Book Blogging Survey Results Part 1: Your Blogs

The results are in! Well, they’ve been in…but, you know, life. Isn’t that what this whole book blogging survey was about in the first place? Thanks to all of your great shares, we had 310 participants in the survey! I thought we would be lucky to hit 100, so 310 is amazing. There was so much great information shared that JenniferKim and I decided to break it down into three separate posts with general themes. Hopefully, this will prevent everyone from getting data overload and also allow us to focus our discussions on each post. I’m mainly focusing on getting an overall picture of the content of our book blogs, where Jennifer and Kim will take a look at the way current and past bloggers feel over time. You can look for their posts coming up soon! So? To the numbers! 
The first question was simply “How old is your book blog today?” I was actually expecting to see the results way skewed below two years, so seeing so many bloggers in the 5-6 year range was surprising. What wasn’t a surprise was the huge drop after the six year mark (from 19 to 9% of the results). Jennifer and Kim will look at some possible reasons for that drop in their results.
Next we asked “How often do you typically post? Most (39%) responded 2-3 times a week, with the second highest response (24%) being 4-5 times a week. I was a little curious about the small number of bloggers posting daily and wondered if there might be any correlation between frequent posting and feeling a high degree of pressure to review advance copies of books. But of the 19 participants who blog daily, only two said they feel extreme pressure to review books, while six said they don’t accept review copies. Innnnnteresting!

We then shifted to “Aside from writing about books, what other types of posts do you regularly include on your blog?” The top responses were personal posts (27%), memes (22%) and giveaways (18%), with very few coming in with cover reveals (5%). Many of the people responding with “other” added author interviews, news and pop culture discussions.

In a not so surprising turn, Twitter came out on top (27%) in response to “What social media sites do you use because of your blog?“, with GoodReads (20%) and Facebook (18%) not too far behind. 

And then came the money. “Do you make money from your blog or writing about books?” and “Has your blog led to other writing or book related opportunities?” go hand in hand, so we’ll take a peek at them together. I wasn’t surprised by the low number of book bloggers with ads on their sites, but I was a little shocked to see so few people using affiliate links. I’m guessing that’s because it takes so long to build up money using links? 

We can see a little sampling error, since the same response (Yes, I write paid reviews for another site/publication) has different outcomes, but it’s also interesting to note that there are a number of people writing unpaid reviews for other sites, too. I was wondering about those who were writing paid reviews for other publications, curious if it was something that came with more time in the blogosphere. True to my guess, almost everyone getting paid for content on other sites has been blogging for more than 2 years. 

The last question I looked at was open-ended and asked “How do you pick which books to read and review?” There was a pretty wide range of responses, but many participants mentioned that mood and general interests were the main things guiding their choices. About a third of the responses discussed prioritizing their reading based on the publication date of books, while others dismissed review copies altogether. As a whole, most seemed to get recommendations from other bloggers and reviews on GoodReads. 

There is a ton more information to pick apart in later posts, but does anything surprise you so far? Did any results line up with what you expected?

Head over to Kim’s site for Part 2!

  • These results are quite interesting. I am surprised how many bloggers are still blogging after 2 years.

  • Anita LeBeau

    I thought there would be a higher % posting 4-5 or more days a week. Maybe it’s because I’m more like 2-3 days and feel I do very little. The results are very interesting.

    • That’s something I was surprised by, too. Maybe it just seems like people post more frequently than they do, but I feel like most of the people I follow fall into the 4-5 day category.

  • Diane D

    This was interesting but not too surprising as you mentioned. Thanks fir allowing us to take part.

    • I think there’s quite a few things here that most of us are already aware of – the good stuff should come in later parts :)

  • Interesting! Overall I’m not too surprised, aside from the large number of bloggers who’ve been at it for 4-5 years! Thanks so much for sharing your results. I’m looking forward to the next two posts. :)

    • I was really surprised by the number of bloggers hanging on so long, too. So much juicy stuff coming up in the other two ;)

  • Serena

    I love finding out what the results are and wow, more than 100 respondents is pretty good. 2-3 posts per week seems to be the norm. I thought it would be more like 4-5…

  • The results are interesting. I too was surprised by the low percentage of usage of affiliate links. I suppose I use them because I want to help writers sell their books, and yes, it does take awhile for $$$$ to add up! Looking forward to the following posts. Thanks for taking the time and effort to do the survey for all of us!

    • That’s part of why I use affiliates, too – I like to guide people to IndieBound over Amazon.

      • Good point on the IndieBound factor. I think I’ll reposition my widgets and my links in my posts. Do you affiliate with any others, or just those two?

        • Actually, I only affiliate with IndieBound. I’m not necessarily anti-Amazon, but I have a ton of love for my local indie and like to throw as much support their way as possible.

  • Well, being in “this game” for going on eight years this month, I’m not as depressed by the results as I should be ;). Actually, in a way, I’m glad to find I’m just average…wait, is that a good thing that I’m not exceptional? :)

  • Annette K

    Very interesting. Thank you so much for this. I had no idea I was in the minority. January will be my 7th year in blogging/book reviewing. This month I became an affiliate and have a paid ad on one of my blogs. I too feel the pressure (sometimes) to blog everyday. I must have days of reading so that I can blog/review a book. I post 2-4 times a week. By the way I have 2 blogs where I review books. Thanks again.

    • I think many of the “blogging tips” you see tell you that you need to blog daily, but book blogging is an exception – you’re right, we need time to read!

  • Ellie Potten

    I’m actually quite surprised – and glad – that 2-3 posts per week seems to be pretty normal. I’ve felt so pressured to post more often, by other bloggers and advice features telling me that it’s ‘not enough’ to post less than 4-5 times per week or even daily. I don’t expect that from any of the blogs I read, and I can no longer manage it myself, because I’m working six days a week and just couldn’t produce that volume of content without burning out (or posting shoddy work). Many of the bloggers I read also work full time and have busy lives. I’d rather read one good review, interesting personal or book-related post or fleshed-out meme (like a Top Ten Tuesday with explanations and reasons for each choice instead of just a list) than multiple quick-fire posts clearly designed to fill a day’s posting quota. I feel much better knowing that I’m actually in the majority category after all! :)

    • So right – it becomes pretty obvious when bloggers are just throwing content up to fill a post. I’m glad to see most of us realize quality trumps quantity.

  • Lady Vowell Smith

    Thanks for the results, which are especially interesting to a new blogger like me. I was grateful for your special inside info, such as the fact that almost everyone who writes paid content for other sites/publications has logged at least 2 years as a blogger. That encourages us newbies to stick it out and keep building.

    • I’m still under a year into this, too, so I really wanted to find out as much as I could. Hope it will be helpful!

  • Ti Reed

    Interesting results. I am surprised that there are that many bloggers out there who have been around for more than 5 years. I feel as if so many have dropped off the planet but I suppose only the ones I know have. Hey, I wonder what that means? LOL.

  • Excellent info, especially on the number of posts a week. Thanks for the hard work!

  • This is awesome! You know what surprised me? That so many people took this quiz who stopped blogging! That’s impressive to get some no-longer-bloggers! I was really surprised to see that.

    • Jennifer did an awesome job contacting the former bloggers she knows – I was surprised by how many there were, too!

  • Interesting results. I, too, am happy to see that 2-3 and 4-5 post per week are ‘normal’. I feel like less of a slacker! Interesting about the affiliate links. It’s something I’ve thought about doing, but just never have actually taken the time to explore. Maybe someday…

    • I’m an IndieBound affiliate and it’s really easy to setup. I just starting using their links instead of linking to GoodReads for my titles and it kind of takes care of itself.

  • Emma @ Words And Peace

    wonderful! thanks. this is an encouragement for switching from ads to affiliate programs, as I was considering doing soon

  • Very interesting indeed! Thank you all for doing this! Looking forward to see more results!

  • Florinda Pendley Vasquez

    I think it’s great that your survey got some respondents who aren’t blogging any more–I’d be interested in some followup on that. I’ve been at it for 6.5 years and have no plans to stop, but I’ve definitely reduced my posting frequency (a decision I now feel has been validated :-)). I have affiliate links on my site but make no money from them–at this stage, they’re more of an IndieBound PSA.

    I’m definitely interested in more details and discussion of the survey–thank you all for taking it on!

    • Former bloggers were taken to a whole separate part of the survey, so that’s going to get a dedicated post – there are definitely some interesting responses!

  • FictionFan

    I’m surprised too at the number of people who’ve been blogging for several years. i really thought there would be loads of new bloggers and not many who stuck it out for the longhaul.

    On the subject of affiliate links, WordPress doesn’t allow them on their free blogs – i wonder if that’s part of the reason for the low number. I know it’s why I don’t do it.

  • Interesting! I’ve considered affiliate links but never taken the time to actually figure out how to do it. That’s in the future though, as I get a better blogging groove going. I haven’t made it a priority because it just seems like you don’t make that much money doing it- at least not at first. Mainly, I haven’t done it yet because I haven’t taken the time to educate myself about it. On my to do list.

    • It’s actually pretty simple (at least through IndieBound, I’m not sure about other affiliations), but it does take some time to build up money. Once you take a few minutes to set up, though, the work is pretty much done!

  • Jeanne

    I guess I’m slightly surprised at the number of bloggers who tie anything they write about to money, even affiliate links. I’m not against them, but I like the absolute independence that being beholden to nobody gives me. Even free books sometimes are too much, in terms of me feeling like I have to find something nice to say along with the more critical remarks.

    • There definitely can be a feeling of guilt attached to being critical of something you’ve received for free, so I can totally see why there are bloggers who don’t accept review copies (that’s something that will be discussed in the next part, but there were quite a few people who mentioned they refuse ARC’s).

  • Sam_TinyLibrary

    This was absolutely fascinating :)
    I found out I must be pretty regular for a blogger, because my answers fit with the majority for most questions.

  • Wow, this data is amazing ! I’m kind of surprised by that Tumblr number because I use Tumblr and there seems to be a lot of book blogger on there. However, I have found that people who book blog on Tumblr only really use Tumblr so, they may not have seen this survey.

    I’d be interested to know the numbers of YA book blogs vs. adult vs. romance vs literary fiction. I feel like there are ALOT of YA book blogs, but I don’t know if that’s just because that it what I mostly read.

    • Looking back, I really wish we had thought to ask about blog hosting and genres. Based on the open ended responses, it seemed like there was a pretty broad spectrum of bloggers, both YA and adult – but knowing exact numbers would be really interesting.

  • Looks like most of my answers were within the majority vote. I didn’t think that most bloggers posted only 2-3 per week. I will be curious to see if there’s any correlation between how long one has been blogging and how often they posted or burnout related issues.

  • Thanks for sharing the results with all those impressive graphs, too! I think I’m in the majority for most things. Except that my post frequency has dropped even more since filling out the survey, probably down to 1-2 a week. A very busy fall with other things (especially work and other activities) taking over! Hope to get back to reviewing and posting more steadily in 2014!

  • Nose in a book

    Really interesting stuff. Predictably, I am in the majority for most answers. Glad to see I’m not the only one not making any money! I did have affiliate links on my reviews for about 18 months but they made zero money and were a bit of a pain to add to my blog theme so when the affiliate system I used changed I dropped them altogether. I’ve been considering investigating Google Ads but it would mean a redesign.

    I look forward to seeing more of the survey results. Thanks for sending me the link!

    • You’re right, I think that if affiliate links/ads are easy to incorporate into your blog, than most people don’t seem to notice or mind them, but if they become a hassle than there doesn’t seem to be much incentive (it takes a long time to build up money!) to go through the work.

  • I’m in the majority for most do, although I do not use Goodreads (though I am a registered user) and often feel like the only one. Not so much now that they’ve gone through all the Amazon changes.

    I loved reading this. I feel a little better knowing that most people don’t make any money!

    • I’m starting to get a little frustrated with GoodReads since the changes, too. I’m thinking that with the new year, I might jump ship :X

    • I agree, Rory. There’s a tendency to think everyone but you is earning money but no- they’re not. Finding a site/publication that pays for reviews is not easy. I write for Library Journal and they don’t pay! Even Kirkus uses some ‘volunteers’. Sometimes makes me wish I had an aptitude for writing code.

  • Sarah Says Read

    So interesting! I’m surprised at how spread out the blog ages were, I thought there would be a lot more under 2 years.
    I would totally be an affiliate for Amazon or TBD, and possibly use ads, except I use the free version of WordPress which doesn’t allow that, which is bullshit and I can’t wait to switch to self-hosting. So maybe that’s why more people don’t do it? Or from general laziness, because sometimes adding a ton of links to your post can be tiring.

  • Thank you for sharing your survey results. They are impressive. I started my blog in April 2013. I am an amazon affiliate and have been thinking of switching. I am not familiar with IndiBound, but will check it out. My links are more for informational purposes (also since links are part of the program, I feel safer about copyright issues.) Thanks again.

    • I like that IndieBound drives traffic to local bookstores, which has been the main reason I chose it as my affiliation.

  • Silver’s Reviews

    THANKS so much for this information.

    I don’t use Twitter. It confuses me. LOL!!!

    I found other book sites that I like: Bookish, Riffle, and BookLikes. Check them out if you like.

    Shelfari is too slow for me any more, but I still like Goodreads and LibraryThing.

    May I ask details about paid review sites please?


    Have a great day!!

    Silver’s Reviews
    My Blog

    • Since the paid review question was one that people chose between options for, we didn’t get too much detailed information (like what sites people write on or how much they get paid). Personally, I write a monthly column for a local online magazine that I’m paid for, and I imagine others would be getting compensation for similar writing.

      • Silver’s Reviews

        THANK YOU for your reply.

        GREAT about your writing…that is wonderful.

        Silver’s Reviews
        My Blog