Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Top Ten Tips for New Book Bloggers

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Tips for New Book Bloggers
By Tami and Kayla

Kayla and I have decided to team up for this Top Ten Tuesday, and we are each providing you with 5 tips we have learned along the way.

Tami's Tips:

1. Provide contact information on your blog! Granted, this isn't necessary if you don't want people contacting you with review requests. If that is the case, it would be nice if you put a note somewhere fairly prominent to tell people you don't. I cannot even begin to tell you the number of blogs I have visited where there is no contact information. If you want people to contact you with review requests, then for the love of God, provide your email!

2. There are always books available to be reviewed. Unlike what some of the "big" book bloggers will tell you, you do not have to go to the library to check out books in order to get started reviewing. It may take a while to get the big publishing houses to send you ARCs because they have limited copies they are willing to part with and many bloggers requesting them, but there are tons of indie authors who would absolutely love to help you get started with a book review blog. Trust me. Personally, I think indie authors are great. In fact, I have read many self-published books since I started blogging that were just as good as, or in some cases better than, some of the books that were traditionally published. Join social networking sites like Book Blogs, and you will easily find authors who are looking for reviewers. Or like Kayla also mentions, there are many great books on Net Galley. If you spend some time looking, you WILL find more than enough books. 

3. Be careful, or you will get TOO many books! (Yes, this tip is also given by Kayla, but it cannot be stressed enough.) In the beginning, you may be eager to accept any review request sent to you simply because you want to have books to review or because you feel like you are being mean if you say no. You will quickly get more than you can read. Please trust me on this one. I learned the hard way.

4. Provide an honest review! Maybe some people think this one goes without saying, but I disagree. Yes, it is perfectly acceptable to try to point out what was good about the book. However, please don't rave about a book that, quite frankly, doesn't deserve it. You are doing a disservice to your readers and the author if you do that. On the flip side, there is no reason to bash a book (or an author) even if the book is really bad. Providing a neutral review is perfectly acceptable, because there is a chance that others will like it even if you didn't.

5. Social networking is very, very good. And very, very bad! Yes, it is a good thing to network with other bloggers and authors. It can also be very time consuming. It is the quality of your social networking that is beneficial, not the quantity. Of course, during social networking with other bloggers, you are always going to see ones that were able to get their hands on that highly coveted ARC that you missed out on. Then you may start wondering what they are doing that you aren't or what you are doing wrong. Or you will see buzz about the newest social networking craze that everyone is doing, and you will be tempted to try to do everything. This is stressful! Don't let it get to you. Take social media for what it is worth - to make new connections. Don't let it consume you so much that you are taking away time from your blog, or from your family.

Kayla's Tips:
I almost find the idea of me giving advice to new book bloggers laughable because I am a new book blogger myself. I am still learning new things every day, and there are many occasions when I stare at the computer screen and ask myself, “What in the world are you doing?!” Luckily, I have had Tami supporting me and sharing what she’s learned along the way. How can I do anything but pass on what has been done for me?

1. NetGalley is your friend. If you don’t want to review only books that have been released, I would suggest that you check out this site. There are loads of books on there, and many of the publishers want you to read and review their books just as badly as you do. The worst thing that can happen is that they tell you no.

2. NetGalley is a dangerous place. This is a bit of advice that NO ONE told me. When I joined NetGalley, I was told that publishers were hateful, stingy beasts who hoarded their books. Bearing that in mind, I requested lots of books hoping that I would get one or two. I have only had two requests decline. I have not been able to read hardly anything but NetGalley books since I’ve started because of that mass approval of an insane number of books. I will never admit to how many it was, but I will say that I cried a little in horror. Please, do not do that.

3. Only request and accept books that you REALLY want to read. You’re going to get lots of requests approved and asked of you if you do things correctly. If you say yes to anything that sounds remotely interesting, you’re going to get bogged down. You’re going to be stuck reading stuff that you don’t really enjoy. If you are anything like me, you’re going to look at your pile with fear and loathing, and you just may start to avoid it. Reading is something that we love (it’s why we’re doing this, right?), so it shouldn’t become a chore. 

4. WRITE A REVIEW FOR EVERYTHING YOU SPECIFICALLY REQUEST. You’re the one who wanted it. These ARCs and eARCs are not free books. They are given to you in exchange for a review. If it’s a DNF (did not finish), it’s a DNF. You at least owe the publisher or author that much, because they could’ve sent your copy to someone else instead (who may have actually wanted to read and review it). I personally try to avoid DNF posts on my blog as I’m a librarian, but I do email the publisher with an explanation of what did not work for me in the book.

5. Only write well-thought out and professional reviews. These books are the authors’ babies and represent months (years, even) of hard work and dedication. The least you can do is give it a little respect and hard work. It’ll endear you to publishers and authors alike, and you’ll keep getting books that you love. You get back what you put in.


  1. I so agree with writing reviews for books you request! Great tips.

  2. Number four on Kayla's list is SO important. I kind of feel pissed when I don't get a book I requested, only to hear another blogger say, "Oh, I requested this and got it, but don't have time to read it. Whoops!" Not to mention the fact that it's REALLY expensive for the publishers to print ARCs (even more so than finished copies because of the small print runs). They are trusting us by sending us books, and I think we should not violate that trust. Okay. Rant over.

    I think #1 on Tami's list is important as well. For privacy's sake, I didn't post contact info at first, and then wondered why I didn't get any review requests! Duh! I soon realized it was just better to have a dedicated set of contact info for the blog and put it all out there!

    Love both lists!

    Check out my Top Ten!

    1. Yeah, I should have added to get an email just for the blog. Because you will get a ton of spam!

      Thanks for visiting! :)

    2. Thanks, Karis, for sharing that. It is so very, very true. I included it on my part of the list because this is a professional situation, even if we do it in our pajamas sometimes. We may not be paid for it, so to speak, but publishing is a business. We are a part of the marketing process, and we should treat our contracts courteously. :-)

  3. These are great tips. I haven't dared glance over at NetGalley in months because it is so easy to get bogged down and feel overwhelmed and I want reading to be fun not another job (one's enough for me, thanks!.

  4. I have actually never been to NetGalley before. Thanks for the warning that it's addictive. :D

  5. Thank you for writing this post. It's fantastic, and very helpful! *-*


  6. "Too many books" is so right!!! Lol. I buried myself and then spent quite a lot of energy figuring out how to un-bury myself!!! It's so exciting to get a FREE book for review, that it's hard to resist ALL of them!! :-D

    Fun advice.

    -Burgandy Ice

  7. I think we've ALL done that at NetGalley before, or at least once! LOL! Laugh it off, read and review 'em!
    Thanks! GREAT article!
    Laurie Carlson

  8. Incredibly helpful advice. Thank you so much for posting it. New follower via GFC :)
    Angela @ AJ Arndt Books Blog

  9. omg, so right! All of it is good advice and so true! I wish I had a crystal ball 8 months ago when I started, I had no idea!

  10. Really great advice - especially about Netgalley!

    Thank you for sharing!



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