Hey everyone! Today I’m bringing you the first post in my blogging tips section. I started blogging back in March, but I thought I might as well share with you the things I’ve learned since then! I know the title says it’s aimed for new book bloggers, but I think these tips might be useful for you regardless of how long you’ve been blogging.
1. Decide the type of content you’ll blog about
If you’re new in the community, you might think all book bloggers talk about the same topics, but that’s not true. And I’m not talking about how some book bloggers talk about fantasy books while others talk about horror books.
See, some bloggers love to write reviews. Some don’t. Some bloggers love to address different topics within the reader community and other stick with listicles and book tags. And some others feel comfortable blogging about everything I just mentioned and many more things.
Before you launch your blog, I suggest you to write one post of each of those categories and see what you like, what you dislike, and what you can improve. That will give you a clear idea of which type of content you’ll include in your blog, at least at the beginning
2. Have a blogging schedule
If you want people to engage with your content, you’ll have to be consistent. I’m not saying you need to post three times a week, the most important thing is to be comfortable with how much you post, but if you post something today, then nothing for three weeks, then three posts in a row, people are going to have a hard time engaging with your content.
What I’d recommend is doing at least once post per week, if you can do it always on the same day (i.e new post every Sunday), that’d be even better.
Having a spreadsheet where you can see all the posts you’ll do in a month is great because that way you (hopefully) won’t forget to post on the day you chose, and seeing the big picture will give you a clear idea if:
- You’re posting too much (or too little)
- You’re posting the same type of content over and over (if your goal is to write about different topics, that is)
- When certain post is due (if you’re participating in a blog tour, this is very important)
That way, you’ll be more aware of what’s happening in your blog content wise to make all the changes you see fit as you go.
3. Organization is key (seriously)
If you want to have a more laid back blogging experience and post every other day on the topic you feel like talking about that day, then skip this tip. In my case, I like to be consistent and have a plan on the short term (sometimes even more than that).
I recommend you to have a mini bullet journal (or just dedicate some pages of yours if you have one) to your blog. Spreadsheets like a review tracker, blog post ideas, to-do lists, arc tracker, and more will help you get all the info you need to up to date with what needs to be done, which goals you have and which steps you need to take to achieve those things.
Notion is also a very helpful tool you can use in your desktop and phone to help you with organization. May from Forever and Everly made an amazing post about Notion, so check it out!
4. Don’t try to know everything before you start, you won’t
I did a lot of research before launching my blog to see which type of content book bloggers posted, which type of posts were more liked by the readers, how to drive traffic to your blog and an endless list of things that ended up overwhelming me and almost deciding to quit even before starting.
There’s an infinite amount of guides, tutorials, do’s and don’ts and tips all over the internet that will make you dizzy, especially when some contradict others. Try to know the basics, to have a handle of your blogging platform (a basic guide on how to use WordPress and/or blogger will help) and stick with what YOU want to blog about. Follow your instinct. I realized that I learned many things after launching my blog and involving with the blogging community that I’d never found out with a Google search.
5. Don’t feel pressured to read more because you have a book blog
This is something I keep telling myself over and over. I always feel inevitably guilty when it’s the 20th of the month and I have only read two books, and that just started happening after I launched Bellerose Reads. Allow yourself to have reading slumps in peace and try to overcome them at your own pace, and don’t pressure yourself to read when you can’t or don’t want to do it.
There are plenty of things you can do with your blog as you’re in the middle of a reading slump, like recommending books you’ve read in the past, talk about the books you want to read in the future, discuss a movie adaptation of a book you’ve read or just gush about the book covers that you think are the prettiest.
6. Engage with other book bloggers!!
This is the best way to grow as a blogger, but also the best way of building a better blogging community, one that’s welcoming and receives everyone with a warm hug. If you don’t put yourself out there, people are not going to find you.
But be careful! I’m not saying you should hop on someone’s blog and say “nice post, check out my blog and follow me!” because that’s the worst thing you can do. It’s not only disrespectful towards the blogger, but if you’re not willing to read the posts other bloggers in your niche make, if you don’t want to support other bloggers in a genuine way but expect to have a growing following list, why did you create a blog? To have people support you while you’re supporting none? If that’s the case, then blogging might not be for you.
In many “About” pages of book bloggers you’ll find the phrase “I created this blog because I wanted to have a place where I could talk about my favorite books with other readers”. Don’t be scared, we don’t bite! Leave a like, a comment expressing your opinion on the topics of the post; engage with discussions on Twitter as well and support bloggers in any way you can! In this discussion post I made some time ago, I listed some ways to support other book bloggers, so check it out if it interests you!
7. Get familiarized with ARCs and Blog Tours (if you’re interested!)
ARCs are early copies of books that bloggers, librarians, booksellers, etc., receive in exchange for an honest opinion before the release of the book. Blog tours are a series of promotional posts made by several bloggers, organized by blog tour companies who’ll provide bloggers the promotional material they need to participate (often ARCs are included)
If you’re interested in reading books before they’re released, ARC requesting sites like NetGalley or Blog Tours are great ways to start doing so. I made a lengthy post on everything ARC-related, so if you want to read it you can do so here.
8. Make sure your social media presence is cohesive
Okay, I don’t know if that makes much sense, so I’ll explain. In order for people to find you easily, you should have the same user in all your social media accounts (or at least, similar ones). I’ve often found myself wanting to follow a blogger in Twitter and not finding them because their user is way different from their blog name.
If for any reasons you can’t or don’t want to change your social media accounts to have them all be the same or similar, at least put them on the sidebar of your blog or at the end of your posts. This will make your following list grow as people will find you more easily.
9. Make the most of your Goodreads account
If you’ve posted a review on your blog, why not add it to Goodreads as well? It won’t take you long! On Goodreads, you can review and rate books up to 5 stars, as well as classify the books you have read, are reading or want to read with tags.
If you want more info on Goodreads and how to make the most of it, this post can help you!
10. Your mental health ALWAYS has to come first
For the last tip, I want to tell every blogger, new or old, to make their mental health a priority during the wonderful journey that is book blogging. Don’t feel pressured to do what certain blogger is doing just to boost up your following/views count. Don’t feel pressured to post if you can’t or don’t feel like it. Don’t feel pressured to stay on top of all the new releases. Don’t feel that you’re obligated to change your blogging strategy if your following/views count isn’t growing as fast as you’d like. Don’t feel bad if your blog doesn’t look exactly like you want to.
To sum up, take things easy, don’t look too much on the negative side on things and focus on doing what makes you happy at the pace that makes you happy. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, to give yourself a break or take any decision you think will be in the best interest of your wellbeing.
That’s all for this post! I really liked writing this post, and I definitely will do more posts like this in the future. I’m thinking maybe giving advice on blog design, branding and things like that? Let me know what you’d like to see in the “Blogging tips” section and I’d be happy to take it into consideration!