Given that I’ve been blogging about books for ~2 years (albeit inconsistently, but we’ll ignore that fact) it’s about time I write a post on how blogging has changed my life and made me find friends that love books just much as I do! I’ve seen many book bloggers post about their experiences and figured, why not add some of my own?!
Create a blog name
The best way to start blogging is to first create a blog name. You can post your book reviews and other bookish posts under that name and will distinguish you from other bloggers.
When starting this blog, we were debating between Book Allure and Book Oodles, but eventually decided Book Allure would fit us best because the goal of our blog is to show readers and nonreaders alike that the allure of a good book will never let you down.
Tips on choosing your blog name:
- Make sure it’s original! It’ll be hard to distinguish yourself as something when there are others with the exact same name or a close variation to it.
- Make it short but memorable. People will have a hard time remembering who you are if it’s too long and difficult to pronounce. You get extra points if you’re quirky!
- Optional: Make a logo. You can use your own logo to advertise and make your blog known to other websites!
Choose your blog platform
There are many free websites to start your blog on such as WordPress, Bloglovin, Tumblr, Google+, and many more. You might want to do some research and look at what each website offers and find which one suits you best. You’d also want to look at where most book bloggers are at, if you’re thinking about maximizing your follower count when you start.
You can also look at what additional services you can purchase from websites if you’re looking longterm! Think about domains, custom emails, and other similar add-ons if you’re looking at blogging seriously.
Design and theme
For me, this is a very crucial part in creating a blog. Aesthetics can make or break you! If your blog is too messy and does not have great readability, people will not stay on your page. If you’re creating a blog for book reviews, make sure your chosen theme is created for text-heavy posts with adjustable fonts and sizes.
How to make a clean looking blog:
- Pick a color scheme that is pleasing to the eyes that also matches your blog name and logo.
- If you’re using WordPress like us, create a custom menu to control what pages are viewable from your home or blog page.
- Create a review policy. This is essential for book bloggers. Review policies are for authors, agents, and publishers to read to see if you are the right reviewer for their book. Things to include here are preferred genres, time frame for review, format of reader copies, and others. This is to avoid wasting your as well as the requester’s time.
- Use your tags and categories. This will make your posts organized for readers to look through.
- Enable a search button. Readers will have an easier time finding a specific post instead of scrolling and scrolling and scrolling.
- Make an About page so people can know who is writing the reviews! Write a bit about yourself, what genres you read, and other things you wish to want people to know about you.
- Create a Contact page. Publishers, authors, and agents have to be able to contact you if you wish to receive review requests or ARCs.
Make a Bookstagram or Twitter page connected to your blog! It’s an effective way to get more people to hear about it, thus boosting your page views and posts! Creating a Facebook page won’t hurt as well!
Now we get to the fun part! Once your blog is ready for viewing, you can start writing book reviews, recommendations, and fun book tags like Top Ten Tuesday or Waiting on Wednesday. You can even make your own book tag and then tag other bloggers so they can do it as well.
Tips on posting:
- Try not to get carried away when writing reviews. Do not let your emotions get the best of you. Write objectively and be considerate of your readers. If you’re having trouble writing coherently, make a first draft and then start editing your own work to make it more appealing to readers.
- Include images. Posts that are all text are boring; make it fun by adding images or making your own banners!
- Create a consistent layout for your posts. If you’re going to review a book with its cover at the top of the post, make sure all your following reviews will follow the same format. It will be confusing for readers if your posts are inconsistent.
- The Read More tag is your friend. It’ll be difficult to navigate around your blog if all the content is posted on the home page. Just show an excerpt of what you want your readers to expect and then insert the Read More tag!
- Create different kinds of posts! Don’t stick to all reviews or all book tags because variety is key!
Talk to other bloggers
You’re not the only book blogger out there! Make it a point to talk and connect with other book bloggers because the book community is tightly knit! You’ll be surprised at how many there are just by checking Goodreads and Twitter. I’m not even talking about the bookstagram pages yet! A perk of book blogging is that you make so many friends along the way! You can post collaborations, buddy reads, ARC trading, and so much more.
Speaking from experience, I made the mistake of not really interacting with the book community until almost 2 years after I started blogging. I was so focused on the blog itself that I forgot to make friends along the way. Thankfully, I’ve made many friends now that I put myself out there!
Don’t rush and try to publish a post daily because you’ll burn out early and abandon your blog. Set a realistic goal that you can meet. You can choose to post twice a week or once a week, it doesn’t really matter as long as you’re not stressing yourself over it.
Books are a source of happiness and pleasure, not stress and discomfort.
It’s okay to take breaks
Blogging is a hobby. You are in no way pressured to keep blogging if your lifestyle cannot handle it or if you simply grew out of it! Create a list of priorities and if by chance the book blog doesn’t make the cut, oh well. It’s just a blog. Don’t think that it’s the end of the world just because you stopped.
As someone who’s in her 3rd year of university, there were times that I stepped away from blogging for months at a time because I diverted my attention to my academics! Of course, it will set you back on your goals, followers, and stats, but do they really matter? Don’t blog for fame, blog for fun!
In case you’re not sure why people blog about books, here are some goals you might want to consider when starting your blog.
Blog or ARC tours
A blog or ARC tour is when a group of bloggers pass one book (usually an anticipated release) around to review. Normally this is done for bloggers within the same country or state to be efficient!
How to participate in a blog tour:
- Find bloggers near your area
- Agree on a certain book or ARC that you are all interested in
- Create a list of who follows who after one finishes reading them
- Research and agree on a courier company to use to pass on the books
- Read and enjoy!
Many bloggers see this as the ultimate goal. But what are ARCs? ARCs are Advanced Reader’s Copies that are sent to bloggers before the book is scheduled to be released. The purpose of this is to create a hype for the book. ARCs are not guaranteed final copies so some might be uncorrected proof copies. ARCs are not for sale.
How to get ARCs:
- Monitor your stats and followers. Publishers only send ARCs to established bloggers with a following. People recommend requesting for electronic ARCs after 2 consistent months of blogging, and physical ARCs after at least 6 consistent months.
- You can get e/ARCs either through Netgalley, Eidelweiss, and other galley websites.
- You can also opt to email the publishing house. Note: it is crucial that you get the right contact person should you choose to contact the publishers via email.
- Take into account your location. Some publishers do not ship internationally so you may want to consider requesting for an eARC instead.
- Be respectful in your email. Maintain professionalism. Do not beg for ARCs. You should also indicate the specific book you want and include the ISBN.
- Briefly mention your blog and what you do, blog stats, follower count, and views to encourage publishers to send you a copy. Do not lie about your stats. A sample email I might send would look like this:
Hello!I am Nikki, one of the bloggers of Book Allure at http://bookallure.com. ______ is a book I’m very interested in reading and reviewing in our blog because I am a big fan of _______! I have also seen that a lot of my friends would like to read it as well. I would love to be sent an Advanced Reader’s Copy to review.We post our reviews on Goodreads and our blog, and promote them on our Twitter page which has over 2,600 followers. We have 200 followers on our blog and receive 1,500-2,000 views on active months with a total of ~20,000 views.I love reading books under the genre of young adult, new adult, contemporary, fantasy, sci-fi, and many more. I understand if you will not send an ARC to me but just in case, my address is:Thank you!Nikki Yap
- Publishers have the right not to respond to your email. Refrain from emailing them consistently or threatening them if they choose not to send you a copy of the ARC.
- Once you receive the ARC, actually read it. ARCs are marketing tools that cost money to print and ship to you so it would be disrespectful to receive an ARC only to not read it.
- Review the ARC on or before its release date. There is no point in sending you an ARC if you are going to review it after the release date.
- Once you are done with the ARC, you can either keep it or trade it for other ARCs. Do not sell them because they are not for sale.
I’ve been blogging for over 2 years and only recently started requesting and receiving ARCs. This was due to my inactivity the past few months and I had to get back to posting and boosting stats again before building enough confidence to actually email publishers.
There is nothing to be afraid of when emailing publishers! I used to be scared but decided to put on my big girl pants because I won’t really know until I try. Thankfully I had big enough stats to get approved of ARCs that are highly anticipated releases in the coming months.
I hope these tips were helpful!