So I’ve been wanting to share with you another how-to-blog kind of post I found quite a while ago. In fact, this one is so good I feel the need to make very little comment.
I found this post by Thomas at My Porch at about the time it was posted, at the end of 2010; I don’t know how I came across it, but I liked it so much I have been following this blog ever since. The parts that dictate what blogs he does, and doesn’t, find interesting were the best parts for me; I took his tips to heart because they made so much sense to me. I’ve reproduced the relevant bits over here in short:
Blog posts I am most likely to read?
1. Anything to do with a list. Even if I don’t agree with the criteria or the subject, a post about lists will always get my attention. Lol. I, too, enjoy lists, and here I’ve just been given permission to go crazy with them.
2. Anything with pictures of books. I prefer the stacks of owned books. For some reason piles from the library fail to inspire me. I did indulge on this one this week, but I don’t very often do stacks of book, let alone the just-acquired stacks so popular in blog posts. Frankly, I can’t get excited about someone else’s shopping, whether at a bookstore or a library. I want to hear about these books when you read them; until then I don’t much care.
3. The more personal and newsy the better. I love hearing about your hobbies, your travel, your cooking and baking, your pets, and even your kids (unless it falls into the “children are our future” camp of over adulation). This is the one I have most taken to heart; I felt encouraged by this statement. I, too, care about the personal aspects. I’m not trying to read your diary; I’m interested in a reading blog first and foremost. But, I think our reading lives do bleed into our personal lives and vice versa, and if I get to read some personal musings (like what Sheila does, over at Book Journey), I feel a bit better-connected.
Blog posts I am least likely to read? These are mostly good for an lol.
1. Anything with vampires. I just don’t dig the paranormal and I find this genre tedious.
2. Young adult fiction being read and reviewed endlessly by grown women. I am not dissing YA, and I am not dissing those who have a professional interest, those who review them for a YA audience, or those who review one or two of them in passing. But this year I was a judge for the YA category in a blog beauty pageant and it really soured me on the legions of twenty-something females who appear to be frightened of leaving their tween years behind them. One expects them to have Justin Bieber posters on their walls and fluffy pom-poms on the ends of their purple pens.
3. Reviews of audio books. I read and enjoy reviews of TV shows and films, but I just pass over audio book reviews. Interesting. I don’t do a lot of audiobooks, so fair enough; but I’m not sure I’m against reading about them especially. As long as it’s still about the book, it’s a book review to me – unless you’ve spent a bunch of time discussing the reader’s voice, I guess.
4. The one million Booker Prize recaps. I used to pay attention to these, but there just seem to be too many of them these days.
5. Anything by bloggers who seem to be completely devoid of any sense of humor.
6. ARC reviews. I won’t say that I never read them, but I prefer to see what bloggers read when they get to choose for themselves. (Full disclosure: I have reviewed one ARC. But I would have picked up the Maggie O’Farrell novel anyway.)
Biggest shortcomings as a book blogger?
1. My over the top, intolerant, un-nuanced pronouncements that make me feel temporarily smug (see the answers to the previous question).
2. My inability to recap plots in a way that isn’t boring or overly reductive. Here, here. I’m also conflicted about plot summaries. Part of me feels like if you’re interested in this book, you have 1,000 plot summaries at your fingertips (if you know how to read blogs, I’m assuming you’re also comfortable with google, amazon, b&n…). Why do I need to re-summarize it for you? But then, I would hate for any post or review to seem gapingly incomplete. I, personally, go back and forth on the necessity of plot summaries at all. Perhaps you’ve noticed?
3. I am sure there are more…but I am too lazy to think of them.
4. I get lazy.
One thing I wish every blog included?
Geographic location of the blogger. I don’t need to know the street you live on, but I really like knowing where a blogger lives. And unless you live in Gibraltar it would be nice if you could be a little more specific than just noting the country. Again something I took to heart – I immediately went back into my blog and confirmed that I do have my hometown of Houston, Texas clearly stated. I share this feeling; I like reading about what kind of weather you’re having, for instance, and then I need to know where you are, don’t I? It’s snowing, really, where? (It’s about 80 degrees here right now.)
Things that puzzle me (good for more lols)
1. British bloggers tend to get lots of influenza. What’s up with that? I worry about you all.
2. Mailbox Mondays. Who is sending all of these books? Is there an international directory of mailing addresses that I don’t have access to? I don’t necessarily want to get books, but I sometimes want to send books. But I feel like sending books unsolicited would seem a little creepy. How does one ask for an address without seeming to be a stalker? Thomas, thank you for addressing the elephant in the room. I have never understood either. However, I work in a giant world of books and really would not want them to start flowing in through the mailbox, too, so I am NOT soliciting, thank you.
5. Why I am using up months’ worth of blog post topics in one out of control stream of consciousness.
Well, anyway, some of that got a little silly, but I couldn’t resist borrowing Thomas’s humor for a laugh over here! (Take it as a compliment, please, sir.) Since we addressed the question of How To Blog earlier this week, I wanted to include some of the tips I found and appreciated at My Porch. Do you have any agreements or disagreements with his ideas?
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