Book Blogging 101 | Part 1

Posted August 16, 2020 by Bluestocking Bookworm in Features / 4 Comments

Alternate title that didn’t fit nicely: So you want to be a book blogger?

Hey awesome nerds! How have you been holding up? I hope you are all staying happy and healthy in these intense times!

I recently joined a Facebook group for NetGalley users, and there are a lot of people who are just starting out with book reviewing. Instead of trying to respond to every post there, I thought I would do a series of posts here.

I am no one important or influential in the book blogging world, and I am by no means an expert. But I am someone who is passionate about books, and I have been doing this for about 10 years now. I have also presented at local cons about book blogging for beginners. I just hope I can be of help to newbies!

What I Wish I Knew Before I Began

  • Book blogging can take up a lot of time.
    While a lot of this is directly proportionate to how many ARCs you are requesting, general maintenance can take significant time, too. Some bloggers have put their more involved posts – like complete new release indices – behind paywalls for this reason. When I am full steam ahead on blogging, I usually put 1-4 hours into it per day. This is on top of the time spent reading ARCs, and my other responsibilities.
  • It can cost a lot of money.
    I am self-hosted, which lets me use special layouts and plugins. I have to pay for my hosting, my domain, any extra features I want like backups, and any graphics I use, since creating graphics is 100% not my forte. My most recent round of bills was around $300CAD for two years. Monetizing your blog is possible, but NOT easy, and free ARCs – while awesome – don’t pay the bills.
  • You really need to think about your blog name.
    I started out as Written Permission, which had AWFUL search engine optimization (SEO). If you looked for my blog name, you wouldn’t find it within 10 pages, even if you added “blog”. Bluestocking Bookworm is much better, and also more indicative of who I am.
  • Posting reviews on your blog is not enough.
    To truly help promote the book, it is best to cross-post your review to Goodreads, Amazon, and other retail sites (like Barnes and Noble for Americans or Indigo for Canadians). Also, many publicists want you to send them a link of your review when it is written.
  • You need to be aware of the legal side of internet interactions and reviewing.
    For example, you need to disclose if your site uses cookies because of a ruling the the UK. (Yes, even if you are not in the UK.) You need to disclose if you received something for free in return for a review. You need to disclose if you are using affiliate links. And giveaways are a whole other headache. (This is a non-exhaustive list, by the way.)
  • Blog for yourself.
    There are a lot of features, tours, and memes that you can take part in. There is also some pressure to review a certain way, or to write certain kinds of posts, or post with a certain frequency. At the end of the day, you need to write content you enjoy writing on a schedule that works for you.
  • It is OK to get burned out.
    I don’t know a single book blogger who hasn’t gotten burned out on book blogging at one point or another. Life happens, you read a whole slew of books you don’t enjoy, you feel unappreciated, you are tired. The list of reasons is practically endless. There is nothing wrong with taking a step back, taking a hiatus, and then coming back refreshed.
  • The platform you choose both matters a lot and doesn’t matter at all.
    I will go into the details of different platforms in a later post, but there are numerous free ones to use when you start out. I agonized over this choice, and it caused a lot more stress than was necessary. Your choice matters because different platforms have different algorithms for promoting your content to other users. They also have different tools for design. Some publishers don’t view certain platforms as “legitimate” (even though they are). But it doesn’t matter when it comes to readership. As long as you are cross-posting/promoting, people will find, and read your content regardless of where it is.
  • Your fellow bloggers aren’t your competition.
    I have made so many amazing friends from book blogging over the years. We are all here to talk about books that make us happy, and promote books that are under-loved. Others’ success is not your failure.
  • Organizational tools are your friend.
    I use WordPress, and the Category and Tag tools are indispensable. As is the ability to publish posts at a later time of my choosing.

Did this post help you to understand book blogging a little better? Is there anything you want me to go into more detail about?

Please post any comments/questions below! I will either respond directly to questions, or I will add them to a Q&A post for the end of the series.

Are you interested in contributing to this series? Please email me!
info [at] bluestockingbookworm [dot] com

Up next? Part 2: A Glossary of Common Terms and Abbreviations

Stay bookish, lovelies! ❤

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4 responses to “Book Blogging 101 | Part 1

  1. I love how you mention that “your fellow book bloggers aren’t your competition.” i’m new to blogging and still trying to figure stuff out but i got into this because i was so excited to find an online community that could complement my IRL communities–my friends/family and most people I know are not avid readers. thanks for posting the 101, and i look forward to the next posts in the series.

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