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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Tips for New Bloggers

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

This week's theme is Top Ten Tips for New Bloggers.  This topic seems to come up every so often but my advice remains pretty much the same.  I'll be celebrating my third blogging birthday in August and when I look back on what I've learned since I started some themes definitely stand out.

Before we get started, here are some other posts that I've written on the subject (in no particular order:)
Find My Voice? I Didn't Know I'd Lost It!
You Have to Grow Where You're Planted, or, Why You Shouldn't Let People Tell You How to Write
Make it Stop! Make it Stop! (Writing Really Negative Reviews)
Wipe Up the Drool: Writing Extremely Positive Reviews

Hopefully you'll find those trips down memory lane to be...interesting. Anyway, on to the top ten!

Top Ten Tips for New Bloggers
1. There is no right or wrong way to review a book. Format the review any way you want to, include the details that you want to include, and review the book honestly. If you liked it, say why. If you didn't like it, say why.

2. Spellcheck. Even though this isn't anything that's being submitted for a grade or anything like that, it's still for public consumption and you want to put your best foot forward. By that same count, remember that spell check doesn't catch everything and you need to proofread too. Remember- a heroin addict is someone who needs rehab, while a heroine addict is someone who needs a book club. Just saying.

3. The preview feature is your friend. Blogger has this feature, and I'm sure Wordpress has something similar, but preview your blog posts before you post them. You'll catch a lot of weird formatting, awkward phrasing, or junk code that way. I know I do!

4. Don't stress out about getting review books.  They will come, if that's something that you're concerned about.  If you decide to never accept a review book and only want to review books you get from the library, that's totally fine too!  The point of book blogging is to talk about books with other people.  The source of the books isn't the deciding factor.

5. Reply to comments.  Everyone has phases where they're busier than others, but this is one area that's easy to work on and doesn't really take all that much time.  I figure, if someone took the time to comment on something I wrote, I can take the time to acknowledge what they said and keep the conversation going.  It's a work in progress but I'm working on it!

6. Turn off Captcha/any other word verification.  In three years of blogging I have never had enough spam comments to make an extra step like this worthwhile.  It's annoying, it keeps people from commenting, and if someone wants to spam they can do it anyway.  Turn. Off. Captcha.

7. If you want to do memes, do memes.  If you don't, don't. There are a ton of good ones out there, and this in and of itself is a meme so I do them too!  Personally I like a nice balance of meme and content (reviews, interviews, etc.) but it's your blog and you can party rock if you want to.

8. Be nice. I don't mean be fake- I mean follow the rules of common courtesy.  If you write a negative review, don't tweet the review link to the author.  If someone is rude to you, take the high road and ignore them.  Don't spam other people's posts- leave meaningful comments.  Basically, if you can't handle the rules of basic social interaction, learn how, and if you can follow those rules in real life, follow them online as well.

9. Write your own stuff. People that plagiarize or copy and paste recklessly and without proper citation will be caught. Besides, when you write your own stuff you have a finished product that you can be proud of!

10. Have fun. For most of us, blogging is a hobby that we turn to after a long day of doing whatever it is we do. It's very easy to take things too seriously and to have the fun be leeched out. Don't let that happen. Read the books you love and then talk about them with other people. Easy as that!

Link to your Top Ten Tuesday post in the comments so I can take a look see!
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