Now, who am I to suppose I have good tips? I am clearly not a successful blogger, nor a good reviewer, and least of all a good commenter. Still, I though about it and found that I do have something to say: so here are my top 10 unconventional tips for book bloggers:
- guard your freedom of choice: of course, when you read the same books as all other bloggers, the conversation flows more easily. But this means that the most trumpeted books get even more attention, and the hidden gems remain hidden. So do accept suggestions, do take part in readalongs and book clubs, do read books that sound interesting when you see them on other blogs… but keep your eyes wide open for that interesting title/cover/author that the book blogging world does not know yet, or for that book that was all the rage a couple of years back and that nobody seems to remember any more!
- beware of free books from the publishers/authors: if you want to start a book blog because of the free books, think twice. This follows directly from point 1, but there’s more to it. Fine, who does not like free books? But at the same time, you don’t have the time to read everything that has ever been written. All that glitters is not gold: do you want to spend your hard-earned reading time in something that is not right for you?
- don’t let number envy get you: you know, that blogger who reads 7 books a week? The one who on January 1st posts a list of 10 books read already? The one who posts a review a day and then casually says “Oh, don’t worry, I certainly don’t review all the books I read”? Don’t let envy get you. You have your own reading rhythm, and that’s part of your reading experience. You may challenge yourself to read more, but if your yearly average is 50, don’t aim at 100. Don’t let blogging (and number envy) change the way you read.
- study some HTML: using the visual editor is very nice, but please try to understand what you are doing. If you use a button, make it link to the related page or post or blog, I don’t like to be redirected to the simple image file. Use your options sensibly.
- don’t make me jump through hoops to read your blog: this may be counterintuitive and against all blogging expertise out there, and I may be the laziest reader in the whole wide web. If you decide to give only a snippet of post through my reader or on your blog homepage, chances are I won’t click through. If you write a blog, it’s not to keep your ideas hidden, right?
- don’t overload your blog: we don’t all have supercomputers. If your blog crashes my browser just once, I wont come back ever, no matter how interesting the things you write. Think twice before adding a heavier theme or a new flashy button.
- don’t follow my example: do comment, as much and as intelligently as you can.
- don’t follow my example: do write opinionated posts on subjects other than book reviews
- don’t follow my example: do take time to develop better reading/reviewing abilities, especially if you want to take the blogging thing on a semi-professional level.
- don’t be afraid: it’s your blog, not your boss. Do whatever you want (take a break, change your voice every other week, experiment…), just don’t let the blog enslave you, and have fun!
So bloggers, what do you say of my tips? Whether you agree or you want to tell prospective bloggers to beware of them, please let your voices be heard in the comments!