Cooking Up a Good Book Blog: What’s the recipe?

I subscribe to about 65 book blogs and over the last 8 weeks have been reading and researching to help me find balance over here on my own new book blog. Is the ‘recipe’ 2 parts reviews, 2 parts bookish-themed posts, 1 part giveaway; shake and serve over ice?

I’m working on creating a ‘recipe’ that produces a blog that’s:

  • not too dense (too many long reviews each week)
  • not too fluffy (not enough posts each week)
  • not too sweet (reviews that are afraid to critique for fear of backlash)
  • not too bitter (too many negative reviews that aren’t substantiated)

I have yet to do a ‘Sunday Salon’, ‘Teaser Tuesday’, ‘Wordless Wednesday’, or any of the other variations even though I like to read them on other blogs.

Posting 3 to 5 times each week seems to be average and since I write two blogs, it’s all I can do to keep up with that schedule. Generally, I’m going to host one review or book tour each week and will post a monthly calendar on my sidebar–‘The Crystal Ball’ (tag line: Look into the Future) detailing upcoming events.

Little by little I’m hoping to tweak and develop my book blog into one that people enjoying reading and visiting. Quality reviews, interesting posts, pictures, questions, and giveaways are the things I hope will generate interest, help my blog stay fresh, and keep readers coming back for more.

What do you think are the key ‘ingredients’ to a good book blog?

*Thank you to my dear friend EP for pointing out my mixed metaphors.  I reference baking, mixing drinks, and cooking all in one post.  Just call me Martha.

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22 responses to “Cooking Up a Good Book Blog: What’s the recipe?

  1. I think your recipe is right on target. I only have one blog and like to post daily. I can’t read a book a day, so I have to have other posts to fill in.

  2. I think you have got the right ingredients. Everyone likes to add a little bit of themselves too. I blog everyday, purely for therapeutic reasons. I also have some scrappers on my blog, so I don’t have time to have two different ones.

  3. I am still trying to figure it out on mine. I must say, though, that personality is a big part of it. I enjoy your just the way it is. 🙂

  4. I think there is no right or wrong recipe. Each blog is unique, as each blogger’s personality is his/her own. Your recipe will work for as long as you are comfy with it. I tried to join a few weekly memes at the beginning, but have only stuck with the ones that are expandable and can stand as regular posts on their own, even without the meme title: the Weekly Geeks, Booking through Thursday, and Sunday Salon (which isn’t actually a meme, just a regular post, really, but only with the Sunday Salon title so that you get included in the reader feed). And I don’t do them religiously, only when the topic stirs me to share.

    Anyway, your recipe sounds good, and as long as it shows your personality, and you’re feeling comfy, readers will relate. Good luck in brewing the concoction. 😀

  5. Love the title of the post!

    I agree with Bermuda Onion. I cannot read a book a day (sometimes I do not even read a book a week), so I rely on some of the memes to help keep the blog active. Ideally I would like to post every day, but in reality it is more like 5 days out of 7.

  6. I’m one of the people who gets a little annoyed by blogs that seem to post nothing but memes every week. I uaully stop following them. My blog is reviews & other bookish things, and I don’t feel the need to post to my blog every week because I assume that a lot of people read blogs like I do–I use a reader, which tells me when there are new posts on the blogs I follow. I don’t even try to follow blogs that don’t offer RSS feeds, and the only time I ever look at a blog on its own page and design is when I want to leave a comment. I also only go through my blog list about once a week, because it eats into my reading time to go through hundreds of blogs even every other day. (I swear, reading blogs is almost all I read last summer.) So, the fewer “filler” posts a blogger uses, the happier a reader I’ll be.

  7. I think that if you can manage to write a post every day, then more power to you! I think a good reason why most book bloggers do things like Wordless Wednesday and the like is because we can only read so fast, and there’s no way we can post a book review every day! I suppose I don’t really have the content problem as I don’t post strictly about books on my site, but I think the key to generating site traffic is to post as routinely as possible. I’ve been pretty bad about that this month (or rather, April) as things have been busy and/or I haven’t felt like writing, but generally that’s the plan. Also, I think having a mix of lengthy and short post helps… but I tend to write longer posts. I really need to work on being brief!

  8. I wish I put that much thought into TTi. I sort of write until it feels “done”. Hm. Mayhap some research is in order?

    I will say that what I LOVE LOVE LOVE about your blogs is how you just make me want to comment and share. It’s like having a conversation with a sassy, sassy friend.

    So, er, keep doing that.

  9. I think you are on the right track … but I do think the key to a successful blog of ANY kind is:

    1. good clear writing
    2. enthusiasm by the author (in other words, not just posting just to post)
    3. a point of view that is true to who is writing the blog.

    In other words, if you don’t feel good or interested in something, chances are your readers won’t either!

    As for my personal preferences, I much prefer blogs that only post about 3 to 4 times a week — I can keep up with them better (I have two blogs too).

    I think you are doing good with what you’ve done so far — that is why I am reading it!

    • i think your key points are right on track–and i just want to say that i’m not fishing for compliments!! honest! i really like to know what people are looking for in a blog…sometimes it’s hard to gauge…and i guess you can’t please everyone all the time, right? 🙂

  10. I do a couple of the weekly memes, simply because it gives me a bit of structure. One thing I would say though is to be a little loose in terms of your blog as I can very clearly see how my blog has changed since I started it a while ago.

    I try to post about 4 or 5 times a week. Most of the time it is book related but sometimes it will be craft or even just something that has caught my eye. I am another person who has more than one blog, so it is important to keep the balance so that they both get some attention at some time during the week.

  11. Well, first of all, I LOVE your blog! What I enjoy most are all the book and reading-related discussion questions.

    Re book reviewing, I like to see a mixture of older and newer books. There’s so much buried treasure out there.

    I love a snarky book review, but the reviewer’s got to back up his or her opinion.

  12. I think this is a good recipe.

  13. All the points you have listed sound like the best of the best!

  14. I agree with all of your ideas. I also find that book blogs that blog about a wide variety of books will keep my interest longer. I think it is good to have an open mind and gain new experiences through books! Plus, then the blog will appeal to a wide variety of people!

  15. With a reasonably new book blog as an offshoot of a general blog, I have been thinking about this topic myself recently.

    I enjoy looking at book blogs with a variety of books – old and new, young readers and, ahem, more mature readers. I also like blogs with personality and enjoy the book chat posts as much as the reviews.

    I have been writing formal book reviews for the past 12 months and am finding that it is taking me a while to be able to relax my review style on my blog. I love the way your personality (or what I assume to be your personality based on both your blogs) comes through in your posts – both review posts and general ones.

    I think you’ve got your recipe just about right, Nat. Just garnish and serve!

  16. Also a relatively new book blogger, I’ve been participating in a few weekly memes to try and generate a bit more traffic over to my blog, and it seems to be helping. However, I really enjoy visiting other book blogs to read the reviews of books I would never have found otherwise. People have some amazing reviews out there. I prefer reviews that don’t give away too much of the actual plot – but instead give an honest and personal opinion of why they liked or disliked the book, and maybe a good quote or two to get me interested.

  17. 65 book blogs- dear Lord when do you find time to read the BOOKS?!

    Yours is the only one I read (of course) and I think it’s perfect. PS: Thank you for the gifts; keep them coming.

  18. Such an interesting question and one I’ve been thinking about lately as well. I used to subscribe to around 40 blogs but there are so many good ones out there that I keep subscribing to more and more (I think I’m to 75 right now but need to pare down).

    Your formula is pretty much just how I like my book blogs as well, but I also like a little bit of personality thrown in. There’s definitely something to be said about balance. But I’ve also come to be good friends with some bloggers and I’ll always read their posts even if it isn’t a book I’m terribly interested in. Connection is really important, especially since the blogosphere is SOOOO big! 🙂

  19. Pingback: BOOKS AND MOVIES » Bookish links for Saturday, May 9, 2009

  20. I think you’re doing a great job. Blogging is so individual it’s impossible to judge another’s recipe.

    I like some of the memes and I am not turned off by blogs that post them. They are nice community builders. If a blog is nothing but memes, then I find I stop reading.

    The beauty of using a blog reader is that you can easily skip the memes if you don’t like them and go right for the reviews.

    I like to post every day, but I am fine with bloggers who post only 3 times a week.

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