Showing posts with label blogging. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blogging. Show all posts

Thursday, May 11, 2017

When Blogging Gets Hard: Motivation When You Feel Like Giving Up | Book Blogging Tips (#57)


I tried to check up on a few people that started around the same time I did and shockingly realized that most of them stopped blogging.

So I thought to myself, why did these people stop?


What makes people give up their blogs?

It's not like I haven't thought about quitting multiple times. Mostly, it's the pressure. As a blogger you feel like you:
  • have to keep up with what other people are reading
  • provide constant, regular content
  • queue content!
  • constantly comment/promote yourself if you don't want your views to dwindle
  • also balance review copies on top of that
It's hard. It's basically like a second job. Some bloggers make me feel like I'm doing to little, from those genius hard-working people who always comment back, to those that seem to be either tweeting 24/7 or always taking beautiful pictures. I salute to you guys, I don't know how you do it, but you can be proud of yourselves. Give me the number of your fairy godmother please

What you miss out on if you quit

That all does sound very discouraging, I know. However, I would never dare to say that I regret starting this blog. You know why? Because there are so, so many rewarding things I love about blogging. Here's what I love. Here's what you'll be missing out on when you quit:
  • Being able to show your blog off in a couple of years time and being able to say, hey, I've been doing this for years. You can be proud for sticking around, for being an absolute badass.
  • Socializing. Online friendships. Meeting people you wouldn't have met otherwise.
  • Free books (duh)
  • A loving, truly kind community that will forgive you even if you need to take a break for a couple of months. We'll welcome you with open arms no matter what and do you want to leave that behind?
Of course we've probably all at some point asked ourselves whether it's all worth it. The truth is, blogging isn't for everyone and that is absolutely okay. If you don't want to do this anymore for what reason ever, don't feel bad. But do know that there is nothing stopping you from taking a hiatus whenever you feel like you need it, for what reason ever that may be.


Have you ever felt like quitting?

Continue Reading...

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Do You Need a Blog Schedule? | Book Blogging Tips (#53)




Over the course of my blogging career I've both had schedules and "post whatever you want" kind of phases. 

But when I look at other blogs, most of them tend to all have schedules, may it be because they post memes that are set to be posted on a specific week day and/or because they just have their life and blog together more than me.



Perks + Not So Perks of a Schedule

  • So what I like about other blogs that are organized is that if I end up super liking one of their features, I know which day I have to check back to see another of those posts. I'm mostly talking about original content here, though some people manage to get me hooked on their meme-only blogs, too, because of their sheer creative brilliance.
  • A schedule also makes the queuing more structured and maybe even easier. My blog solely runs on a huge queue, and because I have no structure whatsoever at the moment, (well aside from reviews scheduled every 6-9 days), it can get super difficult to fit specific posts in. 
  • Sometimes you'll go through a phase of ONLY wanting to write a specific type of post, but then again I don't want to queue them all in a row to bore my readers. 
  • If I had a schedule, I think the perfect one would go something like this:
Review - Meme - Discussion - Review - Recommendation

with maybe 2 or three days inbetween each post. I think it's nice to mix it up a little. I think the more diverse your content is, the higher the possibility you'll have something for everyone! Of course every schedule should be adapted to your personal taste and likes and this is by no means a "do this or don't do anything at all" type of advice. Just my personal 2 cents!

Perks + Not So Perks of #YOLO

  • Not having a schedule is just the way my blog has been running for maybe a year and a half, simply because it's so easy.
  • Without a schedule you can post whatever you want whenever you want and the maintenance goes does to a minimum.
  • You also have to be very careful that you're not missing days and weeks worth of posting due to slumps. Queuing is key for people who don't schedule-
  • Another problem here is that many readers out there like other blogs they frequent to be either consistently putting out content or at least to have a special meme that comes out regularly. I definitely do unfollow people who sometimes just miss a week or month without any indication. This doesn't mean that you have to post all the time or anything, it's just a personal preference that I have and I know many others share.

Now what, do I need a schedule or not?

To be honest, the best way to decide whether you need a schedule is to look at your content and try to see if you even have different categories. If you only post one specific type of content, it doesn't matter anyways.

If you do post different things - reviews, original posts, memes, - think about it. I put out a lot of original content and by just observing my views I've noticed that this is what most of my readers tend to go for. If a specific type of post gives you the best kind of resonance - stick with it. Make is a regular feature that comes out every week or month, so readers know when to come back!

I know it's super difficult to just decide to completely overthrow your blog from one day to the next and I definitely don't expect you to do that. If you're unsure, start scheduling one day of the week for a post type. Start posting reviews every Monday for example, and if that works out for you on the long run, go from there!





More helpful posts on blog maintenance in my Book Blogging Tips Series
6 Things Your Blog Design Has To Have
How to Scare Potential Readers Away With Your Theme
Pros and Cons of Book Blogging Memes
How Queuing Posts Makes Blogging 200% Easier

all original posts


Do you have a blog schedule?

Continue Reading...

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Unsolicited Review Copies: Reviewing Them, Ignoring Them, What To Do With Them | Book Blogging Tips (#51)




If you're receiving unsolicited review copies, you're probably already an established blogger and at least know somewhat what you're doing.

While it's a fantastic thing to receive the newest releases in the mail, it can get pretty overwhelming very easily.






Do you have to review them?

There are bloggers who get unsolicited copies sent to them every month, from many different publishers. If you're one of those people, it's virtually impossible to read all these books, even if you don't have a day job.

Personally, I think every single review copy you receive, whether unsolicited or not, is a privilege.

You have to consider that these copies cost more money to print than regular copies and are sent out to publishing professionals. If you've made it to that circle of people, you better act like a professional!

Meaning
  1. no selling
  2. no hoarding
  3. no requesting more ARCs when you're already drowning in them. 
Disagree if you want, but also know that misbehavior does not go unnoticed. Again, these books are a privilege that not every blogger has.

I don't believe that unsolicited copies all have to be reviewed. If you didn't request it, you don't have to review it in my opinion, though giving even just a little back in terms of maybe posting a picture of it or talking about it on social media is simply common courtesy.

If you don't want to read a review copy for what reason ever or don't have the time to read it-

Here are some alternatives:

  • Give the book to another blogger. Some review copies that I have received actually say on them that they are meant to be given to other bloggers. That way the publisher still gets "something" in return, even if it's only the exposure from being featured on another blog.
  • Contact the publicist. If you're receiving an overwhelming amount of books that's absolutely impossible to review, the smartest way to go about this is to contact the publicist responsible and just tell them you appreciate it, but don't have the time to review these books.
  • Host giveaways. While review copies are NEVER under no circumstances allowed to be sold (you can actually get sued for this), giveaways are a-okay. Check back with the publisher if you're unsure, some publishers don't want any ARCs circulating before the release date. 
  • Post pictures. If you're not able to post a review, just featuring the review copies you've received in a meme, (In My Mailbox, Stacking the Shelves etc.), or posting pictures on instagram or tumblr does the job. You'd still aim for managing to read them, since that's the reason why you got them in the first place.

What do you do with your unsolicited review copies?


More on review copies in my Book Blogging Tips Series



Continue Reading...

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

8 Blogging Maintenance Things You're Probably Neglecting | Book Blogging Tips (#49)

Blogging maintenance is probably the most underrated and most brushed-under-the-table part of blogging that nobody really wants to talk about. All of these are pesky things that you probably won't want to do. But trust me, you should.






#8: Replying to Comments on Your Crossposts
I am so notorious for being late on these. Bless the people who comment on my crossposts! Not all platforms are designed very well to actually notify you when people do - but please do keep an eye on the people that comment on your posts, even if it's not on your actual blog. It's just as vital as replying to the comments that you get on the blog itself. Also do keep an eye on your Goodreads comments!

#7: Fixing Broken Links
You just gotta randomly click through old posts for many reasons, the first one being that your blog is probably littered with broken links. Sometimes you just forget that you moved a scheduled review to a different date which then changes the permalink, or you simply deleted a post that you no longer want on your blog. Either way - go check.

#6: Disappearing Pictures
Everyone's least favorite magic trick. This might be just a Blogger thing. Blogger has been notorious for messing up both my theme and my content since the very beginning of my blog in 2014. Sometimes pictures just randomly get eaten. You won't know if you're not looking at old posts every now and then.

#5: Checking For Typos
Another thing you should be looking out for while reading old articles are the pesky typos! I do read my blog posts through about five to ten times depending on what kind of post it is before I even schedule them to be published - but ho boy sometimes these little pesky things manage to slither in. You have go back and read some older reviews sometimes, spellcheck can't find anything. Trust me, it's mortifying to find these, you better go and check right now.

#4: Updating Your Tabs
If you have links to about me sections or contact sections, it's absolutely vital that you update them. I update my contact info probably every month, but I'm notorious for neglecting my about me section. If you blog like me, you're probably constantly changing something about your blog. Might as well be consistent and give every part of your blog equal attention!

#3: Replying to Old Comments
Commenting back or not is a whole different discussion, but the one thing you really have to do is set up an email notification for your blog comments so you don't miss a single one, no matter how old the post itself is. I think replying to comments is vital and if your blog is at a size where the amount of comments you get are still manageable to reply to, just do it. To me it's absolutely mortifying to have to reply to a comment from like 6 months ago late because you neglected your email notification. That's just embarassing.

#2: Just Getting Rid of Scheduled Posts
Sometimes you write something really stupid when you're in a weird mood and end up queueing it anyway. If you queue as much as I do, you're really going to want to have a look on all that stuff that's been accumulating in your drafts. Not every post is a good post. Not everything you've written should actually end up published on your blog.

#1: BACK YOUR CONTENT UP
This is honestly not negotiable. Trust me. Back your content up at least every three months, you'll be devastated once your blogging platform randomly decides to eat your content. Save those posts. Save that theme. Thank me later. Yes, do it now if you haven't in a while.


What are some maintenance things you tend to neglect on your blog?


More Book Blogging Tips:

Continue Reading...

Saturday, January 14, 2017

8 Blogging Resolutions for 2017 - Things I Vow to Do, and You Should, Too | Book Blogging Tips (#47)

Resolutions are a tricky thing. I usually don't really care for them because they hardly ever are things that I think I can realistically achieve. 

But looking at the development my blog has gone through since launch in september 2014, I noticed that I very much am able to fulfill bookish ones - and that doing this absolutely changes my blog for the better.

Call this a blogging hacks post if you will, disguised as a new year's resolution.


#8: I vow to read more out of my comfort zone.
Doing that is sometimes hard, I get it. But by picking up books you normally wouldn't have, you can sometimes find gems. Would you believe that one of my favorite books ever, LIFE'S THAT WAY by Jim Beaver was one of these? I don't do Non-Fiction, usually. Makes me uncomfortable and I don't really care. But trust me, sometimes it's worth taking a chance on books you're skeptic about.

#7: I vow to read genres I usually dislike. 
If you've been following me for a long time you know that I don't like high fantasy. Never have. But looking at my blog statistics, it's the most reviewed genre. Why? I want to educate myself. Read stuff I don't usually read. Sometimes you can find new favorites like that. This year's genre is Historical Fiction + Historical Fantasy. I'm hoping to make it the most reviewed genre on my blog by 2018.

#6: I vow to give popular books a shot.
You know I'm a hipster when it comes to reading - I don't like reading what's popular and that's not really a desirable characteristic. I'll try to read more popular books in 2017 and push myself.

#5: I vow to read even more diverse books than non-diverse ones.
My reading habits changed for the better since I consciously picked up more diverse books. Just trust me on this one, especially if you have a marginalization, may that be a mental illness, disability, or being a person of color - reading about people like you makes your life better. And even if you aren't marginalized - expand your horizon. It's fun.

#4: I vow to not bother with books that I don't enjoy.
I DNF left and right and you should, too. Don't bother with books that are a chore to go through. Your time is too precious.

#3: I vow to boost the heck out of my reviews of problematic books.
This is a very important thing to do. I know, it feels scary to speak up sometimes, but know that you're protecting marginalized readers, especially teens, by doing that. Sharing is caring.

#2: I vow to stand with bloggers and reviewers who are getting attacked for speaking up.
This goes with the previous point - as much as it is important to speak up about problematic representation, it's also important to protect the people that are doing the talking. We need to have their back, no matter the cost.

#1: I vow to keep on improving, keep on changing.
I think that's the beauty of blogging. That you can look back at all your old content and smile because it reminds you of the person you were when you posted it. Blogging styles change and post formats and ideas and all that do, too. That's a beautiful thing. I hope I'll get some more of that blogging nostalgia looking back at this post a couple years from now.


What are your resolutions blogging-wise for 2017?




More Book Blogging Tips:

Dramatic Changes I Made that Ended Up Improving My Blog
No Comments on Book Reviews?
How Often Should You Post per Week?
Are You Awkward About Getting Review Requests from Authors?

8 Tips to Get Motivated to Write Blog Posts
More Generous Ratings for Indie Books?


Continue Reading...

Friday, July 29, 2016

How often should YOU post per week? | Book Blogging Tips (#43)


I often find myself absolutely overwhelmed by this question.

I don't want to be that guy who posts too much or too little. I take blogging ridiculously seriously, I want to put quality content out there regularly.

But all the time I ask myself - am I really posting often enough or too often?

Looking at other bloggers, they seem to either post every day or every other day or every week, and I never know what works for me.

Just like everything in blogging, there won't be a general answer I can give you, it's all up to your personal preference and blogging needs. But the thing I can give you is a list of pros and cons of the different frequencies of blogging.

1.) Once per month
+ super easy-going, one post per month is an easy frequency to keep up for a long time
+ no stressful blogging!
- it'll be difficult to build a strong reader base unless that one post you post every month is phenomenal and you really found your niche
- readers prefer a higher frequency
- very little content
- you're absolutely limited in the things you can say in a single post
- lots of publishers demand that you post daily or almost daily if you want review copies

Recommended for: niche blogs, directory-type of blogs (if you post a lot of lists and links), established blogs

2.) Once per week
+ easy to keep up for a long time
+ not very stressful
+ 4 times per month is definitely enough content to put out
- some readers prefer a higher frequency
- you might have difficulties
- lots of publishers demand that you post daily or almost daily if you want review copies

Recommended for: all blogs, blogs with mostly original content

3.) Multiple times per week
+ lots of publishers demand that you post daily or almost daily if you want review copies
+ usually the preferred frequency of most readers
- can get stressful, it's quite a lot of content!
- you should look into scheduling to keep this up

Recommended for: all blogs, blogs with mixed content (reviews, memes, original)

4.) Multiple times per day
+ lots of publishers demand that you post daily or almost daily if you want review copies
+ pretty much no limitation in what you can say
+ so many possibilities to post different things and put a crap ton of content out there
- readers get annoyed by people who post this often very quickly
- very high possibility of accidentally making it spam-y (as in, posting a lot of low-quality stuff just for the sake of posting)
- it doesn't get more stressful than this if you can keep this up, you're probably a witch
- if you don't schedule, this is pretty much blogging hell, coming up with a couple of posts every day isn't ideal

Recommended for: meme blogs (seriously, how can you keep this up without doing a lot of memes), blogs with multiple hosts

Continue Reading...

Sunday, July 10, 2016

On #AuthorsBehavingBadly Online and What to Do So I Will Never Buy Their Books EVER | YA Talk



Many people who are active in the blogging community have probably interacted with authors at some point or have witnessed their interactions with other readers. 

Here are some things I've witnessed. Feel free to add your own stories.

Note: I won't mention any names here, only paraphrase stories that have already gone viral, cause, ya know, the message of this post is bullying isn't cool. Also they're sort of old news.



  • What not to do on twitter

Subtweeting on twitter and/or talking down to their readers and/or bloggers.

Every year around BEA or ALA time we have the same spiel. The old discussion whether bloggers deserve to be at conventions because some excessively snatch ARCs and sell them online.  And every year my so-called Blacklist of authors who will never gain any exposure or profit from me grows. It's value to know when not to say anything at all - there are enough authors who are hateful and mean towards bloggers.

It's not cool to write mean things about the people that essentially pay your bills by buying and/or reviewing your stuff.

Retweeting people who subtweet readers and bloggers. 

Retweeting seems like an easy way to state your opinion without actually having to talk trash. While it's very tempting, to me this doesn't make it any different from you writing an actual tweet. It makes you all the less sympathetic because I'll just think you're too cowardly to actually say what you're thinking in the fear that people may quote you.

I always wonder whether these people would actually dare to say these things to people's faces, there are too many authors to mention who are ready to hate on any and everyone who doesn't agree with them. Bullying is never cool, especially not if you're in the public eye. You're a role model for people. Remember that.

  • What not to do on Goodreads

Goodreads is a great platform for readers to discover new books and authors to get more exposure. But apparently, some people just don't understand the concept of boundaries.

Too often I see authors commenting on reviews, trying to justify their work, and too often this leaves reviewers startled. 

A particular case that gained quite the noticeable amount of attention is that of a well-known author attacking a well-known blogger and basically slandering them publicly because they didn't like their book, leaving anonymous comments, basically cyberstalking them and calling them out everywhere. The story even made it to Publishers Weekly.

Or that one author who showed up at a reviewer's house after they left a negative review on Goodreads. That story made it to The Guardian, of course, putting all the blame on the reviewer.

Stuff like this makes me want to quit blogging completely and tell everyone else to as well. So incredibly disappointing and discouraging - usually you see authors say "hey, please review my book it helps me so much" - but then you see other authors do stuff like that.


  • What not to do on your personal blog

While I am very much for freedom of speech and consider blogs to generally be a safe space, authors don't have the privilege of being able to "say what they want" because it's "their blog".

I think a certain degree of professionalism is a must for authors. It's a privilege to be a published writer, and one of the downsides is that people aren't going to like controversial (negative) opinions coming from them.

I've seen authors talk trash about negative reviews, complain, complain, complain about how reviewers aren't understanding their book, and generally being bitter about the lack of success.  Even screenshotting bad reviews and inviting their followers to attack the reviewer!

Think for a second here - what benefit does this serve? Do you genuinely think this is helping? Helping me to decide whose book not to buy, maybe.


  • What not to do on tumblr

Tumblr is known for its avid fandom culture. People make edits, people write fan fiction, and people ship characters. It all stops being fun when the author decides it's "hello kids I'm here to ruin the fun " time and starts to comment on every single headcanon of their book and to state what's actually canon according to them. 

Again, this isn't a "I witnessed this one time" thing. This happens quite often and i physically do not understand why authors think it's okay to barge in on fan conversations.

  • If they get tagged or receive a personal message, okay! Be my guest, glad you replied! 
  • If someone actively reaches out to them and ASKS them, okay! 
  • BUT don't just search a tag and decide to ruin everyone's fun by telling them how wrong they are one by one.

The thing is- people can see you, dear authors. 

People check your social media, typically after they have read one of your books or are planning to buy one. It's so, so, so important to keep your mouth shut about some topics that may offend. I'm not saying that you can't express opinions, but sprouting offensive and hateful non-sense and treating your readers horribly doesn't seem like a smart idea, does it? 

If you're one of those people that has too many opinions that may offend, hire a publicist to handle your official account and post your opinions on your personal, non-public account.



The four golden rules for authors on social media

  1. Don't say anything that you wouldn't say in an interview in person
  2. Don't talk trash about the people who pay your bills, oh my god, I can't believe I actually have to say this
  3. Don't chime in on conversations about your book that no one invited you to
  4. DON'T BE A BULLY


Who is on your author blacklist?



More on the Author / Reader relationship:
More YA TALKs

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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Not Reviewing Review Copies? How to Make All Bloggers Look Bad




A discussion I witnessed recently made me think about this. As bloggers we have the privilege of being able to read books for free - as long as we provide a review in return.

Something a fellow blogger said irked me instantly, I'm just going to paraphrase. 

They said that it's okay to request books and not read them (specifically ARCs), because it's usually just a case of getting overwhelmed. 

I'm very, very, very iffy about stuff like this. I take blogging super seriously and really try to keep deadlines in check almost obsessively (which I don't recommend, it's really stressful).

...

I do get that especially when you just start to get review copies, you get super excited and accidentally request more than you can read. Of course that's not a deadly sin, it's okay and I'm sure it happened to a lot of people out there. 

I'm not upset about people who didn't expect to actually get review copies and requested too many and got approved for too many either. 

Who REALLY upsets me are the people who keep on requesting ridiculous amounts of review copies and just collect them. Simply for display or whatever and don't review them. 

Here's why this upsets me:
  • It's rude. 
  • It's a virtual contract. (Most publishers won't work with you anymore if you have a history of doing this btw)
  • It's harmful to the industry. You might think that the big publishers won't be hurt by a couple of people not reviewing - but most big publishers only send out ARCs, which are specifically printed for reviewing purposes and cost a lot more to print, AND are only printed in limited quantities.
  • (The purpose of giving out an ARC and not a finished copy is to get the review before the book is published. If you end up posting the review late or not at all, the resources were wasted on you)
  • There are bloggers out there who would have given their left leg for reading the ARC/review copy you just ignore.
  • It's even worse if you do this to indie authors and small publishers, because the money for printing them is literally going out of their own pockets. 
  • Did I say it's rude?
I don't understand how anyone could justify having 30+ ARCs dating back a couple of months and not having reviewed them. I don't understand how anyone could have a huge pile of review copies dating back YEARS and not have reviewed them. I just don't get it and I think there should be consequences for people who do this. It's so rude and disrespectful. It makes all bloggers look bad, especially because a lot of times it's the big bloggers with a huge reach who think their fame makes it okay for them to do this. 

Of course, not everyone who does this is aware of how much damage they're doing, but after all we're basically offering a marketing service. Even if you're just blogging as a hobby, you're working with people who actually get paid to do their job and I sincerely doubt that you would do this in a professional environment. 

Why is it so widely accepted (apparently) to keep on requesting stuff you won't read in the first place? I don't know. I just think that we should all be collectively very thankful for having the opportunity to read books for free and not exploit it out of greed. 


Continue Reading...

Thursday, May 26, 2016

10 Dramatic Changes I Made that Ended up Improving My Blog | Book Blogging Tips (#41)




Sometimes you've gotta make tough decisions blogging-wise. Here are the decisions I had to make that ended up being for the better.

This is only to give you an idea of what you CAN do, you don't have to use any of my tips for your own blog, but feel free to do so if you like!



#10: Crossposting
There's no way around crossposting. Everyone of us probably has one social media platform that's doing a little better than the others. Use that to your advantage and pitch your posts there. Of course don't go overboard so people won't think you're spamming!

#9: Original posts!
Hard to believe, but I used to be a meme and review-only blog. It ended up improving my blog (for myself) a lot I think.

#8: Having a set post structure
Gosh, I can't even look back at the old reviews I wrote. I used to NOT format at all. For chatty and discussion posts that MIGHT work and you can get away with it, but you can't just publish a block of text review. This is never okay. Find your style, come up with something you're comfortable with and stick to that structure.

#7: Making graphics for each post
Before I made original posts much at all, I never had a reason to make any kind of graphics. Now I make them for every single post that isn't a review. It brightened up my blog a lot and I think they're quite eye-catching and pretty.

#6: Reviewing for NetGalley
This is such an essential part of my blogging experience now, I can't believe I never used it. NetGalley can be overwhelming at first, but reviewing new releases is a GREAT way to attract new viewers to your blog. Go on, make a NetGalley account!

#5: Deleting Old Posts
Sometimes you just gotta say goodbye to posts that neither have done well, not are up to your current standards, nor are anything that you think would attract any more readers. I used to do so many memes back when I first started (and not very well and very half-heartedly). Don't be afraid to delete crappy stuff!

#4: Ditching the open post archive
+guiltless reader, remember last year during Bloggiesta when you said to me to ditch that stupid open post archive? I was so upset about changing it because I liked it so much to have all my posts displayed there, but I'm so glad I listened.

Prime example why you should always, always listen to other bloggers' advice! I can't imagine having anything other than a drop down archive on my blog now!

#3: Working more with catchy headlines
I used to not really hashtag or try to make the headlines of my posts go into the clickbait direction, but I think I've gotten a little better at it now.
Try to give out as much info about your post in the headline, this is the prime ground where you advertise for your posts! Use it!

#2: Starting to recommend more!
I used to only have the little section of five star reviews in my header and that was it. I can't imagine my blog without themed recommendations now! If you love them and would like to see a specific theme, head over to my tumblr and send me a quick message, I'll make a post for it on a topic of your choice. Always open for requests!

#1: Linking within posts
Seriously, how did I never do this? If you write a lot of personal or discussion posts, this is such an essential thing to do. Link similar topics below or in the post so people who might be interested can find them. Such a great way to build more traffic.


Have you ever had to make dramatic changes to your blog?


Need more advice? Check out my blogging tips!


Continue Reading...

Monday, May 2, 2016

What to write in your #NetGalley profile | How to Be Badass on #NetGalley






So, I've been on NetGalley for a while and I decided that I know what I'm doing well enough to give advice.

So here's what you do when you start out:



It's so important that you fill in your profile.
This is first thing people see of you when you request a book.
Make sure you:
  • add a profile picture
  • add a bio
  • add a description
  • tell everyone how awesome you are and don't be shy!! (this doesn't mean exaggerating, no lies here, people will actually check everything and if you lie, you're not going to get approved for anything ever)

But what the heck am I supposed to put into the bio? 

I got you.

It's a simple formula:

1. Thanking the publisher for considering you because you're polite and professional.

2. Introducing your blog in one or two sentences. 
Example: "My blog X is a YA books only blog. I post discussions and review books. I like this and that genre the best."

3. Introducing your schedule so the publisher knows when to expect a review. 
Example: "I review 10 books a week and read about 6 books a week."

4. Adding a fancy sentence if you have cool other platforms. 
Example: "I am an Amazon Top 100 reviewer / I have a billion friends on Goodreads / I have an instagram with a million followers."

5. Adding the link to your blog and your email address.

6. Copying your blog statistics.

Example:

STATS
- X reviews published since X
- Daily views: 
- Monthly views:
- Unique Visitors per month: 
- Total views: 

FOLLOWERS
- via Google Friend Connect: 
- via Bloglovin: 
- via Twitter:  (@username)
- via tumblr: (username)
- via Google +: 
- via Goodreads: X friends + Y following reviews
- via (other platform that I do not use): 

Total reach: ~ X


MORE  TIPS:

It's super important to add as much detail as possible but not to ramble. 500 words is the absolute maximum, nobody will read your life story here. Stick to the basics, stick to the stuff that's relevant for the publisher. If you won blog awards (not those tag award things!), add them. Add everything that proves that you're a successful blogger!

Make sure to regularly update your statistics - at least a month. Even if they go down, always be honest!

If you have any more questions feel free to ask!


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Saturday, April 9, 2016

Why I Almost Gave Up Blogging






I've been doing this for over a year now. I publish at least 10 posts a month, always reading, writing, and collecting ideas. My blog queue is stocked with 30+ posts at all times. But it wasn't always like this.

Blogging Is Hard

I know everyone says this, but let me tell you once more: after the honeymoon phase where you're new to everything and discovering new things is fun and great and awesome, you'll eventually get into a big blogging slump.

For me, the first slump came when I realized how hard it is to get your name out there. Without constantly promoting and commenting on other blogs, you're not going anywhere. Readers won't suddenly appear out of the blue.

Nobody can find your blog if you're not advertising for it. And this exactly what I didn't understand as a new blogger. I thought that mouth-to-mouth propaganda would work, people hear about my content from others and discover my blog. But in reality, that rarely happens, especially not for small blogs.

I didn't have the time or motivation to do this long-term, to keep advertising, to keep commenting excessively on other blogs. I salute everyone who can do this and has been doing this for several years. I just grew tired of it and wondered why my views stagnated and I lost more readers than I gained new ones.
Blog-Envy Is A Thing

To me, it was definitely jealousy that made me want to give up blogging and sent me into a full-blown phase of not wanting to write posts at all anymore. I wanted instant results, solely based on my content. Of course, this isn't how it works.
  • I saw blogs that were very new and had already more followers than me.
  • I saw blogs that didn't live up to my standards and that I considered bad, but still had more followers. 
  • I wondered what I was doing wrong, because I had such a small following, but considered myself better than some bloggers who had more. Something you should never ever do. You're not better than anyone, whether you're a new or well-known blogger.
I'm still a small blog and I've come to terms with that, but when you're surrounded by a billion bloggers who get more than a thousand views per day, you'll feel even smaller.
The thing that got me out of this slump was the realization that I'm not blogging for success. I'm blogging for me, and to help the people that read my blog, however big that number is.

Because let's face it: Hardly any book bloggers can make a living off their blogs. If you can, you've probably been at it for years, or are just plastering your blog with a billion adverts, or are just a natural. It's the minority.

Why It All Doesn't Matter Anyways

Maybe some of you had phases like this, maybe some of you will in the future. The point I want to make is that it doesn't matter what others are doing, it doesn't matter how many followers you have or haven't. Blog for yourself. Remember why you started doing this and keep on working towards whichever goal you have.


Did You Ever Consider Stopping Blogging?

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Friday, April 1, 2016

When is it okay to share your review of a DNF?






Even if we don't like to admit it, we've all not finished a book and still written a review on it.

Whether you just skipped the last 5 pages or the last 50, it does happen sometimes. But the question is, is that okay? 





The biggest argument against this that I've heard is that

"Books can have a sudden plot twist that changes everything and make you suddenly super interested in it again"

To me this does sound more like wishful thinking than a common thing that actually happens. When I get to the point that I'm DNF-ing or at least contemplating it, the last thing I want to do is "give the book another chance".

When I DNF, it's probably for a very good reason. That might be the writing isn't for me, the book is full of characters with questionable moral choices (that rather seem like the author trying to preach their own values), or it's just not a genre I'm not interested in.

Some books do turn around within the last couple of pages, but this has only ever happened to me a handful of times and never with a book that I was intentionally going to DNF. If you've written reviews for a while, you'll get a feeling for what works or what doesn't. You'll know your own taste and be able to judge a book very quickly.

I can tell by page 10 whether a book will be something I like or not. Regardless, I always give books 50 pages before I DNF. 

Is it justified to still write a review if you DNF like that? 

If it's a review copy, I would never do that, I'd rather contact the person I'm working with and tell them the book is not for me. I wouldn't feel comfortable writing a review for something I didn't read and 50 pages aren't nearly enough to justify a negative review.

Especially for unknown authors with few reviews for their books, that's just not something that I'd feel comfortable doing. At the end of the day, I want to help authors out and talk about books with other readers and writing a review for something that I didn't /really/ read is doing more harm than benefit in my opinion. 

So I was talking about review copies before, but what about reading books in your free time, do you DNF silently and still write a review for it? If nobody would ever find out, would you do it?


DNF reviews? Yay or nay?

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

How Queuing Posts Makes Blogging 200% Easier | Book Blogging Tips (#35)



What's a Queue?

A super convenient blog function that enables you to schedule posts days, weeks, months, or even years in advance.


Why is a Queue Important?

90% of my blog runs on a queue. 
I couldn't imagine running my blog without it. With a queue, you don't have to worry every day about coming up with a new topic. When you're feeling down and not feeling like writing, your blog will just write itself. Isn't that nice?


Regardless whether your blog is more memes or original posts - you'll probably face creative blocks sooner or later. If it wasn't for my queue I would have quit blogging very early on or just only published posts sporadically. 
A queue is a super handy way of staying on top of things and give your readers content regularly.

You do not have to queue!
I'm not saying that everyone should, but it helped me personally tremendously. I wouldn't be blogging anymore if it weren't for my queue. Sometimes I just face creative blocks and just can't write any more posts and don't have the energy or motivation to write up anything.

How Big Should It Be?
My queue is usually stacked with about thirty posts, spanning maybe two or three months ahead. Obviously my blog doesn't run completely on queue.

What Should You Queue?

Everything that's either:
  • timeless (aka original posts like discussions or personal stuff)
  • memes (if you know the topics in advance)
Avoid queueing posts that are relevant right now (tackling a topic that's all over social media right now for example). Only queue posts that you know won't get fewer or more hits regardless of when you post them.

When Should You Queue?

I started queuing when I noticed that I couldn't keep on writing up posts the same day they'd go online. That was maybe in my first or second month of blogging. Try using your creative highs to write up as many posts as you can! You don't have to stack your queue with a few dozen posts at all times like me, start small. Draft maybe five or more posts and keep collecting before you start queuing.

Do You Queue Posts in Advance? 



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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Why You Should Move From Blogger Comments to DISQUS | Book Blogging Tips (#32)




I've taken the leap a long time ago. I haven't regretted my decision and I'm proud of myself that I did it.

DISQUS has improved my blogging experience tremendously and I can only recommend it if you're thinking about changing commenting systems. 






Why Move?

Blogger probably has the worst default commenting system out of all blogging platforms there are.
Here's a list of everything that's wrong with the Blogger system:

  • The notifications don't work - (only via email, and who does that?!)
  • It's chunky and ugly
  • You can't really decipher if people are having a conversation
  • You can't add pictures/gifs
  • No options to like comments
  • Spam-protection is ridiculous
  • Not a lot options to log in if you don't have Blogger
  • No option to keep track of all your comments on other sites
Bonus: During the move you won't lose the comments you've had before.

What's DISQUS?

DISQUS is a third-party commenting system. It's not only used by a lot of bloggers in the book blogging community, but you can also find it on professional news sites for example. A lot of people use DISQUS because of the clean look and the easy way to keep track of discussions.

How Do I Move?


DISQUS makes the transition actually fairly easy. They have a distinct help site simply for that where they explain every step in detail. 

Of course you'll have to set up a free DISQUS account if you don't have one already.

One of the great perks of DISQUS is that you can get rid of it just as easily as you implemented it in your blog. If you don't like the look and aren't satisfied with it - just go over to your widgets site and delete it!

Do you like/use DISQUS? 

Do you think everybody should transition or not?


Come back next Thursday for another Book Blogging Tips post!


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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Should You Always Stick With the Same Blog Memes? | Book Blogging Tips (#31)

Memes are a big part of book blogging. In order to get your name out there when you first start, memes can be of tremendous help to get new traffic.

But what should you do when you're already an established blogger? Should you play it safe or experiment with your content?





Find what works best for you!

When I first started out blogging, my blog was 99% memes. I only discovered original content when I noticed that I tend to read those post personally with more enthusiasm than meme posts. Great memes to start off are:


There is no recipe as to what memes you should use when you're a newbie blogger, check out a few different ones and maybe change it up in the first few weeks before settling for a bunch of set memes.

Your blog grows with you!

When you're an established blogger you'll notice very quickly how your blog has changed over the years. I only do maybe one or two of the memes that I started doing over the years personally and that's perfectly okay. Some of the memes I started out with aren't even remotely things I'd put on my blog right now. I've been blogging for more than a year now and I don't think I could ever go back to running a blog based on memes. 

For some people the experience might be different, but I guarantee you, your content won't be the same forever.
Accept that your blog and your personal preferences will change and that's okay!

What about the readers?

I don't think that the majority of people that follow you only stay for a certain meme. It's the overall impression that determines for me whether you follow a blog or not. Even if you gained a huge chunk of your followers through a certain meme - always keep the stats and comments in mind.
Analyze what your readers like and maybe even make a poll about it so you can get some decent feedback.

My Opinion: 

Don't feel obligated to stick with doing the same meme for the rest of life. Especially when I started out I felt so much pressure trying to keep up with my memes that it almost made me lose my enthusiasm for blogging.
My philosophy when it comes to blogging is: Do what brings you joy, because the only expectations you have to live up to are your own.

Have you stuck with the same memes during your entire blogging career?


Come back next Thursday for another Book Blogging Tips post!

More Tips:
How to Handle Inquiries from Publishers and Authors
Pros and Cons of Book Blogging Memes
Is It Possible To Have TOO MUCH Content?
Should I Be Commenting Back?

See All
Continue Reading...

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Why I Regret Having Started Out With Blogger | Book Blogging Tips (#30)

Not a day goes by that I'm not super annoyed that I didn't have the foresight to actually inform myself about the different blogging platforms.

For some people, Blogger seems to be the perfect choice, but for me, it absolutely isn't. 

Since my blog is super small I'm actually scared to transition, because I fear losing the little audience that I have.



What's so bad about Blogger?

  • Themes: Finding a decent theme on Blogger is almost impossible. I had to learn to code to modify mine to be close to what I want it to look like, but I'm still not 100% satisfied. The default themes on Blogger are an absolute nightmare and without exception all look terrible. If you take a look at the Wordpress default themes, they aren't only more aesthetically pleasing, but also have more options to modify them than the Blogger themes.
  • Commenting: The Blogger commenting system isn't terrible, but it's by no means a great invention. It's not pretty. Had I not come across DISQUS, I probably would've quit straightaway and transitioned over to Wordpress
  • Widgets: The Blogger widgets are pretty much useless. They cover the basics but stand in no comparison to the things Wordpress offers
  • No Ping-backs: This is one of the features I miss the most on Blogger. Wordpress notifies you whenever someone mentions or links to your blog. In order to find out whenever somebody does that on my Blogger account -... well, good luck.

Why am I not changing to Wordpress?

  1. I'm scared to lose followers. Almost half of my followers follow via GFC. On Wordpress I can't use GFC anymore. Who knows if those people would follow me again.
  2. I'd have to start from scratch. It'll feel like I'm a blogging newbie again, Wordpress has a completely different structure than Blogger and it'll take me months to learn how to work with it the way I can work with Blogger.
  3. What if it doesn't live up to my expectations? What if I don't like Wordpress on the long run? It'll be a bitch to go back to Blogger. I'd also be insanely annoyed. 
  4. I feel like it's too late now, I've made my decision and I should stick with it.
  5. I think I've made the best out of the options I have on Blogger and I'd have to change everything about my blog to make it work on Wordpress the same way.
My advice:

If you're still a newbie and have less than fifty followers, consider the change. I mean, I'm not even a remotely popular blog, but I don't think I can afford to start new. If I decide to transition, I'll have to start from the bottom and I don't think I'm ready for that.

If you're already with Blogger:
  • Create a Wordpress account and make a hypothetical theme. Pretend you're actually transitioning and see if you like it.
  • Don't just delete your Blogger blog, export it first and shove all your content over to Wordpress. Under NO circumstances delete your Blogger blog!! You can still change the URL later if you're actually transitioning. Keep the Blogger blog as an emergency backup.
If you haven't decided on a platform yet:
  • Consider carefully where you're going to start off. Question other more experienced bloggers and make a list of advantages and disadvantages.
  • See what your favorite bloggers work with and think about what you like about their designs (if they're not using self-hosted themes obviously)


Do you use Wordpress or Blogger? Have you ever considered transitioning to either option?

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