#NewBloggers 101, Book blogging, Discussion

The Greatest Book Blogging Myths I’ve Encountered Some Confessions And Thoughts On What We Think Blogging Is And What It Actually Is

When we start out blogging, we tend to have all these wild ideas about how book blogging actually works. More than that, we have so many hopes, a Iot of which seem to be ungrounded. So I’ve decided to write a post about book blogging myths we often start out with. Maybe it could prevent some confusion and disappointment in newbies? I’m certainly not saying you should skip having hopes and desires – but I think it’s a better thing to start doing anything if you have a clearer picture of what’s the general experience and how you can manage your expectations. I would have certainly been less burned out and disappointed, had I realized some of these things when I first started blogging!

what people think book blogging is vs what it can actually be

An image comparing two situations: “what people think book blogging is” which has a pleasing image of tasty food, tea, and a book in someone’s hands, versus a situation that’s labelled “what book blogging can actually be”, depicting a woman with a confused and worried face, reading a book with multiple book stacks around her

Book blogging myth #1.
The more followers I have, the more traffic my blog is going to have.

While this seems to make sense and could be true for some bloggers, it hasn’t been the case for me at all. So it seems that this is just one of those things that can go either way. When I was a ‘younger’ blogger, I used to constantly berate myself about my low follow rates, and thought that my traffic must suck because of it. Surely, if I had more followers, I would have more visitors too!

Now, some two years later, I look back at my stats and realize that it turns out that I had way more blog traffic back then, when I had only half my followers of now. Shocking, huh?

The thing is, your visits don’t just depend on your follows. A lot of visitors come through search and social media too, and those are quite often the silent readers – they don’t leave comments and you don’t know who they are. They are most likely not your followers. So it’s very easy to assume they’re not there.

And then there’s another thing. Traffic also depends on how your often you post, what books you review and how active you are on social media. I would venture to say those are way more important to your visits than follows – especially because follows can “grow stale” – some of your followers never stopped following you – they stooped using WordPress altogether and just don’t read any blogs anymore.

Yes, follows are nice. But they are not everything.

Book blogging myth #2.
My follows should grow just as fast as everyone else’s.

fame and love chart

A pencil drawing of a chart with a line that keeps going up and up, and the chart has “fame” on the vertical axis and “love” on the horizontal one

Absolutely a myth. Everyone’s follows grow at their own rate, and there are so many different reasons for the different rates. Do you blog popular books or not? Do you blog YA? Do you review comic books? How often do you post and blog hop? How active are you on social media? Have you been an Instagram influencer before you started blogging?

And these aren’t even all the questions – things like where you’re from and whether your WordPress is free or self-hosted can also change things. Blogging is a lot like real life – some people get happily married because they were at the right place and the right time and met someone cool. Some people get awesome jobs because it just so happened. You might have those same character traits as them, but your life story might have just gone differently. Hard to compare, but I feel like ultimately that’s how blog follows work too.

We just can’t compare. We shouldn’t compare.

Book blogging myth #3.
Everyone else has more blog visits / post reads than me.

That’s probably not true. There’s a great confusion about “what stats I should have as a blogger”, and so many blog posts have already been done on this. Whenever there’s a poll, it reveals that the vast majority of bloggers think “normal” blog posts get way more views than they actually do. If anything, these polls only reveal our self-deprecating nature and how prone to that we are.

Most review posts get like 50-100 views for the vast majority of bloggers throughout the lifetime of that post. Don’t beat yourself up.

Book blogging myth #4.
I have to be on every kind of social media.

juggling social media

A pencil drawing of a curly girl (me), juggling five balls and looking alarmed (for the record, I can barely juggle two or three)

Not true. In fact, it’s better if you’re not. Cause unless you’re independently wealthy and do nothing else but blog, you just won’t be able to handle your daily life and all that social media at once. More than that, you won’t be able to put quality content on it. And people can easily see when you’re not present.

Then there’s another thing. If someone claims some said social media site is really working out for them, it doesn’t mean you must absolutely be on it too. For example: Pinterest seems to be the social media that works REALLY well for some bloggers, but the rest have tried it and scratch their head continously, trying various tutorials, to figure out what they did wrong (I will admit, I’m one of those – Pinterest is one social media I completely don’t understand.) What I think though, is that looking for your ‘mistakes’ on a certain social media is a waste of time. Want to know why? Because if you don’t use it for fun, you won’t be able to harness it. It’s like that for me with Pinterest – I don’t use it and I don’t enjoy it. I did try to make it work and I followed all the tutorials, but it just felt like a chore. So I dropped it.

I guess what makes you good at a certain social media site is that you enjoy the process. If it starts feeling like a chore, you’re probably better off not investing time in it.

There are plenty of real life chores out there – there’s no point of making your hobby into a chore too.

Looking for your 'mistakes' on certain social media sites is a waste of time. Want to know why? Because if you don't use it for fun, you won't be able to harness it. More #bookblogging myths here: Click To Tweet

Book blogging myth #5.
It’s going to be super easy to monetize my blog.

magic monetizing box

A pencil drawing of bookish scribbles being run through a magic black box and turning into stacks of money, which I admit I am not good at drawing so just take my word on it

See, there are definitely blogs out there that end up bringing the blogger some income. But you need to decide very early on whether you want this to be a job, or a hobby. And you need to make it one or the other.

The thing about book blogs is that the vast majority of them can’t get monetized at all. Another thing is that it’s a lot harder to monetize a book blog than, say, a lifestyle blog. Which is why I say that you need to decide early on. Book blogs tend to have much smaller audiences than beauty, lifestyle or travel blogs, so it prevents us from being able to monetize. If you want to still, maybe you could make your blog a lifestyle one, with a certain focus on books.

Another thing about monetizing is that when bloggers start out, they somehow don’t think that it will require work. Blogs are presented to look like fun, sitting around with coffee cups, cats and cake in front of bright windows, nice knit throws and great interior, and just enjoying life in general. But in reality, the only way you’ll end up being paid for product features is if you’re willing to sell out – because you can’t guarantee the product you’ll be reviewing will be that great. In this case, I’m not talking about book reviews. They’re almost never paid. If they are, you probably don’t want to read the books.

There are definitely blogs that end up bringing in some income. But you need to decide early on whether you want it to be a job or a hobby. And you need to make it one or the other. Click To Tweet

Short tangent though – I think Instagram is easier to monetize than blogs. l’ve heard of paid tours for bookstagram, but not for book blogs. This might be the case for booktube as well. Plus, Instagram is so much easier to branch out into seamless product features. So if you’re looking into monetization, that’s a direction you should look into.

Now, you say I haven’t even mentioned affiliate links or ad banners. HA HA HA! Because I’m not going to mention them. I have had affiliate links for two years and they have not brought in a single penny. Now you might say my blog is just shit – I’ll leave it up to you to decide. But hear me out why I say this.

Ad banners are something I have never had – because most bloggers I’ve talked to have said they barely even bring in cents, and l’ve never wanted to waste my time on dealing with the taxes for such paltry sums (that’s another thing you want to look into if you’re trying to monetize – your country will most likely tax you on it.) The best I’ve heard about monetizing is that it covers hosting fees for some bloggers. That’s like less than 10 bucks a month. I’ll leave it at that.

However, don’t think I’m telling you not to monetize. Just know what you’re up against and pick the right medium and strategy.

Blogs are presented to look like fun - sitting around with coffee cups, cats and cake in front of bright windows and just enjoying life. But is it really all that easy? Let's look at some #bookblogging myths: Click To Tweet

Book blogging myth #6.
I need to be this tall and this pretty to get review copies.

this tall

A drawing of a curly girl (me), looking distraught because she doesn’t measure up to a height measuring arrow that has “good blogger!” above the clouds, “mediocre blogger” slightly below them, and lastly “what are you even doing?”, my characters scores below that and there’s a sad face drawn next to it

Ah yes, the review copies. The blessing and the bane of a new blogger’s existence. The source of joy when you do get them, but regardless, a constant source of stress – whether you’re getting them or not.

The bloggers who don’t get them wonder when they’ll be “big enough” to get them. The ones that get them, request too much and can’t deal. Meanwhile, the internationals wonder if they even… count as bloggers.

Thing is, getting review copies is quite similar to getting followers – it’s individual! It depends on where you’re from. And also what books you request. And even aside from that, there are many other factors that I’ve already talked about in many posts (here, here and here). The main takeaways are:

  • you are never “too small” or “too young as a blogger” to request. So just try!
  • there’s also a certain etiquette to requesting and being approved, so read up on it
  • it’s better to try than to wonder if you even qualify
  • if you’re international, consider which region you’re requesting from (Europeans might have more luck with UK publishers, for example)
  • if you’re international, you can still ABSOLUTELY get print review copies. Just not all of them and not from everywhere.
  • you should really think before you request: are you requesting for the right reasons? Are you sure you can handle the time frame? Are you only requesting because of the hype, or do you genuinely want the book?

Regardless of whether you get review copies or not, you should never judge yourself based on that. Review copies are NOT something that determines the worth of a blogger. So also, like I said before – don’t beat yourself up.

Book blogging myth #7.
I must do this popular thing everyone’s doing.

Many bloggers believe that they must read hyped books, or at the very least, YA books to have a popular blog. While it is true that it will likely bring more traffic, if you’re forcing yourself to read something you only half care about, it won’t work. Lack of enjoyment will show, and even if people were to like it, will you? How long can you keep doing something you only half like ? Another important question would be… Why?

Do I really have to review popular books to be a popular #bookblogger? This and more #bookblogging myths: Click To Tweet

Book blogging myth #8.
I will be an authority and have an audience when I start blogging.

I don’t know if this is a thing for many others, but it was certainly a misconception I had when I started blogging, and I think it was mostly due to the fact that I work in marketing. I looked at blogging as a marketer, and in a way, that makes sense, but it really stops when you realize you’re not talking to a crowd – you’re talking to a community. Most of us don’t even know this exists before we start blogging. And yes, it’s true that some blogs are marketing blogs – but those are usually big and actually someone’s business. Blogging in a bookish community is so very different. But I believe, also so much more fun!

So now you’re wondering… Why blog at all?

Well… I feel bad about bursting a lot of these bubbles, because whatever we may say, we do care about the follows, popularity and the review copies. But now I’ve made it all sound so hard! Should you even keep blogging after this?

Yes. Yes, you should keep blogging!

Because the biggest reward that we are often not even aware of when we first start blogging is… The book blogging community. The community is about the most positive bunch of people there is! You tell them you’re disappointed and distraught about something, they’ll write you ton of warm and lovely messages and tweets. You say you don’t get review copies, they’ll set you up with contacts or send you books. And most importantly, they’ll fangirl / fanboy with you, they’ll just plain old talk to you about your personal life and they’ll become your best friends. I’m not even kidding!

That’s why I still blog, having burned myself out, gone through all of these myths being shattered before my very eyes and realizing I don’t have enough time for the blogging and real life. And yet I still keep going, because I just love being in this amazing community. It’s about the people!!! And… okay. It’s also somewhat about the books 😉

What people think #bookblogging is VS what book blogging can actually be - the greatest book blogging myths @avalinahsbooks has encountered: Click To Tweet

There are way more book blogging myths out there. But these are the ones I can come up with now. Do you have others? If so, definitely share it with me in the comments!

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Evelina AvalinahsBooksBookertalkSophieStephanie Jane (Literary Flits)ERK Recent comment authors

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Catarina Pimenta
Guest

Evelina, this is such a fantastic post! I feel like I went through all these points and misconceptions since September when I really started blogging. And they’re all so TRUE. This should be an obligatory read to every new blogger because book blogging has to be all about the love for books and keeping it as a hobby. Monetizing it is so impossible right now

Ivyclad Ideas
Guest

To be honest, being an authority on ANYTHING is the last thing I’d want. I am just a small human yelling my opinions out into the void and, occasionally, someone yells back.

Fanna
Guest

This is such a great post, Evelina! I loved reading all these myths that you have debunked. You’re right! Starting a book blog makes us expect sooo many things but it’s not exactly all of that. It’s so much more hardwork and if it’s not enjoyable, it can really tire someone out. The monetization is truly the biggest myth. Some people who know me in real life often assume I’m getting books and being paid to review them so that must be fun and I’m like… LOL Nah, no paying for reviews but we still love to review books because… Read more »

Becky
Guest

Such a good post Evelina! I feel the affiliate one in my *soul* as I’ve earned about £1 since using them haha

Shruti
Guest

What a helpful post, E! ❤️

I certainly had quite a lot of misconceptions when I first started. And you were right—the review copy one was my favorite here! I’m definitely an example that being international doesn’t stop you from getting print copies. And you’re right—they so don’t decide your worth as a blogger. It’s just one of those things.

Also, keep these illustrations coming, okay? They’re so cute!

Susan
Guest

Love you! Your posts always rock and this one is no exception for sure.

Dani @ Perspective of a Writer
Guest

I so agree with these Evelina! I have especially found the first to be true. When I went self hosted I moved where my follow button was and my follower numbers never increased. Yet my views have steadily increased since day one. It’s kind of odd but so true! (I have since added another way to follow and now the number of followers has movied. hehehe)

Caro @ bookcheshirecat
Guest

Such a fantastic post, that really really spoke to me! 🙂 ❤ I definitely struggle with trying to compare my blog growth with others, even though I know that these things are so individual and just because you’re a bit ‘slower’ doesn’t mean your content doesn’t matter! I’m also not on every social media e.g. I’m not on Instagram at all, because it doesn’t work for me.

Jayati
Guest

Also

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Great post! I loved all the illustrations you drew! Also, the misconceptions are so true and it is really helpful for new bloggers to know and understand it early on!
Jayati
Guest

Great post! I loved all the illustrations you drew! Also, the misconceptions are so true and it is really helpful for new bloggers to know and understand it early on!

Bella
Guest
Bella

This is a fantastic post!! Thank you for your myth busting! I love the illustrations too, especially the blogger with the height chart – that encapsulates exactly how I feel! But I’m not quitting, because like you say, the best bit is the community and the friends you make. B xx

Kristina
Guest

Wonderful post ! I specially adored some of your answers to them myths. I also wanna bring up the myth that Book blogging shall solely be book reviews – let me tell you.. my blog gets maybe between 2-4 book reviews a month xD That’s one of the myth that made me pull off trying at the beginning.. as you see, I don’t read that much books per month! But actually, while there is some blogs “reviews only” .. It’s not my cup of tea. I rather have a mix of conversation and reviews, because well – we wanna see… Read more »

Brooke Lorren
Guest

Great post! There are a lot of great reasons to blog, but one thing I know for sure: book bloggers are great!

Aj @ Read All The Things!
Guest

Awesome post! Some people seem to think that earning money by blogging is easy. I’ve had ads on my blog for over a year, and I’ve made exactly $0. I’ve had more luck with getting donations through Ko-Fi, but I don’t think I’ll ever make a living by blogging.

Dany
Guest

Amazing post Ava!!!!!!! I still believe in some of these myth. I bookmarked this to read while I’m down.

Flora
Guest

Oh, Evelina this post is PERFECT! I can relate to so many of these myths, especially the paperback review ARCs that everyone seems to get except me, well that was until the amazing Dianne Duvall sent me a signed copy of her upcoming Death of Darkness. I am still fangirling a week later as I’m such a huge fan of her writing I never expected her to send me a copy. Can you tell, I’m still gushing now!! Living in the UK, being a book blogger who reads adult paranormal romance but not reading YA, I sometimes feel in a… Read more »

Nicci @ Sunny Buzzy Books
Guest

This is an awesome post! All of it is so true. When I started my first blog, I didn’t even know monetising any kind of blog was a thing so I was completely happy just doing my thing. When I got my first eARC, I felt like I’d won the lottery. I think that blogging is so popular now that people think it must be easy and underestimate how much work maintaining an active blog is and that burns them out quickly. My advice for someone wanting to start a blog is to just be yourself and do you. Don’t… Read more »

Elizabeth Tabler
Guest

I love this so much. It is so true. I cannot, in fact, handle more than twitter and Goodreads. That’s it, stick a fork in me. I tried and failed to handle more social stuff it ended up being less fun. All I can expect from myself is to reach out into the wilderness and hope that someone reaches back, and we have a lovely conversation. That’s it. It is enough for me.

CG @ Paper Fury
Guest

oh AGREED. So so many misconceptions! like I used to have amazing traffic and 100s of comments…but honestly not that many followers. And I always thought that was a huge failing for me?! But in reality…eh. It is what it is. Really you just have to work with what you have AND blog how you like! Another misconception I had when I started blogging was that if you took a hiatus everything would INSTANTLY DESIST and lol, that’s very bad for one’s mental health to never take breaks! It’s ok to take breaks!!

Bec
Guest

It seems so hard to enjoy something just for being something that you enjoy and get little other rewards out of it. And yet, for many of us, that’s what book blogging is. While it would be fantastic if we could get paid enough to live on by just plodding along with our reviews and other bookish posts it’s just not feasible or realistic. Instead, we need the reminder to step back and be thankful for what we really do get out of this hobby – friends, a community, a past-time, and access to some fantastic books (even if it… Read more »

Shantala
Guest

Such a fantastic post, and after close to 5 years of blogging about books – I’ve to say, I couldn’t agree more – with every single point you have mentioned! And I completely get the frustration that is Pinterest. I’ve been in the same boat. Not only did I not enjoy it, whenever I got close to understanding all the darn rules, they changed it – every single time! So much so that they made me want to ugly cry and scream at the same time!! And I love your ending note. It’s so very true. Even though this a… Read more »

Andreea
Guest

Firstly – I loved the drawings, I think they are so cool and great for this post. Secondly, this is a great post and it is inspiring and informative as well, plus a good advice to keep on blogging because these myths are just myths.

I recently returned back to blogging after a hot-n-cold relationship this year and it is hard to get back to where I was – especially to balance blogging, being active in the community, reading and real life! I have no idea how I did it before, but that first picture is exactly how I feel.

Sim @ Flipping Through the Pages
Guest

Lovely post, Evelina 🙂 I so agree with you on all the points. Starting a blog certainly looks like a cakewalk but later you realise it is nowhere near to that. I have still quite a low following, even after 2 years, but this doesn’t affect my will to blog. Dedication is certainly needed for blogging and I know I haven’t been the most dedicated one this year. I do agree with you on monetization. It is so hard for book bloggers to monetize our blogs. I haven’t earned a single penny too. I don’t know how book bloggers even… Read more »

Jenn @ Bound to Writing
Guest

These myths are so acurate! It’s hard coming into blogging for the first time because you think you’ll have all of this free time but it’s not like that at all. I’m still learning how to balance my life and blogging and it’s been two years!

ERK
Guest

Hahahaaa!!! This is so accurate! I wish I had a guide like this when I started blogging…. sigh…

“Meanwhile, the internationals wonder if they even… count as bloggers.”- this.hit.hard. it’s a tough job being a book blogger but being an international book blogger? I can’t say that there haven’t been rimes when I questioned the reasons I blogged about books! Especially since Netgalley started disregarding us all and added the “wish for it” thing.

Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)
Guest

So many points that are Oh So True! I love that you put this post together and only wish I could have read it five years ago when I started seriously blogging!

Sophie
Guest

I finally had time to read this post Evelina! This is just very enlightening and I can totally find myself in these “myths”. After three years now I’ve made peace with most of them as I’ve realized that slowing down and just posting the ay it makes me happy is more important if I still want to enjoy blogging. I would say the best advice I could give to someone is “be you and do you, to hell with what everyone is saying you “should” do” 😉
Thank you for taking the time to write such post Evelina!

Bookertalk
Guest

Interesting point about which is the most meaningful statistic – numbers of followers or number of visitors. I used to think it was followers that I should pay more attention to but am slow,y do I g to realise that seem people click on follow me buttons purely in the hope that you will follow them, back . They are not that interested in engaging with you on your blog,