Ah! I love this week's topic from The Broke and the Bookish - top ten tips for new (book) bloggers.
1. Read (and blog about) what you want to.
By this I mean: don't feel like you have to talk about all the books that everyone else is talking about. Just because the rest of the world is reading The Night Circus or The Fault In Our Stars doesn't mean you have to. Trust me, you'll be happier blogger if you don't let others dictate your reading/blogging/reviewing choices.
2. No auto-play music on your site.
This might just be the single most annoying thing on the internet. It's either this or that horrible potato-headed person thing meme on tumblr that I hate (but that's another story). Seriously, guys, auto-play music is a surefire way to get readers to hate your site because there's nothing worse than having music start up when you're in the middle of the library or coffee shop, and not being able to get to the mute button fast enough. It's a quick way to lose readers.
3. Have a regular posting schedule.
Okay, I feel a bit odd about this one because I know I don't always stick to my own blogging schedule but I do think it's important to know what days you'll be blogging so that your readers know what to expect. Me? I try to blog Mon-Sat (and then on Sunday too, if I have any books for an IMM post), or at least Mon-Fri. This doesn't always work the way I want it to, but I do try and I really appreciate other blogs that post regularly.
4. Don't freak out about ARCs!
Let's be honest about it: ARCs do carry some cache in the blogging world. But they are also, often as not, harbingers of envy and drama and all that ugly stuff that can bog you down. Some bloggers get ARCs. Some don't. Some get much less or more than you'd think. It's easy to get distracted by the whole thing of them, but don't. If you want to get ARCs, The Story Siren has some great posts on them. If that's important to you. But don't let them be the be-all end-all of your blogging and don't think that how many ARCs you receive somehow defines your worth as a book blogger, because it doesn't.
5. Don't require a "follow" for contest/giveaway entries.
Not all bloggers run giveaways (I rarely do), but if you're going to, I really suggest not requiring a follow for entries. It's a sketchy way to get a lot of followers. Remember: followers do not equal readers. It's more important in the long run to have dedicated readers who love your blog than a ton of followers who never read it.
6. Find your own review style.
You don't have to give books a star rating. You don't have to use the B&N/Amazon synopsis. You don't have to write your own synopsis. You don't have to write paragraphs upon paragraphs in a review. Do what works for you. I know that in the past four years the way I personally review books has changed quite a bit, and that's a reflection of growing as a reviewer/blogger and consciously realizing the sort of reviews I want to put out there. Find what works for you. If this means only reviewing books you liked, that's fine. If it means lighter, comedic reviews that's fine too.
7. Join Twitter and Goodreads.
Goodreads is great for keeping track of your books (as well as cross-posting reviews) and seeing what your friends are reading. Think Facebook for book nerds. Twitter, on the other hand, is just flat-out fabulous for connecting with bloggers and authors, as well as promoting your blog posts. A good amount of my blog's traffic comes through Twitter.
8. Write up a review policy and give people a way to contact you.
This is pretty self-explanatory, but I will add this: if you don't have a review policy, it's a lot harder to reject the books you don't want to read/review. Having a policy makes this so much simpler.
9. Blogging should be fun.
You're not getting paid to do this. It's not going to get you an agent, a book deal, or make you famous or popular. So if you're doing it, it should be because you enjoy it. Otherwise, what's the point?
10. Have a personality.
Okay, I mean -- I know you have a personality. Because you're a person. But you have to also have personality on your blog. This, more than anything else, is what keeps readers coming back and keeps them interested in your blog over the hundreds-thousands of competing book blogs.