Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Tips For New Bloggers!

Top Ten Tuesday was created and is hosted by The Broke And The Bookish. This week's topic is tips for new book bloggers! With the amount of people that participate in Top Ten Tuesday, I'm sure that pretty much everything has been covered already, so you probably won't see anything new. But these are the tips that I feel are the most important for a new book blogger (or old! These are tips for all bloggers) should listen to.

In no particular order:

1. Blog for you, not for an audience. Some of my favorite bloggers are the ones who post whatever they want, not what they think the readers or publishers want. Yes, your readers are important and special and you should love them all. But you should be blogging because you love blogging, not because you love the attention your blogging garners. I'm probably talking in circles but think about this - If 75% of your readers suddenly stopped visiting and commenting on your blog, would you still blog? You should. Do it because you love it, not because of the stats.

2. Blog design is important. If you've got a neon green background with white text and a header so huge that I have to scroll down half the page just to get to the posts, I'm not going to want to willingly spend time on your blog. I'm not saying you have to shell out money for a design, but there are tons of sites with free, gorgeous templates for you to take advantage of.

3. Make friends! Book bloggers are the best people in the world. True story. I imagine blogging would be pretty lonely and miserable if I didn't have some of the blogger buddies that I have now. The blogosphere is a pretty awesome place and you should join us!

4. Content over contests. This is probably just my opinion, but if you've got more contests than content on your blog, you're going to turn off a percentage of people. Personally, I think you should strive to gain readers by reviews and discussions and meaningful posts. Don't get me wrong - there is absolutely nothing wrong with having contests. But if you have so many that they kind of eat my entire blog feed, well ...

5. Social networks are your friends. This kind of ties in with #3, as that's how I managed to come across some of the amazing bloggers and authors that I'm friends with now. Some people think that Twitter and Facebook are just status sites, feeds full of stupid statuses like "I just ate some cereal." And while you do see those statuses occasionally, those sites are so much more than that. I think of them as a constant chatroom with bookish people. Nothing better than that.

6. If you're blogging for free books, go away. I'm putting on my bitchy pants for a moment. Having publishers send you books/swag is an added bonus to book blogging. It is not a right. And when I started blogging, I had no idea publishers did this. I thought the bloggers who received stuff in the mail worked for those publishers. It's general knowledge now and I feel like it's become rare for a new blogger to go into this blindly. On that note, most of us can tell who's in it for the love of blogging and who's in it for the free stuff. It's obvious by the amount of love and work and dedication you put into your blog. Unfortuately, there's nothing we can do if you are only blogging for free stuff. But we see you. And we don't like you. And you won't gain any respect from any of us. Just be aware of that.

7. No sugarcoating. This is a tip I struggle with at times. Authors are all amazing and the last thing you want to do is hurt their feelings. But your opinion is your opinion. Authors know they have to have thick skin, so don't sugarcoat your reviews. I'm not saying you should be mean and snarky. It shouldn't be that hard to write an honest review while still being respectful, even if you hated the book with a burning passion.

8. The numbers aren't important. To some, they are. To some - like me - they're not. To be completely honest, I don't even know what good stats look like. Yes, I have a GFC option but I rarely pay attention to it. You will be much happier and less stressed if you stop worrying about how many followers you have or how many page views you get. Trust me.

9. Don't be too professional. If you run a YA blog, there are most likely younger eyes following your every post. So yes, be somewhat professional and mature. But don't overdo it. I love bloggers like Jamie and Anna and April because their personality shines through in every post. I would rather read a short review with personality rather than a long, detailed review that seems written solely for the blurbs on the back of book covers.
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Those are my tips! I apologize for the rambling. And for any confusion that I might have caused. Transferring my thoughts from my head to the post didn't really happen so successfully today, but hopefully you all still get what I mean.

27 comments:

  1. Awesome tips - and I definitely take #10 to heart. I'm still trying to learn to be a bit more open and have more personality on my blog.

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    1. Thank you! And just let yourself go! Write your reviews like you're explaining it to a friend, you know? That's how I loosened myself up! :)

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  2. People go into blogging for free books? That sucks, do they know they can read for free at a library? smh.
    Great tips!

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    1. Right?! When I first started blogging, I was at the library three times a week. I think some bloggers have it in their minds that they'll only be successful if they review newer titles. *rolls eyes*

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  3. Great post and I totally agree with most of it!
    I recently changed my design all over my blogs, most of them had designs I was fine with last year but now I've got more of an online persona and I felt the need that people could connect with me easier. So I added twitter and FB buttons and things to my blogs and arranged things around. Not sure if it makes a difference for most people but it does for me.

    Also, it made me really happy that I finally broke 50 page views in one day a few days ago, the best I had was 28 the last day of NaNo, so this made me really really happy. The combination of a heated topic, my new visibility on twitter and FB and the use of triberr got me quite far :)

    I do like blogging though it does sometimes drop off the face of the earth when uni or story writing needs more attention for a while, but I'm lucky that I've got a few posts that keep popping up in search terms so I do keep a sort of steady flow of visitors (1 or 2 a day, but it is something).

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    1. Also, who would blog for free books these days? There are hundreds of free books every day on the Amazon website ;)

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    2. Thank you! :)

      Those buttons absolutely make a difference! Easy ways for people to find you online in places other than your blog!

      And there's nothing wrong with dropping off the face of the earth every once in awhile. I actually wish I could do that! I have a book that I'm writing as well and I find it so hard to manage my time between the blog and the writing.

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  4. Thanks so much for the advice. I am always looking for great tips that relate to me. Blogging has become more than a hobby for me, it's become something that I do for me, something that helps me out when I need it. I love it and I love some of those tips and may put them to good use. Thanks! Happy reading!

    http://thebucketlist-gn.blogspot.com

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  5. YES YES on the "don't be too professional" thing. Honestly. That's not me at all and I don't pretend that it is. I'd rather read a review that is filled to the brim with enthusiasm than a dull "I liked it because of the love story. The end!" review. I want to FEEL what the blogger is feeling. We are authors in our own respect, you know. It's good to put your heart into your posts instead of that robotic regurgitation of pseudo-emotions.

    Or something :)

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    1. ^^ This is why I love your blog - you are so enthusiastic!:)

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    2. Ohhh Jen, you are one of the bloggers I should have listed in that rule. I LOVE your enthusiasm! Not just in your reviews but in your whole online persona (which IS your persona, which is what I was trying to get at hahah) Basically, I <3 you.

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  6. I so agree with you about not sugarcoating your reviews! I know there are times when it's hard for me to write a negative review, but if I didn't like the book I can't make myself lie about it either.

    And yay for showing personality; I can't stand reviews that feel like they could be a school essay!:)

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    1. Definitely! A year ago I was befriending this one sorta-kinda popular author and we were emailing back and forth and I decided to buy her book and revew it. Um ... didn't like it. At all. But I was respectful and listed some positives and negatives and she was SO nice about it.

      That made me feel a lot more confident about writing for my feelings and not the authors!

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  7. This is so not rambling and I think a lot of this bears repeating, even if it is general knowledge by this point, because a lot of it doesn't seem to be sticking. Basic blogging etiquette seems to be eluding people these days, and it's sort of sad. But I like that your first pointer is to blog because you love it, and that that took precedence on your list :D

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    1. Thank you! I feel like some bloggers are perpetually frustrated with their stats and their relationship with publishers and I just shake my head. This isn't a paying job, you know? It's meant to be fun!

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  8. Great tips, thanks! I'm a new blogger and these are very helpful. How do you suggest we newbies make new blogger friends?

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    1. You're welcome! Making blogger friends is SO easy. I'm so anti-social so if I can make as many as I have now, so you can you. Trust me.

      Twitter is the #1 place to make blogger friends. Seriously. If you ask any blogging BFFs where they met, they will most likely say Twitter. As for how ... just hop in a conversation! Introduce yourself! It's so easy. :)

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  9. I kind of want to cheerlead this post. Seriously.

    AND OMG YES I CAN TOTALLY TELL WHO WANTS FREE BOOKS and who is there for passion. Sigh. those bitchy pants really look great on me.

    And oh my goodness, YES to good design. Like, I just want to be able to read the blog, not scroll for 5 days or whenever the header ends.

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    1. Hahah April, those were YOUR bitchy pants I borrowed for this post. I channeled your awesomeness.

      And yes! When I'm doing a blog design, I always make the headers somewhat slim. Even when the person says "You can go ahead and add some height to that header" NOPE SORRY CAN'T. Hahah.

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