This was previously published in 2010, it has been updated and made relevant.
I have noticed that a lot of bloggers can’t post a review a day, I am one of them, so they get caught up in the “book reviewer”-how-do-I-label-myself confusion. They are either slow readers, or they just don’t have the time to review a book a day. A few of you book bloggers can, but the majority of us can not. This leads a lot of bloggers to just sign up for a ton of book tours, or do an immense about of memes.
This might work for a lot of book bloggers, but a good portion of us still kind of freak out when we do a meme or “book blast” thinking that we are calling into question the integrity of our blog. When faced with your alleged reviewer slackerhood here are some things you might want to keep in mind:
- Not everyone has the ability to read as fast or as much as others, so don’t compare yourself to others. There are some bloggers that can read a book a day. I’m jealous of these readers, but having a job, a child and a husband does not allow me this luxury. Personally I think there are very few people that can do this…librarians. Now that is a job I’m envious of. Not saying that librarians just sit around and read all day – but wouldn’t it be lovely??
- There are other things besides reviews that you can post on your blog. (I’ll expand on this below)
- If you are feeling pressured to read more and review more maybe read a few short stories and review them, this way you feel you are reading and reviewing quicker.
- Maybe stay away from the HUGE epic novels for a bit. My point. Try to manage your reading shelf with books you know you might be able to finish quickly, leaving the bigger ones for times that you know you have a little wiggle room to read longer.
Let’s expand on Item #2 above. Prolific Posting: Girl XOXO has a Master List of Book Blogger Memes. But there is always that fine line, a fine line between just putting up a post to have a post, or actually conveying quality information to your readers.
Think of your blog as a media outlet. You are there to pass on information, you decide what that information will be, whether you are just writing a chronicle of your life as a reader, or you are set on just posting about books, books and more books. Making that distinction from the start is always helpful. Sort of like writing your mission statement. Think about the first paragraph of your ABOUT ME, this is usually a type of mission statement. Mold your posts around this mission statement.
If your mission is to talk about yourself and your life and your books, write fun posts about how you went shopping and what books you purchased, or your favorite reading spots, or other things that are not reviews – but are pertinent to your blog.
If you blog mission is to be a site dedicated to just reviews and information on books, maybe intersperse your reviews with FYI posts. Memes like the Waiting On, even though it doesn’t have to be that exact meme. Write about books that you want to buy, books that are being released soon, fun happenings on authors blogs. Once you get a little more daring, send interview questions to your favorite authors and post their answers on your blog. Ask other bloggers to do guest posts or reviews.
Personally, I like to post book trailers if they were just released, and cover art. I know All Things Urban Fantasy has a great cover feature where she discusses new covers and whether she likes them or not. It is called Cover Art Coverage. Of course don’t copy this idea, but it shows great ways of BOOK TALKING without reviewing.
Now for what I think you might want to stay away from. This is defined by stuff people don’t really want to read. The filler posts and nonsense memes are basically things you should stay away from (IMHO). The memes that are just there to fill in the space and do not convey any pertinent information. Or posts that are written with no clear goal in mind. In the beginning of my blogging career there were a lot of these “Awards” which were basically like the emails – “Send to 50 Friends or DIE!” And you had to list silly information about yourself and other bloggers. Then antagonize 50 other bloggers to do the same information. It was like meme harassment.
As a beginner blogger I participated in a few of these types of memes/awards. But quickly found that I really wasn’t getting any meaningful comments, except the standard… “Great pick, this is mine…URL.” or “Thanks for sharing. This is my post URL.” What it breaks down to is that these memes are just there for generating cross blog visiting. I’ll show you mine, you show me yours type of posts. Which in essence is not bad, you want to network, meet other bloggers, etc, but for those readers that are not other bloggers or are not participating in that particular meme or event, they really don’t want to read that. Once again, make the decision on whether you want to participate in a particular meme based on your personal preference and how you want to navigate your blog. I always weigh the pros and cons.
I’m pretty sure my Friday Follow blog hop probably aggravates a few people, especially when you scroll down through your Reader and it is all Blog Hop posts from book bloggers. Yep, that would aggravate me if I didn’t participate. I made the conscious decision to start it on a day that is normally a little slow on my blog. It generates a lot of traffic, but I know that it is not pulling in “real” readers. It eats at my blogger conscious. I justify it to myself, because I’ve made it a side mission of mine to be a spring board for start-up book bloggers (hence this BB101 posts) and the blog hop does help newbie bloggers gain more followers. For me the Pros outweigh the Cons. I apologize to anyone that find it insipid or drives closer to the threshold of insanity. I mean no harm.
To wrap this up, because it is getting a little long. Make a conscious effort to post quality posts that people want to read and you should be A-OK. Don’t stress and try to read ten books a week and don’t think you are failing because you can only do 1 review a week. Shoot for a post every other day and that should be enough. But, remember. The more you post, the more you lure people in with your information. Just make sure quality precedes quantity. Three posts a day on nothing but crap doesn’t make a prolific blogger…
How many books can you read in a week? Do you feel pressure to review a book daily?