Day 5 - The Future of Book Blogging
Before I jump in to today's topic, I just wanted to send a heartfelt, huge THANK YOU to the creators of ARMCHAIR BEA, and to everyone who hosted the Twitter parties. I had such an amazing time this week chatting with new blogging friends and just getting to generally be as big of a geek as I wanted to be. So, again, thank you!
Part of today's topic is "Ask the Experts." By no means do I consider myself an expert, but I DO want to throw a few tips out there for new or even established bloggers. I feel like I've learned a great deal in the last year or so, but am still learning every day.
The second part of the topic ("The Future of Book Blogging") is how to keep blogging fresh and exciting, so I'm going to do a few tips on that, too!
- BE YOU. This is SO SO SO important, y'all. Why would you ever want to be anyone else, especially here? This is YOUR internet as much as it is mine. This community is for anyone who loves books and wants to express that. The most awesome person you can be is, well, YOU. Bring YOUR quirks, your passions, and YOUR thoughts to YOUR blog. Don't, in any way, feel like you have to be like another, established blogger. Be you, and people will respect that.
- Take time to think on what you want your blog to be about before you jump in. When I started, I wanted to review ALL THE BOOKS, then I realized, I was stretching myself too thin. I also placed too much emphasis on memes and not enough on getting to know my followers. I worried more about numbers than about readers. So think about this: what genres do you want to review? How do you want to interact with your followers? What memes - if any - do you REALLY want to do?
- Be creative with your blog - add a widget with where else you can be found - ie Twitter, Goodreads, etc - so your new blogger friends know where to chat with you. But don't weigh down your blog with all sorts of count down widgets, banners, and such. Make your blog a friendly, eye-catching, but CLEAN place to visit. People want to see your posts and your thoughts, not wait 10 minutes for your blog to load. It's awesome to be excited about 20 upcoming books - but do that in a post, on Twitter, or on Goodreads - not on your sidebar.
- Be outgoing. Even if you're normally a little shy, don't hesitate to say what you think in your reviews or discussion posts. Absolutely have an opinion.
- Don't be jealous of other bloggers! If they're receiving 5 ARCs a week, chances are they've blogged consistently for a quite awhile to get those ARCs. And besides...there's SO MUCH MORE to blogging than just ARCs. Trust me. : )
- Be friendly to other bloggers. Follow a few blogs, or however many you can handle. Then go back and visit them again and again until they get to know you. Reach out to the bloggers on Twitter. Start making yourself known as a fellow book lover. Don't get upset if it takes a little while for them to return the favor - but most people WILL come to your blog to visit. As they get to know you, they'll talk with you, befriend you, RT your Tweets, chat with you about real life, books, or whatnot. You want your fellow book bloggers in your corner, but you have to make the effort!
Keeping Blogging Fresh
- Put down that book you're struggling through. If you notice you're hesitant to go back to the book you're working on, then don't. Put it down for a day or two to gain perspective. Maybe it's not the book you need to be reading now. Even if it's a review book, it can wait one or two days while you take a breather. Maybe you want to read something different. Maybe you want to go a whole day without reading. That's okay.
- Take a break from time to time. Book blogging is like my second job. Granted, I LOVE it. I wouldn't give it up for anything in the world. But there are times when it gets overwhelming - when I have too many ARCs to read, or I accepted a few too many review requests, or I've read seven YA sci-fi/fantasies in a row and I'm exhausted. There ARE times when you need a breather. And you know what? That's okay. You're human.
Give yourself permission to take a few days off from blogging.
- If you do need a break, let your readers know. Do a short post stating when you'll be "back." And then don't think about blogging until it's time to come back (or the day before if you want to schedule posts in advance.) Get outside in the sun. Go to a movie. Spend time with a friend.
- Do something different on the blog. Start a discussion post - encourage your readers to participate! Maybe you want to debate why Twilight rankles your feminist side. (Or is that just me?) Maybe you want to tackle female vs male POV in literature. Or do a meme you haven't done before.
- Ask for suggestion from your readers. I did a survey last year - and will do another one this year - to see what my readers wanted to see at my blog. I got some of the nicest encouragement I could ever have asked for. And thanks to people's feedback, I made some big changes here, for the better, that helped me NOT fall into a slump.
- Read a book from a genre you haven't visited in awhile. As much as I love both YA and Paranormal Romance, sometimes I want to read Sophie Kinsella's newest book. Or Jennifer Fallon's. Or reread a favorite from Pat Rothfuss. (Chick lit, sci-fi, fantasy, respectively.) It's okay to "cheat on" your primary genres for awhile. And if you normally read all genres? Try a book from that one genre you've always shied away from - you never know how much you might like it.