them at the conference, but I know some of you didn’t have a chance to be there, and I’m sure many of you participated in our surveys, so I thought that it would be nice to share the results with you here today.
Before we move along, I just want to share with you how much I loved working with Meredith on this project! She was an amazing partner, and it was really nice to have someone like her to discuss ideas with and improve the project 😊
I also want to thank everyone who dedicated some of their time filling the surveys, they were really informative and important for our presentation, and even for our blogs as we are now aware of a few things we need to improve 😊 So let’s take a look at what you told us, shall we?
What do Book Bloggers Actually Do?
- Read Books
- Post Book Reviews on multiple platforms: Blogs; Amazon; Goodreads; Facebook, etc
- Revisit the book in other Blog Posts weeks or months later
- Favorites Lists; Recommendations; etc
- Giveaway management (selecting and announcing winners; receive winners contact’s; share them with authors, etc)
- Interview Authors
- Work on guest posts/excerpts/cover reveals, etc.
- Answer to authors and readers emails
- Answer to blog posts comments
How much time do they spend doing it?
We had 11 bloggers answering to our survey. The majority of them has been blogging for over 10 years (46%) and they read many books per year to be able to keep up with their blogs. 36,4% of them read between 51 and 100 books a year, and 36,4% read between 31 to 50. 91% of these bloggers admitted that the books they are reading are review requests from authors or publishers and this is further proof of the connection that exists between bloggers and authors in this community.
But let’s go back to our initial question. We already know bloggers spend many hours reading books to review (especially if they are slow readers like myself), but if we do not count with the hours spent reading, exactly how much time do they dedicated each week to their blogs? And how many posts do they publish on average each month? (should have used the same scale, right? Live and learn…).
45,5% of bloggers spend between 1 and 5 hours each week creating content, answering to emails, organizing their agenda, etc, but the majority of them (54,5%) spends more then 5 hours per week working on their blogs. This means that most bloggers dedicate at least one working day each week to their blogs, and all out of love for this genre because let’s face it, this is not our just, it’s just our hobbie.
The time they dedicate to their bloggs is materialized in more then 6 posts per month for the majority of bloggers. Of course that the more posts a blogger publishes, the more time he needs to dedicate to his/her blog, and I can tell you from my personal experience that it is not easy to keep up with 2 posts per week. In fact, when we asked bloggers what their main struggle was, the common word we saw in the comments was time. Bloggers wish they had more time to do more, improve their blogs, innovate their content, reduce their stress levels, but alas, each day only has 24 hours, so we do the best we can with the time we have 🙂
How do bloggers impact readers and authors?
This is the material question isn’t it? I mean, why spend so much of our time to blogging if it doesn’t have any impact?
We started by asking authors if they visit blogs to promote their books and if they ask bloggers to review their books.
It came as no surprise to us that the majority of authors does visit blogs to talk about their books, and even more request bloggers to review their books.
So, do they notice any impact on their sales after visiting a blog? Let’s face it, writing is a job just like any other, so authors need to sell books to continue writing, and to sell them, they need to reach out to readers, which means they expect their blog visits to have some impact in their sales. We didn’t ask authors how they can tell a post or a review in a blog has an impact in their sales, but we are assuming they notice the number of sold books in the days following a blog visit.
While 30,6% of authors doesn’t see an impact on their sales after a blog visit, and for 22,2% this is not applicable (probably those who do not visit blogs), 47,2% do admit to see an increase in their sales after visiting a blog. This number increases when we are talking about reviews, and that is something I find particularly interesting.
If we look at the percentage of authors who believes their sales increase after a review is published in a blog, it is slightly higher with 55,6% of authors seeing an impact. So this tells us that even though all types of posts have an impact on sales, the reviews are the ones that most help authors sell their books. That is also interesting because reviews are also the type of post readers value the most, so readers and authors are in agreement here 😊
Of course this is the authors perspective, and probably their findings immediately after a blog visit or blog review, but what are readers saying? Could they have a different perspective?
What do readers say?
Well, readers say they do buy books based on bloggers reviews or suggestions, and they may not buy the book immediately after the post was published in the blog, they may do it a few days later, or maybe even a few months later, but when asked on a scale from 1 to 5 how likely they are to be influenced to read or not read a book based on a bloggers review, 52,3% answered 4 and 26% answered 5, so around 78% of readers are likely to read a book based on a bloggers suggestion.
And if we look at the graphic below, we can see that 96,5% of readers buy books based on bloggers suggestions. That is not a small number is it?
When does a review impact readers?
How can we explain that 96,5% of readers claim to buy books based on bloggers suggestions, but only 56% of authors claim to notice that? Well, the answer is simple, readers don’t read reviews only on the day they are published, they also check the bloggers archives or databases. I’ve remodelled my blog this year to have menus that would allow readers to navigate the blog and find older reviews (searching by author or genre) and excerpts, and I know some of my fellow bloggers do the same, so we do try to have the content available months and years after it was initially published.
As you can see, 59,3% of readers admits to check a blog’s archives to see older reviews, and these readers are in fact visiting blogs quite frequently, and some of them faithfully over time. 52,3% of readers state they visit between 4 and 6 blogs, and they do it if not daily, at least several times a week as the following graphic demonstrates:
What else have we learned?
Our surveys had several open questions and those allowed us to better understand our readers and authors alike. They even allowed us to understand we are not alone and that most bloggers struggle with the same issues we do, but also find rewards in the same matters.
We discovered as mentioned earlier that the bloggers biggest challenge is the time they require to keep a blog active, but we also confirmed that authors who visit blogs mostly have good interactions and enjoyed the experience. It was really important for us to read so many encouraging comments, so thank you dear authors!
We’ve also learned that some authors are apprehensive about reaching out to bloggers, or do not know how to do it. This was particularly important to discover, because we had no idea (at least I didn’t) that this was happening, so if you are an author and you would like a bloggers assistance in spreading out the word about your book, all you need to do is send us an email and telling us you have a new book coming out, I’m sure we’re all happy to help, and I also believe readers will appreciate getting to know new authors through our blogs. On a personal note, I’ll make sure to update my blog and make my email contact more visible, and also add links to my Facebook and Instagram accounts, that may help 🙂
We have also discovered that both authors and readers want more reviews in our blogs, and that combined with the bloggers biggest challenge may be a hard goal to accomplish. I’ve just checked, and this year I’ve published 42 reviews, unfortunately I really do not think I can do more 😦 I will try, I promise, but I don’t think I’ll be able to publish more than 50 each year. I can, however, improve the layout and navigation of my blog as that was another issue readers mentioned they would have like to see improved in blogs. How’s that for a compromise?
The last interesting finding we had with the survey was that readers would like more critical reviews, and that is something that I can also do my best to accomplish. It is not always easy to find the right balance in a review, and I always try to be fair, but I can also work on more objective yet spoiler free reviews 😊 Let me know if I am improving, will you?
What do you think?
So, what did you think of our findings? Was this interesting? I didn’t publish every single graphic, nor did I add everything we discovered, as that would have been too extensive, but I hope that what I’ve shared was of any use to all of you.
And if it was, let me know. Who knows we’ll make this a tradition and repeat this survey on an yearly basis 😉 If you’re up to it, of course as this survey will never be possible without your contribution. So let me finish by saying a big THANK YOU to all who participated in our survey, and also another huge THANK YOU to Meredith for working with me on this, and of course to Victoria and Summer for all the hard work they put out each year to make the JAFF Writer/Reader Get Together a reality.
THANK YOU EVERYONE!