{Armchair BEA} Blogging Tips


Armchair BEA is the site to be at this week if you aren't able to get into NYC for BEA!

The Final Day is for Blogging Tips 
{It's supposed to be Ask the Experts, but I wouldn't call myself an expert!  I'll  just share tips as I see them :) }

Don't forget to enter the Triple Giveaway if you haven't done so already! 


Get to know other bloggers!  When I started blogging, it was more to share what I thought of the books I was reading with my friends because they were always asking me that question.  I did no blog promotion whatsoever, and it shows: My first year, I had, at the most, ten followers, and thirty-odd posts (Which I tend to do in a month now).  Right before my blog's first anniversary, I made a New Year's Resolution to blog more.

I  looked around at other blogs that seemed interesting and saw that most of them were doing memes such as Teaser Tuesday.  By joining in on bigger memes and participating weekly, you can find other bloggers with similar tastes.  Go visit some of the blogs on the meme list and leave a comment.  Follow the blog if you like it and want to re-visit.  You'll have other bloggers coming to check you out, too.  I've never personally been a fan of Follow Fridays because I don't want to force people to follow me just to get followers--numbers aren't that important to me--but I can see why a brand-new blogger might want to do so.  Even now, when I do a giveaway, I NEVER require that anyone follows me to participate.  If I'm entering contests and that's a requirement (and I'm not already following the blog), I'll close the browser and NOT follow.  Sometimes, I'll look at the contests and not want the book and think the blogger is awesome, so I'll still follow them without entering, but I HATE being forced to follow...especially if I don't think I'll often read the blog!  Be aware that there are many others like me, too.  People are more willing to follow if they have a choice in the matter.

Over time, you won't need to do as many memes.  Only do the ones you enjoy!  I stopped doing Teaser Tuesday because if I was reading an ARC, I thought it was mean to be sharing that if my readers didn't have the same book and felt jealous.  But I love memes like Cover Crazy (now-defunct, sadly, but I still do it!) and Waiting on Wednesday, so I continue to do them.  

It's also good to visit other blogs.  Follow the ones you like best.  Whenever I have the time (I don't always, but I do try), I go through my blog feeder and open up link tabs to everything that sounds interesting.  Leave comments, interact, let other bloggers know that people ARE reading their reviews. Don't just read and move on unless you hated what you read.  Sometimes, the blog you follow will follow back.  Sometimes they won't, and that's okay, too.  Don't feel offended.  Maybe that person follows too many blogs to keep up with everyone.  You might, however, find other bloggers through comments left on those blogs--or they might find you through YOUR comments!  I've had that happen several times, in both directions!  Blogs that REALLY like you will also list a Follow Button so that their followers can find you, too!  If you love the blog you're reading, check out the bloggers THAT person loves; chances are that you will as well!

Social media sites such as Twitter also do more than I ever thought they could.  Until last year, I never had a Twitter account, and I didn't want one, either.  But upon joining, I was able to interact so much more with the blogging community, with authors, with publishers.  I've had some great conversations on Twitter and it's so easy to network on the site!  Book sites such as GoodReads are also great because you can see what other friends and bloggers are adding to their TBR lists, giving you advance notice of titles coming out in the future.

Know Your Books.

When I first started blogging more seriously, I wondered how everyone was hearing about new books months and months before they released.  Amazon.com and BN.com only go so far into the future, for example, and I didn't pay for premium access to industry sites.  I didn't realize that you could go onto a publisher's website and see future catalogs.  Go ahead, visit your favorite publisher--It's likely that their fall catalog is online right now to look at.  If you can't find it easily, just google it; you'll get a direct link.  Edelweiss also features many publisher catalogs in one location.  I signed up for the site through work last year and it's amazing.  They're now accepting bloggers, too, so this is a good source if you're looking for another galley source like NetGalley.

I also follow a lot of authors I like and will see them announce when a new book is coming out.  Because I was following Alexandra Bracken (And I think I found HER via The Enchanted Inkpot [then on LiveJournal, now on Blogspot]), I was able to discover authors she liked such as Leah Cypess.  Because I was googling for "good" fairy tale works people were recommending via FictionPress, I discovered Sarah J. Maas, who had pulled her writing from the site upon reaching a publishing deal for THRONE OF GLASS (out this August!).  Sarah announces publishing deals for her friends, which is how I hear about Brigid Kemmerer (The ELEMENTAL series, Book 1 out now) and Kat Zhang (WHAT'S LEFT OF ME, out this Sept.!).  Follow the authors you like.  They'll recommend books that sound good or from people you know.  If you're browsing the bookstore and you see an author you like blurbing a book, check it out and see if the summary sounds good.  This is another way I've found some great reads.

Same thing with agents:  If you notice that the same agent's name comes up in the Acknowledgement page of the authors you read (For example, the amazing Holly Root kept popping up last year with authors I was discovering such as Rachel Hawkins, Victoria Schwab, Rae Carson, Myra McEntire, etc.  Jennifer Laughran is another one.  She reps authors I've enjoyed such as Jaclyn Dolamore, L.K. Madigan, and Kate Messner.  I'm always surprised when a book I'm coveting shows up on her blog as an author she represents, such as my recent notice of CITY OF A THOUSAND DOLLS by Miriam Forster and BUTTER by Erin Jade Lange.)  Even if you're not a writer, by following the blogs or agency pages (which list deals the agent brokered if they don't have a blog, as I do with Holly Root), you'll see what authors they'll be working with in the future and can keep an eye out.  Chances are that I'll love many of the books being mentioned if I love other authors that agent represents because it means we have similar tastes.

Other bloggers will also feature books they're excited about, either by sharing the Publisher Marketplace write-up, mentioning that an author they loved just blogged/tweeted/etc. about it, by doing a Cover Reveal, etc.

There are so many ways to find out about books and keep your finger on the pulse of what's coming out!

Be warned, however, that it's easy to FORGET all of these titles.  I use Goodreads to categorize these books and have shelves that say 2012, 2013, 2014, and yes, I'm already up to 2015!  This way I can keep track of when books (and sequels!) are coming out.  Each month, I go into my list and see what's coming out that I wanted that month.  Sometimes, I mark books before there's a summary, so by the time the book comes out, I don't want it--or I'm craving it!  But that way I know it's a book that has potential, at least!


The cleaner your blog, the more likely you are to attract repeat visitors.  Do you have buttons and links everywhere?  Are you advertising giveaways that are a year old?  Is it easy to find the archived reviews or the follow button or information about you and your policies?  (Granted, my blog isn't all that clean right now, either, but I'm hoping to fix that soon!)

A lot of bloggers buy custom designs or make their own headers, while others use generic templates found online.  There's nothing wrong with any of these methods.  I've been rotating through templates while I wait for a friend to make a cute image for my header.  Templates do lock me in, though.  They decide where my buttons and everything go.  They decide if I can reply to comments on my blog or not (Right now I can't, which drives me nuts).  Sometimes, they decide how big an image I'm linking to is (remember how fuzzy and huge my images got last year?), or add too many spaces to my lines (which is happening now), making everything look bloated and weird.Plus, by using something generic that other people use, my blog is less memorable.  I also don't have any right to the images, so forget about Follow Buttons (Which I have never had yet, but want to!), business card logos, etc.

A lot of bloggers also choose to accept monetary income for their blogging.  They have Google ads and Amazon Affiliate links all over the place.  If you're going to do this, be tasteful about the way you're placing these items.  The last thing readers want is to visit a blog and ONLY see the ads.  Also, if a loud, blinky ad is outdated, please remove it.  Yeah, the grab button for THE HUNGER GAMES movie was awesome, but when I have my speakers on and visit a blog, hearing that ad makes me jump every time.  And blinky ads are just distracting!  Remove them once the promotion period is over and you'll have many happier readers.

Advance Reading Copies

Okay, these are nice perks.  Really nice perks.

Sites like NetGalley and Edelweiss are fantastic because they bring digital e-ARCs to more bloggers. Physical copies can be hard to obtain!  And if you do get your hands on them, consider what you'll do when you're finished reading.

I don't understand why a lot of people keep the ARCs forever and forever.  If you love the book and want to re-read it, buy a finished copy.  Support the publisher and the author who made that ARC possible.  I only ever keep an ARC if the cover is different or it's signed or it's from someone I know, etc.--and even then, I'm also buying a finished copy.  They can sit side-by-side on my shelf.  I'll do a giveaway with the ARC or donate it to the library or share it with co-workers or other bloggers.  ARCs are meant to be shared, not to be kept as a finished copy.  Some ARCs won't even give you the whole story!  I destroyed my copy of THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER by Michelle Hodkin because there's something missing that changes your thought process as you read.  I forget if it was Becca Fitzpatrick or Carrie Ryan (or both?), but one of the two had an ARC released where the entire ending was changed before publication!  I just finished reading OF POSEIDON by Anna Banks and there are formatting issues and at least two chapters in third person instead of the alternating first person POV, which really pulled me out of the story.

Also, be courteous when you receive an ARC.  I hate the jealousy that comes with having them!  There's one blogger I know who goes on a rampage when someone gets an ARC and she doesn't, especially if the blog doesn't have as many followers as her.  To me, it's quality over quantity.  If I was a publicist, I would rather give an ARC to a smaller blog with strong, quality reviews and thoughtful commentors than I would a bigger one with short, mostly-summary-filled reviews full of grammatical errors (Yes, grammar and spelling matter!).  That's just me, though.  It's okay to be jealous, but vocally tearing other bloggers down or whining and flagging the publisher on Twitter so they can see your horror will earn you zero brownie points.  It's immature and rude.

Thank publishers for what you do get, and if you receive a physical copy, please do send a review link to the publicist who sent you the book (or the email on the back of the ARC if you don't know).  They can see that they didn't waste money sending you the ARC and, if they like your review, they may want to work with you again in the future~!

What would you recommend to new bloggers?


  1. I was a lot like you during my first year. I didn't network very much at all, and I had no clue how these people were hearing about new books! This year I've been a lot more social and I've learned about a lot of new books and ARC's.

    I do keep the ARC's I get because they're very limited, but I lend them out to friends all the time. (And all the chapters in Of Poseidon alternated between 1st and 3rd POV. I hope they changed that in the final version!)

  2. Great advice. Well done. Thanks for taking the time to do this!

  3. All really good advice. I'm slowly advancing my reader base, but I'm also having a hard time finding my niche. Thanks for this post! It's great.

  4. All of your points are so well thought out. I agree with the music and flashy stuff. When music plays at me when I click on a site, I am most likely to leave.

    Great point too about following in giveaways, I will have to rethink how I do that.
    Do you mean the mandatory entries or just all of the places to follow (gfc, facebook, twitter, etc)

    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  5. its so long but get moral after reading full.every things is put information on it.thanks...

  6. I'm with you on the music and too much clutter. I love your tip for the GoodReads shelving by year, etc. Great idea.

  7. This is a fantastic post. You hit all of the important parts!

  8. I love your goodreads publication years lists idea! I have a hard time keeping track of when sequels are going to release.

    Regarding emailing review links to publicists, I have made it a personal goal to enter the email address into an excel spreadsheet I keep (esp. if it's only on an inserted promotional paper). That way I don't have to worry about losing the paper when I'm ready to email the review link.

  9. Great post! Some things I knew, some things I didn't. You definitely know your stuff in regards to how to get the latest info on books.

    I thought your opinion/advice on not holding onto ARCs and buying finished copies was important. With the book industry hurting, it's so important to support authors/publishers, and buying finished copies is the best way to show your support.

    Lauren @ Hughes Reviews


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