My 2018 Reading and Blogging Stats

2018 Reading Stats

I’m a little late with these stats…because I’ve been working hard on getting the podcast ready for launch (it launched last week, check out Episode 1 with Georgia Hunter if you haven’t already!). But, better late than never. And, putting this post together was a breeze compared to last year because my Rock Your Reading Tracker had been automatically compiling these stats for me throughout the year (it’s available for purchase for $14.99 here).

  • Though I didn’t reach my 2018 reading goal, I’m incredibly happy with my reading year!
  • I loved way more of the books I read than I did last year (as the numbers show below) and, when it came time to put together my Best Books of 2018 list, I had a number of contenders for the top spot (I settled on Waiting for Eden).
  • As many of you know, I totally changed the way I picked books this year…moving from publisher’s catalogs and traditional media’s “most anticipated books of the year” lists to tracking my best and worst recommendation sources and trying to read books those people had already vetted…and it worked!
  • My successful books attempted increased by almost 50% over last year!

Let’s dig into the numbers…

Reading Stats

2018 Quantity Goal

For the first time ever, I fell 4 books shy of my reading goal of 100 books…and I didn’t care at all. When December rolled around, I gravitated towards some backlist books I’d been really excited to read that, while not overly long, were not the borderline novella type of books you normally try to pack in to reach your reading goal. I also started a 26 hour audiobook (Helter Skelter) in mid-December. And, I loved my December reading…I wouldn’t change any of it just to reach my reading goal.

2018 Quality Goal (% Successful Books)

I personally view a “successful” book as a 3.5 rating or higher. 64% (83 of 130 books attempted, which includes DNFs) of my 2018 books were “successful.” Last year, this number was 43% and my goal for 2018 was to break 50%…so, yay!

This year, I also tracked my % of Successful Books I Finished which removes the DNF’s from the equation…and ended up with 86% successful books finished! 

My 2019 Goal

Y’all, I’m not setting a quantity goal for 2019. Yep, that means no little counter thing to monitor on Goodreads. I want to focus solely on a quality goal, which will be 65% Successful Books Attempted and 85% Successful Books Read. Why am I exiting the Goodreads goal race? Because I was totally satisfied with my 2018 reading year despite not achieving my Goodreads quantity goal! I’ll still track how many books I read…I just won’t be pushing for a specific target.


The only real change in my genre breakdown from last year is that I read slightly more general fiction and slightly less nonfiction than last year. That makes sense because I listen to a lot of my nonfiction on audio and my audiobook listening fell in 2018, mostly due to my podcast listening (more details on that below). Historical Fiction, Mysteries / Thrillers, YA, and Short Stories all stayed consistent compared to last year.


I listened to 21 audiobooks this year, 22% of my overall reading. This is down from 26% last year…I think because I started listening to even more podcasts this year. 


I read 25 backlist books (26% of my reading) this year…down from 32 last year. I usually listen to a lot of my backlist books on audio, so it doesn’t surprise me that my backlist books are down since my audiobook listening was down.


I read 31 debuts…32% of my overall reading. I love debuts, so I’m not surprised at this number.


Y’all know I’m not afraid to DNF a book I’m not enjoying (life is too short and John Irving says it’s OK!). I DNF’d 34 books in 2018…28% of the books I attempted to read. I didn’t track this number last year, so I don’t have anything to compare it too, but I’ll be interested to see how 2019 stacks up.

Publishers / Imprints

  • Knopf,  after falling to the #3 spot last year, is back on top as my most successful publisher! Now…if they would only approve me for galleys on Netgalley and Edelweiss!
  • Simon & Schuster held it’s same spot from last year.
  • Random House was my runaway favorite imprint last year, but dropped to third place this year.
  • Last year, I had 9 publishers in the top 3 spots (via ties). This year, the top spots were much more centralized. BUT, this year, I read way more successful books from smaller publishers and I read from a lot more publishers than last year (i.e. I read at least one successful book from 38 different publishers this year).

Longest Book Read

Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris (707 pages)…which I read in little snippets over the course of months! 

Shortest Book Read

Heating & Cooling by Beth Ann Fennelly (111 pages)…a gem of a memoir!

Diversity Stats

I don’t set particular diversity goals, but I am interested in seeing where my reading naturally falls…

78% of my 2018 reading was by female authors (up from 73% last year) and 80% of my Best Books of 2018 were by female authors.

11% of my 2018 reading was by POC authors, compared to 15% last year.

Blog Traffic Stats

For the second year in a row, I focused on continuing to build my Pinterest presence (it’s my #1 social media traffic source, but my traffic from it fell 22% this year), growing my email subscriber list (which more than doubled in 2018), and spending more time on Instagram (more than doubled my followers in 2018). And, I’ll continue to focus on these three social media sources in 2019.

This was the first full year I’ve focused much on Instagram. It’s hard for me (despite loving the #bookstagram community) because I read almost exclusively on my Kindle, so I don’t have lots of pretty hardcovers to photograph. But, I’m working on it. Last year, I said Instagram “doesn’t directly drive a lot of traffic to my blog” and I’m happy to say that changed this year…with my blog traffic from Instagram increasing 825% from last year. 

But, organic search traffic is still king!

Overall Traffic Source Comparison (Sessions):

Top 5 Sources 2018
% Traffic
% Traffic
Google Organic Search 48% 43%
Pinterest 14% 21%
Direct 13% 12%
MadMimi Email 11% 5%
Facebook Mobile 3% 2%
Instagram 1% N/A

Social Media Network Traffic Source Comparison (Sessions): 

Top Networks 2018
% Traffic
% Traffic
% Traffic
Pinterest 74% 79% 69%
Facebook 15% 10% 17%
Twitter 6%  7%  8%
Instagram  5% N/A N/A

Social Media Growth Over 2017: 

Network % Increase in Followers % Increase in Traffic
Twitter  11%  576%
Facebook  21%  38%
Pinterest  156%  (22%)
Email Subscribers  130%  150%
Instagram  125%  825%

Blog Stats

Key Takeaways

  • Most of my top blog posts were not written in 2018.
  • For the third year in a row, “Sticky content” (i.e. recommendation lists like Book Club Recommendations and Page Turner Books) performed well via Google Search and Pinterest. These pages reside in my main menu and are constantly updated with new books.
  • My Book of the Month commentary posts were in the top 10 every single month, which I’m glad to see because they’re a lot of work in a short time period!
  • 3 of my best performing book reviews are of really popular books that I didn’t love. Where the Crawdads Sing and We Were the Lucky Ones, both books I did love, got boosts from special events (Reese Witherspoon picking Crawdads for her book club and the paperback release of We Were the Lucky Ones).

Pageviews / Unique Visitors

My traffic’s growth was much slower this year than last year (last year, pageviews grew 70% from 2016 and unique visitors grew 57%).

  • Pageviews increased 17% over 2017. 
  • Unique Visitors increased 7% over 2017. 
  • My best months (by pageviews) were July, May, and January (in that order). This is interesting because it’s completely different than last year. Last year, I had a post go viral on Pinterest in February and then October and November unsurprisingly performed well. The Fall (when many big books are published) wasn’t as great for me this year…while the summer improved considerably.

Best Performing Posts/Pages of 2018

Y’all, only one of these posts was actually written in 2018. Not good.

Best Performing Book Reviews of 2018 (all mostly Google search)

What interesting things did you learn from your reading and blogging stats? Who were your most successful recommendation sources?

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  1. I hope it’s not too late for 2018 stats because mine won’t be up until Thursday. It takes me forever to make stats look pretty enough for a blog post. I still haven’t figured out how to get traffic from Instagram. Most of mine comes from Google and Twitter.

    Posted 1.8.19 Reply
  2. Next year I’m going for the number one spot, and I already have one with The Dreamers! 🙂

    So many great stats here. I’m impressed with everything you’ve analyzed, especially all the referral stats. I need to take a closer look at that and eek out some growth this year. Nice job!

    Posted 1.8.19 Reply
  3. renee wrote:

    I’m with you on the instagram dilemma of not having pretty book pics! I’m letting that struggle go this year and my pics will continue to be boring Kindle of iPad ones:) We’re similar on our average ratings, I think mine was a 3.84. I need to check on my top publishers but I’m pretty sure it will be William Morrow and possibly Simon & Schuster

    Posted 1.8.19 Reply
  4. Susan wrote:

    I don’t blog but I did keep a book journal,log last year. I was surprised that I ended up reading 102 books a high percentage was mystery/thrillers/police procedurals as that is my favorite genre. I also read mostly women but I did read 15 male authors last year.
    After reading this post I went through and found that I had 22 C books, 53 B books, and 25 A books. In spite of all that I had a really hard time figuring out what was my “favorite” book of the year. I ended up breaking it down into different categories. No one book stood out for me last year but I still had a great year of reading.

    Posted 1.8.19 Reply
  5. I love stats like this but don’t keep good enough records and don’t want to spend the time compiling my own. I can barely keep up with my blog so spend very little time on social media.

    Posted 1.8.19 Reply
  6. Really interesting Sarah! Thx for sharing. Gives me a lot to think about.

    Posted 1.8.19 Reply
  7. Brittany wrote:

    I wonder if part of the reason the most popular posts aren’t from 2018 is because so much of your reading is debuts, ARCs, etc. A lot of people who aren’t directly in the book world or book bloggers may not have access to some of these titles for a while. I know I read a lot more backlisted books than newer books, so I sometimes look up your reviews of older books.

    Posted 1.9.19 Reply
  8. Love your infogram! I also really like your idea of having a quality goal instead of quantity goal. I might steal that idea 🙂

    Posted 1.9.19 Reply
  9. I just want to say, high-five to a fellow not-afriad-to-DNF reader! hahaha

    Posted 1.9.19 Reply
  10. I found this post fascinating. Probably because I have a math degree. Now I’m really curious what your numbers for organic search vs Pinterest are. Pinterest is king right now for us, but our SEO numbers have been taking gigantic leaps every 6 weeks or so, so who know what things will look like by the end of next year. By the way, we am totally going to copy this next year and look at percentage increases for all our channels.

    Also, I’m totally going to go stalk your blog now.

    Posted 1.9.19 Reply
  11. Very cool stats, as always! It seems like you did a lot of work to increase your traffic this year and it also seems like it really paid off. Awesome!

    Posted 1.14.19 Reply
  12. Beth F wrote:

    I love reading stats, but am too lazy to do much analysis.

    Posted 1.14.19 Reply
  13. I don’t exactly track DNFs either. But now I’m curious what percentage they were for last year.

    Posted 1.14.19 Reply
  14. It’s really interesting to see that much of your traffic came from searches! I am seeing more activity from that, though most of mine is still coming from one pin that went viral about two months ago. (I’m riding that train as long as I can!) I definitely need to do more with Pinterest to help drive traffic. Also interesting to see your Twitter stats. I just jumped on Twitter recently and I’m having a hard time keeping up with it since I can’t post throughout the day easily (I work a “day job” and can’t be bloggy during that time). I’ve had very little traffic from Twitter, and I’m wondering if it’s worth the effort, other than tagging authors/publishers when I post new content.

    Thanks for sharing your stats and goals! My main goal is to grow my subscribers so I (presumably) have a constant set of readers. I also am not holding myself to a reading goal or readnig only what’s new and hot. I just want to read whatever catches my attention. 🙂

    Posted 1.16.19 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      A viral pin does wonders! I just wish it was more predictable! I’m always surprised by what takes off on Pinterest and how long the ride lasts. I do find that viral posts via search results have a much longer ride than viral pins. Do you use Tailwind? That helps me so much with Pinterest! I don’t put much effort into Twitter…just schedule my posts and log in to respond to mentions once a day for a few minutes.

      You’re welcome and enjoy your free range reading!

      Posted 1.17.19 Reply
  15. download wrote:

    Great post.

    Posted 8.8.19 Reply

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