On a Book Bender’s blogoversary celebration continues with Kai from Fiction State of Mind. Still new to blogging? Kai has some great tips for you.
Hello everyone! Happy Blogoversary to Amanda and On a Book Bender! I was surprised to discover Amanda’s blog is only a year old! I discovered Amanda through her Bout of Books Readathon. When she hosted for the first time I was impressed at how professionally she runs the event and her blog. I know because I’m a readathon addict and Bout of Books just keeps getting better and better.
So before I get to my contribution to the event I just want to congratulate Amanda once more, I’m looking forward to watching your blog grow!
The first year of blogging brings on a variety of challenges and rewards. You can discover the best and the worst of the online community and easily burn yourself out. Here are some tips and life lessons I learned in my first year of blogging:
1) Find bloggers to emulate, but never copy:
When I started my blog I was inspired by a special blogger: Book Chick City (www.bookchickcity.com).
With Carolyn (Book Chick City) I found my reading soulmate Carolyn is a huge Horror and Zombie fan like myself. I regularly chat with Carolyn and am constantly inspired by the features she comes up with.
I’ll admit to sometimes thinking “Why didn’t I come up with that?” but by having a blogger that inspires you means you spend more time thinking about your own blog. This is the path to coming up with a feature that is uniquely yours. I also was inspired by Carolyn’s blog layout when I had mine updated. However if you look at Carolyn’s blog and mine you won’t immediately see the connection. I didn’t copy her; instead I found my own creativity just by having her as a blogging buddy.
2) Fake it til you make it:
When you first start blogging, the Magical Blog Fairy doesn’t stop by and give you all the ARCs and editorial contacts you desire. Instead you have to work:
- Post consistently.
- Find a core group of bloggers you connect with and frequently comment on their blogs.
- Follow all your favorite writers and publishers on Twitter and Facebook, tell them how much you enjoy their books, and send them a link to your positive reviews. (don’t ask them for books though, they get fewer than you think)
- Create a separate e-mail for your blog
- Make business cards/ bookmarks
- Invest in a professional makeover on your blog: When I had Parajunkee update my blog my review requests doubled. Also there isn’t a week that goes by that someone doesn’t gush about the look of my blog and ask me who designed it.
3) Practice saying “No”:
Once your blog is up and running the review requests will come pouring in. Resist the urge to say yes to them all. I did that my first year and caused myself a lot of unnecessary suffering! Take the time to visit Goodreads, research the authors. I’m not saying don’t take a chance with new genres or authors, but just to make well informed choices.
4) Break all the rules
When you start to page through all the myriad blogs you might notice a loose set of rules:
Everyone uses this gadget or joins this weekly meme, or runs their interviews/giveaways the same.
You don’t have to do that as well. The wonderful thing about your blog is that it’s YOURS. It’s a reflection of who you are and what you love. And who knows by going against the norm you may start a new trend.
Hope these tips help you in your blogging journey! Now let’s celebrate! Who brought cupcakes? ;)
*quickly puts cupcakes behind back* *wipes frosting off face* I don’t have any cupcakes. Move along now.
And thanks, Kai, for the awesome blogging tips!