Armchair BEA: Ask The Experts

Last day of the fab Armchair BEA! This thing ends too soon, can’t we, like, make it 2 weeks? 😀 Neah, I know. But it’s been really awesome!

Now, I’m not an expert. This obviously means I’ll be giving you some advice based on the wisdom I’ve gathered in my 1 year and a couple of months of blogging it bookish style.

1. Plan ahead!
When you get that “Hmmm, how about I’ll book blog too?” idea, rejoice. Now stop and draft up a plan, lol. Think about your blog name, your niche, what you’d like your identity to be. Think of this now, months later when you change your mind, you’ll wish you’d have gotten your address to fit your new blog name or such, you’ll wish you’d had gone through this planning step all those months back.
All the cool blogs we all know have a clear thing in common: a consistent identity. You say Parajunkee, let’s say, you have a clear image of her place. An image, a tone, a couple of features – a consistent identity. Everything going on on her blog reflects, promotes and strengthens a set of values. You won’t be able to be Parajunkee, of course, only she has the awesomeness of being herself, but you have the amazing chance of being yourself through your blog too. So focus on what defines you as a reader, as a person, and have that in mind before getting the blogspot going and everything else.
Have a game plan, set some goals for yourself, make your choices. You’ll spend the rest of your blogging life trying to back them up and promote them, so it really helps to have a clear idea in mind right from the start.

2. Keep an open mind and embrace change!
This may seem to clash with the previous planning idea, but it doesn’t. The first thing you need to know about book blogging is it isn’t a cemented sort of hobby, or whatever it is you’d like to call it – I call it a passion, myself. So, book blogging is all about connecting with other book bloggers, with readers, with writers and publishers, all that jazz. What do all these people value above all else is creativity, originality and dynamism. You need to be able to keep up with the hype to be able to do your blog and your content justice.
Always be on the lookout and keep an open mind about all changes that happen. Stay updated with what everyone else is doing, even if you’ll opt not to do it yourself. And be prepared to change when the time for it comes. Many of the book blogs I follow go through changes, they’re constantly working at improving their blog, reaching a wider audience, showcasing their love of reading in a more catchy, public way. Be prepared for change and stay up to date with everything going on.

3. Develop and expand!
Your book blog is a starting point, that’s how I think of it. It’s like this little dot of you in an ocean of everything else online, right? So look for ways to spread yourself around, lol. Don’t just blog, but work at expanding your blogging into popular social networking places, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Pinterest, all the other places that come up. And trust me, there’ll be a new popular place to hang out at in no time, things always go that way. Put up a Feed for your blog, make it easy for people to follow you and your content, offer them as many options as you can. Make it easy for them, trust me, we all want it to be effortless and unobtrusive.
A lot of these places have already set up automated ways for you to share links to your content, to publicize them. You just have to look into it, make it happen, and it will do all the work for you. Well, not coming up with the content of course, but sharing it around, lol.

4. Don’t forget to be a human being!
This is something I’m working hard at myself, all the time. The problem with setting up automated sharing links to your content on places like Twitter and Facebook, for instance, gives me this false sense of presence there just because links show up. It’s not my presence, it’s my content‘s presence. I need to be there as human being, to interact, to comment, to chat and meet new people.
Your content as a book blogger is really important, but it’s that plus the interaction you can get going that will really make or break you. Visit other places, show support, attend as many events as you can. Socialize, mingle. This a community of people that share a passion, you’re not alone or isolated unless you keep it that way. And I for one feel it’s a lot more fun to do this as part of a community then as a loner, but maybe that’s just me 🙂
Reach out and be a human being, we’re all already reaching out toward you.

I’m putting this last because it’s a bit less on the positive side then the other ideas. This one is a complete, utter, total NO-No! NEVER steal! Never ever allow yourself to go there.
Don’t steal names, meme ideas, formats, content, any ideas. Just don’t. It’s really ugly and an automated ban for me, for one. I’m sure others feel the same way as I do. You’re dealing with the physical accomplishment of people’s creativity as a book blogger, you’re dealing with books. Stealing content, names, ideas from someone while doing that is just not acceptable.
You see something you like and you think you can contribute to, try to contribute. Contact that person about becoming a contributor reviewer rather then trying to imitate the blog as your own, you know? Try to become a co-host for the meme if you have some ideas to contribute with to it, rather then trying to steal it and act like it’s your own.
Obviously, you can have a similar idea to one someone else had. It’s really not that outrageous or odd for that to happen. However, you most likely never will have the SAME idea as someone else. People will be able to tell the difference, and they won’t regard you in the best of lights if you seem like a sneaky little thief.


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