Monday, March 19, 2007

Reader blogs...

I'm sitting here wondering what makes a good reader blog. Well, not true. I'm sitting here on hold with my old university trying to get a hold of a notarized transcript (shoot me), and I'm taking this muzak-filled opportunity to contemplate reader blogs, the good, the bad and the ugly. Now obviously we've pounded the subject into the ground when it comes to blogs needing interesting voice and content to be popular, but what about when the content is in part dictated by the books reviewed?

We can argue day and night about what constitutes a proper review, but for the moment we'll just settle for any blog or website dedicated (for the most part) to the reader's thoughts on books s/he has read. What makes an interesting, returnable (as in you return to it) reader blog?

Does the rating system matter?

Does it all depend on what is being reviewed (e.g. you would accept one style from a SciFi blog, but not from a lit blog)?

There's a whole list of review blogs in the sidebar that I need to update, but I want to hear your thoughts on what makes a good reader blog and how to build a better one.

I'll consider to gather my thoughts while I wait to talk to a real person.

For those of you not interested in this subject, go check out Sarah Weinman's thoughts on "Genre Wars from a different angle" and share your thoughts.


alexgirl said...

Good question. I was having a similar discussion this morning, specifically about whether images make a difference in blogging. Some people are more likely to linger on a blog if there are pictures interspersed. It tells you immediately what you're getting yourself into. But images can also distract. Personally, since I started adding more images, I've had a lot more traffic on my blog than when I didn't. Hmmm... who knows. I'll have to keep thinking of all this. Thanks!

Lesa said...

I think I started to draw more readers to my blog when I started to give away ARCs. What do you do with all those ARCs if you don't give them away?

Fortunately, readers said they trusted my comments and reviews, and they continue to come back. I've had comments from people who don't necessarily make comments on the blog itself, but they tell me they read it regularly.

I hope I'm offering them something they enjoy, by sharing my excitement about books and authors.

Anonymous said...

I think what will keep me going to a reader blog is individual analysis - a statement I can't get anywhere else. Tell me how the book affected YOU, Blogger!

Chris said...

I don't want just what's written on the back cover. I want to know what the reader thinks. I also don't think it should be all reviews all the time either. Reader participation is nice too: challenges, memes and all that.

And like Alex, I think images are a nice touch. People are more likely to linger if they have something pretty to look at.

Kate said...

my blog has turned into a reader blog. I like it. Actually it's turned into a What About AA Writing Anyway blog.

Kate said...

and there was a reader blog I loved because her rating system was the best. It changed from book to book.

I'd read the reviews just to see what tool she'd use for rating.

Anonymous said...

I think a good reader blog is just like a good movie reviewer. If I know the reviewer, then I know if I'll either love what they love, or hate what they love. Either way, it helps. I hardly ever believe AMAZON or book covers anymore - afterall, they are there to sell. Good bloggers - like Bookseller Chick want to spread the word about books.

Thanks for the blog!

Lisa said...

I agree with some of what's been said here. I can find "unbiased" reviews in any number of places...the reason I read blogs is to get someone's PERSONAL opinion about the book, and why. Over time, I get to know if that person generally feels the same way as I do about books. If so, when they find a winner, I've got a winner!!

I don't really care about ratings..I can get that from the New York Times or Bookmarks.

If a blogger says they liked it, or loved it, and gives the reasons, I can decipher for myself what that rating is...