Hi everyone! Welcome to the first Blogger Panel here on Adrift on Vulcan! Today’s panelists are:
Debby from Snuggly Oranges
Chrys from Oh, Chrys!
Katie from Curse of the Bibliophile
ME! (I couldn’t reach one of my original panelists, so I’m filling in.)
Thank you so much for joining me, ladies! The question, asked by Shannelle from The Tracery of Ink, is:
What is the best advice for newbie bloggers? Like the best way with dealing with publishers, for example?
Debby says. . .
My number one piece of advice stems from my marketing background: find your unique selling point and make sure it shows. There are many different ways you can make your blog stand out, and you need to take the time to find the right one for you. Whether you post hilarious gif-filled reviews, post thought-provoking and engaging discussions, are the “friendly blogger” who comments on everything and engages in discussions, have a beautiful layout that gets everyone drooling, or just have a memorable name (haha), make sure you’re original in something. If you’re a newbie blogger who wants to achieve something (i.e. get to the next level of followers, get those publishers interested), you need to not be “one of the crowd”. The book blogosphere is enormous and (debatably) overpopulated. The worst thing is to be forgotten. But make sure it comes naturally, and you’re not forcing yourself to form some kind of image that you don’t actually have. That will make it extremely hard to stay consistent, at the top of your game, and it can make blogging feel like a chore. Know where your natural strengths lie, and utilize them to the fullest!
(P.S. Get on Twitter. That’s where the real fun & friendship forming happens.)
I don’t really know if there is any “best advice” for newbie bloggers because we all have our different comfort zones, goals, and personalities. However, I think it is helpful to know that blogging should never feel like a burden. Yes, you are a newbie blogger, so obsessing over your design and content is inevitable for most. If commenting on other blogs feels like a burden, then don’t do it. If posting four times a week feels like a burden, then don’t do it. Basically, I think you should just relax. I am not saying to be lazy and uninterested, but to be moderate – whatever that means for you. Of course, there are some onerous tasks that have negative consequences once not fulfilled. For instance, not replying to comments on your blog, might deter readers from interacting.
In regards to contacting publishers (I assume for ARCs), I think one must be thorough in their request. You should introduce your blog, share your statistics and address,and state your desire for the book. One should not feel intimidated, especially considering the anonymity that comes with emails. The result can only be a “yes” or “no”, whether via email or ARC delivery/non-delivery. What’s to fear in that? If you still don’t feel comfortable doing it, if it feels like a burden – simply don’t do it. It is not as though the book will not be published. Right?
The best advice I can give to newbie bloggers is to be active and get to know there fellow bloggers. The best thing about being a book blogger is getting to share your passion with others and it makes being a book blogger so much more fun in the long run.
If there’s one thing I wish I knew when I first started out blogging, it is to interact with your readers. Not only return comments to them or reply to them on your blog, but also talk to them — whether it’s on Twitter, Facebook, email, or somewhere else. The book blogging community is full of friendships, so it would do you well to form some of your own to ensure that you don’t get left out or feel lonely! And also, if you run out of posts to post every day — DON’T PANIC. Don’t try to fill up those empty slots with blog tours, blitzes, giveaways, memes, and all those kinds of fairly unimportant stuff. We love reading personal things from you. We want to get to know you more, and by sharing a little bit of your heart with us, you’ll help us to appreciate more and let us know that blogging really does mean something to you. We booklovers love passion, after all, and if you’ve seen the stats, it is not book tours, giveaways, or memes that usually get the most traffic. It’s discussions and original stuff, because we love originality, too!
About that bit about the publishers: I don’t claim to be an expert, but the most important of all is that you be polite and professional. I know — some help, right? But really. Don’t demand books from them. Don’t throw yourself at them (unless you’re very good friends), otherwise they won’t take you seriously. Don’t fill your email with CAPs and exclamation marks everywhere. I know you’re excited and that you want the book you’re requesting really badly, but seriously — calm down. To be honest though, I don’t think there’s a correct way to deal with publishers. I mean, once you send off your email, everything is pretty much out of your hands, and it’s up to them whether they want to respond or not. And in your email, I also think it’s a great help if you include a short introduction of yourself, how long you’ve been blogging, and why you’re blogging. It kind of gives the pub a better sense of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, which will also add to the professional factor.
Tip: U.S. publishers are usually more picky about who they send galleys to than publishers in the U.K. or Australia — especially if you’re an international blogger. You’d have much better luck contacting the latter two than the former!
Over to you!
What do you think? Do you agree with these panelists? Do you have some tips of your own that you’d like to share? Please do! I’m sure we can all benefit from it. And if you’re interested, signups for the next Blogger Panel begin now!
What is the Blogger Panel?
The Blogger Panel is to provide help and a little bit of an “insider’s scoop” into what bloggers/reviewers think about certain things in a book, OR anything book/blog related. I’m also accepting questions from YOU! The questions can be about anything – books, authors, book blogs (advice, etc.) – just as long as it is book related. Please remember, this isn’t an interview with bloggers, so do refrain from asking simple questions you’d ask in an interview.
If you want to join the next Blogger Panel, but don’t want to submit a question, select “Yes” in the form and leave the “Question” area blank. I’ll be looking for up to four people for the next panel. If you’re accepted, look out for my email and the question!
BLOGGER PANEL FORM [NOT COMMENT FORM (for the comment form, please scroll down further)]:
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*This post is linked on the Let’s Discuss feature hosted by Oh, Chrys and The Fiction Conniption*