Is There Anybody There..?

Let’s be honest here, 2020 has been a challenging and emotional year for all of us. I didn’t realise the impact of Covid as I talked hopefully about going to New York for my 50th, or those wonderful weekend visits to my Dad in Wales, or the relaxing days out my husband and I would have together as our boys were in school.

C word aside, 2020 has been a year of reading and reflection for me like no other, especially about my whole online presence as Years Of Reading.

I have read more books than I have ever done this year (I’m not saying how many, reading is not a competition thank you!), attended virtual events with authors I would never normally had the chance to do in ‘real life’, and discovered novels and authors that might have usually passed me by.

This is the thing. I love shouting about books, nothing apart from The Real Housewives, almond magnums and The Queen’s Gambit brings me more joy, but I’m not sure what’s the best way to do it anymore..

Years Of Reading Selfishly started out purely as a blog in 2017, then with tentative tweets and random bookish Instagram posts (I don’t have the props, white duvet, patience or amazing creativity to do anything else other than post a picture of a book on a standard filter background), and that seemed to work. Once I realised setting all my accounts to private were also quite probably not helping me get the word out, there was nothing more I loved than writing a blog post about a brilliant book I wanted to tell you all about too.

It’s just right now, ironically writing a blog post, I don’t know the most effective way of communicating about books I have loved any more, and it’s playing on my mind.

If I get 50 views on a book review post that I’ve spent two hours writing (not including the time I’ve spent reading the book) then I’m lucky. On a side note, it also really frustrating if you’ve spent a long time writing it, posting it, tagging the publisher and author and then no one acknowledges it – because you love this book so much and want everyone to know about it.

Surprisingly it is the posts about general bookish things that get far more likes, which is interesting and shows that the right topic at the right time can definitely strike a chord with a lot of people too.

My Instagram posts get far more likes, but I wonder if that is a case of people just scrolling through and double clicking to like it because you know them? Are the people who like it reading my review and know why exactly this certain novel resonated so personally with me?

Tweets just don’t seem long enough to tell everyone how fabulous a book is – 280 characters is one heck of a concise review, and no edit button either. Plus you need to tag everyone in it, which takes up vital space. Don’t even get me started on those Fleets..

I’ve cut back on my video reviews because I don’t feel confident enough at the moment to do them, and worry that the Bookish world is heartily sick of my face. It’s also trying to find the time and place to do them when your other half currently works from home, your Springer spaniel is crazy, and you don’t live in a house with calm and beautifully organised bookshelves.

Ask any committed Blogger, we all know that reviews still need to be done – you can’t go round asking for books and then never review them just because you don’t feel heard. How is that fair to the author and publisher who have taken the time to send you a book? Anyone can take a picture of a book, but that doesn’t tell anyone what you thought of it, how it made you feel or why you think the people who take the time to follow you would love to read it too.

Which is where I am at the moment. Wondering what to do for the greater Bookish Good and for all those fabulous books that deserve to be shouted about as loudly and widely as possible.

I’ve talked with Amanda (BookishChat) numerous times as we have both been thinking about this a lot. I know that Janet was asking the very same question on her Twitter account too, to try and work out the best way forward with reviews.

Maybe the bookish world has shifted to a more double tap and scrolling culture, and my blogs are simply a way for me to have a written record of the books that I have loved and have shaped my reading journey. Perhaps I have to put aside the worries about not being heard, and instead recognise that talking about books in whatever way I want to is still sharing the Book Love – no matter how many or few people hear me do it.


Clare xx

7 thoughts on “Is There Anybody There..?

  1. claudiarachel says:

    Hi, just saw your post on email and want to hop on and say I haven’t been coming to wordpress much as have been feeling guilty about not keeping up with my own blog. I definitely think my concentration is down generally so I am perhaps more guilty of more scrolling and liking at the mo. But honestly what I love is a good review and recommendations from a safe pair of hands whose taste I enjoy so if you can keep blogging, I’d love that! 😊


  2. A Life in Books says:

    Your tweets are never anything but passionate about the books you’ve been reading, Claire, and that’s what gets my attention. Your enthusiasm is very infectious. I know you have a family and I’m amazed that you find the time to blog at all. I’m a lurking retweeter, much preferring to review on my blog. It’s a case of different strokes for different folks!


  3. Fiona Wrisberg says:

    I think you’d be surprised at how many people enjoy your reviews, written or videos. I certainly love hearing you talk about your books, and in the videos you can really tell how passionate you are about a book xc


  4. Alison says:

    Thank you. I’m a reader. Always have been. I cannot remember not being able to read. I’ve enjoyed the bookstagram posts but feel unhappy to see the stacks some post each month. Numbers are meaningless. Pleasure and interest, knowledge and understanding are what I seek. Please keep blogging.


  5. Davida Chazan says:

    Instagram does nothing for my blog, Twitter hardly gets anything, Pinterest changes every 5 minutes I can’t keep track, but you know what? None of that bothers me. Do I get high traffic on my reviews – not really. 30-50 hits is about what I expect. I post them on Facebook on a page for my blog, which seems to get some views, and I also share them on my own timeline. Back when I was sharing and posting on the many, Many, MANY FB pages for books, I didn’t get more than a handful more hits. So, I’ve given up. I just don’t care anymore, and I think that’s freed me a great deal. I’m 63, retired, and I like writing book reviews even if no one ever sees them. Plus, I get ARCs of books to read before others, and I love doing that – giving my opinion before others have either hyped it or panned it. That’s what keeps me blogging. But that’s just me.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. NatterBlog says:

    In my not so infinite wisdom, only having been a book blogger for a couple of years I think probably the most appreciative audience for reviews is potential book purchasers (readers) on Amazon. Certainly as far as publishers go the most important thing you can do for a book and its author is post your review to Amazon so it would seem. I will always read reviews before buying a book, and if I’m really not liking a book I’ll go see if it’s just me or if others have thought the same before I give up on it. The majority of likes I receive on my blog are from other book bloggers, but there are a lot of us out there so that stands to reason. As for a facebook page…….well that is where I really do spend my time talking to myself 😊


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