Armchair BEA 2015 – Blogging Q&A
The next topic of discussion for today is Blogging Q&A. “Blogging 101. All kinds of tips and tricks to get you started or keep you going. Talk about ARCs, reviewing in general, web design, etc. What blogging platform do you use? How do you network? What are some of your favorite web designs? Or maybe you want to talk about your own blogging journey, and how you got to where you are now. Either way, we want you to share your knowledge with the rest of the community!”
I’d like to go on record and say that I’m probably the last person who should offer advice on blogging at this point. Actually, I’m more than capable of providing you a list of things not to do, rather than helpful or positive things to try. Still, even advice on what not to do is helpful, I guess. Okay, yes, I’m being overly hard on myself at the moment, but that’s mostly because during my last 3+ years of blogging, I’ve made a lot of mistakes and put too much pressure on myself to meet unrealistic expectations. It’s safe to say that my blogging journey has been fraught with ups and downs. Anyway, for what it is worth, here are my Top 5 Things Not To Do When Blogging.
- Don’t take on more books than you can realistically review within a given time period. I think this is the bane of most book bloggers. There are SO many great books out there, it’s really difficult to say no or refrain from putting in requests for titles. Some people manage to read/review everything they pick up, and to these people I must say that I admire you a great deal. If you are one of these people, kudos points to you, you’ve managed to do something which I struggle with on a regular basis. But if you aren’t one of these specially skilled individuals, try to limit the number of books you select to review each month and be realistic in what you can take on. Life has a way of getting in the way of things, so take into consideration your other commitments before you say yes to reviewing a lot of titles.
- Don’t stress over needing to review the newest released or upcoming titles. One of the perks that comes with book blogging is you have an opportunity to review ARCs (advance reader copies). Yeah, it’s great, and yes, it is exciting to be able to read something before your friends do, but it isn’t the end all to be all when book blogging. Consider reading and reviewing books that are already out in print. In particular books that are more than a year or two old. Sure, you may feel like you are not contributing anything new to the book review world, but trust me when I say, the author whose book you review will greatly appreciate it. And who knows, your review may just be what puts an author’s title back in the spotlight.
- Don’t pressure yourself to get posts up every day. The most important lesson I learned since I first took up blogging is that it is okay if you are unable to post every day. Heck, it is okay if you can only manage to post once or twice a week. Do only that which you are realistically capable of doing, and don’t worry about everyone else. This is meant to be fun. If you find yourself stressing out trying to get posts done, take a break. Walk away, go outside and enjoy the sunshine. This is not a job. Now, if you are one of those people to whom this actually is your job and you are required to write-up a certain number of posts per week, then we’re talking about an entirely different situation. And I’d like to speak with you in private about how you got started. But as I said, and I’d like to stress this, this is meant to be fun! If at any time it stops being fun and becomes a chore, stop what you are doing and move on to something else. No one is going to judge you, and if they do, screw ’em. It’s your blog, do what makes you comfortable and happy.
- Don’t think that your blog is going to become an overnight sensation. If you want your blog to be noticed by readers, you are going to have to earn it. It takes a lot of effort to create a successful blog that stands out from all the other book review blogs out there. I’m not saying this to be discouraging, and I’m not saying that some people don’t manage to rise to the top right away, but for most folk, it’s going to take time. I’ve had people tell me that it takes a business a solid two years to get established and settled, and I’ve discovered that this is rather true for blogging as well. Make sure you are putting out good, insightful, unique content, and eventually the readers will start coming. And please, don’t consider yourself a failure if you don’t have a lot of followers after blogging for two or more years. It’s better to have a small group of loyal readers than to have tons of “followers” but no one is actually reading what you write.
- Don’t do something simply because everyone else is doing it. Okay, this last one is going to probably rub a few people the wrong way, but hear me out. Participating in weekly memes, hosting giveaways, getting involved in all manner of promotional blog tours and big book related events…Yes, these are great ways to connect with other bloggers and gain readers, but they aren’t a necessity. Please note that I am aware of the irony this last tip is generating, especially seeing as I do a lot of promotional tour posts (even more so of late) and I’m writing a series of posts this week for an event that hundreds of other bloggers are also participating in. But seriously, you don’t have to do these things to run a successful blog. If you are putting out unique content, the readers will find you. Your blog should be a reflection of you. If all you are doing is, forgive me for saying this, regurgitating the same series of memes or promotional posts as everyone else, your blog is going to get lost in a crowd of sameness. Giveaways are great every once-in-awhile, but if you do nothing but host giveaways, sure you are going to get a lot of followers, but I guarantee most of them aren’t going to stick around for the other content on your blog. I guess what I’m trying to say is be selective in what you choose to get involved in. Make your blog unique, and don’t be afraid to experiment with ideas. You’ll have more fun it you do, trust me.
So there you have, my top five list of things not to do when blogging. I hope that you found them to be of interest. =^.^=