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 & SEO – 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?