Thursday, January 14, 2016

Reading to stay relevant in the book blogging world

Today I want to discuss a topic that is near and dear to my heart: deciding what to read and review. I know this might seem like a total non-issue to some, but hear me out.

We book bloggers know that if we want to bring in traffic and encourage discussion on reviews, we need to stay relevant. We need to be reviewing ARCs and (popular) new releases!

It seems like a couple times per year tons of amazing new releases that I'm super excited for come onto the market. Last year it was April/May and November/December. In April and May, I got my hands on The Heir, A Court of Thorns and Roses, and An Ember in the Ashes. I devoured them and posted my reviews, which got a lot of people talking. The same thing happened in November and December with the release of Winter, Untamed, and Their Fractured Light. It was awesome! I love getting preorders in the mail and sharing my opinions with the world!

But what happens when you find yourself unable to keep up with what's current or just want to read something, you know, old?

In 2015, there were a few (relatively) new releases that I was lucky enough to get my hands on. Two immediately come to mind - Alive by Scott Sigler and Darkthaw by Kate A. Boorman. I reviewed Alive a month and a half after its release and my review of Darkthaw was posted less than a month after release. They were also two of my least visited reviews of the year, with 3 and 0 comments, respectively.

For similar reasons, I try to steer clear of old or not-so-popular books. In March 2015, I reviewed Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan, the sixth book in a series I really enjoy. It also happens to have been released in 1995. In June I posted a review for The Mirk and Midnight Hour by Jane Nickerson, which wasn't terribly old, but neither was it terribly popular. Only one other friend on Goodreads had it on their shelf! Neither of these reviews were very popular on the blog.

So what's a girl to do? Obviously, the main reason I love blogging is for the interaction! I absolutely adore getting comments from others and getting to talk back and forth about books. For this reason, it's important to me to read and review popular books, which I enjoy, of course. But when I get the urge to read something older (Gossip Girl) or less popular (Anyone?), which has been the case for the last couple weeks, I find myself weighing pros and cons. Pro: I get to read what I'm in the mood for. Con: If I post a review, no one will be interested.

So far I've solved this problem by staggering the popular with the not as popular. For example, sandwiching my review of Black Ice between reviews of Rogue and Winter. But I have to wonder, would it be better to leave out the less popular reviews altogether?

I know I can't be the only one who's thought about these things. How do you decide whether to read what's relevant or something old or less popular that you've been interested in? Are stats and comments even important to you?? Let's discuss!