Discussion: How To – Start A Book Blog

Advice from a Not-So-Seasoned Not-Quite-Professional

A long while ago, I wrote a discussion with my advice on ARC requests.

Surprisingly, to me at least, a lot of people liked it and found it useful. And I realized something, I feel like a floundering child when it comes to this blog, but with a year and 460-ish followers, I have a marginal about of experience and advice I can share with some form of authority.

So, since my best friend has finally caved to my wishes and is soon starting her own book blog (and yes, I will hype and promote the hell out of her, be prepared), I thought an advice post would be a good way to help her, and anyone else reading this blog who wants help starting a blog, or just to see my insights into blogging, to see a different point of view.


Practical Blogging Advice:

  • Be realistic with yourself. Don’t say you can post 5 times a week if you do not realistically have that time. Start with one well written post a week. Its more important to be well written and consistent than to have a lot of posts.
  • Follow and interact with other blogs. Be a part of the community.
  • Followers do not happen overnight. Do it because you like it.
  • DO NOT OVER REQUEST NETGALLEY ARCS IT WILL HAUNT YOU FOREVER.

Book Blogging Essentials:

  • A separate email account you feel comfortable sharing.
  • A blog directory
  • A Netgalley account
  • A Goodreads account

Memes, Features, and Common Types of Book Blog Posts:

  • Top Ten Tuesday / Top Five Wednesday
  • TBR (To Be Read)
  • Book Hauls / Unhauls
  • Book Reviews
  • Book Adaptation Reviews
  • Book Coming Out This Month/Year
  • Favorites
  • Week / Month in Review – Weekly/Monthly Reading or Blogging Wrap-ups

Connecting With Fellow Bloggers:

A big part of blogging is connecting with fellow book bloggers.

Comment on other people’s posts, and don’t be afraid to start a conversation. People will want to talk to you!


Social Media For Book Bloggers:

You can’t blog in a void.

Well, you can, but then, no one will read what you’re writing. If you want to make friends and gain readers you have to network.

Comment, like, and follow other blogs. Join twitter and follow bookish-peeps there. Get a Goodreads and join some blogger/reader groups.

Trust me, it works.

And this is coming from someone notoriously bad with both technology and people.


Other (more) helpful advice & tips:

How To Start A Book Blog By The Sassy Book Geek

Discussions by Sparkling Letters

Realities of Book Blogging by Ardent Attachments

Rave Worthy Blogging by Rant&Rave About Books

Blog Graphics Tutorial by Read At Midnight


Bloggers I Look Up To/To Follow
(Blog-speration)

This is of course, not a comprehensive list of all the bloggers I like/follow/love, its just a list for the newbies to get a feel of some amazing book blogs and shoutout some people I admire.

This is in no particular order.

That Bookshelf Bitch

Thoughts & Afterthoughts

RakioddBooks

Heir of Glitter

My Tiny Obsessions

Calliope The Book Goddess

52 Letters in the Alphabet

Freedom Library

Bookshelves And Biros

Genie Reads

Icebreaker694

The Orangutan Librarian

Rant & Rave About Books

Read At Midnight

Bookish Things & Tea


So, what do you guys think?

Any bloggers you want to shoutout? Any advice you want to give to newbies or fellow book bloggers? Did you find anything I said helpful? Do you want me to do more of these types of discussions? Are their any topics in particular you want to see?

Let me me know down in the comments!

 

 

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A Little About My Novel: Legacy Of Stardust

Synopsis:

Connie Ranvir is the daughter of a war hero, and the mirror image of him too. Too bad she never knew him, too bad she doesn’t want to be like him.

But the Alliance has other ideas, wants her to conscript, follow in his footsteps and be a martyr for a cause that isn’t hers.

Four years ago she left it all behind, and now she’s back on Earth, surrounded by memories, and people, she’d rather forget. But the clocks counting down until she’s 18 and doesn’t have a choice anymore, so she strikes a deal: help her ex-best friend turned enemy figure out whose invading, and destroying, alliance ships, and he’ll keep the general the hell away from her.

Too bad she hates him now.

Too bad she needs him.

Too bad good old dad wasn’t as golden as everyone thought, because when his past comes around to haunt her, she’ll have to live up to the legacy he left her if she wants a chance to escape it. If she even lives that long…


Short Synopsis/Back Cover Blurb:

Everyone has secrets.

Everyone has a past they’d rather stayed hidden.

Everyone has a dark side.

And if she wants to see her future, Connie will have to live up to a legacy she doesn’t want,  a past she doesn’t understand, and discover that, though she may have survived the accident that should have killed her at birth,  life doesn’t give second chances.


Excerpt:

Connlynn Ranvier hated no day so much as she hated her birthday. Her seventeenth was no different, not for the bar fight, which was not even her first birthday bar fight let alone bar fight in general. It wasn’t different for her injurgies, a jagged cut down her cheek which would scar. It wasn’t even different for the sympathy directed at her from those who recognized her, which in these parts was most folks. She had long since come to terms with the fact that her birthday would never be a day to celebrate. It would always be the anniversary of her fathers death.

No, the things that made this birthday special was that it was her first day earth-side in exactly four years. Having left this same bar on her 13 birthday and never looking back since. Until now. Seems people aren’t as forgetful as she’d like them to be.

Which lead to the second reason her seventeenth birthday was made memorable: The bar had, in the intervening years, become frequented by alliance cadets. This, in turn, brought her face to face, for the first time in those four years, with her once time best friend turned enemy, Luxcian.

With a soldier at her side holding her still, she smiled despite the blood dripping into her mouth at Luxcian. Though she was out of practice with false pleasantries and she was sure it seemed more a grimace. But after all he’d done, he deserved nothing but her public mask, despite his once time adaptness at seeing right through it.

“Long time no see” she said brightly. Like they weren’t enemies. Like they didn’t know each other better than anyone. Like there wasn’t a four year gap in their history. Like it wasn’t her 17th birthday and this wasn’t her first time back home since that night four years ago when he joined the alliance and sent her away without another word.

He smiled back, but it didn’t reach the rest of his face. “Didn’t think you’d come back here” he said his tone conversational, despite his words. “I didn’t think I’d ever see you again”, he sifted at these words, voice becoming something softer, betraying him of his youth: A mere 3 years older than herself. Either he truly missed her or he was playing her for a fool and she honestly couldn’t have said which scenario she disliked more.

Connie settled for scowling. They were under no illusions for what would follow. He’d been promoted, perhaps for his own merit, perhaps for his insight into her mind. Either way, the night would go as most birthdays with the alliance went. The general would go on some spiel about her legacy or destiny or how her father died to save her and she should follow in his footsteps while trying not to make it sound like he wanted to make a martyr of her despite those exact intentions.

She’d be put in front of cameras commemorating her father.

If she plays along she’s a dutiful daughter living up to her fathers sacrifice.

If she doesn’t, she an example for how aweful a tradgey his death was, that without her father his daughter grew up poorly and that is why we need more people to join up so we can end the fight.

No matter what she does she’s stuck as a martyr for their cause. And now they want to draw her back in, with the customary thinly veiled threats that if she doesn’t join willingly, they will forcefully conscript her when she turns 18, though if she escaped their radar for four years she has no doubt she could do it again.

“You know me” she replied, “I’m good at finding where the trouble is.” Four years ago, he would have laughed, half entertained by her and half scared for her safety. Now, the words rang truer than either of them would have liked to admit.

He cut the civilities then. “Look” he started, paused looking unsure , and plowed ahead saying “we both know you could take any of my men, hell you could take all of them and get out of here without us being able to do a damned thing about it. But I think you came back her for a reason, even if that reason is just you being bored and looking for what is possibly the only challenge left in the universe for you after four years away. So, why don’t you come back and humor us.”

So he was going with a mix of honesty and avoiding the conversation they should, but really don’t want, to have. She’d leave in frustration but if she’s going to follow his take of honesty, she is bored.

“Fine” she agreed. Lightly dancing out of the grip of the cadets holding her despite each of them being three times her size easily. The others looked at her in awed confusion and Luxcian smiled ruefully and amusedly.

“Just like that?” he asked.

“Just like that” she confirmed. “On one condition, two to be exact.”

“Which are…?” he prodded when she paused.

“First, I get a clean slate” At his confused look she clarified. “I don’t know you and you don’t know me. No history. We don’t speak about that night. Agreed?”

“Agreed” he told her uneasily, looking for the first time, not not exactly scared of her the way the guards were, certainly weary, “and the second thing?”

Here she looked him dead in the eye and stayed straight faced as she said, “once I’ve helped with whatever problem is so bad that you were desperate enough to ask instead of tricking or blackmailing me into fixing, you let me go. For good. No birthdays, no speeches, no martyrdom. You let me get away without joining up, and you don’t use my name for causes I don’t believe in just because you can. You let me rest in peace the way you can’t seem to to let my dad. We have a deal?”

He stared her down. Of course he broke first. He was out of practice and she hasn’t had anything but practice these last few years. She wasn’t the same girl he remembered her being when she left. He blinked and conceded. “Fine” he said. Not an edge of emotion leaking into his tone. A perfect robot. A perfect soldier. A perfect Kesnian.

A perfect stranger.

“Well then” she thought ruefully as she followed. “All is right in the world when Luxcian doesn’t show emotion.”

Still, she couldn’t help but feel disappointed at this despite being the reason for it, Lucian, like most of his species reserves his emotions, or at least their expression for his family.

And these days, she is anything but.

Shoutout!

So, some of my friends recently started there own book blogs and if you like my blog, I think you’ll really enjoy there’s.

Roses Book Nook – My friend Kendall. She has some great reviews and awesome bookstagram photos!

Night Court Reads – MY BEST FRIEND. Ana has been my best friend for 7 years now, and she was originally going to start a book blog with me, which never happened. Until now. She literally made the site 2 days ago. Her first review should be up in about a week, which will be for A Court of Frost and Starlight.

So go check out my friends’ blogs!

You won’t regret it!

E-Reader Book Tag

I saw this tag on Allison Theresa  and thought it looked like a short, fun tag! So why not?!


What support do you use to read your e-books? An e-reader, a tablet, or the PC? 

Mostly I use my Kindle Fire (its technically a tablet, but its from a line of e-readers…so its both). I also use Adobe Digital Editions on my Mac for Netgalley arcs.

How many e-books have you read since you started the new “digital fashion”? 

I’ve been reading e-books since about the fifth grade, so I have literally no idea. Not even an approximation.

What is the language of your ebooks? 

English…

And I own Harry Potter e-books in Spanish for practicing reading in Spanish.

Buy them or take advantage of free promotions and books? 

Mostly take advantage…

Do you enjoy reading classics or new authors? 

Depends on the book. I don’t enjoy them all, but I’m willing to when it sounds interesting.

How many e-books do you have? 

SO MANY!

What is your biggest supplier of ebooks? 

Amazon. I literally own a kindle remember?

Did you completely adhere to the Digital Reading or do you still live in the Age of the Physical Book? 

I use both. I prefer owning physical books, but e-books are better for traveling and school.


I Tag:

Louise @ Genie Reads

Casey @ Adopt-a-Book-AUS

B @ Icebreaker694

Raquel @ Rakiodd Books

The Orangutan Librarian

Sophie @ Blame it on Chocolate

Alex @ Lord of the Trekkies

Kayla @ KDrew The Bookworm

The Book Blogger Insider Tag

I wasn’t tagged, but I saw this over at Drizzle and Hurricane Books and thought it looked like fun!


Rules

Answer the questions below.
Credit the creator: Camryn @The Writing Crafter.
Tag at least 5 people.
Have fun!


1) Where do you typically write your blog posts?

My desk in my room where my desktop is. Never anywhere else, though I jot down ideas in the notes app of my phone a lot everywhere else.

2) How long does it generally take you to write a book review?

Anywhere from 20 minutes to agonizing over everything for 4 hours. Generally, there is no in-between with me.

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3) When did you start your book blog?

I started this blog in January 2015. But I didn’t get serious about it until later into 2016.

4) What is the worst thing about having a book blog in your opinion?

Time.

Stress.

I have terrible time management when it comes to this blog, and the TBR pile and having to post is just another stress in the long line of things I have to be stressed about.

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5) What is the best thing about having a book blog in your opinion?

Getting to talk to people about books, meeting people, making friends, having a consistent hobby. Take your pick.

6) What blog post have you had the most fun writing so far?

There have been a few. Off the top of my head, some are:

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Things I Want To See More Of In YA

Poem: Despite Your Heart Of Gold (I’m Not The One You Need To Save)

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Things That Make Me Want To Read A Book

Discussion: Review Copies/ARCs

Buddy Read – Book Review: And I Darken

Panic! At The Disco Book Tag (Original)

Entirely non-comprehensive of course.

7) What is your favourite type of blog post to write?

I really like writing discussions and story type posts. They don’t tend to come out very good, but they feel the most personal/conversational and I like them.

I also like the Top Ten Tuesdays usually.

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8) When do you typically write?

In the morning when I have time to kill, at night when I’m avoiding some other responsibility like dishes/laundry, or on weekends while I lounge around watching TV and should be reading probably.

9) Do you review every book you read?

I try to. Sometimes it doesn’t happen, but I try to.

10) How do you write your book reviews? With a cup of coffee or tea? With Netflix? Cuddled with your fur baby?

My cat doesn’t cuddle me, he’s my sister’s. I swear she trained him to bite me.

If I’m writing in the morning I have coffee, but I don’t seek it for writing time. Usually I;m watching Youtube videos or Netflix while I’m blogging. Definitely.

11) When do you write your book reviews? Right after finishing the book? Two weeks after finishing the book?

I try my best to review books as soon as I finish them – or at least within the week. Usually I’ll write the review and schedule it for later (next open Friday on the schedule or, if its an arc, for release day).

12) How often do you post?

Lately I’ve been trying for minimum 3 times a week. Sometimes more, but thats usually it. I have a few monthly posts that I do (like Throwback Thursday) and I usually try to do a few weekly memes (T5W and TTT), but my basic schedule is a tag on Monday, a discussion or etc. on Wednesday, and a review  on Friday.

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My Tags

B @ Icebreaker694

Raquel @ Rakiodd Books

Kayla @ KDrew The Bookworm

Lashaan and Trang @ Bookidote

Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek

Sophie @ Blame it on Chocolate

Alex @ Lord of the Trekkies

The Orangutan Librarian

Discussion: Do ARC Reviews HAVE To Be Positive?

Aren’t you proud of me? Being all consistent and writing discussions regularly for the first time ever? I told you had a list of ideas a mile long – I’m just working through it now.

Anyways. Onto the discussion you came here for.


I’ve seen a handful of bloggers touch upon this topic and I wanted to give my own view of it. Arcs are, especially, a book blogger’s lifeblood – one of my most popular discussion posts is on How To Request ARCs.

And for many of us, they are a perk to our hobby – but they are also a responsibility.

Regardless of your stance on negative reviews in general, we have do decide if its okay to negatively review on ARC.

ARC, simply put, stands for Advanced Readers/Review Copy.

An ARCs entire purpose of existence is to generate prerelease reviews and hype, so that the book sells better. Obviously, positive reviews are whats going to accomplish this, not negative reviews.

But upon reviewing an ARC, we all give a statement along the lines of “I received this book for free but it doesn’t influence my opinion”. I think for most of us, thats not even a conscious thing to write, its a legal, automatic, robotic thing. Like a user agreement – you mark agree and proceed to ignore it.

Even if you don’t consciously tailor reviews because its an ARC, I think it subconsciously motivates us to try and like the book a bit more – we feel bad giving a negative review when a publisher/author went out of their way, and spent money, to have us review the book.

But we need to be honest – thats the only way book blogs function. If our readers can trust us, if our fellow book bloggers can trust us.

If you heartily dislike the book – and you don’t want to give a negative review, maybe contact the publisher and let them know. Give them your feedback.

Otherwise, be careful with what you request or accept – if you’re not sure about it, don’t take it just because its offered – you don’t want to get yourself in that position.

Now, if you are reviewing an ARC, and you didn’t like it, DON’T BASH IT.

Explain why did and why did not work for you – what made you dislike it, its it a personal/subjective reason? Could others of certain tastes like it? Is the writing objectively good? Even if its a low rating, can you mention some positives?

We want to promote books. We want ARCs to serve their intended purpose, but not at the sake of our integrity. Be honest – just don’t be harsh or cruel.


What do you think?

Do you agree with me?

Do you have a different stance?

Let me know!