Whoo, book nerds. Blogging, especially about books, has been an adventure. An adventure in wondering where my time went and why I requested this thing. Here are some things I wish I knew before I started.
#1 That sounds terrible.
Say it with me, book lovers: I don’t want to read that book. I know, I know, we want to read all the books. Except, no, we don’t, and we know it. Tell me you’ve never picked up a book, read the back copy, and called the entire plot.
If you think you won’t enjoy it, don’t read it. You can say no to your review requests. Which brings us to my next heading…
#2 Don’t request books you don’t like
I, quite publicly, despise contemporary. Especially contemporary romance. When I first started reviewing, I requested everything from any publisher I recognized. And I wound up with a lot of books I didn’t like. A lot of books I didn’t like.
So if you look at the cover, the synopsis, the author, the genre, etc, and you think: meh. Don’t request it, there will be others.
IT. IS. OKAY. TO. NOT. FINISH. A. BOOK.
Gasp, I know. But this one is pretty hard. When we’re in school, we have to read every word on every page of every book, and we’re shamed when we fall behind. But when you’re reviewing, or just reading for fun (as book nerds are want to do), you don’t have to force your way through books you don’t enjoy.
#4 Avoid the requesting spree
Every so often you think “Well, I’ve got time and these publishers take forever to approve anyway, it’ll be fine” and somehow your fingers go ahead and click request on twenty something titles.
It always happens that that will be the day all the publishers get their interns to go through the requests and you get approved for twenty titles that come out next month.
#5 Your calendar is your friend
Some of us go on requesting sprees. See above thing I wish I knew. Keep track of the books you’re reviewing on your calendar. Google has this handy little feature where you can make custom alerts. So like “Hey, you’ve got a week left!” and “Don’t forget! The book comes out tomorrow!” and “THE BOOK IS OUT TODAY!”
Considering your life isn’t all books (though we wish it could be), a few helpful reminders will make your blog run smoother. I have an alert at 30, 20, 10, 7, 3, and 2 days, plus a bedtime reminder the night before and a breakfast reminder to make sure I’ve read the book, and posted my review. If you’re better at listening to your phone and a fast reader, I highly recommend a 2-week mark.
#6 Re-run good posts
Good books are good books and they should always be out in the world. Sometimes, you can’t find the time for new books or new content. Just head into your post history and reschedule those five star books!
It also helps to re-run these between your regularly scheduled content to help create more.
#7 Steady, weekly content is key
Yes, that is correct. Weekly. You want views? They want content. Copy old posts into a drafts folder, generate a bunch of backup evergreen posts, and come up with something that’s image heavy so that you can bang it out fast.
#8 Schedule content far into the future
Why bother waiting until that book comes out to forget to publish that post? Schedule it. This is also great for keeping your content timely. Most publishers want the reviews to be published within two weeks of publication. Two weeks before or two weeks after, but two weeks all the same.Plus, it’s a little less for you to do. If you finish the book 2 months before publication, you can rest assured that your review is ready to go.
#9 Have review policies before you ask for ARCs
You need time to read. Say it. You don’t want hate mail for bad reviews. Say it. You’re standards are different from Goodreads. Say it. You only take books in certain genres. Say it. You only read for certain ages. Say it. You don’t like vulgarity in fiction. Say it.
Help the authors and industry professionals reach out to you.
Or learn to live with an inbox full of stuff you won’t read.
#10 Yes, you can reach out to authors and publishers
This one is super intimidating. But once your blog is going strong, reach out for interviews. Search for publishers’ blogger lists and make connections and friends. Find other bloggers and ask them how they got onto lists for tours. You have to start your network somewhere.