I Gotta Ask: Why Comment?

Posted 13 August, 2014 | Mary @ TheBookSwarm | Discussion | 70 Comments

Why Comment?

One of the things that gives me the greatest joy when blogging, aside from talking about books with people who both get the importance of reading and the awesomeness of books, is commenting and getting responses to comments (amen for those plugins and widgets that automate that because I’m terrible about returning to a blog to see if someone responded to my comment).

I don’t have a lot of local, everyday friends who read. How I hooked up with this crowd of nonreaders, I really don’t know. I love them and have a great time with them but when I mention a recent release — a big one, mind you, like a Janet Evanovich, Diana Gabaldon or Ridley Pearson, not the UF, romance or YA I usually read — they look at me blankly then excuse themselves to get a drink or run quickly away from the crazy book lady. (I suppose it would add to my eccentric reputation if I yelled after them, “Why don’t you read, you foolish people? It’s the greatest pleasure there is, along with mind-blowing sex, a cold beer on a hot day while floating in the lake and Whole Foods’ vanilla-chocolate cake!!”) (Seriously, if I had all of those things, along with an awesome book all in one day, it would be The Best Day.) (What? I’m easy.)

ANYWAY, because I hang out with nonreaders for the most part (and students who claim not to read but, when they think I’m not looking, sneak a book they’ve had their eye on off my shelf and spirit it away. And, if/when they bring it back, will they talk about it with me? No. Of course not. We just pretend it never happened. *sigh*), I get a huge thrill when I get comments on my posts. I enjoy leaving comments on as many posts and blogs as possible. And responding to comments. And getting responses to my comments. Seriously, if I had the time, I’d comment more than I do (as would a lot of us who comment, I suspect).

There’s just so much joy when talking about a good book or a hot cover or even sharing disappointment over a book that didn’t live up to what we’d hoped. It’s what’s kept me coming back to blogging when I take a break or when I’m overwhelmed at work/life or when I’m so far behind in my reviews that I feel like I’m drowning which makes me not want to write the damn things at all. (yeah, I’m at this stage right now. And it’s probably why this is a rambling discussion post rather than another review or even a pre-squee.)

I don’t comment for new followers, though I have found some great new-to-me blogs when the blogger comments on a post of mine or leaves an interesting comment on another blog I’m reading and I trundled over to his/her blog to take a look and say hey. Personally, I always return the comment, mostly because it irritates me if I comment multiple times on someone’s blog (and I’m talking a couple of weeks’ worth not just once or twice) and that person doesn’t bother to leave me a comment or respond even once. Now, if a blog gets tons of comments, that blogger doesn’t always have the time to visit or respond to every comment for every post. I get it. Some people just want to post their reviews or whatever and be done with it. Still. Visiting those bloggers who comment on your blog even just once in a while (once a week, perhaps) isn’t going to kill you. Or don’t. That’s fine. That’s your choice. But, I have to tell you, if you don’t comment, don’t respond to comments, you’re missing out on a huge part of what makes book blogging awesome.

By commenting, you’re opening up a dialogue with fellow readers and fellow bloggers. Through visiting a variety of blogs and commenting, I’ve met some absolutely amazing people (and even had the chance to meet some of them IRL), read some fabulous posts and been introduced to more fantastic authors and books than I’ll ever have time to read (but, God help me, I’ll try!). So, I gotta ask: Why comment? And I gotta say: Why not?

About Mary @ TheBookSwarm

70 Responses to “I Gotta Ask: Why Comment?”

  1. Mary – you are so so soo right! I do have a few people around me that read and some of them even trust my recommendations! I love talking to them once they finished a book, but usually this conversation last for 2 sentences and then we move on. I do talk about books mostly with my “online” friends. I Skype with Jenny (or you!!) and there we talk about the books!

    Comments… YES I do love them, but I wish I had more time to comment. I have a limited time set aside for making comments so sometimes I just do not have so much time, I just wish I did!! I wish I could comment more because for us Book Lovers this is the moment where we could actually talk about our books!
    DannyBookworm recently posted…Pre-Squee about… If I Stay – The MovieMy Profile

  2. I completely agree, Mary. I love visiting other blogs and seeing what my fellow book lovers have to say. I’ve found fantastic blogs and learned about books that I might not otherwise have checked out. My TBR list keeps growing. (I don’t know how I’ll ever read half of these books – I’m always finding new books to check out.) And it definitely feels good when my comment is returned 🙂

    I also agree with Danny. I wish I had more time to comment, but as a student it’s hard to find time to visit every blog I want to read in a day. Or even read once professors begin swamping us with work!!
    Kris @Imaginary Reads recently posted…Review: Memory Zero by Keri ArthurMy Profile

  3. YES MARY!!!! Commenting is my very favorite thing. I know a lot of people say Twitter is the better place to begin a book discussion, and I agree to some extent, but for me nothing makes me happier than getting a meaningful comment on my blog. It’s not about getting new followers for me either, I like to feel as though I’m part of the community, and working to comment each day helps with that. That’s how I “met” you and Danny and all my closest blogging friends, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world:)
    Jenny @ Supernatural Snark recently posted…Storms of Lazarus Blog Tour: Interview + GiveawayMy Profile

  4. Interesting question. I guess I never thought about it. I too, dwell among non-readers. How they exist without that drunk happy feeling after devouring a good book is beyond my understanding. I love when people leave me comments. Especially if they’re thought provoking about the post.

  5. I don’t *think* anyone doesn’t want comments. If no one comments – it’s like blogging into a void. It’s great to get your thoughts and opinions out there but what’s the point if you can’t connect to others? That’s my favorite part of blogging and like you it’s part of what gets me through the tough times of blogging and real life.
    Karen recently posted…Tune in Tuesday…Banks, The Wind & the Wave, JamesMy Profile

  6. Amen to this post! Commenting and the discussion around reviews is more fun than writing the actual review for me. And yes I know what it’s like to get the blank book stare IRL. I want to yell out “Pick up a book you illiterate barbarian!” but then I don’t because you don’t call your besties barbarians (if you can help it).

    I actually have found SO many of my favorite blogs through reading an awesome/sassy/snarky comment of theirs on either my blog or someone else’s. I came to your blog the first time from clicking just such a comment, and boy was that ever the right move! 😀

    I do wish I had more time to comment and to find new blogs, and I’m hoping next month I’ll be back to a normal schedule. Lately I have been away traveling so much it’s been tough to keep up, so it’s kind of the summer of the binge comment for me. I’ll catch up on all my blog reading/commenting every few days and I’m sure all my blogger pals are like “why are you comment blitzing me you psycho?” But they’d never say that because they’re all too lovely and polite. 🙂 Fab post!
    Lauren recently posted…Book Review: SILVER SHADOWS by Richelle MeadMy Profile

    • Damn those illiterate barbarians! *shakes fist* I wish we could force people to read then they’d realize how awesome it is.
      I love the sassy comments — those people who have fun with their books, comments and posts are who I want to hang out with.
      And I don’t mind your crazy comment blitzes! You make me giggle (one of the reasons why I like you, girl!).
      Mary @ TheBookSwarm recently posted…Speed Date with Kate: Magic Breaks by Ilona AndrewsMy Profile

  7. Ahhh yes! I love that part of blogging too. It’s really what keeps me doing this. I enjoy hearing what everyone things, visiting their blogs and chatting there too. Even if it’s not a book I would usually go for. It’s interesting seeing what gets other people going to me 🙂

    I try to visit as many as I can and return all of them that visit but whew some days that’s hard. And if someone doesn’t reply back after a while I usually leave off their blog since I just don’t like feeling like I’m talking to a wall or dead air. It’s okay if they don’t visit me back but I still want to feel like a person is there if I drop by. lol
    anna (herding cats & burning soup) recently posted…Bound to Danger (Deadly Ops #2) by Katie ReusMy Profile

  8. I so agree with this post. There are a lot of newbie bloggers out there who haven’t figured out the importance of commenting. Not only does it help your blog but you establish long term relationships with your fellow bloggers. You get new recommendations for books and you become part of the blogging community. Yes it takes time to comment every day, but if you don’t you miss out on one of the best parts of blogging.
    Heidi recently posted…Review: Between the Spark and the Burn(Between #2) by April Tucholke and Giveaway!My Profile

  9. Yes Mary..all that! I live in a reader-less bubble and if not for all of you..I would go crazy. We have moved 7 times in my adult life, and sadly making friends-close friends after 30 is darn hard. My friends are all of you and so comments, responding and visiting are the highlight of my bookish day. Now, I do not always get to visit all the blog I want to, but I get a lot of comments on my blog and it may take me a day or two but I respond back, and visit all of them. On Sundays it can take me 5 hours to do it..but I love ya all.
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted…Our Broken Sky by Sarah HarianMy Profile

  10. I’ve recently had to cut back on commenting, (I realized I was following almost 600 blogs and trying to regularly comment on all of them!!), but I still spend a few minutes every day reading and commenting on other book blogs 🙂 It’s one of the reasons why blogging is so much fun!
    Finley Jayne recently posted…Bout of Books 11 Reading Goals!My Profile

  11. I agree with you. It may seem harsh, but I won’t comment on a blog anymore if the person doesn’t bother to reply and comment on one of my posts sometime. I prefer interacting with people that want to interact with me as well and I think it’s the sane thing for a lot of people, even though some don’t admit it. 😛 Also, they ARE missing something. 😉

    Nice discussion post and, yeah, why not? Although I’m starting school soon and maybe I won’t have the time to explore different blogs anymore (but will still comment back–always.)
    Lola @ Hit or Miss Books recently posted…❤ One Month International Blogoversary Giveaway + Mini-Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han (+ Necklace) ❤My Profile

  12. Fabulous post, Mary! I completely agree with everything. Commenting is a huge part of why I came back to blogging in the first place. I love talking about books, sharing about books, writing about books, but the blogging community is such an added special bonus I can’t simply leave behind. Comments make my day every time and it feels good when I know someone appreciates what I do. Like you, I don’t have many bookish friends outside of blogging so meeting like-minded, awesome bookish people is like a dream come true for me. 😀
    Sarah @ Smitten over Books recently posted…Review: Ghost House by Alexandra AdornettoMy Profile

  13. “I don’t have a lot of local, everyday friends who read. How I hooked up with this crowd of nonreaders, I really don’t know.”<—–THIS. Granted my two closest friends are readers, but reading is more of a secondary activity for them–if there's absolutely nothing else to do, and they're pretty much caught up on everything in their lives, then they'll read. I will smash, shove, and pummel things that need to be done out of the way in order to have MORE time to read. So of course I comment/comment back. Even if I'm not really feeling it that day, I know the joy that I and others experience talking about books, and YES, I have only been blogging for a little over six months, but I've made at least double the amount of RL friends, and communicate with these new friends more often than my RL friends. Great discussion post, Mary!
    Jessica @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Question: Do You Read More While On Vacation?My Profile

  14. We feel the same way! What we love most about the book community is all the dialogue about stories, characters, and issues that we love. Commenting and social media are the ways we engage in those conversations. 😀

    Unfortunately, community-wide, commenting seems to be at a low right now… But we’re not sweating it. Everything cycles. We’ll just keep talking in the meantime. ;P
    We Heart YA recently posted…Remembering Robin WilliamsMy Profile

  15. I think that commenting back is seen as a sort of etiquette between bloggers. But, if I treat it like I do with GR…commenting is wonderful because I can have so many conversations with people whether we find love in one book or hate in another, or just talking about books in general–to movies–to games–to becoming long lost friends with someone who lives miles and miles away.

    It’s a wonderful experience to be had
    Kat Stark @ NotYetRead recently posted…Fan Art Up! (18) – Doll BonesMy Profile

  16. I agree with you completely. Since I moved to WordPress I think commenting back to comments on my blog has been easier but it’s still hard to find time and sometimes a few days slip by before I can get to it. But I think it’s important and you’re missing out on a lot if you don’t comment or network. I wish I could do it more myself. But oh well. There’s only so many hours in the day!
    Candace recently posted…Book Review: Neurotica by Eliza GordonMy Profile

  17. Well I happened upon this and decided to read and comment 🙂
    And I so get ya! Dang people, read some books! Why do I not have friends who read? 1 book a year is not something to discuss over.

    And when I finally meet some who reads, oh they read the one thing I do not read, sigh.

    So yes I comment cos I am starved
    blodeuedd recently posted…The Thousand Names – Django WexlerMy Profile

  18. YEs Yes! I adore comments and responding to comments and visiting other peoples blogs. Like you I will respond and also if they visited me I’ll make it a point to try visiting them back also. There are some blogs that I try to hit daily because I just adore them, and their content. Others I adore them but don’t always click so well with the bulk of what their reading and so visit and try to find at least one post I find interesting to engage with them on.

    I love the community aspect of it. And yes like you if someone never wants to interact with me well then I give up because for me the blogging community is about interacting. I don’t really follow the huge bloggers because they never have time to interact and I want interaction. I may have some great local friends that read but they still aren’t as obsessed with reading as I am so I definitely find my kindred spirits online in book blogging.

    COMMENT WARS! Have at yeeee – poke poke bleeding fingers and gobbley gook spewing from the keyboard MUUWHAHAHAHA

    They steal your books huh? shameful students don’t coming out of the book reading closet lol
    Tabitha (Not Yet Read) recently posted…Fan Art Up! (18) – Doll BonesMy Profile

      I follow a ton of blogs but I don’t visit and comment on all of them every time–mostly just checking in with those big guys, commenting on the others (it’s a challenge with those who I like but, yeah, don’t always click with their content…).
      Darned students *kicks at ground*
      Mary @ TheBookSwarm recently posted…Speed Date with Kate: Magic Breaks by Ilona AndrewsMy Profile

  19. Yes, Mary! I love visiting other blog and seeing what’s up and getting tons of great ideas to add to my already overflowing tbr pile. This has become one of my favorite things about blogging – talking about the books! Of course I love getting comments and they really make my day. Sometimes life gets in the way, but I always try to visit back. LOL, there’s a few blogs I love to visit because they are so awesome as a person, even though our reading taste are usually completely different 🙂
    Kim { Book Swoon } recently posted…Adult Book Review: Maplecroft by Cherie PriestMy Profile

  20. My favorite part of blogging is reading over blogs, but I like to read blogs in chunks. I think that may be kind of weird? Like I may not read a blog for a while but then I may comment-blast. This year has been kind of awful for me with regard to blogging because we’ve had some massive changes in our family including a gigantic move that I’m trying to get us settled from, and I totally miss blogging. For me, the reading and commenting is like a stress-relief, which also may sound weird to some people, and I just MISS IT when I don’t get to visit around. Of course, visiting around is how the great discussions get started, and then the twitter-relationships, and then perhaps knowing people even more than that which is even better. I’ve loved having great HUGE email threads over book-stuff and even text threads, and all of it began over commenting. So, yes, everything you said. So much.

    I’m hoping that after a good 6-8 month period of crazy, life is settling down and I myself can begin the great book discussions again. Great discussion thoughts!
    Asheley (@BookwormAsheley) recently posted…Magnolia by Kristi Cook ReviewMy Profile

  21. I bow down to your commenting prowess. Seriously, you are amazing! And I always look forward to your faithful commenting. However, I get completely overwhelmed with the idea of doing it EVERY DAY. For me, I like to do things in chunks. I will spend days in a row only reading, or a few days writing reviews and I TRY to comment once a week, but that has been slipping this summer. I also LOVE visiting a blog and reading a bunch of posts at once there. I feel like I can take a big bite out of what the person is reading. I also start to get very stressed when I neglect commenting and I’ll stop posting. Like this week I posted monday and tuesday and decided I wouldn’t put up anything else until I could comment on other people’s blogs. I have pretty much given up replying to comments, unless they ask something specific, or I want to discuss. I just cannot do it all with my current life. I do wish everyone had a reply email, however. I much prefer replying directly to them. It makes me sad when someone is a no reply comment blogger. Thankfully, I have your email. Anyway, I just way over shared here. Let’s bring it back to the fact that I APPRECIATE YOU SO MUCH. Seriously, even my least popular posts will get at least one comment from you :). xo.
    Lauren @ Love is not a triangle recently posted…Early Review: Storm Siren by Mary WeberMy Profile

  22. Great post Mary! And I so agree about your perfect day, though I’d switch out the beer with some wine, but then I’d be set 😉 I love commenting because that’s how I get to really talk to other bloggers – and, like you, I don’t have friends who read like I do. So the blogosphere is the home to ALL of my bookish friends. I think I was scared to comment when I first started blogging because I thought bloggers would be like, “who’s that? she’s not one of ‘us'” but I’ve since learned that it was a ridiculous fear and I never hesitate to leave a comment, even on blogs I’ve never been to before. I know I love every comment I get, even if I do get behind on replying sometimes. Although, I do find it frustrating when I get a comment that was clearly left just to earn a return visit. Like “great post. here’s mine.” Did you read it? I feel like that’s missing the point – comments are to start talking with one another and share our joy. When we get bogged down with numbers and pageviews I think we really lose what bloggings all about. And I’ll stop there because, wow! long comment! LOL sorry :/
    Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun recently posted…Sunday Post | 54th EditionMy Profile

  23. I’m a commenter! Loud and proud for all to see :O. When I like a post, I will always take the time to leave a proper comment, it’s the only way to build up a network of bookish friends. And at the end of the day, that’s what we want, a 2 way conversation about the books. Otherwise we’d just keep our thoughts about books in a notebook or a private blog. If I find myself ignored on a blog, I eventually stop as there are plenty of other bloggers that I can build up more meaningful relationships with. I still visit but don’t take the time to comment. And not in a mean way, I just rather spend my time chatting with someone who wants to chat. I find also that some of my best conversations happen on twitter as so many can join in.

  24. I don’t have many friends who read either, and the ones that do aren’t interested in the books I like (YA, mainly). I love reading what other people think about those books and related topics. It can be hard to fit in commenting and replying to comments, but I do try and I love it when I get a response. That’s why I always try to reply when others comment on my blog.
    Jenna @ Rather Be Reading YA recently posted…Weekly Rewind: August 10-16My Profile

  25. When I first started blogging I didn’t realize the importance and fun of commenting, basically I expected people would find my blog and comment, but I didn’t comment on other blogs. I had trouble finding things to comment about, but while I loved bloggin then, I love it even more now that i comment and interact with other bloggers. Commenting is one of the fun thigns about blogging and I love finding new blogs or interesting posts to comment ont.

    Also just like you I don’t have much reader friends in real life, so if I want to talk about books, it has to be online.
    Lola recently posted…Sunday Post #87My Profile

  26. I agree with Trish’s comment above– I was going to say something quite similar. If you don’t bother to comment on other people’s blogs, or at least answer the comments on your own blog (that people are nice enough to take time to read and respond to), then just use Goodreads and the like, make an online folder or use a notebook to write your reviews–why make it open to the public? I know people are busy, and certainly don’t expect everyone to answer every comment, but gosh, once in a while would be nice!

    I used to follow a few, say maybe 5 bloggers, whose reviews I enjoyed and always leave a comment. I’m not working now, so I have the time to respond to each and every comment I get on my blog through CommentLuv and previously, Disqus. But when I would check back and see that the person only had a very small handful of comments and didn’t respond to any of them, or sometimes they had more than a few but just didn’t respond to me, I had to give up. Even with my extra time at home, I don’t want to “waste” time on someone who doesn’t want a give-and-take with me.
    Rita @ My Home of Books recently posted…Weekly Wrap-Up 8/16-8/18/14My Profile

  27. I am friends with a lot of non-readers too, but luckily my mom reads some of the same thing as well as my aunt. But all of our memories suck so it is usually hilarious when we try to talk about books.

  28. Your post made me laugh so much! I am in the same boat with non-reading friends I feel like shouting at. So the book bloggers community right here is where I come to for all my bookish ranting. I love receiving comments, replying to them. And love commenting on reviews, and other relevant posts like this one. It does lead to dialogues and long-lasting friendships. And I’m all for that! 🙂
    Pragya recently posted…A Letter to a Hindu by Leo TolstoyMy Profile

  29. I love comments — getting them, giving them, finding new blogs through them! I really enjoy it when a comment sparks a conversation, especially if several people get involved. I just wish I had more time for comments!

    Seriously, I do try to reply to every comment (well, except the hundreds that keep showing up on one post about possible casting for the no-longer-in-process Discovery of Witches movie.) And I try to visit the bloggers who comment. But sometimes real life gets in the way, in the form of vacations or demanding work projects (I freelance, so that can mean 12-hour days) or being sick. And then I feel awful because I’m falling behind on comments!

    P.S. I love your “Spammers suck, right” question. It’s more fun than “Prove you’re human.” ;=)
    Lark @ The Bookwyrm’s Hoard recently posted…Sunday Post – 8/17/14My Profile

    • Yeah, sometimes you have to delete or archive those old posts b/c they aren’t relevant anymore (crazy that you’re getting so many comments on that one!). I do hate when real life gets in the way — don’t they realize I have to comment?!? Sheesh. But seriously, comments make me smile. Like yours! (Spammers do suck, don’t they!)
      Mary @ TheBookSwarm recently posted…Top Off Tuesday: Alphas On Top (Various Authors)My Profile

  30. Yes, I so agree with this! Granted, I’m been terrible at commenting for MONTHS now, which makes me feel terrrrrible. I’ve just been bad at blogging in general. :/

    But overall the conversation with readers, whether it be on the blog or on twitter, is basically the best part of having a book blog. I get sad when I get 50 – 100 views on a post and there’s like… between 0 – 2 comments. I need to get back to responding to every comment, though, and perhaps that might help a bit. I wish blogger would email the people when I reply (because it still doesn’t do that, right? *out of the loop*)… I think that’s why I stopped replying, because it felt like I was talking to no one — I doubt most people go back to their comments and check for a reply, unless it was a seriously important question.
    Ashley @ Book Labyrinth recently posted…I Want It That Way by Ann AguirreMy Profile

    • Sometimes, commenting goes by the wayside for all of us, I think. Life just gets in the way. But, if you have the time, can make the time, it’s totally worth it. I’m wondering what the average of views-to-comments is on book blogs. Of course, it depends on what kind of post, how active that blogger is, and a bunch of other stuff but I’d like to see some numbers (gathered and collated by someone other than me because I suck at stats!).
      Mary @ TheBookSwarm recently posted…Top Off Tuesday: Alphas On Top (Various Authors)My Profile

  31. I know exactly what you mean-I know very few people that read paranormal books and I have really no one to discuss them with-except on blogs. I finally got my best friend to read Dannika Dark’s Sterling after a couple of years of trying and she loved it-hoping she will get the paranormal bug so we can talk more books! My problem with commenting is, there are a few blogs that out of the blue, I can not comment anymore and I feel bad.(the Google ones) Great post!
    Lorna recently posted…Review: Haven by Celia BreslinMy Profile

  32. Heh, you’ve probably figured out that my blog-reading style is a lot like Lauren’s from Love is Not a Triangle. I tend to read chunks of blogs at a time since I don’t have the time to do it daily–I SO appreciate that you are so good about clearing out your blog reader, though! It’s always nice to see you, whether you’re at TMG or whether I’m gawking at half-dressed, nipple-less men on yours.

    I agree with EVERYTHING you’ve said about the joys of connecting with fellow readers. While it gets hard sometimes with our schedules or the volume of comments we respond to, it is super, super important to me that we’re trying our best to have a conversation with our readers. I just don’t see the point otherwise. Like you said, sometimes there are some blogs that are so big (The Book Smugglers come to mind) that it would be impossible for them to keep up with their traffic, and yeah, with other blogs it’s pretty clear they just want to say what they want to say and move on. But for me, I really enjoy talking to people and right now we’re making it a priority to do it for as long as we can.

    I don’t visit blogs that only ever visit us to enter contest posts, though, and sometimes things definitely get overwhelming. Visiting other blogs really does take a long time, especially if you’re reading them (I confess to skimming posts that I’m not as interested in, or blogs where I’m trying to show support but don’t necessarily have a lot in common) and leaving non-cookie cutter comments.

    JFC, that was a long ass comment. NEVER SAY I DON’T LOVE YOU.
    Wendy Darling recently posted…Sacrifice (Elemental #5) by Brigid Kemmerer: reviewMy Profile