Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bloggers helping bloggers #5

It's time for another Bloggers Helping Bloggers post! Today we're hearing from Julie over at Bloggers[heart]Books. Julie, thanks a bunch for participating!

 Julie, being a recent high school graduate, has been told she's now an adult. She's sincerely doubtful about this. She's also well on her way to being a crazy cat lady. Julie's goal is, apparently, to have worked in every aspect of publishing before actually getting a paycheck or a college degree. While also being a YA book blogger and amateur writer. It's possible she's a workaholic.

What are some things an aspiring book blogger needs to consider when setting up a blog?

Time. Time is a HUGE factor in blogging. You never realize how much time it's going to take you to write reviews, format them, repost them elsewhere, read the books, network, set up reviews and guest posts and every other little thing you need to do until you start doing it. Especially in the beginning, you need to be able to dedicate several hours every week to your blog.

Another thing to consider is how involved do you want to be. There are plenty of bloggers who post every day, multiple times a day. Some post a few times a week. Some bloggers are on twitter, facebook, tumblr, pinterest, all in the name of promoting their blog and talking to other bloggers, authors, etc. Some bloggers prefer to stay in their own little bubble. These are the kind of things it helps to decide early on.

But I think mostly you should consider why you're blogging. Whatever your reason is, the sooner you know, the better your blog will be.

What social networking tools do you use to promote your blog? Is there one that seems to work better than the others?

I love twitter. I can post links and share links for other blogs that I love and it gets shared with the people who follow me, which is awesome. But my favorite thing about twitter is that it allows me to make a lot of friends. It let's me share my passions and feelings with people so we can connect. And I really think that forming some kind of connection with someone makes them more likely to want to read your blog and help your blog grow. It gives them a reason to want to see you be successful beyond just liking your blog.

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?

I always grab my synopsis, cover, release date, and publisher from Goodreads, as well as the title and author. I'm horrible at summarizing, so I don't try. I always touch on the plot, characters, and writing. From there, it's I feel the need to comment on. The love interest? What I didn't like? The narration style? What I loved? World building? All possibilities that vary with each book.

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?

When it comes to PR departments, the general belief I've had is at least three months (hopefully more like six) and over 100 followers. The time shows your serious, the followers show you have a readership. But followers don't really prove anything, they just give an idea. So also look at your comments and your twitter/facebook/tumblr followers. Look at Goodreads friends. If it's related to your blog, look at it. Ask others if you think you're ready.

As for the email itself, you always introduce yourself. Name and blog. I always talk a bit about what book(s) I'm requesting and why I want it/them. Just a sentence or two. Then I talk about how long I've been blogging, followers on various sites, where I repost, page views, unique views. I include that I'm happy to do interviews, blog tours, guest posts, etc. I conclude with my address, saying I understand if they can't send it, and then sign with my name and blog link again. It's the way that works for me, but it won't work for everyone.

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?

There are generally two options for me with this question. I mean...there's plenty more, but I'll stick with two. Either Mr. Darcy or Michael Weaver. Mr. Darcy is a gentleman, handsome, always willing to help, and loyal. Sure he's quick to judge, but you can always change his opinion somehow.  Michael is just pure awesome. He's supportive and loving and caring and respectful. He accepts that his girlfriend kicks ass and does his best to stop protecting her when she wants


  1. I like these answers, very well thought out and so true. I never realized how much time goes into keeping up a blog and the social sites. I always feel like a slacker compared to others, but I can only really do what I can do.
    I prefer to spend most of my time reading, so everything else usually fall by the way side, but I have still managed to make really great friends in the process.

    1. You know, there was a point not too long ago where I realized my writing/social media schedule had stolen away all my reading time, and I had to make changes. Not only is reading a huge source of happiness and relaxation for me, it's also important with respect to writing. I've learned as much about what makes a story work from reading amazing books than I have from any class or workshop.

      So I know what you mean about feeling like a 'social media' slacker, but it's really all about prioritizing. I like interacting with bloggers and readers and other writers but I LOVE reading and writing.

      Thx for your comment :)


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