Hey everyone in the galaxy! Today I have a post for you all that I haven’t really had before, a guide. A while back I had my first blog anniversary and with a deadline the same week, no special celebration really happened. However, it got me thinking about what I can bring back to you guys after having been a book blogger for over a year now and so this book blogger guide was born. It is just as much for beginners as it is for veteran bloggers. To summarize, it’s basically just some tips, tricks and reminders for all of you book bloggers out there among the stars. I hope you’ll find it helpful.
A as in Advanced Review Copies, ARCs.
It’s sort of fitting that ARCs is the first thing we’ll discuss in this guide. Most book bloggers want advanced review copies to read and review early on their blog. There are multiple ways to go about this, some easier than others, but I’ll try to give you my best. If you are a beginner my advice is to start on a website called NetGalley. This website is easy to navigate and easy to get started with. You simply sign up, write a bio and start requesting advanced review copies. When you just start out it can be hard to get approved for books since publishers tend to look at statistics of how well you send in reviews for books you’ve been given (but you’re new and don’t really have that). However, a good idea is to keep on requesting books anyway and also checking out the “Read Now” titles since anyone can read those. Eventually, you’ll get approved and be able to get a higher percentage on your profile. Out of all of the ways to get ARCs, I think this one is the easiest, especially if you’re just starting out.
There are of course other ways to get advanced review copies as well: directly through the publisher, through authors contacting you or through Edelweiss+. I have not used Edelweiss a lot to request books, and truthfully they’ve not yet accepted any books for me there, however, I keep on trying anyway. Edelweiss also recently updated their website, and if you’ve used the website before (unlike me), then I can imagine it’s an adjustment. However, I really like the new layout and think it’s pretty easy to navigate after playing around for a while. Their customer service is great and you have nothing to lose by trying to request ARCs there as well. A secret I’ve read about which can up your chances of getting accepted on there is to crosspost your reviews on Edelweiss. Unlike on Netgalley, you can upload reviews on Edelweiss for books you haven’t received an ARC for. Just search for the title on the home page (most titles both old and new are on there) and upload your review once you find the book you’re looking for. That way publishers can easily see your work on the website and it might make them more inclined to accept you in the future.
As I mentioned earlier, you can also get ARCs through emails in two different ways. The first way is that authors or publishers find your blog, like your reviews, and email you with a review request. You can’t do a lot to help with this except blog continuously and make sure it’s easy for people to find where they can contact you. Usually, the bigger your blog gets, the more review requests you get. However, you can also contact publishers yourself. There are lots of bloggers who have written about how to go about this, a simple Google search will help you. However, I have a few quick tips for you. If you know of a book you want to read and review early you first of all need to find out which publisher the book has. After that, go to their website and find the appropriate imprint and person to contact. Usually, they make it very clear who to contact, but a safe bet is the marketing department or similar. Then you just send them an email with information about yourself, the book you want to request and which format of you book you are willing to review. That’s about all I know when it comes to Advanced Review Copies.
B as in Blog Hopping.
If you want to make friends, get more traffic, and read what other book bloggers write about then one thing I really recommend you do is blog hopping. If you’re a beginner that phrase might be new to you but what it means is that you go from blog to blog (you hop between blogs) and read, and comment on, other bloggers’ posts. If you have WordPress a simple “like” on a post can be enough to show appreciation of it but to truly get to know more bloggers then commenting is the way to go. Something I personally want to get better at is just setting a specific time of the week just for blog hopping since I tend to easily forget to do it. Either way, it’s really fun to interact with others who do the same thing as you do and see what creative posts they’ve come up with. To make book blogging more fun and interactive blog hopping is the way to go.
C as in Consistency.
If you run a book blog I think consistency is something that’s good to remember. Consistency means different things depending on the posts you publish but basically, it’s all about trying your best to keep your promises to your readers. If they expect you to post on Mondays then try to do that to the best of your ability (however, you’re only human so it’s not something to get stressed about, just think about).
D as in Diverse Books.
If you are in the book community then you need to know about the organization We Need Diverse Books. The organization’s mission is, according to their website, “Putting more books featuring diverse characters into the hands of all children.” You can read more about their vision, mission and their definition of diversity here. I believe in the importance of marginalized readers being represented in books. For too long, books have had nothing but white, straight and otherwise privileged characters in books with either no diverse characters at all or just token characters that exist not to give representation but to fill a quota or to further the white characters’ growth through their misery, death or otherwise problematic subplot. Diverse books enrich our world, the book community, and marginalized readers’ lives. If you are a book blogger, my advice to you is to read as diversely as you can. You can do that in so many different ways, but my tip is to look at people that have recommendation lists for books that represent different minorities. Make sure to broaden your reading list to include a large variety of identities and intersections. You can find a broad list of diverse recommendations on We Need Diverse Books’ website here. I also have a few Goodreads shelves with recommendations. Here is my shelf for books with authors of color, books with LGBTQIA+ characters, and Jewish characters. However, these lists are in no way complete or the only books to read if you want to read diversely. If you want help to read more diversely you can also participate in #DiversityBingo2017 which was started by a group of people on Twitter. All of the information about this book challenge and the people who started it can be seen in their graphic. To see book recommendations for the challenge you can search for the hashtag on Twitter. Multiple bloggers have made recommendation lists for the bingo challenge. There is always a way to read more diversely and you should aspire to read books that represent the world the way it actually looks like and represents people who are everywhere around you in the world.