When I first started this blog, I didn’t expect to attract much attention and I wasn’t concerned. But after a few months I began to wonder if I should make an effort to build up an audience and, for a brief period, I threw myself into memes and giveaway hops. It was satisfying to see the numbers grow but I soon realised that the effort was largely in vain. As an eclectic blogger I was marooned in a sea of YA and PNR/UF focused blogs and what I wanted was to find bloggers who read books across genres so I withdrew from the frenzy and just kept plodding on.
While Book’d Out has a presence on multiple book related sites such as Goodreads, TheReadingRoom, Shelfari, Amazon and LibraryThing and social media like Twitter and Facebook it is more for the convenience of the publishers whose books I review rather than any ‘marketing strategy’. I don’t have the time, or the inclination, to aggressively promote Book’d Out, and while I comment on blogs a fair bit, it’s because I want to, not because I am hoping for reciprocity (just as well really since that happens quite rarely).
Chasing popularity has never been my goal, reading and ‘talking’ about books has. So I resolved to forget about the numbers after about 3 months and I have, for the most part.
And then on Wednesday I got an email from Goodreads, that said:
“On behalf of the Goodreads team, I want to say thank you. You’re in the top 1% of reviewers on Goodreads! Your many thoughtful book reviews help make us a vibrant place for book lovers.
And our community has been growing! We now number more than 20 million members on Goodreads.”
I have to admit, I was pleased, even knowing that 1% makes me one of 200,000 other people to receive the same email. Checking the stats Goodreads provides, I was more surprised to find I am *at the time of writing* listed as the #2 reviewer for Australia, but that is an honor bestowed purely by the numbers of reviews I have contributed.
I don’t track my numbers anywhere else though I was shocked recently that Amazon notified me I was now a Top 500 reviewer. It seems my review of And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini has attracted enough attention to capitulate me up about 1500 places in the last two months. I have no idea why except I think it was one of the first posted and I am not entirely pleased either, with that sort of recognition comes trolls who can’t wait to tell you how wrong you are to think what you do, point out any grammatical errors or just be nasty and then vote your review as ‘unhelpful’. Frankly the quicker I am dropped back into anonymity, the happier I will be.
Book’d Out will turn 3 late next month. At the time of writing this post, the blog records my followers as 3,112, composed of email subscribers, WP subscribers, Twitter and Facebook followers and though it is lovely to see that number in sidebar, I am still more interested in connecting with other readers, especially those like me, than finding ways to boost my statistics. If it is numbers you are chasing as a book blogger then you should be focusing on YA in particular or specialising in a genre like romance or paranormal. I know my eclectic reading list doesn’t suit everyone, but that is what I read and I am not willing to tailor my choices to chase popularity. I recognise also that since I read a lot of books by Australian authors that are (unfortunately) not available overseas that my reviews of those titles are of limited interest. I do confess I am disappointed when a review receives no comments, (though generally the ‘view page’ numbers are pretty good) but it’s because I enjoy the interaction.
Sure, it would be nice if all 3000 or so followers would comment on the blog, but I am grateful for those those that voluntarily opt to subscribe in whatever fashion through whatever media, for those that stop by and click the ‘like’ button to let me know they have been here, and of course, even more grateful for those that take the time to leave a comment. I know there are a fair amount of lurkers too and I am content with that, though I’d also love it of you would say hi once in a while ). Regardless, I am going to keep plodding along.
So , what do you think about the numbers game?