Blogger Recognition Award: My Advice to Book-Bloggers

Four very sweet people seem to think I might have valuable advice to offer new bloggers. To these people I say both Thank you for the award nomination, and WHY DID YOU HAVE TO NOMINATE ME AFTER YOU GUYS ALREADY GAVE THE BEST ADVICE EVER, YOU’RE AN IMPOSSIBLE ACT TO FOLLOW.

If you don’t believe me, see for yourself:

All four of them are amazing, and if you aren’t already following their blogs what is wrong with you.

bloggerrec_award

BLOGGER RECOGNITION AWARD RULES:
  • Write a post to show your award
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started
  • Give two advice to new bloggers
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  • Select 15 other blogs you want to give the award to
THE STORY OF HEY ASHERS! 

The need to rant about delightfully awful books is strong in me, you guys. Before Goodreads (etc.) came along, I very likely would’ve died of unranted rants if my three best friends (Ashers, Lizzy, and Katie) didn’t let me email them the occasional gleeful/exasperated/enraged book critique.

As an obsessed and critical reader, there’s almost nothing better than complaining at length to my best friends about the ridiculous books I read, and receiving their reassuring “Why are you doing this to yourself? (Don’t stop)” emails back.

I decided to take my show on the blogging road for two reasons: (1) to meet more friends to commiserate with, and (2) to hopefully help writers think more critically about their works-in-progress, thus improving their writing and increasing the number of excellent books available for everyone’s reading pleasure.

One of these goals is, uh, a smidge loftier than the other. But I’ve definitely succeeded with goal #1; the book-blogging community is a wonderful place, full of welcoming, insightful people. My only wish is that I’d reached out to them sooner.

ADVICE TO NEW BLOGGERS
1. Make an easily accessible index of your reviews

I’ve seen several blogs—both new and not-so-new—that have a “Reviews” link at the top of their blogs, but the link just takes me to a chronological feed of all their reviews.

This might be okay if you’ve only posted two reviews, but it’s deeply aggravating if you’ve posted more than, say, six. Lord help us all if you’ve posted more than twenty, and we have to scroll through all of them just to find out if you’ve ever read Cinder or whatever.

When I click your “Reviews” link, I want to see an index of your reviews, so I can pick and choose which ones I read. It’ll also show me at a quick glance if we read the same types of books, and (assuming you also note the star rating you gave each book) whether we have the same general opinion about books we’ve both read.

2. Correctly organize your index

Choose an organization method, then do it right.

For example: according to approximately every respectable institution in the world, titles are alphabetized according to the first word that isn’t an article (“a,” “an,” “the”).

So this is not okay:

  • A Great and Terrible Beauty
  • An Ember in the Ashes
  • Angelfall
  • The Accident Season

But this is okay:

  • The Accident Season
  • Angelfall
  • An Ember in the Ashes
  • A Great and Terrible Beauty

And this is okay:

  • Accident Season, The
  • Angelfall
  • Ember in the Ashes, An
  • Great and Terrible Beauty, A

This isn’t the biggest issue in the world (better a poorly-organized index than none at all!), but I’m guaranteed to get annoyed if I’m scrolling through an alphabetized index that has just a few entries here and there until I get to “T,” where there’s a giant block of entries for books starting with “The.”

Also guaranteed to annoy me: alphabetizing a list by the author’s first name instead of last name. This is just baffling.

DISCLAIMER

Of course, you don’t have to have an index if you don’t want to. And if you do have an index, you can organize it however you feel like, without regard to international alphabetizing standards overseen and supported by the major style guides. That’s your decision to make.

But if you want your blog to be both easily navigated and professional-looking, please oh please take my advice. Your readers (including me) will thank you.

IN CLOSING

I nominate:

  • You

Seriously, it seems like everyone’s already completed this award—but if you haven’t, or if you have more advice you want to give, consider yourself nominated! Just be sure to leave a link to your post in my comments section, so I don’t miss it.

This is probably the longest Blogger Recognition Award submission ever posted. I’m so sorry. *Dies.* Thanks again to Katherine, Fatima, Poppy, and Milou for the nomination! You guys are the best.

 


48 thoughts on “Blogger Recognition Award: My Advice to Book-Bloggers

  1. Aww what a wonderful post! Excellent reason to start a book blog- I was the same about needing some place to vent- although for me what got me started was being especially angry about a particular book (Captain Corelli’s Mandolin- sorry if you like it, but I just hated it so much :/ ) And I agree with you about needing an index- although mine is organised by authors

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh jesus don’t read it unless you want to be really really bored- or you happen to be interested in terribly pretentious books with cardboard cut-out characters and a terrible plot (and an even worse ending) (guess I didn’t totally get the rant out of my system :p )
        Ahh thanks very much! It just makes it easier to organise 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Your blog has a wonderful story! (seriously, it’s 100% better than mine, and I loved reading about it!) I feared that my friends were getting tired of me talking about books 24/7. They didn’t stop rolling their eyes, and I wasn’t going to stop talking about books, so something had to change. 😉 Great advice too! I haven’t seen it on any other blog, and it’s invaluable advice. Really helpful!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved reading this Liam, especially how you decided to start you blog. I definitely wanted to find more bookish people to speak with because I read really fast and my friends can’t really keep up which means I had no one to talk to about the books I love! Also I will definitely say your reviews have made me look more critically at the books I read as well so I’m sure it’s helpful to authors as well! 😀
    Also great advice. You’ve reminded me that I need to put a reviews index on my blog and soon as well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw, thank you!

      It’s great that you’ve found lots of people to talk with; I doubt many of us could keep up with your reading pace (I know I couldn’t), so having a bunch of readers to chat with must be perfect for you. 🙂

      And holy crap, you don’t know how happy I am to hear I’ve helped inspire you to read more critically! My blog is officially worth all the time and energy I put into it. Thank you for that!

      I think I’d written about ten or twelve reviews before I remembered to make an index. Sometimes you can get carried away and forget details like that. Glad to be able to remind you that it was on your blogging to-do list! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s all right ❤
        Yeah I doread a lot and wuite quickly as well 😀 I guess the good thing about blogging and about the community is no matter how fast I read there are always people out ther who have already read the books I’ve posted reviews for and who talk to me about them. It’s a great community and year, so happy to have people to talk to! 🙂
        Well it’s definitely something I’ve become more aware of as I’m reading, as it is seeing more critical reviews on blogs makes me aware of things I didn’t pick up on the first time reading something, but looking back im like ‘oh yeah, Iremember that happening’ you know?
        I think I have a lot of reviews to go back over, but yeah it’s on my to-do list now so I should be able to get around to it soon-ish 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  4. To be honest, I have been wondering about your blog name for a while now, like who’s Asher? Am I one of the Ashers? (I’m being weird and creepy, sorry) But now I know that it’s the name of one of your friends (Am I right?), and what a wonderful story about your blog!

    I super agree with you with the index. Mine is organized alphabetically disregarding the articles, which I thought was a little too formal because I saw a lot of blogs not doing that. But your post made me feel a little proud of myself haha. Other bloggers should really read your advice because it does make it easier to find book reviews. 😄

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahaha, it never occurred to me that people might read “Ashers” as a plural of “Asher.” My friend’s real name is Ashley, and we’ve called her Ashers for ages. 😀

      If you ask me, you can’t go too formal in organizing your blog–because “formal” just means “doing it correctly, like a respectable book-loving person should” (in my humble opinion). You should definitely be proud! Your index is evidence of your and your blog’s respectability.

      I hope they do too, and that they take my advice! I also hope no one’s offended or thinks I’m targeting them specifically. I’ve honestly forgotten whose blogs don’t have any/well-organized indexes; I just know I’ve seen at least six or seven in the last couple months. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great advice! I often check out new blogs and see review pages that either don’t exist, which is odd for a book blog, or they’re all over the place. If I don’t know where to start and end up digging through old stuff, I give up. This happens a lot. My page is listed by the author’s last name, of course. It didn’t make sense to do it any other way when I first set it up. I’m not a fan of searching for books by title because then I have to know what I’m looking for. I’d rather scan a list of authors and go from there, especially when it comes to authors who’ve written a lot of books. This is the best piece of advice I’ve seen so far. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m right there with you, obviously.

      I think in an ideal world, every blog would have multiple indexes, so that people with different scanning preferences could choose which index they open. That’s why I maintain five indexes–but that’s probably overkill. If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s that.

      Aw, thank you! It took me a while to think of some advice that I hadn’t seen mentioned before. Glad to hear it’s worth saying! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think I would forget to update all of them if I had more than one index. I don’t know how you remember. Maybe when I have more reviews I’ll get fancy. It’s funny how many books I’ve read in the past six months alone and still need to review. 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. And here I thought I was slacking. I only finished 5 or 6 books in May, and DNF about 3 or 4 in April. I’m unsuccessfully trying to read 4 books right now. I changed my reading habits so I’m only reading at night. I’m crazy, I know. 😝 I haven’t been able to write any fiction lately. I read instead.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. If that’s slacking, I must be comatose. There’s a reason I only post book reviews every other week. 😀

        Four books at the same time? HOW DO YOU DO IT. I can’t even do two at once; I have a hard time getting immersed in the stories if I have multiples going on.

        Seriously, if you need to slow down in order to successfully get through your TBR (not to mention get back to your writing), nobody–least of all me–will think you’re slacking off.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Haha! I don’t think I’m doing well reading four books at a time. Some books I read in a few hours while others take me weeks. I think it depends on the book. I run through NA romance novels like crazy. It’s the fantasies that take longer because of the world building. I have zero attention span anymore I swear. Between fiction writing, synopsis and query writing, blog posts, and reading I’m all over the place. Now if only I could get paid to read or write instead. That would be pretty sweet.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Happy to commiserate with you anytime! I was so frustrated not to have friends who were as obsessed with books and ready to lose sleep to comment on every little detail as I was that when I discovered the book blogging community, I thought I was in heaven. It makes all the difference. Now I can complain with other people, it’s much funnier.
    goes to check her review index page. Looks under the “T” section. Oops! Okay, that is great advice! I am now off to reorganize the titles without taking the articles into account. I also think adding the review rating for each book could be nice, I hadn’t thought of that. Thank you for helping me make my blog better 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hey man, I started this blogging thing the same way–I had to complain about something (full disclosure it was a book where there were moments of lacking consent from Broody McBroodster).

    Damn you’re a stickler for those indexes. Sheesh! God forbid someone walk into your home, take one book out and place it out of order and tell you about it so you’d have to go–wait, this is a wonderful [devious] plan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No better place to complain than on the Internet.

      Ha ha, what are you talking about? I would totally be okay with that, no problem. Wouldn’t spend the next hour combing through all my books hunting down the one out of place, nope, not at all. Ha ha.

      Like

  8. I LOVE your pieces of advice! So practical and honestly very useful even to non-newbie book bloggers. I try to organise my reviews using an index too (by author) as well as by genre and rating. I’m not sure if it has helped anyone, but it sure helps ME. 😛

    Also I’ve always thought I’ve been following you all along, oops – I could’ve sworn I read some of your Throne of Glass chapter snarks, haha. That has now been remedied.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! 😀

      I can guarantee your fantastic index has helped many a reader, including myself. But hey, even if it did only help you, that’s important, too.

      I accidentally unfollowed someone at some point in the last, like, two weeks, and only just noticed it. My only guess is I clicked the little unfollow button on the bottom right corner of the screen while reading their blog? No clue. But anyway: welcome, or welcome back! 😀

      Like

      1. I knooow, it’s so easy to accidentally unfollow someone. That has happened to me while scrolling too and sometimes I get needlessly worried because what if they think I actually unfollowed them months back and just re-followed? I dunno, brain works in mysterious ways.

        Thanks for the welcome! Glad to be here. 😛

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I need to reorganize my index. I’ve got two, one by title, and one by author. The title one I wasn’t sure how to organize, I looked around at what most people had done and I saw that most had put book titles starting with “The” under T’s. So that’s what I did, even though I knew it wasn’t “right”. But now I hate it, and I will take your advice and rework mine at some point. I waited about 8 months before starting an index and wow that was a lot of work when I finally did it!! Great advice to start an index at the beginning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bloggers who have multiple indexes are my favorite. Thumbs up.

      Yeah, it can be such a hassle to reformat or reorganize a sizeable index. I wound up adjusting the formatting–just the formatting, not the organization–of mine a few months ago, and it took approximately forever. I never want to change it again. Dies.

      Hope your reworking process is quick and easy!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Congratulations on the award, Liam! I love that your advice focuses on blog organization because that’s definitely an aspect many book bloggers overlook. I’m actually one of those people that created an index when I had like two reviews. And I love that I did (even though it looked pathetic in the beginning) because it’s a great indicator Xingsings’ growth. Instead of just book reviews I have this huge index for everything I’ve posted. It probably is confusing, but it functions well for me and I’m okay with it. And I’m one of those “, The” people seeing as I don’t like categorizing “The _____” under the letter “T” section either. 😄

    Liked by 1 person

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