Five Years Of Book Blogging – Q&A

Hello everyone,

To mark five years since I started book blogging, I have decided to do a Q&A post, where I answer questions sent by friends and fellow book bloggers about my blog and my reading habits/preferences.

Outside of regular tag posts, this is the first time I have done a Q&A here, so even after five years there are many new experiences to gain from having a blog! I just hope I have managed to do all of the questions justice.

Thank you so much to the following friends to have sent me questions, either via my blog or on social media:

Without further ado then, here are their questions and my answers!

How are you doing?

This is such a nice question to get started with. The answer is, I am doing pretty well! I may not be getting as much sleep as I should at the moment (lol), but lately my overall mood has improved from the very start of the year and I am feeling okay. Some recent outings and catch-ups with friends have certainly helped. I wish that I had more time for reading and writing, though!

What genre do you read the most?

I read a whole variety of genres, so usually it is quite close between a few. As for the one I read the most, I would say mystery, but in 2022 it was definitely historical fiction. I read more historical fiction books last year than ever before, although so far in 2023 mysteries are edging ahead again.

What’s a hobby of yours outside of books?

For most of my life it has been writing, but I only get to do that quite sparingly these days. I would say my favourite hobby now is visiting interesting places – I really love going to places such as museums, galleries, or historic landmarks, and make an effort to get out and about frequently.

Other than that, my main hobbies are listening to music, watching sports, and doing puzzles/quizzes.

What is the first ever book you read in the beginning of your blogging journey?

The first book I read and reviewed properly on this blog was The Other Child by Lucy Atkins. This is a tense psychological thriller with lots of twists and turns, and I gave it a rating of four stars. I have read two further books by Atkins since then, and have also interviewed her for this blog.

I read a lot of thrillers in the beginning, but have branched out quite a lot since then.

What is your favourite part of blogging?

I love connecting with other book bloggers and making friends, especially when discussing books which each of us has loved. I am so grateful to have made a number of friends through book blogging, with whom I speak frequently and buddy read books with.

In terms of my own blog posts, my favourite parts are coming up with a good idea for a post and then putting it into writing, and the sense of achievement that comes when I finish writing a book review!

Which post did you had the most fun drafting in all of the five years?

Overall the posts I have the most fun drafting are list posts, especially the ones I do every year in the run-up to Christmas where I look back on all my reads from the previous 12 months. But if there is one post that springs to mind, it is my list of Book Bloggers’ Non-Bookish Favourites that I wrote in November 2020. It was a very light-hearted post.

If there is a book review I enjoyed writing the most, it is perhaps Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh. I just remember feeling quite happy that day, as it was a beautiful day in late summer and the words flowed easily.

Who is a book character you could spend the rest of your life stuck on a desert island with?

I truly don’t know! I am tempted to say Nana the cat from The Travelling Cat Chronicles, but that would be anti-social. My current favourite protagonist is Xingyin from Daughter Of The Moon Goddess, so she might be a good choice, especially as she is immortal and there is no chance of her dying. She could even use her magic to form a cloud to help us escape the island…

What made you start your blog five years ago, and are you still blogging because of the same reasons now?

I have always loved writing and had attempted to start blogs before, as a way of being creative and expressing myself, I guess. In 2018 I decided to aim my blogging efforts specifically on books, as it gave my posts a clearer and more consistent focus, and gave me chance to write about one of the things I loved most. I had no idea that I would make any friends through blogging, so that has made it extra special.

I still blog now for some of the same reasons, especially to keep my creativity going and to continuously improve as a writer. But I also keep blogging because I love to journal the books I read, and because it is something outside of my day job that I take pride in doing.

In all those years, are there any books, reviews you have written, or blog tours you have joined that have stuck with you and are still thinking about?

A lot of books stay with me and I mention them from time to time in my blog posts. Obviously I have a lot of favourites from the past few years, but there were others I am really glad I read. For example, The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton got me into historical fiction and made it one of my go-to genres, while there are several books I picked up and loved after reading amazing reviews from other bloggers.

The review that I look back on the most is for The Once And Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow, as I took such care over every word and I was really happy with how it turned out. And the blog tour I was most grateful to take part in was Amari And The Night Brothers by B.B. Alston – as a children’s book I would otherwise have never picked it up.

Do you have any tips for new bloggers?

  • Be yourself. You can take inspiration from others but your voice is unique and authentic, so do not feel like you have to copy how others write their blog posts.
  • Interact with other bloggers by engaging with their blog posts and social media. Not only will you discover some amazing content, but you will make some good friends.
  • Do not get too disheartened if you do not have much engagement on your blog at first. It can take time.
  • Do what you can and never put too much pressure on yourself. Blogging is meant to be fun and if you feel that you need a break from it, then please do.
  • Stay open-minded. Book blogging may enable you to read new genres and pick up books you never believed you would consider reading before.
  • And finally, always be kind and honest.

Would you say the blogosphere is still the same as it was five years ago?

This is a very interesting question. For me, the answer is that the blogosphere is much different to what it was five years ago.

The reality is, book blogs are less popular and are made to appear less relevant than they used to be, and just to acknowledge this makes me feel quite sad. Book blogs were a thing before I started at the beginning of 2018, but at the time I was not really aware of this. It was only a few months later that I realised just how many book bloggers there were, and it was wonderful. Suddenly, I had a whole bunch of new friends.

After I started, the popularity of book blogs grew steadily throughout the next two years before hitting their peak in 2020 around the time of lockdown. In the past two years however, things have been on the slide and that has been sad to witness. Book bloggers still have a huge impact in the bookish landscape, although many blogs (not just my own) have much less interaction (likes and comments) than before, and others have disappeared completely. There are several fellow book bloggers whose content I loved, who no longer post.

In many ways, that is understandable. Life gets in the way. For many of us, our lives have become so busy that we no longer have time to dedicate to book blogging and all the things that come with it. I am finding it increasingly difficult myself. If you flip it around, people may also have less time to read book blogs and so decide to get their bookish content elsewhere.

When I started, book blogs stood alongside Bookstagram and BookTube, but over time those have become more favoured by authors and publishers. And of course, TikTok is now a really big thing that has epitomised how brief, visual content has taken greater prevalence. I wish my outlook was more positive, because I love book blogging and the whole community is special to me.

Indeed, that is one thing that has not changed. The community remains as amazing and supportive as ever. We see that for example every day on Twitter with the blog of the day and review of the day posts, which at least makes sure that book blogs remain highly visible. After all, we book bloggers put in a lot of work!

The thing that has changed most for the better is awareness and inclusion. The blogosphere has always been an inclusive space, but over time that has grown stronger, and now it could hardly be a better platform for championing diverse books and diverse authors.

On a somewhat related topic, one noticeable change to the blogosphere is that when I started, Harry Potter and the Hogwarts houses everyone belonged to was a common theme of book blogs – and Twitter/Instagram bios. But since J.K. Rowling’s harmful statements, the vast majority of us have disassociated ourselves from it all.

This is a very long answer and possibly worthy of a discussion post of its own – and I would be interested in people’s thoughts. But yes, the blogosphere has changed a lot since I started, especially in the past two years.

Is there anything you did differently when you first started blogging but then decided to change?

At first I was posting three times per week, but eventually that became too many and it was hard to keep coming up with such a regular stream of ideas. It also gave me the chance to prepare and schedule posts in advance with more efficiency.

Also, my book reviews used to be much shorter, just brief summaries of my thoughts. They have gradually become longer, and now often exceed 1,000 words.

Name some of your most memorable reads!

Basically the books I like to talk about the most! Here are a few, in case anyone needed reminding…

What would you say to anyone still hesitating to start a book blog?

Go for it! I know from my own experience that it is a big step and you might get some kind of imposter syndrome at first, but your voice is unique and whatever you write/post is just as valuable as anything else in the book blogging community, even if it takes time to build an audience.

Either way, there are so many ways in which starting a book blog can help you. It can boost your self-confidence and creativity. It can give you lots of online writing and technical skills, and also help broaden your horizons in terms of reading. You can aim to for a large audience or just write for yourself – it is up to you!

What is your most viewed post and why do you think that is?

My most viewed post of all time is my book review and discussion of The Murmur Of Bees by Sofia Segovia, which I read back in August 2020. I really enjoyed this book, which was a buddy read with my friend Kriti, and after my in-depth review I included spoiler-free excerpts from our discussions.

It is a long post, but it clearly resonated to get such a high number of views. Last year it had a total of 4,812. Both the author and the book’s translator sent comments thanking Kriti and I, but the main reason why I think it has so many views, other than the fact The Murmur Of Bees is such a powerful read, is that the post sits quite highly on the online search results for that book.

How long after completing a book do you write your review?

Well, it used to be straight after finishing the book, or at least no more than a day or two. Now it is often up to two weeks after finishing it! That is mostly due to the fact I have much less time than I used to. Luckily though, I do have a good memory so it does not affect my reviews too much.

Are you getting a chance to work on your creative writing at the moment?

Outside of blogging, sadly not. I definitely plan to get back to my creative writing, as it is something I really enjoy doing. If I can get back into a better routine, then maybe. And also – this may sound strange but I think the time of year is an issue too – I feel like I will be much more productive when the days get lighter and warmer.

Do you prefer book clubs or buddy reads?

Definitely buddy reads. Not only do I feel more comfortable talking with one person as opposed to a group, I also love the fact that with a buddy read, we are reading and discussing a book we are both interested in and excited about. It is a conversation between close friends, rather than with a group of people.

What kind of book covers catch your eye?

My favourite book covers are the ones with intricate designs and pretty colours that radiate atmosphere and intrigue. To demonstrate this, here are some of my favourites!

Which genres do you not read a lot from?

I read lots of different genres, but the ones I still tend to stay away from are science fiction and romance. Gem has dared me to read a book from one of these genres this year however, so I am up for that challenge!

Do you like to eat and read? If so, what are your go-to reading snacks?

I sometimes read over breakfast and lunch, but is no particular snack that I would reach for. I do love cake, but I rarely consume any while reading.

What do you plan/hope for the future of your blog?

That is a really good question. First of all I aim to keep blogging for as long as I can. I plan to keep going with my reviews, but for me the future lies in sharing lots of unique and creative posts. I still have lots of ideas and always strive to come up with posts that are not seen elsewhere, especially list posts where you can not only have lots of fun interactions, but share recommendations.

Other than that, I may look to change the aesthetic of my blog in the future, but I am quite happy to keep going and see where it leads.

Let’s Chat

Do you have any thoughts on my answers? Is there anything here you can relate to? Let me know in the comments!


19 thoughts on “Five Years Of Book Blogging – Q&A

  1. Happy blog anniversary, so glad you’re keeping going. There do seem to be less around, but I find we have become a kind of reference bank, I also often refer back to my reviews, I enjoy that my memory of the reading experience has a depository. Look forward to more of your reviews to come.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy Blogoversary and I’m really glad that you are keeping it going. I love blogging and although it has declined in popularity. I get likes and comments on blog posts that are over a year old sometimes as people find a post when they are searching. That doesn’t happen on other sites and I think that ability of blog posts to be still relevant is really important.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post and lots of good questions! Congrats on 5 yrs, it will be mine in a few months too! You are right, book blogging has changed. I get a lot more views than I used to, but not as much interaction (it could also be that I have less time to visit other blogs so they don’t visit mine… maybe) and it’s sad that some blogs I really used to like seem to have stopped.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Yes I have less time as well to visit other blogs, which is something I regret. But I do miss a lot of the blogs that are no longer around. So exciting that your 5 year anniversary is coming up too!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Congrats on 5 years and here’s to 5 more! I know TikTok seems to be where the focus is these days, but there are still a lot of us that prefer the old fashioned book blog!


  5. I love all of your thought out answers! I definitely have seen a similarity in the book blogging scene since starting in 2017. I can’t wait to hear more about your writing when you finally can get back to it! Congratulations on 5 years!

    Liked by 1 person

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