Friday, May 28, 2010

Book Blogger Conference via Armchair BEA

Welcome to my attempt at Book Blogger Conference ideas.  Really, at this point I'm wishing I was there to hear other folks ideas on these things.  However, here's what I have to say about writing and content on blogs.

Tips and tricks on writing good book reviews:
The best I can say is to write what you feel.  Almost all book reviews are subjective.  You as a reader had a reaction to the book and the experience of reading it.  You share those reactions and feelings in a review.  It is so difficult to say objectively something about a book, writing, story, because everyone has their own opinions on the matter and we won't all agree on what's "good" or "bad."  Therefore, I say again, tell us what you feel.  

I do reviews both of books I enjoyed and those I didn't.  If I finish a book, I review it here.  This is why I have both a "Things I Liked" and a "Things I Didn't Like" section.  I rarely have a book that doesn't have something in both categories.  I do have to make sure, however, that I'm not specifically looking for things not to like in a book.  I know it's hard work to get it published, so I don't want to be picky and talk about every small detail that bothered me.  Still, I like to be balanced.  Not everyone is going to want to do this.  Which brings me to:

Do what you are comfortable with.  Find what works best with your style and personality.  You don't have to do things the way others do.  You don't need ratings or stars or publication information.  All you really need is the title, author, and your opinion.  You will probably want more in there, but those are the basics.  Don't try to conform to someone else's standard.  Make your own.

How do I balance reviews with other content?
This is an interesting question.  Going along with my last point about doing what you want, this is kind of the same.  If you've read my blog at all, you'll know that it is heavy on the book reviews.  That is just how I want it.  The purpose for my blog is to review books.  The other content, I try to keep to a minimum, generally two non-review posts and four reviews a week.  This is definitely not going to work for every blog.  In fact, lots of the big and popular blogs have plenty of non-review content.  Another reason I decided to do this is that reviews are what I like to read.  I'll be honest, I skip lots of the TV, music, random thoughts posts on other blogs.  I'm more interested in what someone thought of a book than those other things.  I think it's a great idea to do what you want to see on other blogs.  And also balance it according to what you enjoy writing.  

I'm out of ideas what do I do now?
Read a book.
Read a book blog.

That about does it for my thoughts.  Here's hoping I may have helped someone somewhere decide something!

Feel free to leave your ideas and suggestions for these questions as well! (No, really.  I could use them.)

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. I really enjoyed this post and seeing your thought process on everything! I must say, one of my favorite things that you do in your book reviews is the "things you liked" and the "things you didn't like". I think it's so straighforward and simple and it's a great takeaway for those of us reading from home!

  2. Interesting! So, sometimes when I do my random rambly posts, I think, oh boring, but if I'm in the mood I do it anyway thinking... whatever. Then, I end up with more comments then I ever get on a review. So...then I start wondering if readers like those sorts of posts better than reviews! I'm so confused! :)

  3. Your short bit on what to do if you run out of ideas is kinda funny but true. Reading other book blogs sometimes gives you an idea for a post (not plagiarizing of course.) However if you go to comment on a post and find it's getting really long, make a blog post response instead.

  4. Amused, thank you so much! It really helps me to organize my thoughts that way too.

    Suey, I totally get more comments (well, usually) when I ramble. And I actually do like opinion posts a lot, but I have to be in the right mood and have enough time to actually read them. Most of the time, I'm in a hurry and I just read book reviews. I don't think there's anything universally right, though. Maybe that's why we are both confused. :)

    Callista, I usually do get lots of ideas from others' posts, but they don't always turn out too wonderful. Reading of any kind really gets my idea juices flowing.

  5. I like your advice to just do what feels best to YOU, and not go in with what someone else does. It's applicable, even for those of us who have been around a loooong time. (Case in point: I've been thinking that I need to give into the whole "branding" phenomenon, until Charlotte gently reminded me that I'm doing just fine as I am, mostly because I'm doing what comes naturally to me. It'd feel forced if I tried to do something different.)

  6. Melissa, I agree with what Charlotte said about yours - you are unique enough already!


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