Armchair BEA: Ask the Experts!

It’s the final day of Armchair BEA, so THE MADNESS is about to end. (Are you relieved?) Maybe I’ll even be able to post a book review again! Imagine that!

Actually, the reason I haven’t posted a review this week is because I’ve been working on the same one since Monday. I’m having a hard time putting my thoughts into words. I really should just take a break from it and review a different book, since I’m holding about 5 reviews hostage in my brain right now. But it’s my Everest. I must conquer it.

(And now I definitely can’t tell you what book it is, because you’re going to expect the review to be EPIC, and it won’t be).

So today’s topic is “Ask the Experts,” where we offer advice about blogging, and also pose any questions we may have, in the hopes that someone with answers will stop by and help us out.

Since I’m a pretty new blogger, I’ll have a lot more questions than answers, but I do have some tips that have already helped me get noticed (on a very small scale, but again, everyone has to start somewhere!)

  • Twitter. Other social media too, but seriously, if you’re blogging and not utilizing Twitter, you’re missing out.
  • Participate in memes. Not a ton of them. You don’t want to be so caught up in memes that you forget to actually blog about books (she says as she winds up a week of no reviews). But they drive traffic to your site, and like-minded people will probably stay.
  • Be professional. Presenting yourself to publishers, publicists, authors, and other bloggers. No, you don’t have to call everyone on Twitter “Sir” and “Ma’am.” (actually, if you call a 25-year-old blogger “Ma’am,” she may secretly hate you). But you do need to treat others with respect and courtesy. Don’t explode all over yourself with the ALL CAPS and the MANY EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!! Oh, and please, just for my sanity, please don’t use text-speak in your blog post. K thx.
  • Comment, comment, comment. And no, commenting on someone else’s blog with “Hi! Great post! Come follow my blog?” does not count. That’s pretty much spam. But meaningful comments that facilitate discussion help make you part of the community and establish connections with other bloggers.
  • NetGalley. Fantastic resource to get advance digital copies of a lot of books.

Okay, so those are my brief words of wisdom. Now for my questions. If you’re an established blogger (or author, publisher or publicist — I’m not picky) and can shed some light on these topics, I’d love it.

  • How established do I need to be before requesting ARCs from publishers? Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE NetGalley and have gotten a ton of great titles from there, and today I finally got my first approval for a book on Edelweiss. But there’s some titles that I KNOW bloggers are receiving ARCs for that I would love to be able to read, and they’re not available on those platforms. But I’m afraid I may still be a little too green to contact the publisher for a print ARC. Should I just bite the bullet? (And yes, I know if I’m dying to read it, I can always buy it upon release. But I prefer to only spend my tiny bit of money on books I love, which entails reading it first, so an ARC would be nice).
  • Speaking of publishers, can anyone say which publishers tend to be willing to send ARCs to bloggers and which ones aren’t? I don’t want to waste anyone’s time, and I can’t always find that information on their FAQ  or Contact pages.
  • Are there any great resources out there I should be utilizing that I’m not?

And that’s it from me. I am still young in the blogging world, and I know these things take time. It’s easy to want to do ALL THE THINGS right away, but honestly, I’m thrilled with how well my blog has done so far.

I’ve been incredibly blessed to have some awesome established bloggers hold my hand and help me out. I’ve been contacted by several self-published authors about reviewing their books, and I’ve enjoyed the ones I have read, and am looking forward to the ones I haven’t. I’m signed up for several upcoming book tours. And I’ve even had a publisher put some faith in my little blog and send me books already.

So I’m really excited about what the future holds for me, my blog, and my bookshelf.

Thanks so much to all the coordinators of Armchair BEA — it’s been a blast!