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.
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.