Armchair BEA: The Future of Book Blogging

by Kim on June 8, 2012 · 16 comments

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Even though I’m in New York for Book Expo America, I wanted the chance to participate in Armchair BEA for the first time. Today’s daily blogging topic is:

It’s the final day of Armchair BEA and we want you to keep your passion for books and blogging about them going long after we’ve closed the event. Today we’ll be sharing tips on keeping book blogging exciting and unique to your vision for your blog. Our suggested post for today is “Ask the Experts.” If you have any burning questions for your fellow participants about book blogging now is the time to ask and if you don’t we’d love for you to share your own personal tips about book blogging!

One of the conscious decisions I’ve made as a blogger is to minimize the time I spend on background projects — messing with my blog theme, redesigning my headers, updating my sidebars, whatever. I just so sucked into those projects that I run out of time for the things I think are important — writing good content and interacting with other bloggers. As a result, I’m way behind on new blogging technology, tools, and plugins. So here’s my question to you, blogging experts: What are some technology tools you use to make blogging easier? What are some of your favorite plugins? Mobile apps?

In exchange, here are a few things I’ve learned in four years as a book blogger:

  • Recognize that having a great blog takes a lot of work. Blogging is an awesome hobby and I love it, but it can also be a lot of work. Having a great blog, one that you can be proud of and that brings satisfaction, takes time. There are days when the prospect of coming home and writing a review feels like doing homework, but you have to push through that some point if you’ll just give up.
  • Find a routine. I’ve found that it helps me to write a couple of posts at at time and then schedule them out for the week ahead. That doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s helpful for me (especially on evenings when I have to go to a meeting or am just too tired to think about blogging).
  • Develop consistency. The best way to build a loyal community of readers is to post consistently. There are bloggers that I love who regularly post only twice times a week (sometimes less), and I look forward to each of those posts. Going whole-hog for a week and posting every day, then going silent for two weeks doesn’t build a following and may burn you out and make you feel guilty.
  • Make time for what you love to read. It’s so, so easy to get excited about review copies and accept more than you can reasonably read. I’ve been there. In a lot of ways, I still am there. I’ve started to be much, much more selective about accepting review copies and more assertive about finding time to read books without obligations attached. That’s done wonders for keeping my blogging energy up.
  • Above all, do what makes you happy and keeps blogging fun for you. Some bloggers can post every day. That’s just not for me. I’ve tried before, and I end up feeling overwhelmed and anxious about responding to comments and reading enough to write that much. I’ve discovered that posting three or four times a week works best for me, so that’s what I try to do. Figure out when you’re happiest blogging and stick to that, regardless of what other people decide to do.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

sawcat June 8, 2012 at 10:02 am

One thing I like: Twitterfeed. Sign up, link your blog, then whenever you post a new blog entry, it automatically gets sent to your twitter account. Saves time from having to remember to send to your twitter via the button on a post, or manually posting about the update.

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Kim June 10, 2012 at 7:46 am

That’s awesome, thank you! I’ve wanted to sign up for something like that, but never took the time to do the research (or, just ask on Twitter) to pick one that works.

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Care June 8, 2012 at 1:29 pm

DO what makes you happy! Your blog is terrific. Glad you had fun at BEA.

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Kim June 10, 2012 at 7:46 am

Your blog is terrific too :) BEA was a lot of fun, although I still want to come see you!

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Teresa June 8, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Great advice, especially that last point, which I think sort of encapsulates all of them. The only times I’ve come close to feeling burnout with blogging was when I was doing something I didn’t particularly want to do but thought that I should.

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Kim June 10, 2012 at 7:48 am

Yeah, I think that’s sort of the take home message about blogging. The trick is figuring out HOW to make yourself a happy blogging and how to avoid feeling like the things you should do are more important than the things you want to do.

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Jenny June 9, 2012 at 8:57 am

Ah, what makes blogging fun for me indeed? It’s all of you lovely people and not spending two hours commuting every day. Alas! The commute is inescapable! But one of these days I will figure it out and get back down to blogging as in days of yore.

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Kim June 10, 2012 at 7:49 am

It takes a long time to adjust! I’m still adjusting to my new job and what that does for my blogging. But if the community is what you love, then maybe the answer is to do fewer blog posts, less formal review posts, or shorter posts that give you more time to interact with other bloggers and less time stressing about everything you could or should post?

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Jeanne June 10, 2012 at 8:41 am

I especially like what you say about regularity. I read a few blogs that are updated as seldom as twice a month, and are more of a pleasure for the way everything gets saved up.

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Kim June 10, 2012 at 3:34 pm

I think it’s hugely important. Even if a blog is only updated seldomly, if you know to expect something once in awhile it’s easier to get invested than in a blog that updates a lot one week, and then nothing for another month. Find a schedule that works, and stick to it.

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Maphead June 10, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Superb advice! I hope to follow your suggestions as I write my blog. Thanks! Keep up the good work!!

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Kim June 10, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Thanks!

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Kristen M. June 11, 2012 at 8:26 pm

I’m only on my second blog design in 4 years because of the distraction/time factor. I would rather spend time writing posts too! My goal for this year was your second to last one — “Make time for what you love to read.” It’s been great so far!

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Kim June 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm

I’ve made very few big blog design tweaks — I think one redesign of sorts when I moved to self-hosted, and one little update a year or so ago. Otherwise, I just leave it alone!

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Amy June 21, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Great tips, I (clearly, ahem) don’t mess with my site much either. I do have a question for you though – do you self host?

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Kim June 26, 2012 at 7:26 pm

I do self-host. I think I switched a bit over two years ago? I’m glad I did it, but I also don’t invest as much time into making changes as many other people who self-host.

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