Book Writing AdviceBook, Writing, Advice
ServiceScape Incorporated
ServiceScape Incorporated
2017

Six Book Blogs You Need to Read


Apart from the book blog's role as a dynamic forum for discussion and the exchange of book titles and other reading material, book blogs have become the stage where you, the budding writer, can turn the spotlight on yourself and become a celebrity—not necessarily by winning the Nobel Prize for Literature like Bob Dylan, but by putting yourself, your views, and your literary skills out there to a potential audience of millions. In this post, I am presenting a list of my favorite book blogs. Whether you're a professor of literature, a bookworm, or an undiscovered writer yearning for recognition, you will find great books, open discussion forums, writers' tips, and excellent reviews in these top book blogs.

  1. The Book Designer—This is my top choice of book blog because it offers excellent advice on how to establish yourself as a writer using a captivating, user-friendly design and great tips on how to crack the literary space. The author of this blog, Joel Friedlander, states: Writers change the world one reader at a time. But you can't change a book that's still on your hard drive or in a box under your bed. So, his message is this, "Get your book out there!" And he shows you how through a clearly enumerated list of suggestions that include Amazon's Createspace, which shows how to get your book ready in print form for Amazon's worldwide audience. If you want to produce your own e-Book, Amazon Kindle or Smashwords will lead the way.

    Alternatively, the blog shows you how to publicize your book through your own WordPress website. This blog also provides some excellent tips for monetizing your writing skills by using Google AdSense ads, private ads, and "sponsorships." This is a go-to blog for writers and designers that covers just about anything you want to know about writing or designing a book. It shows you how to access self-training kits for writers, how to self-publish, how to market articles both on social media and in the real world, and how to use book design templates in Microsoft Word®. If you use the wealth of information this blog offers to put your lurking genius out there, you have every chance of becoming a cyber celebrity.

  2. The MillionsThe New York Times has described The Millions as an indispensable literary site, and I include it as my number two choice. It serves not only as a blog on which people are free to comment and review books and articles, but also as an extraordinary and original source of contemporary books that will have you laughing or crying at the choice of titles, and there are thousands. Consider Jacob Lambert's "Like a Fried Egg Sliding off a Fat Man's Naked Thigh: 18 Fair-use Similes," or the article, "The Art of Compassion on Donald Trump's Hats." The interactive nature of this blog is implicit in a host of excellent articles relating to the arduous process of writing a book and articles that invite comments and suggestions. One article by Nick Ripatrazone deals with the quintessential nightmare all writers face at one time or another—immobility. The advice it offers to writers incapacitated by introversion and a lack of self-confidence is Don't Worry. Don't Wait. Write.

    There are thousands of interesting ideas, book titles, articles, and suggestions in The Millions as well as essays, columns, quizzes, poetry, and a section called "Ask the Writing Teacher" in which readers can ask virtually any writing-related question, from how to deal with Fifty Shades of Rejection to how to handle transitions. This is a wonderful site with a touch of individual genius that will bring you back for more.

  3. The Indie View—So, let's suppose you're into horror stories, and you're looking, for example, for Barbara Watkins' book "Six-Pack of Blood." You don't want only the Six-Pack; you want to find every e-book Watkins has written, and, for good measure, you also want to know which of her books has horrified the world the most. In other words, you want to read the detailed reviews. You won't find that information at your local bookstore, but you will find it at the Indie View, which offers authors of e-Books from around the world the opportunity to set up their own pages on the Indie View website. The only caveat is that the e-Book author's work must have been reviewed before submission.

    What I love about this site is the video trailers it offers as an incentive to read the authors' works. The trailer to Watkins' Six-Pack of Blood opens with an invitation to "Turn on the Lights," "Check the Locks," and "Get Ready to Scream!" It's not all horror, of course, and the list of authors from around the world covering a variety of genres is truly impressive. The great advantage of this site is that it offers to promote the works of its e-Book authors, giving them a free cyber shove into the real world where their names could eventually end up alongside the likes of Tolstoy, Irving Stone, James Joyce, and, who knows, even Alfred Hitchcock!

  4. Omnivoracious—I am including this Amazon blog in my list of top book blogs not only for its imaginative, user-friendly design and its very strong emphasis on interaction and open discussion, but also for its incomparable coverage of books and book-related topics. Clearly, Amazon is the world's front-runner as a book provider: recently, Amazon accounted for 64% of the sales of printed books online. And the virtual bookstore's blog, Omnivoracious (hungry for the next good book): The Amazon Book Review, does a great service to Amazon's reputation. In fact, this blog has an outstanding ability to identify best-selling titles that are current and which will continue to sell. One look at Amazon's Best Books of the Year will offer you an ample choice of reads throughout the next year, and if you prefer shorter reads, this blog offers some very informative book-related articles, such as "The Best Children's Books for 2016" or "The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Books for November."

    Omnivoracious, which was launched in 2007, has evolved into a dynamic forum on which Amazon editors can discuss their craft, the strategies they employ to bring their books to the public stage, and the passion they have for subjects ranging from nursery rhymes and nail polish to rocket science and sex. In fact, there's something for everything on Omnivoracious, and dynamic interaction on the content of fiction and non-fiction titles that include cookbooks and kids' books, romance and science fiction. A special attraction on the Omnivoracious blog is its presentation of current celebrity picks. These include "Ransom Riggs' Favourite Reads of 2016," and "Mara Wilson's Favorite Reads of 2016." Omnivoracious also has a superb eye for particular genres that will attract the public eye: "Graphic Novel Friday: Best Comic and Graphic Novels for 2016" is one. As the biggest online bookstore in the world, Amazon has the resources and experience to make this one of the most-read literary blogs in the world.

  5. Critical Mass—If you want to feel the real pulse of the world's literary heartbeat, this blog should be on your bucket-list of places to go before you die. Established by the National Book Critics Circle in New York City in 1974, it serves an online membership of 600 critics, authors, and literary writers offering incisive commentary and reviews on books and other literary works from around the world. Another great attraction is its encyclopedic list of websites where authors, reviewers, and commentators can access almost any information in the literary world. Critical Mass features the latest works of current members, reports on literary events from around the country, and discusses the content of literary websites, blogs, individual articles, books, and essays.

    The categories and archives featured in Critical Mass are a veritable treasure-chest of literary information, featuring such subjects as "Adventures in e-Reading," "30 Books in 30 Days," and "Conversations With Literary Websites." Particularly attractive is the bullet-like presentation of current news and reviews featuring writers and reviewers around the world. For example, Jim Ruland reviews The Haunted Looking Glass, an anthology of Ghost stories selected by Edward Gorey for his column, 'The Floating Library,' in San Diego City Beat. The icing on the cake is the blog's video and podcast offerings, which cover such diverse subjects as "The VIDA Count and Gender Bias in Book Reviewing" and "The NBCC on Unlikeable Characters in Contemporary Fiction." The National Book Critics Circle is the driving force behind this impressive blog, and establishes an important literary standard in its annual literary awards, which frame which authors are the ones who count in cyber space and the real world.

  6. Helping Writers Become Authors—You're sitting at your desk about to write a book. Your head is crammed with ideas so diffuse that you wonder whether your head's going to explode. What am I going to write for the intro? Should I put the intro at the end of the book? What is the plot? Who are the characters? How do I define them? There's no symmetry to the ideas, no order, no outline. You're stuck, and the page stays blank. If this sounds familiar to you, this blog is exactly what you need. The blog is written by K.M. Weiland, and when she delivers her strategies for writing amazing prose, she knows what she's talking about. She is the award-winning, best-selling author of "Outlining Your Novel" and "Structuring Your Novel," and her blog is a compass that will steer you through the rough waters of creative writing until you reach your destination.

    Perhaps the outstanding feature of Weiland's blog is its user-friendly format and the way in which she invites you in to formulate a plot, investigate ways in which to write about characters, identify the central theme of your story, and form an outline for your book that will make you a celebrity author. Having experienced the trauma aspirant authors endure in addressing these issues, I would highly recommend this blog as an indispensable guide to creative and structured writing. Besides the wealth of instructional writing information K.M Weiland offers in her blog, she has the writer's gift of bringing a smile to your face or a twinkle to your eyes on your dullest days. She describes herself as a person who lives in make-believe worlds, talks to imaginary friends, and survives primarily on chocolate truffles and espresso. Perhaps there's a little bit of her in all of us.

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