I read another info book for you… this time it’s all about blogging. Yay!!!
(Speaking of which, I have quite a few blogging resources and courses under my belt now… anyone interested in reviews/recommendations? ‘Cause if you are, I’m turning this into a series. (Maybe I’ll do that even if you’re not, just to keep you on your toes!)
Anyway, let’s talk Blog Inc.
Okay, so there are some chapters that are a little vague or common sense-ical (I’m sensing a theme with these blogger-written non-fiction books, aren’t you?). Let’s face it, if I’ve bought a book about blogging, it’s probably because I want to improve my already existing blog… so that whole chapter on what a blog is and what one consists of is probably a bit pointless, you know? Having said that, Blog Inc does have a few little gems of wisdom for the much over-looked book blog niche.
Voice, voice, voice. If you’ve read ANY article on blogging tips (including my own!) you’re sure to stumble across someone telling you to develop your writer’s voice. And they’re all a bit vague on how to achieve that, sadly.
Really, the key to having a strong writing voice is practice. Write blog posts. Lots of them. Work your way through this list. Write at different times of the day (first thing in the morning I tend to be more introspective, whereas in the evening I get hyper – so MORE brackets and capitalisation and triple exclamation marks!!!). Write in different spots – your bedroom, living room, the cafe down the road (hah, I wish…) – see whether any of these places bring out aspects of your personality in your words. I write as I think. What you see now is literally what is going throug my head at this moment in time (albeit with better spelling), but you may hate that. You might prefer Topaz’s fairytale prose, or something entirely different. You do you, and you do it A LOT. There’s no other way to find your writer’s voice.
… Eh, I guess that’s less geared towards book bloggers, and more advice for every blogger. Great start, Beth.
Be Social (Oh No)
So now we’re on to the advice I should listen to: get social. Blogging is, as you already know, just a form of social media, so it stands to reason that you need to engage. Really, there are two reasons for book bloggers to socialise. The first: because other book bloggers are lovely, and there’s really no reason not to talk to them. Read a review of a book you want to read. Instead of just reading and clicking away, take two minutes to share your thoughts (there’s a whole chapter on blogging etiquette and commenting 101 in Blog Inc). Read a review of a book you loved/hated. DITTO. Read something else entirely: YOU GET THE PICTURE. Make new friends and followers and all that jazz.
The second (and this is important to book bloggers especially): our niche is sooooo small most blog readers have no idea we exist. And actually, some readers of beauty/lifestyle/insert niche here blogs may be longing to find someone who talks about books almost all the time. So be brave, and go outside of your comfort zone. Try commenting on blogs that aren’t in the book blog niche. Hang out on the Bloglovin’ popular page and just click stuff. Read. Leave a meaningful comment, and maybe include a link to your own blog. Congrats – you’ve just introduced someone to your blog. Maybe they’ll hate it. Maybe they’ll love it. But because you showed an interest in them, they will show an interest in you. It’s human nature, apparently.
The Ever-Lasting Trauma of Finding Content Ideas
Urgh, the book blogger’s eternal struggle. I mean, if you’ve been blogging about books for a while, you’ll probably have worked out that reviews may not the most popular thing to write. So while in theory every book you read will give you content, that content might not be meaningful, or fun for you! (I HATE writing reviews, and you can totally tell, I think.) And finding out there ideas can be difficult.
I’ll be honest: I’m quite proud of my blog content. It’s different, and that’s what people have come to expect from TQP. I can’t put into words exactly HOW I come up with post/series ideas – they just appear based on what I’m reading and my interests. Literary Eats, for example, came of me combining my obsession with food with a love for reading. It’s simple, but it works.
And I think that’s the key thing: write about what interests you. Blog Inc suggests keeping an ideas notepad, or an app on your phone to store content inspiration – I’d go one further, and keep a notpad/app to store ANY inspiration. If it interests you, chances are you’ll be able to make it fit your blog. And as an added bonus, your interest will come across in your voice… which means other people will start being interested, too. For instance, my Bookish Adventures series is based upon days out that I’ve taken with my boyfriend simply because I wanted to. It wasn’t until I was there (or sometimes until after the event!) that I realise I can create a new post out of it.
Other Bits and Bobs
As book bloggers, content is literally all around us – you just might have to twist it slightly to fit your blog. That’s completely fine, and actually will bring about something completely unique to you.
Oh, if you’re interested in setting up a WordPress blog but have no idea how to do it, there is a pretty informative chapter on all that jazz in Blog Inc. Or you could just find a tutorial online. Just saying.
Oh, and also: there’s a whole chapter on turning your blog into a business that actually involves some of the financial/legal requirements for your to do so. That’s pretty helpful, if that’s what you’re looking for (I appreciate most book bloggers are not, so I won’t go into too much detail.)
Soooooooo, overall: would I recommend Blog Inc to book bloggers? Ummmm… probably not. I mean, if you want an easy read about your favourite hobby, go ahead – just be prepared that it might be too shallow (and then suuuuuuper niche at the end). If you want a not-too-expensive prop for blog photography, it TOTALLY works. If you want a basic understanding of your hobby, and maybe a little inspiration for your next steps, Blog Inc is PERFECT. But if you want some real, targeted support? Nah.
Have you read Blog Inc? Was it helpful? Actually, have you read ANY helpful blogging books so far?? I really enjoy reading them, so let me know your recs!