Before you ask HOW to become a book blogger, it is essential to question yourself about WHY you want to become a book blogger in the first place. With so many book blogs on the internet, it is easy to get carried away by the idea of sharing reviews with fellow readers, in addition to the lure of free books from authors.
Thus, it is more important to first spend time introspecting, jotting down the reasoning behind starting a book blog. If it is just to get free books or earn an income from it, the novelty of the book blog will undoubtedly disappear sooner than you expect. But if you genuinely love reading, want to help authors, and look forward to interacting with bibliophiles from around the world, then starting a book blog might be the perfect thing for you to do.
To help you with all the essentials from the world of book reviews, here is an extensive guide on how to become a book blogger.
The best way to start a blog is to get going right now. A few fundamental points need attention, but the moment you decide on blogging, sit down, and start writing and posting your reviews. Every minute you spend thinking about it is time lost, especially since book blogging is an ever-growing community with lots of book lovers joining the race every day. While at it, dedicate ample time to choose the right title for your book blog. Something short and sweet that speaks of your individuality works best. The idea is to make the title memorable and easy enough for your audience to remember it, encouraging them to return frequently.
First impressions are crucial in the book blogging business. Your initial introduction to the world is your website. Tweaking out every bug and perfecting its appearance is imperative. However, before glamming up your blog, you must choose a blogging service that suits your needs.
Wordpress and Blogger (formerly Blogspot) are two of the most popular services available presently. Both of them have free options, recommended, especially when you are starting to blog. The free blogging services let you experiment with the whole concept of reviewing books. It allows you to judge how passionately you want to do it in the long run, without having to spend any money.
Wordpress is, however, the preferred choice as it gives more opportunities to bloggers with plugins and themes, particularly once you shift to a paid plan that comes with busloads of extras.
Do remember that blog upkeeping is a tedious job and requires regular involvement. Make sure to factor it into your blogging schedule.
The first question bloggers face, once they’ve set up a website, is “how to write a blog?” An interesting thing about blogging is that it is incredibly personal. There is no correct or incorrect way of writing a blog, except for a few precautions one must take.
For starters, your reviews should be structured well. If you share any spoilers, mention it at the start of the article. Whether you choose to have a star-system or not is your call. Some book bloggers prefer not to give negative reviews, letting the author know, whereas others are okay with writing their honest opinions, good or bad, in their review articles.
When looking for how to write a blog, your primary focus should be on the writing itself since no one likes spelling or grammar mistakes. Take time to edit the post multiple times, so your review is readable and without errors. You can also use services such as Grammarly or WhiteSmoke to improve your blog posts further.
When reviewing books online, English is the most preferred language to use. It has a universal appeal and ranks well on internet searches. You can always add a translate option in your sidebar for people who wish to read in another language.
Also, use words that are easy to understand while avoiding slang. Your audience will be from around the globe, and not everyone will have English as their first language.
One can quickly learn how to become a book blogger, but to be successful, you need to challenge your reading comfort zone. Most bloggers these days review select genres, and while that is fine, it is better to be open-minded about your preferences, and cover as many genres as possible.
For publishers and authors to take note of your book blog, write on a variety of book topics and themes. Be a little eccentric and cover unconventional travel books or something specific like must-read chef memoirs. This shows that you have a diverse portfolio that goes beyond the usual suspects, like popular summer reads, a topic that most bloggers eventually feature.
Moreover, not only does unique reviews keep your audience interested, but your posts are, once again, likely to rank higher on Google, resulting in a greater number of search hits to your book blog.
Reviewing diverse books forms the bases of any excellent book blog, but to keep it from turning monotonous, expand the blog’s scope. You can do this by writing about the current book culture from various perspectives.
You might, for instance, write about bookish products that you fancy or some interesting quotes by famous authors that are particularly noteworthy. There is also the possibility to mix travel with books and inform your readers about fantastic bookstores in your city, or the best book-themed cafes in NYC you visited during a recent trip.
Once you start blogging, you’ll soon realize that there is so much you have to do. From editing book covers that go with the review and adding affiliate links to answering emails from authors and sharing reviews on social media, things can quickly get tiring. It helps if you are good at multi-tasking, but if not, take a deep breath, and make a schedule. You need not do everything right away, but having a to-do list nearby keeps your blogging in order. Well, as long as you get to it eventually.
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is an integral part of blogging successfully. It involves using specific short and long-tail keywords that help your posts rank higher on search engines, especially Google. While you need not worry about it too much at the start of your blogging journey, the quicker you get to it, the better.
Furthermore, although the content of your book review is essential, you need to focus on the title and subheadings of your article as well. Readers don’t appreciate “click-bait” titles, but they should be catchy enough to intrigue your audience instantly.
Before you start to promote your book blog, enticing bookworms to read your reviews, or inviting authors to submit books, it is necessary to build up an impressive portfolio.
Begin with reviewing books you already own or have previously read. It’s recommended to have a few blog posts up on your website before you announce it to the world. This allows for readers to gauge your writing style, book preferences and also lets publishers and authors know that you are serious about blogging.
In most cases, book blogging is done without any cash involved. Authors are more than happy to send a physical or e-copy of their book in return for a review.
However, book blogging does require time, effort, and if you are going professional with it, there is some investment involved. As a result, bloggers occasionally charge for their reviewing or beta-reading services. If you do want to go down this route, it is highly suggested that you first spend a good couple of years strengthening your blog and social media reach.
Influencers with maximum followers and a serious approach to blogging are usually the ones getting paid, and not newcomers.
One of the biggest perks of book blogging is the free books you’ll receive for reviews. Once you have set-up the blog and have a few posts listed, start approaching publishers and authors. Most publishers have blogger review forms on their websites, or you can follow authors on social media to keep abreast of their latest releases.
Another option is to join websites like NetGalley, Edelweiss, and BookSirens, where readers can pick up free ARCs to review. It’s a great and quick way to start receiving up-and-coming books from indie-authors, who are more than happy to get reviews from newbie book bloggers.
While there is nothing wrong with reviewing classics, especially if you have a controversial opinion about them, do read and consider the latest bestsellers. These are the books that most people are curious about, and writing about them guarantees more hits on your blog.
Similarly, reviewing ARCs is even better as these advanced reader copies are still not available at bookstores, giving you an edge over other bloggers. Moreover, covering ARCs helps strengthen your relationship with authors, always beneficial in the long run.
Often bloggers, eager to start a book blog, overlook the time and energy that goes into keeping it alive. The phrase “out of sight, out of mind” is accurate for any kind of blogging. Thus, you need to continually update your blog to keep your audience engaged.
Slightly more important than that is to be persistent with your reviewing. If you take books from publishers in exchange for a review, you must keep your end of the bargain. In case you can’t finish a book, inform the author and let them know the reason. However, if you keep quiet and ignore them, it won’t take long before your blog is blacklisted amongst the movers and shakers of the book industry.
Although the main aim of starting a book blog is to have people come and read it, most authors also request that you cross-post reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. If you do that regularly, there is a higher chance of authors contacting you in the future.
Still, you need not write a detailed review elsewhere, keeping it exclusive for your own blog. Reviews on other sites can be concise versions of the original, with a simple star rating.
Even if blogging is a hobby for you, it is a form of business in the eyes of the law. As a result, when looking at how to start a blog, one must be aware of all the legalities associated with blogging, which differ from country to country.
Plagiarism is hugely frowned upon in the blogging community, and with so many people reading your blog, it is worth being extra careful, never copying someone else’s work, even by mistake.
If you have something truly unique on your blog, even its name, that you do not want anyone else to copy, get the blog registered under Copyright Law to avoid any duplication by others.
Many bloggers, to earn a side income from their book blog, will join affiliate programs. The one with Amazon, for example, gets the blogger a small commission whenever a reader clicks on the link and buys the product. If you do plan to use affiliates, mention it in your blog policy as a disclaimer.
Review Policy is the last bit of the “legal” declaration you need. It is meant for authors and publishers who might want to send you free books in exchange for reviews. Remember to be clear about what they can expect, mentioning the time you need to review, specific genres, and what extra you can do for them in return. This might include promotions on social media or cross-posting reviews on various platforms.
To be a successful book blogger, you need to have a following. That takes discipline, time, and a whole lot of social media savviness. Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Pinterest are the five most popular channels for book bloggers to make their presence felt. Each one requires a distinct strategy but can be the difference between blogging fame or its sad demise.
Instagram, for starters, is visual, and you will need to post well-taken photos of books regularly, using #bookstagram to stay on top of its ever-changing algorithm. Writing short reviews or asking open-ended questions, along with the images and stories, further increases interaction between you and other book lovers.
Twitter and Facebook groups, on the other hand, are more crowded, but ideal for sharing links of your latest reviews. Tag the author or the publisher, and if they re-tweet or share, you can expect a rise in your total blog hits. Twitter is also great for finding authors who might be willing to send across ARCs to bloggers. Search for hashtags like #BookBloggers or #WritersCommunity to find such opportunities.
YouTube requires the right kind of screen presence. Still, more book bloggers than ever are stepping away from writing reviews and moving towards making videos about them. It’s not easy, though, as you will still need to write a script and eventually edit the video. All of this is time-consuming, and not something everyone can do instantly.
Lastly, Pinterest is an underrated social media gem that can really boost your blog hits. It works as a “search engine” where thousands of people come looking for topics of interest, including books. Therefore, it is worth having images in your blog posts that readers can “pin” quickly, especially for list-articles such as the must-visit literary sights in London for book lovers.
Although there is a bit of “I’ll scratch your back, you scratch mine” attitude evident across the blogging community, interacting with book bloggers is the best way to expand your bookish circle and strengthen your connections.
Most readers are happy to share contacts of authors and publishers with fellow blogger friends. However, to build on these relationships, visit different book blogs, leave comments, share your thoughts, interact with bloggers on social media, and help each other establish a strong network of like-minded bookworms, working towards the common goal of appreciating books.
Blogging about books is genuinely a wonderful opportunity to become a significant part of the entire modern-day book culture. It does involve constant participation, time, and patience, but is a rewarding exercise that can result in the discovery of amazing reads and lasting friendships