Jun 23, 2009


By way of A Dribble of Ink, I found my way over to OF Blog of the Fallen, where Larry expressed his distaste for bloggers who were using promotional giveaways, excerpts and other content-light methods to attract readers rather than providing quality content. Without going into specifics, I would have to agree. Several blogs I used to consider to be high content have recently become giveaway heavy and content light to the point where they are little more than P.R. shells for the publishers which send them books.

It’s the primary reason that I started blogging (very recently) after months and months of contemplating it. I just wasn’t seeing the kind of content I wanted to see and I wasn’t finding the discussions I wanted to participate in. Also, I felt like I was reading a lot but not really thinking about what I was reading and why I did or didn’t like it. Like many bloggers, I would like to be an author someday. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an author. I’ve taken a creative writing class but I’ve also went skydiving. And I don’t call myself a bird. Sitting down and actually thinking about what works and what doesn’t feels like the first step toward deciding the kind of story I want to write someday.

Aidan over at Dribble of Ink added to the discussion by discussing why he was blogging and what he looks for in a blog. I would recommend checking it out if you haven’t see it yet.

His post inspired me to write a Blogger’s Anthem. Many people start out with an post about what they intend to do with their blog but I wasn’t really sure what I was looking to do.

On Blogging: I’m not here to make money and I’m not here for free books (although I wouldn’t say no to either as long as I can still write about what I want to). I’m here because I love speculative fiction and I want to talk about it. There aren’t enough people in my daily life that are truly interested in the ins and outs of the SFF world and I’ve wanted a better outlet for my rants, recommendations and interests. Book blogging seemed like a natural enough choice. I could provide the kind of content I like to see and hopefully have some people interested enough in what I had to say to generate some conversation. I love the feeling of having someone come back and tell me that they absolutely loved a book I recommended to them. I’m happy to say I got my first comment like that today and it meant a lot.

On Content: In my brief time in the blogosphere, I’ve noticed a few things. First, it’s hard to generate significant amounts of original content on a daily basis, read at a decent pace, AND manage the other aspects of your work/life balance. I try to post something once a day, just to remind anyone who happens to be reading that I’m still here. Whenever I do post, I try to personalize it, even if it’s only a response to cover art or my feelings on the new authors’s press release.

On Press Releases/Blurbs/Excerpts: A brief blurb is okay to give with reference to a book received or being read/reviewed. Excerpts should be linked, not pasted on the front page, I enjoy reading press releases and commentary on them. One of my favorite things about reading book blogs is discovering new authors and learning when one of my favorite authors announces a new book and short of walking through the SFF section in the local bookstore, book blogs are one of the best ways to find out about what’s coming out soon. I absolutely love fantasybookcritic’s next-month-preview that they publish at the end of each month. It’s probably my singular favorite feature post out there.

On Free Books: I wouldn’t say no to free books but I wouldn’t feel obligated to review anything that I didn’t personally solicit from a publisher. I would only solicit something I was interested in reading anyways. There’s too much quality content out there to read something you’re not interested in. If I did receive something in the mail, I would mention in a weekly/monthly post but I’m not guaranteeing I will read it or give it a starred review.

On Finishing Books: I’m a finisher, I don’t like putting down a book unfinished regardless of quality but at the same time I am fairly selective about the books I pick up. I might buy a subpar book on a whim but chances are it won’t make it to the top of my reading list.

On Contests: I never win them. They suck. The two thoughts might be connected

On Posting Cover Art: Covers are shiny. I like to look at them. They work in a bookstore, why wouldn’t they work in a blog?

On Reviews: I love SFSignal’s style of reviews. Give a quick summary, hit the high points and the low points and then give an extended review for the benefit of someone who is really interested. I don’t like an overly verbose review that rambles on without saying much. I try to keep my reviews to 500 words or less.

On Interviews: Like them when they are well done. I’ve got some author’s I would like to contact down the road once they release their new books. To feel comfortable writing an interview I feel like I would need to 1) really like the author and want them to get some more press or 2) have read their current book or at least previous books to tailor questions appropriately.
On Posting Personal Information: If you can write it as interestingly as John Scalzi, go for it. But keep it short. If I really wanted to know everything about your life I would be your friend.

If you are still reading, thanks! And what's you're blogger list of ethics?

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