You COULD just sniff your books instead, but let’s be a bit more proactive
There’s a discussion over at BookBlogging.net
about keeping your blog’s content fresh and unstinky, particularly when there’s so much of the same sort of content (promo blitz cover reveals, for example) on dozens of blogs. I started off writing a little comment in response, and then it bloomed into this…
I don’t think it’s necessarily the promo stuff that’s the problem; it’s the lack of spirit in them that sucks all the interesting out. If you just copy-paste stuff the publisher sends you it’s super boring, and I do think it turns people off. As long as there’s a bit of personality in your posts people will like them, even if ALL you post is cover reveals.
That said, here’s some ways to keep things fresh on your blog:
Reviewing/talking about backlist books! All of the promo stuff is for new and upcoming releases– having content about older books may result in less overall hits, but it’s way more interesting than cover reveal #5000009. You don’t even have to backtrack entirely into the backlist; the Book Smugglers have a good mix of new and older releases, for example, and reading their blog is always fun because of that.
Also community events are good! Like readalongs, or Jamie from The Perpetual Page-Turner‘s end of the year survey. They gets people talking with each other and it can be a lot of fun hosting and participating in them.
Discussion posts are great, too. They don’t even have to be long and/or detailed, just interesting. You could post a paragraph about a weird bug you found inside an old book (for example) and get 50 comments from people who also found weird bugs! (Weird bug post coming soon.)
So basically: be personal, be personable, and don’t be afraid to be weird.
How do you keep things from getting boring on your blog?
Write better posts has been on my blogging goals every year that I’ve been blogging, but doing it is easier said than done. First off, what does “better” mean? And second, how do I know I’ve achieved it?
I recently read a post about breaking your to do list down into smaller, easily achievable steps, and I’ve (kinda) figured out a way to apply that to my goal of writing better.
Steps towards writing better blog posts:
1) identify problem areas (being sure to focus on problems that’re actually fixable)
2) break down those fixable problems into small chunks
3) fix those chunks -> fix the problem
The biggest problem I could see is my bad habit of using the same few words and phrases over and over again. Not only is that annoying to read, but it’s lazy and boring.
Not that mail is clutter. Unless it’s junk mail.
For example, I noticed I use the phrase “[something] was interesting” in almost EVERY review I write. I’ve been finding it super hard to get rid of the habit of using it, too.
What I do to fix this is to write two or three more sentences focusing on WHAT I found interesting instead. When I read other people’s reviews, I want to know about the interesting thing, not just the fact that it was interesting, so I figured I’d better do the same thing in my own reviews.
And then what happened?
This post USED to be a kick-ass review of The Ruby in the Smoke, until my computer crashed and I LOST IT ALL.
This is not the first this has happened to me, and it’s why I specifically set up my various word doc programs to auto-save every three minutes. Somehow, my magnificent post slipped through the cracks and disappeared into the ether. LE SIGH.
So now I have to rewrite it somehow UGH. Since I can’t remember anything I wrote five minutes after I write it, it’s like starting from scratch all over again and I HATES IT MY PRECIOUS I HATES IT
Have you ever lost a post before? And how do you get the energy to rewrite it? Usually I just whine for about three days and then I’ve gotten over it enough to just forge ahead. What about you?
What’re you doing tonight?
Last week was the 5th anniversary of this blog! That’s a long time in internet years. I’m practically ancient now! Thanks so much to everyone who stuck with me the entire time AND to everyone who’s just joined me recently! Here’s to another five years, eh?
This here post is a kind of retrospective of some of the things I’ve done in the last 5 years, as well as a future-spective of what I’m planning to do in the future! Basically, the past was awesome, the future WILL be awesome, and though the present is only so-so, I’m not gonna settle for that.
Things that have happened in the five years I’ve been blogging!
I graduated from college, got a job, moved to another state, and finally got a smartphone.
I’ve written 1,533 posts. That’s about 306 posts a year! Holy crap.
I’ve read approx. 1,063 books. That’s about 212 a year! Again, holy crap.
I’ve interviewed two authors: Courtney Eldridge and Frank Portman And then what happened?