November 12, 2014

Five Tips for Newbie Book Bloggers

Build up at least a few posts before you publish the first. If you're anything like me, a project you're sufficiently behind on becomes a project you're probably going to quit. When you start a new blog, you should have at least a few posts ready to go, and the platform you're using must have the ability to let you schedule these posts for sometime over the next few days or weeks. (Seriously, if your chosen platform doesn't have this option, look for something else. You're gonna need this feature sooner or later.) If you're a few days or weeks ahead when you start, getting into the habit of blogging is going to be a lot less stressful, and your schedule is going to be a lot more sustainable.

Join the book blogging world as a reader before you join it as a blogger. I didn't do this, and, honestly, it was probably my first mistake. I didn't take the time to be a reader before I became a creator, and now I'm doing it all backwards. Maybe you're not shy like I am, but I've found myself trying to force myself to join the larger community by commenting, which is getting over an incredible hump of social anxiety for me. But, the little voice in the back of my head keeps saying, why put myself through the potential trauma of commenting on other people's blogs when I can just sit comfortably over here at my own? And that's some bullshit advice from a weasel of a voice. Shame on it.

If you spend time in the book blogging community as a reader, leaving (polite!) comments on posts that interest you at blogs that appeal to you, you'll start building relationships that you'll probably want to have once you have a blog of your own. But if you build the relationships first, you'll have a social head start on any newbie who doesn't.

Seriously consider what information you want your blog to reveal about you. If you're not already familiar with high profile cases of the dangers of blogging about and reviewing books, take a moment to read up on cases like STGRB*, Kathleen Hale, and Richard Brittain. There is the potential for IRL stalking and violence in this line of hobby work; know the dangers, and brace yourself for the worst while hoping for the best. You may wish to avoid using your real name and/or photo, and I highly recommend that you purchase a P.O. box or similar service if you wish to receive mail from anyone. *Fear not, this link does not go to the STGRB website.

Look for memes and challenges you'd like to participate in! Joining popular memes like Top Ten Tuesday and Waiting On Wednesday can be a lot of fun, but if you're looking to meet new people through the memes, you might want to check out smaller memes like Cover Characteristics or Friday Finds. As for challenges, you can check out my Pinterest board of 2015 Reading Challenges here or browse around the A Novel Challenge blog. Remember that year-long reading challenges tend to be announced in November or December, while reading challenges or read-a-thons that run for days or weeks tend to be announced in the month preceding the challenge or read-a-thon.

Remember to explain your star ratings (everyone's different!) and write up a review policy. You'll probably need to know fairly early whether you're going to want to accept books for review, and if you don't want any, you should make sure that information's on your site somewhere. (But don't be surprised when authors pitch their books to you anyway...) If you only want to read specific kinds of books, make sure that's somewhere on there, too, and definitely make sure your contact information is visible. I'd recommend having a separate email address for review requests or using something like a Google form. If you have no idea what you want or need to put in your review policy, browse around some blogs you know, read, and respect to get an idea.

And that brings me to a bonus tip...

For the love of whatever you hold dear, do not under any circumstances plagiarize anyone or anything! You'd think I wouldn't have to say this, but you'd be wrong.

There's so much many more little things I could bring up, but I think that's about covers it for now. Who knows, maybe I'll post more soon!

So, do you have any additional tips for newbies? Are you a newbie with some questions? Let me know in the comments!

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