[Blog Talk] Why short blog posts are making your blog mediocre (In teenage angst and not smart techie)

Trigger Warning: It’s unpopular opinion time.

They say quantity doesn’t equal quality, but when it comes to your blog posts and/or book reviews, that’s more often than not bullshit.

Despite having several opinions on the matter, while researching for this post, I stumbled accross a lot of complicated stat and keyword based articles regarding the subject. And guess what? They’re needlessly complicated and none actually talk about the human aspect of the matter. So let me break it down in angsty, teenage sarcasm and explain why shorter blog posts are not attracting as many people  and not search engines. I will address statistic based arguments as well at the bottom of this post, broken down into simpler terms so you can spend more time blogging intelligently, and less time trying to figure the intelligent part.

So let’s face one stone cold fact about blogging:

Blogging is only for people who have something to add to the conversation.

We’ve all been here: Starting our book review with a couple of our previous notes and post prep. You fight yourself on whether to allow your post to drag on for that precious wordcount, or if you keep it short and sweet, because people are coming to you to find books to read, not waste their time reading your content instead. Right?

Wrong.

The truth is, being able to convey something that is interesting, new, and will blow your mind in a short amount of words is an art form and only for intelligent people. Most of us don’t really have time to be artists or smart geeks. It’s just how it goes.
In consequence, the most you’re going to be able to get out of keeping it short and concise is a good premise summary, your general opinion on whether you liked it or not and if it is worth buying. Theoretically, this is fine and what a book blog should ideally look like… Except that’s what more than 50K book bloggers out there do as well. Because it’s not something that takes a lot of brain power per se to type, the truth is anyone can do it ! Many think this is the beauty of blogging, an average Joe can do it, but do remember that’s another 49,999 average Joes you’re competing with…

You need to bring in new opinions, new provoking discussions, new food for thought so your readers can leave your blog and take something with them. This is why I’m so adamant on my book analysis and rants. It’s not for everyone, but it’s my style and it’s what I’m bringing to the table.

However, short blog posts don’t just stop on book blogging, but rather this goes out to everyone. So let’s take a few moment to educate ourselves on what’s happening with your concise-post blog and how to optimize yourself.

If you’re a blog who’s niche centers around short blog posts, you’re probably lame.

Who writes short blog posts? Mmm… Daily life bloggers? You know, those people who didn’t make it into Reality TV and instead record they’re lives for posterity on a blog. Check the grand majority of their follower counts, it’s low. No one really cares about your life unless you’re a celebrity or a personality.

Travel blogs need to travel in the first place, which takes money, and the grand majority of us bloggers are broke, so.

Seth Godin? Haha, newsflash people, Seth Godin is a genius and you probably aren’t, but that’s ok. The grand majority of us truly aren’t either. The thing is, blogs that focus on short posts are either boring, simply because people don’t like stories that don’t include near death experiences, accidents, explosions or how to become a millionaire in ten days, or one of a kind gems. You need to stop— You’re not Seth Godin, he’s the exception to the rule. But you’re the rule incarnate.

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Readers find longer content to be of a higher quality, and are most likely share and bookmark it in the promise of looking smart.

As a blogger, you’re making a promise to your reader that your content is inherently better, otherwise you’re asking for charity and not readers. The basic premise should be to deliver quality content so people have a reason to visit your blog instead of the countless others. So why give out something anyone out there could do?

In order to acquire credibility, no one who just got into blogging should be writing less than 1,500 words per post. You want to sound as smart as you can as fast as you can, it builds credibility and come back followers. Don’t split posts just to post more often,  get intricate subjects and go in depth with them. Book blogging gives you excellent options for this, considering a book is in its smallest is 50,000 words long. It’s a lot of material to work with, and everyone always has a different take on their experiences with books!

Most bloggers just don’t write long content.

This doesn’t make it the standard, it only sets up wrong expectations.

A lot of bloggers have the mistaken idea that the more frequent you post, the more exposure you get. While this is true for more seasoned bloggers who have a wide base, doubling our content as amateur bloggers just isn’t worth it in the long run. At this point, it is more effective to write content people value as worthwhile. Shorter posts don’t do that to you.

Bloggers are simply not writing much, a lot of bloggers out there are lazy. But you’re not. Write more, stand out from others. It speaks about effort as well.

You’re not Buzzfeed. You’re not Millionare’s Digest.

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Taking from my point above, churning out content just for the sake of churning out content isn’t the way to go. You need to trust your readers are intelligent and smart people, looking to be educated or to hear your opinions. You don’t need to draw people in with the promise of a quick read (Those popular 1 minute read/ 3 minute read titles).

I don’t know about the rest out there, but I don’t find any of these corporations neither authentic nor genuine.

Don’t strive to be like them.
Because first of all, strive to be you. Genuine, opinionated you who people know exist. You’re tangible, you’re real and that makes you relateable. There’s nothing relateable  in multi million dollar companies who have stopped caring about the quality of their content and instead focus on only click bait and frequent entertainment.
And because second of all, companies like those know what they’re doing. The truth is neither you and I know exactly what we’re doing (yet). They have huge teams behind them, backing them 24/7 and churning out content like machines. Meanwhile, you’re probably only you, a few other co-bloggers or friends at most. Do the best you can

Supporting your claim has impact.

If you disagreed with my title and then ended up clicking this article because of that, then you surely were curious to see if my arguments for this subject held any weight. If you agreed with me, then you probably want me to back your beliefs with my opinions and facts. If I only provided you with bare bones content then you wouldn’t feel satisfied with your experience here.

That is exactly how I feel about most book review sites out there that only make you aware of the book they’re trying to advertise. Where’s the cleverly elaborated opinion? Where’s the backing to the reason of why I should read this book? Where’s the controversial point of view that’s going to draw me in into reading or? Or simply, why aren’t you enticing discussion to build your community?

Google said so. 

And in Jon Morrow’s words: Giving Google what it wants is smart.

Most articles out there will go on to explain that longer articles are favorable because SEO (Search Engine Optimization, to make it short, the algorithm that decides how high your blog will appear in a search result without paying to be bumped higher) ranks articles with more content higher on the search engine. Think of it, which of these two options would google rather hook you up with: The one that engages you for two minutes, or the one that engages you for twenty?

Long copy and search results

Data shows that the average word count of the top ten ranking pages on Google is found between 2,350 and 2,425 words. Google wants to provide a great service experience and substantial information that caters to a need. This is why longer content it valued when you wish to rank organically in Google searches.

But the fact is, while it makes sense to an extent, don’t get too hung up on this point. Before you go on believing everything you read on a blog that sounds fancy, make sure you always ask yourself:  What set of keywords does this apply to? and Is correlation the same as causation?

Studying your target search engine keywords is crucial, specially when you’re a SEO driven blogger. But do remember, and I can’t stress this enough, not to give a fuck about it unless you’re in any way relevant. I see many, many bloggers stressing their search engine results when they are still very little in size. Search Engine Optimization isn’t just based on your keywords or word count, because interaction and link backs to your site have a lot to say in the matter. Correlation is never equal to causation, a lot more comes to weigh in when it comes to your spot on Google other than blog post length. What’s worse is that because of the same amount of book blogs out there, it’s unlikely you will be making it on the Top 10 results of your search engine results for “Prodigy Mary Lu book review”.

Still, this doesn’t mean you can’t work hard toward the goal. Longer blog posts are barely the first step into an uphill battle. But it doesn’t mean you’re not going to make it.

Do you still wish to persevere with short content?

In that case simply keep it BRIEF which this helpful advice to remember from Copy Hackers.

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Now its up to you to educate me.

Tell me in the comments, what is your average wordcount length on blog posts and how often do you post? Is it working for you? Tell me why you think that is ! I’d love to hear your experience.

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[Review] Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie – Maggie Stiefvater

“Do you ever get the feeling that something awful might happen?’ James asked me. . . I sat up. ‘I’m the awful thing that happens.”

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The beautiful second installment to Maggie Stiefvater’s musical Books of Faerie series. Great mythology and deadly fantastic faeries come together in a book that surpasses its predecessor with prose and characters. Despite being a sequel, it perfectly stands alone by itself. Some may mind this, some others like me won’t.

3.75/5 Stars
Recommendation: 
Those who enjoyed the first book will definitely enjoy this second one, those who didn’t enjoy Lament will find themselves liking this one much better. But might still not be their cup of tea. For those who enjoy musically rich books, unconventional characters and a fresher approach to romance. However, despite containing a rich story, the book doesn’t have a lot of substance either.

Ballad tells the story of Deidre’s best friend, the also musically gifted James Morgan as he sets out to follow his dreams in a private conservatory for musicians. Still hurt by Deidre’s actions from the previous book and her increasing distancing of him in favor of the world of Feys, James draws further into himself, only to attract the attention of a deadly Fey coming after his musical talent…

But Ballad also tells the story of Nualla, a soul-snatching faerie muse who fosters and feeds on the creative energies of exceptional humans until they die. Initial refusal from James’ only draws her further to him, and the soul scorching music they compose together leads into an unusual friendship and mutual admiration. Soon, they realize a lot more troubles lures behind the seducing world of the Fey, outside of Nualla’s murderous intentions…

In many ways, Ballad is everything Lament should’ve been without the allure that Deidre and Luke had. Ballad is a deliciously eeriee story that shows both sides of the seducing world of magic, dangerous yet motivated faeries. Both Deidre’s soul-fated love that went wrong, and James’ wrong love that led into a star-fated destiny.

While Luke and Deidre barely had any substance and chemestry in Lament, Ballad delivers two deliciously complex characters with sure and secure motivation, sharing such a frustrating chemestry that will make you want to scream and squeal all throughout its pages. James provides an often unseen and underrated voice in Young Adult fantasy and romance, sarcastic and rather crude commentary to life mixed with a breaking away of your typical, unrealistic lead that follows its romantic interest to dangerous distances only because the plot dictates they fall in love (Much like Deidre would previously do in Ballad’s predecessor, Lament).

In many ways, James narrating is very grounded in reality, pleasant and more realistic due to its sarcasm; which is a very pleasant breakaway from Dee’s femenine and much weaker narrative. Like any standart YA, her storyline was dictated on following the hot honcho with abs of steel. Meanwhile James story in Ballad dealt with many much darker themes and great moral choices.

We see a lot of character development throughout the book, though nowhere near as good as Maggie’s future works with the Raven Cycle. Both Nuala and James change because they meet each other, they  perfectly shake up the world’s they belong to and leave behind a firey, delicious mess. Both Dee and James are perfectly shaken up as well, both still struggling to cope with the events of the last book, James more able to look past it than his best friend. It is interesting to follow their development from the last book in this new and independent storyline, and despite Deidre’s character arc resulting farther and farther from James.
One of the biggest criticisms of this book is Dee’s attitude, selfish, bitchy and entirely self centered, despite her being rarely seen throughout its pages. However, this is also a very pleasant break from regular YA and their resilient heroines. Dee is a sixteen year old girl who lost her boyfriend to mythical creatures she can barely understand and is not forced to carry on with her life as usual despite going through a wild and world-shattering summer. Recovering from supernatural creatures attempting to murder you and then attend school is a rather difficult thing to do, kids. Also: No Luke in this book 😦 So fair warning for those like me who were hoping for this hot honcho with abs of steel.

However, Dee’s most interesting development happens through the texts we see her typing to James (despite never sending them) about what’s going on on her side of things and how Luke is fairing and how her life and sanity are slowly going down the drain. Each text keeps you hooked chapter to chapter and excites you for the third book to read its resolve… If it were only published. Sigh.

The biggest criticism I have for its book is the lack of closure we experience regarding Dee and its switching first person POV, though the last part isn’t very bugging to many others. I read Lament and Ballad back to back, and was rather disappointed to find Dee’s storyline not to be developed since I was still hung up on her and Luke. I find it more than perfectly okay, and great even to decide to switch storylines to a great character such as James while hyping up Dee’s and Luke’s continuation by keeping us in the dark about Deidre. However, more than 8 years later and we still haven’t gotten the third book, I feel a bit sad, cheated and craving for some well deserved closure from these characters.

But in the end, it’s also endearing as hell. James does get his unconventional yet very, very happy ending and that blesses me.  A really good book.
Perhaps this is still my bias regarding this series, but so many years later and I still can’t wait for the third book to be out. Perhaps someday Maggie will be pulling Requiem out of the back burner.

“Death smells like birthday cake.”

Here is some fanart I did of James and Nuala titled: “The Horned King’s March”

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“The Horned King’s March- Nuala & James

And make sure to watch how I drew it right here !

[Fanart] Before & After: The Horned King’s March— Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater

Six or Seven years ago, my favorite author gave me words of encouragement.

This happened back on the year I first started drawing, which coincidentally is the year I began reading. This was thanks to Maggie’s “Books of Fae” duology, to which at the time I grew obssesed with. I was very convinced I was great for some reason at the time, and thus I decided that my art deserved to be put on shirts. This is the art I made and sent to Maggie Stiefvater on 2011:

Little Hime, yes I know.
While writing my Ballad book review yesterday, I decided to look for these just for the sake of nostalgia… It just happened not to end there, and I had a huge urge to make a redo sketch of Ballad’s shirt (the one that’s not on me) for my review like I had previously done for her Raven Cycle Books— Except it didn’t quite stay as a sketch this time.

So thus, I present you the final product, six years later. Thanks to the lovely encouragement of my favorite author. It meant the world to me Maggie ❤

“The Horned King’s March”

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I recorded a Speedpaint with my 5 hours of process ! Be sure to check it out if you’d like to see how and I did and feel like supporting me !

While certainly no longer her best works, Ballad is most certainly one of Maggie’s most underrated works ! Be sure to go grab it and give it a read, because it’s certainly still one of my all time favorites.

Now I know it isn’t exactly a carbon copy, but in the original Nuala was supposed to be placed behind James… I just didn’t know how to do that when I was 11. I thought the image held more power if she wasn’t directly visible, as Nuala’s entire character consists on being the muse that guides talent’s to their demise. Simply felt like it held more power the way it is. I also didn’t understand symbolism very much when I was a child, and my mind guiltily focused more on: OTP ! Than the actual book’s beautiful symbolism… My own take on it with James & the Horned King in this piece.

An actual review of Ballad should be out tomorrow, but in the meantime, here are a few more screencaps of my work ! Thank you very much, and enjoy !

[Wishful Endings] The Raven Cycle – Gansey is Glendower Theory & Adam dies

“Have you ever wished to be able to spend if only a few more minutes with your favorite series?”

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Hey there! And welcome to Sweet and Unholy’s Wishful endings! Today Part 2 of me revisiting Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle! I’ll be posting a couple of theories regarding this series, including a new, updated and in depth analysis of why Gansey is in fact Glendower along with my personal wishes on how I wish the series would’ve actually ended.

Like always, click Read More for the theory and spoilers ahead, sweet kids !

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[Wishful Endings] The Raven Cycle – Adam is Evil Theory

Do you ever spend more time theorizing about a book than what you did reading it?

This series is for you then. Today I’ll be trying something slightly different, and that I would enjoy to be repeating in the future ! A couple of book theories smashed together and what in my opinion would’ve the perfect ending for The Raven Cycle Series (The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves, Blue Lily Lily Blue & The Raven King)

This theory post will be rather short ! However, keep in tune for tomorrow when I return with the second half of my theory at great length.

Now beware. Spoilers are obviously ahead !

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[Book Talk] How to handle a romantic subplot (And accepting their cold, harsh realities)

I blog about YA novels.
I like to think I write YA novels.
Thus, I criticize novels of the same genre and enjoy writing about the writing process.

Perhaps the most widely accepted phenomenon on Young Adult culture is the Romantic subplot in novels, to the point I have witnessed many readers come to demand this when it comes to a criticizing point of a novel. The grand majority of author indulge us, after all, the majority of the YA audience and I are starry eyed teenagers who dream of their first kiss and desire enthralling romances to sweep us from our feet. Reaching out to books for that isn’t sinful, but the cheap way a lot of authors and big releases handle it nowadays very much is. Continue reading

[Review] Unspoken – Sarah Rees Brennan

“Listen to me. I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know what any of this means. But I know this much. It doesn’t matter. You’re not one of them. You never were. You’re not theirs. You’re mine.”

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Forest deep, silent bells
There’s a secret no one tells
Valley quiet, water still
Lynburns watching on the hill
Apples red, corn gold
Almost everyone grows old.

A gripping mystery for those looking for a magic filled, rural tale of a town with too many secrets and an unpredictable match who can read into each other’s minds and the world was very wrong to let them come together.

3.75/5 Stars 
Recommendation: For those looking for a page turner and a compelling read, but don’t expect so much so as real logic to the actions but still get a lot of relatability with the characters. Good thrills in exchange for a mystery that’s way too convenient and a book that’s a bit too on the nose with its humor.

Imagine what it’s like never being alone.
A voice that knows you and speaks through your thoughts, a familiar presence that has accompanied you ever since you were born. A someone who speaks loud and clearly and brings you comfort, a voice that only you can hear. Now imagine it’s a boy.

Jared has been there ever since Kami was born, while the people in their lives have tirelessly worked to convince them neither is real. But things very much change the day the Lyburns move back into town and Jared practically knocks at Kami’s door.

Kami is an avid and intrepid reporter in the small town of Sorry-in-the-Vale who suffers from teenager who wants to change the world YA syndrome. Despite living in a small town where everyone knows each other, she can’t help but to live with the haunting dread of the secrets that plague every corner of her city and she knows the Lyburns that lived by the woods are at the heart of all of this.  Now they are back into town, people are getting murdered and her relationship with Jared is getting all too complicated.

Some fairy tales sound better when they remained concealed in our imaginations.

This book is too much, it’s just too much and its nothing at the same time- It tries to rebel and go against many classic YA tropes while tightly sticking to them at the same time, to the point where I can’t tell what’s going to happen anymore. I’m not too sure if that’s good or bad, but I suppose its the later because of how fickle these characters feel in nature. Kami is truly an unreliable narrator, and because of her rapid thoughts and switches it’s hard to keep track of motivations, allegiences and who is what and why, to the point it sometimes may just become confusing.

I have very mixed feelings on how this play with tropes was approached, but I’m still glad some was attempted to be addressed and didn’t fall too hard on its face… Where the author was going with said play though, is what I really don’t know. The book also comes with inclusions of what began as a love triangle, spun around and then again I’m left not being sure if that was for better or for worse. One thing was certain and that is that it was practically infuriating in the begging.

The book is also way too convenient, to the point I feel like I’m throwing the world “mystery” lightly. It’s like one of those frustrating mysteries that get conveniently solved because of that one huge incriminating piece of evidence left at the crime scene by the killer. Leads are left out open in the air and go by days without pursuing them —because Brennan was much too busy giving spotlight to annoying love triangles, since that’s the stuff that matters in YA, right?— and it would have no sort of impact in the story. In fact nothing, and I mean nothing made any sort of impact in the long run. Not character decisions because they (mostly Kami) would change their mind at least multiple times per chapter, no tantrum thrown by any character (mostly Jared) or horrible deeds said and done would be forgiven in the matter of one chapter and sometimes maybe even two to act as if nothing ever happened, no terrible secrets uncovered would ever change anyone’s mind or make them act any more wary around this obviously dangerous town. The characters stayed flat and unswaying throughout what was basically the entirety of the novel (with the exception of the final few chapters) and that made it hard trying to ground this novel in reality.

Don’t get me wrong though, if you liked anything like The Caster Chronicles, you will certainly enjoy this book.  The truth is this book isn’t very pretentious in the long run and doesn’t pretend to be (many) things it’s not. While not being the most intricate or fascinating read, this new series is a real page turner that will grip you from beginning to end. It’s not that long either, so it’s a very fast and exciting ride from its beginning to the end. A fair warning however, the book practically feels unfinished. There was a terrible cliffhanger slapped into the ending that is completely INFURIATING and may end up angering you for days on end if you were already fully immersed in the story.

“The Lynburns built this town on their blood and bones.”

“That was their first mistake,” Jared said. “They should’ve built a city on rock and roll.”

The humor is great though. Which is something I often find my YA reads to be lacking (and why I might be such a big fan of Maggie Stiefvater in the first place) and this book was very close to making up for it… The issue is its downfall is the humor as well, just it’s too much and it often enough ruins the tone of the book. The characters find themselves using humor through many of the more serious scenes, and while that helps alleviate some of the well pent up tension it also killed the entire eeriee and gothic mood that it was going for and detatched the reader from any sense of urgency or emergency. If you’re any like me, I actually appreciated it a lot because it almost made the novel self aware and it keeps me from taking it too seriously… In which case this review would be much harsher than it actually is. Perhaps if I graded this as the angsty, Gothic romance the book’s presentation and synopsis made it out to be we’d be in a whole other level…

“Jared told her he used to be an exotic dancer in San Francisco.’

“My body is a gift from God,’ Jared said gravely. ‘Except for my hips, which are clearly a gift from the devil.”

Spoilers ahead and down bellow kiddos ! (Click read more)

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