I’ve never been happier to have my reading stats compiled in my reading tracker than this year. It was such a weird one for everything, but also for my reading and I felt all kinds of ways about how my reading went this year.
Some of those “feelings” were shown to be true in my stats, while others were disproven. It just goes to show how your brain can tell you all kinds of things that may or may not be accurate.
- I read more this year than I thought I did. I felt like I had no alone time to read and was completely distracted mentally for much of the year, but somehow I read about the same amount of books as last year (a year that I considered an “excellent reading year”).
- My reading “quality” was also similar to last year, but I read less 5 star books. I think this might be why 2020 feels like a less successful reading year for me.
- The way my reading really differed from last year was by genre. I read less of what normally works for me and more genres I don’t usually read much of.
- And, I’m DNF’ing less and less books every year. Does that mean I’m getting better at picking books I’ll enjoy?!
Putting this post together was a breeze compared to years ago 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).
Let’s dig into the numbers…
Quality and Quantity
2020 Quality Goal (% Successful Books – rated at least 3.5 stars)
I’m shocked that my reading quality stats are so similar to last year because my 2020 reading did not feel as successful as last year. I was distracted and overwhelmed much of the year and felt like becoming engrossed in a good book was harder than usual. But, the numbers don’t lie and experiences like this are one of the reasons I love tracking my reading.
% Books Attempted that Were Successful (includes DNFs)
- 68% (77 of 113 books attempted)…exactly the same as last year.
- Surpassed my goal of 65%.
% Books Finished that Were Successful
- 86% (77 of 90 books finished)…slightly down from 88% last year.
- Barely surpassed my goal of 85%.
My 2021 Goal
For the second year in a row, I’m not setting a quantity goal and am going to focus solely on a quality goal, which will be the same as the past two years 65% Successful Books Attempted and 85% Successful Books Read.
2020 Reading Quantity
For the second year in a row, I didn’t set a reading quantity goal and I don’t think I’ll ever resume setting one. I hate the feeling of chasing a specific number and letting my progress against that number influence my reading choices.
I did track how many books I read (90)…one more than last year. I think the 85-95 book range is my comfort zone as long as I’m running the podcast (which significantly cuts into my reading time).
Picking Better Books
Over the past few years, I’ve been tracking my best and worst recommendation sources as well as my top publisher imprints. Knowing my best recommendation sources and top publishers helps me know who to pay attention to when looking for books that best fit my reading taste. There is so much clutter out there, so knowing which voices speak to my particular taste helped me improve my reading quality 43% since before I started tracking these things! My 2021 Reading Tracker can help you track your recommendation sources and publishers / imprints and is available for purchase for $14.99!
|Recommendation Source||Success Stats||Top Books|
|TBR, etc.||90% (10 Successful, 1 Unsuccessful)||
|Happiest When Reading||90% (10 Successful, 1 Unsuccessful)||
|Gilmore Guide to Books||81% (13 Successful, 3 Unsuccessful)||
|Liz Hein||83% (10 Successful, 2 Unsuccessful)||
|Novel Visits||75% (18 Successful, 6 Unsuccessful)||
- Wow! My top recommendation sources changed a fair amount in 2020.
- Annie Jones, Anne Bogel from Modern Mrs. Darcy and What Should I Read Next?, and Read it Forward all fell out of my Top 5.
- Tina at TBR, etc, Catherine at Gilmore Guide to Books, Liz Hein at @lizisreading_ (and a podcast patron), and Carla at Happiest When Reading all jumped into my Top 5.
Publishers / Imprints
|Imprint||Success Stats||Successful Books|
|Random House||100% (6 Successful, 0 Unsuccessful)||
|Knopf||88% (7 Successful, 1 Unsuccessful)||
|St. Martin’s Press||80% (4 Successful, 1 Unsuccessful)||
|Riverhead||67% (4 Successful, 2 Unsuccessful)||
|William Morrow||75% (3 Successful, 1 Unsuccessful)||
- Random House, Knopf, and William Morrow all stayed in my Top Imprints from last year. Those three are starting to show some consistency for me.
- Though Random House beat out Knopf for my top spot, more of my best books of the year contenders came from Knopf (The Knockout Queen, Stray, Sea Wife). My successful Random House books were more “really likes” rather than “loves.”
- I’m starting to learn which imprints to look to for which types of books:
Genres was the way my reading changed most in 2020. I was reading more of certain types of books that don’t normally work for me and less of my go-to genres.
- My reading was 62% Fiction / 38% Nonfiction.
- I read 32% LESS Contemporary / Literary Fiction than in 2019 (44%). While this was still my #1 genre in 2020, it was by a much smaller margin than usual.
- I read 700% MORE YA than I did in 2019 (1%). This is the genre that usually doesn’t work for me, but really did work in 2020. YA tends to take less concentration than adult fiction and I needed books that were easy on my brain (from a writing style perspective) this year.
- I read 58% MORE Mysteries & Thrillers than I did in 2019 (12%). I think these worked for me for the same reason YA did. Note: I broke out Mysteries & Thrillers into separate genres for the first time in 2020, so I recombined them for comparison purposes here.
Audiobooks (and format breakdown)
I’m actually shocked to see that my audiobook percentage increased by 14% (27% vs. 21% last year). Though that’s not a massive jump, I felt like I had less listening time because I was alone in my house a lot less this year (actually never…thanks, COVID-19) and that’s when I normally listen to audiobooks. I’m glad the numbers proved me wrong!
I read 22 backlist books (24% of my reading)…a slight increase from last year, but not the increase I was looking for.
One of my informal reading goals last year was to read more backlist (something I love reading, but have trouble making time for in practice) since my backlist % has been falling over the past few years. I even took a practical step to give me a “reason” to make time for backlist (launching monthly bonus podcast episodes for my patrons where I share my own book recommendations in the same format as the regular show…which includes 2 backlist picks). You can get these bonus episodes and more goodies by supporting the podcast on Patreon for $5 /month. I want to do better in 2021.
I read 26 debuts…29% of my overall reading (down from 35 debuts, 39% of my reading last year).
I’m not sure why I read so many less debuts this year, but the quality of the ones I did read was high (45% of my overall Best Books of 2020 list was debuts!).
Do you see that, y’all?! My DNF’s continue to fall each year. This year I DNF’d 20% of books attempted), down 8% from last year (25, 22% of my books attempted) I’m going to hope that’s because I’m getting better at choosing books I’ll enjoy!
Longest Book Read
Wanderers by Chuck Wendig (800 pages…my longest book from last year was only 532 pages!)…a fast-moving backlist dystopian novel that I read on vacation.
Shortest Book Read
The Loyalties by Delphine de Vigan (192 pages)…a book I would’ve DNF’d had it been longer.
I didn’t set a particular a diversity goal in 2020, but I absolutely made it a priority to read more books by BIPOC authors and diverse stories. And, I’ll continue this effort moving forward.
74% of my 2020 reading was by female authors (almost exactly the same as 2019) and 100% of my Best Books of 2020 were by female authors (the first time this has ever happened).
31% of my 2020 reading was by BIPOC authors, compared to 12% last year (increase of 159%). 44% of my books read were diverse books (i.e. about diverse topics and/or people), compared to 25% last year (increase of 78%).
This is the first year I’ve been able to compare year over year podcast growth since 2019 was the podcast’s first year. The podcast is growing nicely, but not quite as quickly as it did last year. Is this normal for a newish podcast? I have no idea!
But, I’m happy with the 2020 growth rates, especially considering I had to switch to a bi-weekly schedule starting in June and was unable to return to weekly episodes this Fall like I did last year.
(average from episode drop date)
|2020 Growth from
Ep. 1 – Top Episode of 2019
|1 Day||75% increase||590% increase|
|7 Day||82% increase||369% increase|
|30 Day||43% increase||210% increase|
Your Favorites (via Instagram and Facebook votes):
1) Ep. 56: Holly Root (Literary Agent) on Rise of Rom-Coms & Publishing in Coronavirus Era
2) Ep. 64: Catherine Adel West (author of Saving Ruby King) and Ep. 66: Kate Stayman-London (author of One to Watch)
3) Seasonal Book Previews (Episodes: 41, 53, 60, 65)
My Personal Favorites (in no particular order):
Aside from the Seasonal Book Previews because obviously…
- Ep. 56: Holly Root (Literary Agent) on Rise of Rom-Coms & Publishing in Coronavirus Era
- Ep. 64: Catherine Adel West (author of Saving Ruby King)
- Ep. 66: Kate Stayman-London (author of One to Watch)
- Ep. 62: Book Marketing with Morgan Hoit (@nycbookgirl)
- Ep. 54: Sarah Pekkanen & Greer Hendricks (co-authors of You Are Not Alone)
My focus changed drastically in 2020. In 2019, I still really tried to balance my blog with my podcast, but the blog took a major backseat in 2020 (both to the podcast and to Instagram). This was a strategic decision that arose out of necessity (I didn’t have the time to do all 3 of these things well) and will continue into 2021.
I will continue to post certain recurring features on my blog (but, I won’t be doing much beyond this):
- Monthly “Books to Read (and Skip)” posts
- Book of the Month commentary posts
- Monday “What I’m Reading Now” posts
- Backlist Review Round-Ups
- Audiobook Review Round-Ups
- Best Books of the Year lists
Best Performing Posts/Pages of 2020 (regardless of publication date)
Like previous years, evergreen book lists (that I continually update) and spoiler discussion posts continue to do well. And, I’m thrilled that my Summer Reading Guide finally made my top 5 posts of the year (surprisingly, this is the first time this has happened!).
- Book Club Recommendations (“evergreen” book list) – 4.5% of traffic (mostly Google search)
- Best Books of 2019 – 4% of traffic (mostly Pinterest)
- 2020 Summer Reading Guide – 3% of traffic (Email, Instagram, Direct, and Pinterest)
- Books That Are Light and Smart (i.e. The Best of the Brain Candy “evergreen” book list) – 2% of traffic (mostly Google search)
- Page Turner Books (“evergreen” book list) – 2.5% of traffic (mostly Google search)
Best Performing Posts/Pages Published in 2020
- 2020 Summer Reading Guide – Email, Instagram, Direct, and Pinterest
- January 2020 Books to Read (and Skip) – Email, Google Search, Instagram, and Direct
- May 2020 Books to Read (and Skip) – Email, Google Search, and Direct
- Book of the Month May 2020 Selections – mostly Google Search
- Book of the Month June 2020 Selections – mostly Google Search
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What interesting things did you learn from your reading and blogging stats? Who were your most successful recommendation sources and publishers?