Writing Book Reviews on Your Blog
Keeping a Fresh Blog
A blog is one of the best ways for a writer to stay in touch with their writing skills. In addition, it serves as a valuable marketing tool when potential employers ask for samples of your writing. Even better, is to have a blog that's regularly updated. Few things impress people more than a personal blog with a good readership and up-to-date content.
Often however, writers have problems finding fresh material to blog about. "Writers block" is a frequent issue even for experienced bloggers. In addition to improving the impression you create, a continuously updated blog is frequently crawled by search engines as well. This increases your ranking in the SERPS and draws more visitors your site.
The challenge therefore, is to always write new stuff and to build the community. This takes time – there's really no shortcut. It requires visiting the blogs of like-minded writers, commenting on them with thoughtful insights, and… building friends. There is one way however to ensure that your blog is always updated. And that is to write book reviews regularly. Of course this demands that you read books all the time, but for a lot of people like me, this is true in any case. If you're like this too, you should have no problems whatsoever in maintaining a fresh and up-to-date blog.
Writing Book Reviews
As a person who reads a lot of books myself, I like to keep track of what I read. This isn't easy since at the end of the year, you're never sure of what you've read and where you stand compared to a year ago. Of course you can always keep a list, but why not kill two birds with one stone and gain tangible benefit out of your book reading habits?
So here's the deal. Every time you finish a book, blog about it. Add a nice picture, give your thoughts about what you've just read, and if you want, a rating as well. If your blog consists of other topics, create a separate category for "book reviews". This will direct visitors to that section of your blog which they're interested in and also help search engines find your book reviews more easily. Over time, you might find yourself building a little community as you yourself visit other book review blogs for new ideas on what to read and draw more visitors to your site.
A side benefit will be that you will always know what you've read and will be able to go back to any book in the past and recap how you felt about it. Sometimes you will read books as part of a series. In this case, you can either write a review for each book or you can write one single review when the series is over. We generally tend to finish books in a series faster than standalone ones and so it might be easier to choose the latter path.
For example, since I started writing book reviews in 2009, I have written 68 of them. Several of these are "series" reviews, so the actual number I've read would be more like 80 or 90. It is good to know how much you read and how much progress you've made year on year!