As many of us would agree, book review posts draw the least traffic and engagement in a book blog. Despite this notoriety, many of us don’t want to stop posting reviews as many of us including me started our book blogs initially to talk about the books we read and how we feel about them.
How to improve engagement in book review posts?
What makes a visitor comment on a post or not is not easy to understand. While it is not possible for us to satisfy and engage with every visitor, it is possible to tailor our review posts to suit their needs. And in the process, motivate them to create engagement and increase traffic.
Make the summary more interesting
Do you still copy the blurb/summary of the book from Goodreads or Amazon?
The plot summary is something that is usually placed on the top part of the review. When the readers come across something that they can read elsewhere, they tend to skim over them and lose connection with the post.
Skip the copy paste. Write the summary in your own words and keep it as short as you can. And that reminds me of something else.
Avoid including spoilers
One of the reasons that your visitor is skipping reading reviews on blogs is to avoid spoilers. Repeat visitors usually remember these bad experiences in a blog and may avoid their review posts altogether.
Make sure that you don’t spoil the reading experience for anyone else. And if at all, you can’t avoid a spoiler or two ensure they are hidden unless they are specifically clicked open.
Make your star rating stand out
The first thing most readers look at is a score or star rating when they visit a review post. So make sure your rating stands out from all your other texts.
Explain why you rated the book as you did and obviously be fair in your rating.
Of course, you may choose not to rate a book in a review, (like I did). You do you.
Sprinkle your personality
Anyone with a blog can write a review. What makes yours different from the thousand others? YOU. People visit your blog and your review to know what YOU think about the book. They are not at a blog to get an impersonal, critique review. (But if you think that is what you want to do, please continue to do it with style.)
Try including your life and emotions into the review posts, just like you would in any other discussion or tag post. Be the fangirl that you are (or the snarky ray of sunshine as it might be), people like that kinda genuineness.
Improve the aesthetics
It is no secret that people love seeing beautiful and colorful things. Make your reviews pleasant to look at and maybe pepper in a few relevant GIFs just to hold in their attention.
Of course, good quality content is more important than images. But heart (and attention) wants what it wants.
Talk about both the good and not so good parts
It is often a criticism that bloggers are so focused on hyping up a book they like that they shy away from talking about the negatives in a book. This is especially true when they review a book they received from an author or publisher.
In my opinion, our duty as a blogger is first to the reader – to tell them what our honest views about the book. If you also share that opinion, please do share both the positives and negatives you may find in a book.
But be gentle and professional about your critique – say what worked for you and what didn’t. Remember you can be critical of the book, not the author.
End with a question or two
Another way to motivate your readers to comment is to pose questions at the end of your review. Ask both book specific questions, for people who have read the book already, and generic questions for others so that there will be something for all the readers to mull upon and answer.
Relate to other books
At the risk of annoying some readers when you get it wrong, comparing and relate the book you review with some other book or movie may help your reader to take a decision about the book.
For example, I recommended One Day in December to all Bridget Jones fans. Now they can understand the mood and tone of the story better and they can make an informed decision.
More importantly, now the other Bridget Jones’ fans might be interested to comment on how true your comparison is..
Read popular books
When all else fails, people search for reviews of book that they read or want to read. Thus reviewing popular and trending books may improve your chances of engagement in book review posts.
You do not have to go out of your favorite genres to do this but reading popular ones in your genre is a good idea. And getting off your comfort zone may work for you as well.
Previously on blogging tips for book bloggers
Check out this link for more of such posts.
Let us talk
What do you think makes a reader motivated to read and comment on your review? Or what do you as a reader would want in a book review to make it useful to make a decision? How to improve engagement in book review posts? Let us talk.
I rarely read the blurb of the book and just jump into a book when I get them, Well, it has been both good and bad for me. I did the same with Eliza and Her Monsters, after reading so many positive spoiler free reviews about it.
I needed to read something easy and light hearted after reading a serious classic like The Picture of Dorian Gray. How did that turn out for me? You will have to read ahead to know.
About the book
Book Name: Eliza and Her Monsters
Author: Francesca Zappia
Genre: Fiction – Drama, Young adult
Characters: Eliza Mirk, Wallace Warland
Setting: Indiana, The USA
Eliza is the creator of the popular online comic, Monstrous Sea which has a tremendous fan following. She goes by the LadyConstellation and is frankly a virtual super star. In real life, she is quiet, shy, and avoids people as much as possible. Her family doesn’t understand her or her online business but let her be to an extent.
She suffers from anxiety attacks and has no friends in school, where she usually spends her time drawing for her comic. She has two online friends who help her navigate through life and family issues. She feels safer online and prefers to keep the real and virtual life separate.
When Wallace, a famous fan fiction writer of her Monstrous Sea, joins her school her worlds collide. Eliza being Eliza, misses all her chances to come out clean to him about who she is.
But is it now too late now to tell him? What would it take for him forgive her when he finally realizes the truth? Did she overcome her personal fears and monsters at the end? Read the Eliza and Her Monsters to know more.
My initial thoughts
Well, it was definitely not what I expected at all. But don’t worry you freaks, I meant in a good way. I suppose. Well I will try and explain better.
I thought the book Eliza and her monsters was about her own inner monsters, like her mental illness. I was not happy to find it was not about her anxiety but about her comic.
And then I realized it was indeed about her mental illness. So I guess it was a roller coaster ride. Just what I wanted. So I am happy again I guess.
Another thing that stood out for me was the portrayal of online friends. Like any of you, I have and love all my online friends and I probably will share my dark deep secrets with them before I would with my family and friends. You all get that right? Finally there is a book that puts across that it was okay to do that and not all virtual friends were creeps and tricksters.
Things that worked for me
- YES to showing how online friendships that can be real and time zones can be pain in the butt.
- I loved how well the pressure and her desperation to finish the story were depicted.
- The Eliza-Wallace friendship turned to relationship was realistic and the growth arc was spot on.
- If you hate the ‘Love conquers all’ trope, you will love the ending.
Things that didn’t work for me
While the stories within story worked for so many of my friends, it failed to impress me. It maybe due to the fact that I don’t read fantasy books.
If you are looking for a book that deals with mental illness or about online community with a bit of romance, Eliza and Her Monsters might be your pick. If you love books like Fangirl and Radio Silence, do not even think twice, you will completely adore Eliza and Her Monsters.
Let us chat
Have you read this one? Do you read fan fiction and what are your favorites? I am definitely in the mood to read a few after reading this book. Let us chat.
It has been a while since I did a bookish tag on my blog and that is when I stumbled upon the A-Z bookish questions tag on Youtube. The tag is pretty simple. I get to answer questions that begin with each letter of the alphabet.
Sounds easy, right? No.
My mind went completely blank and I somehow couldn’t remember even the last book I read. Sigh. Thankfully Goodreads came to my rescue.
A-Z Bookish questions Tag
Otherwise I am sure I never would have these bookish questions for another ten days. So let us get on with this okay?
Author you’ve read the most books from:
I just headed to Goodreads and checked out my most read authors who unsurprisingly turned to be Sidney Sheldon, followed by Jeffrey Archer.
I had a phase when I read only their books. Glad I came out of it and became more open to other authors.
Best Sequel Ever:
I usually don’t read series. But I think the last series that I read completely and enjoyed was the Clifton Chronicles by Jeffrey Archer.
Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
Drink of Choice While Reading:
I wouldn’t dare to eat or drink while reading.
E-reader or Physical Book?
Of late I am picking E books over physical books. I moved thrice in the last few years and I lost so many books in the process. And I am now afraid to start collecting again.
Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:
I had a crush on Cross De Lena from The Last Done by Mario Puzo. I am afraid no one would remember the Mafia Don anymore. (Hint: He is like the Godfather).
Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:
Recently I read a translated work of Korean fiction by Han Kang called the Vegetarian. I can safely say it was pretty weird!
Hidden Gem Book:
I found this gem out of accident and I ended up reading the whole series. I think everyone should give it a chance The Little Lady Agency by Hester Browne.
Important Moment in your Reading Life:
I think finding about Goodreads about 5 years ago must be it. I had been blogging for a while then but still I wanted a place to find more books.
Just finished Nordic King by Karina Halle as part of my A- Z reading challenge for 2018.
Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:
I rarely read Fantasy and Sci-fi. I am not averse to them, but I don’t feel inclined to pick them up easily.
Longest Book You’ve Read:
I think it should be ‘Gone with the Wind’ by Margret Mitchell. I have ‘IT’ by Stephen King on my TBR for a long time now but the mere size of it is intimidating me.
Major book hangover because of:
I usually have a hangover for most of the books. I typically take half the day off before I start another one. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood gave me a major book hangover. I think I took 2-3 days to recover and then I jumped into watching the Netflix adaptation.
Number of Bookcases You Own:
I have 3 book shelves currently, each at a different city that I call home. But as I said I lost quite a number of books and I have almost stopped buying physical books.
One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:
I rarely re-read books except for the classics. I think the last book I re-read was ‘And then there were none‘ by Agatha Christie.
Preferred Place To Read:
I love reading during my commute, so that used to be the train. But now I read a lot in my bed, just before catching my beauty sleep.
Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:
This is a hard one, given that I am obsessed about quotes, especially from books.
I love Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson and not a week goes by without me quoting something from his comics. I have so many of them that I love and am sharing here some of my favorites.
Reality continues to ruin my life.
It’s not denial. I’m just selective about the reality I accept.
I’m killing time while I wait for life to shower me with meaning and happiness
I don’t think I regret reading any book, even the ones that I hated or DNF-ed (rarely). But I do regret that I didn’t read some of those childhood classics when I was younger, as reading them as an adult hasn’t been the same.
Series You Started And Need To Finish(all books are out in series):
I don’t read books as a series, usually. On the rare occasion I do, I make sure all of the books in the series are already published. You know, waiting is for suckers. (Sorry, but not sorry)
Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:
As any book worm would, I am gonna whine that this is a hardest thing I have ever done, not literally. Yet I told you I would answer all the questions, so here I go:
- And then there were none by Agatha Christie.
- And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Unapologetic Fangirl For:
I totally have been adoring Khaled Hosseini and Gillian Flynn‘s writing for a while now.
Update: I literally fan-girled when I met Markus Zusak, Cassandra Clare, Holly Black et al in real life. Read more about it here!
Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:
I do not follow book releases so seriously. I am more of a backlist reader and ARC reviewer.
Worst Bookish Habit:
I can’t get myself to give up on books aka DNF easily, which means even if I don’t like a book I would struggle through it.
X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:
I don’t have many books on my physical book shelf. So I am gonna do the same with my Google Play which I totally depend on for reading my e-books.
So the 27th book is The Fourth Monkey Killer by J D Barker which I reviewed here.
Your latest book purchase:
The last book I bought was The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson, which turned to be too long for my taste.
ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late)
I stayed up all night reading They both die at the end by Adam Silvera.
But I am not sure if it was the last book that kept me up, I am just looking through Goodreads list for the answers. I am just guessing, so let me be please.
Let us chat
Can you answer these A-z Bookish questions Tag? What do you think about my answers? What is your worst bookish habit? Let us chat.
I rarely gush books. Okay, that is a lie. But I could say the number of books that I hold close to my heart are few and they are special. One of such books is And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hossieni. You can read my raving review about the book here and when you return I still wouldn’t have done fangirling about the writer. There is something so simple and realistic in his writing that never leaves me unmoved.
I recently listened to an old interview of his a short while ago and I had to revisit some of my favorite passages from his books. I thought I will share some of the quotes I love from And the Mountains Echoed. I think these quotes will make it worthwhile even if I decide to re-read And the Mountains Echoed for the third time. So let us get on with it shall we?
1) he didn’t understand why a wave of something, something like the tail end of a sad dream, always swept through him whenever he heard the jingling, surprising him each time like an unexpected gust of wind. But then it passed, as all things do. It passed.
2) Kabul is … A thousand tragedies per square mile.
3) Parwana feels herself standing on the brink of telling her everything, telling Masooma how wrong she is, how little she knows the sister with whom she shared the womb, how for years now Parwana’s life has been one long unspoken apology. But to what end? Her own relief once again at Masooma’s expense? She bites down the words. She has inflicted enough pain on her sister.
4) A story is like a moving train: no matter where you hop onboard, you are bound to reach your destination sooner or later.
5) She was an extraordinary woman, and I went to bed that night feeling like I was perhaps more than ordinary myself. This was the effect she had on me.
6) I remember that when my parents fought, they did not stop until a clear victor had been declared. It was their way of sealing off unpleasantness, to caulk it with a verdict, keep it from leaking into the normalcy of the next day. Not so with the Wahdatis. Their fights didn’t so much end as dissipate, like a drop of ink in a bowl of water, with a residual taint that lingered.
7) The net effect is that she has made me feel vaguely reprimanded and, what’s more, deserving of it, guilty of wrongs unspoken, offenses I’ve never been formally charged with.
8) a nagging doubt begins to set in. A faint intimation that I have judged Madaline harshly, that we weren’t even that different, she and I. Hadn’t we both yearned for escape, reinvention, new identities? Hadn’t we each, in the end, unmoored ourselves by cutting loose the anchors that weighed us down? I scoff at this, tell myself we are nothing alike, even as I sense that the anger I feel toward her may really be a mask for my envy over her succeeding at it all better than I had.
9) I have waited all my life to hear those words. Is it too late now for this? For us? Have we squandered too much for too long, Mamá and I? Part of me thinks it is better to go on as we have, to act as though we don’t know how ill suited we have been for each other. Less painful that way. Perhaps better than this belated offering. This fragile, trembling little glimpse of how it could have been between us. All it will beget is regret, I tell myself, and what good is regret? It brings back nothing. What we have lost is irretrievable.
10) You’re lucky, Pari. You won’t have to work as hard for men to take you seriously. They’ll pay attention to you. Too much beauty, it corrupts things. She would laugh. Oh, listen to me. I’m not saying I speak from experience. Of course not. It’s merely an observation.
11) You’re saying I’m not beautiful. I’m saying you don’t want to be. Besides, you are pretty, and that is plenty good enough. Je t’assure, ma cherie. It’s better, even.
12) Must have been quite the culture shock, going there.Yes it was. Idris doesn’t say that the real culture shock has been in coming back.
13) I learned that the world didn’t see the inside of you, that it didn’t care a whit about the hopes and dreams, and sorrows, that lay masked by skin and bone. It was as simple, as absurd, and as cruel as that.
14) Beauty is an enormous, unmerited gift given randomly, stupidly.
15) It’s a funny thing, Markos, but people mostly have it backward. They think they live by what they want. But really what guides them is what they’re afraid of. What they don’t want.
16) the creative process as a necessarily thievish undertaking. Dig beneath a beautiful piece of writing, Monsieur Boustouler, and you will find all manner of dishonor. Creating means vandalizing the lives of other people, turning them into unwilling and unwitting participants. You steal their desires, their dreams, pocket their flaws, their suffering. You take what does not belong to you. You do this knowingly.
17) All my life, she gave to me a shovel and said, Fill these holes inside of me, Pari.
18) Perhaps if she had grimaced at him, said something infantile, full of loathing and hate. An eruption of rancor. Perhaps that might have been better. Instead, a clean, diplomatic dismissal. And this note. Don’t worry. You’re not in it. An act of kindness. Perhaps, more accurately, an act of charity. He should be relieved. But it hurts. He feels the blow of it, like an ax to the head.
Are there any authors that have affected you as much? Are there any books that you read for the writing even though you knew how the story goes? Let us talk. I would love some recommendations.
I know that sounded like blasphemy. Everyone I know and their mother is in love with one book series or the other. Be it the infamous Fifty Shades series or the awesome Game of thrones. Especially the YA bloggers read and rave about books that are in so many parts that I have clearly no clue any more.
Do not get me wrong. I am not against the format as a principle. But somehow the books that are part of trilogy or series do not work for me. I have had my share of books that comes as a series and have even loved a few of them.
Over the past few years I physically cringe when I see the ‘##’ near the name of the book, because it is one more book that I might never pick it up sadly.
Why do I get so turned off when comes to book series?
So I am going to use this post as a space to think out aloud why I can’t fangirl over series like everyone else in the world.
1) Damn you, cliffhangers!
I really hate cliffhangers. I have put my time and effort (even if I had loved doing that) in a book and then it ends abruptly only to be continued in the next. Really? I just can’t stand not knowing what happens to them and I usually have to wait for another year or two.
That brings us to the next problem.
2) Would I be alive when your next book turns up?
I am totally impatient. I want everything and I want them now. So forget me waiting to know whom Elena chooses in the Vampire Diaries series. If I can’t have it now, I am not having any. So what do I do?
Solution: When I do read a series I tend to get them all together in go.
3) Would the part two be as good as one?
How many books do you have already on your shelf but haven’t read for years? I am super ashamed about it too. Then why would I want to add another bunch of books that I may or may not read. I can hear you say, try the first book and then get the other ones, right? Read the previous point.
4) I would be far far behind the world.
Waiting for the series to end naturally means I would never read the books with the rest of the world. You wouldn’t believe how much later I picked up the Pretty Little Liar series, only because I wanted it to end before I even got the first book. Sorry folks I am still trying to figure out who is A when you are busy celebrating ‘her’ arrest.
5) Don’t keep toying with my feelings, people.
Pretty Little Liars also taught me another lesson on why I should hate book series that the character arcs suck. (Actually they don’t, they are fabulous.) But it is sheer torture that I can’t make up my mind whether to hate or love someone. Is he gonna be the killer? Or is it just another misdirection?
This definitely would not happen with a standalone because everything ends when you hit the epilogue. Except you staring at the ceiling trying to figure out what you wanna do with the rest of your life!
It is me, not you.
I know I am missing out a lot.
Still I prefer to have my choice books as standalones.
And the only way I can read a series is only when the books can work alone and can be read in any order. I can understand that a group of friends having their own story in a romance novel series like the Rock Chick series by Kristen Ashley or Macgregor brides by Nora Roberts.
Let us chat
Do you prefer standalones to series? Why or why not? If you read a lot of series, can you suggest me books that would fit my criteria? Let’s chat.