Taking stock of the blog and making plans for 2021

Come January 2021 I will have been seriously blogging for five years – the same amount of time that I’ve been retired.  Fictionophile has come a long way in that time and I’m grateful to everyone who has ever commented, liked, or shared any of my posts.

I know that lately (since the pandemic), I’ve been seriously getting carried away with the amount of review commitments I’ve been taking on. Crazy really because I have over 200 commitments already.  In 2021 I must restrain myself DO BETTER.  For the past week or so I’ve hit a reading slump that threatens to derail all my good intentions.  I’ve begun to question how I handle things on the blog, and, more importantly, if my commitment to reading and reviewing is strong enough to satisfy my followers as well as my own personal satisfaction of delivering blog posts that are welcome and/or interesting to my readers.

Many of the posts I’ve been producing are very time intensive. Also, some parts of the way I format my reviews take longer than one might think. This makes me wonder if those aspects of the posts are valued by readers, or if they are just a waste of my time.

To find out what YOU think about Fictionophile, I’ve created a few little polls that I would love for you all to take part in. The more who take a few minutes to answer these few questions, the more I’ll get an accurate portrayal of what you would like.

Please fell free to click all options that you agree with.

Regarding frequency of Fictionophile’s posts in general:

Regarding book haul posts:

Regarding what type of posts you prefer:

Regarding book review posts:

THANKS SO MUCH for taking some of your valuable reading time to answer my polls. Your support and feedback is invaluable to me.

And, since it’s been awhile since I’ve shared a photo of my little grandson, I thought I’d include this little gem:


About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
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53 Responses to Taking stock of the blog and making plans for 2021

  1. I can’t find your polls, so maybe they are closed. Ooo, I am such a bad blog reader!

    Love the baby and the hat. Did you knit it? Or, hmmm, it might be crocheted.

    I have just the cure for an over-committed blogger who’s in a reading slump … another commitment! Seriously, I would love it if you’d review my book The Long Guest. But only if you want to. Drop me an e-mail with your mailing address, and I’ll send you a hard copy. No gifs necessary for this review.


  2. Just for future reference I was unable to see your polls when I was on my phone but it worked on my laptop. I like a mixture of different types of posts. I tend to skip review posts because I’m terrified of being spoiled for books that I haven’t read. I will however read reviews of books that I have read.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Christine Terrell says:

    You know, Lynne, it’s OK to take a couple months off till sometime after the new year then reassess everything then. That could give you new fresh perspective that is hard to conjure up right now. During the hiatus you could turn your attention to other personal loves and ambitions and see how all of those things make you feel. Surprisingly fulfilled perhaps?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. gayebooklady says:

    Lynne, as I am not a blogger and enjoy graphics (but do not know how you add them to your site) I am very uneducated with what you all do! That said I have always known you put in tons of work to make your blog (what I would call) cozy!!! The pictures, the quotes, all the lists, not to mention the reading, I have often wondered how you find the time and energy to do all this. I know your love for books and Fictionophile bring you great pleasure and it shows but, wouldn’t it be nice, to read a book just for you!? You gave birth to Fictionophile and you should do or change what you want. We will still love coming here because you are here!!🙂


  5. I love the photo.
    About your blog…I always enjoy reading it. There are times when I have gotten great book ideas from you and others when I enjoyed seeing how we each review the same title. Of course,you should do what works for you, but I would miss your blog if you stopped writing.


  6. Afternoon, Lynne. I think that many people reevaluate the way they approach their blogs, or any other creative outlet. I’ve done that. I publish fewer pieces than I used to, but still regularly enough to keep me satisfied. I wouldn’t begin to suggest to you what you should do, except to suggest that you follow your instincts.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dorothy Gracie says:

    First off, I personally love all of the graphics you add to your posts Lynne–and the super sweet pics of your adorable grandson. I realize, however, that this very time consuming for you so would understand if you decide to maybe cut down a little on that front. The dedication (and time) you put into your blog is AMAZING and should be applauded. I honestly do not know how you find the time (even with being retired) and think you should not berate yourself for one nano-second. I could say more, but I’ve run out of time (am on a tea break at work).

    Thank you, thank you, thank you,

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Kelly says:

    Aww what a perfect photo of your little guy 😍 I enjoy all of your posts, Lynne. I recognise the huge amount of time you put into each and every one of them and I don’t WANT fewer graphics or links or whatever, but I don’t NEED them either and I’m sure I’ll enjoy your posts either way. I didn’t vote for one particular type of post since I enjoy them all, and I love that you have so many different kinds.


  9. I believe your blog is the best. That it is in a slump is probably that people do not have much time to read, but I am simply guessing. Hopefully the polls will help you understand the situation better to act accordingly. I have taken the polls. I wish you all the best and positive results!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. jenanita01 says:

    Might not be a good time to start changing things… with so much change going on out in the world, I will stick to the tried and tested for now…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Kerry Swan says:

    I love your blogs and am especially impressed with the detail you add. When you reviewed Scared to Breathe I was astounded to see a picture of the old Cotswold house I had conjured up in my imagination and the bunch of keys with Black Hollow Hall on the label. This was far and away my favourite review ever. I do think you take on too many books before reading the ones you’ve committed to though. I’ve waited with bated breath for your review of Who’s There? as it’s on your reader’s challenge for 2020 but I sadly can’t see it happening now with all your new acquisitions. Don’t give up blogging. You make such a difference to us authors and the readers. I’ve bought and read several of your recommendations and have found a calibration between your tastes and mine.
    Kerena Swan

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks very much Kerry. I admit to being a real ‘greedy-guts’ when it comes to getting arcs for review. My problem is that I read a lot of other book blogs which constantly tempt me with books they’ve reviewed. I’m so weak.
      I’m determined to complete my 2020 reading challenges so rest assured that I will read “Who’s There?” before the end of the year.
      I’m delighted to learn that you’ve read some of my recommendations and that our reading tastes are similar. 😍


  12. We take on way too many tasks here too. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s so nice to find someone who writes a breath of fresh air that speaks our same truth. We somehow got overwhelmed in what we love. But, that’s okay.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. yvonnembee says:

    What a gorgeous photo of your grandson Lynne! As for your voting questions, I’ve not answered any of them because I think what you have in your blog is entirely up to you. I do love your blog but I also know how time consuming blogging can be. At the end of the day I think you do what you feel is right for you xx

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Great idea to do the polls Lynne. Thought you might like to know I tried to take part using the reader on my device, but they didn’t show up so have done it on my PC instead. Love the photo of your grandson, so cute! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Diana says:

    Such a cute photo of your grandson. All the best with your blogging plans x

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Carla says:

    Oh Lynne, he is absolutely adorable. I love your blog, everything. I love the way your do your reviews. I will be honest, I sometimes skim reviews, but not yours. I read them all the way through, but I am sure they are time consuming for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Great way to get a handle on what is working and what isn’t, Lynne. I find many of my posts way too time consuming as well and though I’ve tried to streamline them, or create a template, it seems I still spend the same amount of time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Virginia. Perversely, it is often the more time intensive posts that are the most enjoyable to create. I’m just wondering if things like purchase links etc. are valuable to readers of reviews or whether the publishers appreciate that I’ve added them to my posts. I’m full of self doubt lately…


  18. Christine Terrell says:

    May I just say that because of time commitments I have whittled my blog reading down to one blog only, and that one is yours. The variety of things you present is just outstanding, often so unique, and brings a lot of joy to me. Many times you probably don’t know I’ve been here as Word Press often throws a moneywrench into my attempts to sign in to comment, but I am indeed here for almost every post..Perhaps you need to cut back the frequency of the posts in order to keep yourself fresh and that would be fine, but I really hope you don’t have to totally retire the blog. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  19. KayCKay says:

    I can’t see any of your polls for some reason (I’m on my phone) but for me I have to say that I almost only read book reviews. I tend to skip over book haul posts and most meme posts (like first line Fridays, what I’m reading Wednesdays, etc). I’m here for book reviews, not all the other stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Carol says:

    I hope your poll results are helpful for you. I DO notice ALL the work you put into each blog post with graphics, extra visual content, formatting, etc. and yes each little thing we do takes time which adds up! Congrats on 5 years! Blogging is my retirement baby, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Carol. I’m just wondering if the extra effort is worthwhile… I’m in a complete blogging/reading slump.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Carol says:

        Time to change things up! This happened to me during my first years of teaching….I went above and beyond with all kinds of extras…..they made me happy but I was exhausted! One thing was a fish tank for the classroom that I had to maintain! Over the years I eliminated some of those things. I was still just as happy but less stressed! My students didn’t know the difference. When I retired, I certainly was a more streamlined version of myself! Anyway….. the effort you are putting into your blog is admirable and some of us 🙋‍♀️ notice it! What would happen if you streamlined those efforts? You have wonderful content always…but maybe not invest so much effort into the bells and whistles??? At least for a bit??? I think it’s good to think proactively about this before the slump becomes more. Also, maybe cutting back on commitments for a while and doing more mood reading?? I know when I feel myself getting burned out, I turn to middle grade books! During weeks I feel a bit bogged down with blogging, I give myself permission to cut back the number of posts that week. If things are dire, you could take a 2 week vacation! That’s the thing about blogging…it’s relentless! I’m sure you’ve considered everything I’ve mentioned! I’m just worried about you! Courage, Dear Heart. 😘


        • Carol I really appreciate your concern, your encouragement and your unrelenting support. Yes, some of the things that take the most time are things that I initially enjoyed. I DO think it is probably the ‘end of the year’ stress of taking on too many review commitments that has put me in this funk. Thanks so much. ♥


          • Carol says:

            You’re welcome! Yes…the end of the year takes its toll. Changing up format, too, is an idea….. discussion post, bullet list review, etc. I’ve used that strategy a few times! On a positive note, I’m soooo glad I’ve had blogging and reading to get lost in during the pandemic and our stressful election season!


          • I agree Carol. Blogging has been a welcome diversion from life’s more serious concerns. ♥

            Liked by 1 person

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