Small Review is hosting a great event to introduce new bloggers to the wonderful world of book blogging, and to connect bloggers both new and old! She has questionnaires for newbies and more experienced bloggers to share their experiences! It's a great event - you can check out the full details here.
I've been blogging for about 9 months now, so I chose the experienced questionnaire.
1. When did you start your blog?
I started my blog on February 24, 2010 (back then I was on Wordpress).
2. Why did you start your blog?
I actually went to a panel on publishing, where one of the editors from a major publishing house suggested book blogging as a great thing to do if you wanted to work in publishing. I started out doing it as a career move, but now I do it simply because it's so much fun. The community is great, and I've never felt more involved in the world of books.
3. What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far? Did you make any mistakes new bloggers can learn from?
I think the biggest challenge is trying to balance blogging with the rest of your life. (I know a lot of others have said this too, and it's really true.) It's easy to be intimidated by the bloggers who post repeatedly every day, but not everyone has that kind of time! I felt really pressured at first to post all the time in order to keep my followers - but, I've learned that if you have good content at least somewhat regularly (not necessarily daily) then your followers will come back whenever you post. They're not going to abandon you! However, I do think participating in memes is a great way to keep fresh content up when you don't have time to review multiple books weekly. The most important thing, though, is to just have fun - don't worry too much about the rest of it. This is for you!
4. What did you find most discouraging about being a new blogger? How did you deal with this?
I think the most nerve-wracking thing is simply not knowing where to begin. Obviously, you know you're going to be writing reviews. But how do you get author interviews? How do you participate in tours? How do you run contests? How do you ask people to add you to their blogroll? There are so many questions! But I soon learned that book bloggers are sweet and friendly and they're glad to answer your questions if you're brave enough to ask! So, if you find yourself overwhelmed by the world you've entered, shoot an email to a blogger you like and ask them your questions - I'm betting they'll be glad to help you out (and be flattered! I always am when people ask me questions) :-)
5. What do you find most encouraging?
Well, this kind of ties into my answer to number 4. The most encouraging thing is the community of book bloggers. They're all fun and nice and friendly and share your interests! I've made so many friends from doing this - it's truly amazing.
6. What do you like best about the blogs you read? Have you tried to replicate this in your blog?
I love blogs that post well-written reviews (extensive grammar mistakes drive me nuts). I also love blogs that are clean and pretty - it's hard to read something on a site that hurts your eyes. I also really love blogs that post features and memes and events. Their creativity is incredible! I've tried to start hosting more fun events so that people can have fun!
7. What do you dislike about blogs you’ve read? Do you try to avoid this?
Well, I don't think there are any blogs that I just plain dislike. Everyone has their thing. The only major turn-off (besides the grammar errors mentioned above) is when a blogger writes a really mean review. Negative reviews are fine and unfortunately necessary, but it's important to be constructive. There's no reason to be cruel to the author. They're people too. And spiteful, mean, un-constructive reviews really make me wonder what the reviewer's problem is. I haven't seen many of these though - like I said before, it's a great community and there aren't many just plain mean people in it.
8. Do you have any advice for new bloggers?
Don't be afraid to ask questions! Don't let this stress you out! It's all about having fun :-)
Also, I know many wonder about getting followers. Some of the best ways to raise awareness about your blog is on social media like Twitter. I talk with so many authors and bloggers on there - it's a great way to get involved in the community and make friends, who will in all likelihood come visit your blog! Also, participating in weekly memes is a great way to draw traffic to your site, a lot of whom will become followers if they like what they see. The best way, though, is to visit other people's blogs! They want commenters and followers just as much as you do! But please, please don't just leave a word and a link. That's just spam. Find a blog with content you like, read some posts, leave a meaningful comment, and most bloggers will return the favor! Voila! You've earned a follower and a friend!
9. How did you bring your blog to the attention of so many people?
A lot of the ways I mentioned above! Just getting involved in the community goes a long way. Social media is also a fabulous tool - use it! Events and giveaways also tend to draw in large numbers of new readers. I know Fall Into Fantasy earned me a couple hundred (which was incredible - thanks you guys!) It takes time to build your numbers, though. Don't get discouraged! Just have fun, work on building your blog, and they will come. And yes, I did just quote Field of Dreams (kind of).
10. Is there anything else you’d like to share about your experience?
The only thing I can say is that starting this blog was the best idea I ever had. I honestly can't remember what life was like before this haha! I know I sound like a broken record, but the people really are amazing. I love all my blogging friends! I've also discovered some new books and authors that I absolutely love that I probably wouldn't have without being so involved in this world. Don't be afraid to try new things!
Thanks so much to Small Review for hosting this great event! I hope my answers were at least a little helpful! I kind of feel like the blind leading the blind here lol :-)