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Book Bloggin 101 - Keywords & Inane Comments

I recently got a request to review a book, I've read the descriptions, and the book just doesn't really appeal to me. How do I politely tell the author I don't wait to read/review their book? - Sarah
A: Dish it straight and to the point. I would just say: "Thank you for thinking of me and my wonderful blog, but I don't think this book is the right fit for me. I try and review only books that appeal to me, because forcing myself to read a book would generally lead to a negative review. May I suggest these blogs X X X, I cannot speak for these bloggers, but they are more in your genre and might accept your book for review." Just keep it simple.

I really like the "Comment Luv" widget that a lot of the WordPress sites have. I use Blogger - is there a way for me to set up Comment Luv on my blog? - Julie @ Read Handed
A: It is recommended that you use Intense Debate, it is by the same people that created WordPress.

here is the how-to article:

I know how much I love comments on my blog. They feel awesome like I'm doing something right, so I try to comment on other's blogs too. My question is do bloggers like all kinds of comments (besides spam, obviously)? Sometimes I can't think of anything to say besides "Great review! I want to read that!" though I want to show the blogger I appreciate their review. I don't want people to think I didn't read their review but sometimes there just isn't much to say. What do you think?
- Commentor
A: The random comment debate. I used to comment like that, if you can't think of anything great to say, right, just say something generic. Much like in real life, we make inane comments, "Nice shoes," "Oh Sally you're hair looks great today." "Wow it's hot today."

Simple fact, we are a society of inaneness. We comment and say nice things to each other to make  others feel better. Especially women. We want to spread that love. Does it mean anything in the long run? No. Will your comment strike a cord with them that will resonate into their old age? No. Will it make them feel better? Yes. And really isn't that all that matters...

But, here comes the evil side of me... when you think about it, if you can' t think of anything more than 'Good Review' was it really a good review? Shouldn't a good review incite a bit of feedback, get those juices flowing inspire something more than just Good Review??? So are you just writing Good Review to show the person that you just happened to stop by, read their review and can't really think of anything to say so you wrote Good Review? But, really their review wasn't that good... just something to think about.

Don't mind's one of the reason why I've gotten to the point where I don't comment, unless I have something very specific to say. My fingers got tired of typing ... 'Great review'. But that is just me.

What's the easiest way to add images such as book covers to your posts? And how do you borrow someone's button - say for a weekly meme, if they don't have the code there?  - Mandy
A: The Amazon Associates App. Easiest way that I add images.

Taking someone's button? LOL

1. Go the page that they have their button
2. Right click on that button
3. Scroll down to Save Image As...
4. Save it to your hardrive
5. Upload it to your post from the spot you saved it to your harddrive

How do I get a custom icon to appear on the browser tab for my blog? Same question for the blog roll, how can I substitute blogger's orange icon for my own? - Carmel
A: Custom icon is called a favicon and you have to create a graphic and then host it. Then you have to insert code into your blogger template. Here is a great HOW TO article:

Second part of that question I think is impossible. Those B icons are for the blogs own favicons, I'm pretty sure you can't do anything about it. I say ditch the icons and just put links.

I keep hearing about "keywords' in regards to SEO and Google page ranks. I sort of get the idea of keywords, but I don't really understand how they work - or better yet how to put them into meaningful practice on my blog. How do you choose the best keywords for your blog, and then when you do, how are you supposed to use them? Just insert them in every post or something? I just can't wrap my mind around it without having to write blog posts that come off sounding silly.  - April @ My Shelf Confessions
A: Keyword choices are the HARDEST part of any SEO practice. How to freakin' choose? Have you checked your stats? What are people searching for to find my blog? Do you know for a year my biggest keyword search was Julie Kagawa. Really? It was because I did an ARC review of one of her Iron Fey series books. I must have been hitting first or something for that review. But how do you get into the mind of the Google searcher, what in the world would bring them to my blog?

I've given it some thought and I usually go with genres as my keywords, series names, things like that. You want them to come to your blog and stay around, so you only want pertinent searches to result in a visit.

Web page copy is often a little funny sounding compared to say brochure copy. It's how it rolls. You have to write out the keywords in your if you were targeting, Best Urban Fantasy Series 2011, you would have to type out Best Urban Fantasy Series 2011 at least twice in your post. It can be awkward and almost forced. But, it can be done.

  1. Target keywords for each post, if you are writing a review for Julie Kagawa's latest book, you want to target keywords like: Iron Fey, Julie Kagawa, Faeries, Young Adult, paranormal romance
  2. Use those keywords at least twice in the post, it can be pretty easy to do. State the name of the book, instead of writing "The Book". Write out the author's name instead of writing "she". Write phrases like "This was a great addition to the Young Adult Paranormal Romance Genre". There are creative ways to doing this
  3. Implement labels, use them and put your keywords there
  4. Write out good titles that have explain what is going on in this post "Guest Post with author Julie Kagawa, author of the Iron Fey series" - it's long but you got a few keywords in.
Your blog posts don't necessarily have to sound silly, you just have to put some thought in how to rearrange them.

When I write a review, I put the official book summary. But I get it from Goodreads, as that's easiest to copy+paste from. I've noticed many other bloggers add, at the end of the summary "Courtesy of Goodreads". Do I have to write that, if it's the official summary? - Riv Re
A: I think as long as you make it obvious that it is a summary, you don't have to write that. You just don't want someone to think that this is your summary, which is the reason why some bloggers write this.

I only read these 101 posts, not the rest of your posts, because I'm not into all this vampire and goth stuff, but I'm glad I found them. Even though we read different genres, can you should list all your publisher contacts, so we know how to get in touch with them and request books. - Anon (Name changed to protect the ignorant innocent)
A: I don't think it would be fair to my "contacts" to put up a list for other bloggers to use. What if an author asked me for a contact list of readers and I released to them a list of emails that I took from a contest I ran?  I believe that might be a bit unethical. Also, you might be surprised how little publisher contacts I have. I suggest that you go to the publisher's websites, usually on their sites they'll have an email that you can request a review copy of one of their books.

And, also, may I make a suggestion? As a mater of tact, please don't go around asking for other bloggers contacts. It is considered a bit --- well raunchy.

That's it kids. Talk less. Read more. Happy Thursday!

Ask your BB101 Questions here...


Juju at Tales of said...

See I politely disagree.
I love comments.
And sometimes there really isn't much I want to say so I say, "Great review." Not because it wasn't good, but because I can't think of anything I want to share or retort.
Great post as usual.

Emily a.k.a WilowRaven : ) said...

Great post! (love these!)
I agree with Juju about comments. Even a quick comment let's me know that someone took the time to visit and took the time (even if it was only a few seconds) to say something.
IF however, the same person said the same exact thing every time they commented and they never had anything more to say then 'nice review'? I might think that they didn't even read my post.

It's a personal choice on either end and even if / when I don't get a lot (or any) comments I still like to think positively and assume that someone read it and maybe smiled a little :)

Happy Reading!

theJeepDiva said...

Love this! These are so very helpful & informative.

Avery said...

Oh gosh? The last question/ your answer? Definitely made my morning! ;)

Brie said...

I personally don’t comment unless I have something useful (or maybe not useful but at least something regarding the post that has more content than just good job) but I do like it when someone leaves a comment regardless of how long or insightful it is because it means that they took the time to do it and I always appreciate it, sometimes I get a line commenting about a tiny little thing in the post and that’s even better. In return I always take the time to comment back, I see if the commenter has a blog and try to say something about it, maybe read their post and comment something there, because it all comes to building rapport, it takes a lot of time but it’s worth it.

Of course I would love to get some debate going, but that comes with time. I think that when you’re a new blogger like me, the visitors you get at first are people like you that are hoping you visit them back, and that’s also good I’ve discover some wonderful blogs (I’m a bit jealous of their awesomeness to be honest) and now I’m starting to get some regular commenters which means that they like what they see. I think it’s a very slow building and gradual process, but the key is enjoying every aspect of it and just go with the flow and try not to get to impatient.

Danny said...

Mind if I say something about the Buttons from other sites?

I'm all about sharing, but one shouldn't take a Button without asking - period. I love sharing my Buttons and everyone can take the ones I did for weekly meme's but I ask to link back.

I think that is an agreement everyone can live with. But I think one should ask before taking unless it is stated clearly that you are welcome to use and take it.

Do I make sense?

Oh and comments? Who doesn't love them and I agree if I have nothing more to say than "Nice Review" I don't comment.

ParaJunkee said...

@Juju & Emily - LOL that was just me being evil and trying to take the opposite side of the argument. Thanks for chiming in. But what if it is just that...just stopping by and writing Nice Review in your comment box and they didn’t read it? I don’t know how many times (it is a lot) that someone will comment and say Nice Review on a post that isn’t even a review, like just a promo post...or I had it happen on a Guest Post by the author. I know it is nice that they commented and say “Hi” but why not just do that. Say hey how you doing? Stopping by to say hi.

@Jeep - Thanks chica.

@Avery - LMAO I get some like those and I really think they are joke when I read, so I answer them like a joke.

@Brie - Same here. But as my time got limited as to what posts I could read and comment on, I tried to make it worth it. I just like to make it personal. Yeah I guess it is nice to get comments, but I think a well meaning comment that is done wrong can do more damage then good. ;) I also try to comment back but what do you say to a bunch of ‘Nice Review’s? Thanks, Thanks Thanks Thanks...especially if you have a really meaningful comment in the middle of three ‘Nice reviews’s and you want to respond to meaningful comment but don’t want to ignore your other commentaries. I just usually respond back with ‘Thanks’

Honestly, only debates happen when you write something controversial it would seem. I’ve tried to pose questions in reviews but most of the time no one answers them. I like what some blogs are doing where they open up discussion posts for certain books...that is cool. But the publicize beforehand.

Thanks Brie for the meaningful comment, LOL. Everyone got me thinking. I do believe a comment is a comment is a comment and anything is better than nothing, but maybe we can incite people to say a bit more....;)

@Danny - Good point. But if you are hosting a meme, most people do offer their button up for use. Usually it should be written in the rules & regulations of that meme. But, I do agree you should always ask if it is not stated, and a link back is the nice thing to do.

Bookish Brunette said...

God I freaking love you!

I always feel like such a douche packer when I leave generic type comments, but sometimes my awesome wit escapes me and I have nothing to say! Grrr!

I just installed a favicon on my blog, and went through like 10 crap explanations before I found a good one! Why couldn't you have posted this yesterday??? ;)

Ailsa said...

I love any kind of comments - even if it's just saying "I loved this book too" it's nice to hear from people reading the blog. Like the person asking the question said, sometimes you want to say something, you just can't think of anything. I think it's nice to read any comments, even if they don't really say much.

Brie said...

It definitely can be overwhelming if you have a lot “of good post!” type of comments, especially if you have limited time to answer them. I absolutely agree with you there, but as I said, when you’re starting a blog you just get happy when you have visitors and a “good post!” comment is just the icing on the cake, you should have seen me when I got my first comment, or when I got my first twitter follower! Or my first twitter mention! Hehehehe

And you’re also right with the debates, it gets intense when the topic is a bit more controversial, or when the blogger brings good questions to the table, you seem to have hit the jackpot with this post ;). Book reviews don’t usually incite that much debate as book-related topics do, well unless is Breaking Dawn release week and you’re on Amazon, that went from debate to full on war and apocalyptic disaster in a second!

Julie @ Read Handed said...

Thanks for answering my question! All of your answers were very informative. And I also love comments, however inane they may be. It lets me know that someone actually read my content. :)

ParaJunkee said...

@Bookish Brunette - If you just use words like Douche Packer in your comments I’m sure they won’t be generic anymore!!! I know...have a wit notepad...when you think of witty one liners regarding books or reviews write ‘em down and apply them to the reviews you read, here are some suggestions:

Good Reviews:
That review made me want to read that book so much that I ran out in my underwear to Barnes & Noble and scared the crap out of the cappuccino girl when I slammed it on the counter.
Holy Mark Twain’s left testicle! I must read this book now!

For Bad Reviews:
Wow! Thanks for the honesty. I swear if I see this book on the shelf I will hide it in the potty so no one will waste their money!
Well I wish I would have read this before I BOUGHT the book. I did need another coaster.

@Alisa - well said. Great Comment! (I’m being silly but I can’t think of anything to say in response)

@Brie - Awe the good old days LOL. I’m not saying these comments are not good, I’m trying to promote meaningful comments! ;)

Yes, I didn’t expect this one to be so back and forth. You never know what is going to incite a “good debate”. Posts that I think will go crazy have NO COMMENTS and a silly review that I write and said something ridiculous sparks a big old debate. Oh, I’m really glad I wasn’t around in the Twilight days. I think I might have angered a lot of people with my Breaking Dawn review. I might have had Twilighters burning werewovles on my front lawn and stuff.

@Julie - No problem chica. But, what I’m trying to reiterate is if what if they are so inane that it’s obvious they didn’t read the review??? I’ll take pertinent comments everyday, but what about the ones, well let me give some examples, because I think I might be coming off wrong.

These are all examples of what has happened on my blog:

You get a comment “Nice Review. I’m adding this book to my TBR” - it was commented on an Interview you did with an author.

Or, “Nice review. Here is my review” --- did they read it or are they just searching out reviews of the same book to promote their own blog?

I’m just saying, comments are always welcome, but maybe a question to everyone...are there comments that are not welcome?

Lisa @ Read.Breathe.Relax. said...

I really like your perspective on commenting. I think the balance between encouragement and thoughtful commenting is tough one to find.

I think commenting may also act as a way to be an active part of the book blogging community,too.

Also- I HATE it when people leave their links inside comments. I mean, isn't that what's the "comment as" section is for?

Missie said...

Great review. :P

Missie said...

Lame joke up above. I'm just not that witty.

That last question was hilarious! Come on PJ! List your contacts! We won't tell. *crosses heart*

Ailsa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ailsa said...

I definitely prefer meaningful comments, I just don't object to the ... less interesting ones.

I really like seeing the different opinions people are sharing here in the comments - some things people dislike that I really don't mind, some that I definitely agree with - it's interesting to see the reasons for some of the other opinions - things that I hadn't really thought about.

edited to add:
Re: comments that are unwelcome:
I don't really get them on my reviews, (I don't think my blog is 'big' enough for it yet maybe) but on things like IMM I often get comments left that just seem to be "nice books, here's mine! LINK" and I do wonder if they actually read/watched the post. I like finding new blogs through IMM if they've genuinely read my post, but some, like you say, seem like they're just posting to try and get their post read.

Riv Re said...

Thanks for answering another of my questions, PJ!
I love all comments, except for, of course, spam. I once got left the most insensitive comment. Ever. I mentioned a personal tragedy on my blog, and someone left a comment saying "sorry to hear it. it all happens in the end. :) check out my contest for a GC." (Slightly paraphrased.)
When I leave a "great review" comment, I try to point out something specific the blogger mentioned in the review, like, "nice to know that XXX isn't as great as the summary claims it'd be, so now I don't get my hopes up." (that's happened.)

Oh, and just a little correction, PJ. On the button question, you said that you'd have to save the image to your computer, but that's untrue. You can just copy the image URL by right-clicking into "copy image URL" (surprise!) and then you can go to the "Open Image" on the blog post, and there's an option to add a picture from online, so you just have to paste the URL :)

Great post!

ParaJunkee said...

@Lisa - I don’t think people are very familiar with the Comment As on the comment section, most just go with the Google ID - because they want to show their little icon. But that is a good option and maybe we should do a BB101 on it.

Commenting is a very good part of being active in the Book Blogging world it is how you get started with networking and meeting new people. They don’t just come to you from nowhere. I do think most people need to find a good balance.

@Missie har har ;) -- sure I’ll send you a list (to the prisoners emails in Angola LOL)

@Alisa - gotcha point. I think most people are on the lines of just comment! Anything is welcome unless it is Spam. I think those few that are just saying “nice, read mine” are the main reason why impersonal comments can be thought of as aggravating to some.

@Riv - That is terrible. Comments like that send of warning bells, really what were they thinking???

And I need to stop you about the URLS - when you “Add a link” image to your site you are taking someone’s bandwidth. This is why we use sites like flickr or picasa - we use sites like that because they have unlimited bandwidth. But, I will tell you personally that I host some of my images on my personal bandwidth that I pay for monthly and I only have a limited amount of bandwidth, I would not like someone just using a link and taking one of my images. When you take one of my images, everyone who goes to your site drains my bandwidth -- so adding an image URL is not my recommended way of doing things. Please, if you have the option, download the image and reupload to blogger. Use your own before you “borrow” someone else's.

E.J. Stevens said...

You rock! I've been needing to update my favicons *forever* and now it is done. Easy peasy!
Paranormal Author E.J. Stevens
From the Shadows

Enbrethiliel said...


LOL at your response to that last comment.

(Yeah, I realise this is probably the BB 101 equivalent of "Great Review!" . . . I revel in the irony.)

ParaJunkee said...

@EJ -- ooh lurve it!

@Enbrethilliel - ha ha ha ha ha thanks!

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

DAMMIT MISSIE! I came here to do that same lame joke.

Grr... you can never trust a Melissa.. Oh wait...


April (BooksandWine) said...

I have wordpress, so when i wanted a flavicon, I just downloaded a flavicon plugin and uploaded the picture I wanted. Boom done.

Same with SEO, I input alt img text whenever I upload an image. At the bottom of all of my posts is the all-in-one SEO plugin, so I input my keywords down there.

Seriously, I get AT LEAST 140 hits per day from search engines. AT LEAST. It is pretty rockin and all thanks to wordpress.

Stephanie @ Once Upon A Chapter said...

ParaJunkee - I LOVE these posts. They always give me so much to think about and it helps to improve my blog. Just wanted to let you know that I really appreciate the time you take out to do these posts.

(now, how about them lists? *grin*)

Sincerely though, awesome work!

Kah Woei said...

I really liked your tip on the keywords & SEO stuff. This is something I've been wondering about but none of what I've read so far has been so practical and simple to apply ... until now :-)

Alison said...

Great information about Keywords. I need to focus more on that. Guess I'll be spending even more time obsessing over Google Analytics.

I love the ignorant comments like the last one. I hope the person was joking, but it's hard to tell. I have heard of people asking other bloggers to share their publisher contacts. Seems like common sense that you wouldn't share that info. Not a deal for me though - I don't have many contacts. Unless you want to share yours! ;-)

Belle said...

I love getting comments! Even if it's just "great review" - it's nice to know people appreciate it! So I try to comment as much as possible - there's rarely a time when I don't have something to say ;)
Thanks so much for they keyword tips, that's very helpful.
I can't believe the nerve of that last question! How rude.

Melissa said...

Wow what an awesome post! Answered a few questions I have. Thanks so much!

KelseyAnne said...

Thanks so much for doing these 101 posts! They are so much help, I use them a lot =]

=o the nerve of the last question, how rude. Ok I can kind of/not really understand it if someone was to ask for a contact list (someones asked me as well) but to ask that after they have just admitted to not actually reading your blog because they don't really like the stuff you read is out of order!

sorry rant over lol.
Hmmm i'm still a little confused over SEO but I'll get there =]


Sherri said...

Another awesome session of Blogging 1010. Thanks for the one about favicons. I've tried to do this a couple of times and have NEVER been able to get it to work. I'm going to try the link you recommended and see if that works.

Also, thanks for answering my question last week. This week, no "innocent" bystanders to protect. ;-)

Moonlight Gleam said...

Okay, I was so going to write "Great Review" but Missy beat me to it LOL!

As always Rach, your Blog 101 posts are truly helpful to new bloggers such as myself. The last question was entertaining LOL I'm sorry you had to go through that, I can just imagine your reaction to it, I know mine would be worth taping LOL! The SEO Keyword question was exactly what I was going to ask about soon, but you just answered it so thank you so much for that! Can't wait to see what you will talk about next Blog 101 session :)

Rock on <3

Riv Re said...

I never realized that. I'm not such a techie when it comes to bandwidth so I wasn't aware of this. I stand corrected. Thanks.

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