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Book Review Blogging: The Good, the Bad, and the Uncertain

ID-10093729Have you ever considered doing a book review blog? Way back in June of 2007, I started one, planning to use it to share my thoughts about the books I was reading. See it here. Soon, I discovered that publishers would send me free books if I review them on a blog and help promote them on retail sites and social media. 

I started with Thomas Nelson Publishers’ BookSneeze.com book review program. Now, it’s called BookLook Bloggers. See details here. You must have an established book review blog in order to apply for the program. Some publishers ask their authors to send them a list of bloggers to receive books for review. I asked an author who publishes with Bethany House to add me to her list of reviewers. She did, and I now receive notices for both fiction and nonfiction releases for Bethany House and Revell, not just hers. I can choose a book to review in e-book or print version. Bloggers are required to post reviews on their blogs and on retail sites. Some publishers will ask about social media promotion on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.

Free books! I should be enthusiastic about the blog, shouldn’t I? Well, like any endeavor, it has its good points and bad points. And some points that I haven’t made up my mind about.

The Good

  • Free books.
  • Increased traffic to book review blog as a result of my social media activity promoting the reviews and hopefully to my website.
  • My book reviewing skills have improved because I had the opportunity to study the book review guidelines on BookLook Bloggers website. (This is available only to members once approved).

The Bad

  • I have to read the books. (Go ahead and laugh, but it takes a lot of time from writing).
  • I don’t always get the books I want. There’s usually a limit on how many free copies are available. Also, bloggers must post a review and report activity on any book they currently have before they can request another book.
  • BookLook and others are currently offering more e-books than print books. Booklook now includes books from Westbow Press, which is the self-publishing arm.

The Uncertain

  • Monetization? At first, I put an Amazon associates link for every book review post on my blog. I said something like, “Take a look at this book on Amazon.com.” So far, I have earned nothing at all from Amazon sales.
  • Promotion value? I get some traffic for the book review blog, but I don’t see increased traffic or subscribers to my website.
  • Reviews can be reworked to fit print pub guidelines and submitted as reprints. I have not really pursued this angle, but I wonder how many editors want previously published reviews.

There are some reviews of writing books on Blog4Writers. Check them out here. I found that these reviews helped me build content for my writers’ blog while improving my knowledge about writing.

What about you? Do you write book reviews? Please share your experience by commenting on this post.

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

6 Responses to Book Review Blogging: The Good, the Bad, and the Uncertain

  1. Jean Ann Williams February 27, 2016 at 9:59 am #

    Hi Emily, I enjoy your newsletter. I’ve done several book reviews and I sure do understand how time consuming it is. Reading thoughtfully takes much time. :)) Thank you for sharing this most interesting topic.

  2. Emily Akin February 27, 2016 at 10:08 am #

    Thanks for your comment, Jean Ann. I do a lot of my reading on the treadmill. I don’t know how thoughtful I am when I’m huffing and puffing. Ha.

  3. Cecelia Lester February 27, 2016 at 4:02 pm #

    Emily: I review books on my blog, I belong to BookLook Bloggers. I, from time to time, review books from Book Club Network. I have reviewed books of some of the people I know online. Bad part: of the Network is the last one I got had another title than what I thought. Good part:The Booklook Bloggers has given me books that I could pass on to friends, then our church library. I also was able to recommend books I had reviewed to a small group I belonged to at church.

  4. Emily Akin February 27, 2016 at 6:44 pm #

    Thanks for the comment, Cecelia. I like to review hard copies of the books rather than e-books for the very reason you mention. I like to pass them on to others or donate them to the public library.

  5. Terry Whalin February 28, 2016 at 10:35 am #

    Emily,

    I’ve written over 550 customer reviews of books on Amazon and I also write reviews for Goodreads and have 5,000 friends (the maximum there which I learned after I hit it). If I read a book or hear a book, then I quickly write a few sentences of review with my views about the value or not of the book. It’s one of the consistent ways that I support good books and a practice I recommend to others. I blog but do not always publish my reviews on my blog (which is very topic focused while my reading is much more diverse). Hope this helps you and other readers.

    Terry
    The Writing Life

  6. Emily Akin February 28, 2016 at 1:37 pm #

    Thanks for the comment, Terry. I review only writing books on Blog4Writers. I don’t usually put those reviews on Amazon. For other books, I put the reviews on my book review blog and on Amazon, too.

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