I recently “celebrated” my one year blogging anniversary. I can’t say that I know all the ins and outs of blogging (html etc.) but I think my limited experience could be of help to start-up recreational book bloggers. So here are my tips:
1) Read what you want to read.
Yes, YA bloggers have the most followers, but if you don’t like YA or don’t generally read books categorized as YA, don’t feel pressured to do what’s popular. I read mostly Classics. At first I thought I was alone in my interests, but boy was I wrong! There is a community for every book lover.
2) Set a book buying limit.
I guarantee you that if you start blogging you will also start buying more books. It’s inevitable. Your TBR (To Be Read) pile will grow out of control unless you set a book buying limit.
3) Book blogging is a hobby, not a career.
Unless you are a professional book blogger, you should never feel stressed out about blogging. It is a hobby. You earn no money from doing it. Bloggers are constantly afraid that people will stop following their blogs if they don’t blog consistently, do book hauls, or participate in memes/reading challenges, etc. They won’t. Hardly anyone follows one or two blogs. Most bloggers follow at least 50 blogs, so don’t feel stressed out that you let the ball drop on one reading challenge or didn’t post for three weeks. I am a case in point. I am a very eclectic reader. Although I mostly read Classics, I don’t review all the books I read on my blog because I often read books that I feel are not appropriate to review on this blog (ie. theology books, Christian devotionals, etc.). Because of this, I sometimes take a few weeks off from blogging. I don’t think I have ever lost a follower. If I did, oh well. Maintain your freedom as a blogger and take time off if you need or want to.
4) Request ARCs sparingly or not at all.
Only request ARCs (Advance Review Copies) if you have many followers and (most importantly) if reading and reviewing ARCs fits with the overall theme of your blog. I hardly ever read contemporary works, so requesting ARCs has never been a temptation, but I have followed quite a few bloggers who regretted requesting ARCs because they constantly felt pressured to review them or were disappointed by the kind of books they were reading. If you request ARCs you have to review them, so don’t request them unless you have the time and the desire to read and review the books you receive from publishers. Always ask yourself “Why am I blogging? What do I hope to get from blogging?”
5) Interact with other bloggers
If you want others to follow your blog, you should interact with other bloggers. Like I said earlier, there is a blogging community for everyone. Post constructive comments on others’ blogs, and you will inevitably get followers.
Most importantly, have fun! We in the book blogging community are generally a nice bunch of people. Most of us started blogging because we didn’t know anyone with whom we could discuss books. When it comes to blogging, only do what you love. 🙂