Monday, March 26, 2012

Tips for New and Book Bloggers

Tips for New Bloggers (and Book Bloggers)

I do believe that Miss Elizabeth’s Period Drama Advice Column Event is influencing my advice section of mind…because I have begun coming up with all kinds of tips etc for new bloggers, and for book bloggers. (Incidentally, the other day, I wrote a 10-point post of tips for authors…can’t decide if I should publish it or not though.) Whether I’m a good one to do this particular post, I don’t know. But if you’re a new blogger, especially a new book blogger, you may find this to be helpful. First, tips for making a blog about almost any topic more successful! (Note that some of these are more my preferences than absolute musts – I’ll leave it to you to decide what, for the most part.)

LAYOUT:

·         Choose a background (or get one made for you – see last point in this section). There are lots of free blog background websites out there! My personal favorite is “I Love It!” Blog Design. Check it out!

·         When you choose your background, choose one that’s easy on the eyes. If you have a background that makes my eyes hurt every time I’m on your blog, trust me, I won’t be there very often. Try to make your header go as well. Please make sure the colors go together!

·         Have an easy to read font. A real loopy one is fun to look at, but a real pain to attempt to read. Also, make sure it’s a readable size – a while back, I read a blog (for a very short time) that had a tiny font. It was terribly annoying.

·         Get input from your readers. Polls are a great way to do that!

·         If you want a custom background and header, Dream Design Studio is a good place to get that! She will work with you to design your own personal header, blog button, background, etc – all for free.

POSTING:

·         Use good English, please! An occasional mistake is to be expected, but try to be clear. This includes your word order, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, etc.

·         Include pictures. Pictures make a blog SO much more interesting. A blog without pictures is like a book without a cover.

·         Whatever you choose to blog about, make sure it’s something you’re interested in. Be passionate (and interesting) about your topic. If you love your topic, others will find it more interesting when you write about it.

·         Post often – when a blog is silent for a while, followers start leaving. And ary your post length – some long, some shorter.

PUBLICITY:

·         As soon as you start your blog, get a blog button made for you (unless, of course, you can make your own). Make sure the button reflects what your blog is about. Make it appealing, not over-crowded, but nicely filled out. Put the button on your blog, with the HTML code, and blog about it, so others find it!

·         Become known in the blogger world. The best way (IMHO) to do this is to comment on other people’s blogs. Often, the people you comment to will check you out by viewing your profile, where your blog should show up. Comment, and often. When you start your blog, leave a link. If you post about something you know the other blogger would enjoy, leave a link. Make yourself their friend. J

·         Put a link to your blog in your email signature. Include a line or two about what people will find on your blog. Try not to make it a blatant advertisement. J You could also create a Facebook for your blog. Mention your blog on your Facebook and Twitter (if you have one). That’s something that I view as completely dispensible, and not needed, especially if you don’t have Facebook or Twitter – which I don’t.

·         If you really want to attract followers, host giveaways. Make them giveaways related to whatever you blog about. Give extra entries (preferably two or three) to people who blog about the giveaway and leave you a link! Great publicity.

To book bloggers…do all of the above. Here are a few other random tips that will (I think) make your blog more appealing.

·         Make the title of your blog something bookish or related to books. Mine is Austenitis. Everyone associates it (as they should) with Jane Austen. Other book related blog titles (and blogs I read): Legacy of a Writer, Christian Bookshelf Reviews, Just Another Book Lovin' Girl, Relz Reviewz, Best Reads, etc. :)

·         Get onto some book websites. I’m specifically thinking of goodreads.com, my personal favorite book website. You’ll meet people, keep track of what you’re reading, find giveaways…and people will find your blog through your profile there. J You could also do Shelfari, but I prefer Goodreads.

·         When you post a book review, put the book title into the blog post title. You could do “Title” or “Book Review: Title” or “Title by Author” or something like that. This makes it much easier when someone’s searching through your archives for a specific book.

·         Another thing making searching for old reviews easier…the tags section. I recommend that from the beginning, you separate your tags by author, genre, rating, and whatever else you think is important. J This takes a little work, but when you or another reader is searching for a specific book, it’s much easier this way.

·         Be honest. Obviously, you should always be honest…and not least of all, here. Do your best to mention everything objectionable in the book. Give your true opinion of the book…even if it’s for a blog tour, and you know that the author or publisher will read your review. If you didn’t like it, or found it really objectionable, say so. The trust you gain from your followers (and potentially the authors and publishers as well) will be worth it.  

·         Like I said earlier, giveaways are a huge draw! Hold book giveaways whenever possible. Authors are often willing to give away one of their books if you interview them. Speaking of which…

·         Authors. This is another set of people to try to make your friends. If you want an interview from an author, read as many of their books ahead of time as possible. Come up with questions to ask (also ahead of time, as you read the books) and post your honest reviews of their books. If you really like the books, say so in your review…then do some extras. I do Cover Focuses. Not only to ingratiate myself especially to authors, but because I love the covers! What you’re doing here is making the author your friend. Once you’ve contacted the author, be friendly and flexible and polite. All important. Remember that authors are busy, and that they’re potentially arranging multiple other interviews at the time (especially right after their book releases).

Ta-da! I apologize for the extraordinarily long post. However, I hope that as a new blogger (especially a book blogger) you picked up some useful ideas, websites, information, or whatever you need. J If so…I’d love to hear from you!

12 comments:

Katelyn said...

Good advise! I also enjoy I love it! Blog designs :D

Melanie said...

Great post, Charity! Thanks for mentioning my blog. :)

Melanie

Miss Dashwood said...

I really liked all your tips for making a blog easier to read, etc.! SO important-- I've been known to leave a blog very quickly if the font is difficult to read or the color scheme is hard on the eyes. I wish this post had been around when I first started blogging!

Charity U said...

Thanks, ladies. :) It was one of those random posts that just popped into my head!

Analiese said...

Charity - thanks for doing this post! I'm beginning a blog and found this helpful. :) I would like it if you'd do the post you wrote up about being an author of a blog. :)

Rina said...

I think I saw your picture on goodreads (kinda hard not to notice that lovely couple) and saw you were a follower of Faery Tales are Real and decided to see if you had a blog. :-) I love your blog name!
And I really enjoyed this post as I'm a relatively new book blogger.
p.s. Don't let MS Word change your smiles to a smiling face, when those get copy/pasted (or sent in emails) they turn in to a J. I don't know why.

Charity U said...

Analiese, glad it helped you. :)

Rina, don't you love the goodreads picture? :D Mmm, thanks for the tip...writing up most of my posts in Word has some drawbacks. :P

Faith said...

Thanks for the advice!

Medieval Girl said...

I have a blog specifically devoted to Christian Historical Fiction, with special focus on the Medieval Period.
It has pictures, a couple of interviews and I recently hosted my first giveaway.

I think my post length may be a little off-putting sometimes as I usually write rather long reviews.
Also the title.
'The Itinerant Medievalist' does not sound very bookish- but it might be peeving to have to change it again.

Faith F. said...

I am a rather new book blogger...and loving every minute of it! This week I am in John Newton's Bitesize Biography from CrossFocused Reviews, Advice for Seekers from New Leaf Press, and IceCutters Daughter {with its awesome cover!} from Bethany house. :-)

Alyianna Baggins said...

Great advice! Thanks Charity. :)

Jane said...

Thank you for these tips, Charity! They are very useful for a new blogger like me. I actually think I created a blog button today and added it to my blog! Sorry for the exclamation points, but this is exciting. I am trying to learn how to increase my blog's readership, since almost no one is reading it right now! :( Every little bit DOES help!