Some Advice For Book Bloggers Who Consider Themselves New {Including Me}

Posted April 17, 2012 by Asheley in Uncategorized / 48 Comments

Click HERE to check out Top Ten Tuesday 
at The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Tips For New Bloggers

What’s up, fellow Blogging Community?
I’m here to share some stuff that is GOOD. 
And I’m also totally speaking to myself. 
I always need a good reminder!


1. Bloggers, find a way to COMMENT. 

Whether you visit a few blogs every day or two and leave some meaningful comments OR spend a chunk of time on one day visiting a bunch, it is just plain ole’ NICE to pay back the people that hang out on your blog whenever you get the chance. Not only is it a great way to build relationships with other bloggers/readers, but it is a great way to let them know that you may be spending time reading their stuff too. Are you going to visit every blog that comes to yours? Realistically, no. But you do need to make an effort to go around and comment…particularly for the ones that are faithful to your blog and read all of your stuff and leave meaningful thoughts on lots of your work. Please consider doing this if you don’t!! Bloggers LOVE comments. I mean, YOU DO, right? So share that love with others. 

ps) Also, notice I said the word “meaningful” – I said it for a reason!


2. Bloggers, please BLOG FOR YOURSELF. 

Do what YOU love to do! If you want to do short reviews, do them. If you want to do novel-length reviews (like mine) do them, and be unapologetic about it! If you want to do video blog reviews, do them. If you want to do all written reviews, do that. My point is this: you started blogging for YOURSELF. So blog for yourself. When you start giving other people control of your blog – meaning, asking what they want to see – THEY WILL TELL YOU WHAT THEY WANT. And then they will tell you what they want again. And again. Let’s not cause ourselves unnecessary stress! Let’s do what we want to do so we don’t get burned out on blogging. Blog for yourself and yourself only.

ps) I can promise you this: if you do what YOU love, 
there are people out there who want to be a part of it. 
And they will follow your blog and love it.


3. Bloggers, don’t be afraid to PROMOTE YOUR WORK! 

You spend a ton of time reading those books, making those blog posts, and all the stuff that goes along with it. If you do events, that takes time. If you do memes, that takes time. Maybe you have a job and/or a family. Maybe you go to school or spend a lot of time exercising. The point is that you have a life outside of your blog. Everything you do on your blog takes time, and chances are PRETTY GOOD that you’re not getting paid for it – so don’t be afraid to show it off. Don’t be afraid to post it up on Twitter or Facebook or wherever else you see fit. How else is the world supposed to know you read and reviewed something awesome and fantastic? I know I won’t unless you’re either in my feed already or you put it up on Twitter. And trust me, if you’re doing something awesome, I want to know! So promote it. AND…

4. Bloggers, please PROMOTE OTHER BLOGGERS WORK TOO!

If you see something that is particularly great or funny or if you think someone else will love it, SHARE IT! Post it up there for the rest of us to see! Y’all that’s called Paying It Forward. It’s good karma and when people see you doing that for them, they’ll likely do it for you. Besides, IT’S JUST NICE. Look for those share buttons on that blog and USE THEM. That is all. The world will think highly of you for it, and you’ll make blogging friends. It’s just good stuff, people. So do it.

ps) Make sure you have share buttons on YOUR blog 
so people can share your stuff!

5. Bloggers, please turn off the CAPTCHA. 
My eyes are old…maybe older than yours! I have a hard time seeing those teeny-tiny letters and symbols sometimes. Not only that, but it gets annoying when I’m leaving five comments in a row on your blog because I will totally do that (some of y’all know it’s true). I know some of you think that you’ll get spammed if you turn captcha off, but mine is off and I haven’t had that problem – ever. So, please consider getting rid of that junk. Thank you!

PS) You may even get more comments on your blog if you do!


6. Bloggers, for the love of everything good and holy 
AVOID TWITTER DRAMA. 

Don’t get involved in ANY disputes or drama that you see on Twitter. JUST DON’T. Don’t ask “What’s going on?” Don’t add your opinions. If it looks like it might be a snarky comment, just stay away. Let the people who are being dramatic do their thing. You can NEVER be involved in it and come out looking better. So just DON’T. Seriously.

7. Bloggers, don’t get caught up in the ARC/GALLEY HYPE. 

Yes, there are ARC’s floating around out there. There are e-galleys too! And they are available to some book bloggers and there are ways to get them and promote them, etc. But if other people have them and you don’t yet, don’t worry about it. Guess where there are tons of books that EVERYONE can use? THE LIBRARY! Guess who started out doing blog post about library books on her blog? THIS GIRL! AND most every other blogger. AND most of us STILL use library books and do blog posts about them even when we get ARCs or galleys. Everyone starts out using library books or books that they own. So don’t feel bad if you want ARC’s or galleys and don’t have them. It’s HONESTLY not a big deal, and there are a ton of ways to get them. 

*Some of the bigger blog owners out there say that if you are in it for the ARCs or galleys, you shouldn’t be blogging – or things similar to that. But I think it is okay to have a curiosity about the ARC/galley thing. Just don’t get involved in the ARC-getting MACHINE. It’s nasty and not fun and makes you look very, very bad. It actually makes us ALL look bad as bloggers. There are bazillion books out there, y’all. We don’t technically NEED ARCs. But it’s OKAY to get excited about them and want to grab some for review. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for that.* 


ps) There are GREAT bloggers out there who choose 
not to review ARCs or galleys, you guys
And they function very well without them and have AWESOME blogs. 


8. Bloggers, please consider not being MEME-HEAVY.

If you are going to have a review blog, please make sure you are doing some reviews! I love the memes…sometimes. The ones about books, that is. They can be great FILLERS for when we don’t have a review or when we can’t read seven books per week. (For example, I’m using today as a non-review day!) But when you review one or two books per month and the rest of your month is all memes and events, perhaps you need to re-evaluate the reason you are book blogging… This will likely not attract and KEEP many followers – at least not ones that tend to build relationships. With memes, sometimes less is more! Unfortunately, I have “un-followed” blogs before for being too meme-heavy. 


Some bloggers take the approach of faithfully doing one or two memes weekly. Me, personally, I’ll just use one for whatever day I need filler: I tend to like that variety. But still, my blog is very largely reviews and very few memes!


9. Bloggers, use the FOLLOW ME buttons wisely. 

If you post “follow me” buttons for Twitter, etc. then MY assumption is that you want to interact. If I follow you because I like your content and your tweets, and then I tweet you and you don’t respond – I find that weird and unacceptable. Maybe that’s harsh, but I’m just being honest. To me, you aren’t making yourself easily accessible even though you’re advertising that you are. If you’re asking people to follow you, be easy to follow. And interact. I can’t stress that enough. 

10. Bloggers, if you need to: TAKE A BREAK

It’s okay to step back and take a break for a while! If blogging starts to feel like work, something isn’t right. If blogging starts to feel like a chore, you need a break! If you’re not reading things that you want to because your review stack is too high, TAKE A BREAK. Don’t let yourself get burned out if this is something you love to do. A hobby should be a HOBBY. Don’t take it too seriously. We all need vacations from everything, y’all. Don’t be afraid of that. However…


…if you’re one of my favorite blogs, don’t go away forever!! Just a little break, okay? 

***Bloggers, be INTERACTIVE!*** 

Find a voice, and use it! Book blogging is more than writing reviews and posting them on a blog – it really boils down to being a part of a community. And it’s AWESOME, you guys. It really is. So find a way to edge yourself in there that you feel comfortable with, and start interacting! Don’t be shy; people WILL respond! Some of my best blogging buddies are ones that I spend time with on Twitter or email or other ways. I really sincerely wish that I lived closer to these people and knew them in my REAL LIFE. 


I would honestly rather be spending time talking to my blogging friends about books or other things than people I know in real life that I find less interesting. Why? Because I share something in common with you guys that is super important to me, and from there conversations can go many, many places and relationships can form. I ADORE my blogging buddies. Sincerely. This community is THE BEST. I feel very comfortable and at home being a part of it! There’s NOTHING like knowing other readers and bloggers well enough to be able to recommend books to them easily or being able to read a book and immediately think of a name or two who would LOVE it too. And then being able to shoot them an email, a comment, or tweet telling them so because you have a relationship with them because you’ve interacted enough. It’s awesome. 

What Advice Did I Leave Out? 
Do You Have Any Advice For Me? 
Talk to me about it!! 


Asheley

About Asheley

Asheley is a Southern girl. She loves Carolina blue skies, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and NC craft beer. She loves all things history but prefers books over everything.

You can find her somewhere in North Carolina, daydreaming about the ocean.

Find Asheley on Litsy @intothehallofbooks!

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48 responses to “Some Advice For Book Bloggers Who Consider Themselves New {Including Me}

  1. I don't have CAPTCHA on right?! Just making sure 🙂 I've only ever gotten 2 spam comments and they happened back to back….so it's nothing to worry about.

    I hate when some people never, ever, never, ever respond to pretty much anyone's tweets…it kind of makes me feel like crap even thought I try and not let it bother me…ugh. Let's not dwell on this Jacinda.

    I love my library. The End.

    The way I get books to read/review? Netgalley, Edelweiss, buy, library, borrow, or someone contacts me. I don't ever requests books to review…I feel…weird(?) requesting books. I guess I don't think I'm worthy enough.

  2. No CAPTCHA!
    The Tweet thing irks me to no end. I'll unfollow. I can't deal. That may be the wrong thing to do, but don't say FOLLOW ME and then be unresponsive. UGH. ESPECIALLY when the person tweeting asks questions and I answer them. It's like, you asked a question. Do you not WANT answers?

    When I was talking about "grabbing" them, I meant like NetGalley or Edelweiss. I guess I should've made that clear!

  3. Aw, I enjoyed this as a different perspective on blogging. Most of the blogs I follow aren't serious review blogs, so I don't know what's preferred for those.

    As for the ARC thing…my friend and I mounted a twitter campaign which involved storming the citadel of RandomHouseKids on battlefrogs in order to get an ARC of a book that RHK then informed us was not yet available. 'Whoops' indeed.

  4. I honestly can't think of anything that you missed, you shared some excellent tips. Some of my absolute favourite are blog for yourself (big time what is that point if you are doing it for anyone else), interact, go light on the memes (I have also unfollowed blogs for that reason. I do occasional memes but still like my content to be review/guest post/discussion related posts), and stay away from the drama! Well I guess I really could have said that liked them all! 😉

  5. Fantastic list! I agree with all of your points! I recently re-evaluated my blog and decided to go lighter on the memes…if I don't have a review, then I just won't post for the day. We'll see how it goes!

  6. Ems

    Hmmm. I think the only thing I'd add is to skip the auto-music player. GAH. Hate those.

    I think every single post I've read on this topic has included the CAPTCHA thing. I've decided that with all the info out there on PLEASE TURN IT OFF, the ones who still have it really don't know that they do.

    When I first started, I totally thought that getting involved in the drama would increase my profile. Um, NOPE. All it did was leave a bad taste in my mouth and make me want to go and hide. So I don't do drama. No questions, no trying to get to the bottom of something, no sniffing it out, no going after a snarky review/comment/interaction. Life is SO much better that way.

    And SERIOUSLY on the meme-heavy. I try to do at least two reviews for every meme post, and I only have my Sunday meme that's a weekly feature. Everything else is done if it is needed to fill a spot. I'd much rather read (and write) reviews.

    Can I just say that I love your blog?! You're one of my favorites.

    • I thought about talking about music, but I always turn my sound off before doing blog stuff. So I honestly don't know which blogs have music and which ones don't! Thank goodness too, because I can tell that annoys the mess out of some people.

      It makes me SO HAPPY when you stop by my blog, EMS!!!

  7. "We don't technically NEED ARCs. But it's OKAY to get excited about them and want to grab some for review. Don't let anyone make you feel bad for that."

    I'm really glad you mentioned this Asheley! I think everyone agrees that starting a book blog for the ARCs is not the way to go and not what reviewing books should be about. HOWEVER, I think everyone saying over and over again that it's wrong to want ARCs and it's not about them, and you should do it because you love it (which is true of course) can at times make people feel bad for their excitement over requesting an ARC or getting one in the mail. I think it's great to be excited about that!

    Like you said though, don't go out requesting the entire Spring or Fall catalog from the publisher. I bought books before I started the blog, I buy them as I'm blogging now, and I will buy them in the future, I don't need or want all of them for review. I don't think it's wrong for me to be excited when I request and receive a book though:)

    • EXACTLY, Jenny! I just think the scolding from the bigger blogs in the form of blog posts and tweets makes newer bloggers feel really stupid. BECAUSE… even the bigger blogs/bloggers get super excited over certain early books and take pics and post them, etc. So really, we all tend to get excited at some point or another. No sense in raining on someone's parade.

      I nearly had a full-on panic attack when The Drowned Cities came in the mail. I won't lie. That was total excitement over an ARC because I am a complete fangirl over that author. But I still have library books and books I've bought too.

      VERY WELL SAID. Perfect elaboration to what I tried to say. You're so well-spoken everyday, Jenny!

  8. Love this list – especially the part about interaction. I'm good about the commenting, but not so great about other methods, so I'm definitely going to be trying to improve on that. I tend to like memes though – I think we said the opposite thing – I do not like mostly reviews all the time – I like the variety of book memes, and don't look at them as "filler" posts only.

    • I agree with your point about memes, Tanya. Sometimes I go a month without a detailed, meaningful review, but memes like "The Broke and the Bookish's" Top Ten Tuesday help me maintain a blogging presence quickly, interestingly, and efficiently.

    • Hey Tanya! First of all I need to say that I LOVE YOUR BLOG. I just found it like a week or two ago and it is awesome…

      I think I need to clarify on the filler…I don't think the memes are only filler…I enjoy them – the ones that I participate in – but I am not rigidly regular. Meaning, I don't consider myself EVERY WEEK Top Ten Tuesday or In My Mailbox participants, even though I do participate fairly often. If I have a blog post/review that I'd rather post, I tend to put that up instead. The memes are my favorite way to find new blogs to follow and, in fact, I think that MAY be the way I found your blog if I remember correctly. So they're fun, they are an additional way to promote the books I love, and I can find new blogs – but they DO also provide filler material for me when I need it.

      When I first started out, I did more memes than I do now…I didn't mean to sound negative about them at all. I hope you ladies didn't take it that way! 😉

  9. Great advice Asheley! When I started my blog, http://kristinharkins.blogspot.com, last summer, I always felt bad if I did not post as often as some of the other bloggers I follow; however, I came to terms with the fact that I started the blog for myself, and I was going to maintain it on a schedule (or not) that worked best for myself. Since I made that decision, I have really enjoyed my blog more. Also, I have found that commenting on other blogs has upped the traffic to mine, so it certainly 'tis better to give – you may receive in the process!

    • So true Kristin! I've found that not everyone I comment with will come back and visit – not even everyone that I am faithfully visiting every day. But still there are some that do come by. I've also found that some of them DO come by and read but not comment. Which is a teensy bit disappointing to me, because I love the interaction so much, but oh well!

    • I know! It seems like lately too, at least to me, the Captcha has gotten smaller. A lot of times I'll visit blogs and read a week of posts at a time, and if I have to do a week of Captcha I'm ready to throw my computer thru the window by the time I'm done. I'm not even joking.

  10. "If you want to do novel-length reviews (like mine) do them, and be unapologetic about it!"

    Amen, sista! From one "likes my reviews on the longish side" to another!!

    "I would honestly rather be spending time talking to my blogging friends about books or other things than people I know in real life that I find less interesting."

    Whew! glad I am not the only one!

    Loved your responses and words of wisdom Asheley, as always:)

  11. Great stuff! I admit, I have done number 6 which if you know me is very unsurprising! I'm a very argumentative person and whilst blogging has taught me manners and patience, I do slip sometimes! I've also added you to my RSS Feed reader, looking forward to your posts. 😀

  12. I will admit that if I see a longish review, my eyes glaze over and I go a little cross-eyed. BUT I love yours. They're structured so well, with BOLD PRINT and BULLETPOINTS and a non-boring voice! I love list format and if I didn't think I was jacking anyone else's style, I'd probably do the same darn thing.

    ALWAYS be social, indeed. I feel bad because I don't comment as much as I used to. I'm not often on the computer much anymore (THIS IS CHANGING!) and hate commenting from my iPhone. But it does take effort to stay connected, just like any other relationship.

    I love your advice! It's honest and kind and JUST LIKE YOU.

    • JEN. I nearly have sniffles seeing you here, right now, on my blog. I have missed your pretty blue eye showing up in my comments. For serious.

      My reviews are long, yes. And I know that some like my format and some cringe at the length, which is why I threw in that little thingy at the bottom, that tiny list. So I have some readers who sort of skim the review and read the little list at the bottom. Kinda-sorta like Jamie's post-it, but not really. And I like it that way, honestly. Even though it LOOKS longer, I think it makes it more friendly for everyone.

      Being social is the BEST. This community is the BEST. That is all!

      Don't feel bad about not being on here as much. You had a HUGE life change recently. You'll gradually get back if blogging is something you love. That's small stuff to sweat, my dear. Seriously.

  13. Such great advice! I am LOVING this week's topic since I'm still a new blogger & am soaking up all this great knowledge sharing! It makes my blogging heart so happy. I love your point about meaningful commenting. I really hate comments that don't really say anything at all (or are obviously just trying to get you to visit their blog).

    Along with not replying on Twitter, it bothers me when bloggers don't reply to ANY of the comments they receive. I totally understand not having time to reply to all, but if I leave a comment where I ask a question, I'll go back to see if the blogger ever responded. I'm always kinda disappointed if they haven't.

    • Last night, when my phone notified me that you commented on my blog, I did a tiny squeal and flail. Tis true. I'm truly a fangirl of you and your Peeta-ness, even though I'm Gale forever.

      Also, I enjoyed the little interaction on Twitter last night. Interaction rocks. Just in case you come back to check to see if I responded, I DID and WHAT'S UP HOMIE???

      I love your blog so hardcore!

    • Oh yes, but the point of my reply: I totally agree with you about replying to comments. I go back and check to see if people respond, and sometimes it breaks my heart a little if they don't. Sometimes I learn who isn't going to and I don't even bother to go back and check. And sometimes I know that certain ones will respond on the blog, but will respond more in-depth with an email response because I got rid of my no-reply blogger thingy. Which I LOVE!

    • The fact that you did a fangirl squeal because I commented is seriously awesome! Mostly because I'm so flattered that you'd fangirl over me & my Peeta-ness 🙂

      And I totally did come back – I always do! I totally understand not replying to every comment when people get a ton, but I think they should reply to some comments at least. In fact, I've noticed that I'm way less likely to comment on blogs where I know the blogger never responds.

      I am SO glad you told me about the no-reply blogger thing. How did I not know that?! I think I'm all fixed now, and I'm so thankful that you told me what to do! Now we can have in-depth email responses, too!

      Right back at you on the hardcore blog love! I'm so happy to have found your blog & made a new friend!

  14. I think you have a lot of good advice here. I really like the bit about Twitter drama. I've never been involved in any of that myself but everytime I see it, I sort of roll my eyes and wonder what in the world these people are doing because it does absolutely nothing to make them look good!!!

  15. Amy

    MWAH. Big kiss to you for all this wonderful advice! And I can't tell you how much I agree with your ARC thoughts. I think that getting excited about ARCs is maybe something we SHOULD be excited about! Because they're books we want to read and nerd out over and talk about. But there's definitely a line, and I think that begging or complaining or getting mad grabby hands is on the wrong side of that line. But being curious and excited over new books is part of WHY I personally blog, but I ABSOLUTELY, 100 PERCENT AGREE that there's a dark side.
    Anyway, this is fabulous, as are you. I will always respond to you on Twitter, forever. 🙂

    • Yeah, my ARC statements/feelings are definitely controversial, but I OWN THEM. Everybody in the bookish world gets excited every now and then. And everyone in the book-blog world gets super excited over something ARC-ish at least sometimes. I find it hard to believe the opposite. I just don't think that we need to make newer people, "less loud" people, or anyone for that matter feel stupid when they feel the same way.

      Do we need to post pictures of everything that comes in the mail? NO. Do we need to embarrass ourselves and all other book bloggers at conventions? NO. Do we need to attract drama in the literary world? NO. There's a behavior that goes with this HOBBY. But just like with any other hobby, where there are little perks here and there – THERE IS EXCITEMENT and THAT IS OKAY.

      It's all about portion control, Amy. Portion control.

  16. Great Advice!! I think Ive learned the hard way about blogger drama, I made one comment once and have regretted it ever since…..GEEZ!!!! And I love getting the ARCS that come my way, but Im so over the review deadlines….not for me anymore.

    • I don't mind the ARCs so much but I had to quit one of the ARC tour sites I was participating with – the one week-to-read then one-week-to-review while having three or four of them at a time was just too much, with a family, plus postage. Things are much better now. I've actually only recently started getting ARCs so I don't get too many…

  17. Number 2 is so important! If you are doing it for any other reason than because you genuinely want to, it is going to show and it won't look good.

    • Completely agree, Brenna.

      I know my review style is a bit weird and long, but it works for me. I've tweaked it a couple of times and I think it works for most everyone in some way or another. And I have different styles for different types of things I'm doing, but they're all exactly like I like them. So YAY for doing it for ME!! When I try to do it other ways, it just looks dumb to me. It looks forced and doesn't flow well.

  18. Comments – yes. If you want peeps to read your blog, read others blogs too. Leaving a comment spreads some happy, and it also opens you to new content and potentially new ideas.

    Memes – SO OVER like 90% of the memes out there. Not this one, of course! 🙂

    • Absolutely Comments. While I cannot visit every single blog every day, you bet your bottom dollar I try to start and work my way backward when I can make my way to each blog that I love. I feel bad, like I'm spamming the blogs, but I'm sure people would rather get four or five genuine comments from me at one time than none. That's what I'd rather get, anyway!

      Oh mercy, the memes. I won't go too far into it for fear of being rude. I like this one, but I don't do it every single time. And I like In My Mailbox but I don't do it every single time. I will seldom do others although there is a very rare occurrence when I will. But that isn't often. I just really genuinely want good, interesting content rather than my feeder to be filled up with the same thing over and over and over. Oh well! Not everyone sees it this way…

  19. Yes, about the dramas! I just rant to Husband so I don't get into it on the web. I don't like to show opinions on any of the dramas going around because it's always going to leave someone unhappy.

  20. LOL speaking of working backwards and commenting…. HI!

    Straight up I will own that I can be kind of a jerk about ARCs and people who blog for ARCs — sorry. Like it's not my intention to make people feel bad about themselves for being psyched over an ARC, like I get pumped too. I just get irritated when people are grabby hands or tweet every freakin' package ALL THE TIME. Or like, on form spring when all people want to ask or talk about are ARCS, there is MORE TO BLOGGING than ARCs.

    Also? Whenever you leave me a string of comments my heart swells two sizes in one day, sort of like the Grinch.

    OHHHHH and….captcha. I hate that noise.

    • HI APRIL!! 🙂

      Grabby hands – not cool & always a bad idea. Makes us look stupid as a community. Tweeting every package – not cool & annoying as well.

      Ah Formspring. Honestly, I don't see how you stand all that. THOSE QUESTIONS. Gah. Some are legit and GOOD but most are like "come here, a little closer, so I can slap you!" ARCs do have a large presence on Formspring from what I've seen tweeted, now that you mention it. (I don't have a Formspring personally.)

      You know me: I am the blogger that will spam he heck out of a blog if I love it. Six comments in a row on six different blog posts? HECK YES! I'll let you know I was there and I read your stuff and liked it. "…like the Grinch" –> Bahahaha!

      Captcha. I'm convinced that we can band together and start a revolution to get that junk gone from here. It is hard to really annoy me, but this is one of the things that does it.

      LOVE it when you stop by April!

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