I like to think that I’m a good writer. Or, at least, I was. I’m a bit rusty now. But, after reading Sticky Readers, I am determined to clean my act up!
• Sticky Readers: How to Attract a Loyal Blog Audience by Writing More Better by Margaret Andrews
• Ebook: 76 pages
• Publisher: CreateSpace, 2011
• ISBN: 1463636571
• Genre: Nonfiction; Writing; Blogging
• Recommended For: Bloggers looking to improve their writing; bloggers looking to increase traffic to their sites.
Quick Review: Despite all of my groaning at reading my own advice given back to me, I recommend this book to other book bloggers. It’s a quick read and sometimes we don’t recognize what we need to do until it’s staring back at us on the pages of a book. I know that was the case for me. I’m going to check with my list of writing rules before hitting PUBLISH every time I write.
How I Got Here: My blog is nearing the three-month mark (they grow up so fast!) and I’m no longer satisfied with just getting my writing out there. I want to write solid, top-notch copy! So, when Florinda, from The 3 R’s Blog, posted on Tuesday and Thursday about Sticky Readers, I had to download a copy of the book for myself. I read it in a few hours on Friday night.
The Book: Synopsis from Amazon.com:
Sticky Readers is a humorous, but helpful book about writing better blog posts. While the book is helpful for all writers, it was written with bloggers in mind.
Sticky Readers explains the various ways to make your writing more engaging (i.e. less boring) so that a reader will “stick” around for the whole thing, rather than read the first paragraph, get bored and leave.
Sticky Readers is not a book about English grammar, but a book about how to tell an engaging story.
It also includes a section about combating writer’s block and a list of Top Ten Mistakes that bloggers make to drive readers away.
My Analysis and Critique: Aaargh! I kept wanting to smack myself upside the head while I was reading Andrews’ writing tips. DUH! Here I am, an English teacher who teaches 7th graders the basics of writing, and I’m not using my own instructions for my own writing!
Andrews stresses the most basic of writing rules to add pizzazz to typically boring blog posts. Hooks, sensory details, the use of controversy, active vs. passive voice, quicker pacing–all are discussed in Sticky Readers. This is Writing 101, Mandy! Come on!
Here is a list of writing rules I have paraphrased from Sticky Readers:
• Proofread for spelling/grammar errors
• Check introduction. Does the title or first paragraph have a hook?
• Make sure all relationships to people, pets, etc. are identified!
• Paragraphs too long? Break them up into smaller pieces!
• Appeals to the senses? Sensory details!
• Passive verbs– get rid of them!
• Wordiness– chuck “very,” “due to,” and repeating phrases.
• Add a metaphor somewhere?
• Get someone to read it first!
Along with the basic rules of writing reminders, Andrews offers up advice on “how to pull a blog post out of your ass”. This basically refers to finding ideas from the world around us, carrying a notebook at all times, and to pay attention to what other bloggers are writing.
To gain the interest of more readers, she urges bloggers to get personal on their blogs. I definitely agree with Andrews as I find that my favorite posts by other bloggers always seem to reveal something about his/her personal life. Descriptions of where we live, what we do for fun, and even what we look like are all of interest to potential readers.
Despite all of my groaning at reading my own advice given back to me, I recommend this book to other book bloggers. It’s a quick read and sometimes we don’t recognize what we need to do until it’s staring back at us on the pages of a book. I know that was the case for me. I’m going to check with my list of writing rules before hitting PUBLISH every time I write.
So, since reading Sticky Readers, I have changed my theme to make it easier on the eyes (the text seems bigger now). I also spent this morning practicing hook writing. I tried different types of hooks for the three types of writing most common on my blog: Reviews, Memes, and About Me posts. Further improvements to my blog will include better hooks, use of sensory details, regular check-ins at Grammar Girl, the use of a digital camera (as opposed to my smartphone), using Microsoft Word for drafting, and better outlining before writing. Hopefully, my readers will find these changes to be an improvement to my writing and my blog overall!
– Margaret Andrews’ blog: Nanny Goats in Panties