Hello friends! I hope you are all well, and are reading some spectacular books.
Have you ever wondered how many hours book bloggers spend on their blogs per week? What about the hours they spent reading? Is there a difference in the number of hours employed book bloggers versus student book bloggers spend on their blogs?
In the last month, I asked book bloggers to share their experiences of balancing book blogging and life with me, and 42 incredible book bloggers shared their experiences with me, and detailed their ‘average week’ or thoughts about what it means to be a book blogger and balance that blogging with life.
Today, I am going to present to you all a summary of what they have said, including the number of hours that they spend reading, blogging, what they are doing during their ‘work’ as a book blogger, and some themes that emerged whilst I analysed their responses.
Book blogging is hard. Ask most book bloggers what they think about book blogging, and they will probably tell you that (a) they love what they do, and (b) it is a lot of hard work and requires a lot of time. Although what spurred this project occurred awhile ago now, the discussion wasn’t the first — sometimes conversations and topics arise across the community, some that are unpleasant and consequently (or proximally) undermine the work and effort and time that book bloggers put into their blogs.
As a book blogger of almost five years now, I have felt the strain, pressure, and have grappled with the challenges of book blogging. I know that I’m not alone in this, and that there are many book bloggers who feel this way. And yet, we don’t seem to talk enough about this. Why is that?
Something that I feel is lacking across book blogging, and perhaps blogging in general, is to discuss candidly and transparently our experiences of book blogging and the tremendous work that we do. Thus, I hoped that my The Pond Gets Loud: Balancing Book Blogging and Life collaborative series would shed light on how bloggers are so different but also how incredible they are for the work that they do.
Where you can read the responses
If you haven’t already, I highly recommend reading the outstanding contributions that book bloggers have made. In their responses, they detail what their average week looks like as a blogger, and the amount of time and energy that goes into book blogging (which includes reading the book too!)
The Summary – What have we learned?
What did I do to put this summary together?
To put together this summary, I used all the responses that I received for the Balancing Book Blogging and Life series (I’ll now call this the ‘collab series’), including a few that were not published, and compiled anything that would be interesting quantitative data. All respondents were book bloggers. Specifically, I was particularly interested in the number of hours that people were dedicating to blogging per week and number of hours people were reading per week. I was also interested in whether the bloggers were working, studying, or both. I also looked for qualitative data, and was interested to see why people blogged, what consisted of ‘blogging work’, as well as their suggestions on how bloggers could be better supported.
Important things to bear in mind:
- The summary is based on 45 responses. This is a small sample size (or, a very small group of people!).
- Most of the respondents were book bloggers (people who talked about books via blogging platforms). Two respondents were booktubers (people who talked about books on their Youtube channels).
- Consider that I made the call for people to collab with me through my Twitter, and those connected to me were most likely to participate. In other words, most of the people who responded were likely to blog about YA fiction or diverse books.
- Most of the data presented below are averages. This means that the average hours that I talk about below are the most representative of the people I talked about.
- I also include the range of hours bloggers spent on blogging and reading in the below, so you can get an idea of how bloggers can differ.
Nonetheless, I believe that the summary still has value. As someone who does qualitative research, I advise taking the summary below with a grain of salt, and take this as something that is speculative and indicative of underlying patterns, rather than something that is factual.
How long have the book bloggers been book bloggers?
Of the 44 responses that I received (1 did not disclose), the book bloggers that wrote responses for the collab series had been book bloggers for 34 months, which is a little below 3 years.
However, of the 44 responses, 8 of the bloggers had been book blogging for 5 years or more — there was even someone who had been book blogging for 9 years! I thought that this would account for the higher average, so when I eliminated these 8 book bloggers, the remaining 36 had been book bloggers for, on average, a little under 2 years.
What did the book bloggers do outside of book blogging?
I was interested to see what was the main thing book bloggers did outside of book blogging. In particular, I wanted to know whether book bloggers were (a) working, (b) studying, (c) working and studying, or (d) unemployed. It’s important to note that those who responded that they were unemployed was because of (i) health issues, and that blogging was a way to connect to people and a community, (ii) in between studying and work, or were currently job-searching, or (iii) were parents! Some book bloggers also said that they did volunteering, community work, had other hobbies, but for simplicity, I looked at the above four categories.
Of the 44 bloggers:
- 21 were working either full-time or part-time (48%)
- 12 were studying full-time (27%)
- 5 were studying and working (11%)
- 4 were unemployed (10%)
- 2 did not disclose (1%)
On average, how many hours did book bloggers spend on blogging and reading?
Note: most bloggers provided estimates of the amount of hours they blogged per week. For example, most responses said ‘I blog for about 2 – 5 hours’. The difference between 2 to 5 hours (3 hours!) is pretty significant, so I consistently used the lowest number. What does that mean?
- The data below are likely to be underestimations
- The data below is most likely going to be the minimum amount of hours that bloggers do on average per week
- It means that book bloggers are likely to give more time than the hours shown below
In their responses, some book bloggers gave a total number of hours that they spent blogging and reading, whilst some reported separate hours for blogging and reading.
Based on those who reported their hours separately, book bloggers, on average, spent 14 hours a week on blogging, and 12 hours a week on reading. This is about an average total of 26 hours a week on blogging and reading.
After including those who reported their total hours spent on blogging and reading, book bloggers spent, an average, of 30 hours a week on blogging and reading.
To give you an idea of bloggers may have differed, the hours ranged from:
- Blogging ranged from 3 hours per week (minimum) to 36 hours per week (maximum)
- Reading ranged from 5 hours per week (minimum) to 25 hours per week (maximum)
What does this mean? On average, book bloggers are spending 26 to 30 hours a week on their book blogs. That’s a lot, and is almost equivalent to another job! That’s pretty incredible, considering that these will be underestimations.
But was there a difference in hours between bloggers who were studying versus working?
I was interested to see whether there was a difference in average hours between bloggers who were students (high school or university/college) and bloggers who were employed (full-time or part-time).
So let’s break that down.
As we know from the above, 21 bloggers working full-time or part-time, and 12 bloggers were students. There were 5 bloggers who were studying and working, but I decided to put these 5 bloggers in with the student category. So let’s say 17 students.
Of the bloggers who were working, they spent an average of 17 hours on blogging and 13 hours reading per week. Thus, book bloggers who worked spent a total of approximately 30 hours dedicated to reading and blogging per week.
Whereas, of the bloggers who were studying (including those who worked and studied), they spent an average of 10 hours on blogging and 11 hours on reading. This means that student book bloggers spent approximately 21 hours dedicated to reading and blogging per week.
To give you an idea of bloggers may have differed in their hours, the hours ranged from:
- Working book bloggers: hours ranged from 5 to 36 hours per week on blogging, and 5 to 25 hours per week on reading
- Student book bloggers: hours ranged from 4 to 15 hours per week on blogging, and 5 to 21 hours per week on reading
Based on the book bloggers who participated in this collab series and their responses, bloggers who were working spent an average of 9 more hours on blogging and reading than bloggers who were studying per week.
What does this mean? My guess is that book bloggers who are studying have less time to work on their blogs because their schedules are filled with classes, assignments, homework, and extracurricular activities (and if you read the responses by student book bloggers, you will find that most of their ‘blogging schedule’ involves finding pockets of free time where they can fit blogging in between their school commitments). This is particularly noteworthy, as most of the student bloggers are teens or young adults who were teens only a few years ago.
Was there a difference in hours between ‘newer’ bloggers versus ‘older’ bloggers?
When compiling the data for these responses, I wondered: did ‘older’ bloggers spend more time on their book blogs than new bloggers?
So I had a look.
To differentiate between ‘newer’ bloggers and ‘older’ bloggers, I looked at the median, which was about 26.5 months (2 years and 2 months). To make it a little simpler, I rounded it down to two years, so those who have been book blogging for 2 years and less were considered ‘new’ bloggers, and those above 2 years were considered ‘older’ bloggers.
There were 21 ‘newer’ book bloggers and 23 ‘older’ book bloggers.
On average, newer book bloggers spent 10 hours on blogging and 12 hours of reading, and older book bloggers spent 18 hours blogging and 13 hours reading.
Again, looking at the range:
- Newer book bloggers: hours ranged from 3 hours to 36 hours per week on blogging, and 5 hours to 21 hours per week on reading
- Older book bloggers: hours ranged from 7 hours to 30 hours per week on blogging, and 7 hours to 21 hours per week on reading
What does this mean? In general, it looks like older book bloggers generally spend more time on blogging than newer book bloggers. (However! I can’t run a test to see if this difference is meaningful because the number of bloggers I am basing this on is small, so, again, take this with a grain of salt.)
I think this is really interesting, and there are a variety of reasons as to why this may be! What I found particularly interesting was that newer book bloggers spent more time reading than blogging (though the difference is quite small), whereas older book bloggers spent more time blogging than reading per week. However, this does not mean that older book bloggers care more about blogging than newer book bloggers.
Have book bloggers sacrificed sleep or other commitments for book blogging?
I had asked book bloggers whether they had ever sacrificed sleep or other commitments for book blogging.
Of the 29 book bloggers who had something to say on this question, 23 book bloggers (79%) said ‘yes’, and 6 book bloggers (21%) said that they had never sacrificed other commitments for book blogging.
Of those who did say yes, bloggers also elaborated on why:
- They approached book blogging like a job.
- They forwent sleep to ensure that book reviews or blog posts would be published on their blogs on time, especially reviews for ARCs.
- Some said they spent time on things that took a long time, or to work on things they weren’t confident in, such as creating graphics.
- Some also forwent commitments to read books on time.
What does this mean? The fact that most book bloggers are sacrificing sleep for their blog should come as no surprise, considering that book blogging is a lot of work. This underscores the sheer commitment and dedication that book bloggers have, and they definitely do care about their blogging work.
So why do book bloggers do all of this anyway?
I asked book bloggers why they do what they do – why are they a book blogger? Why do they love book blogging? The responses were largely uniform and should come as no surprise.
- Many love reading, and want to have a space to share their thoughts or their joy about reading.
- Additionally, they love talking about and recommending books!
- Many loved being part of a community, and that book blogging was a way to make friends.
- Some stated that they were inspired to become book bloggers.
- Some wanted to help authors and wanted to promote their work.
- And a few wanted to help others find books that they will love.
What are book bloggers spending their time on when they are blogging?
I asked book bloggers what they did in their average week, and what they did as part of blogging work. Unsurprisingly, what bloggers did for their blogs did not differ much. Importantly, there were quite a few things that book bloggers did as part of their blogging work, but is usually taken for granted.
- Reading books to be reviewed
- Planning, scheduling, and thinking of ideas for blog posts*
- Analysing the books that they have read to write book reviews
- Writing blog posts or book reviews
- Formatting the blog post or book review
- Finding and formatting links in blog posts
- Creating images and graphics for blog posts*
- Blog hopping and reading other peoples’ blog posts
- Interacting with other bloggers (commenting on their blogs, replying to comments)
- Bookstagram: taking photos for bookstagrams, coming up with captions, editing photos for bookstagram
I’ve asterisked a few, and want to offer my perspective. Often when we talk about blogging work, we think about the writing content part, and less about the idea generation element of book blogging and the time that goes into creating graphics. Although there are a variety of reasons as to why this may be, I felt the need to spend time coming up with ideas and creating original graphics because I felt the pressure to be original and to stand-out.
Additionally, most book bloggers have more than just a blog for their platform. Most book bloggers also had Twitters and Instagrams as extensions of their book blogs.
Other themes that emerged across the responses; some noteworthy points
Some bloggers elaborated on their experiences in greater detail and went beyond the questions that I asked – which was wonderful! I came across a few points that some book bloggers made, which I thought were noteworthy and may provide greater insight on what it’s like to be a book blogger.
Blogging is fast-paced: One book blogger talked about how book blogging was extremely fast-paced.
Blogging is very fast-paced, in my opinion; you write the post, you publish it, it gets comments and views for a few days and then it’s over, and each day you comment on others’ posts, and each day new posts are published.
I thought this was a brilliant point, and this is definitely related to why book bloggers feel immense pressure to continuously work on their book blogs and devote a lot of time, effort, and energy. In my opinion, it could be due to views: blog posts gain the most views on the first and second day, but generally tend to taper off thereafter.
Pressure of blogging is exacerbated by the pressure of being a student:
I feel this pressure as I want to maintain consistent and don’t fall behind during exam seasons. Sometimes, the stress of that along with the pressure I put on myself to be a top student and stay on top of all my life-related commitments/relationships causes a deterioration in my mental health and often leaves me to take mini hiatuses from my blog.
I think this is an extremely important point, and one we should be conscious of. (Teen book bloggers, y’all are amazing and a gift.)
Interacting with others in the community is a major part of book blogging: Several book bloggers raised the point that book blogging isn’t just writing posts, reading books, and writing book reviews. A significant portion of time is also dedicated to interacting with others in the community, such as reading other people’s blog posts, leaving comments, or interacting with others on social media. For example:
Interaction, both with other bloggers and other book influencers on other platforms, can take up to about an hour if I do it daily.
… The community is my favorite part of blogging for me, and that is reflected in the amount of time that I dedicate to blog hopping: I currently follow 195 blogs and read all the post on my WP Reader. This means that I spend probably 2-4 hours daily reading, liking, and commenting … It’s important to me to support other blogger’s content, so I find pockets of time whenever I can to consume & support it.
Blogging is a lonely experience: This is something that I really relate to, and one blogger put it into words perfectly:
It’s very lonely, being a book blogger. You are writing from your room and you don’t see the people reading your posts and sometimes it’s hard to believe that there is someone even reading them.
I think this highlights several things. First, if you are a book blogger and feel lonely, you’re definitely not the only one and you’re not alone in this feeling. Second, this may also be why people love interacting with others in the community; by being part of a community, you do feel less alone, you get to connect with other like-minded bloggers, and you also get to support each other in their work.
How can you support book bloggers?
I also asked book bloggers what were ways that others could support them and the work that they do as book bloggers. Here are some of their suggestions:
- Visit their blog.
- Follow their blog or follow them on social media.
- Give their blog posts or social media a like, or share/retweet their work.
- Comment on their posts as well; talk or engage with them.
- Simply tell book bloggers that you support them and appreciate their work.
- If you read a book because of a blogger’s review, or have decided to consider reading a book because of their review, tell them!
- Support them on Ko-Fi or gift them something from their Amazon wishlist.
And what can publishing do? Here are the bloggers’ suggestions:
- Consider collaborating with book bloggers, or have a more collaborative approach.
- Communicate transparently and clearly.
- Don’t take book bloggers for granted.
- Authors, respect boundaries between book reviewer/author boundaries.
- Be open to interaction.
- Boost blog tours organised by book bloggers across social media – it’s a win-win.
The above might be quite a bit to take in, so here are the main takeaways of this post:
- Book bloggers spend, on average, 26 to 30 hours on blogging and reading per week.
- Book bloggers who worked (either full-time or part-time) spent an average of 30 hours on blogging and reading per week, whilst book bloggers who were students (including students who worked) spent an average of 21 hours on blogging and reading per week.
- Nonetheless, book bloggers (whether working or studying) dedicated a significant number of hours per week to their book blogs.
- Any difference in the hours dedicated to book blogging between groups are likely to indicate the time they have available to book blogging and other commitments in their life, and is unlikely to be because they care or work more or less.
- There are book bloggers that do sacrifice sleep, and their other commitments, to maintain their blogs and/or adhere to their blogging schedule.
- Book bloggers blog and put in all this work, mainly because (a) blogging offers them an opportunity to talk about books, (b) they love books, and (c) they love being part of a community.
- ‘Blogging work’ is more than just writing up posts and reviewing books. ‘Blogging work’ also encompasses coming up with ideas, creating graphics, and interacting with others.
- Remember, almost all book bloggers do this all for free.
However, whenever we talk about averages, book bloggers who read this and deviate from the average may feel like they are putting in too much or not enough work into their book blog. Sometimes it may feel discouraging and demoralising. If you feel this way, please be reminded that:
- The work and time and effort you put into your book blog, no matter how little or too much, is valid and enough. If you blog only 1 hour a week, that’s valid and enough. If you blog more than 30 hours a week, that’s valid and enough.
- I wrote this post with the goal of being more transparent about the work that book bloggers do, because it is not talked about enough. I promise that this post is not intended to (a) be used to measure yourself with other bloggers, and (b) to undermine book bloggers who put in little or many hours into book blogging.
- At the end of the day, book blogging is supposed to be fun, a hobby, something you enjoy doing, and/or something that means something to you! And if you love what you do, regardless of the time you spend on it, then that’s valid and I support that wholeheartedly!
I hope you all found this summary interesting, and I hope that this has been insightful. Putting this all together, I certainly learned a few things, and definitely feel humbled by the amazing work and effort book bloggers give to their book blogs, and I feel honoured to be surrounded by such incredible people.
A challenge for you all:
Tell your favourite book bloggers that you love and appreciate them today. Tell them that you love their blog! That you love their reviews! That you found a new favourite book because they talked about it! And make their day. Although book blogging is a labour of love, sometimes it’s the small things that make all the hard work feel more than worth it.
Support and contribute to the next collab!
If you feel you have learned something from this, this post did take me a long time to put together (5 hours or so!), you can support me via Ko-fi! (If you don’t though, that’s okay! Just support your favourite book bloggers! That also makes it worthwhile for me.)
Lastly, if you are interested, consider participating in my next collaborative series, where we’ll be exploring the Costs of Being a Book Blogger, you can still send in your responses! This will be published during the month of April. Deadlines for responses will be on the 17th of March. Here is the Google Form for submitting your responses!
Let’s talk about it
- Were you surprised by the summary? Was there anything that was not surprising to you?
- Bloggers who are students! How do you fit blogging into your life?
- Do you consider interacting with others to be an important part of book blogging? Why, or why not?
- What do you find interesting? What do you think are some factors that contribute to the differences in hours? I’d love to hear your thoughts!