I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, how I set up my blog, all the things that blogging includes and so I decided to put together a list for all the new up and coming blogs to perhaps mull over. I know it took a while for me to get my head around everything, so I am hoping this may put your mind at ease. So, here are my tips for you 🙂
It took me a while to actually set up a blog. I’ve loved reading since I was little and then I had a kindle for Christmas one year and Amazon was like a massive candy shop. I was finding books by authors I had never even heard of – self-published authors and a new genre called New Adult took me by storm. I spoke to some friends who encouraged me to set up a book blog and I did and I’ve never looked back.
Take the time to decide which hosting site you want to use. WordPress and Blogger are the most popular but its all down to personal preferences which of the many sites you want to set your blog on. Also picking a blog name and icon is highly important. This will be the name and photo in which everyone will know you, in which authors will know you, so think about it carefully and then embrace the fact you have a blog!! It’s fun and exciting and scary all rolled into one, but you are starting what you love so don’t let anyone put you down.
Blogging is NOT about free books
I never knew you could obtain ARCS or review copies when I began my blog, hell, I didnt even know what they were. I was happy buying books, reading them then reviewing. As I mention below, I had no idea what I was doing when I started, so free books were FAR from my mind. If you are beginning a blog just to get free books then think again. You should do it for the love of books, not so you DONT have to pay for them. Sure, there are websites such as NetGalley and Edelweiss in which you can request copies of eARCs (electronic advanced copies of books) but dont start up a blog to use them. Sure its nice to pop on and request a book every once in a while, but try to limit yourself and actually BUY books that YOU want to read instead of trying to snatch up freebies.
Ask for help
When I began my blog, I had no clue what the hell I was doing. Nor did I have anyone offering to help me. I think that’s why when newbies come along, I love to offer them advice, help them out anyway I can because, honestly, its scary starting a new blog, joining a new community and then not knowing what to do. Seriously, if you need help come and ask me. If you want to know what book tours are, cover reveals, book blitz, giveaways….anything you want to know, I will be more than happy to answer, and if I don’t, I will find out for you. Nothing is too big when you are a little fish in a big pond and you have no idea what you are doing. You soon get used to it and you will be a pro in no time.
Social Media + Interactions
Social media is a must for your blog and there are so many platforms that you can use to promote your blog. The ones I have are Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Tumblr and Pinterest. But its up to you which ones you want to use. It connects you with authors, other bloggers, readers, publishers etc. It’s a massive way to get your blog and name out into the blogging world. Interact with everyone on social media. I have found some of my best friends over Twitter; bloggers, readers and authors, and its been a massive boost in getting my name out there and having people look at my blog.
Take a few days off every now and then
I’ve had The Book Lovers for nearly two years now. Two long and short years. It’s my baby but even a baby can get you down, make you stressed and basically, not want to do it any more. When it gets to that point you know you have to step back for a few days, a few weeks or even a few months to just have time to yourself. I’ve had many times where I’ve had enough, where the pressure of keeping my blog has become too much so I take a few weeks off, read because I want to read and then when the time is right, I’ll return back to blogging. Remember your blog IS JUST A HOBBY. Don’t turn it into something you will end up hating. It will eat away at you.
Having a full time job + Blogging
Running a blog and having a full time job is a hard business. I am envious of people who just spend their days reading and blogging and tweeting and it does get you down, but chin up. It used to get me down but now I think that everyone is different. Some people can read all day, some people have to work and read when they can. It doesn’t make your blog any different. My advice if you are like me? Have posts scheduled for the upcoming week. I tend to schedule my posts on the weekend or if I can, have posts scheduled for the month. It takes the pressure off me worrying about not having anything to post.
Don’t accept ALL the review requests
At the start when I began receiving emails from authors I was like ‘OMG they want ME to review their book!’ and then I realised they probably sent this same email to so many bloggers in the hope that a few will reply. I have a review policy on my blog, outlining which genres I read, how to get in touch and to not be offended if I don’t reply as it probably is the sort of book that I won’t enjoy.
Choose carefully which books you want to review and never give the author a set time line of when you will read and review the book. I never do because I don’t know when I will get to it. More recently I have stopped accepting books because I just dont have the time to read ‘review copies’ due to my busy workload, but dont take my advice for it, at the end of the day, its down to you and what works best for you in terms of accepting ARCS (Advanced copies of books) and review copies.
There is nothing worse than saying you liked a book when in fact you didnt – all just to please the author or other fellow book bloggers. There have been plenty of books I have read that every single person on the planet seems to love and I didnt enjoy it, and all it is is personal preference. I’m honest in my reviews, I dont slam the author and even if its a book I didnt enjoy, I will still offer up the parts I did like, and explain why I didnt enjoy certain parts before still recommending it you all the readers. Why? Because something that I dont like, you might like. Just remember, be honest but not to the extent in which it may cause hurt or upset someone. That’s not who or what book bloggers are about.
It’s okay to be jealous, but then you get over it.
We have all been there, I know I have. You look through your Twitter time line and think ‘HOW did they get that book?’ or ‘HOW did they get that many followers when they havent been around that long?!’ and its OKAY. We all have tendencies to get jealous over fellow book bloggers but then you get over it. Don’t compare yourself to other blogs. Sure, there are bigger ones, there are smaller ones but at the end of the day, we are all doing what we love – reading, reviewing and promoting authors. That’s all that should matter at the end of the day, not how many ARCS or signed books or stats or followers you have.
Go to meet-up and book events.
Most of the book events are held in America, but it seems that the UK are beginning to gain exposure on hosting large book events for authors. Find meet-ups, book clubs, author signings and go along to them. Blogging is so much more than sitting behind a computer screen. Engage with the people you speak to on Facebook, Twitter etc. It’s so much fun to actually SPEAK to them in person and go for a drink or two.
I went to the London Author Event last year and met some of my besties and favourite authors and in two weeks i’ll be heading to the Edinburgh Author Event and spending the weekend with awesome authors and friends (and bunking with Emma Hart). So see, its all fun and games behind a computer, but its more fun to meet up and actually hang out!
Finally HAVE FUN!
That is why you started the blog right? To share your love of books. Well, have fun, be yourself and get involved. Meet authors, meet bloggers and have fun. We’re a nice community (albeit a bit bitchy at moments 😦 ) but don’t let the haters get to you. Ignore them and do what you love to do – READ.