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Starting Your Own Book Review Blog

Updated on September 10, 2014

Start Your Book Blog For The Right Reasons And With The Right Expectations

I love books. Have always loved them - ever since I've read my first book at the age of 10 - The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. This book opened up for me a new world and made me realize just what is out there is for the taking - without ever leaving your home.

When you want to start a new book blog, you need to have the right reasons for it. It is not easy and there is a lot of work involved, with little monetary benefits, so your heart needs to be in the right place above all else. Here are the emotional prerequisites (from my point of view and experience) before you even start your blog.

  • Enjoy reading books

I know it sounds quite self-explanatory, but you do need to have an intrinsic love for books, whether they are paperbacks, hardcovers or e-Books. If you don't like books, if you don't like to read books, there is little point in starting a book review blog, because afterall what are you going to review if you haven't read the book?

  • Love writing

There are lots of people who enjoy reading a good book, but would never spend their time writing a review of what they have read. Reading and writing are two entirely different things. If you don't like to put down your thoughts about the book, your blog will fail before it had a chance to see the light of day.

  • Don't expect free books - at least not initially

I've seen recently a trend among new book bloggers whereby they openly admitted that they've started their blog just to get free books.

The truth is, while many book bloggers receive free books from authors, publisher houses and places like Netgalley and Edelweiss, they have worked hard on their blogs to put up content based on books they've previously bought, to bring external traffic to their blogs and to gather a social network following (Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus at least).

Unless your book reviews are good, written with your personal voice and showing a great personality, unless you have some nice traffic, and can prove that people online are following you, there is little chance of authors sending you emails with book review requests.

There is truly a lot of work involved before you start to get free books. For many people, the effort/reward ratio is just not there.

  • Don't expect huge monetary gains

This point is big. Bloggers in many industries (e.g. health, gadgets and fashion to name a few) can truly make good money with their blogs. Sponsored posts are big. However the book blogging world is different. We are the step children who nobody really cares much about. Sure, we do get a free book now and then, but that's pretty much it.

You won't find book authors or publishing houses flocking to your blog asking you to post a book review for any sum of money, and if you ever open your mouth to ask money from any author for a stellar book review, they will laugh in your face (or behind your back) and just move on to the next thousands of book bloggers who will be more than happy to get a free book for a great and honest review.

in addition, when it comes to book reviews, people will not spend much money on Amazon for the book. Most of your traffic will come from other book bloggers, who will have probably already bought the book (or got their own free copy from the author).

If you check for related keywords in Google, book reviews simply are not searched enough to warrant some good traffic, unless you have your own following from social media sites or people who have subscribed to your blog and eagerly expect your next post.

Why Should You Start A Book Review Blog?

Despite the meager earning potential for book review blogs, you will find that most bloggers are avid readers and love talking about the books they've read. Starting their own blog is just an outlet for them to journal about their favorite - or most hated books.

Also starting a blog is a way for them to connect with other like minded book enthusiasts.

There are few more passionate bloggers than book bloggers, maybe because of the lack of great monetary rewards, which means that they can be honest in their reviews, with no hidden agenda.

Book bloggers love blogging about books, it's that simple.

When you have that many books at home..maybe a book blog is in order?


So You're Ready To Start Your New Blog

If you're past the emotional hurdles and worries about starting your new book blog, and have decided that you want to go ahead anyway, here are some of the main steps to follow.

  • Decide on the theme of your blog

Will it be a blog to review a particular book genre/subgenre, or it will contain 'catch all' kind reviews? My own book blog, Mystery Sequels is very niche: it focuses on mystery novels (can indlude whodunit, thrillers, romantic suspense, etc) which have a sequel. Sure, I do review now and then standalone novels, but the majority of my reviews are for books in series.

I have met many bloggers who have started a general book review blog, and then created categories for the various genres that they would tackle.

Both ways are perfectly acceptable, but you do need to decide in advance what the theme of your blog will be.

  • Decide on your blog name

This is quite a headache starter for many. But now you see why before thinking of a blog title, you need to know what exactly you want to review on your blog. Someone with a title such as Clarrissa's Book Nook will most probably review books in various genres, as opposed to 'Mystery Sequels', which makes it clear that the books reviewed will come from a particular subgenre.

  • Get a domain for your site

A domain is crucial for your site - unless you want to host your new blog on a free site such as Blogger. Having your own domain makes it more professional land credible in the book blogging world. Afterall you will pay some money for your domain and hosting, which means you are more serious about having a long term blog, which in turn means that authors will more likely contact you with offers for book reviews.

There are many domain registrars that you can get your domain from, including Godaddy, or, etc. Godaddy is the most common registrar and it's quite easy to buy the domain from.

Of course this also means finding the right domain for your blog. While you might change the name of your blog at some point, the domain name (the URL of your blog) will be always the same, so there is some thinking to be done about getting the right one. Not that it matters lately so much, but still it will be yours, so make sure you get something relevant (maybe something with the word 'books' in it).

  • Next step is hosting

Once you have your domain name, you will want to host your new blog somewhere. There are many good hosting companies worth checking out, including the best known Hostgator. Other names worth mentioning are Dreamhost, Bluehost, Namecheap, to name just a few popular ones.

  • Set up your blog on Wordpress

Once you have your domain name secured and your hosting set up, the next main step is setting up your blog. The most popular blogging platform is Wordpress ( and there are tons of free guides online on how to set up a Wordpress blog. The steps are really easy to follow and implement.

The gist of it though is that you go to your Cpanel (you will given the link to it when you start your hosting) and install Wordpress from the Fantastico menu.

Once Wordpress is setup, you can login to your Wordpress Dashboard (you will, again, get an email on how to access your dashboard) and start working on your blog in earnest.

This is where you can write new posts, add your contact information, book review policy, an About Me page, add various useful plugins and publish your reviews.

Even if it seems overwhelming at first, just do one bit at a time - one thing every day and before you know it, you will be well on your way to creating great book reviews of your favorite novels.

Setting Up Your Blog With Wordpress

A Great Instructional Video on Setting Up A Blog From Scratch

I found the video above a few months ago and bookmarked it because it's really useful. It goes indepth into getting your domain, hosting with Hostgator and setting up your first blog with Wordpress.

The video is quite long, but worth a watch. Of course the blog setup in that video won't be a book blog, however the setup is the same. What makes it different is the content added to it.

Do you have a book blog?

Do you have a book blog or are you considering starting one?

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Further Tips on Book Blogging

There is a special mindset that's needed to start a book blog.

  • Treat your blog as a hobby and everyone else will treat it as such as well

The way you treat your blog will influence how others will see it too. If you want authors and publishing houses to contact you with book review request (hint hint this includes free books), then your blog should have a professional look and top notch reviews (i.e. spelling and grammar, sentence structure and organized thought in your reviews).

  • Get involved in the book lovers community

This means interacting with other blogs and book sites, but also getting involved in various book readers communities such as Goodreads and similar. Overall leave relevant comments on related posts, participate in guest posting, and read other blogs more than just scanning their latest blog titles.

  • Be patient

I know that secretly most book bloggers started with at least one goal in mind: to receive free books to read. The free books will come, but you have to be patient. As I've mentioned above, your blog needs to grow first, you need to have at least some traffic to your site and some followers from the various social networking sites. Your blog has to prove itself before the freebies will come.

  • Write write write

You need to write regularly. If an author or a publisher visits your blog, they want to see that you update it on a regular basis. A blog with daily book reviews has a much greater chance of getting access to free books than a blog that posts twice monthly. You need to be consistent and regular in your posting.

If you follow these tips, your blog has a much greater chance at success and visibility in the book world than an obscure, rarely updated blog that is sitting in self-induced exile from the rest of the world.

What other tips can you give to new book bloggers?

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    • kislanyk profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Cyprus

      If you like writing online, I'm sure you will enjoy writing reviews of books you've read and liked. It's a natural extension of it :)

    • Adventuretravels profile image


      4 years ago from UK

      I wonder if I would enjoy writing about the books I read - and wonder who would want to read my blog! You have given me lots to think about -thanks.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 

      4 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      These were interesting tips on having a book blog. I do not have one but I write book reviews on Googreads. I have a blog were I aim to post a weekly, chat about the times we live in, and add my latest hub entries in there.

    • BrianRS profile image

      Brian Stephens 

      4 years ago from France

      Seems like we have something in common, I have a book blog and help authors with the technical aspects of getting published. So great that we have made contact here. Your tips and advice are excellent by the way.

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 

      4 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      Your own book review blog seems to be quite successful, it's easy to see when a blogger writes about what passionate her

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      You are very welcome. I just told the truth-p-you are a very talented writer and good person. I am thankful to have found you on HP. I love your work.

      I hope I can learn something from you to make my hubs more enjoyable and look better.

      And Thank YOU too, for the cherished-following. I really mean it.

    • profile image

      Donna Cook 

      4 years ago

      Terrific explanation! I love to write reviews-products, books, movies, and music. I hope to start a blog about it but I'm afraid it would need to focused on each area.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Terrific tip about niching a book review site. Halfway through your article I slid over to GoDaddy and put my money where my mouth is.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 

      4 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Great advice here! I've written quite a few book reviews because I love to share books I've enjoyed. Blogging about it is a good possibility!

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 

      4 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      I took your advice earlier! Thanks

    • CMHypno profile image


      4 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Thanks for all the great tips and information on writing a book review blog. I do have a small one already, but commit the cardinal sin of not posting very often. But even with the few posts I put up and using blogger I get traffic, so can see the potential if I put a bit more effort behind it

    • kislanyk profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Cyprus

      Thank you everyone for your kind comments and encouragements. Jodah, I will keep adding a big quality pic at the top in mind. Right now I don't really know what image would go well for a topic on book blogging, but I'll keep searching for ideas.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Very informative hub kislanyk, and essential reading for anyone contemplating starting a book blog. I admit to being a book addict and I do read book reviews but have never attempted to write one. I would easily have over 1000 novels in my collection. I read regularly but will never get through them all in my lifetime, because I keep acquiring more every time I visit a second hand store.

      This is a quality first hub and I can see you will do well here. My only advice would be to possibly include an appealing image at the top of the hub to help attract readers. Voted up and shared.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Well said. Thanks for sharing. Mine is DrBillsBookBazaar on Blogger. Stop by any time.

    • profile image

      Sadie F Skyheart 

      4 years ago

      very informative! :-)

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 

      4 years ago from Canada

      Looks like brilliant information. I was surprised (but really should not have been) to see that people start blogs for free books. Where I live access to books is pretty easy and inexpensive at the public library, through sales, etc....

    • chef-de-jour profile image

      Andrew Spacey 

      4 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

      Thank you for this, some useful information on setting up and starting off a book review blog. I occasionally review books and find it an interesting challenge - when I'm ready to start a blog I know just where to look for help!

    • mactavers profile image


      4 years ago

      Great Information. Typically the book review Hubs I have posted get 200 or less views, but I do enjoy writing them.


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