Mistakes Were Made: Book Blogging

If you follow my blog, you’ve noticed a significant upswing in book blogging posts. This won’t be permanent. I’m actually planning to pare it down to one a week. But in diving into book blogging, I made mistakes. So I’m writing this to help anyone interested in diving into the world of book blogging. Okay, that’s getting annoying, let’s just call it BB.

Scheduling

The most important thing to keep in mind is scheduling. Keep track of EVERYTHING for which you sign up. And make sure you can keep track of what you have planned for any given week.

I use two separate schedules. I have single-month calendars in my notebook. It’s useful for me to see, at a glance, which days have something scheduled. I also keep a color-coded Google spreadsheet with relevant details that gives me a quick look at the status of various posts. My scheduling methods may be inadequate or over complicated for you, but make sure you have something to keep track of your post schedule. If you choose to have a written schedule, I highly suggest working in pencil or erasable ink.

When you’re scheduling BB content, keep in mind the amount of time it will take you to read the book (if you’re doing a review). Amazon has page counts listed, which can be helpful for planning. Don’t overbook yourself by falling into the “ooh! free books!” trap.

Assume you’ll get approved for everything, especially if you’re signing up for reviews. You MAY end up with less content than you planned on, but at least you won’t be stressed trying to manage everything.

Keep track of what has to be a top post. If you schedule more than one post a day, make sure they don’t both/all need to be the top post.

Consider The Content

The next major thing to keep in mind is what you feel comfortable promoting. I started out doing any kind of post (cover reveal, blitz, interview, guest post, or review), but I’m only going to sign up for reviews from now on.

It felt insincere of me to promote a book I knew nothing about because my blog isn’t about books, it’s about me.

If your blog is about books, or if you just want to sign up for all types of posts, then by all means, go for it. Just give some consideration to what you feel comfortable promoting, because BB is all about promotion.

Be choosy, also, about the books you sign up to promote.Β I only sign up for books that I find interesting. If you’re starting a book-centric blog, pick a genre or age range to focus on so readers know what they’re getting when they visit your site. And make sure to tag your posts so visitors can find what they’re looking for easily.

If you’re going to review books, make sure you’re actually interested in reading them. It sucks to force yourself through something you don’t like. And make sure to judge each book individually, except perhaps in the case of a series, where you may want to compare the various books to each other.

Get People to Your Site

There isn’t much point to BB without an audience. Facebook and Twitter let you share links to drive people to your post, but Instagram only lets you have a single link in your bio. I’ve found it very beneficial to have a page that links from my Instagram account to my blog. It’s super easy to set up, especially in WordPress; it’s just a page I keep updated as I post to Instagram. But I get a lot of hits on it, and it seems to lead to extra post views, even on older posts.

Save Some Time

My last big tip, though certainly not least, is to use plugins/widgets to automate your process and save yourself some time. Unfortunately, I can only really speak to WordPress, since that’s what my blog is run on. However, I’m willing to bet that there are similar plugins available for other major blogging platforms. Google is your friend. And if not, you can always copy and paste content into a Google document to pull from later.

I really like the Simple Content Templates plugin. You can create and load templates for your most commonly used post types. I have one for reviews for each of the “companies”, for lack of a better word, that I work with.

Duplicate Page is fabulous if you post about/plan to post about series or if you find yourself posting about more than one book from the same author. You can leave in the author’s info, or any other info that will stay the same, and just replace what you need to.

Yoast SEO is useful for setting custom share images for Facebook and Twitter. Useful tip: you can check to see how your link will look on both Facebook and Twitter using their developer tools.

While there are certainly plenty of plugins to enable automatic sharing to social media, I’ve stopped using them because I like being able to tag authors and tour “companies” in my posts, and not everyone has the same username across platforms. The couple of plugins I’ve tried only let me set a single content block to share on both platforms.

Do you plan to dive into book blogging? Or are you already a book blogger? If so, do you have any advice to offer? Leave it in the comments. πŸ™‚

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