Armchair BEA – Ask the Experts

Design credit goes to Nina of Nina Reads

Today is the final day of Armchair BEA. ~sniff sniff~ We are actually rather sad to see it come to a close as we’ve gotten to meet a lot of wonderful new bloggers! It’s safe to say that we shall definitely be participating in this event again next year. =^.^=

Today’s topic is Ask The Experts. Participants were asked to do the following: Ask the visitors to your blog for blogging advice. What did you always want to know about blogging but were afraid to ask? Now is the time!
So guess what? Yep, we are going to ask you, fellow bloggers/readers, to answer some of our questions! Since we’ve been blogging almost a year now, we’ve picked up a few tricks along the way, but are always in the search for more ways in which to improve. So here’s a small list of some of our questions. Please don’t feel pressured to answer them all! Just one would suffice. Murr!

1. What do you find to be the best way to gain new and steady readership?

2. What tips do you have for someone, like us, who would like to host more giveaways but is stuck on a fixed budget and/or doesn’t get a great many ARCs?

3. How important is layout to you as a reader of other blogs? Do you prefer simple ones with no side columns, one column, or is two columns okay?

4. How do you find/get involved in tour events? Do you stick primarily with small press events or do you work with the big publishers?

5. Do you guest post for fellow bloggers? If so, how do you get involved with them?

6. Do you send your reviews to authors and publishers on a regular basis or only when requested?

7. How vital is it to hold an anniversary celebration and how did you go about getting giveaway materials for it? We are asking this question because our 1 year anniversary is at the end of July going into August and we are trying to decide if it’s worth doing anything for it.

8. What are some of the ways you go about keeping your voice fresh in your posts? We notice we tend to be repetitive in the things we say about the books we love, hence the question. =~.^=

9. What’s the best way to go about archiving posts? Do you have a different archive for each category or do you only archive certain ones? How many archives is too many?

10. What tips do you have in ways we can make our blog better? We always appreciate honest/constructive feedback!

As for tips that we have picked up while blogging…well, the biggest one is write for yourself, not because someone asked you too! It’s your choice to blog about something or not. If at any time you find yourself stressing out over getting posts up on a regular basis or are trying to find the perfect way to word something, walk away. Get up from your computer and take a break. Whether it is a day, a week, month, year, whatever. Never be afraid to simply walk away for a short period of time. This is supposed to be fun. If it becomes too much like work, then you are doing it wrong. That is unless this really is your job, then that is a whole different story.

Another tip, keep notes about your thoughts, feelings, etc. while you are reading. This way when you are ready to write your review, you have a good idea of what you want to say in it. This also helps if you are like us and don’t get to the review right after you are done reading.

Try to schedule posts in advance if at all possible. We’ve often found ourselves scrambling the night before an event to get a post up and it’s a habit that is starting to wear thin on everyone.

Don’t overburden yourself. If you find you are picking up more projects than you can handle, say no or find a way to bow out gracefully from a few if possible. Again, this is supposed to be fun. Your life, health, family come first before blogging.

Lastly, like this hasn’t been stressed enough, HAVE FUN! Enjoy getting to know your fellow bloggers, authors, publicity reps, etc. There are many wonderful friendships that can be found if you just allow yourself to go out and have FUN. =^.^=

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Posted on June 8, 2012, in General. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Have fun! Absolutely! đŸ™‚

  2. For giveaways, if you don’t have ARC’s to giveaway and can’t afford to do it yourself, I recommend just not doing them until you’re able. (Holding giveaways just for the sake of it only attracts readers who will follow the your blog for the chance to win but probably never really read your blog afterwards).

    Or, if you can afford to at least giveaway a mass market book (only $8), try to team up with a bookish Etsy seller and see if they can add anything to your giveaway for the chance to spread the word about their shop. Also, giveaways for e-gift cards are nice because you don’t have to pay shipping and don’t need your readers’ personal mailing info, just an email address.

    Best of luck and Happy ABEA!!

  3. The only one of your questions I can really address is #3. Layout/design is one of the big things I’ve been noticing as I’ve visited so many blogs this week. They are the first thing a new visitor notices, of course, and it’s important that they convey the type of blog you have. I love your paw-print background – it sets a fun, inviting mood. As far as number of columns. I think three is fine as long as the side columns don’t become so cluttered that it’s distracting from the post. Again – I think you’ve done a good job in that area.

    Hope you had a great BEA! I had a blast and learned a lot.

  4. Wow! Questions! Just a few:

    – What do you find to be the best way to gain new and steady readership?

    Just be yourself, readers who will appreciate your thoughts and share your ideas will come. Stay humble.

    – How important is layout to you as a reader of other blogs? Do you prefer simple ones with no side columns, one column, or is two columns okay?

    For me, simple and consistent with the overall theme of the blog. Few widgets/button as much as possible.

    Cheers!

    Dropping by from Armchair BEA!

    -Len of Musings of a Reader Happy

  5. I’m gonna answer the one about sending reviews to publishers. If they gave me the book then I’m gonna send them a link to my review every time. I want them to see that I read the book and am willing to accept more.

    Thanks for participating!

    Here’s my experts say post

    Valerie
    StuckInBooks

  6. Don’t feel this overwhelming pressure to do giveaways. Yes, they will build a bit of traffic, but it really isn’t the sustainable traffic which you want or need.

    Guest posts- I have a slightly unconventional view on those because A. I started out many moons ago blogging on a totally different subject and B. I also have a team blog that is totally unrelated to books.

    My advice? To expand your horizons. If you have any other hobbies and follow any blogs that aren’t book blogging, hit them up to let you do a guest post. An example, Most of the followers of a friend’s home decor blog are moms that home school, so I hit her up to do a guest post on non-fiction reads that might be good for the kids. Some of those mom’s have now been reading my blog for years.

    Happy almost 1 year!

  7. I wouldn’t worry about give-aways too much. They are not the most important part of blogging.