Are you new to book blogging? Do you have questions about blogger expectations, or just the way other book bloggers do things? Read on for a list of commonly-asked questions from new bloggers and our take on what book blogging currently looks like.
How often should I post?
The simple answer is as much as you want! There is no right or wrong way to blog, and you will find many bloggers with many different schedules. Blogging is, for most book bloggers, a hobby and supposed to be fun, so there is no need to stress about posting.
However, if you are trying to grow your followers and gain traffic, a more practical answer would be that posting at least once a week would likely be beneficial in this regard. You want to post with some frequency so you have content for new viewers to engage with and explore–so they can see if they think your blog is a good fit for them–and so your blog appears to be active. If you haven’t posted in two or three months, old followers might keep your blog in their feeds, and thus see when a new post is published, but others might not click the follow button.
What should my blog/sidebar absolutely have?
Our guide on How to Start a Book Blog covers this question (and others) more in depth. However, it is worth noting that your blog should absolutely have a follow button! While it is possible for other bloggers to add a blog to their feed manually, it is more likely that people will follow if it’s easy for them and they can just click the button. Other things to include are a small bio, a search bar, your social media links, and recent posts.
Do I need to answer every comment on my blog?
Discussing books and bookish things is one of the best parts about book blogging, so many bloggers do make a commitment to interact with their comments. Interacting can also an effective way to grow your followers, if that is a goal for you. However, life happens and people understand that. So if you sometimes take awhile to answer comments, or answer only the ones you have time for, or just miss one by accident, that’s okay. It happens!
Do I need to comment back every time?
Many bloggers do because they think it is polite, or because it is considered one way to gain more followers and/or traffic. People can find your blog more easily if they see you commenting around other blogs. However, blogging is a big time commitment and not every blogger is able to comment back every time. And that’s okay, too! Book bloggers are generally very friendly, and no one is keeping track.
Should I answer every e-mail I receive from authors wanting book reviews?
The answer will vary from blogger to blogger, but many book bloggers don’t–especially if their review policy already clearly states that they are not currently open to review pitches. It seems like many authors or marketers have a, “Why not try?” approach and simply e-mail every blogger they can find. In such cases, they probably aren’t really keeping track of who hasn’t answered. Also, for what it’s worth, I used to e-mail back politely declining every request and some authors would just respond with different pitches the next day. So either they weren’t reading my response, or they didn’t respect it. Consequently, I now only answer e-mails when I want to respond in the affirmative. And this saves me a lot of time.
Do I need to be on all the social media platforms?
A few years ago, there was a sense that book bloggers had to be on all the major social media platforms to stay relevant and get views. Recently, however, more bloggers have committed to staying only on the platforms they genuinely enjoy interacting on. It’s also worth noting that, at least here at Pages Unbound, social media does not drive a lot of traffic to the blog. It’s just another way to connect with fellow book lovers–if you want.
Do I need to participate in memes?
Memes are a great way to interact with fellow book bloggers, create content when you are stuck for ideas, and get some traffic from others who are doing the meme. Here at Pages Unbound, we did more memes when we were just starting out and it was an invaluable way to find links to other blogs we could follow and enjoy! However, as with most things in book blogging, it’s really up to you!
What are ARCs and how do I get them?
ARC stands for Advanced Reading Copies–books that may not be in the final state for publication, but that are given to readers to be reviewed ahead of the publication date. Publishers used to be more forthcoming with physical ARCs for book bloggers, but more and more seem to be moving towards digital copies only. Many bloggers use the websites Netgalley and Edelweiss to request digital ARCs for review. You can learn more about requesting ARCs on our Complete Guide to Starting a Book Blog.
Do I need to request ARCs to stay relevant?
Not at all! Many bloggers do not request ARCs. Reading ARCs often means having to read to a deadline and feeling pressure to keep up with new, hyped releases. Many bloggers choose to read what they want, when they want to avoid the stress. Also, reviewing backlist and midlist titles is perfectly acceptable!
Can I blog about topics other than books?
Absolutely! Many bloggers also write about movies, TV shows, music, and their personal lives. Some even have combination blogs like books and makeup, or books and running. It’s your blog. You get to write about the things that make you happy!
Do you have advice for new bloggers? Let us know in the comments!
9 thoughts on “FAQs New Book Bloggers Have”
Great post! However, it appears the Search bar widget isn’t working on free WordPress websites anymore. Also, the social media widget free WP provides, is very outdated. It contains platforms that are barely used and for instance The Storygraph is missing. I found no way to replace these blog essentials yet as my options are very limited. I spoke about it in my latest The Sunday Post.
Oh, bummer! Hopefully the search bar issue is just a glitch and WordPress will fix it. And, yeah, WP sadly doesn’t have an icon for every social media platform, but maybe if Storygraph grows in popularity or if people ask, they can provide one?
Another source of digital ARCs is Book Sirens. My impression is that it’s mostly debuts, self-published or very small presses. I’ve read some wonderful short story collections and some interesting memoirs and travel memoirs, but there is a wide range to be had. There is also no pressure to achieve and keep up a certain reviewing percentage like NetGalley, though they may well use it behind the scenes. That’s a bonus if you don’t have a large following; larger publishers on NetGalley may reject requests if you’re not ‘popular’ enough. Whichever platform(s) you use, there’s the temptation to request too much, so make sure you keep a list or plan, especially if you have masses of physical books clamouring to be read. It also produces snazzy pie charts of your reading based on your Goodreads stats, which is a nice bonus.
Ooh nice! I know that a lot of bloggers feel the pressure from having to keep up with the reviewing percentages! And it can be difficult to get approve on Netgalley and Edelweiss sometimes.
Pie charts DO sound snazzy! 😀
Great practical tips!
Great post!! My advice for new bloggers is to just do you. Don’t try to force yourself to do everything that everyone else is doing or read what everyone else is reading because if you aren’t enjoying what you are doing it’s going to come across in your posts.
This is amazing. I wish I had this post when I started I learned all of these with trial and error method but I agree with all your answers and lots of things about blogging depends on person and blogger want from it.