What are some things an aspiring book blogger needs to consider when setting up a blog?
Don't be like other blogs. I mean, sure, you could be inspired by them but don't try to write a professional review when you know you aren't, but have a professional-looking blog so people can actually be intrigued and come back. Make it easy to read and do some of your own stuff. Weekly memes are great to branch out your blog and be sure to get to know some of the blogging-lingo like ARC. That means Advance Reading Copy. I'm trying to think of others but I forgot! :P IT'S NOT MY FAULT! ;D
What do you care most about--individual page hits, number of followers, or number of comments? Why?
Truth be told. I care about the comments. Not the followers, page hits, etc (even though I keep track of them) but I care dearly for comments! Comments really let me know that people actually read the blog post and were kind enough to let me know or share their thoughts. Even though I still get 1, maybe 2, sometimes even 3 comments on my posts ...I know, at least, I'm writing for someone! Plus, I get this stupid grin on my face too!
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 free-form reviews?
These are all the things I include in my reviews:
-My Grade (rating)
-My actual review
-Credit Time! (I thank whoever gave me the book if it was given.)
My actual review is pretty free-form. I just type what I feel and then edit it a bit to make it seem, yanno, readable and understandable and try to make it a little professional. I even add GIFs and use "lol" from time to time. I mostly type up what I really loved or what really irked me.
In your opinion, does a blogger need a certain number of followers or reviews before he/she can start writing to PR departments asking for free books? Is there a particular format she should use to email these people that will make them take her seriously?
YES! In my opinion, sadly, a blogger does need a certain number of followers when you start writing to publishers. I had a friend who contacted a publisher but they now only added her to their list when she hit 350 followers. I, myself, haven't tried (yet!) but don't caught up on gaining followers. Get the hang of it first and when you think your ready contact them, well contact them! I don't think there is any particular format to use when emailing these people except to be professional BUT be yourself and don't worry! Plus, some publishers have their website ready to tell you what to include in the email so make sure to check that out first! There are TONS of Indie authors who would love for you to review their book and you don't need to be given an ARC to review.
P.S. I kind of lied. I did contact one publisher. Philomel/Penguin for an ARC of a certain book. (In fact, the author runs this very blog) and I am still waiting to hear back. To be perfectly honest ..I don't expect a "Yes" but all of us still hope, don't we? [Fiona sez: Monica wrote this post back before she killed one of my blog contests and won herself a whole set of Breathless Reads. Congrats again, M :)]
Just for fun: Which of Divergent's five factions would you choose to join? Why?
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! I DON'T KNOW!! Oh wait. Yeah, I do. TEAM Abnegation! Yes, I still can't spell it right but I picked it because, truth be told, I mostly think about others more than myself and c'mon. I have a HORRIBLE fashion sense. I'm glad Abnegation wear only gray and have simple hairstyles. I always keep my hair in a ponytail or bun these days. No more stressing. :D