Every other Thursday I will make a post that's meant to bring about some conversation, discussion, and perhaps even a debate. This can be about a book, movie, artist/album, or anything!
Welcome to the first Talk About It Thursday post! Now, if you see in the title, the topic is blogging tips and advice. Chances are, my tips aren't the best, seeing as I'm a newbie blogger too. But I have learned a few things along the way, and I'd love to hear some of your tips and advice for me and for other new bloggers as well, so be sure to leave comments below.
1) Do it because you love it.
I think most bloggers will agree with me. Don't blog for other people. Do it for yourself. Do it because you like discussing books and movies and television shows or whatever it is you blog about. If you don't do it because you love it, you'll find blogging a chore, and it'll only add stress to what I assume is an already busy schedule. Blogging takes a lot of time and effort, but just like anything else you're passionate about, you can find time. But don't make it a chore. If you don't do it because you love it, you'll get burned out. Don't be in it for the free books. It's not easy first of all, and second of all, that's not what we're here for.
2) Don't just follow others. Be yourself.
It's okay to take inspiration from others and to look up to other bloggers. I do too. But don't forget to stay true to yourself. If that means something similar to other bloggers, that's fine. But it means that if you're different, don't be afraid to show that. We're all special and unique. Embrace it. At first, I saw that I was one of the few bloggers I know that doesn't just blog about books, but you know what? I've become a fan of so much more than books, and now, I'm glad I focus on everything, not just books. But that's me. I'm a huge fan of TV shows and movies and music, and this is my way of talking about what I like talking about. Stay true to yourself, and don't let other people tell you who to be. If you start to lose yourself, take a step back. Remember why you're doing this. Remember what you love. Remember that you're doing this for yourself first and foremost.
3) Connect to other bloggers. Interact!
I highly recommend Twitter, even if it'll suck away time that could be used for blogging or reading or writing or whatever. Seriously, it's one of the best ways I've found to network and make your blog known. Participate in Twitter chats. Attend Twitter parties. Talk to other bloggers. Not only will you make tons of new friends with similar interests, but it'll also expose others to your blog. I've met some amazing people on Twitter, and I know they're friends I can trust. They're fun(ny), they cheer me up, and they encourage me. They provide advice and help and all of that when I need, and they're just amazing people.
And of course, connecting on Twitter also allows you to connect with authors. It's been so amazing to talk to the writers behind some of my favorite books. They're almost all completely down to earth and humble, and it gives great insight to the writing process if you're a writer. You really see how hard it is, but they're also there to give advice, support, and laughs. Seriously, I've talked to so many authors, and it's really been awesome. They're all so nice, so don't be afraid to tweet or email them!
4) Don't be afraid to take a chance.
I have to say, starting over almost completely was a bit scary. Emailing authors for the What's In the Snow? event was a little nerve-wracking. Requesting ARCs, through any means, is scary, even though it shouldn't be. Applying for certain street teams was a huge leap. They all involve a little leap of faith, but don't be afraid to do those things. I changed blogs almost completely in the new year because it felt right for me. I'm so much happier to be starting with an almost clean slate. Yeah, it was a risk, and it still feels like that, but I'm not so completely alone this time. All of the other things were also small risks. So what if you don't get an ARC you asked for? You're still a new blogger. You have time. Don't worry, you'll receive an ARC soon. But you don't know until you try. I still struggle with this, but don't be afraid! The worst that will happen is that you don't get it. But if you don't try, you definitely won't get it. And speaking to authors? They are some of THE nicest people, seriously. They're not all that different from many of us. They need us as much as we need them.
5) If you're feeling burnt out, take a break.
I felt guilty when I took that huge blogging break in November and then came back but barely posted (for a variety of reasons). But you know what? I was feeling burnt out then, just a little bit. Not so much from having been blogging for too long but because I had so much going on outside of the blogging sphere, and I needed to focus on that before it took over me. I had also just hit a reading slump, and I wasn't feeling it. My friends were all so understanding about it, and now I'm really glad I took that break. In December, I just couldn't get myself to write any reviews. Many of the books I read then probably won't ever really be reviewed. But now I'm feeling more rejuvenated (probably also because I was on school break), and I'm so pumped to continue. I didn't realize I needed a major break, but I'm glad that I took that time off to sort things out and focus on other aspects of my life. Don't let blogging become a chore and also keep in mind your priorities. Don't be afraid to take a step back and remember why you're blogging.
6) See what you like about the blogs you admire.
Don't steal ideas or anything, but think about why you like their blogs or why they might have the following that they do. Don't compare yourself, and remember to stay YOU, but you'll often pick up on what works and what doesn't. Try out some memes if they interest you (see more in my next point though). Read some of their reviews. What do you like/not like about them? Check out some of the advice that those blogs give.
7) Create more original content than memes, blitzes, blasts, tours, etc.
I'm guilty of having done this, which is partially why I decided to start with a clean slate. Most people will likely skip over these things. They can find those on other blogs. Make your blog stand out as best you can. Write reviews because that's what your blog is mostly about, isn't it? If not, at least create discussion posts. Generate interest in YOUR blog. What can you offer that other blogs can't?
On this note, also don't expect to gain tons of followers, loyal followers and readers, through giveaways. Sure, it's a start, and I've made a few blogging friends through giveaways, and I've found out about many blogs/bloggers that way, but the truth is that most people, whether they follow you or not because of a giveaway, won't stay. They just want to win, sadly. It's a great way to increase your numbers temporarily, but in the long run, you're not creating a lot of new readership. I'm not saying not to host any giveaways, but just keep in mind that it's not the way to gain loyal readers.
8) Have fun!
This goes along with the do it because you love it and take a break if you need to points. Make sure you have fun with this. If you don't, why do it? If you're running out of steam or it isn't fun anymore, step away, take a break, or consider if it's worth your time anymore.
That's all I have at the moment because I'm running out of steam for this post. There's plenty of other advice I have, but I'm getting really tired, and everything in my brain feels like mush.
What's some of your advice or some of your tips? Any tips/advice for me? For other newbies? What do you think of my advice/tips?
Comment below and share the love!