Last week I asked for opinions on blog reading habits from bloggers and non-bloggers alike. I was curious on how the two groups viewed our blog, its content and the blogging community in general. In fact, I went a little further and had a section exclusively for non-blogger readers. I know some them may not comment a lot and that’s totally fine, but I really wanted to know their thoughts. (If you are interested in blogger statistic specifically, Ashley from Nose Graze did a survey a while back on that. You can check out part 1 and part 2 on her blog.) Some mentioned they were interested in seeing the results, so feel free to check out all the info compiled below. Again, I want to stress that this in no way was created to inflict any kind of change on other bloggers. Blog how you love, peeps!
When I started writing this post I initially wanted to have all the data together. Unfortunately, the post ended up being way too long. Part 1 is for our non-blogger readers and part 2 will be the results from the bloggers. Also, thank you to all those who participated. I know I speak from myself, Kat and Meg when I say we truly love all of our readers and your opinion is important to us. We love writing for this blog and we want to keep creating content you love to read.
Important things to remember:
- The total number of people who participated in the survey is 373
- Not everyone answered every question with the exception of the first question
- Everything was completely anonymous
- I constituted a “non-blogger” as someone who didn’t own a book blog or didn’t identify as a blogger for whatever reason
The first and most important thing I wanted to know was what percentage of our blog readers were bloggers and non-bloggers.
It’s entirely possible that some of our non-blogger readers decided not to participate and this may not be a completely accurate view of our readers, but it’s a pretty good idea. In any case, thank you to the 167 readers that participated! We were especially excited to hear your thoughts.
This didn’t really surprise me at all. We had a good idea that almost half of our non-blogger readers didn’t reside in the US. It’s why when we do a giveaway, we try to make it international OR offer an international option. Even though Canada is technically considered international, I separated it from international because most giveaways are either US or US/CA. Shipping to Canada is usually only $7-$10 difference from shipping First Class within the US. Now, if I were shipping the same book to Kat–let’s say a 300 page print ARC–I might end up spending $20+ for that ONE book. Shipping to Australia is the most expensive place you can ship to from the US.
How do our features stack up for our readers?
Now this did surprise me. I have seen countless bloggers claim their reviews get the least amount of page views and comments, so I think I had it in my mind that they weren’t exactly the most popular thing content wise. For us this varies. Some reviews get more or less page views/comments than others, but we are happy to see reviews come out on top. But it’s clear that the top three features are reviews, Buzz and HNT.
I was also surprised that giveaways didn’t come out higher. But this tells me that out non-blogger readers are legitimately readers of our content and not simply here for free stuff. That’s so amazing.
Not everyone answered this question (maybe you guys don’t dislike much from us?), but something tells me you guys aren’t too crazy about cover reveals. We can see how these can get dull and boring. We’ve decided from here on out that we will be very selective in the future for cover reveals and instead feature them in Hot New Titles. But I did think cover reveals with a giveaway would be a little appealing. Do you guys not like giveaways attached to cover reveals?
Is there anything on CB you’d like to see more or less of? (non-blogger)
For this section, you guys had the opportunity to really tell us what’s on your mind. Here are the most common or the ones that stand out:
Books that aren’t out yet.
I do miss the muser posts, but now I understand why there’s less of them. 🙂 On the question of whether ARC reviews are are helpful to me or not, I would like to expand a little more. I love getting early buzz for books. However, sometimes I forget about books that I wanted to read when they actually get published. Yes, I do put some titles on my calender (like Cress!), put if I put all the books I wanted to read on my calendar, there’d hardly be space for the life things I have to do :P. I guess I don’t really have any suggestions…I love the blogging community very much even though I’m not in it!
Okay, this is a good point. In the past, we reviewed whatever whenever we wanted, but we’ve learned this isn’t exactly beneficial all the time. Going forward, we’ll be posting ARC reviews the week of that book’s release. If you do see a super early review of a book, it’s because another review is planned for release week.
Buzz Worthy News
I know Kat and I have been total flakes when it’s come to Buzz lately, but it’s finally back. It’s moved to Friday mornings and will be written by Kat and Kate. Kat and I also do the YA Roundup on Tor.com for Monday mornings, which is like a combination of Buzz and HNT.
I miss the book battles between Steph and Kat. Those were a lot of fun.
Oh, I miss these too! The only problem is that Kat and I usually agree on too many things and we haven’t been reading much of the same things. But hopefully between myself, Meg and Kat, we can bring these back.
I’d like to see more reviews.
You got it. We’ve brought on a few more reviewers, which will also free up more time for us to read and review more. So, more, more, more reviews coming your way!
How about more books with LGBT subject matter? I don’t know how much control over your review list you have, but it would still be nice to have more diversity.
Yes! This is something we are working on now!
More of Mal/Darkling fan fiction and Dear Debby posts
Haha! Well, I think the Mal/Darkling fan fiction thing was a one time post, but maybe we can incorporate that into another feature when we brainstorm. As for Dear Debby, we’d love to, but it’s hard to pick characters that most people can identify. But character suggestions are welcome!
Less rafflecopter giveaways
Really? How would you prefer giveaways? If anyone else feels this way, let us know in the comments.
I’m probably the only person that checked “giveaways” up there, but it’s because I really dislike the rafflecopter setup. I know your hands are probably tied here, but seeing as I don’t use Facebook or Twitter (which makes me super weird, I know), I feel like I have next to no chance of winning anything. I get various ARCs from a good friend at my local indie, so I don’t exactly have a right to complain, but you guys give away such great stuff here! Sadface. Okay, rant over. I do love you guys.
(Maybe this is what the last reader meant?) Okay, I’ll take the fault here on this one since I’m primarily in charge of how CB’s giveaways run. I’ve been thinking on this and have noticed that the extra entries are mostly not being used the way I thought they’d be. Some people have separate twitter accounts just to tweet the giveaways so they don’t have to do this from their real accounts. This virtually defeats the purpose of that entry and is unfair to everyone else. So from now on, if we are sponsoring a giveaway monetarily, there will only be one entry for everyone. No extra entries for following on twitter or Facebook or email. I figure if people want to follow because they love our content, it won’t be a giveaway that makes that choice. Plus, we like the idea of our more dedicated followers winning the books.
I loath the blog tours. I don’t trust reviews associated with them & don’t get why anyone other than desperate authors think it might be a good idea to saturate an RSS feed with a giant commercial.
I hear you. Blog tours can be really boring. It’s why we’ve recently decided to rarely accept them, and only for authors we know can offer interesting content. As for reviews on blog tour, I think I’ve done this once? At least, Gated (4 stars) and The Bone Season (3.5 stars) are the only books I can remember doing that for, and I don’t think Kat has ever done this. Usually, for blog tours that ask for reviews have a rule of nothing lower than 4 stars during the tour. I say this for full disclosure. However, I have dropped out of quite a few tours because I didn’t end up loving the book enough to endorse a 4 star review (In fact, one of these books belonged to a blogger friend). I just want you guys to know that any book on we review for a blog tour is just as honest as if we have purchased it ourselves. That being said, we are limiting blog tours to books we feel are extra special.
Some of your random posts lately feel like a last-ditch effort to keep the blog running. They’re boring and the humor doesn’t feel sincere. (I do really still love you guys though!)
I like Musing Musers/random articles when they’re interesting and thought-provoking, such as when they discuss common themes in ya and so on. I don’t like them when they are completely random and just feel like you’re using them as a filler post for reviews. So more of the former and less of the latter, please.
You’re absolutely right. I love how you know our voices well enough to peg that! Thank you for being honest with us. The last-ditch posting was due to a combination of blogging burnout and feeling the pressure to have something up on the blog. But quality over quantity, right? We feel like we have this issue under control now. 🙂
I’ve only been following for a couple of months and haven’t really gotten an opinion on this topic. I quite like the more personal posts mixed in with the book news. The provide some insight about the reviewers/creators/personalities behind the other posts.
I kind of want to get to know you guys better. I think you guys are really funny and that should somehow be incorporated into its own thing. More gifs please.
Huh. This was unexpected. We are fairly uninteresting people, but we have thought about doing some type of feature on random Real Life us. What would you guys want to know?
I may be in the minority, but I never watch videos on blogs. They take too long, and I’d rather read my information. Well, ok, if you consider the John and Hank Green videos to be on a blog, then I have watched them before, but they are very short and extremely fast-paced and that works for me. I surprise myself by saying this, but I really like GIFs. Or illustrating images in general in reviews. I also like when you take moments to analyze the blogging community. How it orders itself, etiquette, bad behavior, good behavior. Oh, and I’m always interested in mentions of authors behaving badly. Very educational.
Honestly, I dislike vlogging for the blog. We tried it out hoping it would be something fun and interesting, but it’s a lot of work to come up with a concept, execute it over Google +, and then edit it. Plus, I feel personally I’m better at expressing myself in written form vs. talking. I’m actually a quiet person in real life unless I’ve been drinking (hey, there’s something personal for you!). I know Meg has no interest in being on camera, but Kat will likely still do some occasionally.
We’ve stopped mentioning author behavior on small scales. However, if it’s something that really rocked the community, it’ll probably be mentioned in Buzz.
More of your updates and reviews on Goodreads. More info about you guys, and how you came together (sorry if that’s already there) No challenge question to be your friend on Goodreads! ;p
We’ve been terrible about this! We’ll work on being more present on Goodreads. We’ve briefly mentioned how we came together and other random facts, but we could do a real post on that. It’s probably a good idea considering it’s the number one question people ask me when I go to bookish events.
You won’t believe how many draft muser posts we have saved and yet never posted. O_O I’m not sure why we’ve not been posting them, but we have plans for more!
hahaha “Your blog is rubbish!” Honestly, if anyone picked that, why would they come here? I wish you guys would either (1) focus on books that are coming out soon, not more than 3 months out or (2) do a refresher review before the book gets released, like a week or so. Otherwise, frankly, I forget about the books. That’s why I mostly read stuff that’s long since been released, because I forget all the cool books that get reviewed. I love your funny posts and your snarky posts. I pretty much love all your off topic stuff. I wish you’d do more serious stuff, too, though. I liked those posts about how to protect yourself online and some of the other community stuff you’ve done. I thought a lot how cool a newish post would be. Like, if a controversial type story happens (the buzz story about the pitfalls of common core literature standards was one that really meant something to me), you guys could cover it in a separate story instead of just Buzz. Like an investigation and commentary, but more in depth than a simple Buzz paragraph. Those types of stories tend to generate a lot of hits, too. The posts with the most comments on Buzz were the ones that had a story that people like to discuss. Anyways, that’s all I’ve got.
Two. Two people selected that. LOL. Yup, we plan on doing refresher reviews if someone else review it early. As for the rest of your comment, yes. Yes to everything. I actually think Kat has written a few more serious posts on YA literature. So it’s definitely in the works.
General Questions About the Blogging Community
This one makes me happy! I know I have a habit of being long-winded with some of my reviews and I’ve always wondered if people were all tl;dr with them. Maybe some of you do, and that’s fine, but it looks like majority don’t care either way.
Hmm… I guess this goes back to liking reviews of ARCs, but preferring them close to release date.
Interesting! Now, I’m wondering if it’s the same for other blogger’s readers.
For this question, I gave people the option to choose “other” and enter their own answer. If the text looks cut off on your browser, hover your curser over the text to see the complete thought. But it looks like the majority follow by email. Dedication!
The reason why I added this question was because I’ve noticed giveaways that only feature swag aren’t very popular. I personally dislike swag mostly because I usually have no idea what to do with it. Looks like almost half of you may share this feeling. VALIDATION.
We were thinking about doing a little readalong feature with another blogger. Good to know that some would be interested in joining in.
Now this is pretty surprising. For some reason I thought memes mostly interested bloggers. We don’t really do memes, but I was curious about this.
True Facts: Before I had a blog, way before CB, I did not have a twitter. I just reviewed books on GR and followed maybe 3 blogs (and I use “follow” very loosely). In fact, I still don’t have my own personal twitter account. But anyway, I had this theory that some of our readers didn’t follow on twitter, but I’m surprised to see majority do. Twitter is where we do a lot of our conversational chit chat and we love talking to everyone, bloggers and non-bloggers alike. It’s a great place to really get to know readers.
This is one of the questions I was most eager to see results from. I’m glad that a good portion feels that as a community we generally try to be inclusive of everyone, but I supposed this would also depend on individual blogs and their readership. If a blog’s readership is mainly other bloggers, it makes sense to play to your strengths.
So this question may have confused a few people, but I was trying to find out how those who aren’t bloggers feel about their role, if they felt they had one at all, in our reading community. Based on the results, this varied greatly depending on how people utilize blogs. Some just are here for recommendations or just enjoy reading blogs or aren’t here for the community per say. Others might be interested in more?
When I think of the reading community in general, that includes bloggers, lurkers, GR reviewers, publishing peeps, librarians, etc. I know the blogging community can feel very niche, but I do think our readers play a part, even if indirectly. It’s easy to chat amongst other bloggers and we usually know what works for them in terms of content. But what about everyone else? I wanted to know how the blogging community was viewed by others so I asked this question:
Is there anything in the blogging community you’d like to see more or less of?
There are a few comments that I’d like to address directly because they were somewhat referencing our blog or I wan to highlight it in some way.
Guest reviewer of the month? (Some sort of competition, for non-bloggers only) It’s obvious you guys put a lot of time and dedication into your blogging/reviews, and I just wanted to say thank you!
This is a brilliant idea. Short answer: yes. Long answer: We are working on bringing this idea into thought. As soon as we saw your suggestion, we knew it was something we’d want to do. So yes, this will be a new feature! Thank YOU for the idea. I hope you’ll consider signing up for this!
Less complicated giveaways. I would love to enter, and I understand why they are so complicated, yet it does not make me want to enter. I know that’s odd, but yeah. If most giveaways were just something like “follow X author or tweet/facebook the giveaway to enter,” I’d be 100% game.
I’m really curious about this. Giveaways has come up a lot in this survey. If any other readers or if the original commenter can elaborate on this anonymously in the comments section, it would be much appreciated.
Not sure how relevant this is, but I would like to see a stronger connection between BookTube and book blogs. I would also like to see improved inclusion of international audiences—for instance in regards to giveaways (yes, I realise shipping costs play a big role); or in regards to Twitter Q&As, live chats, etc., as these are usually difficult to join for me due to time zone differences.
This is an interesting comment because I’ve chatted with another blogger about the strange division between bloggers and booktubers. I don’t chat with many booktubers except maybe one. I just think this might be because bloggers are a lot more chatty on social media and booktubers are more on Youtube? I have no idea. But it would be fun to do something cool, maybe a some type of feature, with booktubers. We’d totally be game for that.
Time zones are so tricky, but you’re right, we need to remember our international peeps more.
I really like discussion points where you lay out things happening in the book world that we might not know about. I really miss the BuzzWorthy news feature – so great. The Covers Reveals is kind of boring. But overall I love this blog and think you guys do a fantastic job!
Thank you! Buzz is back!
I like to see early reviews, but no more than a month or 2 in advance. Any more than that kind of takes the excitement out of it for me. I also really dislike book tours/blitz. I skip right over them. I think the Insurgent and “Who Is Marcus Finch?” blog tours definitely ruined blog tours for me. I mean, I didn’t like them before, but those sealed the deal for me. Very annoying.
I think almost everyone was tired of the Insurgent and Indigo Spell promotion, or as I like to call it SPAM. Even some of the bloggers who participated ended up regretting participating. So I think it’s safe to say, we’ve all learned a lot from those experiences. The last thing any blogger wants to do is tick off their readers.
GIFS MORE GIFS
Here’s more responses we received:
- I would love to see more reviews of already published books. At times it feels as if you’re all having this merry little party with your shiny new ARCs whilst the rest of us are left out in the rain scrabbling over the little titbits you deem to throw our way.
- I’m kind of ambivalent on memes. On the one hand I like that they give bloggers something to write about maybe if they don’t have a lot of content to fill their site. But most often the topics don’t interest me. Then again, when they do interest me it’s a fun conversation starter so I go back and forth 🙂 My favorite thing about blogs though are the unique features. I read most of my reviews on goodreads, and I follow bloggers there, so I can see all the reviews of people I know or whose opinion I’m curious about all in one shot. I first started following Cuddlebuggery because it was different – there were reviews but even then they were framed in a unique way with the book battles and that dear someone thing that totally mocked the characters. It’s all book stuff but with a fun twist that makes it more interesting to read. So, I’d definitely like to see more features on blogs. But I also know that’s probably the most difficult thing to come up with so I understand.
- Bloggers seem cliquish and don’t tend to interact with non blog readers.
- Drama & blog tours.
- Reviews of ARCs closer to the release date, possible some more international giveaways and notes if a book is in fact avalible internationally.
- Sometimes, to me, it feels like if you’re not a blogger, you’re not anyone. Like, why does your opinion about a book matter if you don’t have a website that a bazillion people follow? Now, I’ve never wanted to be a book blogger (except for the free reads, but those come with a responsibility, too) and I greatly appreciate all the hard work and effort my favorite bloggers put into their work, but sometimes it feels like they don’t care as much about commentary that comes from just plain readers (i.e. non-bloggers). I would just like to emphasize that one of the reasons I love cuddlebuggery SO MUCH is that you guys have NEVER made me feel that way. I always feel welcome here (and on other forums where you guys belong), but there are very few blogs that I can say that about. You guys are awesome and I truly hope that your blog stays around for a while.
- Less of complaining about “authors behaving badly” – I don’t think anyone but bloggers care about that. Unless they are roasting kittens over a pile of burning bibles… then I might avoid reading work by that author.
- I love articles exploring ya in general (such as on slut-shaming, or racism, or sexism, etc). I feel like I really learn from them, so the more the better.
- There are often lots of “discussion” topics throughout the blogosphere on blogging habits – how they comment, how they interact to build followers etc, which can get boring when you see them endlessly and when you are not a blogger. If I am following a blog, it’s because I like what they write, so I think it would be lovely to see more personal posts. Also I am sick of Waiting on Wednesdays. (just a personal opinion! 🙂 )
- The reviews of ARC’s are only helpful when they are very vague. Since the book hasn’t come out I’d rather see things like “This book is so great! You guys are really in for a surprise!” Instead of details that could potentially be spoilers. This keeps my interest and the mystery of a new book!
- This is not specifically about Cuddlebuggery, one of my favorite blogs, but I would like to see more variety in bloggers reading interests. Too often everyone seems to cover the same few books all at the same time. Spread your wings girls, it’s a bigger world out there.
- Less Twitter-links and FB-ditto (you are the ONLY blog I follow o FB and that’s not gonna change. I like your humour.). Maybe less “inner circle jokes”. I don’t keep track of book bloggers and I feel a bit lost when they’re referred to constantly (a little is okay, of course!). Those aren’t biggies though. The only thing that sometimes ticks me off a little is the ARC-hype. I cannot get these books. I will get excited and then realize I have to wait a year for it and that’s when I stick it in the HUGE TBR-pile and prompty forget about it. I think authors might actually LOSE readers from ARC-reviews rather than the opposite. Thank you for asking! Have a great weekend. 🙂
Conclusion of Part 1
This was really illuminating for us and we feel we have a great idea of what our readers who aren’t bloggers like. I want to remind bloggers that have read this survey that a lot of the responses were from readers who may or may not read a lot of different blogs. So these responses are in no way an entire representation of the non-bloggers in our community. If you’re curious about how others view your blog, non-bloggers and bloggers, why not consider asking them via your own survey tailored to your site?
As for us, we’ve learned a lot and plan of implementing a few things:
- Simpler and fairer giveaways with one entry per entrant
- Bring back Buzz Worthy News (done)
- Decrease the amount of blog tours and cover reveals we do
- Review ARCs the week of publication or post “refresher” reviews if the ARC is reviewed early
- Interact more with you guys on Goodreads
- Create a guest reviewer feature for our non-blogger readers for those who may be interested in being more interactive
- Review more books and feature more books with diversity
- Better discussion posts
Feel free to comment on anything anonymously in the comments. You don’t have to fill in the “name” or “email” boxes.
Check back tomorrow for part 2: the bloggers!