Do Bloggers Owe Their Readers? And Vice Versa? (Let’s Talk Bookish)

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

The Prompt:  Do bloggers owe their readers anything? Do bloggers deserve anything from their readers? Do you think there’s a specific etiquette that bloggers/readers should follow when interacting? Do you as a blogger pressure yourself to provide certain things to your readers? Do you do certain things when you read a blog post?

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This is an interesting question, but because book bloggers are almost 100% unpaid, I think the answer is short: bloggers and their readers owe each other nothing besides common courtesy. And because the book blogosphere is so good at this, I don’t feel it’s necessary to elaborate much on the topic either. In over 10 years of blogging at Pages Unbound, Krysta and I have very rarely received a rude comment; when we have, those comments were frequently from people who are not book bloggers but rather people who found our site from outside sources like search engines or Pinterest. In the book blogosphere as a whole, readers usually leave polite comments, even when disagreeing, and bloggers usually leave polite responses. I think that’s the most anyone of us “owe” anyone here.

If a book blogger managed to successfully monetize their blog (I haven’t seen this yet, in spite of seeing some attempts), I’d say they owed their readers more. If readers were paying to read certain posts or subscribe to the blog in some way, I’d say the blogger owed those readers quality content and whatever content they might have promised, whether they said they were going to publish two discussion posts a week or list all the middle grade books coming out in the summer or whatever.

But because blogs are free? There’s no kind of contract here. Sure, a blogger should strive to write interesting and comprehensible content — but they don’t have to. If readers don’t like the content on a blog or think it’s absolute gibberish they can just . . . not read that blog. There’s nothing stopping them from exiting the site and never visiting again.

And while I try to support book bloggers in general by reading their content, commenting, and liking their posts, I don’t actually owe that to them as a reader, and I understand no one owes that to me Book blogging is largely the realm of hobbyists, and when there’s no money exchanging hands, everything is just very casual.

Briana

How to Write Compelling Discussion Questions That People–Including Yourself!–Will Want to Answer!

How to Write Compelling Discussion Questions

What makes a good discussion question? The kind that not only generates a conversation in others, but also makes you, the originator of the question, want to answer it, as well? Read on to find some of our tips for crafting discussion questions that get people talking!

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Go beyond “yes” or “no” questions–or questions that will only generate a sentence response.

A compelling discussion question requires an answer that needs at least a few paragraphs to answer. On a basic level, this means going beyond questions such as, “Do you like to reread books?” (which could prompt one to answer simply, “Yes,” or “No”) and adding a little bit more, such as, “Why or why not?”

However, it also means avoiding questions that would generate easy responses that do not in turn generate more discussion. For example, a question such as, “Where do you like to store your books?” even though it is not a “yes or no” question, will likely receive simple answers such as, “On my bookshelf” or, “On the nightstand.” There is not a lot more to say in response, except perhaps why (“It’s convenient,” or, “I ran out of room on the shelf”) and even that requires only another sentence. Furthermore, these answers are unlikely to generate further discussion from other readers unless someone comes up with a really novel and useful way to store books. The conversation will end with each person saying where they keep books and no one really talking to each other.

In the same vein, questions with numerical answers may not necessarily generate much discussion, either. A question like, “How many times have you read your favorite book?” or, “How often do you visit the library?” again requires only a short answer: “X number of times.” A really thought-provoking question needs just a little bit more to get people talking.

Instead of asking questions that have an easy, one word or one sentence answer, try asking questions where respondents might have to think through different possible answers. For example, a “how” question would make people consider multiple outcomes. Take a question such as, “How could the library be improved?” or, “How do you decide what to read next?” Respondents can probably think of several changes they would love to see in their library. And they probably have various answers for how they decide what to read next because what they want to read might vary on their mood, their available free time, what reviewers and websites they have been reading, and more.

But thinking through possible answers might also mean that mean that, even though a respondent might immediately think of their answer, they can also imagine other people answering differently. For example, “Do you think the public library is still relevant? Why or not?” might automatically make many people want to scream, “YES!” But they probably also realize some people might want to scream, “No!” To write a convincing response, they will have to demonstrate why they think the library is still relevant by providing examples and anticipating counterarguments. Their answer will have to be at least a few paragraphs, and it will be easier for their answer to inspire a continuing conversation.

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Get controversial.

An easy way to generate discussions that continue for awhile is to think about questions that generate controversy. This could mean tackling trending topics (such as when Twitter get upset at people calling their book exchanges “libraries”) or responding to questions that still continue to energize and divide the bookish community (like whether Susan Pevensie was treated fairly by C. S. Lewis). Controversial questions do not have to be questions that make people angry–just questions that have multiple potential responses people might make. They are questions that do not necessarily have easy answers, but ones that might require some more research, thought, and nuance.

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Do some research.

The thought of doing research might make some bloggers cringe. They aren’t in school, after all! But looking up information is key not only to answering questions, but also to generating new ones. The internet will often take hold of an idea and present it as fact, and others will usually take that information at face value. Try questioning others’ takes! Reading up on the issues will often present new facets to be taken into account, which might raise thoughts such, as “But why?” or, “What if?” or, “How?” or, “Then what?” Follow these thoughts to generate new, invigorating questions that can in turn become a discussion post. The nuances of a question are often what make it fascinating, and these nuances are often only revealed after some research provides a fuller picture of the issue.

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Conclusion

Much of this advice boils down to one thing: when crafting a discussion question, try to imagine how other people might respond. If it seems like they might only have a reflexive one-word or one-sentence answer, that means either that they do not find the question interesting (They’re responding in a kind of, “Well, of course!” way) or that the question itself might not be that interesting (It happens.). Ask questions that require some analysis from responders, ones that make them consider different points of view than their own, or ones that enable them to imagine different possible answers. The types of questions without easy answers are the ones most likely to generate a conversation, since people will offer different perspectives, thus keeping the discussion going.

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Additional Resources

What are your tips for writing a compelling discussion question?

5 Quick and Easy Ways to Support Book Bloggers in 2022

Previously I’ve written about what I view as some of the best ways to support and promote book bloggers, from commenting on and sharing their posts. This year, however, I’m also recommending smaller ways to keep book bloggers in mind and make their day.

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1. Include Book Bloggers When You Discuss “Bookish Influencers”

I cannot count the number of times in the past years when I have seen authors, publishers, and non-blogger book influencers list bookish influencers they want to thank, recognize, or support — and their lists completely failed to mention book bloggers.

For example, an author will tweet: “Thank you to all the Booktubers, Bookstagrammers, BookTokers, and other bookish influencers who have supported my book and made my debut a success.”

I see that, and my face falls. Publishers and authors do still send ARCs to book bloggers, even if they send more to influencers on other platforms. Publishers still organize blog tours. Authors do interviews and write guest posts for blogs. The least they can do is acknowledge book bloggers exist instead of, if bloggers are lucky, resigning them to the “other influencers” category.

2. “Like” Their Blog Posts

I’ve written before about how I believe leaving book bloggers comments on their posts is the single best ways to support them, and it’s generally accepted that the vast majority of bloggers prefer a comment to a “like.” However, I think “likes” still have value. If you’ve read a post but don’t have time to comment or can’t think of a comment to leave, a “like” still indicates that you read and enjoyed the post — and it signals that both to the blog owner and to other readers. If someone sees that a blogger’s post has a large number of “likes,” that will suggest to them that post has value, and they will be more likely to read it themselves.

3. Share Bloggers’ Posts to Social Media

It only takes a couple seconds to click the “share to Twitter” button at the bottom of a blog post and help a blogger reach a larger audience. While it’s nice if you write a little bit about why you enjoyed the post and think others should read it, you certainly don’t have to. Increased social media links pointing to a blog can also help bloggers get a small SEO boost and improve their traffic beyond just the people who click on the original tweeted link.

If you’re planning to buy a book or other item anyway and you know a book blogger has affiliate links, consider using them. There’s no cost to you, and because many book bloggers end up earning very little from affiliate links, it will certainly make their day.

5. Follow Their Social Media

Is there a blogger you like, but you’re only following their blog or only following them on one social media site? Consider following them on other platforms to increase their reach and show your support.

How do you like to support book bloggers?

Briana

2021: Blogging Year in Review

FAVORITE BOOKS READ IN 2021

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BLOGGING STATS AND FACTS

TOP 4 COUNTRIES FOR VISITORS

  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • Canada
  • India

*(No change from 2018-2020)

TOP REFERRERS

  • Search Engines
  • WordPress Reader
  • Pinterest (Pinterest was second last year, and we got a few thousand more views from it in 2020 than in 2021, but I also didn’t put much effort into Pinterest this year, so the results are still good with ~16,500 views.)
  • Twitter (not remotely close to views from other sources)

BLOG VIEWS

~185,000 views, our best year ever!

We had ~106,000 views in 2018 and dipped down to ~89,000 in 2019 and went back up to ~140,000 in 2020. I believe the increase in views in 2020 and 2021 is attributable to more views from Pinterest and more views in general from people being home and online during the pandemic.

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READING STATS AND FACTS

  • Oldest Book Briana Read This YearBelinda by Maria Edgeworth (1801)
  • Longest Book Briana Read: Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson
  • Briana’s Pages Read: ~26,000
  • Most Read Books: young adult, picture books, middle grade
  • Percentage of Briana’s Books from Library: I didn’t really keep track this year. Oops.

OUR MOST VIEWED POSTS

The first three posts were in our top 5 for 2020, but the last two are new this year. All of our top posts get their views either from search engine hits or Pinterest clicks. You can read more about how I use Pinterest for book blogging here.

The most viewed post we published in 2021:

A Vow So Bold and Deadly by Brigid Kemmerer (Yes, a review! It got ~2,500 views.)

Coming in 2022

Click here for details on the 2022 Support Book Bloggers Challenge.

Also coming: Our annual Tolkien Reading Event in March 2022. Sign-ups to guest post will be available in January.

2022 “Support Book Bloggers” Challenge

Introduction and “Rules”

To help support and promote book bloggers further in 2022, I am hosting a (very casual) “Support Book Bloggers” Challenge. The idea is simple: we will work together to read blog posts, share them, comment on them, and boost book bloggers in other ways.

There are no real “rules” here. It would be lovely if you wrote an introduction post on your blog saying you intend to participate in the challenge. You can also use the intro post on your own blog to check off tasks as you complete them. And each month I will publish a post here on Pages Unbound, so everyone can check in with how they’re doing on the challenge and, if applicable, share links to any posts they have made.

I have included 12 ideas, so you have one task to focus per month in 2022, but there is no obligation to do the tasks in order. Choose whichever option works best for you in any given month.

Of course, you can also participate in this challenge if you are not a blogger but have another platform. Just replace “write a blog post” with “make a video” or “create an Instagram post” or whatever works for you.

Happy blogging, everyone!

Social Media Hashtag: #BookBloggerSupport22

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1. Find 10 Book Bloggers You’ve Enjoyed Reading in the Past and Give Them a Shout Out

The shout out can be as a blog post on your blog, a list on Twitter, or any other ways you want to show them support.

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2. Find 10 New-to-you Book Bloggers to Follow

Follow 10 new book blogs. They don’t need to be new blogs, just new-to-you. Optional: write a post, create a Twitter thread, etc. sharing their URLs with others.

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3. Leave Comments on 10 Book Blogs

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4. Write a Post Supporting Book Bloggers

Ideas include:

  • A round-up of blog links you enjoyed reading in the past week or month
  • A post about why you enjoy reading book blogs in general
  • A post about how other people can support book blogs
  • A list of bloggers with affiliate links or ko-fi accounts that people can support

5. Share 10 Blog Posts to Social Media

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6. Respond to 5 Comments Other People Have Left on a Blog

Instead of leaving a comment replying to the blog posts, try starting a discussion by replying to a comment someone else has left on another blog.

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7. Write a Post about Books You’ve Read Because of Other Bloggers

Your list can be specific (I read X book because Y blogger recommended it), or it can be more general (I read these books because they seem popular with bloggers in general).

8. Follow 5 New Book Bloggers (Less Than 1 Year Old)

Optional: write a post, Twitter thread, etc. sharing their URLs with others.

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9. Write a Guest Post for a Blog or Feature a Guest Post on Your Blog

Guests posts seem to have declined in popularity on book blogs in the past couple years, but they can be a fun way to increase your reach and introduce readers to new bloggers.

10. Read 10 Blog Posts and “Like” Them

This is the simplest way to support book blogs — read them! — but sometimes we get busy, and this falls by the wayside. So take the time to read 10 posts and leave a “like” is possible. Bonus: comment on them, as well.

Ideas include:

  1. Creating a round-up of interesting links from other blogs
  2. Writing a discussion post inspired by someone else’s and linking back
  3. Linking to other bloggers’ reviews at the end of your reviews
  4. Linking to another blogger’s post in a discussion post to support a point
  5. Including quotes from other bloggers and linking back to them in one of your posts

12. Share 10 More Blog Posts to Social Media

Repetitive? Maybe. But bloggers love when other people share their posts, and they get more traffic!

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Mini Challenges

Other small things you can do to boost bloggers this year:

  • Comment on a book tour post. (Why: So publishers can see bloggers have an audience and these marketing posts are reaching people.)
  • Comment on an author interview. (Why: These posts tend to get few comments, so commenting shows authors and publishers that people are reading them — and blogs in general.)
  • Tag a publisher on social media when you retweet a 5 star review from a blogger. (Why: These posts often get little recognition from publishers.)
  • Vote for book bloggers in any end-of-the year awards where “book influencers” are nominated. (Why: Usually these categories are dominated by bookstagrammers and booktubers.)
  • Share your secrets to blogging “success.” (Why: We’re all in this together! If you have a great way to get traffic or comments, let others know so we can succeed as a community.)
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Monthly Check-ins

Briana

Should Book Bloggers Feature Discussion Questions That Focus on Specific Books?

Should Book Bloggers Feature Discussion Posts on Specific Titles

Discussion posts have become a staple of book blogs, with readers reporting that they often prefer to read discussions and bloggers reporting that discussions do indeed generate higher traffic than reviews. While book discussions started out as simple questions, with bloggers often just asking questions such as, “How many books do you currently have on your nightstand?” the length and quality of these posts have evolved over the years. Now, bloggers might discuss anything from whether series or standalones are preferable to consumerism on Bookstagram. What many bloggers still seem not to post, however, are discussions that focus on a single title or a single aspect of a book.

When I raise the idea that book bloggers might post in-depth discussions about specific titles, instead of talking about books in general, some bloggers seem hesitant. Part of this is a fear of sounding too “academic” and scaring potential readers away. Much blogging advice, after all, advises bloggers that readers on the internet have short attention spans, and thus anything text-heavy should be avoided. Extrapolation of this idea suggests that anything that sounds intellectually heavy should also be avoided–readers presumably do not want to read anything that might remind them of a high school English paper.

Blogging about the questions raised books need not be dry and tedious, however. Interesting ideas can be raised without clouding them in academic jargon or writing a post that becomes the length of a doctoral thesis. A balance can be struck with intellectual ideas and an engaging writing style. In short, bloggers need not dread that writing about books in-depth might make them sound overly scholarly and thus scare people away. Truly, a discussion post about a single feature in a book could be merely five or six paragraphs–the idea is, after all, to generate discussion, not to post the final word on the book. A post can simply raise a question or idea, and then let the rest of the conversation, with all its complexities, contradictions, and side trails, unfold in the comment section.

Here at Pages Unbound, we do periodically post discussions that focus on specific books, and, far from scaring people away, they often generate great comments! Our post on not liking The Giving Tree, for instance, generated a lot of like-minded comments, as well as a follow-up post that was equally popular, and then a post on why another popular children’s book, The Rainbow Fish, is also one we do not enjoy. Likewise, posts on how to interpret the ending of Lois Lowry’s The Giver and whether J. R. R. Tolkien’s Boromir is a likeable character have also proved popular. Some text-specific posts have generated fewer comments, but regularly receive views from search engine hits–for example, our post “Why I Don’t Like the Ending of A Heart So Fierce and Broken is still pretty popular, as is our post on why people should read The Lord of the Rings appendices.

Despite their mixed reputation, discussion posts focused on specific titles have many benefits for bloggers. Firstly, they allow bloggers to expand upon their thoughts on a book. Because most reviews are fairly short, they need to be focused and thus may only mention a few main points of interest, rather than everything the reviewer might wish they could talk about. Secondly, they open up the door for more discussion about favorite books–an especially wonderful benefit since many bloggers start blogs specifically because they want to talk about their favorite books with other fans. And, lastly, they allow bloggers to generate more content without having to read a bunch of books. One title could, in theory, be the inspiration for an unlimited amount of future posts!

But what kinds of discussion posts might generate the most discussion? At Pages Unbound, we have posted a mix of discussions on everything from classic works to childhood favorites to the latest YA bestsellers. These sorts of posts seem to work best for getting a conversation going. After all, people need to have read a book or at least heard of it in order to discuss it. So anything that people might conceivably have been exposed to or have strong feelings about (think, for instance, books regularly assigned to students or the latest release that everyone seems to be reading) is a reasonable choice. Taking up questions that have constantly intrigued readers (such as whether C. S. Lewis did Susan Pevensie wrong) could all get a conversation started. Not all discussions will take off, of course, but it could still be fun writing them!

For inspiration, here are a few text-specific posts we have written:

The posts range from more general questions–what makes a book or a franchise successful– to more in-depth analyses about characters or philosophy to opinions on fan-based issues such as romances. Discussions can be based around almost anything!

Book-specific discussion posts do not have to be boring or dry. Nor do they have to scare readers away! Many readers are waiting for the opportunity to talk about their favorite works and to think about them deeply. General bookish discussion posts are fun–but specific ones can be, too!

7 Book-Related Blog Post Ideas for When You Haven’t Read Anything Recently

Bookish Post Ideas

Need a post idea, but haven’t read anything recently? Here are some book-related post ideas for your book blog!

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Movie and TV Reviews

Book-to-film adaptations come out all the time! If you have not read a book recently, why not review a film or a TV show that is book-related? And there are plenty of twists to put on this. You can talk about changes you liked (or didn’t), or do a “Who did it better?” type of post. You could even come up with your dream cast for an upcoming adaptation, if you do not have a film ready to review.

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Game Reviews

Books can inspire more than movies. If you enjoy playing a game that is book-related–anything from a Lord of the Rings board game to a Nancy Drew video game. Or, if you do not want to do an entire game review, you can do mini reviews, lists of recommendations, or even a reflection on what playing a certain game has meant to you. You could even come up with a list of your dream games, or books that need games!

Collection Tour

Show off your bookish merch! Highlight special editions, beautiful covers, and cool illustrations. Or take pictures of some of your non-book bookish items–figurines, bookends, bookmarks, tote bags, T-shirts, whatever!

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Recommendation Posts

Recommendation posts do not have to start with books. Try recommending titles for people who enjoyed a certain movie, TV show, video game, or music album.

Quizzes

Everyone loves a good quiz! Try coming up with a personality quiz or a trivia quiz based on a favorite book.

How-to-Read Guide

Are you a fan of a long or complicated series or franchise? Explain to readers how the series works. What is a good starting point? Do they need to read the books in any certain order? Or can they jump in wherever they want? (Such a guide will work for comics, too!)

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Cover Commentary

Highlight several covers of one of your favorite books–then discuss. Do some work better than others? Are some completely off base? Which ones are your favorites and why?

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Why I Like Writing My Own Book Summaries for the Blog

Why I Like Writing My Own Book Summaries for the Blog

Many book bloggers use the summary from the publisher when writing book reviews. When possible, however, I prefer to write my own. Here are four reasons why.

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I Can Make Summaries Short and to the Point

A paragraph of six to eight sentences is sufficient for me to decide whether I am interested in the premise of a book. Yet so many official summaries seem to be several paragraphs long! I don’t want to feel as if I have read the whole book after just reading the summary. As a result, I like to write my own summaries that are usually only a few sentences.

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I Can Avoid Spoilers

This point goes with the one above. Really lengthy summaries often reveal almost everything that happens in the book. Some even casually drop plot twists. But I do not want to go into a new story already knowing that Character Z was just faking their own death or that Character Y will be betrayed by their lover. A few sentences hitting the main, non-spoilery points will do just fine. When I write my own summaries, I can take more care to ensure that major plots twists are not revealed.

I Can Try for Greater Accuracy

Sometimes official summaries can be misleading or say that something happens in the book–when it does not. For instance, somewhere I have a copy of Rainbow Valley with a cover that promises, from what I remember, that the protagonists try to save a chicken from being cooked for supper. They don’t. (Spoiler Alert!) The children simply arrive to supper to find the chicken already cooked. (End spoiler!) So when I write summaries, I like to try to say what actually happens in the book, instead of fudging events to make them sound more dramatic, or trying to, say, make a book sound like a detective novel when, at its heart, it really isn’t.

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I Can Reuse the Summaries

When I write my own summaries for book reviews, I can reuse those same summaries later for other posts–for example, if I make a list of recommended titles based around a similar topic. Using the official summaries for lists is not ideal because they are so long! I doubt most people want to read a list of titles where every title listed has five paragraphs of summary. Having short summaries ready to go for new posts makes blogging much more efficient.

Do you write your own book summaries? Why or why not?

5 Things I DON’T Look for When Following a Book Blog

5 Things I Don't Look for in Book Blogs

Previously, I wrote about five things that encourage me to follow a book blog. Below, here are five things that really do not matter much to me at all–despite a lot of the blogging advice currently out there.

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Design

I read book blogs for the content, so it does not matter to me if a person has a spectacular header or a mediocre one. Likewise, I do not mind if someone only uses graphics of book covers, but does not take award-winning Instagram photos of books. Plus, if I am reading a post in the WordPress Reader, I cannot see the full web design, anyway. It is important to me that a site be clear and easy to navigate–but paying for a professional template or for a designer to make custom buttons and graphics is not going to be the deciding factor in my decision to follow. The content is.

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Grammar

On a personal level, I really enjoy grammar. However, despite what the comments section on the internet may lead one to believe, grammar and adherence to standard grammar are not a markers of one’s intelligence. People say perfectly insightful things all the time while using awkward grammar or making typos. And that is what matters to me–the content of what someone is saying, not how they say it. Of course, I want to be able to understand what a person is saying in the first place, but an incorrect preposition or some unusual phrasing is no big deal. And making it one is not really kind to people. Some may never have learned rigorous grammar or some may be learning English as a second or third language. Getting stuck on grammar does not make sense when people are reaching out to communicate. I think we should reach back–not point out any perceived mistakes.

GIFs and Small Amounts of Text

A lot of bloggers will suggest that having large chunks of text is bad, and they should be broken up with GIFs or other images, lest readers become fatigued. For my part, I don’t mind reading long posts and often even enjoy it–so long as the content has a clear structure and is not rambling or repetitive. I actually really don’t like seeing GIFs at all, and I don’t read GIF-heavy content as much as I read text-heavy content. So go with whatever your writing style is! You will find readers who appreciate it; you do not need to guess what “everyone” wants, because everyone never wants the same thing.

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A Custom Domain Name

Many bloggers will suggest that bloggers should pay for a domain name to look more professional and be taken more seriously. This may matter more for other types of blogs, but book blogs are not customarily monetized right now. Removing the “WordPress” from the address bar does not matter to most readers and surely does not impact publishers’ decisions to send ARCs or authors’ decisions to do blog tours or interviews. Getting a custom domain name is a completely optional expense at this point for people blogging as a hobby, and bloggers should not feel pressured to spend money on it if does not make sense for them.

Lots of ARC Reviews

There was a time when many book bloggers felt pressured to be on top of the market and to be able to put up reviews for books no one else had access to yet. I tend to prefer reading reviews of books I have already read, so I can have a discussion about the books. Consequently, ARC reviews are not that compelling for me; I don’t care if a blogger never reviews an ARC at all.

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Conclusion

For me, the content is the most important reason I read a blog. Are the posts original and the voice engaging? Are the discussions in-depth? Do the reviews have structure? And does the content appear regularly? Graphics, grammar, and domain names–these are all secondary features that matter less to me. At its heart, blogging is about writing, not so much graphic design or photography or many of the other features that book bloggers have come to prioritize to look professional. And blogging is meant to be somewhat accessible. Have a computer and internet access? You can blog–no fancy equipment required. So the writing still matters most to me. Interesting ideas are what inspire me to click follow.

What are some features about blogs that you do not particularly look for?

5 Things I Look for Before Following a Book Blog

What makes me follow a blog? I do not really need fancy graphics or a professionally-designed template. However, I do value ease of access and consistency! Below are five things I look for before I press “follow.”

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A “Follow” Button

Having an easy way for readers to follow a blog may seem obvious, but a lot of blogs are actually missing a visible “follow” button! But if I don’t see a “follow” button, I have to open up the WordPress Reader and copy and paste the blog address to follow it. I’m frankly a lot less likely to do all that than I am simply to click a button.

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Recent Posts

After I check that I actually have a way to follow a blog, I then check to see that the blog is still active. Of course, bloggers do not need to post every day. However, I do value blogs that are fairly consistent with new content. If it has been a month or more since the last post, and there is no notice about going on hiatus, I start to wonder if the blog is still being updated.

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Navigability

If I can’t navigate the site, I cannot tell if it has content I would enjoy. I like blogs that have a wall full of current posts that I can browse through rather than ones with landing pages where it is hard for me to see what is being posted. Sometimes landing pages only have one or two categories, and I’m not really sure where to find the other types of posts that do not have a button linking to them. I’d rather use a sidebar to navigate, rather than having to go back to a landing page all the time.

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Shared Interests

Of course, I enjoy reading blogs where the blogger and I have shared interests. This could be a shared taste in books, but it could also mean engaging discussion posts about bookish matters, hobbies that are interesting (even if I don’t participate in them myself), or cute cat photos.

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Variety of Content

This goes with the above, but I like seeing a variety of content on blogs just because it gives me more opportunities to find shared interests. I may not read a lot of adult fiction or romances or paranormal books, but if a blogger who reads these things also blogs about other things or has in-depth discussion posts, I might still be interested in following!

What do you look for when following book blogs?