Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Weekly Wanting (22) and the Power of Blogging

I thought I would turn this particular Wanting into a bit of a post on the importance of blogging.

Not all blogs are created equal - if they were, I would have no time to eat, sleep, or tentatively type a few words of my novel before fleeing in terror. I'd just be blog-hopping all the time.

I realize that blogging, for many people, is a personal activity. And it should be - you should blog about what you want because you want to. But it does mean that the standard of writing in blogs can vary widely. This also means that different readers react differently to different types of writing.

Over the years, I discovered I gravitated the most towards blogs that were exceptionally well-written. The blogs that read as if someone spent time considering what to write about a particular book instead of spewing their raw opinions across their keyboards.

I recently had to unfollow a longtime blogger because her reviews were just terribly written - garbled syntax, non-specific blanket statements, lazy descriptions. And she's actually an author! That boggled my mind - why wouldn't you apply the same standard of writing to your blog that you do to your books?

I realize writing well doesn't come easily to everybody. I feel this is the point where I should clarify that this isn't a post about how bloggers should write, but rather an explanation of the type of blogging I prefer to read. I am a pretty insignificant person in the larger scheme of things and writing does come very easily to me so I tend to take the ability to write well for granted. I also realize that other people prefer blogs with clearly effusive or condemning writing styles. They feel passionately about books and they want reviews that demonstrate how out of their mind AWESOME a book was. Capslock-awesome! Glitterfont-awesome! 

And "good writing" can vary. For me, good writing means that it falls under the hazy categories of "easy to read," "fun to read," and "effectively gets the point across." To me, that means I actually enjoy the occasional .gif-using review because hey, it's funny, and it very clearly gets the point across so long as it's not overused.

And all of this is a roundabout explanation of why I finally decided to add this novel to my Wishlist:

This novel was mentioned freakin' everywhere and wound up on a huge number of Best of the Year Lists and for the longest time I just couldn't bring myself to give a crap about it. I read review after review, and I got to the part about "angsty girl with a musical secret plus dragons" and a switch in my head would just go "nope nope not interesting at all nope." 

So the more reviews that came out about this novel, the more I skimmed over them. Nothing about them really explained to me why I should find this novel interesting. Even reviews from other bloggers I love and admire! It just didn't hit my buttons.

Until Janine's review from Dear Author. Somehow, the way she explained the intricate worldbuilding and the gorgeous writing, and the way the heroine's musical talents actually related to the dragon plot instead of being some random Mary Sue affectation, parted the clouds, removed the scales (heh) from my eyes, and made me realize that yes, this is a book I must have. Now. At any price. Please please?

Now, this isn't a wagging-finger at the other bloggers who loved this book. This is just an indication of how important writing and blogging can be - that even one review, one special review, can sell a book to a reader where dozens of others have failed. And I just thought it would be meaningful to try and explain that this week instead of going with my usual format.

What books are you eagerly wanting this week? And which bloggers have changed your life and made you want a book you'd never thought of before?


  1. This is also an important point to keep in kind when we find ourselves thinking, "oh, everyone and their grandma has reviewed book x; what could I possibly have to add?". Being one more voice in the crowd can be discouraging sometimes, but you never know when your writing or your unique perspective will be the thing that FINALLY clicks with someone and leads them to a book that hasn't captured their attention before. This is why a variety of reviews matters. Anyway, Seraphina is awesome and I hope you'll enjoy it!

    1. I love that point, Ana! I also try to remember that not all blog readers read tons and tons of blogs, so a book that you think everyone has heard about might be new to a lot of your readers.

  2. aw I know what you mean about good writing, some of my favorite writers are bloggers and I really envy those of you who find writing well easy.

    And I agree with and like Ana's comment!

  3. Mm, I'd say I am drawn to a certain thoughtfulness in reviews, and sometimes that goes along with reviews that are well-written. I like reviews that link the reaction to an explanation for a reaction. But effusive praise from someone who doesn't always dole it out also makes me pay attention. So, depending on a blogger's track record, pure enthusiasm can reel me in.

  4. The number of times someone will say something like "sorry this review isn't very good, I wasn't sure what to say" and I'm thinking no, this review and the few points it made have sold the book to me. One review really can swing opinion, and in that it often doesn't matter about the writing itself (which is what's so nice). I think after years of blogging it's natural to know what works for you as a reader and to want to follow only the blogs you're really interested in. I'm put off by very short reviews that don't say much, though I don't mind short reviews that are very to the point or focus on certain aspects.

  5. I'm glad not all blogs are the same, partly because, like you, I'd never have time for anything else if they were all equally good! But also I think one of the best things about blogging is the infinite variety to be found in the form. And just like with books, not every way of writing will appeal to every reader, and it's OK for blog readers, like book readers, to have preferences.