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What Makes a Post Freshly Press-able: The Rise of eBooks—Evil or Essential?

Every day, 19 WordPressers are featured on the Freshly Pressed section of WordPress.com. And every day, many more wonder, “What do I have to do to get Freshly Pressed?”

Well, it’s time to reveal what the folks who push the launch button are thinking. Each week, a member of our editorial team will do a close-up on one post and why we thought it was Press-worthy. We hope we can provide insight into the process and give you tips and tools to make your blog the best it can be.
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We love when a blogger jumps head first into a debate and uses their blog as a forum, and that’s exactly what Clare, the writer behind A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff, does with the recently Freshly Pressed post, “The Rise of eBooks: Evil or Essential?”

First of all, Clare’s writing is solid, the humor is sharp, and her voice is authoritative. Good, confident writing goes a long way. But what else stands out?

The post title poses a question.

Sensationalist headlines can be intriguing:

Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?

Can Your Jeans Kill You?

The title “The Rise of eBooks: Evil or Essential?” is just as attention-grabbing. If you’re presenting two sides of a debate, whether it’s a controversial political issue or a lighthearted discussion on chocolate versus vanilla, pique your reader’s interest immediately in the title. Be bold and brief: use this headline to reveal what your discussion will be about.

In this case, since many people already have an opinion on the topic of eBooks (and the value of printed books), asking a simple yet provocative question is a surefire way to lure a reader.

This type of title isn’t appropriate for all posts, but it can be effective when you’re weighing the pros and cons of something, or asking your reader to consider different perspectives.

The format is effective.

A clean, easy-to-follow format is the simplest way to keep a reader happy and engaged with your text until the end. Clare presents the disadvantages and advantages of eBooks in a series of short, snappy paragraphs, each with lead-in sentences in bold. As a result, each point she makes is clear.

If you’re writing a post like this in which you’re presenting numerous points, avoid long paragraphs that don’t allow your readers to breathe. Consider using a bullet or numbered list to keep your post focused and succinct. Or, experiment with the use of bold, italicized, and underlined fonts to draw attention to specific parts of your discussion.

The author allows you to decide for yourself.

At the time of writing, this post had nearly 350 comments—a fair amount of which are personal, passionate comments about reading and publishing. Why did this post generate such a healthy, lively discussion? One, the Clare’s take is opinionated but extremely balanced: she presents both sides—as well as a “neutral point” at the end—allowing readers to come to their own conclusions. Two, she ends the post with questions:

What do you think? Are you a total convert to e-readers or do you remain devoted to the humble paperback?

As you can see, you can engage your readers when you give them the space to express their opinions.

What did you think of this Freshly Pressed pick? Do you want to read more from this blogger?

For more on our Freshly Pressed content, check out last week’s Freshly Press-able post, read our roundup of Editors’ Picks for August, or read So You Want to Be Freshly Pressed.

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  1. I really enjoyed reading this post and found it very informative. However, I’m not sure whether it applies to blogs like mine which tell a story. I recently started a blog to share my experiences online and to raise awareness about a particular charity. Do you consider this type of blog for the Freshly Pressed section? And if so, what sort of advice would you give bloggers like me?

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    1. We love storytelling, narrative nonfiction, memoir, personal writing, etc. I think it’s great you’d like to use your blog to raise awareness about your work or interests, such as a charity. First, I suggest you approach your posts in a way that you feel best and most naturally tells your story and highlights this organization effectively; in other words, I don’t think it’s best you write specifically in order to get Freshly Pressed.

      That aside, perhaps focus on telling the story of a person, or people. Bring the charity to life with stories illustrating the nature of others. I’m not sure what exactly you plan to write about, but one idea is to zoom in on a particular aspect of this charity and bring it to life this way.

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  2. I do like the article. However, you might want to look more closely at the “solid writing” comment. The following sentence “Although I don’t actually own an e-reader yet, I do plan to get a Kindle soon (hopefully for Christmas this year) after borrowing my sister’s one earlier this summer,” is not what I would call solid. I find it annoying that you consistently say the writing needs to be solid, yet when I read the freshly pressed, there are grammatical errors, sentence structure errors, and on occasion spelling errors. I’m not arguing that they aren’t good articles, but if they need to be pristine, they should be, well, pristine. The people who freshly press, are the ones missing these things, much like an editor. Just saying…

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    1. Thanks for the feedback — and we appreciate the constructive criticism. We do pick posts for Freshly Pressed that aren’t 100% error-free if we feel the discussion is engaging and original (and we often ask writers to revise/tweak and take another look for errors and awkward sentences).

      Thanks for keeping us on our toes!

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  3. I love real books so much, there really is so much more to opening and reading a real paperback especially an old one which you know others have enjoyed but as I now live in a country (Switzerland), where its quite difficult to get hold of English books I’m finding it hard to resist the urge to go out and buy…i mean download a e.book…great post btw.

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  4. I love reading and Clare’s post is very good, I think. I try to follow your tips, such as breaking up long posts, and having interesting titles. I would like to see more posts in the “Personal” and “Philosophy” categories featured.

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  5. I do not like debates so I guess I will never make it to Freshly Pressed. I tell many true stories in my blog and share many experiences about my medical disorder and my basic life with it and other things I go through. I do change my post titles after a few days if I don’t receive any comments. I enjoy a catchy title.

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    1. “I do not like debates so I guess I will never make it to Freshly Pressed.”

      Each week, we try to highlight and discuss a different kind of FP post. The previous posts we featured were not debate-focused!

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    1. Thanks for the feedback, Michael. For next Wednesday’s edition, I had two post candidates in mind and wasn’t yet sure which one to choose. But your comment helped me make my decision, and I’ve chosen to discuss a post I think is original and insightful. Would love to hear your thoughts on my choice if you get around to reading it. Thanks!

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  6. Hmmm…sometimes/most often freshly pressed blogs are simply ‘newish’. Look at the archives! I’ve been blogging since 2005 and have not been freshly pressed…ever. :0) I think I am a competent writer…so, I think that the ‘business of WordPress’ is a bit of a factor here. I think it is wrong to give young bloggers the idea that it has much to do with their writing or that they need to somehow change. There is a need to support/encourage and hook the new bloggers from the perspective of the WordPress team. The addition of hundreds, if not thousands of readers in a single jolt gives the jag required to motivate new bloggers to keep on keepin’ on. Old diehard bloggers are sometimes passed over because they’ve already been snappled by the idea of sustaining a blog for their own intrinsic reasons. The suggestions here are good ones all the time…but not as a WAY of getting Freshly Pressed. My thoughts…only.

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  7. Can a topic be too niche to be Freshly-Pressable?
    I write mostly on Irish Politics (though my latest post is on ‘The Innocence of Muslims’ and how it should be viewed) – is Irish politics too niche a subject to ever be Freshly Pressed?

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    1. Great question. We recently featured a journalism post focused on the San Diego publishing industry, as well as a post focused on Bach’s Ciaconna in D Minor, and also a UK immigration piece. These are certainly “niche-y” posts, but they were selected because the blogger did a good job making the topic accessible to those who aren’t familiar with it, or wrote in a way that made it universal, or created emotion, or simply presented a new subject in an intriguing way.

      If you make a topic interesting, or write in a way that lures a reader in (despite the subject), a post would be considered press-able.

      Thanks for writing!

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  8. I thought the post was informative and creative, but I never have the expectation that any post will be error-free. I’ve been an editor at magazines and in advertising agencies where we constantly read over each other’s work. To be a lone blogger and edit your own work means you also have to edit yourself. That’s a difficult task even for the well-trained eye.

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  9. E-books versus printed media – Mmm… I.t. trends maybe / probably / almost possibly – for the novel / auto – biography printed media almost set’s it in stone.

    Having said that, some people are abstracting aspects of their own experience – etching out frameworks for their own biog. on their blogs…

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  10. I feel like I’ve done all of that, over the two years of my blog, and still haven’t been ‘freshly pressed’. Sigh. Thankfully, that’s not why I write my blog, but I came upon this post in my Reader, and felt compelled to respond! Cheers!

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