Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Tips for New Book Bloggers

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new Top Ten list topic is posted and book bloggers fill in their own choices. I'm a list girl (as in, I don't function without them), so I thought this would be a good choice for me!  I think this week's topic is actually a really great one, and I wish I had been able to stumble upon something like it when I first started.  I'm not a veteran book blogger, but I have been doing it for a little while now (over a year), so I hope my tips are useful...

YA Litwit's Top Ten Tips for New Book Bloggers

1.  Turn off the CAPTCHA feature on comments!~ There is nothing that I hate more than when I go to comment on another blogger's post and a CAPTCHA pops up!  (This is especially true when I'm using my phone because I usually lose the comment altogether, and typing on a touchscreen is no picnic to begin with!)  I find it particularly frustrating when I have to type a CAPTCHA and then find that comment moderation is enabled as well.  Overkill much?  We all hate spam, but you can use comment moderation (all by itself) as a way to avoid that.  If you want me as a follower, get rid of the CAPTCHA...

2.  Don't ever, EVER comment on another blogger's post with only a link to one of your posts!~ It's one thing to comment on a post and THEN say, "Hey, check out my blog *link*!"  In fact, I love it when my readers leave links to their own blogs, just not if that is the ONLY thing they are leaving.  When someone does that, they are essentially saying, "Hey, I didn't even bother to read your post, but here's a link to mine!".   If you're going to spend time commenting, say something useful, even if it's just, "Hey, great review!" or, "I totally disagree with you. You suck!"

3.  For Heaven's sake, use proper grammar, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling!!~  Warning: Rant Alert!  You would think that this would go without saying, but sadly, it doesn't...  I've seen way too many blog posts with misspelled words (I've even seen title and author names spelled wrong!), poor grammar (learn the difference between their, they're, and there, people!), and lack of capitalization and/or punctuation.  It's assumed that you're well-read if you are blogging books; well-read people should have a basic understanding of the common rules of language, grammar, and writing.  Trust me.  Publishers will NOT be sending you books for review if they don't think you know the difference between your and you're, or if you spell their author's name wrong.  I know we're all human, and I've made mistakes, but there are mistakes, and there is stupidity.  Don't be an example of the latter.

4.  Keep your blog looking polished and easy to read.~  I think my blog is nice and streamlined.  It's not my design, but it was free and it's effective.  My posts are front and center, and there is very little clutter on the sidebar.  I don't grab every button I see, and I don't have more ads than I do content (actually, I don't have ads at all, but I don't have a problem with a limited number of them on other blogs).  If a blog is cluttered, I won't visit it again.  I just can't deal with mess.

5.  No music!~ Do you listen to music  while you read?  I don't, and I don't want to.  I find it distracting and borderline stressful.  Since it's assumed that I am visiting your blog to READ something, I want to be able to focus on that.  Also, I often read blogs at night and it really pisses my hubby off when he's asleep and there is a sudden blast of some lame song from my laptop because I happened upon your blog.  If you want to put a playlist that your readers can play by choice, great, but leave it up to them.

6.  Don't expect bound ARCs right away.~ I think I was blogging for 7-8 months before I even even REQUESTED a bound ARC and I was probably 9-10 months in before I actually received one.  At first, I reviewed books I already owned or library books.  After a couple of months, I started getting approved for digital books via NetGalley.  If you regularly post well-written content for several months, you will eventually catch the eye of publicists.  Be patient!

7.  When you do request ARCs, do it right!~  Never EXPECT anything!  When you request books, do it professionally.  Be polite, concise, and use proper grammar/punctuation/spelling.  Also, make sure to let the publisher know why they should send you one of their precious few ARCs over someone else (stats, link to your blog, etc.)  If you are sent a book, read and review it in a timely manner.

8.  NETWORK!~ Use Facebook, twitter, Goodreads, tumblr, etc.  Create accounts and use them.  Get to know the community you are a part of!  Authors, fellow bloggers, readers, editors, publicists...  All of these people share your interest in/obsessive passion for reading, and what's better than that?  Also, go to author and literary events in your area.  You know how many followers you will pick up by giving away a signed new release?  You won't keep them all, but if you gain even two or three that interact regularly, it's worth it.

9.  Expect this to be a nearly full-time job, so you better LOVE it!~  I spend 40-60 hours each week reading books, writing posts, networking, and reading and commenting on other blogs.  I enjoy it immensely, but it is not a "spare time" thing.  Any blogger will tell you that it's a labor of love.

10.  Participate in weekly memes like this one, but don't be a mooch!~ Weekly memes are fun and they are great way to "meet" other bloggers.  In addition to this meme, I participate in In My Mailbox, WWW, and Waiting On Wednesday (click the name to go to the host pages for each).  I don't do them every week because some weeks I don't have time to read other people's contributions, and I think it's pretty obnoxious to post your linky and never visit any of the other bloggers participating.  You don't have to visit them ALL (although I sometimes do if I have time), but you should at least visit/comment on 10-12.


  1. Hi there :) just popping in...

    Number 5! It scares the.... out of me when all of a sudden there is music happening. Especially that rain thunder one!

    I'm also your newest follower :

    Waiting On Wednesday

  2. Yes to all! I can't believe how many people expect ARCs to start rolling in just because they started a blog. I also cannot stand captcha, and have been fighting with Blogger to keep it turned off on my blog. All their recent "updates" screwed it up for me!!

  3. Oh my gosh, what wonderful tips! I can unashamedly say that I agree with all of them - particularly your 'rant' and the annoyance of music. Fantastic choices, great post!

    Stephanie @ Stepping Out of the Page
    P.S. Don't forget to enter my latest giveaway!

  4. I totally agree with 2! As far as I'm concerned, that's spam. Into the trash it goes! It's really not that hard to put a little thought into a comment.
    Great advice, Karis!

    Alison at The Cheap Reader

    1. Call me a bitch, but I actually DON'T delete those... I post them so that everyone who reads the comments can see what an asshat that person is. Lol

  5. #1 FTW!!! Please, for the love of all things you believe in, turn off the CAPTCHA.

    Grammar is another pet peeve of mine. I'm actually a little surprised at the number of poorly written blogs out there. I'm not a fabulous writer, I'll admit, but I do know how the spell checker works and I know the basics of grammar.

    I HATE automatic music, especially when I'm reading blogs while *cough* at work with my boss nearby. You should see it when I scramble for the mute button while trying to look innocent at the same time. Not so easy.

    Great post, I love the humor and agree with every single one of them, especially #9!

  6. Great words of advice! And #9 is so true - book blogging is a labor of love. A polished, easy to read blog is one of the first things I notice when visiting a blog. First impressions mean a lot.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  7. I completely agree with #1. I have put in a very concerted effort on a number of occasions to get a CAPTCHA right and post a comment, sometimes trying about twelve times. However, I don't always have time for that, and I've often had to just give up and not comment anyway. Now I just get a little queasy when I see a CAPTCHA and tend to abandon all hope after one try.

    As for number 5, I often keep my volume off. Not so much for blogs, but for the random video advertisements on other websites that will suddenly blow your ears off! And, yes, this annoys the people around me as much as it annoys me.

  8. You have some great tips! I hate CAPTCHA! I turned it off as soon as I figured out how. I figure, I usually read all of my comments anyway, if one is spam I'll just delete it.

    Funnily enough, I do listen to music when I read. I always have. That said, I hate stopping by a blog and being blasted with music, so I am with you there.

    My grammar is atrocious. Sorry, I know it is the whole world's pet peeve. I try to fix everything that I catch in the millions of times I re-read before posting.

    Melissa @ Reading It All

  9. This is such a great list! Completely agree with the CAPTCHA point (obviously. CAPTCHA just sucks.) And I agree with #2 - I would never dream about just leaving a comment with a link to my blog in it! I rarely even link to my blog, unless I'm commenting on a meme post.

    And grammar is so important. And as you said, there's mistakes, and then there's just terrible grammar.

    Thanks for stopping by my list!

  10. Great post! I totally agree its practically a full time job lol. My blog is only 5 months old and I love blogging. Thanks for all the great tips :)

  11. Your list rocks- I like that you are so to-the-point about things. Totally agree with your points about grammar! So important! (Though I have seen some grammtically challenged blogs that get ARCs...)
    And the automatic music...I love me some music, but not on book blogs.

  12. You have one of my favorite list of tips I have read all day! I love your tip about don’t just leave a link! I find that so incredibly rude when someone doesn’t even have a comment about what I said, they just say “Hey check out my blog! (link)” It is not very polite in my opinion! I also agree about CAPTCHA, it’s so irritating to always have to type in those horribly hard to read mumbo-jumbo words! Thank you for sharing your advice!

    Darlene @ Leather Bound and Lovely

  13. Great list, I highly agree with the first three! Captcha is very annoying, makes it hard to comment on a lot of blogs. Double Yes to #2!! I get some people who just leave a link on my blog and never comment on the content, I just end up deleting it now. I don't mind if they comment then link me too.

  14. I love your tips, especially the one about grammar, etc. So important and so often neglected. I agree that it is almost a full time job, considering everything that goes in a regular post.

  15. Great tips! I couldn't agree more about captcha! It's really a deterrent to comments! I also agree about the music. I often upon 4-6 tabs and then go back and read. Imagine if they ALL had music! I probably need to get better about memes. I usually visit and comment on 5-7 minimum and then visit anyone who comments on my post. And I probably need to clean up my blog a bit. It's easy to get used to your own and not see the clutter. If you care to stop by feel free to suggest improvements.

  16. Great post! We both agree on number1,3, and 5. I forgot about the music and I have to say that I can't stand it either :) I think that the publishers are starting to understand the amount of work that it takes to keep up a blog and the influence such reviews have on sales (not everyone gets free books:)

    Thanks for stopping by!

  17. I agree with you on the grammar. I know people make mistakes (I've caught one or two of my own) but if I see mistakes all over the place than I think they just don't care. And if they don't care about thier review, how can I take what they have to say about the book seriously.

    I also fully support the removal of music from blogs. I've gotten the crap scared out of me a couple of times. Not fun!

  18. I am definitely lacking on the last one. I do memes and don't really have time to visit other people's unless they are in my blog feed. I am doing my best to increase my commenting!

  19. Number 9 always gets me... I work full time, am married, take care of my house, garden, dog... and blog. Blogging is SO time consuming, but so worth it! I love reading and sharing the awesome stuff I've read, and I love reading about what other people write. I still have a hard time admitting I spend that much time reading and blogging with everything else in life!

    I'd love it if you stopped by and checked out my top ten.

  20. Thanks for stopping by my blog! I love your list as well; you raised some really good points. Poor grammar and/or spelling on blogs is one of my pet peeves as well. And nothing annoys me more than a blog that randomly starts playing music at top volume! Arg!

    I'm a new follower too -- I look forward to reading more of your posts!

  21. Love the tips! Thank you so much for posting them. My brain has officially turned to mush from over-saturation of the most incredibly helpful advice today :)
    Angela @ AJ Arndt Books Blog

  22. Only leaving a link: I hate that! I never visit that link, because it feels really like they don't care about my post. Or sometimes when I'm blog hopping, I see certain peoples commenting the same thing every where. Just copy pasting.. I always wonder: what are you thinking? 1. We will notice and 2. Why don't take the effort to give a real reaction? :s

    And grammars are so hard sometimes! English is not my native language (Dutch) and I think I make mistakes sometimes. I try to avoid them, by using the spell check and translations on the internet if I don't know a word, but it can be pretty hard! But you are right, sometimes I notice the mistakes on someones blog - that goes to far :p

    1. I knew I should have clarified on the grammar thing! No one holds mistakes against the non-native speakers! You get huge props for the fact that you can read novels and blog in a second language at all. That tip is for the ones who don't even get their own language right! lol

  23. As a writer I appreciate the time you take to read and review books. I have a day job, so I need to spend most of my free time writing, but it's also important to get out there, so to speak, and have a relationship with other writers and readers. It's important for my spirit to connect with like-minded people. I have blogged for a few years now, and you're right on with you blog tips!

  24. I was kindly given this link by Suzanne at Paranormal Book Fan; as I was seeking to find some tips on sorting my own blog out. I've only been blogging since the end of December, and it's great to get some advice from others who have gone through setting up their own.
    I'm still learning the blogging lingo but it's been a fantastic learning experience.

    Thanks again for the top tips!

    P.S I agree that your blog looks streamlined :) It's crisp, easy to read and interesting... Now a follower!


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