Opinions

Submission for Review: What Book Bloggers Could Do Better

My last blog post talked how I felt for the monumental task book bloggers had to do because I write a review blog of my own for Xbox Live Indie Games. This time, let me point out where I think book bloggers could do better.

1. Communicate with authors!

One of the blogs I’ve submitted too has downloaded a A Clear and Feathered Danger via a Smashwords Coupon, but which one, I have no idea. I probably will never know as they didn’t email me to tell me that they did it, or even if they will review or not review my books.  Another added a ACAFD post to her blog with the info I had submitted, but never felt it was necessary to email me and let me know. I only figured that out when I goggled my books . And then there are the bloggers where my email seems to go into a black hole never to emerge again. No review will ever be written and no mention of me will ever be made. I will not even know if they received the email and read it.

When a developer emails me a review code, I email them back letting them know I’ve received it and will review the game. Then once the review is posted, I email them again. I don’t email them when I use the code specifically, since Xbox Live codes are one use unique codes, they’ll know when I do, but if they weren’t, you bet I’d email.  In the end, whether or not I review a game positively or negatively, communicating with the developers build connections and visibility within the Indie Game community, as they’ll stick around and become active readers, and help spread the word about my blog.

Just as I know developers read my blog, authors read book blogs. Authors who are treated with respect will stick around and continue to read and help the spread the word. I’ll venture to guess that many of the readers of new book blogs are authors as developers were early readers of mine.

Treating authors with respect, ie. communicating with them, will go a long way to helping build a reputation and following. It will mean the difference between being a highly respected blogger, or a nobody.

2. Clean up the clutter!

If you haven’t looked at my review blog, please do so by clicking here. Notice how clean and streamlined mine is. I have been complimented on keeping my blog easy to read. Ditto with this blog, I keep it simple and streamlined since I don’t have the money to pay for an awesome website that pretends it’s hosted by Ashram-Uriah, my in-world information storage and retrieval specialists.

Then go look at this blog and this blog.

First issue, they have background images that obscure text, which is a huge no no and needs no further explanation.

Second, they load the sides with social media stuff, I have to scroll down quite a ways to find the navigational items and they’re spread out over the sides. Even blogs with decent backgrounds often make this error like this one.

Bloggers should design their blogs if they were visiting it for the first time. They wouldn’t care about social media, that comes later, once people like it, then they’ll add you on twitter. The things that should always go first are the various ways to find content on your site, maybe a little text box at most. If one can’t find content easily, why would they stick around?

Now even I haven’t perfected blog design, and I’m not saying I am. This blog even needs some work. But what I am saying is that having a streamlined blog that makes it relatively easy to find content should be standard. It makes one look professional and someone that should be taken seriously.

The benefits of this are are obvious, as I have yet to see a widely read blog that’s  ugly and hard to navigate.

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I could go on, but I think these two are a good place to start.

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