Top Ten Tips for New Book Bloggers

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and features a new top ten list each week.

This week’s TTT topic is Top Ten Tips for New Book Bloggers. I still feel pretty new at this myself and am learning things everyday, but hopefully some of these tips will be useful.

Listed in no particular order, here are 10 tips for new book bloggers:

1. Find your niche – With so many book blogs it can be hard to set your blog apart. Figure out what makes your blog special and run with it. Maybe it’s a meme, or genre, or book type- have fun with your theme and make your blog your own.

2. Learn about the publishing industry – The Shelf Awareness and Publisher’s Weekly newsletters are a good place to start. Also, sign up for Edelweiss to get real time access to publisher’s catalogs online. The ALA site is another great resource.

3. Be social – Join Goodreads, Twitter, and Facebook, Figment, Pinterest or Tumblr. Follow your favorite authors and bloggers on Twitter, tweet your blog posts, and strike up a conversation. Follow other blogs and leave meaningful comments- chances are they will return the favor. And reply to comments left on your blog. Get out from behind the book and attend book signings, panels, and other bookish events when you can. Join a book challenge or read-a-thon that strikes your fancy too.

4. Memes – Tryout a couple memes to participate in. This can be a good way to get your blog name out there and interact with the book blog community. The two I regularly participate in are In My Mailbox and Top Ten Tuesday, but there are a lot of other ones to choose from. Don’t overdo it with the memes though; your blog readers want to read your book reviews and your own unique posts.

5. Be professional – Check your spelling and grammar, especially double check the spelling of the author ‘s name and title of the book you are reviewing. Write reviews using your own voice and be honest.

6. Be organized – Schedule your posts ahead of time when you can. Keep a calendar listing your review dates for the month, book tour dates, and interview schedule and be prepared before the due date. Jot down notes if you like while you are reading to make writing book reviews a snap.

7. Books to Review – Review the books on your shelf or use your library to find books to review. Most libraries will order books for you or allow you to place books on hold, and they are a great resource for new release books. Use WorldCat to track down a library that has the book you are looking for. If you have an e-reader there are a couple of great resources for digital advanced reading copies. Sign up for an account on NetGalley and Edelweiss and request a book or two. Make sure you review the book in a timely manner and submit the review to the site so you will keep getting approved for books. LibraryThing Early Reviewers and Goodreads First Reads also have ongoing giveaways. YA book bloggers can also sign up for RandomBuzzers, PulseIt (age 14-18), and Free Book Friday to find author interviews, contests and giveaways.

8. Analytics, Stats & SEOΒ  – With all the hard work you put into your blog it is natural that you want to see your blog traffic grow. Consistency is key – just keep at it and write engaging, meaningful blog posts and honest book reviews. There are also sites such as Google Webmaster Tools you can use to analyze your blog and most popular search queries, keywords and links. You may also want to use a stat counter on your site such as sitemeter to look at traffic patterns. I’m no expert on the SEO stuff, so be sure to read April @ Good Books & Good Wine’s informative post on SEO for Book bloggers.

9. Housekeeping – Keep your blog nicely organized so it’s easy to find information. Offer multiple ways to follow your blog including RSS, Email, Twitter, or Facebook. Make sure there is a search bar for visitors to find what they are looking for. And make it easy for your readers to leave comments by allowing different ways to login (Name, Twitter, Email, etc.) and consider turning off Captcha please. Also, try not to have too many widgets in your sidebar – they compete with your blog posts and can take a long time to load or even cause your readers browsers to crash.

10. Have fun!Running a book blog should be fun, not a chore. Ask questions. There are tons of book bloggers out there and they were all new once too. Find a mentor to show you the ropes and someday do the same for someone else. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself – remember the reasons you started your blog all come from a love of reading. Give yourself a break when you need it so you don’t get burned out.

Looking forward to checking out everyone’s lists this week! What tips do you have for new book bloggers?


35 thoughts on “Top Ten Tips for New Book Bloggers

  1. fishgirl182 says:

    learning about the publishing industry is a great tip. i’ve been trying to get all of the pubs and their sub pubs organized in my head but it’s hard. i know if i keep at it and look up publishers on a regular basis that it’ll eventually stick. and having fun is probably #1 with me. you should only do it if you enjoy it even if that means taking a break once in awhile. thanks for sharing, lucy!

    1. Lucy says:

      I’m still learning about the pub industry, too. And I definitely take breaks now and then πŸ™‚ Glad you’re having fun with it!

  2. Elodie says:

    I agree with fishgirl, learning about the industry is a great tip πŸ˜€ and like you having fun is one of the most important thing in blogging! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Number 2 is so, so important and I haven’t saw anyone else touch on that today! Great tips, Lucy!

  4. tinalinatime says:

    Hi Lucy! Great tips; as a newish blogger still they’re good reminders πŸ™‚ I definitely need to check out Edelweiss! Also numbers also the whole Be Social part is huge; getting on Twitter has massively helped my blog through getting to know other bloggers better πŸ™‚

    1. Lucy says:

      I’m not so good at the social aspect, though I know it’s an important part. Edelweiss is a great resource. Hope you find some time to check it out! Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚

  5. Miss Anderson says:

    I love that you mention WorldCat! It’s absolutely my favorite resource for tracking down books I don’t have, and I wish more people knew about it.

    1. Lucy says:

      Me too, Miss A! I use WorldCat all the time, and there’s even an app!

    1. Lucy says:

      Thanks for stopping by! I’m looking forward to reading your book πŸ™‚

  6. Talk to the authors! How could I forget that one? And have fun, that’s an important one I think I sometimes forget to follow.

  7. Candice says:

    Such great tips! I’ll be honest and say you’ve been one of the bloggers who I’ve learned a lot from, especially when it comes to writing reviews and getting involved in this community. We all want our blogs to be the best they can be so it’s helpful to have great blog friends to learn from; I seriously am loving this TTT and am learning so much so quickly! Thanks for being an awesome inspiration!

    1. Lucy says:

      Thanks so much, Candice! Your blog is so fun to read and your personality shines through. I’ve been learning a lot with this week’s TTT topic too.

  8. reutreads says:

    This is a fantastic post, Lucy! Like Candice, you’ve definitely been a blogger I’ve learned a lot from. What a great TTT! Also; if I can give YOU a tip: I suggest you replace your currently reading image widget with the new Goodreads widget. A lot of people haven’t noticed it. I also used to put in the image and frankly it just got very tiring.

    1. Lucy says:

      Thanks, Reut! Good idea to add the Goodreads widget. I think I tried it once and it wasn’t working- glad to hear the kinks have been worked out. Thanks for the tip!

  9. Elizabeth says:

    This TTT has me setting all kinds of new goals for my blog… namely the getting organized part and perhaps cutting back on the number of memes I’ve been doing (I have tried not to do more than 2 a week which seems reasonable to me, but when I get busy I tend to turn to them as filler which is probably not a good idea). Learning about the publishing industry would also be a good step for me to take, especially as my blog grows!

    1. Lucy says:

      2 memes a week sounds reasonable to me, too. I also need to make the time to get organized. You know how it is…
      Hope you keep having fun with your blog!

  10. Dixie says:

    wow, so many things on here that i need to do! i think i may bookmark this page πŸ™‚

  11. I think the “Be Organized” part is something people should *REALLY* think about. At first it sounds easy and obvious, but when I look at some of my favorite blogs (content wise) I wish I could cry, because they don’t use any tags, so to find reviews I really have to go from page to page, they don’t have a review archive/index, no real search function etc. *sigh*

    Your tips all are very good, imo!

    Patricia // My Post

    1. Lucy says:

      Thank you, Patricia! I have to admit I’m very behind on my review directory by author/title. And it’s driving me crazy. Fixing the tags on older posts will take some time too. It is sad when it’s hard to find the information you’re looking for on a blog, but I understand it’s hard to find the time.
      Thanks for your comment!

  12. Thanks so much for listing the SEO links. Great tips.

  13. mystmusician says:

    Have not heard of Worldcat or Eidelweiss!! Where have I been?? Housekeeping is always rough for me…I want to post and that’s it…good tips!

    1. Lucy says:

      Housekeeping is hard for me too πŸ™‚ If only there were more hours in the day!

  14. Zo says:

    Wow…these tips just show you are on a whole ‘nother level of blogging than I am (a much higher one). These are great tips in general, let alone for book blogging.

    1. Lucy says:

      Thanks – I’ve been enjoying reading everyone’s tips today and each blogger’s take on the topic.

  15. Wow, you are so much more organized than me! Thanks for this advice. I’m going to check out some of the websites now.

  16. VeganYANerds says:

    You have posted some fantastic advice, Lucy! I’m sure there are plenty of bloggers, new and old, that would benefit from reading these tips!

  17. This is a wonderful list. I guess I’m not new to the blogging scene anymore but I loved all your tips and found myself nodding along with everything you wrote. ESPECIALLY the bit about checking for spelling and grammar. That is my number one gripe with a lot of blogs. Tatiana, Catie, and I keep a Google calendar together to schedule upcoming blog posts and also a shared spreadsheet of upcoming books.

    I love (seriously love) the look and organization of your blog. It is simple in the best way possible.

  18. Awesome post, Lucy! I wish I were better about participating in memes, but I’m such a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants blogger in some ways that I just never really think about it, hah. I strongly agree about finding a niche, btw–for some reason I am totally happy to read whatever reviews fly by in my GoodReads feed because I do read all kinds of books, but for blogs I prefer to read ones that are clear about what they focus on.

  19. Awesome tips! My favorite is the getting involved tip because it’s so true. Whenever I participate in a community event, i feel like I get to know so many awesome people.

  20. […] Top Ten Tips for New Book Bloggers ( […]

  21. Thanks for all the great tips! I have never really gotten my book blog off the ground and running yet, but plan on working on that in the next few weeks. I LOVE to read-I mean LOVE to read, so hopefully I can use some of these tips to get rolling.

    I love your blog-the look and feel of it. Thanks for the suggestions!


  22. Some great tips here for the new blogger! Going to pop over and check out some of those websites! Many thanks!

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