Request ARCs to Stay Relevant
I like to think that books remain relevant because we continue to talk about them for months and even years after their release date. If I have a recent release, sure, I’ll review it, but I don’t worry about “keeping up” with everyone else. In fact, many bloggers seem to get tired of seeing reviews for the same book in their feed, so why not switch it up?
I also just don’t see the need to request ARCs. In the U.S., interlibrary loan means that, even if my library doesn’t own a book, I can request another library mail their copy to me. This basically means I have access to every book in every library in the country. I may have to wait for a new release (most libraries keep “new” books for patrons), but I have plenty to read while I wait. (I understand not every country has a library system like this–I am merely explaining why I don’t request ARCs.)
Participate in Tons of Memes to Get Views
We used to do memes, but, after a few years, I realized all my Top Ten Tuesday lists featured the same book. (My favorite characters, favorite quotes, and favorite settings all, strangely enough, come from my favorite book.) This seemed like it would be kind of boring for our readers, so I stopped. However, I don’t think traffic has decreased because our most trafficked posts are discussion pieces and not memes.
Furthermore, I have seen other bloggers note that their feeds look all the same on Tuesdays and Wednesdays–everyone is doing the same memes. So, again, I want to switch it up. A blogger might randomly pick my meme out of dozens of the same meme to read, but I think there’s a larger chance that they would select my post to read if it didn’t have the same title as a bunch of other posts in their feed.
Comment Back without Exception
I try to visit the blogs of people who leave comments, but I don’t stress myself out about it. When I have time, I’ll go through recent posts and try to get to mostly everyone. But, after a designated amount of time spent doing this, I stop and move onto the other things I have to do. I think most of our readers understand that real life comes before blogging and several have commented that they don’t expect anything in return for the comments they leave.
Personally, I think this is a freeing thought. Bloggers do like to comment back and be friendly–that’s one of the great things about book blogging! However, they’re also very understanding that sometimes it just doesn’t happen and that’s okay, too. So no one should feel bad about not having enough time to do everything they “have” to do. I see bloggers apologizing all the time for being away for health problems or family situations, but no one should feel guilty for putting their health and happiness before blogging. It’s okay. Take the time you need!
Of course, it is true that bloggers typically see increased traffic on their blogs when they comment on other blogs. This is why so many bloggers post about the need to comment back. However, I believe that even commenting should come in moderation. While it is important to get your name out there, it is also important to focus on building relationships with bloggers whose work you actually like (rather than commenting literally everywhere under the sun) and important to focus on your mental health as a blogger. If trying to comment back on literally every single comment out of 50 comments is too much, try commenting on maybe 20 instead and go from there.
What blogging “rules” do you consider optional?