Holy moly, me-oh-my. It’s been a year since I made my blog solely about books. One whole year. Three-hundred and sixty-five days. In actuality, it’s been more than that, but I wasn’t sure on the exact date. I just judged it off of my first TTT post which was a year from this past Tuesday. It’s hard to know because I was blogging long before that, but it wasn’t until February sometime last year that I became a “book blog.”
I wanted to reflect on some things that I’ve learned since I started blogging, since, you know, I’m all wise and mature now. Just kidding, I still think of myself as a newbie blogger…but a newbie blogger with some insights. So here we go:
Things I’ve Learned While Book Blogging
- Not to be ashamed of how I feel about a book.
People feel so differently about books and you’re not always going to love a book that people have been raving about. And sometimes you’re going to want to rave about a book that people have been ranting about. That’s the beauty in books and opinions. They’re not all the same! I’ve learned to rejoice in other people’s opinions though they may differ from mine.
- BE YOURSELF.
Yes when I first started for-real book blogging, I creeped on a lot of book blogs. I found what I liked in other blogs to try to figure out how I wanted my blog to be. Buuuuuuut, here’s the thing. You need to be yourself about it. If you see something you like that’s unique to a blog, don’t just take it. That’s not fair to the person who originally created it, and it’s also not fair to yourself and your own individuality. You have the potential to create interesting content that people will want to read. I promise you that. There is somebody out there just dying to read something that you want to write. But they don’t want to read a reiteration of someone else’s writing. Don’t steal. Be inspired by others’ ideas and make it your own.
- Plan, plan, plan.
Planning is important. I’ve had a blog since middle school, which was basically a journal where I sporadically wrote about my life when something interesting happened. This isn’t how a great blog should be. It needs to be structured with regular content so people will regularly visit and read said content. Since book blogging, I actually have an editorial calendar where I schedule blog posts in advance. I just use an Excel document on Google Drive and it works great because if something changes, I can just Cut and Paste the post onto another day. I also write down all review copies I receive by month and when they’re published so I can plan and read and write the review accordingly. This may sound boring, but it’s actually helped me become a lot more organized.
- But don’t be afraid of spur-of-the-moment inspired posts.
These can be some of the greatest posts you will right. Those that you’re passionate about will create conversation and ideas and hopefully inspire someone else along the way.
- Tell people that you like their blog/reviews/etc.
Comments like this make a difference! Getting compliments is so nice, and I think a lot of the time we think nice things without actually saying it, but that act of saying it can make such a difference in a person’s life and blog.
- Relationships > Numbers
My goal for the year was to have twenty followers. At the grand total of zero, this seemed like an impossible feat. I actually remember dancing around in circles when I got my first official follower. And then when more started coming in, I started over-thinking it, analyzing why I got more followers sometime and less followers other times, and devaluing myself and my blog in those lower points. Now, a year later, I cannot say that I don’t care about numbers. The stats and views and followers are still important to me, as I like to see how my blog has grown. But I can say one thing I’ve realized: sincere relationships with other bloggers and readers are 1382910382190382 times more important than those numbers. Blogging is a place where you can develop deep and real friendships with people, where you can have a discussion on the importance of secondary characters in YA lit, where you can express yourself to people who will listen. And it’s a great thing.
- Blogging can be hard.
Blogging isn’t easy. It takes time and dedication and creativity and that’s often hard to find. Especially when it’s an unpaid gig. I’ve gone through many spurts where I barely post (*cough this month cough*) and others where I post every day, just depending on my classes and work and things going on. And that’s okay. I’ve come to realize that I don’t need to post every single day. My blog and my followers will still be here when I come back.
So yeah. Of course there are other things that I’ve learned. But overall: this blog has been such an amazing outlet for me. I’ve learned things about myself, about others, about books, about writing, about marketing, about social media, about WordPress, about statistics, about publishing, about so. many. things. And I’m grateful for it all.
So let’s be grateful together, shall we? I have amassed a bunch of books in the past year that I don’t have room for anymore (especially in my teeny college apartment), so I’m going to spread the love and give some of my ARCs and finished books to you wonderful people. But it’ll be a surprise (don’t worry, they’re all in good condition).
This is US Only (sorry!). Also, no Twitter giveaway accounts please.