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…
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!
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
|Google Organic Search||48%||43%|
Social Media Network Traffic Source Comparison (Sessions):
Social Media Growth Over 2017:
|Network||% Increase in Followers||% Increase in Traffic|
- 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.
- Book Club Recommendations (“evergreen” book list) – 6% of traffic (mostly Google search)
- Behind Her Eyes and THAT Ending: Spoiler Discussion – 5% of traffic (mostly Google search)
- Am I the Only One Who Didn’t Love Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine? – 4% (mostly Google search)
- Best Books of 2018 (So Far) – 3% of traffic (mostly Pinterest)
- Page Turner Books (“evergreen” book list) – 2% of traffic (mostly Google search)
Best Performing Book Reviews of 2018 (all mostly Google search)
- Behind Her Eyes and THAT Ending: Spoiler Discussion (2017 post)
- Am I the Only One Who Didn’t Love Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine? (2017 post)
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
- A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles: On Appreciating, Yet Not Loving A Book (2016 post)
- We Were the Lucky Ones: Q&A with Georgia Hunter (2017 post)
What interesting things did you learn from your reading and blogging stats? Who were your most successful recommendation sources?