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.
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.