Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Tips For New Book Bloggers

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish


This week is actually kind of perfect, since I just created a new meme button, called Blogger Confessions, and there's no better way to start it than with this designated post! Here are my first gems (ha, so not) of advice for new bloggers. My blog isn't even a year old yet, but I've learned a lot.


DISCLAIMER: I am in no way an expert (such a title belongs to the Story Siren and the like), but if something seems to click with you, run with it! Just know that I'm in no way as experienced as some other bloggers.

1. Twitter must become your best friend!

I always told myself I wasn't going to get a Twitter account. I thought it was stupid and only for celebrities who are full of themselves and people who follow these celebrities (and creepily stalk them). As it turns out, putting up your posts on Twitter really gets your blog attention. I wouldn't have as nearly many visitors or followers if I hadn't decided to join Twitter. It also gives you the chance to chat with your favorite authors and other bloggers, whether it's through the feed or direct messages (completely private). Despite my reservations, I'm glad I got a Twitter account for my blog.

2. Create a Facebook page and link it through Networked Blogs.

 I've only just recently done this for my blog. If you're looking for more visitors on your blog, this is a great idea. You can post random thoughts that would be kind of pointless to put into single blog posts, which also helps create discussions that are outside of your blog. The more social networking sites that you get talking about your blog, the better. There really is no way to put yourself out there too much. It also helps to link your blog through Networked Blogs (which is an app through Facebook). That way, you don't have to remember to put your posts on your page; it does it for you! And you can get followers through Networked Blogs.

3. Create a Goodreads account (if you haven't already).

I started my review-writing career with Goodreads. Most bloggers did, or they at least had accounts so that they were able to comment on other people's reviews. I use it more now for publicity, not only for my blog but also for the book. Before I had a blog, I went to Goodreads for EVERY book that I even considered buying. It's actually much simpler than searching through all the blogs that you follow and seeing who's read it, but I think I blog is much more personalized than just to have all the reviews in a feed. But because SOOOOOOO many people use Goodreads, it's a great way to get traffic to your blog.

4. Buy business cards (at a cheap price of course).

This is another recent thing for me. But one of the huge reasons I did it was because I was going to all these signings (another sub-piece of advice for this number is to go to signings. You never know who you're going to meet, and who you're going to become friends with... like your favorite authors) and people were always asking what my blog was. Now, all I have to do is give them the card. That way, they take it home with them without unfortunately forgetting your blog name, and you may just have yourself a new follower (maybe more than one, depending on who this person is). You can buy really cheap ones with beautiful designs at Vistaprint (which is where I got mine).

5. Know where you can find a decent photo editor.

You will never settle on a blog design that you will love forever. I've changed my header picture literally five times in the last month alone! Though, to be fair, it's because I found a great photo editor (which sadly closes the 19th of this month) that wasn't Adobe Photoshop. I have been on this thing nonstop, because I know that there's nothing more satisfying than finding the perfect (for now) blog header. It can also help you create buttons and resize pictures. Photobucket is actually really great for this as well. I was surprised by how much you can do on such a simple photo editor. Meme buttons are also really important to me because I love personalizing my blog, and twisting these photos to what I want brings me great satisfaction. For me, it makes my blog seem better and more official and completely unique.

6. HTML is your BFF... get acquainted!

I've only just realized how important this is. I wanted to change my page tabs to something more personalized, but I had no idea what I was doing. I searched and searched and SEARCHED until I found how to make the pictures line up horizontal and so they have links to the right places. Needless to say, those have been the hardest. Mostly because you have to upload them to a photo hosting site (Photobucket for me), get the HTML, put the link in the right place in the HTML, etc. It's super frustrating but it's been totally worth it. I love my page tabs now and I think the blog is better for it. When you're not happy with something on your blog, find a way to fix it. Don't settle for something you don't want to look at every day.

7. Sign up for blog tours.

Another recent endeavor for this blog. It gets your blog a lot of traffic and you get to do something really cool: publicity for someone else. Most of the blog tours that I sign up for are for Indie authors who are decent writers but just don't have the right kind of publicity going. I've done a couple so far and it's been a blast. A lot of times, you get to review the book, and on a separate date either interview the author or have them do a guest post or any number of things. Author interviews are amazing and enlightening, especially for someone like me who wants to be a published author.

8. Sign up for giveaway hops.

This is another thing that really gets traffic through your blog. Now, some bloggers in these hops require that you be a follower in order to enter the giveaway. While that admittedly does get you more followers, I don't think those are really the kind of followers you want (some of them will probably unfollow you after the giveaway is over, which really sucks when you see the follower number going down instead of up). I want people to follow me for my reviews and features and my blog, not because some giveaway tells them to. Not saying that I don't make it extra points to be a follower, but it gives the person entering an option whether they want to follow your blog or just enter the giveaway. That being said, some of my biggest bursts in followers have come from these giveaway hops, and in none have them have I made being a follower mandatory. If you're looking to up your stats, this is a great way.

9. Comment and socialize.

I am so bad at doing this, mostly because I just honestly don't have the time. I have a life outside of my blog (as amazing as that may seem), and I'm horrible at commenting on other people's blogs, and even replying to comments on my own blog. I read every comment, but it's like my brain shuts off as soon as I read them. I'm even lament to leave a comment on someone's blog when it gets you extra points in a giveaway. I think I'm feeling shy, but that makes zero sense. I don't know; it's something I'll never quite figure out. But my BBFFL (blogger best friend for life) Anna at Literary Exploration says that that's why she got so many followers in such a short amount of time. Sadly I don't have that kind of time. But if you want more traffic from other bloggers, or you just want to make friends, comment, comment, COMMENT! If there's one thing you should know as a new blogger, you're not alone. There are so many other crazy book lovers out there just like you, and they know what you're going through more than anyone.

10. Don't forget to read what you love.

I can't stress this enough. It's great being part of blog tours and getting ARC's from publishers (see below for more info), but it's not all that great when reading becomes more like a job than something you used to enjoy. I try to post every day because if I don't I feel like I'm letting you guys down. But if I'm being honest, I'd take all the time I work on my blog and read (believe me, it'd be an ugly, tacky, follower-less blog if I did that). Blog tours, while great for promoting your blog on other people's blog and helping out the authors, are time-consuming. You could be reading a book that's been on your list forever, or a highly-anticipated one that you just got in the mail. I guess what I'm saying is don't spread yourself too thin. Grades and work and reading for fun and life are more important than any blog could ever be.

11. Lightning round: My opinion on requesting review copies from publishers.

Just had to fit this one in. When I was first starting my blog (this is the big confession), one of the reasons was to get ARC's from publishers. I was totally jealous that all these established bloggers were getting advanced copies of my favorite books and I wanted to be a part of it. But it has grown to be so much more and I'm ashamed of my younger blogging self. I have very few contacts actually with publishers, and most of the ARC's I have are either e-ARC's from Netgalley (which is a beautiful invention by the way, definitely should sign up for that if you're a new blogger) or I've won them from blogs or authors. Now, the requesting part is pretty tricky. You have to make it personal. My blog isn't quite as established as publishers would like so I have no idea if this works entirely, but address them nicely, say your blog name, rattle of some blog stats, and then put in your request list. Request small titles as well as big titles. You may not get the big titles yet, but now they'll have you on their list. And oh is it a glorious list! Thank them for their time and wait. If they don't get back to you, don't send an e-mail every day. That will make them less inclined to want to send you ARC's, and it may ruin your chances for any future business with them. Be patient. Soon enough, publishers and authors will be coming to you!

And above all, new bloggers, have no fear and just be you!

Phew, that's it for that! And now, onto the final part of this post, where I present my Discussion Topic Request Form. This is for my new feature of Blogger Confessions. Ask me anything, and I will do my best to answer them! Ask away :)
 

2 comments:

  1. :) Great post! I have been on goodreads for a few years so I love that site! I was a bit unsure too about getting a twitter, but since i did, i have been having a great time on it, talking to bloggers and authors.
    Thanks for the idea of creating a business card! I'll probably not be able to go to conventions in the near future, but when I do, i'll definitely try that idea.

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  2. great tips! i totally agree about twitter. i used to think i could never do it but it's been very fun and helpful. and #10 for sure as well. sometimes it's easy to get caught up on the hottest book or reading everything in your review pile even if it's not inspiring you. you'll be a better blogger if you read what you want/love.

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I always appreciate comments and cherish every one of them. THIS IS AN AWARD-FREE ZONE. I don't have the time to fulfill the requirements for the awards, but thank you so much for thinking of me. I just ask for no vulgarity, and if you have any issues with my reviews or writing style, please e-mail me instead of commenting. Now, vent to your heart's content!

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Disclaimer

According to FTC guidelines, I'm obligated to share with you that all of the books that I review on my blog are either purchased by me or given to me by an author/publisher. All of the opinions expressed in my reviews are mine and I do not receive any sort of monetary goods for writing either good or bad reviews.