Friday, November 19, 2010

How To Become A Young Adult Book Blogger

 I want to let everyone know that this is the launch of a new project I am working on for Eerie Alliance Fans. This post includes information on how to start your very own YA book blog, but I also wanted to tell you about this new project. Here at Eerie Alliance, we are working to bring together as many sources of young adult literature as we can find on the web. Our goal is to get kids and young adults excited about reading. This blog marks the beginning of our YA Blogger Directory. I  hope you find the information in this article to be helpful as you begin your YA Blogging journey.

First and foremost I would like to give credit to the source of the informaion in this post. "Presenting Lenore" is a YA blog in which the author posts young adult book reviews, author interviews, contests, and upcoming book profiles. Please take the time to visit this site by clicking on the "Presenting Lenore" Link below:

Lenore makes a good point early on in her post in bold red text. I will sum up her quote by saying this: Book blogging is NOT about getting free books!! That being said, let's begin.

In order to be a good book blogger you by no means have to review or accept ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies). My guess is if you are starting a book blog you probably have shelves crammed with books you have already read. My advice is to start with the books you already own and write reviews for the ones you want to present to your audience. Once you establish an audience for your blog and have several reviews posted check out the link on Lenore's site titled Where to get free books and ARCs This post covers websites designed to get books out to early reviewers, ARC programs run by publishers, places to find contests where you can enter to win books, and possibilities to get free books by joining blog tours. By reading this post, you can see that there are actually a lot of good opportunities for beginning bloggers to snag ARCs.

For more information and advice about how to deal with ARCs, please read The Story Siren's article Advance Readers Copies: What you need to know.

What Content to Include on Your Book Blog:
The first thing to consider in deciding what type of content to include is what you want the focus of your blog to be. This is often determined by the types of books you read. If you mainly read Young Adult Literature, then make your focus YA. If you enjoy reading all genres of literature, a general book blog is fine too. Take a look at other book blogs for inspiration, but only YOU can decide what your blog will be focused on.

An article you should definitely check out is: 20 Types of Blog Posts at Problogger and includes ways to add variety to your posts.

What Blogging Service to use:
There are a number of different services you can use to post your blog. I personally use Blogger, but do a Google search for blog template services and decide which one is best for you, or check out The Story Siren's post on Getting Started.

What to Include in Your Book Reviews:
Lenore puts is best when she says: "There is no standard format that everyone must follow. Book reviews are as varied as bloggers who write them. Be honest in your assessment of a book, but don't feel compelled to gloss over a bad book to spare an author's feelings. My post titles are always in the format, Book Review: Title of Book by Name of Author so they can be found more easily by search engines. In addition to giving your opinion you could also include a short summary, a picture of the cover, a short quote or two from the book (unless you have an ARC which states not to quote the book without checking against finished copy), publisher information, publication date, buying information, links to the author's website or some other book related information. Try to think about what your audience might want to know."

Links to other blog reviews are also a great idea. This will not only give your readers an idea of what other people think about the book, but it can help other bloggers to become aware of your blog and will lead to increasing your blog's traffic. That leads us to the next topic which is:

How to Get People to Visit Your Blog and Keep Coming Back:
The best way to get followers, subscribers, and to get them to add you to their blogrolls is to write great content and update REGULARLY! Make it easy for people to subscribe or "follow" by adding the appropriate Widgets to your template. In order to get people to find your blog initially Lenore suggests you leave intelligent comments a tthe blogs you read, become a public follower of blogs you like, and join a weekly meme. You can also host contests on your blog, join a book challenge, contribute to a forum at a book site and include your URL, tweet at Twitter, Facebook, or use any of the other numerous social networking avenues. Building a following takes time, so dont give up if you dont generate an audience immediately. Continue to write great reviews and follow the tips and tricks from Lenore's site as well as any other sites you find on the web and DON'T GIVE UP!

You can also check out the following links for more helpful tips: The Story Siren, Farmlane Books, Blogging Basics 101, How to Hose a Successful Giveaway.

How to Get Authors and Publishers to Contribute Books to Your Contests:
Lenore says: "Until you start generating decent traffic, you're probably going to have to donate your own books to your contests. Authors and publishers are generally excited about opportunities to promote their books on blogs through contests, but they're usually looking to maximize exposure so they are going to want to know about your audience. In order to have something to tell them when they ask, sign up for Sitememter and/or Google analytics so you can track your number of visitors."

Publishers will usually tell bloggers exactly what they are looking for on their site. For an example of what they want check out: Peachtree Publishers.

Be sure to read Lenore's full article about how to become a young adult book blogger for more helpful information including: How to Contact Authors, What sorts of questions (and how many) you should ask during an Author Interview, How to Contact Publishers, and What to say in an e-mail when requesting a book from a publisher or author.

Best Time to Review a Book You Have Received:
If you receive a pre-publication book from an author, ask them if they have a preference regarding the time frame of your review and agree on something that works for your schedule too. If the book is already out, the ASAP is probably the best answer.

If you get books from a publisher or publicist, the answer varies. Check out the list of PREFERENCES in the article written by Steph from the blog titled "Reviewer X." It is also polite to send an e-mail to the source of your review book with a link to your review. This might even get you on a preferred reviewer list which will increase your chance to get more books for review.

There are literally hundreds of sites other than the ones listed here to help you begin your book blogging journey. Please take the time to look at the blogs and aticles mentioned in this post. Another special THANKS goes out to Lenore from "Presenting Lenore" for all the great information I found on her post.

I look forward to hearing from new YA bloggers as they embark on their journey into the world of YA Literature. If you have a blog that you would like added to our YA BLOG DIRECTORY please leave me a comment or send me an e-mail so I can get you added to the list.

I hope you enjoyed this article and have found it to be informative. HAPPY BLOGGING!!