Today's Bloggers Helping Bloggers contributor is Sarah from The Book Life. Thanks for participating, Sarah!
Sarah's bio: I'm just a nerdy gal who loves the various things life offers up. I like to call myself an extreme reader, where others like to BMX off of large hills or swim with sharks, I like to read books in large quantities :0) I like to live my large, scary adventures vicariously. I'm big into movies and music, too. Sometimes I like to watch a movie on silent, while listening to my mp3 player and reading a book! Okay, so that might have been stretching the truth just a tad... I also love coffee (a little too much) and spending time watching the ocean. It's so immense and persistent. I love that it never stops, always reaching for the shore. Most of my books are YA, even though I am fastly approaching the not even a little Y, A. The stories in YA books are always so much more creative and immersive. Sure they can have some recycled stories, but for the most part they are new and exciting. Just because you are grown, it doesn't mean you have to start reading your mom's old romance novels :0)
What are some things an aspiring book blogger needs to consider when setting up a blog?Patience is key. There are so many amazing blogs out there that you want your blog to grow up and be like someday, but you have to remember that those bloggers put in a lot of time and hard work on their blogs, and still do. It seems simple; create a blog, post reviews, voila! That’s not the case, though, and you really have to devote a lot of time to making your blog what you want it to be. I don’t claim to be an expert by any means, but I think the best piece of advice I can give is: don’t stress. Remember that you started your blog because you love books and you wanted people to share your love with, it’s about having a good time and making new friends. There is no perfect recipe and that’s okay :0)
What social networking tools do you use to promote your blog? Is there one that seems to work better than the others? Prior to blogging, and even after I first started, I was completely anti-twitter. Honestly, I just didn’t see the point. I had a personal twitter account, but I never used it. I read some posts from established bloggers on how to get your blog out there, and twitter was the number one suggestion. So I sucked it up and created an account for my blog, and the rest is history. I’m completely hooked on twitter and can’t imagine not using it on a daily basis. It’s a great way to connect with other bloggers and with authors. I am constantly amazed by the friendships I’ve formed just by talking to people on twitter. It’s also a great forum to get your blog content out there to other bloggers, authors and publishers. I still remember the first time one of my favorite authors responded to one of my tweets, star struck would be a good word to describe me. And it’s still exciting every time, even though I now talk to authors on a regular basis.
Discuss the format of your reviews. Do you include the book jacket synopsis? Your own synopsis? Do you make a point to always discuss plot, characters, theme? High points and low points? Covers? Hot boys? Or do you write more unstructured freeform reviews?I usually include the Goodreads synopsis, with proper credit, and the cover photo on all of my reviews. I’m a terrible paraphraser, so it’s good when I can grab it from somewhere. When I first started doing reviews, I tried to make them very uniform, but I learned very quickly that my main review points depended on my reaction to the book. So my reviews are all pretty unstructured, but I find that I like seeing where my thoughts take the review. I think it’s less boring that way, too :0)
If a blogger asks for a book and a publisher sends it to them for free, are they obligated to review it? Should they send them a link to the review? What if they HATES the book? Do they have to review it then? If they send a link will the publisher blacklist them from getting more ARCs?
I definitely believe that if you ask for a review copy and the publisher sends it to you, you are obligated to do a review on it. That was the purpose of them sending the book to you in the first place, the review is like payment for getting the book. I always send review links to publishers if they have sent me a review copy, sometimes I’ll send them even if it was a book I bought.
You aren’t going to like every book you request for review, sometimes a story just doesn’t work for you. If I manage to make it all the way through a book I didn’t particularly care for, I will still review it, but I am very constructive with those reviews. I explain what I didn’t like about the book and why, but I will also point out things that I did enjoy about it, too. If I couldn’t finish a book or can’t think of anything constructive or nice to say about it, I will email the publisher and let them know why I am not reviewing it and thank them for the opportunity to read the book. I can’t imagine a publisher would ever blacklist someone because they didn’t like a book. Not everyone is going to like the book you are publishing and as long as your review isn’t mean or tactless, the publisher shouldn’t have any problem sending you review copies in the future. WOULD
Just for fun: Congratulations! You were the last tribute standing at this year's Hunger Games. What fictional boy (doesn't have to be Gale or Peeta) do you hope is waiting to welcome you home? Why do you like him so much?
Adam Wilde from Gayle Forman’s IF I STAY and WHERE SHE WENT. I love Adam with my whole heart, he is definitely one of my most favorite book boyfriend. What’s not to love about him, I mean he’s a musician, he’s got an amazing heart, and he’s a hottie! What more could anyone want?!?