Armchair BEA 2017 – Introduction and Best Practices

Design credit goes to Nina of Nina Reads

We’re excited to be participating in this year’s Armchair BEA event. If you are unfamiliar with this event, please click on the link above to learn more. And before we proceed into our topic of discussion today, we’d would like to wish everyone who is attending Book Expo of America a wonderful time and wish that we were there with you all, murr! =^.^=

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Introductions:

Welcome newcomer’s to our blog! We, Sara, Dancer, Mimi, and Sammers are the felines of What the Cat Read. To learn more about who we are, we invite you to visit our Bio page, murr! To give you a brief summary, we’re four well-read felines sharing our love of the books we read and the authors we admire. Our blog came about when our original founders, Willow & Buggy, noticed that there was a severe lack of feline reviews in the world. In 2011 they sought to fill this gap and created this site for young kittens and cats to discover new titles and authors to enjoy. We cover a wide-range of genres and enjoy sharing our love of reading with others. Our hope is that you’ll enjoy your time here and discover something new to read every time you return, murr!

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Best Practices:

We’ve experienced a great many things over the years that our blog has been up. Some experiences have been positive while others have been educational and lead to restructuring and new opportunities for growth. While we are not experts in the field, we’d like to offer a few tips and tricks for newbie reviewers.

1. Blog because you enjoy it.

This is something we cannot stress enough. For most of you out there reviewing books is a hobby, it’s not a job. You don’t get paid to review, nor do you get any of the perks that come from having a job. If you aren’t enjoying working on your blog, if you don’t feel satisfaction for all the work you put into it, then perhaps it is time to consider setting your blog aside. When your blog becomes overwhelming and is no longer enjoyable, it might be time to take a break. There is no shame in setting it aside either temporarily or permanently. Blog because you enjoy it, not because you feel obligated to do so.

2. Don’t feel pressured to review new material.

Yes, it is great to be able to review a new book before the general public has a chance to read it, but you don’t have to review ARCs (advance reader copies) all the time. There’s no need to keep us with the Jones’s of the blogging world. Just because an older title has received tons of reviews, it doesn’t mean that you can’t review it on your site. Older titles deserve just as much love as new titles. Reviewing an older title allows you to both introduce new readers to something they might have never known about and allows for new discussion to occur among readers. Plus, by reviewing older titles there is no pressure to meet a new release deadline, you can review older titles as time permits. Review what you enjoy, and you’ll continue to have fun blogging (see point #1).

3. Maintain a blogging schedule/calendar.

As you blog you’ll probably agree to take on virtual tour events and special event posts. Keeping a calendar with all your events listed will go a long way in helping you keep track of what posts you’ve signed up for and when you need to have them up by. It also allows you to plan out a posting schedule that works best for your personal schedule. Whether you post special weekly posts, maintain a 4 day post schedule, whatever, keeping a calendar will let you map out your blog a month in advance or more.

4. Keep your posts original.

Your blog is your own work, as such it should be unique and fit your personality, theme, layout, etc. It is a reflection of you and your views/opinions. It is very easy to fall into the habit of copying and pasting created HTML content in order to save time. The problem that comes in with this is there is no originality to the post, it loses that which is unique to your blog. Now, we’re not saying that you can’t use created HTML content on your site every now and then, but if you are relying solely on HTML generated post material because you’ve signed up for more posts than you can easily create on your own then it might be time to reconsider your scheduling/posting practice. Yes, blogging is a hobby, but by taking on the maintenance of a blog it means that you are agreeing to take on the work necessary to create posts that are tailored to your blog’s theme/layout. Don’t expect the tour hosts, publishers, and authors to do all of the work for you in creating your posts. It’s your blog, you do the work.

5. Don’t be afraid to post a negative review.

If you read a book and end up not enjoying it, do not be afraid to say so in your review. There is no shame in posting a review that is under three stars. Not every book is going to resonate with every reader, and having both positive and negative reviews on a book allows new readers to decide if the book is right for them. This doesn’t mean you go on a rant bashing the author and the book. If you don’t connect with a book, your review should explain what prevented you from connecting with it. In other words, your negative review should have constructive criticism in it for the author. Simply saying you “didn’t like it” doesn’t help anyone.

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So there you have it, a selection of our “best practices”. We hope that you enjoyed this post and we invite you to leave your thoughts in the comments below, or share your own best practices that you’ve learned over the course of your blogging experience. =^.^=

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Posted on May 31, 2017, in General. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Wonderful best practices! I really love #5: “Don’t be afraid to post a negative review.” I never hesitate to say why I didn’t like a book, but I always back it up with reasoning. I can’t stand when someone posts “This book sucked! Don’t read it!” and then just leaves it at that!

    • We feel the same way. There have been a few times when we’ve talked with readers about a book and someone will end up saying, “Oh I just hated that book.” When we ask why they refuse to give details and just say something like, “It just didn’t work for me, I only read the first two chapters and stopped.” But seriously, why? Explain. Sigh.