Sponsored by the ladies at The Broke and The Bookish, check them out, they’re great.
So you want to start a book blog? Well, we may not be the most prolific or punctual or practical book blog out there, and we certainly haven’t been doing it for very long, but if you want some tips on how to get started, we are more than happy to offer the little wisdom we have to you, in exchange for your undying devotion and the chance to name your first born. But we’re going to need that wisdom back. We don’t have that much. (And sorry if I’m a little long winded.)
1) Determine a genre. If you don’t like mysteries or non-fiction, don’t review those types of books. If you limit the types of books you’re reviewing to certain genres, you’ll actually read those books and it won’t seem like homework. Also, you won’t get requests to review the types of books that you don’t actually read, so you won’t feel so bad turning them down.
2) Don’t be an ass. If you don’t like a book, be civil about it. Give reasons. Don’t insult the author and his/her family. Or don’t review the book. You might notice that I (Dixie) tend to review a lot of books that have 4/5 or 5/5, that’s because I live by the axiom, “If you can’t find anything nice to say…” On the other hand, be honest. If an author you really like wrote a mediocre book, or you read a book that others just love but you don’t, explain why. That is the whole reason you have a blog, right?
3) Utilize the numerous Memes out there. We do “Top 10 Tuesday” and “TGIF”, where we link up with the blogs that sponser those memes for cross-publicity. It’s a good way to get people to your blog that read other blogs that may have bigger readerships. Plus, it’s fun and it helps to establish your pattern. If I know a blog that I read takes advantage of those memes, I will make sure to visit them that day. It also helps you to become familiar with other blogs and have opportunities to comment and make blog friends. See how that works?
4) Ask yourself this: Are you blogging for ARCs? That’s not a great reason to do this. You’re not going to get a lot initially. Once you’ve established a fanbase and your blog is well known, sure. Not that we know too much about that. But we do get ARCs, just not a lot and not often. There are online services that you can utilize as a blogger to get advanced copies, like Netgalley, but you have to have some kind of established blog with actual readers. I know, it’s a Catch 22. In the meantime, review recently released books you can buy yourself or get from the library. Not only will that help you establish some kind of readership, it will also show credibility. Cause there’s nothing worse than a “what’s in it for me” attitude.
5) Utilize social networks. Like Twitter and Facebook. Friend authors and other bloggers and readers. Make your presence known. BE SOCIABLE. Even if it kills you.
6) Establish a pattern. You need to be consistent. If you have casual readers, if they know when you do your reviews, they’ll make sure to stop by on those days.
7) Visit other blogs and comment. But please, don’t be all “Hey, come check out my blog!” Let it be organic. If you have something interesting to say, chances are the blogess (ahem) will be all, “That’s one smart chicky. I’d like to see what she’s all about. I shall check out her blog.” Or something like that. Plus, you’ll make friends. And who doesn’t need more friends?
8) Be yourself. That’s probably the best advice I can give. If you write the way you speak, the writing will come easier to you. If you review what you actually like to read, it won’t be a chore. And embrace the fact that, if you’re blogging about books, you’re probably a tiny little bit of a geek (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Live with it, celebrate it. Get over it and move on. There’s a little place in the world for all of us.
Eh, that’s all I got. Like I said, I’m by no means an expert. I still have loads to learn, but you don’t have to know it all before you start. Wisdom comes with age (or so I’ve heard). Take baby steps. You’ll learn to run, all in good time.