Last week's Weekly Blogging Tip was about keeping your blog design simple and clear in order to make your content more readable and encourage repeat visitors.
This made me think more specifically about the content/design (however you want to think about it) of our books reviews.
So this week's tip is:
What do I mean by this?
What I am referring to is what people often do (and what I used to do in all honesty) which is to start of every post with the full details of the book; the title, author, publisher, year published, number of pages, edition, paperback, hardback, ebook, audiobook etc.
Some blogs might commence with this information, and then include the blurb from the back of the book, and then maybe some quotes from the book – all before they have reached the actual review of the book.
I know I repeat myself a lot when I say this, but I do recognise that everyone has their own style.
Having said that, my own thoughts on this are that most people who are out there reading reviews on book blogs want to know what you thought of the book. What is your summary of what the book was about? Did you connect with the characters? What was the prose like? Were there any interesting issues or themes the book raised?
The potential problem I see with commencing your review post with all the additional information is that the post isn't focussed on the review itself – it contains a lot of other information before the reader even gets to what they are looking for.
Another way of looking at it is this. I am a solicitor who appears in courts before Magistrates and Judges. If I were appearing in, for example, a sentence matter I would raise my strongest points first. What does the Magistrate really need to know about this person? What makes this person different to other people that come before the court? If I can get the Magistrate's attention straight away with these strong points, they are more likely to stay with me throughout my submissions.
I think the same thing can be said of review posts. Get straight to the point – which is the review.
If you think that your readers might also enjoy reading all the publishing information about the book and perhaps they might also like to read the blurb from the back of the book – then why not include it at the end of the review? That way people can read the most important information first without being distracted by the less important information. If they want more information when they have finished reading the review, then they have some bonus information at the end of the post. If they don't, they have least read your thoughts and experiences on the book, which let's face it, is what we want to share with everyone.
That's why I say: Let the review itself be the main focus of the book review post. Don't distract your readers with information they may or may not want to know before they get to your thoughts. They are there for your wonderful thoughts, so think about giving your thoughts to your readers first up.
Given we are talking about the content of posts; I thought that it might be useful next week to talk about the frequency of posts.
#7 WEEKLY BLOGGER TIP: FREQUENCY OF POSTS
#5 Blog design
#4 Third party commenting systems
#3 Commenting habits
#2 The obsession with followers
#1 The follower gadget