The BEA 2011 is over, so we will go back to normal programming of book reviews next week. This post is not completely thought out, I am running on empty and need a triple espresso to wake up.. but here goes.
Today, the Armchair BEA Panel asks us to Blog about Blogging! There is a Book Blogger Convention today in NYC (come to Dallas!!) so the theme seems right.
There were lots of writing prompts, like how to social network, how to balance reality from your online life, tips on technique, etc.
One of those prompts was "a rule list":
Create a "rule list" of things you should and shouldn't be doing on a book blog.
That stuck out for me.. because we blog for us. We blog because we want to. We do not get paid to blog. We do not have to cater to one particular genre if we do not want to. We do not have to post if we don't want to. Lots of people have their own niche's and their own set of general do's and will not do's for their own life. You should set your own as you see fit, and never let anyone else set boundaries for you. Barring explicit and offensive/prejudicial content, you should aim high! Or aim just as you see fit. Your blog is your creation and you should let it be a reflection of yourself, if you want it to.
My personal set of rules:
Enjoy the experience.
Only accept review books that I am extremely interested in.
Converse with other bloggers as time permits.
Cultivate relationships with favorite publishers.
Make my reviews informative and interesting, while using spell-check.
*Stay away from reviewing the same books that every one is reviewing. *
That last one is a toughie and I'm trying to move in that direction as the summer comes along. Even though blog tours can be fun for the authors, I have to wonder how many times we really want to see the same book over and over and over again. The plus is most of the time there are giveaways that go along with the tours, so I would think that those who do want to win that book would follow along on the tour to enter for the chances to win. So, I'm still on the fence on this one. As a blogger yourself, what do you think are the pro's and cons of Blog Tours? Are they redundant to you?
Back to my "rules list".. there are a lot of technical tips that I could go into such as twitter and facebook pages to help promote your blog, but all that should be a personal preference. It depends on how far you want to take your blog, and how much time you have to devote to it. Build it, and they will come.. but you can't just let it sit there and expect people to show up. You will have to market yourself. You will have to comment on other blogs. You will have to get out there and insert yourself into that niche that you want to be in. You need to want it, you need to have a passion for it, and you need to not expect greatness if you are not. And no, I am not greatness, but someday I will get to where I want to be, though I am still working out what that is. We shall see. There was a point when I felt like I didn't want to write one more review.. so it just depends on which way real life is blowing at any particular time.
When I started branding my blog, it became important to have a specific graphic, something identifiable as your blog, to represent you. So, @BurtonReview is my twitter handle. I signed up with Gravatar so the same image comes up when I comment on wordpress blogs. Certain little things like that go a long way.
If you are a newbie, I would definitely say to watch for the bloggiesta events that come up, as they suggest things you may have forgotten to work on which helps clean up and focus your blog in the right direction. I did participate once and got a lot of work done on my blog one weekend.