Hi guys, welcome to the first day of Thoughts By J’s #BloggersGivingBack Christmas post. In the spirit of giving, Alana and I will be posting some useful tips in regards of blogging and the publishing industry all the way up to Christmas. We’re by no means professionals, but let’s just pretend we’re wise and all that shizz. Because we are. Sometimes. Just go with it ok?
There will be a post every second day all the way up to the 25th. We hope they’ll be helpful to a wide range of people, and feedback is very much welcome!
Also, we’re currently running a Christmas giveaway for a books of your choice up to AUD$20. So hurry over to it before it closes!
What to consider when you’re thinking about starting a book blog
Starting a blog
So you’ve decided to start a book blog and you know for sure you’ll stick with it. YAY *throws confetti and bakes a cake* Well you’ve just taken the first step on this awesome journey…but now what?
Here’s the thing, you might find it hard to believe but Thoughts By J didn’t start off as a book blog. OMGNOWAY?! Yes, you heard right. I was daydreaming in a lecture one day about the news and thought it was a good idea to start a blog where I could safely provide my own opinions on news pieces. If you go back to the very first posts I made on here you can probably still find them. Not only that but I blogged about life and how I dealt with some uni shenanigans that happened in 2012.
So you see, what I’m trying to get at is that you don’t need to start off as a book blogger. You can in fact ease yourself into it. The hard part is not starting a book blog, but starting to blog in the first place and maintaining a consistent output.
Let’s be honest here, there have been multiple instances where I’ve neglected the blog due to time constraints. Book blogging is probably one of the most time consuming pastimes as we’re not just blogging, but we’re also reading. Food bloggers go to restaurants, eat and take photos. Fashion bloggers attend shows, go shopping and put together beautiful outfits. I’m not saying these and other bloggers within other fields don’t take time, but I’m pretty confident in saying that reading takes a lot longer than other types of blogging. Well maybe except travel bloggers, but they get to participate in experiences and soak in culture, which is in a whole other league of blogging.
So how do you resolve this and manage your precious time?
- Find a co-blogger: Blogging can get exhausting at times, and sometimes you get into a reading slump. Whether you start off with a co-blogger or ask someone to join, a co-blogger is extremely helpful in sharing a TBR pile with and splitting the blogging responsibility
- Maintaining a calendar/schedule: So I’m trying to improve on this aspect but I would still highly recommend keeping to a schedule so you don’t spend time trying to figure out what to post each day
- Schedule your posts: I know a lot of people do this and its quite common sense but I actually prefer writing on-the-go. However, scheduling posts is a great way to stay ahead of time and gives you the opportunity to skip a day if you want
- Set aside time to read: Maintaining a blog can get overwhelming, but book bloggers should not forget that the foundation of their blog is to read and give sweet love to their precious books. If you can squeeze in some reading during your travels to a from work/school or setting aside an hour to read before bed, it can help immensely in keeping on top of things
- Decide how often you want to post: Despite how often other bloggers post, your blog belongs to YOU. No one can dictate how you run it so do your own thang your way
Picking a name
Yes this is the scary part but let me tell you it’s not the be all or end all. You are allowed to change your blog name at any time. Once again, the blog belongs to you and you can do whatever you want with it. For example, Zoe @ Stories on Stage and Cait @ Paper Fury both recently changed their blog names after blogging for years under a different one. But it makes no difference…Zoe and Cait is still Zoe and Cait, regardless of what their blog is called.
To host or not to host
So picking a name is made all the more difficult depending on whether you want to pay money to host your blog. Hosting means you’re pretty much stuck with that domain name and address for at least a year, but once again, it’s not the end of the world here.
Hosting is recommended for bloggers that are ready to commit to posting regularly. If you’re starting out and want to give blogging a go, then I highly recommend you go the free route. Signing up on WordPress, Blogger or Tumblr is absolutely free and they have many of the same functions as the paid options. I started off here until I was confident I was ready to go with the paid hosting.
Once you are confident you want the extras that hosting provide, then here are a few options you can sign up with:
I currently use Dreamhost and have not tried the other hosts. Dreamhost is quite pricey but for the first year it’s actually half price! I’ve kept using it as I’ve had minimal problems and any problems were resolved quickly. Highly recommended! If you do choose to use Dreamhost, I would appreciate it if you put me as a referrer when you sign up as I’ll get a small commission that would help a lot with next year’s hosting.
Which blog website should I use?
Here are the top three that book bloggers I know use:
I personally use this for all my blogging needs and highly recommend this as it’s easy to use, the functions are awesome and there are hundreds of plugins that help with blogging. The downside is there’s a limited amount of free themes, and twitching with the coding may be harder than the other websites.
Plenty of bloggers use this website. I personally found it very twitchy and definitely takes some getting used to. But if you’re someone that is looking for unique and awesome themes, then Blogger definitely has a wider range than WordPress. The downside with Blogger is that I often find there’s a lag when I leave a comment, and more often than not I have the refresh the page in order to publish my comment.
Not many book bloggers use Tumblr to blog, but it’s very handy if you’re a visual blogger. The reblog function comes in handy for making posts. Unfortunately Tumblr does not have a commenting feature, making it hard to leave comments on specific posts. A comment feature can be installed though.
What bookish places should I lurk around in?
- Your local library: We book bloggers are not rich, especially in Australia where books can go from $16-$20 a pop for a paperback. Sometimes more. Your local library will become your best friend for checking out books that you want to read, but are not sure you will like and thus do not want to spend money on just quite yet
- Goodreads: If you don’t know what Goodreads is, then you must be living under a rock. Just kidding…a little. 😛 Goodreads is the booklovers dream. It’s a social book community/platform where you can join groups, read/write reviews and join in on reading challenges. It’s handy for researching a book prior to purchase and keep track of your reading process throughout the year
- The Reading Room: I’ve been using this website more and more this year. It’s very similar to Goodreads with many of the same functions except it’s a lot less cluttered. The best part is the rating function which allows you to give half stars!
- Twitter: If there’s a book blogger, then they’re bound to be on Twitter. Twitter seems to be the one place that readers, bloggers, authors and publishers seem to lurk the most. It’s user-friendly and a great way to join in on conversations and develop relationships within the blogging community.
- Facebook: Many bloggers have their own Facebook page as well. I mainly use Facebook to keep up to date with the publishers, and you can find many competitions on their pages. Yay books! Just be aware that there can be multiple Facebook pages for different publishers, and you should follow the one from your region
- There are many more websites like BookLikes, Epic Reads, The Book Depository etc that are worth mentioning as well, but I’m running out of space.
For all of you out there that are thinking about starting a book blog, I hope this has been somewhat helpful. There are probably many more things that I could mention but I’ll end this post here because it’s getting quite long! Happy 10 days till Christmas everyone!
Any suggestions for the next post? What would you like to see a tutorial on?
- How to request a book from the publishers
- How to get an internship at a publishing house
- Your suggestion