For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, we are asked to suggest hints for bloggers new to book blogging. I approach this week’s Top Ten with a bit of apprehension, since I am a fairly new book blogger myself. But, I have learned quite a bit during this time period and know others could definitely benefit from some helpful tips. So, here are TeacherQ’s Top Ten Tips for New Book Bloggers, in no particular order.
Read as many book blogs as possible before starting your own
“see how others do it”
The best way to learn how to do something is to see how others do it. Blogging is not an exception to this. I had a previous blog I kept as a way to keep track of my reflections on teaching. I got the idea for that blog in the same way I got the idea for this blog–by reading other’s blogs on the same topic/ideas.
When Writing Reviews, Create a Format to Follow…
“post consistent reviews”
and know it may change as your blog grows. But, starting with a format helps me post consistent reviews and not forget what I feel is important in a book review. There will be changes and adjustments as you grow as a writer and a blogger. A good place to start developing a format is from going back and looking at the reviews posted by the bloggers you researched in the previous tip. Also, make sure to include links to the author, a GoodReads or Barnes & Noble summary, and any other pertinent information, like past posts or other blogs mentioned.
“blogosphere is a community”
Of course, as a book blogger you need to read. But, not just books. You need to continue reading, following, and commenting on other book blogs. The blogosphere is a community and as a community it is important to follow what others are doing, thinking, and writing. I have stumbled across many posts on other blogs to make me think of a book from another angle or vantage point. These are priceless moments, because that’s when I can go back, re-read a story, and delve even further into the story. It is also wise to leave comments for others. Think about how you feel when someone leaves a comment for you. Come on, I know you get a little stroke to your ego, it elates you, even if briefly, and it gives you a sense of accomplishment. And that’s exactly why you need to go out and comment on other blogs.
“getting something written”
Begin with the first post. The end. Getting something written is the start.
“focused and accountable”
Set a goal. A realistic goal. One you can achieve weekly. At first I wanted simply wanted to make sure I tried to post one book review a week. I also wanted to try to complete at least one book meme a week. I knew this would keep me focused and accountable each week. As an overachiever, I wanted to do EVERYTHING cool I had come across while researching for my own blog. But, I had to be realistic. There was no way I could tie myself to every cool meme, every book I have read (in the past) and wanted to review, and every idea that popped into my head. So, I have scaled back and decided to stick to the weekly Top Ten Tuesday meme, because they are so much fun, writing at least 1 review per week, and this month posting once a day for National Poetry Month.
Post With Some Frequency
“move right on ahead”
To go along with setting goals, you need to post with some regularity or frequency. There is nothing worse than following or checking on a blog that does not update with some regularity. Again, don’t stretch yourself too far to too thin. Not meeting self set goals sometimes backfires to the point of making you feel so guilty you cannot get back into the swing of things. It’s okay to miss deadlines, but don’t give up. Just move right on ahead!
“what I want to remember to write about”
When reading books for reviews, make sure you are taking notes. You will never remember what page, what quote, or what tiny idea sparked the thoughts you want to write about. Even though I am an English teacher, I don’t take notes over every single detail. I just make sure to have something to write down my thoughts, important quotes, and ideas I want to remember to write about in my review. In fact, I treated myself to a nifty little Book Lover’s Journal from Barnes and Noble to help with this task.
Proofread, Revise, Edit
“professional as possible”
Okay, this is the English Teacher in me, but it is also the desire to be as professional as possible. For an English teacher, there is nothing worse than coming across major typos or grammar mistakes. Especially in blogs written about books. Also, paragraph structure exists for a reason! I understand we are all at different levels of writing maturity, but I also believe if you are writing for public consumption, you should care enough about your work to make sure you are presenting your best efforts. There are many tools at our disposal today to use to help us craft the best writing we are capable of and we should always be striving to grow as a writer. I must remind myself to do this step and it helps for me to use the preview button before hitting publish.
Make your sight visually appealing without being over the top or mundane. Use book covers when you mention a book. Use meme images when following a meme–also, don’t forget to link back to the meme hosts. I am still working on including video links–this is a new step for me and I am usually at school where I don’t have access to videos…lol, but I always link to the video if I can’t imbed it directly. Use colors, fonts, and layouts to mix things up. Play around with the blog theme. I am still using the free version of WordPress and there are so many themes to choose from, which sometimes makes it harder to make a choice. But, it’s okay to switch the theme to see what fits. Just beware, you may have to adjust some things to look better when you switch a theme.
Just Do It!
Get out there and start blogging! It’s a learning and growth experience.
There they are–my top ten Tips for Beginning Book Bloggers. Don’t forget to hope on over to The Broke and Bookish and check out their list for today!