As Armchair BEA draws to a close, I'd like to just say that it's been a fantastic week. I've met some new blogger friends and I'm excited to get to know them better. Since I couldn't be at BEA itself, this was a pretty darn good substitution. Thank you tons to those who've worked so hard to put it together. Y'all have done some fantastic work!
I had to laugh when typing in the title of this post. I am by NO means a blogging expert. Not even close. I do have just a couple of some things to share though, that I've learned in my two years of blogging:
1. Be yourself: I started out trying to do my posts like others I'd seen, and it just didn't work for me. I thought that was the only way to do a book blog, but I was SO wrong. I've learned that I have to let ME shine through in my reviews and other posts.
2. Don't overwhelm yourself: if posting everyday isn't your thing, DON'T DO IT! It's as simple as that, really. Do what works for you so that you don't get burned out.
3. Be courteous: there is pretty much NOTHING I hate more than getting comments from people who are like 'if you follow me, I'll follow you', and then seeing that exact same comment on fifty hundred other blogs. GAH! If you spam me like that, I guarantee I won't even visit, let alone follow. On the other hand, if you leave a meaningful comment and have actually taken the time to read the post, it's pretty much 100% likely that I will visit you back and probably follow you even if you don't follow me.
4. Speaking of following, realize that this is NOT about numbers: Holy cow, did that lesson take off a lot of stress when I finally learned it. At first, I was like, 'hey, my blog isn't at 1000s of followers yet and so-and-so has more than me and I'm never going to get any ARCs because I don't have enough followers'. That's kind of two things: first, it's pretty stressful to worry about numbers like that. Second, it's a pretty douchy attitude to have. When I quit worrying about numbers and focused instead on reading and writing reviews and going out to make new friends, things magically clicked. I'm serious. People started visiting me back and staying around. People started talking to me on Twitter. I made some new friends who have been (and are) completely fabulous and I probably wouldn't have met them if I'd still been in the numbers rut. So get out of that rut if you're in it. Things will become a lot easier.
5. Don't be afraid of writing negative reviews: to be honest, this is one of those things that's still hard for me, but I'm trying harder at it. I don't write a lot of them, because I honestly don't read a lot of books that I don't like. BUT. There are those times when you feel obligated to review because you've received a review copy. When those times come, be sure you take your time. Don't dash something off in the heat of the moment. Think it through. Be sure to back up your opinions. Don't just tell us that it's a crappy book and not have any reasons why. That's sure to start the flame wars, and honey, we don't want our blogger friends experiencing that. Back up your thoughts, be respectful, and be honest. Realize as well that your negative review is not the end of the book's life or the author's career. Someone may read your review and have the desire to read it themselves. As long as you're not trashing on the author and being completely disrespectful, there really is no such thing as bad publicity.
6. Don't be afraid to talk to authors: when I started out, I was all, 'I can't talk to them! They're published! They'll think I'm stupid!'. Boy, was I wrong. Now, I talk to authors all the time through Twitter, blogs, and Facebook. They are seriously some of the most amazing people I'm privileged to 'know' through the Interwebs. And we talk about crazy, normal, every day things to. I had a conversation with a favorite author the other day about bangs, and whether or not we should cut them or grow them out. Turns out, we both have a burning desire for fabulous, Kate Middleton hair. And, for both of us, it is not meant to be. We cut our bangs right after our conversation! So don't be afraid to start a conversation. You might find out that you share a lot of things in common with some of your literary idols. That's one of my favorite things.
That's pretty much all I have as far as tips go. Other bloggers have said it far better than I ever could, so definitely visit the blogs that have linked up for this topic.
Please leave me a link to your post in the comments. I'd love to read your thoughts/tips!