Armchair BEA: Blogging Tips

Today’s Armchair BEA topic is to discuss blogging tips!

I’m SO not an expert, I don’t think really any of us are. What I’ve come up with is a list of suggestions and things that help me to not get burned. As well as a few that help me stay organized, because like I explained in the Twitter party I’m really big on organization!

Blogging Tips
  • You don’t have to blog everything you read. Take some time and read “fun” books periodically. If you read them and choose to review later – fine, but reading something for pleasure and not stressing in the tiniest bit makes it all so much easier. I typically read one a week, sometimes two. If you don’t read fast you might need to do one every few weeks.
  • Schedule posts: Once a week I sit down and schedule everything for the upcoming week. Sometimes, if I’m extra adventurous I work on the next week or even further out.
  • Extra content: This may sound crazy but I try to keep “on hand” a few extra posts. When I hit a blogging or reading slump I post those instead of stressing! These are usually books I read for fun and really enjoyed so I felt like sharing them. You could do guest posts, giveaways, or discussion posts!
  • Breaks: If you need a break, take it. There’s nothing wrong with it! Last year I took December off and then ended up extending my break to include January. If you know something is coming up, you can always plan ahead. For December, I wanted to take off for the holidays. I managed to write a few reviews and fill most of the rest with guest posts and other content. In January, I had a death in the family so instead I just took a hiatus. I scheduled everything I had and just dealt with life.
  • Blogging isn’t a competition! Have fun, don’t stress about who gets what books or who has more traffic. We all are working together. Think of it this way – that new ARC WILL be released eventually. It’s not going to go away and, trust me, there are plenty more books to read in the meantime. (Especially if you are like me..ahem.) Traffic comes and goes, all you can do is do your thing. No one else’s opinion matters.
  • Comment. Yes, this kind of contradicts the last point, but comments are what we blog for. They make us feel good! So, when someone leaves comments on your blog, respond. I reply on my blog, but I also make an effort to check their blog out and comment there. It’s not always easy, but I try! I also attempt to make an effort to comment on a few blogs every day that I don’t regularly visit. Who knows, that blog you visit could become your new favorite (or be your new blogging buddy).
  • Make backups! Regardless of what blogging platform you use there is no sense in not making backups! You don’t have to be as crazy about it as me: I save each review on my computer when I write it AND I back up my blog daily using a plugin. I also have an external hard drive that backs up everything nightly. But the point is, you can’t be too careful! Computers crash, technology fails, and sometimes blogging platforms loses posts. If you don’t have them backed up, then they are gone.
  • Create a schedule! Not everyone wants to work this way, but it makes my life so much easier. Even if you aren’t strict with it, it gives you a guideline. You could even just list the books you need to read that month! I use Google Calendar and have separate color for each type of post. I can easily drag and re-arrange all of my dates this way. Plus it syncs with all of my devices!  Some people opt to use a paper calendar, I did for a while. I quit mostly because if I wasn’t home and forgot it…but needed to look, I couldn’t. (Tip: If you use an online calendar, save it every so often! I do this just in case.)
  • Keep records. If you decide to request review books or if you get people requesting you to review – make notes! Most email programs have “note” sections. What I do? I save the addresses under the publisher name then contact name. I then also include any pertinent book info. I also make notes of any dates and EVERYTHING else I could possibly need. This helps if in the future you want to ask a favor, you know what you’ve discussed with this person before. This also works with business cards – if you get some with books, make a note of the book title on the back. (It also makes it easier to remember who to send the review link to!)
  • Organize your email. Make use of folders! I’m a bit excessive, but for all reviews/tours I make folders. I make a folder for each month, then sub-folders for the dates. The sub-folders are called things like “June 10th – BOOK TITLE – REVIEW” This way at quick glance I know what the post type is and for what book. Then in that folder I save all related info until after the tour is over. Sure, I keep all of this on my calendar, but this way when I’m looking for a tour button or guest post I can quickly find it in my email. Most tours end up having to send out more than one email, this way I have everything we ever discussed and I can quickly reference it to make sure I don’t miss anything.
  • Email filters – I have a specific filter set up for “review requests”. Ideally, when an author or publisher goes to my blog they use my form (or my review request email I have set up) those all go to one folder. It makes it easy for me to make sure I don’t miss anything! I also use filters for other things like tour groups or Twitter.
  • Inbox! I hate having any email unanswered in my inbox. I created a “To Do” folder with things that I need to do. Every night before I go to bed I move all emails that don’t automatically filter to where they need to go. This way I wake up with only the new emails in my inbox! (I also have one for things I’m waiting on from other people.)
  • Sticky notes! Yes, physical post-its are great to go inside of real books (e-readers? Use the highlight and note tools!) but I’m talking about this nifty little computer that came WITH my computer called “Sticky Notes”. I use these things for everything. I make lists of upcoming books I need to read, little reminders to email people, etc. I even store coupon codes that I know I’ll be using soon! They stay on your desktop, so while I’m scheduling things I can easily click to them and there they are. You can have as many as you need (I usually don’t have more than 8 regularly).
  • WordPress users: Check out plugins that can help you stay organized! WordPress Editorial Calendar helps show you all posts you have scheduled, then you can easily see where there are blanks.

The most important thing though, is I want to stress again…blogging is FUN! If you prefer not to organize, don’t do it. These things work for *me*, just because they do doesn’t mean that they’ll work for you. Find your own groove. We are all different and will each find out how things work for us as we blog.

Does anyone have suggestions for staying organized or blogging tips in general that I forgot? Have you ever tried any of these? Did they work?