The Golden Rules of (Book) Blogging:
- Be yourself--or as my high school creative writing teacher would say, write in your voice. Read what you enjoy and never feel pressured into posting on a day where you're off your game.
- Don't bash anyone--this means if you didn't like a book, be constructive about it. What precisely didn't you like about it? Also, don't send hate mail to another blogger, an author, or even worse, to a publisher.
- Have fun--because that's what it's all about. If you're suffering from blogger's block, try doing a discussion post, reading a book outside of your usual tastes, do interviews, etc. But if that doesn't help, then don't be afraid to step away from your blog for a bit.
- Make friends--because really, how often do you get to talk with a ton of other book lovers who share your interest in the same sort of books!?
- Network--good things may come to those that wait, but in the blogging world, if you don't put yourself out there, chances are people will never find you! Participate is memes such as In My Mailbox, Blog Hop, Follow Friday, Teaser Tuesday, Waiting on Wednesday, etc. And that brings me to my next point.
- Balance things out--this means don't do strictly memes. Do a book review one day, an author interview the next, and then a meme (or any variation of this really, just don't do strictly memes). Also, find a blogging schedule that you are comfortable with. Maybe set time aside each day to blog or only blog on Fridays but knock out posts in advance (schedule them, that is).
- Post meaningful comments--don't just stop by someone's blog with a quick "follow my blog (url here)!" Make sure your comment is relevant to their post.
- It's not about the free books--yes, they're a great, but don't ever start a blog where that is your only intention.
I'd say that when you start a blog, it's best to buy books and borrow some from the library. If you've been blogging for less than two months, please do not e-mail a publisher asking for books. You need to build up content--I mean, the exception to this is if you've been reviewing for someone else for a while and can link the publisher to these reviews. Personally, I don't think Goodreads counts as "previous experience." Possibly join NetGalley if you don't mind eARCs--but remember to fill your profile in!
I want to contact a publisher for (insert title here), how should I do it?
Be polite, be professional, and be friendly. Do not copy and paste your email to them. Include the title of the book, the author's name, the ISBN, and perhaps the date that the book is set for release. Also include the number of unique visitors per month, page views per month, your mailing address, and perhaps how many followers you have as well. What genres do you read? Why do you want this book? These are things to ask yourself as you type up your e-mail. Lastly, make sure you're sending it to the right imprint, that you've spelled everything correctly, and that you don't sound like you're demanding the book. Oh! Please do not ask another blogger for his or her publishing contacts. It's one thing to have trouble finding it on the publisher's site, but it's another thing entirely to say, "Hey, I can't find it/don't want to look for it, can I have your publicist/publisher contact?" It's just not done--I mean, would you give out your personal phone number to random people who ask for it/post it on random sites? I didn't think so.
Other things you might want to know:
- Have a review policy--because if you want to receive books for review, you're going to need one.
- Make your contact information easy to find--because if an author, publicist, or publisher comes to your site and thinks that they'd like to request a review from you, they're not going to want to go on an Easter egg hunt for it.
- Use social media to your advantage--okay, you don't have to do this, but having a Twitter account or a Facebook page can direct traffic to your blog.
- LinkWithin is your friend--I'm serious, having it set up has seriously helped keep people browsing around my blog, it can do the same thing for you.
- Have a stat counter--if you're going to review books or if you like to know that sort of thing. But do not obsess over your stats. No, you're not going to have amazing numbers when you've just begun your blog, but with hard work you too shall get there--I mean, my numbers aren't amazing either, but I keep on trucking regardless. ;)
- Don't be afraid to say no--if you're being pitched a book that you don't feel is a good fit for you, don't be afraid to politely tell the author/publisher/publicist no and explain to them why it's not for you.
Okay, okay, I know I probably should've talked about what I do when it comes to all of this, but I thought that I'd just stare blankly at my screen for a very long period of time before posting this--or making some reference to how we, the bloggers, are like the male Blue-footed Booby who struts his stuff and shows off his twig picking skills to impress the female Blue-footed Booby (ie. publishers). Also, a word of warning, if you haven't joined the wonderful world of Twitter, I warn you now that it is highly addictive! Well, blogging is addictive too, but that's besides the point. ;D
So that is my compilation of knowledge when it comes to blogging goodness. Yes, it's rather long, sorry about that! I really just hope that it was helpful and that it didn't sound like I was trying to be mean--because really, I'm not. I'm so sad to see that Armchair BEA is coming to an end and I'm hoping to maintain my budding blogger relationships--because y'all rock (though I think you already knew that). <3