Earlier I spoke about how book blogging is so unlike other blogging niches and how we book bloggers blog mainly for ourselves. While there is no harm in that, I feel disheartened when some book bloggers dismiss their work as “oh, I blog just for fun”. My dear book bloggers, please stop doing that.
I am a freelance writer, and every minute I spend on my blog is a minute I am not spending on my client aka I am not earning.
And that is how I came to realize how valuable book blogging generally is, given the number of hours I spend on it. I know it is a late realization and this came after about 8 years of blogging.
Since then, I sincerely want more book bloggers to understand that they are working really hard, for fun or not, and they should begin seeing their value, first. And sure you can blog for fun, but there is more to book blogging than you realize.
Let us talk about the benefits of book blogging and why book blogging is more than ‘just for fun’.
To be honest, this whole thing pisses the hell out of me. So if this post sounds a bit harsher than my usual nice tone, I apologize right now.
Your blog is your identity
When was the last time you tried to find a person online? We all know they don’t exist if Google or other search engine can’t find them.
And that is exactly what you are doing with your blog. You are creating a brand online for yourself, consciously or not. You talk about things you like and dislike, and you are brave enough to tell it so to the entire world.
Your information is already out there via social media, and through blog you have a say at how you make it available to others.
You are building your portfolio
Whether you use a self hosted site or not, you can use your blog as a portfolio for your business or style.
I am a freelance writer who started out with my old book blog as my sample writing portfolio. Even now when I have enough clips to show around, I never fail to link Elgee Writes as a sample.
Speaking of business, I know several book bloggers (including me) who started to “blog for fun” and then leveraged that to develop their business.
This practice is not new to the blogging world, irrespective of the niche.
There are so many book/reading/writing related businesses that one could start, based out of your site. For instance, I offer beta reading services and writing services. And almost every other business enquiry comes right from this site.
I might write a detailed post on bookish business ideas soon. If I forget, feel free to remind me.
While it might seem hard to get a steady size-able income from book blogging alone in the current scenario, it is definitely possible. And there are several other prominent book bloggers who do that very well.
Even I have used affiliate links (not anymore) and still display ads on my site to grab those meager bucks. It is not really hard and every cent would count towards your next book haul right?
You work hard for those freebies
Let us be honest, many of us started their book blogs, and are still working towards getting those free review copies and ARCs from the publishers.
You are working your asses off to get those copies, reading and reviewing them and then promoting the heck out of it. And are you kidding me with “oh it is just blogging for fun”?
And bloggers from other niches, do similar posts and even get paid for it. That topic is for another day, but hey, your blogging skills are no lesser than theirs just because it comes for free.
You help authors achieve their dreams
The next time you feel down or not motivated about book blogging, think of the countless authors, especially independent ones, that you are helping out through your shout outs and reviews.
I don’t think I have to explain the importance of posting reviews on the portals like Amazon and Goodreads for authors. So your hard work into book blogging is definitely important to them and they value it.
You are learning new skills
Book blogging, and blogging in general, involves acquiring new skill set. Most of us learn about blogging and everything around it like creating images for the blog, SEO or analytics on job, without much formal training.
And that is no mean feat. Just because we learn them out of our special interest doesn’t mean it gets any easier or that it is fun.
I started blogging about ten years ago. Everything I have learnt about digital marketing, content writing and even technical stuff like keyword research or Google analytics stemmed from this site.
I am sure you have learnt so many new things for and through your blogging too. And that should have involved considerable amount of time and effort. So how dare you put yourself down and dismiss it?
You slay collaborations
The amount of work and creativity some book bloggers put into their posts astounds me. The number of hours they put into research and collaborate with other bloggers is unbelievable.
These collaborative and team working skill are highly valuable and cannot and should not be dismissed as they are done for fun.
You may never know when they are going to be useful in your life.
Being students, full time employees, freelancers or whatever your work status looks like, is not easy, and in top of that ‘real life’ you are killing it in the book blogging world. So don’t be so easy to dismiss your hard work as ‘just for fun’.
Do you ever feel that your book blogging lifestyle is not taken seriously? What do you think we, book bloggers as a community do to be taken more seriously by publishers, authors and others? Let us talk.
Like many other trends, I joined Instagram for books and reading a bit later than everyone else. I genuinely thought it was another platform that bookworms, among other people, use to procrastinate while the books in their TBR shelves collected dusts. (Am I wrong or am I wrong?)
I joined the bandwagon with much innate skepticism, thanks to the peer pressure and the allure of getting more free books to review from the publishers. Let us face it, we bookworms are all greedy for free books!
And boy, am I a convert! From someone who didn’t even have the Instagram app on her phone, I have become a person I hardly recognize – especially when I took 25 minutes to buy a coffee mug, which is now visible on every alternate photo I post on Instagram. It just not that.
Bookstagram has changed so many things for me including my reading habits. Oh let me tell you how!
Positive Changes –Instagram for books
Finding book clubs and more discussions
Thanks to Bookstagram, I met some amazing people online and one thing lead to another. And BAM! I am now a member of four book clubs in Instagram that are actually active.
We have book of the month, and most of us religiously read and DISCUSS them, which is what I was craving for like any book worm would.
Keeping up with the challenges
I have always been meaningto read more classics and revisit the novels of the queen of mystery Dame Agatha Christie. And while on Instagram I found the book clubs that have members who want to do that as well, and that has helped me keep up my resolution.
I have read seven Agatha Christie books and six classics since joining the group in 2019, which is quite a feat for me. But all thanks to reading Instagram and the book clubs that keep me on my toes.
Understanding the importance of representation
I cannot stress enough how much I depend on social networks on keeping me updated with the current state of affairs and issues. As someone who is living out here in the deserts of Dubai, I need all the help I can get.
Bookstagram and Twitter are the sole reasons that I have been finding out diverse representation in books. Without them I would not have known what to look for and mainly why they matter. I am still learning y’all!
Reading more regularly and rigorously
I am generally a mood reader which means I either read ten books a month or read nothing for the next two months. And choosing which book to read next usually took a lot of time in general. It still does. But joining bookstagram helped me keeping track of what I read and updating my reading progress regularly has made me more accountable.
Having to talk about books on a schedule has made me read more rigorously and regularly. I think the pressure(?) that the bookstagram schedules has been putting on me and it works well on me.
Falling for the book covers
I think I was one of those rare bookworms that never gave a second thought about the book covers. Especially since I have a weird habit of not reading the synopsis (or blurb) before reading the book, I didn’t really take much time to appreciate the beautiful cover of the book.
Then bookstagram happened. Now the first thing I see about a book is the cover. I appreciate the designs, fonts and colors of the cover lot more and I am enjoy doing that.
Reading more Young Adult books
Bookstagram plays a huge role in the books I read and since the young adult books are the most popular ones I have been picking a lot of them recently.
It is a good thing because I don’t usually reach out for them and they are a great alternative to the classics and mystery novels that I read for the book clubs. Also because YA is where most representations and current issues are being addressed currently.
Negative Changes –Instagram for books
Looking out for popular book
Let’s face it. At the end of the day it is the numbers that matter, even in Bookstagram. And it may not come as surprise that posting about popular books is inevitable to gain popularity and engagement.
So I have been reading so many popular books of late, many that I wouldn’t have if it hadn’t been for Bookstagram. Not that I haven’t enjoyed them nor all of them were bad, but I am sure I could have spent the time better, knocking off some book of my TBR list.
I hope sincerely that more Bookstagrammers started posting about books from Own voices, POC authors and independent publishers as well, which is becoming rare due to all the number games.
The feeling of being left out
Continuing the above theme, I have come to realize that ‘doing our own thing’ is more difficult with Instagram than book blogging.
I generally do not read much of fantasy and SciFi genres and they constitute almost half the new releases these days. So it is kinda inevitable but to feel left out seeing all these beautiful books that I might never read.
It is really a short ride from the fear of missing out to feeling guilty about the reading choices.
Giving in to the schedule pressure
I am trying so hard not to do this and I hope the day never comes, that my Instagram feed will consist of so many books that I never have read before.
The pressure of having a schedule and the need to talk about new books shouldn’t end up in just adding a picture and not forget the existence of the book.
Yes I know I have a lot of them currently on my shelf but I hope Bookstagram doesn’t add more to that bunch.
Giving up lesser known books
We book bloggers want it all. We want to read so many books in so little time. The cost of reading the most popular books comes at missing out the other great ones.
I sometimes miss giving in to the mood and picking a random book off the shelf. And the pleasure of buying never heard of books based on the quirky title off a second hand books shop.
Are you on Instagram for books and reading and more importantly, are you following me? And has it affected your reading habits at all, or is it just me? I would love to hear from you, in the comment section. Let us talk.
I am sure feeling lost when it comes to starting new conversations is pretty common – be it online or in real life. I hope these bookish questions would be help you kick start new topics. Let me know if these bookstagram questions are helpful.
25 Bookish questions for bookstagram
Here are some bookish “question of the day” (qotd) that you can ask your followers on social media like bookstagram or just write a blog post on. I will keep these bookstagram questions coming if they seem helpful to you. So let me know in the comments.
25. Do you read dystopia? If yes, name one dystopian fantasy that you can relate to our current world.
It is no secret that I love talking about books, writing and everything in between. Of course I talk about it on my blog and all over the social media. And in real life, to whomever would listen, including the book club meetings.
So if you are ever looking out for bookish question of the day (qotd) to talk on your bookstagram or blog, you know whom to ask. * wink wink*
Are you feeling overwhelmed with work aka the never ending to do lists and work that would not stop piling? You are not alone in this. Especially during this dire time, we are all juggling multiple roles at the same time and it takes a toll on us.
Are you feeling overwhelmed with work?
Here are some tips on recovering from the feeling of being helpless and getting things done.
Despite our best efforts, life gets us down. I have days when none of my usual routines work and I cannot put a word on the paper or get the household chores done. There are phone calls to make, Zoom meetings to attend and there is something always burning in the kitchen. Well, these are getting commoner these days.
One thing that has always worked during those hard days is Stop, Drop and Breathe. And I usually put on my earphone with on some white noise (say, airplane noise or sleep noise) and I just focus on that. White noise are proved to be effective in calming down our nerves. Hey if the science says so, I am up for it.
I know it sounds counter intuitive. But trust me, I am a total list freak. Almost every day I start the day with a to do list and I would be quite lost without them.
Writing up a to do list and jotting down everything that is weighing on your mind is therapeutic.
Pick up a paper or a mobile app whichever you feel comfortable with (both are equally effective), and list down the things to be done. Once you have written down everything, just mark them based on their urgency and priority.
Start it slow
Once your nerves are calm and you have identified your priorities, all your gut might say is jump right into it. Sure do it, but take things slow. Do not try to do all at once. I repeat do not overwhelm yourself by attempting to do everything at once.
Even better, find the one thing that is the quickest to complete in your list and finish that one off. Just striking that one thing off the list would give your dopamine aka the motivation to work on the other things.
Don’t you hate it when you have to clean an entire room but Netflix is calling out to you? Choosing between number crunching on a spreadsheet and filling those Buzzfeed quizzes seems hard right?
I know it is easy to get sidetracked by other shiny little things when you have to do a serious chore, especially when that said chore is boring and difficult. It happens to me. A lot.
Whenever I have to do any hard tasks I hate, I set my handy little timer app for 25 minutes and get to work. At the end of the twenty five minute slot, I take a five minute compulsory break to do something I like – perfect for a quiz don’t you think?
A walk around the room, refill your water or do whatever you want to. But essentially, do not do that hard work you hated. Once the five minute is up, get back to your work or the next item on the to do list. You can substitute the 25/5 ratio with 40/10, as in forty minute of focused work and a ten minute break as well.
The reward system works perfectly and keeps you productive consistently. And mainly keeps you off from feeling overwhelmed with work overload.
Emotional time out
These uncertain times have got us all in a bunch. Having to live and work alongside family 24*7 may be a double edged sword. The fear of the pandemic and the new normalcy are all scaling up high against us and it is okay to be emotional about it.
Take a break each day from the chaos of the new normalcy and do something that you love. If you paint or do some kinda art, break a leg. Read a book. Write stuff out. Meditate. For me, cleaning around the house or just rearranging the furniture makes me feel better.
Choose your own weapon. Do what you love, at least for a few minutes and take some time out.
Feeling overwhelmed with work is common thing, given the uncertain situation and the number of changes that are happening so fast around us. But if it is happening regularly and coupled with other issues, please consult a doctor. The mental health is nothing to be ashamed of.
Let us chat
What are your go to calming techniques when you are feeling overwhelmed with work and everything? Share it in the comments below. Let us talk.
You have just finished reading a book. Now what? Why not write a book review on your own blog or other sites, so that the author and the other readers might benefit from it? Here is a quick guide on how to write book reviews to help other readers decide whether they should read the book or not.
Also if you are already a book blogger, you might have heard that the book review posts do not get much engagement from other bloggers, and that might be putting you off from writing more book reviews. If it is so, this guide can help you on creating a format so that you wont have to spend too much time on writing book reviews.
How to write book reviews
So here is how you can write book reviews in a way that it will be useful for your readers and yet you can write them fast.
Again, writing them quickly doesn’t mean you can do a half baked job. Having a template ensures that you will not miss out on any important detail from your review post.
Write a short introduction to the book
You might start with all the relevant details like
Author name and link to their website
Their other books
the name of the publisher
the year of publication
ISBN or ASIN of the book
Genre of the book
Target age group
Do not forget to include the book cover and link to the purchase page.
Keep the plot short and spoiler free
Instead of copying the plot summary from the blurb or Goodreads, summarize the plot in your words. And keep it short and to the point.
Most importantly keep it spoiler free, because you are trying to get the reader pick the book (or not, depending on the review) and giving away the plot is not the right way to do it.
Add the relevant disclosure
If you have added any affiliate links like Amazon, B&N in the post, please mention that to avoid the legal issues.
This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.
Mention if you received the book received the copy from author or publisher for reviewing.
Any books, products, or compensation received in exchange for review or promotion will be clearly stated in individual posts. This does not affect my opinion; opinions expressed are honest and entirely my own.
Also mark as spoiler if your review has anything that might be considered spoiler to the book you are reviewing. We do not want to spoil others
Add your rating and explain your scale
After the disclosure and before starting your detailed review, add your rating for the book. It can either be a number scale (say, 3/5) or a pictorial representation showing the rating, like many other bloggers do.
Either way ensure it is visible distinctly as soon as the readers open the page. Insert a sidebar text box explaining what your rating scale means, say
5/5 – Wow, favorite book
4/5 – great, would recommend!
3/5 – good but can be better
2/5 – It was ok, wouldn’t miss it if I had not read
1/5 – it was so bad that want my time back
Also, rating a book on your blog is not absolutely important. Here is my stand on why I do not rate books on my blog.
Pen down your personal thoughts
Here comes the main part of your review – writing down your thoughts on the book.
Make the review personal and tell your readers about how did the book make you feel. Or be objective and talk only about the positives and negatives of the book. Your choice.
Here are somethings that you can talk about in your review
Character development of the protagonists
Character development of the side characters
Main plot and the sub plots
Did you see the twists coming?
Author’s writing in terms of the style, pace etc
Representation, if any
Triggers, if any
Conclude with a strong summary of whether you recommend the book or not. You can mention the specific set of people who may enjoy the book or should avoid the book.
Other sections that you can include in your review
Pointers on what you liked or disliked in the book
Quotes from the book
Relevant GIFs and images to convey your emotions
You can mention other books that might be similar to the book you are reviewing.
Add links to Goodreads book page, if you are not adding purchase links.
I hope this guide helped you in knowing how to write book reviews. If you are looking for some inspirations, take a look at some of my newer reviews.
Do you like writing book reviews? Or do you feel it is not worth the time spend on writing the book reviews? Do you prefer emotional or analytical book reviews when it comes to deciding whether to read a book or not? Let us talk.