When I was invited to write a guest post on anything I wanted as part of Ity Reads Books interview/guest blogger series, the first thing I thought of was to write about how the format of my blog has evolved over the past 9 months. I think it is interesting how I have changed things since the beginning and I thought perhaps someone else out there might find it interesting as well.
The Beginning Format
On a whim, back in late November 2018, I decided I was going to start a book review blog. After finding WordPress and setting up an account I proceeded to write my first review.
I basically had no idea what I was doing other than writing about the book I just finished. As you can see, this is a simple paragraph style review. It is pretty generic and basic, although not bad overall for a first try, if I do say so myself. I was learning about how to use WordPress and honestly I just wanted to get some reviews posted and start getting myself out there.
The Second Format
After about 15 posts or so, I started incorporating the synopsis of the book (from Goodreads) at the beginning of my review. I did this mainly because I found it to be a struggle to explain what the book was about in my reviews without giving too much away. So I figured I would just start incorporating the official book description into my reviews. The following is the first post where I used this new format:
I also started using headers for my two sections – Synopsis from Goodreads and My Thoughts. I was still writing my reviews in general paragraph format at this point. I feel like adding the synopsis and the headers made the review more polished and readable than my initial format.
The Third Format
I was writing a review for a book I particularly loved (see link below), and I was struggling with the review. I even wrote in my post that I struggled because I just loved the book so much that I kept writing about the story instead of defining what I actually loved about it. To help me gather my thoughts about the book I decided to write a list of what I liked about the story. That list became my review and, unknown to me at the time, was the genesis for how I write my book reviews today.
The Fourth Format
Even though I wrote the previous review as a list, I didn’t fully embrace the list format until about 18 posts later. I read a book that was really middle of the road for me and there were things I liked and disliked about the book. I started thinking about using my list format again and VOILA! I decided to do a Pros and Cons (P&C) list. Setting up the P&C list really helped me to outline my ideas and clearly define what I thought worked in the book and what I thought didn’t work. This link will take you to my first P&C list review:
I started to get some great comments and feedback on this new P&C format so I stuck with it.
The Fifth Format
I am still using the P&C format at this point, but I started incorporating some general book information at the beginning of my reviews (i.e., genre, # of pages, and my thoughts on the cover, pacing, and ending, etc.). My first post including this information is:
The Current Format
In general, all of my fiction book reviews are in the P&C format now. I love the format and my followers have indicated they love the format. I think it is clean, easy to read, and concise. The only other thing I’ve really done since using the P&C format is to add a separate section heading at the end of my post that summarizes my general thoughts. I’ve provided links to a few of my more recent reviews in the P&C format with the new summary heading below:
I do find that the P&C format doesn’t always work as well with non-fiction and short stories, so I have used modified formats for those types of reviews. Some of these reviews still use lists and some are written in paragraph form. Here are two examples:
I have no idea what the future holds for the format of my blog. Right now I feel like I have found a format that is comfortable for me and seems to be well-received by my followers. Ultimately, there is no right or wrong format for any blog or book review. Everyone should write in the style and format that is comfortable for them. I like lists, others like paragraphs, and both are awesome formats.
I’d be curious how others’ blogs evolved over time. How did you make decisions regarding your blog format? Do you prefer lists like mine or paragraph formats, and why? Have you ever read a book review in a really unique format? Do you have any suggestions for ways I can improve my format? I love feedback!
Thanks for reading and thanks to Ity Reads Books for the opportunity to provide this guest post.