My Musings

Can you have a Book Blog without Book Reviews??

bookreviewrant

Greetings my fellow book bloggers, today I bring to you a discussion post. I don’t post them very often but it’s nice to diversify my blog and dabble in the treacherously stormy waters of discussion.

This is a topic that has been ruminating in my mind for a while now, the question over whether or not you can actually have a book blog and not review books.

So, lets take a look at the types of posts that we include on our own blogs:

Memes:

Memes are found amongst the blogging community and are a weekly post (meme) that was created by a certain blogger, that has then been taken up by other bloggers and are posted on their own blogs. Memes at times are divisive, lots of people like them and lots don’t and there are a plethora of them out there, some bloggers/blogs post memes for each day of the week, some might only post one meme a week and then some post more than one a day.

There are countless memes, some more popular than others and some even with their own Goodreads groups.

Memes are a good way to bring traffic to your blog with likes and comments and also for new/newer bloggers to help bring you into the blogging community. You’re essentially joining in by posting something lots of other bloggers do to and it helps to get you and your blog noticed and lets face it, memes are one of the most popular types of blog posts.

I’m a fan of some memes, I always liked the Teaser Tuesday meme, it’s simple and easy to do and it brings attention to the book that you are reading, especially if you’re not going to be reviewing it in the same week. The Friday Face-Off is also another fun meme, seeing various covers from around the world is pretty cool. And I really like Waiting on Wednesday, again, it’s such a simple idea and premise but it highlights upcoming releases for a variety of genres (of course the genre depends on the blogger posting it) and for me, that’s a good thing as you might find a gem of an upcoming book that you didn’t know anything about.

Personally, I’m not a massive fan of the Top Ten Tuesday or Top 5 Wednesday memes, I like reading others but I find that they are very time-consuming to create and you often see lots of bloggers posting the exact same list of books just in a different order.

But no matter what memes you participate in, which you choose to do and like are of course down to personal choice, they are a decent and often fun part of blogging and your blog.

Awards/Tags:

If memes are one of the most popular types of blog post, then awards/tags take the crown for being the most popular.

Awards/tags are again created by an individual blogger, my bad bad self even created one, The This Is My Genre Tell Me Yours Book Tag where you look at your favourite genre, which you can find here:

After creating a tag or doing an already created tag you then tag others, those tagged bloggers then either do or don’t do the tag (depending on personal preference) and the ones that do tag other bloggers, similar to a chain letter perhaps and the tag will end up travelling around the blogging community.

Awards/tags from my experience and just looking around other blogs I follow generally tend to elicit the most likes and comments on blogs, which is always a good thing as it improves your blog traffic and helps you feel like part of the community, getting tagged even if you don’t do the actual tag is always appreciated by many bloggers to.

Similar to memes though, awards/tags are also at times divisive and while lots of bloggers choose to do tags, lots also don’t. There are some really good ones out there that are fun to do and informative but there are also lots with very similar questions and with all politeness, there is only so many ways that you can answer the same similarly worded question but the main draw back is time. Awards/tags take lots of time to write and draft with trying to think of decent answers and find the right images/gifs to include in the post, which from personal experience can be a real nightmare.

Book Haul:

It’s exactly as the name suggests, a post showcasing your latest bookish goodies. Whether they are books that you have bought yourself or have been lucky enough to receive from an author or publisher, a book haul post is a great way to show and bring attention to what books you have recently acquired.

Subscription Unboxing:

Not something I’ve ever participated in as I’ve never ordered a monthly subscription box. But for those of you that have and do, I see lots of you post either unboxing posts with pictures or actual unboxing videos and it’s a great idea for a post.

Blog Tours/Guest Post/Spotlight/Cover Reveal/Extract and Author Interviews:

A variety of posts all related to books and authors and all worthy additions to any blog. All of the types of posts can be found and offered separately by authors who have found your blog and all can also be included as blog tours.

Lots of blog tours have reviews in them but you can also forgo reviewing the book by choosing one of the other options.

I’ve had a few issues with publicists/publishers sending the tour stuff late and you may find that you’ve also agreed to a tour that you’re not really interested in the book for. On the other side though, you may well get to be part of the tour for a book that you’re excited for and even a tour for one of your favourite authors (I got a guest post from Marc Turner last year on my blog and he is one of my favourite authors, great).

While they occasionally do well, compared to memes and tags they don’t however get the same level of interaction and likes and comments. Maybe it’s down to the other bloggers not being interested in the book, I don’t know but I know you wouldn’t read an extract of a book that you weren’t really interested in.

But, interviews and guest posts are often very fun and informative to read, I really like reading guest posts and with interviews it’s cool being able to see a bit of the person behind the books. As book bloggers it is nice to feature authors and their books on our blogs, even if it’s only from time to time. As, well……without authors there would be no books!

Features:

Similar to memes, weekly features are created by an individual blogger but predominantly for their own blog. However, if well received then other bloggers may well join in and participate in the feature.

I recently created my own feature called 200 Words or Less where I look back and review/offer my thoughts on books I read before I started blogging, it’s not a meme and is a feature for my blog but if anyone else wishes to do it then that’s fine by me and is totally cool. You can find the debut edition here:

But there are plenty of great features out there on various blogs, some really cool ideas and some quality blogger interviews for features to and no matter whether they are weekly or monthly features are a cool addition to a blog.

Discussion Posts:

Just like this one! Discussion posts are great for getting comments and your followers interacting with you.

It’s sometimes hard to come up with ideas for discussion (I hardly ever post discussion posts as I struggle for ideas and I know I’m not the only one) as you often see many similar variants on other blogs and you might well think to yourself ‘it’s been written about and discussed before’ and while technically true, it won’t have been written about or discussed on your blog before, huzzah for technicalities! πŸ™‚ And even so, you can add your own personal spin on a topic anyway.

Guest Blogger:

Occasionally you will see bloggers guest on other people’s blogs. This could range from an interview with the blogger, to a guest review or even a guest post on any type of subject. It’s a cool way to feature other bloggers on your blog and maybe repay the favour and appear on their blog sometime later.

Individual Creative Content:

This is perhaps the hardest type of post to create for your blog as some of us are far more creative than others.

Though, we all create our own blog, think up a name, design the logos and graphics and to me, that means we all have a modicum of creativity to us.

For creative blog content, it can be hard. I once had a conversation with another blogger about creativity where they said to me that they could easily think up ideas to post creative content each day of the week for their blog. That’s great for them and I applaud their creativity and imagination, but for me and I’m sure plenty of you out there to, it’s just not that easy to think up creative ideas and implement them.

Lots of blogs do have some sort of creative content individual and personal to the blogger and their blog. I post poetry which is my own creative content and I know a few others of you do to, there’s a couple of really good poets amongst us book bloggers.

Likewise there are lots of writers to who post writing related posts, updates on their books, short stories that they have written and a variety of ideas that all revolve around writing a book.

But creative content blog posts really could be anything, there’s lots of other different types of posts available, lists of favourite books/trilogies/series/authors, book recommendation posts for the genres you read, books that you wouldn’t recommend posts, posts about life, TV, film, gaming and music and even posts about various aspects of blogging to.

Book Reviews:

Perhaps for some, the least popular type of blog post.

Compared to memes and tags, book reviews generally perform poorly on blogs for likes and comments. After all, who wants to read a review for a book they haven’t and wont read?? Well…..me for starters, I read plenty of reviews for books I won’t read as I enjoy reading well written reviews and seeing the bloggers personality come across in their review, seeing what they did and didn’t like about the book and their views.

We all review differently, some of us use a formal approach, some like myself informal, some prefer short length and some prefer longer length reviews – does size matter? That’s one for the ladies! πŸ˜‰

See what I was saying about adding your own personal touch to posts earlier, sarcasm is my personal touch.

Not every blogger reviews as often as other bloggers. You can only review the books that you read and how often you post reviews will depend on how many books you read and how long it takes to write the review.

While some of us are blessed with the ability to read anywhere between 200 – 250 books a year, others like myself can only get through approximately a book each week.

How often we review isn’t necessarily important, it’s the fact that we are offering our opinion on the books we read that is itself important.

To conclude and answer my question at the beginning of this post.

Yes, technically you can have a book blog without reviewing books. I’ve mentioned some above and there are plenty of various different types of posts available to you, more than enough to fill your blog up daily without ever going anywhere near a book review.

I guess it all depends what you class yourself as, are you a book blogger or a book reviewer and do you have a book blog or a book review blog and are those names interchangeable and even relevant. For me, I’m just me, a simple guy with a small book blog who dabbles in poetry and reviews the books he reads.

Thinking about it ‘can you have a book blog without book reviews‘ wasn’t the right question to ask at the beginning of this post. And, I’d have been better asking you all:

Should you have a book blog without book reviews??

And for that, I’d have to answer NO.

I don’t actually understand why anyone wouldn’t want to review the book they’ve just read, it’s beyond me!? Even if it’s only a few lines, surely you’d want to express your thoughts on the book, not just turn the final page, close the book and cast it aside for the next one on the pile without a backwards glance or second thought.

When you’ve finished reading you must have thoughts on the book, good, bad, in between and a review is a way of writing down these thoughts.

Not every book leaves a lasting impression but some do, I remember what book I was reading when I had to have my dog put down last year, I remember what book/series I was reading when my Mother took seriously ill back in December 2013/January 2014, I remember the book I was reading when I had to find out what was going to happen to a certain characters fate and stayed up mega late, I remember the book I read and enjoyed for a thousand pages only to hate the final fifty and the ending, I remember the book I stopped reading due to something that happened in the story as I disagreed with it, feeling that under any circumstances it was the wrong action to take and I remember when Robin Hobb broke my heart and made me shed a manly tear. The point is my fellow bloggers, books have power, they aren’t a sordid secret to hide away from the world, you don’t just forget about them, the characters and the story after you’ve finished reading so why not write a review??

One of the main reasons I started a book blog was to share my thoughts on the books I read and you can’t do that without writing an actual book review! I don’t know many other people who are readers and reviews offer me the chance to share my opinion on the book I’ve just read.

Surely a book review, if you don’t know anyone who’s a reader to have a real life conversion about books with, is the equivalent of chatting with someone you know about games, films, TV or a sporting event only instead of being in the spoken word it’s in the written word??

For me, no matter how often you write and post a review, a book review is where you share and offer your thoughts and views on the books that you read and as such, I like to see book reviews on blogs and feel thatΒ a book review is an integral part of having a book blog.

So, my fellow book bloggers, what do you think?? Can you have a book blog without book reviews?? Should you have a book blog without book reviews?? Any and all thoughts are welcome, lets discuss.


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