4 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Book Blogging

Compared to others that have been blogging for years, I’m still relatively new to the blogging world. But in the time that I have been blogging, I’ve learnt a lot about the book blogging community and how to be a better blogger.

I remember when I first started, I read a lot of posts like this hoping to gain insight into what book blogging was like. And I finally feel like I’m comfortable enough with book blogging to offer my own opinions on the subject. So, here are four things I wish I knew before I started book blogging:

1. It is possible to get ARCs even if you’re not a big book blogger!

When I started book blogging, I didn’t think it’d be possible for me to get my hands on ARCs. ARCs are short for advanced review copies – basically, free copies of books sent to people by publishers and authors in exchange for a review.

I thought that I needed my blog to have a certain number of followers or views before I could even think about requesting ARCs.

Turns out, that’s not true! Sites like BookSprout, Hidden Gems, and Book Sirens allow reviewers to read ARCs without sharing any (or much) information about your social reach. If you enjoy reading self-published authors, there are lots of great books available on those sites.

I think it’s important to note, ARCs aren’t the be all and end all of book blogging. If you’re interested in ARCs, there are lots of options out there but if you’re not, you shouldn’t feel pressure to go and find and review ARCs. Which leads me to my next point:

2. Write about what interests you

I was a lot more worried about traffic, engagement, and followers when I first started than I am now. It goes back to me wanting access to ARCs, and thinking that all of that was the way to get them. I remember reading posts that said that book reviews drove less traffic, so bloggers should aim to do other kinds of posts like discussions or lists instead.

It’s not that this is bad advice, because if you are someone who has a goal of driving traffic to their blog, these might be steps you want to take.

But when I reflected on the reasons what I wanted my blog to be about, traffic wasn’t the first consideration. Rather, it was about having a space where I could write and share book reviews and meet other people in the bookish community.

I’ve been much happier blogging about the topics I want to write about and choosing the books I’m interested in, instead of trying to chase the most popular topics or books. For me, this has made for a more fun blogging experience. It’s also easier for me to keep up with content, when I’m excited about what I’m writing.

3. Don’t feel stressed about creating content

Do you feel like posting everyday? Only a few times a week? Only once a month? Whenever you feel like? Whatever your choice, you are a valid book blogger!

I personally have a goal of posting two or three times a week, as I work better when I set concrete goals like this in mind. However, if for whatever reason I’m not able to make this goal, I know that it’s not the end of the world. This isn’t school; I won’t get marks taken off for not posting on time!

If you are interested in regularly posting, you might want to try scheduling posts in advance. WordPress has a feature that allows you to schedule posts by setting the exact publication time and date. I find this really useful for helping me create content, as I can line up posts when I have time to write them and not write anything when I don’t.

4. Know and set your boundaries

I knew my book blog would be public, but I didn’t expect to be contacted by authors so early on in my blog’s life. Even as a new blogger, I was getting messages from authors asking about the possibility of reviewing their book or advertising their books.

It was really flattering to be reached out to, but I didn’t want to respond to all of the requests. I wish I’d known that there was no obligation to say yes to their requests. While I think it’s polite to respond, there’s no obligation to do that either.

Now that I’ve been blogging for a bit longer, I feel more comfortable in saying no or simply not responding if the message is inappropriate or if it looks like a scam. I also worked on refining my review policy to be as clear as possible about my preferences when it comes to handling review requests.


What are the things you wished you knew before you started book blogging? Any tips to share with new book bloggers?

19 thoughts on “4 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Book Blogging

  1. allaboutbooksnstuff May 2, 2022 / 12:37 pm

    I can relate to a lot of these points cos they are things I stress about 😅 recently I decided to just go with it, since like you I also started my blog to share my thoughts on books and meet other bookish people. But sometimes it’s hard not to let these things weigh me down.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mint May 2, 2022 / 2:04 pm

      I know how you feel. It’s hard sometimes to just go with it, especially when seeing what other bloggers do and advise, but I always try to remember why I started this blog and what about blogging makes me happy. To decide to just go with it isn’t always easy, but it’s a powerful choice.

      Like

  2. Kristina May 2, 2022 / 5:55 pm

    Netgalley also works for newbies; though you get more luck being higher in the ranks (around 80%).. however! They do have some open books that you can download & review to gain said percentage. On that topic.. DO NOT go on a request spree 😅 We’ve all been there, you don’t think you’re actually gonna get them all and all of a sudden you have 10books due next week.

    Also, having a niche can be great for finding your peers & a sense of community.. but it isn’t obligated. Please don’t feel obligated to only post one thing specifically. While being mostly book content, I feel WAY less pressured since i’m leaving my options open to post other things too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mint May 2, 2022 / 6:14 pm

      You share lots of great advice, thank you! And thank you for mentioning the ‘read now’ books. That’s how I first built my profile – and there can be some really excellent books there.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kristina May 2, 2022 / 6:31 pm

        Indeed! I found some really great in there, including a fantastic novel about organ donation, which ofcourse made me cry as it hit close to home 😅
        (She got a new heart from another teenager, and decided to take her donor’s bucket list and travel the world- met with her parents too!)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Anne Bennett May 3, 2022 / 12:17 pm

    When I first started blogging I didn’t know how to make blogging friends and I found myself frustrated participating in blogging memes which didn’t interest me and didn’t help increase the traffic on my blog. When I finally decided to make the blog for me and me alone I could stop comparing myself to others who have much more popular sites. Now I write what I want. If people don’t like it they don’t have to visit. My Sunday Salon post is my most me, because I talk about politics and other things that are on my mind. Otherwise it is mostly books and lists. Let’s discuss TBRs

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mint May 4, 2022 / 9:42 pm

      “Now I write what I want. If people don’t like it they don’t have to visit.”

      Absolutely! There are so many wonderful book blogs out there that offer different things. I love how personal people’s blogs can be, whether it’s sharing things about things in real life or just talking about the bookish community.

      Like

  4. Kit @ Metaphors and Moonlight May 3, 2022 / 10:49 pm

    Blogging is more fun for me too when I post the kind of things I want to post, read what I want even if no one else is reading it, etc. And that’s the reason I started blogging, to have fun and talk about books I enjoy! I also used to more stressed about missing posts, but now I’m the same. I aim for 2-3x a week. If I miss some posts, it is what it is.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mint May 4, 2022 / 9:44 pm

      This isn’t school after all! If we miss a post on one week we’re not going to get points docked or a zero on an assignment. It can be nice to set goals for your blog but it’s important to not be too consumed or stressed by them, especially because blogging is a hobby for so many of us.

      Like

  5. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction May 5, 2022 / 8:11 pm

    Yes to all of these! I remember my newbie days when all of blogging felt so darn intimidating and complicated. It took me a long time to figure out that so many of the things I thought mattered really didn’t. So, I especially agree with your points about not stressing and writing whatever interests you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mint May 5, 2022 / 11:17 pm

      Heck, I still find blogging intimidated and complicated from time to time! One of my resolutions this year was to reduce my stress levels and the blog has been a great outlet to do that… but sometimes it ends up being a source of stress too, which it shouldn’t be!

      Like

  6. Karen (@teamsheltie) May 9, 2022 / 10:32 am

    Yes to all of these! I’ve been blogging since 2009. I started out talking about everything I enjoyed but got caught up in that *what you should blog like* phase and it sucked the joy out of it. And racing to get arc’s. After almost quitting, I decided to just go back to what felt right for me – post how I want , no pressure, have fun.

    Karen @For What It’s Worth

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mint May 9, 2022 / 1:31 pm

      Having fun is the most important part of book blogging – at least, to me! Thanks for your comment, Karen.

      Like

  7. Louise @ Monstrumology May 10, 2022 / 7:25 am

    Writing about what interests me is something I wish I knew earlier too! When I first started out, I was so concerned with doing what all the popular bloggers were doing and that was a huge mistake because it made writing posts such a chore. It’s been a long time since I first started out, but the groove I have with posts now feels like what I should have been doing all along.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mint May 10, 2022 / 9:41 pm

      I think that one of the reasons why popular blogs get popular is because people like the personal touch that the blogger puts into their work, so if other bloggers copy what the other bloggers are doing without adding that personal flair, it gets boring for the blogger and it doesn’t really work for attracting traffic. Or at least, that’s my theory!

      Like

  8. Rosie Amber May 28, 2022 / 11:51 pm

    I’ve been blogging for around ten years and have tried all sorts of posts and I just keep the blog evolving, but I do enjoy blogging and bloggers.
    Posts allow for a more personal touch with longer posts than other social media sites.
    Some of my favourite posts are fun ones; a meme or a challenge especially if it is sprinkled with a few details which make the book blogger human to their audience.
    Although they can be overdone. Have you tried any fun posts yourself?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mint May 29, 2022 / 3:33 am

      I totally agree! I’m a wordy person and I love having the space to write and write and write. Twitter frustrates me for those reasons, haha!

      I’ve tried doing memes and book tags before and they’re a lot of fun. But lately I’ve been leaning more towards book discussions as I’m finding the writing & brainstorming process for those more enjoyable.

      Liked by 1 person

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