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June 23, 2011

Tips on Thursday - Length

Tips on Thursday is a weekly meme where book bloggers can share tricks and tips on book blogging. It can be on anything from technical (html coding) to creative (layouts and content). If you have shared a blogging tip on your blog, please link it below so others can find it (you don't have to post on Thursdays).

One of the more common questions I get from bloggers and authors who are submitting guest posts is how long should the post be. One of my blogging friends even did a poll on her blog to see if readers thought her reviews were too long. It is not an easy question to answer.

I feel a bit like a teacher when I think about my answer to this question. The true answer is to how long should a review/post be is not what most want to hear. A post should be long enough to give all relevant information and to fully support your point, but not so long that you are rambling or using filler words. You don't want to lose your readers' interest (or for reviews give away too much of the plot). Anyone who has had any writing instruction already knows this, so what is it we are wanting to know when we ask how long a post should be? We are looking for a word count limit.

When I wrote on paper in school, I would have to write so many lines on whatever the topic the teacher assigned. My teacher considered 25 lines to be 1 page. When I wasn't too sure about a topic, I was really good at writing 3 words per line. When I liked the topic, then I would write normally. So the number of lines isn't a good measure (and we no longer write assignments on paper). When we started using computers for assignments, we were given a word count. And now that has become our guide to how long our writing should be.

A well written post should be our measurement for length, but for those that want a number, I do have an answer. On average, a good length for a post is about 500 words. But again I want to emphasize we should be striving for quality and not quantity. If you can say all you need to say in 250 words, then great that is the length the post needs to be.

If curious, this post is 353 words.

How long are your posts? Have a tip or trick to share with other bloggers? Please leave a comment and/or link to your post.

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  1. Great discussion point. I tend to be fairly brief in my reviews, but I have had some longer ones as well. The key for me is to just make sure that I've said what I needed to say.

  2. Teresa - I tend to ramble so I will check my word count from time to time. I think most of my post are actually around 400 words, but I have a few that are longer.

  3. I sort of go with the flow with my postings. When I am telling a story about my adventures, they tend to get a little long. I try to keep it humorous and break the monotony. I have even broken the story into two. My book reviews come and go. I try to keep them concise since there is a lot of additional info that goes along with it. Either way, people comment how much they love my blog and enjoy my stories and reviews, so I guess I'm hitting the mark with my audience. Great post. I enjoyed reading it. Donna

  4. Donna - I don't set out to hit a certain number or words or anything. It really is about the quality. Sometimes I get much more from a few sentences than I do from several paragraphs.

  5. There are days I struggle to say a lot about a book, and others that I cannot stop talking about it! I agree quality is the more defining role for posts.

  6. BooksNyarn - Definitely it is all about the quality. I use a word count just as a way to check myself. If I have only a 100 or so words, I will ask myself is there something else that needs to be said. If I'm way over 500, I ask myself, did I chase a rabbit?