This month Reading Romances turns 6! =D
Guess what?! It’s official! I’ve been blogging about my love of romance books for SIX YEARS (on and off, like most relationships)! And I almost forgot about it!
Since it’s such a special occasion, I thought that I would share my blogging journey with all of you! The good, the bad and the new beginning!
My Blogging Journey
On March 2011 I started Reading Romances. I really wanted a way to share my thoughts on romance books with other readers. My first few posts Since then, I have redone my layout so many times. The blog was going well, so in 2012 I bought the http://reading-romances.com domain and moved to the self hosted wordpress with the help of some blogging buddies.
After some hard work I started to get more comments and followers on Twitter and Facebook. Later I even started the get some money from ads to help with hosting, domain and shipping costs (prizes). I hosted lots of giveaway events, a reading challenge, opened a Goodreads group and was basically posting 5 times a week!
It was having a great time – until 2015. As most of you know, the horrible 2015 event (where I accidentally deleted a Godaddy file I shouldn’t) happened and I lost the Reading Romances files.
Last year, after much deliberation, I decided to “reopen” the blog, start again, even after losing so much. It was SO hard. I went back to my WordPress blog, changed the look, made new icons and got back to blogging. I never stopped reading, and I kept reviewing on Goodreads and Amazon while I was away, so I had some new material to work with.
I decided then to create the “Previously On RR” posts, featuring are all the content from 2012 up to 2015 from the website that I lost. I wanted to include the best of reviews, interviews and other posts that I had fun writing or that became my favorites!
Reading is what I wake up and want to do every day and being able to share all of my thoughts on romance books with you makes my days better! Blogging has helped me with so much. I’ve changed when it comes to talking about books, it became a lot easier. I don’t have a lot of friends in real life so blgging, for me, is the main tool to interact with other enthusiastic readers about romance novels.
I’m glad that I created my blog because I really don’t know where I would be without it. That’s why I’m so grateful that all of you take time out of your days to read and comment on my posts! Thank you to everyone who has visited or has been a part of Reading Romances in any way. Since this is such a big moment in my life, I will treasure it forever and ever. I hope you keep sharing the posts, reading my opinions and leaving comments! Doesn’t matter if you’ve been reading my reviews for a month, a year or since the beginning, THANK YOU.
Happy Reading! 😉
To celebrate six years of reviewing and other romance related stuff, I have some ANNOUNCEMENTS:
Debut : new structure for review posts based on the Review Survey Results (below).
New Features: My DNF Round-Up and Series I read.
Party Countdown: Chat & Giveaways! Special Stuff going on, join my Reading Romances’reader group on Facebook to participate!
Review Survey Results
Thanks for filling out the survey! 262 readers participated and from now on my reviews will not only be based on these results but also what I like to talk about. These results reflect not only my readers but also (a small part of) the romance community.
Romance readers, who are they?
Is no secret nor surprise that women dominate the genre, with only 1.5% male readers. Now when it comes to age there’s a big diversity, with more than half being 40 and older (53,3%). Looks like a mature audience that starts to read more in their 30’s.
Most of them (67,3%) live in the US, I really didn’t expect other countries to be in second place (19.1%), more than Canadian (7%) and UK readers (6.6%) together! As part of the other countries” Australia had the most readers (12) plus other 17 countries were included. Yes, romance readers are all over the world!
Romance readers are very engaged, they love Facebook Groups! Goodreads groups and book clubs are great options to interact too. Most of them are part of more than one group:
Readers claim to visit book blogs at least a few times a month, most prefer a few times a week, and only a small portion don’t look for blogs. Between those blogs visited 88,2% feature romance reviews (78,6% could be considered a romance book blog) and only 11.8% don’t include them.
Yes, they’re avid readers! A stunning number of 63,2% read romances EVERYDAY or at least a few times a week (22,1%). Only 14.7% read sporadically. And gosh, that’s a lot of books, more than 50 per year (75,4%)! 19.5% of them read between 20 and 50 novels, while only 5% read 20 or less.
They look for book reviews in a lot of places. Since this community is so engaged, read so much, and most read romance blogs, I believe it’s safe to say they check out reviews often. Amongst those who read reviews, where do they search for it? Multiples choices revealed Amazon (81,6%), Goodreads (77.9%) and Book Blogs (57%) are the top 3 places, mainly retail sites are the ones they look for (96.3%).
Do they look for an specific rating? Doesn’t sound so, 74.4% read a bit of each, while 4.8% don’t go for ratings, they read reviews ONLY by reviewers they already follow.
They prefer to read a small review up to 4 paragraphs (78,3%) and without the whole plot described (89%) .They prefer reviews without spoilers (54.8%) or with a spoiler including a warning (42.6%), while 2.6% like spoilers altogether. Quotes are very welcomed 80,8% like them, but not the first thing they look for in a review, since 54% of those voted for “sometimes”.
What do they like to see in a review?
I asked readers to vote for several items, and their options were: “don’t care for it”, “helpful information”and “must Have”. In their opinion, reviews must have the Book Blurb (52.9%), cover (49,3%) and sub genre (47,4%). They don’t really care about the author photo (64%), author bio (50,4%) and Publisher/ Imprint (55,5%).
Listed as helpful information were the author’s social links, buying links, link to Goodreads, release date, other works by the author, similar books, price, information about the series and a grading system.
What do they like to know from a review?
What I could gather from the answers from the last two questions is that readers want to know if the book is what they expect to be and if it’s their cup of tea!
In order of preference, romance readers want to know most about:
What the reviewer liked and didn’t like (75.4%), The reviewer’s overall opinion (77.2%), Description about the plot (65.8%), How much the reviewer enjoyed it (65.1%), The reviewer’s feelings (64.7%), If the reviewer would read another book by the author (63.2%), If it ends on a cliffhanger or not (62.1%) and Description about the characters (55.1%).
Here’s an interesting fact. Reviews have a great influence on book purchases, between 1-Not at all and 5- Highly influential, only 14.3% claim they have little or no influence at all.
What’s their favorite part? What do they look for the most while reading a review?
This was an open question where they could write the answer. Most of them wrote similar sentences: the reviewer’s feelings, their emotional response to the story (enthusiasm), what they liked/disliked, and overall opinion about the story.
Some relevant quotes:
“I like to see whether or not the book can be read alone, or if the series books are essential to understand this one. If recurring characters are major players or just walk on roles.”
“I really like to know what the blurb (or sales pitch) isn’t telling me.”
“Intelligent, non-snarky description of the characters, plot and style (funny/intense/dark, etc)”
“I think for me it’s if the story and plot flows well without adding in unnecessary information, and if the characters grow and change by the end of the book.”
“References to quality, tropes, and overall feeling of book in comparison to other books in that genre”
“I need to know the reviewer truly enjoyed the book. That they were drawn in and didn’t want to put the book down.”
“If the reviewer was truly engaged reading it”
“I want to know how memorable the book is to the reviewer, good or bad.”
“Not only is it hot, but is it a good story! Sometimes the sex/romance is mediocre but the plot and characters are so good that the sex/romance can be overlooked a little. So is the story good!? Is it worth the money!?”
“If there’s an equally compelling reason to keep them apart while simultaneously proving they belong together.”
“I like a thoughtful, well-reasoned review with plenty of supporting evidence for the reviewer’s opinion. “It just wasn’t my thing” is not enough (and frankly will put me off the site forever). I also prefer to have quotes from the book so that I can get an idea of the author’s style.”
“I like to see how passionate the reviewer is about the story. It they are blase even if the review is good, I tend to stay away from that story. If the reviewer is excited about the story, I am more likely to heed the advice of the reviewer.”
“What stood out most to the reviewer– a plot point that was unique or a point that felt forced. I trust reviewers most who offer up something good and something less good. ie- what worked and what might not have worked so well. This feels more honest. (…) I like the reviews that strive for some balance.”
For the following questions I asked about items which might influence while searching a new novel to read. Book covers had a unsual result. Only 9,2% say they don’t influence at all, while other readers say they do, in some level. 7.7% go as far as saing the cover always influence what to read next.
Items low on influence include Publisher/Imprint (58,8% say almost never), social media (47.1% say sometimes and 19.1% almost never) and excerpts (30.9% say sometimes and 16.6% almost never).
So how do they choose what to read next? 30,5% say always the blurb, 19.5% sub genre / plot and 16.9 % the author.
The deal breaker when deciding if they should buy the book or not is most often the blurb (30,5%), shortly after price (25.4%) and followed by book reviews (16.9%).
Were you surprised by the results? Let me know what you think, leave a comment! 😉