Author's Note: These issues are not addressed at a single blog. They are just general commentary on things that bug me within the genre blogosphere.
10 Things I Hate About You(r Blog)
1. You don't have enough original content
You pad your blog with lots of words that aren’t yours. You post pages and pages of plot summaries and book excerpts with none of your own commentary or thoughts. If you didn't write it, don't post anything longer than a paragraph or two word for word. If it’s longer than that, post a link (always do that anyway) and maybe a brief quote with some of your own thoughts for context. Everything you post should include at least some of your own input. If you don’t care enough to comment about it, why should we care enough to read it? If my RSS feeder says you've posted 30 times in the last two weeks and I can’t find 5 posts with original content, you are failing.
Additionally, if you're content isn't original, for the love of Tolkein, LINK THE SOURCE.
Exception #1: If you wrote the book, by all means excerpt/blurb/quote away. Duh.
Exception #2: Book Covers. They are visual, quick hits that can break up monotonous blocks of text. It’s also a good way to get feedback to the publishers/artists.
2. You pass off summaries as reviews
Tell me why I should or shouldn't read the book you just read. Don't tell exactly what happened in the book you just read. If you are still summarizing the book halfway through the review, you are doing it wrong. I can read the back cover for myself and if I know more than that, why bother reading the book. If you thought the ending was good or bad, don't refrain from saying so but don't explain that the main character's death was poorly written.
Exception: There is nothing wrong with a brief summary (or a link to one). Just avoid spoilers and don’t let it take over the review.
3. Your blog is overly negative
You attack authors or other bloggers on a personal level. You repeatedly revisit books you hated. You troll for comments. I like to read blogs that show me which authors I should be reading. I like to read insightful commentary from people who appear to love the genre. There is plenty of good stuff out there; let’s talk about that. Bad books and crazy authors aren’t worth the attention. If you don’t love what you are blogging, why the hell are you wasting your time? [Yes, I know this is kind of a negative post.]
Exception: If a book sucks, don’t pretend it’s good. But offer constructive points and keep it short.
Exception #2: If you are attacked, feel free to go out Nuclear MAD style. It’s fun to watch.
4. Your blog comes across as pretentious
Exception: Don’t be afraid to take a firm stance of something. Just don’t disregard other’s opinions or provide reasons behind your judgements.
5. You confuse “contest” with “content”
Exception: Contests with a purpose are fine. If you are an author giving away exclusive ARCs in exchange for the best themed submissions, go for it. Charity contests are certainly acceptable. But if you are holding contests for page views, get better priorities.
6. Your blog is too difficult to contribute to
Exception: Avoiding spam is worth a little bit of a hassle as long as everything I need to do is on one page.
7. Your blog is overly monetized
Exception: There is nothing wrong with getting free books, having advertisements, or using the AAP. Just don’t let it impact your credibility, readability, or honesty.
8. Your blog is stagnant
You are reading the same kind of books, focusing on the same authors, posting the same kind of reviews, and repeating the same kind of discussions. While you might love the specific subgenre If things are getting overly routine, challenge yourself. Look at some books you wouldn't normally read.
Interview your favorite authors. Try and find some up-and-comers. Analyze the publishing industry from an abnormal persepctive. Doing something new and different can often reinvigorate your love for the genre and increase the quality on your blog.
Exception: Don’t confuse consistency with stagnation. If you post a great essay on the state of various sub-genres, keep going.
9. You misrepresent your blog
Exception: As I said in #8, there is nothing wrong with switching things up and doing different things. Just don’t lose sight of your core audience.
10. You treat authors like Word-Machines instead of people
Additionally, authors are busy people who aren't particularly well compensated. Every blog post, interview, and comment is something that they didn't have to do. Don't ever expect or demand an author to supply you free content.
Exception: GRRM. Come on man. When do I get A Dance With Dragons? You deserve everything you get [just kidding. somewhat.]