Are book bloggers important?

Ah, the perennial angsty post where we try to convince ourselves that we have purpose in life. Yeah, so I don’t really care about that. I read lots of books and like to talk about them. I don’t need anyone to approve. But, I had a conversation with an editor the other day that got me thinking.

I had reviewed one of her books previously. She had since put out several tweets about needing reviewers for the next book. I ignored it at first because I got a copy of the previous book and didn’t want to be greedy. But after several tweets I responded. Our conversation boiled down to her feeling that I didn’t do enough for the last book to warrant getting a hard copy of the new one. I don’t care about format. I’d rather have an ebook anyway. But I wonder now if people in publishing have any idea what bloggers can do for them.

Obviously the general public isn’t going to be influenced by what bloggers think. That’s easily seen from comparing year-end best of lists from bloggers with what actually sold during the year. I think what we do though, especially for small presses, is help with name recognition.

For the last book I:

  • Reviewed it on the blog (in my view or wrote an article about it, not a review in her view)
  • Reviewed it on Goodreads
  • Reviewed it on Amazon
  • Featured it in several lists since I liked the book
  • Did a giveaway of it and now it is living with another blogger who will do a lot of these things too
  • Put it on instagram in a bookstagram post of just this book and also in at least one group photo
  • Marked it read on Litsy
  • Requested that my library purchase it
  • Tweeted about each of the posts I made that it was in
  • Tweeted each instagram photo
  • Retweeted a few of her tweets about the book

That’s about all I can do except for buy each and every one of you a copy of your very own.  I’m pretty sure that any of my followers would see that book and think, “I’ve heard of that one.”  That’s the limit to what bloggers can do for a book.  We can make people aware that the book exists and that we think they should read it.

I have an ebook of the new book.  I’m going to be doing most of the same things for it.  I’ve already requested that Litsy add it since it wasn’t in their database.  I’ve asked the library to buy it.  I’ve only read the first few pages and I’m already promoting it.

I know that we are mostly talking to ourselves in the book world but we talk A LOT if we like a book.  I don’t think the powers that be recognize it.



  • Rosie Amber

    I’m very impressed with what you did do for the author’s book. In the end it is down to individual perception of what is indeed promotion and visibility. If you enjoy what you do, then keep on blogging.

    • jpschaper

      I agree!

      You did way more than some people who get paid for it do. I’ve seen tour companies that don’t even do that much promoting.

      You more than earned a physical copy.

  • Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight

    I agree with everyone else that it sounds like you did a lot! That’s more than I usually do. But I agree that some people may not realize the value of getting a book out there where people can see it and even just getting reviews up on GR and Amazon. And like you, if I like a book, it ends up being in lots of posts on my blog, not just a review. And that’s more and more opportunity for people to see it and buy it and promote it themselves. But I’ve started getting better at brushing it off when authors and publishers don’t want to give me review copies. If I want the book enough and am able to get it from my library or afford it, then I’ll read it. If it’s too expensive and I can’t legally get it anywhere, then oh well, they’re missing out on the extra promotion I would’ve given it. And I just remember that there are still some authors/publishers out there who do appreciate us and recognize how much marketing we do for their books!

    • heather

      Yeah, that’s why I didn’t argue with her at all. I just figured it was up to The and there are lots of other books in the world that I want to read.

  • pavedwithbooks

    Wow, that’s almost insulting that the editor would dismiss the work you put into promoting that first book like that! Sounds to me that you spread the word about the book every way you can, and that is our role as bloggers. I like to think that book bloggers are important to the industry; after all, we’re basically a part of the promotion team.

  • Krysta

    I think the problem is that book bloggers just don’t have a big audience. A “big” book blogger might have 3000 followers and half of those followers probably aren’t blogging anymore. But page views tend to be low for us, too. A fashion or food blogger can get tons of search engine hits, but we’re just not in that league. I know that book bloggers do tons of work and spend tons of time promoting books. But we’re mostly talking to ourselves, people who already read, anyway. That’s why so many authors really push for cross reviews on sites like Amazon.

  • Angel R. Rivera (@gypsylib)

    Damn (pardon my French), but that is a lot of labor. There are some things I do for my reviews that you do, but others I do not (for instance, I do not have an Instagram account, so I would not do instagramming). Sounds like a somewhat ungrateful editor without much of a clue. But way I would see it, don’t want to let me have a review copy, fine by me. I can either get it from one of my libraries if they get it (I work in an academic library, and I do use my public library in town too) and review it anyhow if the book is of interest. Or, if the guy was just insufferable, I can just forget him and move on. There are plenty of other books I can happily read and review.

    You keep up the good work and doing what you enjoy. Best, and keep on blogging.

  • Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight

    Wow. I am kind of mad on your behalf, tbh. I mean, especially for her to SAY that you didn’t do enough? What did she want you to do, stand on the street corner peddling the damn thing? I mean, isn’t the point of review copies so that media outlets (i.e., bloggers, among others) spread the word? You seem to have gone above and beyond, honestly. I am really sorry that happened to you!

  • Laura

    Wow, that’s crazy! It seems like you did everything possible to get word about that book out there, so I don’t know what else that editor thought you could do.

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