Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Blogoversary Celebration Day 3: FAQ

For the 3rd day of my blogoversary celebration week I'm going to go into questions that I often asked about my blog and blogging in general. 

How did you get followers?
This is by far the most common question I get. How I got followers, and how I got them so fast. First and foremost you have to understand that blogging is not about followers, and followers doesn't equal readers. With that said:

Yes, giveaways are the fastest way to get followers, but also the way that gets the most inactive followers. Meaning they follow and don't pay attention to your posts. Nonetheless, giveaways hops (I Am A Reader, Not A Writer has great ones every month) are a great way to get a head start. Seeing people follow your blog is a great motivator to keep at it - blogging is not always easy, and is always hard work. Also, some people may be more inclined to follow once you start getting followers. This is unfortunate, but there are a gazillion blogs out there, and a lot of active blog followers would rather follow blogs who show dedication and that they're here to stay.

Where can you advertise giveaways?
-Saturday Situation at Candace's Book Blog with a new linky every Saturday
-Got Great Giveaways at I Am A reader, Not A Writer with a new linky every Wednesday
-Goodreads Groups that you can join and post about your giveaways
-Buttons!! Have a button to give extra entries for people who add it on their sidebar

This is THE most important and best tool that you have to get your blog out there. The Internetz! Use Twitter! If you don't have Twitter, get it ASAP. There is nothing better than Twitter to spread the word about your blog. Tweet your posts a few times every day - as most people follow tons of bloggers, within a few minutes your tweet is gone to lala-land, so I find tweeting every 3 hours or so works well and still avoids being spammy. When you tweet reviews that are positive, tag the author and publisher to one of the tweets even if it's a book you purchased. Oftentimes they will Retweet it, and guess what? That's more people who hear about you. Facebook, Triberr, Goodreads, are all great sites to use as well.

Source: Pics22.com

Blogging is not just about you! We are a social community. Half of the point of blogging is to share your passion of books with others! You should enjoy reading others' opinions as much as sharing your own. To get bloggers to know you, and to get to know other bloggers: comment, comment, comment! Don't just comment to get comments back either because we can usually tell. Leave meaningful comments, and this goes hand to hand with being social on Twitter. This will not only get you blog readers, but you will make friends for life!

Maintain an inviting blog
Have good, regular content on your blog. This does not mean you have to post every day, but if you post only once every 2 weeks people may be less inclined to keep visiting. On the other hand, if your blog has 7 memes a week just to get content, that's not generally inviting either. A good combination of reviews and  memes is what I like to see on blog as well as what I do on mine. I also attribute my design for a lot of the visits I get - no one wants to visit a blog that takes ages to load, or is filled with distracting widgets. No one cares about cats that move with your mouse, no one plays with those interactive fishbowls, no one wants to hear loud music from a book countdown widget; these are all things that can be detrimental to your blog. Keep it clean and relevant. A blog that is nice to look at is one of the main deciding factors of my becoming a follower, and I know lots of others share the same opinion.

So no, I do not have magic tricks, I put myself out there and made friends. That's it. I visit other blogs regularly, I've been social on Twitter since day 1. Don't be afraid to approach people and get to know them!

How do you get comments?
Image source: Savvy Social Solution
This is another question I get very often. It's also very simple and a little repetitive - be social! If no one ever sees you commenting on other blogs, or talking to others on Twitter, how do you expect us to know you exist? Go, visit other blogs, leave comments, and a lot of the time, they will retaliate. I try to visit back every blogger who comes to visit me, although it may not be the same day, but the important part isn't being on every blog every day, it's being a regular face in the blogging community. Also to note is that comments aren't necessarily a tell of your readers - I read plenty of posts through my RSS reader that I simply don't have time to go and comment on. Only a small percentage of your readers actually leave a comment.

How did you get your slideshow?
I have to address this because I get an email or Formspring about this every other day. But... it's unfortunate that I'm no help - my husband is the mind behind all that's moving on my blog. The slideshow and the blogroll were both implemented by him and I couldn't even begin to tell you how. He's a programmer and I'm... not. I can tell you that I have seen other blogs with these specs so I'm sure if you search you'll be able to find tutorials on it. That's all I got for this one.

How do you get ARCs?
ARCs, a big deal in the blogging world, but they should never be the reason you're blogging. Blogging is hard work, and you'll soon realize these "free books" aren't free at all. It takes a lot of time and effort to maintain a book blog so that you can review said books. Our efforts give us the privilege to get advanced copies for review.

So you're a new-ish blogger and you would like to get books for review on your blog? A good place to start is Netgalley. Fill out your reviewer profile with your blog stats, your Goodreads stats, your blog & social network links, and before you know it you will be getting plenty of approvals for e-galleys.

Once to get around to making yourself known a little bit in the blogging world - you've got a few hundred followers and been blogging for a few months at least - you can start to contact publishers with specific ARC requests, or to ask to be on their blogger/reviewer mailing list. All the publishes have websites with a contact page, locate the publicity contact and send them the same info you have in your Netgalley profile. At first you may not get many replies, and some cases they may simply send out the books requested without replying, but you can email again in another 6-8 weeks and eventually you will get some contacts.

If you're looking at a specific book you're DYING to read, check the author's page and often they will have their direct publicist's contact information, this is who you would send your the request to, and be more likely to get a response then the general publicity email. This is what I did at the beginning and it worked very well.

Also, I'm in Canada so I'm not sure how it is in the US with distributors, but you could check with other bloggers or on Google if your country has distributors that work with publishers to send review copies to bloggers. For example, in Canada there's Raincoast Books and Thomas Allen & Son.

I'm not sure if you learned anything new today, but I do get these questions on a regular basis so I hope I was able to give some people some insight.

For more in-depth posts on subjects I brought up here and more, I recommend you check out my friend Anna's blog, Literary Exploration! She has great discussion posts that you can check out and even request future discussion topics!

Do you have a question I did not cover today? You can find me on Formspring!

For today's FAQ giveaway, Hachette UK, Bethany Griffin, and Michelle Davidson Argyle have offered some awesome books for giveaway! Here's what's up for grabs:

Winner 1
 -Signed copy of Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin + Bookmark
-E-copy of The Breakaway by Michelle Davidson Argyle

Winner 2
 -Paperback copy of Slated by Teri Terry
-Paperback of Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson

Giveaway details
There will be two winners as listed above. Thanks so much to Hachette UK, Michelle Davidson Argyle and Bethany Griffin for this giveaway opportunity!

Both giveaways are open internationally.
Ends on September 25th, 2012
Use the Rafflecopter below to enter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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