Hello and happy Wednesday. This is actually my second attempt to write this post because I’d written the whole thing and thought I’d scheduled it, but didn’t and lost about half an hour of work. It’s ironic, given that I’m writing tips for new book bloggers and reviewers, but that happens sometimes and we just have to take a deep breath and look for solutions. Mine was to rewrite the whole post, so here I am. Let’s get started, then!
1. Complete the following sentence: “I want to start a new blog because…”
Everyone has a different reason for starting new projects, and about 90% of those reasons are valid. When I started my book blog three years ago, I did it because I’d just read a book and wanted to share my thoughts about it but felt that my friends and family wouldn’t understand me because they hadn’t read it and were not interested. Some people want to be relevant in the bookish community and have a more solid plan than the one I had, and some others just want to try it out, no commitment, no pressure. Still, I think it’s important to know why you want to start a blog, and why you want to share your reviews with the world. That’s what’s going to keep you motivated in the future and it’s what, in a way, is going to shape some decisions you make regarding your blog.
2. Be organized and consistent
Again, I’m talking from experience here when I tell you that scheduling my posts is one of the best decisions I could’ve made regarding my blog. I started writing my posts a week or so in advance, and now I’ve gotten to a point in which I have posts that are scheduled months in advance. This is great for me because it helps me manage my time and not stress about having a deadline to write something. Without the pressure, I make sure that there is more quality in the content I’m sharing, that I’m not just writing something because I need to meet a goal. Obviously, being organized means to have an idea regarding your blogging schedule. What I mean is, have a set blogging day, or rather a publishing day. I blog about books every Wednesday, and have done so for a while. Having set days to publish your posts will translate in having a consistent blog, and your readers will notice that.
3. Start by reviewing the books you already own
Publishing your first post is exciting, especially when you see how many people saw and liked it and then when you start getting followers. It makes you picture yourself as this super famous blogger and reviewer, with this super successful blog, and of course, we all want to get there one day, but first you need to start small. Starting small may not sound as fun, but it will ensure that you won’t get as overwhelmed, and trust me, at least once you’ll feel overwhelmed with your blog. Start by reviewing books you already own, even books that you read before you had your blog. The bookish community is great when it comes to new titles to add to your TBR and wish lists, but it doesn’t mean you have to buy and read (and review!) every single book that comes out.
4. Learn to use NetGalley wisely
If you want to get ARCs (Advance Reader’s Copy) for free to read and review, NetGalley is your place. Granted, you need to be an established reviewer and post said reviews either in your blog or Tumblr or other social media, so it’s not just a way to get free books, there are other sites for that. NetGalley connects you with publishing houses and authors. I discovered Ali Novak and Kody Keplinger via NetGalley, and it is a website I visit daily. I have even gotten e-mail of publishers “inviting” me to get an ARC of a book. Obviously because I live in Colombia, all of my ARCs are digital, but if you’re lucky enough to live in the US, Canada, the UK, or other country where NetGalley can send books over, then you’re lucky because you might get actual physical copies of ARCS.
When I say use this site wisely, I mean find a good balance. Don’t ask for books you’re not planning on reading because what it does is affect your reviewing ratio, which is the number of books you’ve reviewed over the number of books you’ve requested. An ideal ratio is 80% and it’s something that could definitely affect your chances of getting ARCs. I would also suggest you to download the ebook to your device once you get the email that it’s been approved so that you ensure that you have it. When titles are archived, you cannot download them anymore. Also, final NetGalley tip is keep the e-mails you get from publishing houses because there you have valuable information such as e-mail addresses from people who can provide you ARCs in the future, or the contact of authors you can connect with.
5. Make blogging a fun experience for you
Here’s the deal. When you’ve been blogging for a while, it’s okay to feel discouraged or even bored. One day early this year I found myself juggling with three blogs, no followers in either and just a few comments. I then decided to switch from Blogger to WordPress and combine them all in this one blog. I made that decision because blogging has become a very important part of my life, but I felt I needed a change and now that I made it, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been with this little baby called Miss Camila’s Blog.
The truth is, you have to help yourself. Scheduling your posts is step one because it’ll save you time and stress. If like me, you’re blogging for fun, you have to remember that you’re doing it mainly for yourself, and that means that you get to be selfish and call the shots. Don’t just post reviews because reviewing takes a lot of time and can become stressful. Publish different kinds of posts, like bookish hauls and tags, or unboxings. I have this sort of series called “the book was better,” and what I do is read a book and then watch the adaptation and write about my thoughts. I love doing top 5 posts at the end of the year, and I talk about my crushes, my disenchantments, and my favorite series. If you’re having fun while blogging, you’ll keep doing it for a long time.
Those are my tips for new bloggers and reviewers. If you have any question or a tip I didn’t include, please let me know in the comments.
Love, Miss Camila
PS: Click here to enter my giveaway and win a signed (used) copy of The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker.