Armchair BEA: Blogging Q&A
The prompt for this topic is all about blogging:
Blogging 101. All kinds of tips and tricks to get you started or keep you going. Talk about ARCs, reviewing in general, web design, etc. What blogging platform do you use? How do you network? What are some of your favorite web designs? Or maybe you want to talk about your own blogging journey, and how you got to where you are now. Either way, we want you to share your knowledge with the rest of the community!
I’ve been blogging on this site since fall 2010, but with my husband being a web developer, I feel like I haven’t had to learn how to do much. I have slowly learned how to use WordPress over the years, but I know absolutely nothing about coding or web design. One thing I’d really like to learn is how to use Photoshop or something similar so that I can make my own graphics. I love seeing what other people have come up with and made on their own and one day I’d like to be able to make headers and graphics for my posts on my own too!
When it comes to my own blogging experience, the thing that keeps me on track is the ability to schedule my posts! I post a minimum of two reviews a week, and I usually post a weekly recap on Sundays, and sometimes I have additional content (sometimes they’re reviews, sometimes they’re Waiting on Wednesday or Top Ten Tuesday posts, and lately I’ve been posting about my rewatch of my favourite TV show, Supernatural).
I find that I operate best when I write my reviews out by hand, as soon as I can after I’ve finished a book, and then I type it up and format my post later. Then I just schedule it and boom! Done (this is especially helpful when I decide to read a galley or ARC far in advance of the release date and want to be able to share my review later on, but don’t want to wait to write it)! I don’t have to worry about a week without reviews, and I read quickly enough that I haven’t struggled to keep at least two reviews on the site each week (although I’m sure there will be times when life gets in the way of blogging, and if that happens, I can live with it).
I’ve also learned that it’s best not to struggle to come up with something to say about a book just for the sake of saying anything. I don’t fight it anymore if I can’t write more than a couple short paragraphs. Some reviews are really long because I have a lot to say, and some are quite short because I have nothing to say (or nothing nice at least). I don’t worry about a word count; if I’m struggling to come up with something to say, it just doesn’t feel genuine to me and I want to be honest about my thoughts on something I’ve read.
ARCs! I love ARCs! I am very grateful to receive any advance copy, and I do my best to read and review the ones I receive, especially if I’ve requested them. When I read an ARC and love it, I usually end up buying a finished copy for my bookshelf or e-reader. And I frequently share my ARCs with my blogger friends, because I just don’t have room in my little apartment to hang on to everything.
I feel like I’ve read a lot about ARC envy/jealousy/whatever lately, but I for one love seeing what other people get! Instagram, Twitter, Stacking the Shelves posts – I love it all! I get super excited about books, even if they aren’t mine, so share away! When I see that someone else is excited about a book, it makes me excited about it, and if someone is sharing pictures of a book they’ve received that I haven’t heard of, it makes me curious. I check it out on Goodreads or the publisher’s website, and check to see if it’s on order at the library so I can place a hold, or maybe even a preorder with my bookstore of choice.
ARCs are exciting, but they aren’t the reason I blog about books, which I suspect is the same for most (I’d hope all) book bloggers, and if there’s an ARC I’d love to receive but don’t, it isn’t the end of the world. Chances are one my fellow Ottawa blogettes has it and I can borrow it, or I can just, you know, wait until the finished copy is released into the world and read it then!
I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s posts. I’m curious to learn how other people blog and maybe I can pick up some tips!