Armchair BEA is a fun online event that those of us who could not attend BEA in New York City can participate in! There’s ways to network with other bloggers, posts on blogging tips, giveaways, and happenings at BEA from people who are there. Visit the Armchair BEA blog to see a schedule of events!
Wow… blogger development. What a daunting topic! I always feel inadequate to discuss how to become a better blogger, because there are so many times when I feel like a little newbie blogger, even though I’ve been doing it for almost 3 years! Well, I’ve been solo blogging for about a year and a half. Solo blogging is WAY different than collaboratively blogging with The Broke and the Bookish, let me tell you. And I’m still learning! Here’s what I’ve taken away from my experiences over the last year:
1. Be outgoing and make lots of book blogger friends! Everyone feels like a newbie at some point, no matter how long they have been blogging, or how awesome they seem to be. Just like in life, we all have our own insecurities. For this reason, and I’ve noticed this with most book bloggers, people in this bookish community are incredibly accepting and supportive. Lean on them for support, ask for advice, and be gracious.
2. Utilize Twitter. It’s an amazing tool that has produced and forged some of my best friendships! Plus, it’s a great way to get the word out about your posts AND find out about fun things in the book world.
3. Jump on the blog tour bandwagon, especially if you’re new. You get lots of awesome opportunities and you can meet a lot of cool bloggers and bookish professionals.
4. There is a fine line between an acceptable amount of memes and WAY TOO MANY. If you want to participate in a bunch of memes, don’t do EVERY one EVERY week. I do Top Ten Tuesday almost every week. Sometimes I’ll do a book haul post or a Waiting on Wednesday, but not every week. Try to come up with your own unique ideas that keep people coming back. Otherwise, you’ll fade into the huge crowd of book blogs out there.
5. Branch out of your reading comfort zone, and try something new. Chances are you will end up discovering something amazing. Before I was a blogger, I did not read young adult. I didn’t read contemporary, or dystopia, or paranormal. I read mystery and historical romances. Boring! I’ve become such an eclectic reader, and it’s thanks to my blogger friends. This might not do wonders for your blog, although being a versatile reader is very appealing, but it will enrich your experience as a blogger.
6. Support indie authors. In my experience, self-published authors are some of the most supportive authors out there. I’m not saying publishing house authors aren’t, but these indie authors are in the same boat as you are! They are trying really hard to get themselves out there, just like you are! And if you help them, they will help you. That’s how I got my name out there.
7. I really do not recommend follower memes or follower giveaways. You do not want to buy your readers. You want to earn them because they like you. Nobody makes true friends in school by giving them stuff. They sit and talk with them, establish a common ground, and hang out together. That’s how the book blogging world works, too. Go visit blogs, post sincere comments, and continue. You’ll make friends instead of followers.
8. Ask your readers for their opinions. People LOVE explaining how they feel. Hosting discussions on your blog is a great way to meet people, gain friends, and learn something!
9. Don’t be afraid to show people who you are. Make your posts personal. You don’t need to give your address or full name to your readers, but let them know you as a person rather than a blogging machine.
10. Blog because you love it, or you will burn out fast. In the beginning, I was totally high strung. I had to have followers, I had to read every book everyone asked me to read, I had to post a review a day, I had to schedule out a few weeks of posts in advance, I had to comment on every blog I could find, etc. I stressed myself out! You can’t do that. You will never enjoy blogging if you turn it into a huge job. I did not want to dread reading or blogging. Once I realized I was doing this for myself, I began to have a lot more fun. Never, ever do more than you want to do. And if you hate a book, quit reading it. Life’s too short to read books not worth finishing.
Well, these are just my insights. When I get discouraged, I think of these pieces of advice that have been passed down from blogger to blogger. And yeah, it’s really hard to do all the right things all the time and have any kind of life, which is why the last tip is the most important. Do what you can, be happy with it, and know that it’s enough for you. And a reward system really doesn’t hurt. Go ahead and buy yourself that book you’ve been wanting. Blogging is awesome, we’re all learning as we go, and you’ll have an amazing experience no matter what happens!
So, what do you think? What are you doing to try and develop your blog, as well as your online presence, in the book community? Do you have any words of advice that I might also implement? Leave your links, and I’ll stop by!