5 Things My Favorite Book Bloggers Do

5 Things My Favorite Book Bloggers Do: What Makes Me What to Read Your Blog
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Write Informative Reviews

I’ve posted about how I think it’s possible for a book blog to not have any reviews at all, but I’ve also written about why I think book reviews really aren’t going away and personally…I like reading reviews on book blogs. Specifically, I like reading medium to long reviews that really get into the heart of the book, what’s working and what’s not and why. I also like to know about the themes or any interesting questions the book raises, since that’s the most interesting thing to me, not necessarily whether the plot is fast or the characters are witty. Reviews that are actually mostly summary or that are too short to really help me decide whether I’d like the book are less interesting to me.

Write Discussion Posts

I think unique and thoughtful discussion posts are what really help certain blogs stand out and brand themselves. Specifically, I love blogs where the discussions go beyond common topics like “Do you comment back on other blogs?” and “How many books do you read at once?” to address questions I might not have thought about myself or that I haven’t already seen a dozen other bloggers discuss.

Include Evidence in Their Posts

This is apparently a bit controversial, as the one time Krysta talked about including evidence in blog posts and backing up claims, a lot of people disagreed and said blogging is just a hobby and not an academic endeavor, so they didn’t need to do research. However, “evidence” is a broad term, and mostly what I mean is that I like to see bloggers support what they’re saying. In a review, this is as simple as giving an example or explanation of why, “The main character is whiny.” If the reviewer gives a quote or explains a scene where they think the character is whiny, this is helpful to me.

For discussion posts…more research might be necessary, and I appreciate bloggers who put in the time to do that. There’s a lot of incorrect information on the Internet and that can bleed into the book blogosphere. A blogger who does research is less likely to make incorrect claims like, “Children’s books are not priced cheaper than adult books” or “Libraries don’t pay a lot of money for ebooks,” and I love following bloggers whose posts I can trust.

Elaborate on Their Lists

Books lists are a really fun part of the book blogosphere, and I love when bloggers go beyond simply listing titles to explain more about the books they have chosen for the list. For example, has the blogger read the books on the list and what are their opinions on them? Or was the list mostly curated by Googling something like, “Books set in Antarctica,” and the blogger doesn’t really know much about them or whether they recommend them?

Write Posts They’re Passionate About

I’ve seen some complaints that (in particular) big bookstagram accounts and big booktubers often seem to be more about marketing than sharing a love of books, and while I think this is less common in book blogging, I do think readers can tell when someone is writing posts they love and when they’re writing posts they think will get traffic. My favorite book bloggers write about topics they’re passionate about, even if those things aren’t the best for getting page views, and it helps their blogs seem vibrant and unique.

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Conclusion

I think a common theme among these points is that I like following blogs where I feel I am getting valuable content. For me, blogs are about reading, learning, and discussing, and my favorite bloggers give me robust information that I can think about, form an opinion about, and engage in conversation with them about. Again, this does not in any way mean I am expecting book blogs to be academic blogs with a bunch of sources and a Works Cited at the end, but I do appreciate blogs where I feel I’m getting unique perspectives and voices and informed content that might not be getting elsewhere.

Briana

20 thoughts on “5 Things My Favorite Book Bloggers Do

  1. Alice @ Love For Words says:

    Great piece!!! It’s not a type of post that we see often, and yet it’s so useful. If small blogs want to grow, they have to learn from the big ones (not sure if this is why you wrote the post, but that’s what I wish to keep from it).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Georgiana says:

    I totally agree with your conclusion – valuable content is the core! I also like it when bloggers touch upon other cultural topics that are (or not) book related (theatre, for instance).

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  3. Miri ♪ Book Dragoness ♪ says:

    Ooh that’s interesting about discussion posts and evidence because I never thought of it…but now it does make sense certainly. I don’t think I’m looking for super-duper official citations but I agree that it’d be excellent to see discussion posts link back to their sources. Sometimes for something more opinion-based though, I kind of give less importance to more “academic” evidence.

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    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      Yes! I think people see the word “evidence” and freak out that it sounds very official or strident or something, but basically I want to know why someone believes what they believe, whether that’s providing an explanation of why the friendship in a book didn’t sound convincing or information backing up a more argumentative claim like, “Ebooks shouldn’t cost more than $3.” Well…why? There’s a difference between just *saying* “they don’t cost much to produce” and providing evidence that that is actually true.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Michael J. Miller says:

    I’m with you across the board here, especially on the evidence thing. When I write, sure there are posts without links and a Works Cited at the end. But I always look at my writing as I would my students’ work. If you can’t validate a claim (or won’t take the time to try) then you’re going to lose points I personally feel I need to hold my own writing to the standard I would my students, even if it’s just writing “for fun” on m blog. If I can cite something – or especially if I’m reacting to something else I’ve seen/read/heard – then I absolutely will try to cite it…with the Chicago/Turabin method if I can ;).

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    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      The evidence thing is always interesting to me because so many people push back against it. I hear a lot of, “Well, my blog is just my hobby, not an academic space, and it’s just my opinion.” Sure, but I’m interested in WHY it’s someone’s opinion! If it’s your opinion something is the worst book ever written or that the romance in a book was unrealistic, I’d love to know why! I’m not expecting links to a JSTOR article. :p

      But I also see a lot of things that I imagine people *think* is their opinion that are actually about facts–and sometimes they’re incorrect. Like posts about how YA books are “not priced lower for teens to be able to afford” (they are cheaper than adult books, for exactly this reason) or “ebooks cost nothing to produce and should therefore cost $3” or “publishers don’t send giveaway prizes to my country because they hate me.” In those cases, if people looked for evidence to back up what they were saying, they might find out their “opinion” on the matter is incorrect. I love seeing passion in posts, but I’m not a huge fan of following blogs that are posting passionate posts about things that aren’t even correct!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Michael J. Miller says:

        Culturally, we’ve hit a weird place with opinions. Because we often think an “opinion” is a free pass to say anything and have it “count.” Valuing different opinions is, obviously, important. But I tell my students all the time, while you’re welcome to your opinions, I still want you to explain them. Opinions are shaped and informed by many factors. Opinions still need justification, explanation, and opinions can be wrong! If it’s your opinion that the Earth is flat, then you’re wrong. If it’s your opinion that humans aren’t affecting climate change in any way, then you’re wrong. We often forget this now, as our effort to push ourselves to see the value in all opinions has mixed with the postmodern critique of any and all metanarratives. It’s put us in a troublesome place, culturally and academically.

        Also, while not required obviously, I’d be down for reading a piece on a blog with links to a JSTOR article XD. Bring it on!

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        • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

          Yes, I think it’s related to the idea that there are different types of “expertise,” so someone’s personal experience or opinion should be just as valid as a traditional “expert’s.” but I agree with you that opinions are still generally founded on *something,* and it’s worth explaining why your opinion is what it is.

          I would also read a blog post with references to academic journal articles, but I certainly don’t come across them much! :p

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  5. Gerry@TheBookNookUK says:

    You know I really feel you on numbers 4 and 5. I love doing list posts myself but I do like to put the reasons *why* I’ve selected certain books for the list and I love when others also include their reasons. If it’s just a picture of the cover of the book with absolutely no other information I just…. don’t see the point I guess? Even if someone were to do a mini ‘three word summary’ that would still be better than no explanation at all.

    I think I’ve mentioned but I’ve recently gotten into Instagram and am enjoying it just because it does stretch a different creative muscle (I’m rubbish at visual imagery but hey, it’s fun :P) but I am noticing that while lot of big Bookstagrammers have some gorgeous photos when you scrutinize they are all the same with some variation i.e. they have switched the books at the back with the ones on the front. I’m not talking those that have an aesthetic they adhere to, I’m talking seeing the same ten popular YA books on rotation. I also find that there isn’t much in the way of conversation but I guess it’s not the forum for it maybe?

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  6. theorangutanlibrarian says:

    I really like reading informative reviews too 😀 And yeah, I like when discussion posts aren’t just run of the mill. I didn’t realise it was controversial to ask for evidence though! I feel like there’s a certain level of it being acceptable to have a blog post be dominated by an opinion, but if the blogger is making a bold claim (like “this book was badly written” or perhaps something more serious) then I think it should be backed up. I’ve definitely seen people falling into this habit (I just didn’t realise people defended doing it). And I really agree with #5!!

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  7. DoingDewey says:

    I’m with you on all of these! I’ve not articulated all of these qualities of a book blog before and I feel like you’ve really captured what I look for in a blog 🙂

    Like

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