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

Saturday, July 8, 2017

7 Tips for Organizing Your Review Index | Book Blogging Tips (#64)



As a book blogger it's essential to have a review index. If you don't have a page dedicated to all your reviews, you should definitely look into getting one. Here are all the ways to organize them and some tips.








#1: Don't just link to your tagged reviews page.
Nobody likes this and nobody will actually seek out more reviews you posted when you do this. There is no way of finding what you're looking for if you have one of these so PLEASE just make a review index.

#2: There are five (and more) ways to organize your review index.

Alphabetically - By Author - By Genre - By Rating - By Publisher

At the end of the day it comes down to personal preference which one you pick, but I suggest making at least(!) two different ones. My most viewed one is the one by genre and I tend to go for that usually when I'm looking at a new blog so if you only want to do one, that's a safe bet.

#3: Link back to your other pages if you have any.
For example, if you have an index for reviews by genre and reviews by authors, it's nice if you have a backlink at the top of the page that links to the respective other one. 

Your viewers will love you for having an index that's easy to navigate and nested page tabs at the top of your site sometimes don't work as well on all browsers (unless you've checked that!)

#4: Don't decorate.
Usually I always say you have to decorate your posts with something, whether it's pictures, graphics, or simply using italic, bold, and different font sizes. Your review index isn't the place for this. It has to be a very plain page that simply does the job when someone is looking for a specific review. I'd even say be careful with using bigger fonts. 

Sometimes it's nice when you want to distinguish the individual letters, but please don't put every single review in a giant font so that your index will lose the classic list look that absolutely works best for your viewers.

#5: Periodically check if the links work.
Sometimes I go back to randomly click on some of my reviews in my index and see if they link correctly. It happens a lot that you'll end up changing the date of a scheduled review and forget changing the link on your index page. 

#6: Don't sort by date!!!!
This is super unhelpful for anyone who's looking for something specific. You can't have a review index only listed by date published - this tells the average reader who's never been on your blog exactly zilch about where to find that specific review you did that they've been looking for. Nothing's more frustrating than having to click ctrl+f on a blog and manually search for a review because the blogger did a crappy job with their index. 

#7: Link to your index.
I can't believe I have to say this, but why do all the work if you don't have it in a tab at the top of your page? This isn't negotiable, it HAS to be in a tab that every reader immediately sees. Putting in a sidebar makes it difficult to find and most people don't even look at sidebars in general. So please. 


At the end of the day it's your own decision how you want to organize your index and as I always say - my suggestions are nothing more than tips and by no means a "do it my way or don't do it at all" guide. 

Do you have some more tips for organizing your review index? How is yours organized?


More Book Blogging Tips:

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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Should You Separate Bookish and Personal Social Media Accounts? | Book Blogging Tips (#63)

We all have social media accounts that may or may not go with our blogs. We all know social media is important to grow your blog, but should you separate the two?

I very often see bloggers who have one account for their blog and one that's personal. In order to determine which one works best for you, you first have to assess what kind of blog you have.



First check if you have a personal blog or a general blog. 

  • Personal blogs are blogs that just focus on your own reading habits, maybe ocassionally featuring guest posts, but generally just feature what you think and what you're reading. 
  • A more general book blog would be a blog with multiple regular contributors that doesn't just feature reviews but has lots of cover reveals, guest posts, rec lists, etc.
A social media account for a personal blog would feel oddly empty, considering that most of us personal bloggers don't put out more than maybe 3-5 posts per week. What would you be posting the other days then? Social media very much relies on regular content and if you have the content to fill it up with, by all means. 

The reason why you're making a social media account for your blog is typically to make the whole thing seem less like "this is the blog of XY" and more like "this is a blog about X". Ask yourself - do you really need to dissociate yourself from your blog if it's a personal one? Another thing to consider is that people on social media tend to follow for the unique, constant content. 

Examples and questions to ask if you have a personal blog:

Let's say you'll make a special account for your blog only on...

Twitter: You'll use it to crosspost your posts there every time they go live. What else would you do during the times your blog doesn't have any content? Twitter is a medium that relies on constant (opinionated) content. Keeping your account neutral would make it  look oddly empty. You'll have to constantly retweet other accounts or interact with other accounts to add some more content. 
Verdict: Maybe

Instagram: If you have the motivation and patience to set up a blog-only instagram featuring pictures of your current reads and all, sure! You can certainly do both in one account though. Your call.
Verdict: Sure, if you like

Tumblr: Again, same as with twitter. You'll have to add third-party content to your account to make it worth it. 
Verdict: Maybe

Facebook: Plenty of blogs have a facebook site. I think it's actually a very good idea to separate your blog from your personal facebook. It would only make things messy to combine the two.
Verdict: Yes!

At the end of the day you decide what works best and maybe it's a little bit trial and error. Go ahead and make that social media page specifically for your blog if you like, delete it if you dislike it. Easy like that.

Do you have separate accounts for social media?

More Book Blogging Tips:

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Friday, June 30, 2017

Why You Need To Do More Book Tags | Book Blogging Tips (#62)

Book Tags honest to God saved my blog. They are such an underrated, easy way to add more content to your blog and boost your views and I'm honestly shocked that people don't do these more often. 

So here are all the reasons why I think you should do more Tags!





What's a Book Tag? 
A post that you make based on typically around 10-20 questions related to books. At the end of it you're supposed to tag people that you want to answer those questions, too. Hence the name.


#6: People LOVE them
When I did my first book tag, the amount of views genuinely shocked me. People love reading tags, I love reading tags. Whenever I see a tag in a post by one of my favorite blogs, I click and look immediately. Chances are, your readers will love them just as much as I and mine do.

#5: They add versatility to your blog
If you struggle with always having the same types of posts on your blog, tags are such a great way to bring some new content to your blog. Don't overdo it though, don't post a couple tags in a row, it can easily desensitize your readers to them and make the novelty wear out. Throw in some tags every now and then and make them a special treat!

#4: Minimal effort!
Because the tag questions are premade and preprovided by someone else, all you need to do is answer them. Tag posts are so quickly and easily written that you can cram them in last minute and still get a fabulous post that seems neither lazy nor quickly-written.

#3: They're fun!
Who doesn't love answering questions about themselves? If you haven't been enjoying blogging as much lately, they're guaranteed to bring some versatility into your routine and also make it fun for your readers. Two birds with one stone!

#2: When you're in a blogging slump-
-there's nothing better than spicing it all up by making a book tag post. Because it's so easy and quickly made, you're probably more likely to type up one of these than a lengthy discussion post. I've often had periods during my blogging career when I didn't feel like making any posts aside from reviews at all.
I still kept collecting nice tag post links to come back to them later and it did rekindle my love for blogging a couple of times. The ultimate blogging remedy.

#1: Easy way to add personality.
I'm one of those people that struggle with personal posts and not really enjoy making them in the first place. If you want to get to know your readers and them to get to know you, what easier way to do this than to publish a book tag? Most of the time the questions are a mixture between shining light on your reading habits and your personality and that's just such a clever way to make your blog a little more you.



What do you think about book tags? Do you do them?

Continue Reading...

Saturday, June 24, 2017

How to Write a Positive Review | Book Blogging Tips (#61)


You might laugh looking at this title thinking it's not that hard to write a positive review. But trust me, looking back at any blogger's early positive reviews, you'll see a major difference to what they're posting now. 

Contrary to popular belief, it's not only the negative reviews that are hard to write; it's also the positive ones. Let me explain.


The problem with five-star reviews

When you check the five star reviews on goodreads of your favorite book, it's very likely that you won't find any assessment of the book, but instead a bunch of fangirling and flailing around about how genius the book is. While that may be nice to read for the author, to see people say nice things about their book, it doesn't really benefit the reader. If I haven't read a book and am looking to, I never check the five star reviews, because they hardly ever tell me anything about the book itself.

It really frustrates me as a blog or review reader to find a positive review that's telling me nothing aside from how much the reviewer liked it. It's really a craft to manage to condense your fangirly thoughts into a helpful review that other readers might benefit from. 

What I think a positive review should be like is pretty much is in line with what I said about writing negative reviews, if you'd like to compare.

Most common mistakes are:

  • Flailing 
Like I said, this might be nice for the author to read, but what does this tell me? ADGHSABJSALJKLKL followed by 67 gifs isn't much of a way to judge whether I want to read this book, is it?
  • Strong focus on the characters
Sure, it's great to give some info on the characters and all, but most of the time character assesment and how you liked them is super subjective and doesn't really tell the readers whether the book will be for them. 600 words on how swoony the love interest is aren't really helpful. It's all in the balance. You can add maybe 200 words on that but make sure to also add other things in your review!
  • The super subjective stuff/disregarding the actual craft part.
Personally I like reviews that focus on general issues and then add some subjective things. If you just go subjective, talking about the chemistry between the characters, their "illogical" behavior and all, you're not really giving the reader any valuable information. Sure, you might argue that it's all subjective when reviewing, but naturall some things are more subjective than others. Tell me about the compelling story, the extensive world building, the writing. 


At the end of the day, how you're writing your reviews is your business. If you feel more comfortable your way, please do continue doing so. These are only guidelines and in no way a rulebook. As always. ;-)


What things bother you about some positive reviews?



More on reviewing:
When is it okay to share your review of a DNF?
I Only Read Negative Reviews on Goodreads
Is Sharing Your Negative Reviews Mean?
No Comments on Book Reviews?
When You Have to Write a Negative Review

all Book Blogging Tips

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Shelving Books Within A Series in Different Genres? Review Indexing is Hard. | Book Blogging Tips (#60)

Lately I've been struggling a lot with shelving books correctly. 

While I think I've grown pretty confident in shelving books into the "correct" genre, there's one thing that keeps bugging me - what about books that change the genre within a series?

Typically characters go through a journey in a series. May that be physical or emotional. Sometimes when I'm reading sequels I find myself contemplating whether it's actually still the same genre. 

For example this happens a lot in contemporary to me. Sometimes you'll have a YA Contemporary start out with a premise that may lead to romance. In the sequel we'll then learn more about the characters and their romance, leading to me wanting to shelve that book as a Romance, rather than a Contemporary.


While that may be up to the beholder and is probably a thing you've got to decide on your own - what if shelving the sequel in a different genre would be a spoiler? 


Would it still be better to shelve the book "correctly" or put it in the same genre as the first novel so you won't spoil the experience for readers?

This happened to me when I reviewed the Generations series by Scott Sigler. The first book ALIVE heavily relies on the reader not knowing where the book is set or what is happening. It starts with a girl waking up inside a coffin.

If you plan to read these books, I suggest you'll stop right here and go straight to telling me what you'd do in the comments, cause I'm going to be spoilering now.












I shelved the first book under dystopia because I don't want to spoil anybody's reading experience. Even just shelving it under Sci-Fi, or like I do under one my sub categories within the genre, would be a GIANT spoiler because it would reveal that the characters are stuck on a space ship.

The second book ALIGHT takes place on a foreign planet and is absolutely clearly Sci-Fi. I don't think there's any way that you could justify this book being a dystopia, it's just very clearly Sci-Fi to me. 

So now I'm stuck in a dilemma. 

Do I shelf book two under Dystopian like the first or do I shelf it under Sci-Fi? Anyone who'll be merrily scrolling through my review index will very likely end up getting spoilered if I do the latter. And if I do the former it's just nonsense. 

Whether you're reading Sci-Fi or contemporary, I feel like book series should all be shelved neatly together in the same genre, don't you think? Maybe it's me being weirdly overorganized but there is just something that insanely irks me when shelving something incorrectly or not together with the predecessor.

How do you feel? Should books be shelved together regardless of whether it's correct or not?


More on blogging:

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Should You Only Post 3 Star and Up Reviews? | Book Blogging Tips (#59)




I've noticed that there is a shocking amount of bloggers who seem to rate everything five stars. 

Every book they encounter is a new favorite, especially the popular books out there that have a huge fan base. 

While I genuinely believe that not all of these people are actually aware of what they're doing and just are easy to please, I also believe that a huge amount of them is just too scared to post a negative opinion online. 

I absolutely know where people who do this are coming from. While I do think that the blogging community on Wordpress/Blogger is mature enough to respect each other's opinions and not throw hissy fits, I've definitely been a victim of people lashing out at me for my opinions.

I'm very active on tumblr, a site that is known for people overreacting over everything. When I was asked about my opinion on SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo, a very very popular book up there that's hyped and worshiped to no end - and told the person that I found it offensive and didn't like it - I was told to kill myself via multiple anonymous messages sent to me. Huh.

It's always a matter of tone

Especially because there's so much anonymity on the internet, people sometimes forget that there's another person at the end of the receiving line. That doesn't only count for messages sent to other users, but also for blogging and reviewing.

As bloggers it is easy to ignore everything else and just pretend you're in your little bubble and post opinions that others might consider offensive. While I'm a strong supporter of freedom of speech, I think this should never be an excuse to be rude. I think we can all agree that there is a difference between writing a one star review respectfully and doing so to purposely hurt someone. 

Authors read reviews sometimes, too. To me, it's perfectly fine to post low rating reviews on your blog, after all this is just a collection of personal, subjective opinions, isn't it? If you're writing a zero star review because the book was poorly written and overall a nuisance to you, go ahead! But don't do offensively. 


Is your blog "genuine" if you rate everything positively?

But another thing that you'll have to consider is that the more negative opinions you post, the more people feel themselves "invited" to chime in and tell you all the reasons why you are wrong. In order to avoid that I can understand that some people refrain from writing negative reviews on their blog. 

To me that takes away your credibility, though. Bloggers are just people who post their opinions online. That's in the definition to me. And if you're one of those that's too scared to post a negative review, I will very likely not enjoy your blog. But of course, this is so subjective. Maybe this doesn't affect your personal reading experiences at all, who knows! It's almost impossible to like everything, and even if you don't actually, your blog will appear that way if you don't have a single one star review up there. Also, let's admit it, sometimes it's just fun to read ranty negative reviews, for me at least!


Do you post negative reviews? 

What's your opinion on people who don't?


More posts on reviewing and blogging culture:

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Blogger Transparency: Should You Share Your Statistics on Your Blog? | Book Blogging Tips (#58)

I've been thinking a lot about this lately. Many bigger bloggers share their statistics and it's seemingly ONLY people with follower counts in the 4 or 5 digits. 

Personally, I feel conflicted about openly sharing my statistics, but I appreciate and love it when other people share theirs. So should we all?


Why would you even do that?

It definitely helps people who are looking to work with you and your blog professionally.

Whether it's:
  • authors seeking reviewers
  • publishers looking to add someone to their mailing lists
  • companies who are interested in having you review a product
  • anyone interested in advertising with you
  • anyone interested in professional collaboration

If you have your statistics openly displayed on your blog, people immediately know whether it makes sense to work with you. Let's not kid ourselves, people always say stats don't matter when talking about blogging, but we all know deep in our hearts that they do. Especially when we're talking about professional business with companies/authors/publishers who are actually earning money for what they're doing. 

As for individuals - I always like to see statistics because it makes it easier to categorize myself. To know how big my blog is in comparison to others. It's always great to be aware of the reach you have. 

But putting yourself out there like that isn't everyone's cup of tea. It's not necessarily a necessity to be completely transparent with your statistics. I absolutely understand it when people say they don't want to. Especially when you're still a small blogger you might hesitate to openly display how many clicks you get - it's easy to say "hey, no big deal" when you get 200k hits per month. 

So when is it TRULY necessary?

I think there is not really a necessity at all. You're not being dishonest by declining to openly show your stats to everyone. It's a personal matter after all and a personal decision. I had mine displayed for a hot minute, but felt very iffy about it all. 

You can always send out that information in private to people who are interested in working with you. Don't let anyone ever tell you, you have to do anything when it comes to blogging. Your blog, your rules.


Do you share your statistics on your blog?

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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...

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

How to Rate Books: 6 Things You Should Be Doing | Book Blogging Tips (#56)

Every reviewer needs to find a way to rate their books. A rating scale is absolutely essential, whether you just review on goodreads or library thing or your blog. 

Here are some tips on how to get started rating books.






1. Establish a scale
Most bloggers go for 1-5 or 1-10. Some bloggers also make use of the 0 rating. It's a matter of personal preference, I think, if you have a bigger scale you have more room for individual ratings. 

A huge part of your rating scale is also what you're rating in. It might seem trivial, but especially if you have a themed blog, you might want to consider a very unique rating scale. Instead of rating in plain stars, you could make little graphics and rate in strawberries, books, top hats, whatever you fancy. It's by no means a must and the good old star rating scale works as well.

2. Think of criteria
To some people it may just come naturally how they're rating a book, but I guarantee you, if you're just starting out reviewing things you will not be able to rate something ~naturally~. It's a skill that's built over time, so as a newbie you have to think of certain things that a book needs to have if you want to give it a certain rating. This may sound more difficult than it actually is; let me illustrate:
  • 5 star books: Nothing to complain, you loved everything, the characters are great, the plot is fantastic
  • 4 star books: A little to complain, you still loved everything, the characters are mediocre, the plot is mediocre
  • 1 star books: You hated everything, the characters are terrible and so is the plot.

3. If you're unsure, compare
In my early blogging days I used to always go back to my older reviews and compare the book I had just read and wanted to review to them. Example:
  • You gave BOOK 1 4 stars
  • You gave BOOK 2 2 stars
  • You like book you've just read not as much as BOOK 1, but more than BOOK 2. Therefore BOOK 3 gets three stars

4. Stop being so harsh/generous
Yes, before I've even seen a single review you've written, I can already tell you that you're either giving everything 5 stars or nothing 5 stars. This is a very common thing with new bloggers, and there is really nothing that can fix that aside from experience. I'm one of those people that tend to always be too harsh and very very cautious with their 5 star ratings, which is actually the worse option. 

If you're like me, you're doing more harm with your reviewing than you're helping. Authors and publishers don't want to see negative review and neither do your readers. This doesn't mean you should rate everything great or not review at all, this just means that you have to be REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY sure about your ratings. Are you very confident in the ratings you give out?


5. Look at other bloggers
This is essential. Every book blogger MUST read other book blogs or in the very least other reviews. You have to look at other people to get a feel of what you're doing. If you're always giving everything better or worse ratings than eveeryone you'ree following, you very likely have a rating problem. 


6. Always go back to your older reviews
Even after almost three years of blogging I still go back to older reviews and check with the older review you've written. Either to rework or to compare the way you're rating now to the way you used to rate. You can always learn from your old mistakes, make use of that opportunity!

But always remember: These are only suggestions, at the end of the day it is your blog and you should and have to review the way you want to.


How do you rate your books?




Continue Reading...

Saturday, April 29, 2017

So You Just Received Your First Review Copy... | Book Blogging Tips (#55)


... and you probably think that you've made it. People are sending you free stuff! That's amazing! You've made it this far already but there are quite a couple of things I'd like to tell you. 

While you can be very proud of this accomplishment, you have to realize that by deciding to start accepting review copies, you're also accepting responsibility. 

Here are some things I wish someone had told me when I accepted my first copy.


1. Don't go overboard
I know it's super exciting to realize that you've been blogging long enough to be considered to receive review copies, but please please don't see this as a sign to start requesting everything. 

2. Don't request backlist titles
That's a thing many newbie bloggers don't know about - backlist titles are books that have been out for a while. Typically publishers have a set amount of review copies that are sent out at a certain time before or shortly after a book's release. Backlist titles are usually not available for review, so only request review copies of books that aren't out yet to avoid wasting someone's time.

3. Don't accept any and every review copy sent to you
It won't take long until lots of people will reach out to you. Usually it will be indie authors and small publishers first who will ask you to review their books. Don't say yes to every single book just because it's free. Keep in mind what kind of blog you run. Is this book something that you'd even pick up in a bookstore? If it's not, don't accept the copy. Just because it's free, you shouldn't say yes to everything because -

4. People expect you to actually read the book
Sure, this is the old drama, some people think review copies don't have to be read, it's only an agreement to consider - yada yada, let's not have this argument right now, this isn't the point of this post. You're getting the copy because something is expected in return, whatever that may be. Don't request a billion books with no intention of reading them, that's just not a nice thing to do. 

5. Don't be afraid to publish a negative review
Just because you got something for free it doesn't mean that you can't dislike it. Don't be afraid to publish a negative review for a review copy! Nobody will be mad at you for that. You're asked for your honest opinion in 99.5% of the cases, and that also covers the possibility that you might dislike it. 

6. - but don't be a jerk about disliking the book
Especially with ARC for indie and small-published books you have to realize that your review might be the first review that people see when they go look for the book. 

Sure, disliking and publishing really negative reviews is absolutely 100% fine, but pay attention to the tone. Reviewing is a skill, it's an art in itself to be able to express your negative opinion without being a complete douchebag about it. Meaning no insults.

7. Consider that you might receive backlash
If you read an early copy and are one of the first people to review a book, of course more people will see the review. Be prepared to have people disagree. Consider this while writing the review. Again, don't be a jerk. If you're going to be a jerk regardless, know that you might receive backlash.

8. Don't send negative reviews to the author or publisher!
You may have seen on twitter for example that many reviewer tag authors in reviews. This is a great way to get your review out there, but please, please, please only do this if you rated the book 4 stars and abover and/or hardly said anything negative about it. 

Many authors are very vocal about not wanting to be tagged in negative reviews unsoliticedly. Publishers won't reshare your negative reviews either and it's basically just wasting everyone's time / ruining somebody's day. So please don't do that. 

What are some things you wish someone had told you after you received your first review copy?

Continue Reading...

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

How Subjectivity Ruins Your Reviews | Book Blogging Tips (#54)

Reviewing is hard. Any blogger will be able to tell you that. 

Today we'll talk about a mistake that you'll find among veteran and rookie reviewers alike: being too subjective in your reviews and the effect this has on your readers.





Extreme subjectivity ruins most of my older reviews. 

Yes, reviewing is subjective by nature, but what I'm talking about is finding the balance between "this is a bad book" and "I didn't like this". I couldn't do that for a long time and I didn't see a need to do that for even longer. You absolutely non-negotiably need to do that though if you care for your audience and don't only do this for you. 

At the end of the day none of us are just reviewing for us, are we? 

I started out blogging to archive my thoughts for myself but since my blog has grown a bit, I grew more and more aware of the fact that there are a lot of people out there who come to me to find their next read or who absolutely trust my judgment. Chances are, it's the same for you.

You probably have a couple people out there who solely rely on you and your reviews to pick their next read. Writing books off immediately that are well-written with well-rounded characters and fantastic world building, simply because you didn't enjoy them for a very subjective irrelevant reason? That's selfish. Yes, it's your blog and all and you can do whatever you want; I'd never try to tell you any differently. Stop reading right here if don't tell me what to do is your takeaway from what I just said. Or read those paragraphs again.

If you cherish being a resource for people, it's important to also take into consideration that 

Your taste =/= an infallible indicator of quality, talent, or entertainment value.

To explain that I usually use books that provide excellent representation of marginalized identities. HOW TO MAKE A WISH by Ashley Herring Blake for example wasn't my thing personally, because I don't like sad, quiet contemporaries. Super subjective and tells you nothing about the quality of this book. It's just my two cents that couldn't be more irrelevant. HOW TO MAKE A WISH also had the first biracial character that I saw myself in. Like, ever. The first time I felt represented. I still gave the book five stars and I'd do it all over again, even though I didn't really enjoy it aside from the representation aspect. 

By being extremely subjective and giving books 1-3 star ratings left and right because you didn't enjoy them for an arbitrary irrelevant taste reason, you are possibly preventing readers from finding a read that will change their lives. People hardly ever read full reviews, and sometimes they pick books up solely because of the rating of their favorite blogger. Contributing to a negative rating (3 stars and below), will also make sure that less people who might be able to see themselves in this book will pick it up. That's on you. You contributed to that. This obviously transcends the issue of representation of marginalized identities. This is a lesson that definitely was the hardest for me personally. 

I do struggle to give books that I didn't care for five stars, and I do struggle sometimes to not just downrate something because I thought it was a terrible book, personally. But the people that I owe the most to are my readers, people like you who are here every week or even every day. And I hope that this helped you to understand that blogging and reviewing is about so much more than just you and your taste.

You're completely free to disagree with what I said, but truly, at some point, reviewing isn't about you anymore. Think of your audience. Especially the marginalized people. Cause if you don't care about them and are just doing this for you, why do you give them the option to follow? Why is your blog public?

What do you think of really subjective reviews?


More Book Blogging Tips on Reviewing

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

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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?

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Review-Only Book Blogs and Why They Almost Never Work Out | Book Blogging Tips (#52)




Many bloggers I know started their blogs because they only wanted to share their reviews with other people, myself included. But is that actually a good idea?

My blog first and foremost was born because I wanted to share my reviews. But I had to learn the hard way that review-only blogs are not a thing and very likely never will be.



So why do review-only blogs not work?

  • People don't read reviews!
Seriously. Any and every blogger will tell you that their reviews get the least views out of all their posts. People don't read book blogs for the reviews only and if they do, you have to write extremely good reviews. Once you've established a significant following and people know who you are and care for your opinion, this might change. But to get there with a review only blog is a thing that I'm yet so see in the blogging world. 
  • Reviewing is a skill that you can't build in a year or less!
Everyone's early reviews are a mess. This is just a fact. Writing reviews on a blog is completely different from any other platform. Even if you've been writing reviews on tumblr or Goodreads or booklikes or wherever for YEARS, this doesn't count. 

Trust me, you still won't be up to book blog standard and you will go back and cringe at all these reviews. It will be even harder to attract readers with a review-only blog when your reviews clearly display all the signs of a blogging newbie.

A lot of bloggers who start up review-only blogs probably still make newbie mistakes and probably will for a long time. It took me at least a year of reviewing to write halfway decent reviews. No formatting, way too long reviews, repeating the plot instead of giving your opinion - basic stuff like that. That's something you can't immediately change when you notice you're doing it. You'll learn how to review through writing bad reviews at first, that's how it goes for everyone.

  • You have to make a name for yourself before people care about your opinion!
It's true that you can maybe fake your way to the top with a crappy blog if you advertise a lot and comment on 3280932893 blogs per day, but who has the time? Also you won't get any long-time readers from this, only follow-backs.

The thing is, nobody will listen to your rambles if you're the new kid on the block. You have to earn readers for your reviews. You have to post other super interesting things to get people interested in what you have to say, and you can only do that by posting something else than reviews.

  • Post-consistency is a thing for all blogs!
And if you only post reviews, you'll have to read a lot. I usually unsubscribe from blogs that don't post at LEAST weekly, I do prefer blogs that post 2 or 3 times a week in general. Unless you can't commit to read and write a review for at least one book per week, you're screwed.

...


Sure, at the end of the day, it's your blog and you can do whatever you want, but I can already tell you, either a year from now your blog will be gone. Sometimes listening to experienced bloggers is the best thing you can do, we've all learned from our mistakes, you don't need to repeat them and go through the same thing, do you? Trying to start a review-only blog is the hardest way to start out and it just never works out.

Did you start out as review-only?



More advice for newbie bloggers in my Book Blogging Tips series:

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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



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