Thursday, August 25, 2011

Guest Post: Helen Smith, author of Alison Wonderland

Please join me in welcoming Helen Smith, author of Alison Wonderland, as she provides us with a guest post today.

She will be discussing with her readers why she loves book blogs. Check out Helen's blog at

Why I Love Book Blogs by Helen Smith

I have been blogging for more than four years now. I went along to the Writers’ Guild in London one evening to learn about how best to set up an author website and the chap who was giving the talk said, “Listen, you don’t want a website, you want a blog: a blog enables you to have a conversation with whoever is reading it, whereas a website is static.” I went home that night and made my first unmemorable post, and I have been hooked ever since.

I blog about whatever comes into my head – I might mention a theatre show I have seen, a book I have read or an exhibition I have visited. I might recount an anecdote that I hope will amuse visitors to the site, or I might link to an article I have read that interests me. Sometimes I post Q&As with other authors. Sometimes I host giveaways. I also like to recommend books I have read that I have enjoyed.

The one thing I never do on my blog is review books. It takes a particular skill to sum up a story and discuss its merits without spoiling the plot, while giving an indication of what kind of reader a book might appeal to. The best book blogs do this efficiently and entertainingly. They seek out bargains and bring news of new releases, they host giveaways and book hops, and post Q&As with authors. As we all know, this takes an awful lot of time. Apart from the pennies they earn through affiliate schemes when readers buy books through links on their blogs, and the money they inevitably save in buying books when review copies are sent to them by publicists, all this time-consuming work is done without recompense. Why? Because book bloggers love books.

When I’m looking for a new book to read I’ll use various sources to get recommendations – I’ll visit a bookstore or library; I’ll read newspaper reviews; I’ll talk to friends; or I’ll visit literary events and listen to authors reading excerpts from their work. The best book blogs combine elements of all of these – it’s like taking advice from a wise, well-read friend.

So that’s why I love book blogs. But there’s something else, too: I’m fortunate that my books have been featured, reviewed, discussed and recommended on dozens of book blogs over the years. It means the world to me to know that people have taken the trouble to read what I have written. Thank you!
Book Obsessed


Carol apple said...[Reply]

Nice post Helen. I do an occasional book review just because I have liked the book so much, but I prefer just to talk about the author's fascinating ideas. So a lot of my blog writing is more discussion than review. And you're right - so far no pay in this activity, just love and the satisfaction of interacting with other people who like books.

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