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Quick! Write 15 bullet points of things that appeal to you on blogs
(AKA 15 rants about blogs)
It took me forever to come up with 15 bullet points! This post killed my brain. I had to visit a dozen different blogs to figure out what I liked, because I was out of ideas on my own by #6.
1. Easy to read – I’d rather the blog have a default design than something that distracts from the blog posts. The background of the blog posts should be a light color; the text should be dark and not in some funky font. Neon colored text is never okay. Neon color background is never okay. Neon is only cool in moderation.
2. Regular updates - Most of the blogs I visit update daily, however I’d say a minimum of once a week would be okay. I just want to know that if I come back next week, I’ll see something new to read.
3. Unique content - I like for there to be something on this blog that I can’t find anywhere else. It could be a certain meme, great reviews, or thought-provoking discussion posts. If it seems like everything on the blog is regurgitated, then I won’t return.
4. Moderate amount of comments – I get intimidated by blogs that get hundreds of comments. I don’t feel like if I respond that my comment will even be read, never mind responded to. I’d much rather visit a smaller, newer blog that I know the will read and respond to me.
5. Easy to enter giveaways – If there’s giveaways on the blog, I don’t want a whole lot of hoops to enter. I know I’m guilty of doing this in the past on my own blog, but it’s not fair that I have to bombard my twitter followers every single day with giveaway spam to stand a chance to win that awesome book. I also don’t like the ones that require a blog post comment when there’s nothing to comment on.
Blog: Hey, I got an ARC signed book by this author! Leave a meaningful comment to enter.
Me: *sad face, closes tab*
What constitutes as a meaningful comment? Are you looking for me to gush about an author/book I’ve probably never read? Do you want me to brown-nose and tell me how awesome your blog is and how I promise to comment every day for the next 16 years if I’m picked. Do you want me to come up with some random question to ask the author when all you’ve posted is a synopsis of the book? What? What?
6. Scratch my back – I love it when people respond to my comments and I get all tingly when they go the extra step and visit my blog and comment. It makes me feel special and you gosh darn better believe that I’m coming back to your blog again and again.
7. Negative reviews – It’s difficult for some bloggers to “hurt” an author’s feeling by giving them a negative review on his/her book, however it’s necessary for your opinion to have any merit with me. If you rate every book 5 stars, then your blog feels more like a promotional platform. Negative reviews are not a bad thing for authors to get. You’re not hurting them by giving them one or two stars. I’ve often bought more books based on the negative reviews than I have of the positive reviews.
8. Well-written reviews – Please give me concrete evidence for why you liked or hated a book. The review doesn’t have to be long, it just has to cover what worked and what didn’t work.
9. Personality – Show off your quirks and don’t be afraid to like what your friends hate. I also like bloggers that have a “thing”. See me, I like to read about kick-ass villains. I enjoy horror over romance. When talking to my designers about my next blog theme, I always say: Don’t be afraid to add more blood. Never can have enough blood.
10. Opinionated – I like it when a blog is a die-hard supporter of a couple authors. I also like it when a blog is willing to take a controversial stance on a topic. Be true to yourself and promote what feels right.
11. Pictures – I’m not a huge gif fan, but I do like there to be at least one picture in a post. It helps break up the wall of text and my eyes thank you. For reviews, just add a cover and maybe a photo of the author. For discussion posts, find a semi-relevant image/gif and stick it somewhere in the middle. And yes, there is a point where you have too many pictures. Don’t break my phone just because you want to upload your entire Photobucket album.
12. Memes in Moderation – Memes are an easy way to fill up empty days in your blogging schedule. They’re a great way to meet people. But when every day is a meme day, it feels like there’s no unique content on your blog. I try to do 1-2 memes a week, 2 reviews, and 1 discussion post.
13. Maturity – I like reviews to focus on the book. If you feel the need to insult the author in your review, then don’t write the review. I waited nearly a week to write a review for a book I hated because it got me so heated, but it’s childish to insult a writer when I know nothing about the person. All I know is that I didn’t like the book the author wrote. And thus, that’s what needs to be in my review. Also, it sickens me when bloggers go on and on about how hot a character is in a YA series. They’re no better than Beiber fans…ugh. Their “gushing” tells me nothing about the book itself.
14. Links – If you’re writing a book review, include links so that I can buy the book or at least check it out on Goodreads. If you were inspired for your discussion post by another post, include the link so I can follow your inspiration.
15. 1337 speech – I don’t mind the occasional LOL or BFF, but I prefer blogs that are written in English, not “Newspeak”.
Day 2 - Today
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What is your bedtime reading ritual?
I don’t actually read before I go to bed, but I do read when putting my kid to bed.
Whenever it gets dark outside (around 8pm this time of year), I tell my kid to go pick out a book from his bookshelf and then I read him the book. If it is short, then I’ll grab another one. After that, I turn off the lights and stay with him until he falls asleep. While I wait for him to fall asleep, I read from my Kindle, since the light is soft enough not to bother him. Sometimes I stay until he falls asleep, but more often I’ll stay longer because I’m so engrossed in the book I’m reading…and by the time I get up my legs are all cramp and I have to pee.
I then go online and do my blogging/writing until my kid wakes up at 2am (he picked this time, not me!) and we spend the rest of the night sleeping in my bed. I’ve tried putting him back in his own bed, but usually I fall asleep before he does and his bed isn’t as comfortable as mine.
Do you have a bedtime reading ritual?
This post is at the very end of the day, but I wanted to join in the fun. Feel free to sign up and participate in this blogging adventure at Good Books and Good Wine.
Make 15 Book Related Confessions
1] I don’t like to pay for ebooks. Twice, I have emailed authors asking if there was somewhere I could buy their book on paperback, because I did not want to spend the money on an ebook. One sent me a signed copy and the other one apologized and said their publisher had no plans at this time to release on paperback. /sigh
2] That said, I have a shitload of books in my Kindle cloud. 99% of them I received for free (I think I’ve bought 15). 1456 total items according to –>
3] I am addicted to buying books. I have an entire bookshelf devoted to books I have bought but not yet read.
4] I am passing my book addiction on to my 2 year old. I read him at least 2 books a day.
5] I have a bad habit of not finishing series. After I read the last page, I’m ready to move on to a new author and new series.
6] I love anthologies but I hate reviewing them. I like to read one or two stories from the anthology and then put them aside for 6 months and read a couple more. This habit doesn’t work well with review copies and so I have to force myself to finish it every time. I have since stop accepting anthologies for review…or I should.
7] I always root for the bad guys. I expect just as much character depth and development in the bad guys as I do in the good guys. The bad guys don’t have to win for me to appreciate the book, but I want there to be at least one moment in the novel where it looks like the bad guys MIGHT win.
8] When I read love triangles in YA novels, I’m secretly hoping one of the guys will tell the girl to fuck off and find a girl that won’t play him.
9] If I can accurately guess the entire plot by reading the back cover, I will hate the book. This is the primary reason for me not reading romance novels and for being extremely disappointed by most urban fantasy novels.
10] I prefer bittersweet endings. I like there to be some happiness at the end of the book, but I want at least one character to be pissed off or dead. I don’t like books where the entire cast is unhappy. There needs to be someone who wins, even if it is the bad guy.
11] The genre I love the most (horror) is the one that disappoints me the most often.
12] Knowing a book’s ending will make me not want to read the book. I accidentally stumbled upon people talking about Our Fault in the Stars by John Green and they revealed a major spoiler. Now, the spoiler wasn’t exactly what happened, but it did make it very difficult for me to buy the book and read it – even though everyone raved about how good it was. I feel the same way about movies.
13] I don’t like most contemporary novels, because I have trouble relating to the characters. I didn’t have the All-American-Childhood. I didn’t go to prom. I didn’t go to parties. I worried about things much deeper and darker than if a boy liked me or if I did my homework on time.
14] The only topic of conversation that doesn’t make me feel self-conscious is books. I can talk for hours about books and authors.
15] I can read the first couple chapters, a middle chapter, and the last chapter and accurately described the plot and characters to the point where no one will know I didn’t read the entire book. I have done this with several books required by teachers. Ernest Hemingway’s books come to mind.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s confession and a book review of Bloodspell by Amalie Howard!Read More
Feature and Follow #6
For this meme, you can follow me however you’d like. Whatever makes you come back a second time! Leave a comment and I’ll be sure to follow you back.
Q: Today’s is the US’ Independence Day. Share your favorite book with a war in it, or an overthrow of the government.
Ever since middle school, I’ve been infatuated with Greek mythology. I know all the Greek Gods and their associated myths as well as studied various books on daily life in the Greek city states during that time period.
I absolutely devoured The Iliad and The Odyssey, which are based on the Trojan War. This war has been proven in recent years as likely to have actually happened and the locations and beasts within the novel have been linked to real life places and animals.
One of my favorite re-tellings of this war was written by Marion Zimmer Bradley entitled Firebrand. It describes the war from the POV of the infamous Kassandra (she had the gift of foresight but was cursed to never be believed).
Firebrand by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Originally published in 1987. Re-released in 2003 by Roc Trade
Blending archaeological fact and legend, the myths of the gods and the feats of heroes, Marion Zimmer Bradley breathes new life into the classic tale of the Trojan War-reinventing larger-than-life figures as living people engaged in a desperate struggle that dooms both the victors and the vanquished, their fate seen through the eyes of Kassandra-priestess, princess, and passionate woman with the spirit of a warrior.
Book Blogger Confessions is hosted by For What It’s Worth and Midnyte Reader and is a meme that posts the 1st Monday of every month. Here book bloggers “confess” and vent about blogging/bookish topics. Feel free to share, vent and offer solutions. This is my first time participating in this meme, but I hope to do it again next month.
Have you ever emailed an author to tell them you loved/disliked their book? As a book reviewer, do you think we should cross that line?
I don’t think that any reviewer should be “afraid” of telling an author that they like or don’t like a book. I’ve sent several emails to authors that include negative input on their published book, however the key is to remain professional and respectful. Make sure that the review is 100% about the book and not the author.
Also, don’t send a negative/positive review to an author through email unless you have a reason. I don’t see a problem in sending a link to a review you wrote to the author’s first book if you want to request a copy of the second book. Secondly, if you have a pre-arranged agreement to review a book, then it is appropriate to let the author know that you have read/reviewed their work. If an author requests a book review from me, but doesn’t want a “negative” review, I will still let the author know that I read or DNF the book. I will give a quick explanation as to why I didn’t enjoy it.
Do you mind when authors re-tweet or comment on reviews? Does that intimidate you in any way in regards to review writing, knowing that they may be reading it?
When I write a positive review of an author’s book, I send them a link to it via twitter. If they re-tweet the link, I consider it as a thank you for writing a review. I think its poor taste to ever @ an author/publisher if the review is negative. If you must notify them of the review, then do it privately! I don’t mind if an author comments on a review, although it can be awkward if the review isn’t exactly flattering. In this case, I try to reiterate that the review is an opinion and nothing more. Most of the comments I get from authors are when they are already aware that I’m reviewing their book – either as part of a book tour or because they requested it.
I don’t feel intimidated knowing an author might read a negative review, however if I’m a fan of the author’s other stories, I will include links to those. The hardest reviews I have ever written are of books where I’m such a die-hard fan of the author and the book itself I hated. I don’t intentionally bash an author in reviews and given the opportunity, I will shift the focus to his/her books that do deserve time and praise.
Do author interactions – both pro or con – change how you view their work?
If I witness an author behaving positively with a reviewer, then I am more incline to review their work.
Having already been a victim of author bullying, I’m actually LESS scared that something I write in a review will offend an author. I try to be as upfront as possible in the fact that I don’t sugarcoat reviews, no matter how much I like or don’t like an author.
What are your thoughts?Read More