2016 has been a busy year here at Books and Beyond Reviews. There have been a lot of changes in many ways, and I look forward to seeing what 2017 has in store for my blog. But let’s take a little look back at where things began.
Early Beginnings – 2015
I started this blog back on the 23rd of April 2015. It wasn’t originally called Books and Beyond Reviews either. It started life as L-Space Books – a reference to the works of Sir Terry Pratchett. I am a huge fan of his Discworld series, and wanted to start a blog to review all of the books within the epic fantasy series as I read my way from the very beginning. That first 8 months or so were a slow start to the blog; I published some 14 posts, and in return saw 719 individual visitors viewing the website some 908 times.
A New Year – 2016
2016 started off in very much the same way, continuing my read through of the Discworld series. But things in my mind were set to change as far as the course this blog would take. I renamed the blog to Books and Beyond Reviews, reflecting my feeling that it shouldn’t just be about the Discworld books. In fact, I only reviewed a further six Discworld books in 2016, the penultimate and final of these split by something different. But these were still all books I owned. I felt that I needed something to really push the blog on, get it noticed, and taken a bit more seriously. I needed to start reviewing books by authors I didn’t know, books I didn’t own. I signed up to NetGalley, and started requesting a range of books, reading my way through them and publishing my reviews.
This added depth to the blog, and, so I hoped, added credibility to it with some reviews being good, some bad. I noticed other blogs featured a Contact Us page, and had a review policy – what genres they reviewed, how they scored, all things I hadn’t until then had. These were added, though I had no expectation to get anything coming through the contact form. I continued to use NetGalley. A chance email with a publisher led to an interview with an author, and a new blog feature was born. A third feature, spotted on another blog was also added – the Friday Face-Off. This was something fun, and took place every week.
As I continued to read and review books, take part in the Friday Face-Off and interview a few authors here and there, I started getting emails through from publishers and authors wanting me to review their books. I was over the moon to be asked! I have now received a respectable number of requests, and in some cases built up strong working relationships with a few publishers, PR and publicists and authors that I hope will continue. 2016 saw the blog receive more than double the number of unique visitors, 1847, and more than treble the views – an impressive 3116!
Looking Ahead – 2017
Things look very good for 2017, and I am truly excited to see where the blog goes from here. I hope to keep growing, and building relationships with authors and publishers to add to my list of books to be reviewed. All three of my regular features, Book Reviews, Author Interviews and Friday-Face Off will be returning for 2017. On that note, they will all feature a slightly new look. All of my posts to date have had a header image, usually a cover image, which sadly sometimes stretches and distorts.
Well I have been lucky enough to have a bespoke header image for each feature created for me by the talented Michael Forrest. All future posts in any of these features will proudly display the new artwork, and I will be working on adding them to all past posts, too. In the meantime, enjoy this first look at them, and let me know what you think! Thanks for all your support, and I hope to keep you around going forward!