A lot of bookworms start blogs because they don’t have people in their “real” lives they can connect with about their love of reading. Book bloggers congregate in cosy corners of the internet to share their favourite authors and talk about their most loved books, and the online bookish community really is great – but, there are a few things to think about before you dive into book blogging:
1. What’s in a name?
A lot of bloggers (not just book bloggers) pick their blog name on the spur of the moment, and later come to regret it or try to change it. If you fully immerse yourself in the blogging community, it’s likely you’ll have social media profiles for your blog too, and once you create your blog and set up your handles, it’s pretty hard to change them later.
A lot of bloggers are in this for the long haul. Sure, we take breaks (hi, remember me? It’s been a while, right??) but these inter-webby pages have been going since 2014 and I’ve no intention to archive them yet!
Give your blog name a little consideration – try to pick something you think you’ll relate to in five or ten years time, try not to name it after a trend or fad, and don’t forget to run a few searches to make sure no one else is already blogging about books under that name.
2. You can protect your privacy.
We use the internet daily. We download apps on to our phone. We have social media profiles. We have profiles on a range of software for collaboration for work. The internet is everywhere. We rarely read Terms and Conditions, and many of us are under the illusion that the internet is a safe space. And most of the time, it probably is (book bloggers don’t tend to attract a lot of trolls).
However, you should always be mindful that there are dangerous – or even just malicious – people online. Some bloggers are perfectly happy to post a picture of themselves on their public profiles, and some have decided that certain information about their private life is fine for public consumption (this is the age of the no-holds-barred ‘influencer’), but others prefer to blog and participate in the community anonymously or under a pseudonym – and that’s fine too.
If you plan to work with brands, publishers, and authors, and don’t want to disclose your postal address, services like physicaladdress.com can be used to safely forward your mail.
3. You need to have a genuine passion for reading.
Unlike other blogging topics, book blogs focus pretty much on one thing only – books. Book covers, authors, upcoming releases, back-list titles, reviews of books you’ve read, lists about books you’ve read, posts about your favourite books and your least favourite books.
If you don’t really love to read, you’ll run out of steam pretty quickly (even if you do love to read, you’ll run out of inspiration every now and then too).
4. Blogging is a community activity.
OK, if you really want to you can start a book blog as a personal record of book reviews for your own purposes. But if you want to grow your book blog and engage with your audience, then you’ll have to participate in the community. This means finding other bloggers with content you like, commenting on their posts, following them on social media, and replying to people who leave comments on your blog too. Engagement is part of the fun (I’ve met actual friends through book blogging from other countries!). I find Bloglovin’ is a really handy tool for keeping the blogs I follow all in one place and staying up-to-date with new posts.
5. It’s OK to take a break.
I remember the feelings of excitement when I started this book blog – the thrill when people start following your blog, leaving you comments, and checking out your content. The pride you take in making sure your blog looks nice and the sense of satisfaction you get when you see your engagement numbers start to go up. I also remember the feeling of pressure to put out good content regularly – at one point I had a schedule and was posting three to five times per week (I was also a recent graduate then and had significantly less responsibility and work-related pressure!).
I never intended to take a break, but life happened (high post-grad, bye social life!), and I ended up taking quite the extended break! But that’s OK, the blog is still here, and when I’m ready I’ll make a proper comeback 😉
I know there are loads of long-time book bloggers (and newbies) who follow my blog – what advice would you give to someone starting out? Share your tips in the comments!