I recently got a request to review a book, I’ve read the descriptions, and the book just doesn’t really appeal to me. How do I politely tell the author I don’t wait to read/review their book? – Sarah

A: Dish it straight and to the point. I would just say: “Thank you for thinking of me and my wonderful blog, but I don’t think this book is the right fit for me. I try and review only books that appeal to me, because forcing myself to read a book would generally lead to a negative review. May I suggest these blogs X X X, I cannot speak for these bloggers, but they are more in your genre and might accept your book for review.” Just keep it simple.

I really like the “Comment Luv” widget that a lot of the WordPress sites have. I use Blogger – is there a way for me to set up Comment Luv on my blog? – Julie @ Read Handed

A: It is recommended that you use Intense Debate, it is by the same people that created WordPress.

here is the how-to article: http://blog.intensedebate.com/2009/11/12/give-a-little-luv-to-your-comments-with-the-intensedebate-commentluv-plugin/

I know how much I love comments on my blog. They feel awesome like I’m doing something right, so I try to comment on other’s blogs too. My question is do bloggers like all kinds of comments (besides spam, obviously)? Sometimes I can’t think of anything to say besides “Great review! I want to read that!” though I want to show the blogger I appreciate their review. I don’t want people to think I didn’t read their review but sometimes there just isn’t much to say. What do you think?
– Commentor

A: The random comment debate. I used to comment like that, if you can’t think of anything great to say, right, just say something generic. Much like in real life, we make inane comments, “Nice shoes,” “Oh Sally you’re hair looks great today.” “Wow it’s hot today.”

Simple fact, we are a society of inaneness. We comment and say nice things to each other to make  others feel better. Especially women. We want to spread that love. Does it mean anything in the long run? No. Will your comment strike a cord with them that will resonate into their old age? No. Will it make them feel better? Yes. And really isn’t that all that matters…

But, here comes the evil side of me… when you think about it, if you can’ t think of anything more than ‘Good Review’ was it really a good review? Shouldn’t a good review incite a bit of feedback, get those juices flowing inspire something more than just Good Review??? So are you just writing Good Review to show the person that you just happened to stop by, read their review and can’t really think of anything to say so you wrote Good Review? But, really their review wasn’t that good… just something to think about.

Don’t mind me…it’s one of the reason why I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t comment, unless I have something very specific to say. My fingers got tired of typing … ‘Great review’. But that is just me.

What’s the easiest way to add images such as book covers to your posts? And how do you borrow someone’s button – say for a weekly meme, if they don’t have the code there?  – Mandy

A: The Amazon Associates App. Easiest way that I add images.

Taking someone’s button? LOL

1. Go the page that they have their button
2. Right click on that button
3. Scroll down to Save Image As…
4. Save it to your hardrive
5. Upload it to your post from the spot you saved it to your harddrive

How do I get a custom icon to appear on the browser tab for my blog? Same question for the blog roll, how can I substitute blogger’s orange icon for my own? – Carmel

A: Custom icon is called a favicon and you have to create a graphic and then host it. Then you have to insert code into your blogger template. Here is a great HOW TO article: http://www.blogger-book.com/2008/06/favicon-generator-free-host-blog.html

Second part of that question I think is impossible. Those B icons are for the blogs own favicons, I’m pretty sure you can’t do anything about it. I say ditch the icons and just put links.

I keep hearing about “keywords’ in regards to SEO
and Google page ranks. I sort of get the idea of keywords, but I don’t really understand how they work – or better yet how to put them into meaningful practice on my blog. How do you choose the best keywords for your blog, and then when you do, how are you supposed to use them? Just insert them in every post or something? I just can’t wrap my mind around it without having to write blog posts that come off sounding silly. 
– April @ My Shelf Confessions

A: Keyword choices are the HARDEST part of any SEO practice. How to freakin’ choose? Have you checked your stats? What are people searching for to find my blog? Do you know for a year my biggest keyword search was Julie Kagawa. Really? It was because I did an ARC review of one of her Iron Fey series books. I must have been hitting first or something for that review. But how do you get into the mind of the Google searcher, what in the world would bring them to my blog?

I’ve given it some thought and I usually go with genres as my keywords, series names, things like that. You want them to come to your blog and stay around, so you only want pertinent searches to result in a visit.

Web page copy is often a little funny sounding compared to say brochure copy. It’s how it rolls. You have to write out the keywords in your copy…so if you were targeting, Best Urban Fantasy Series 2011, you would have to type out Best Urban Fantasy Series 2011 at least twice in your post. It can be awkward and almost forced. But, it can be done.

Suggestions:

  1. Target keywords for each post, if you are writing a review for Julie Kagawa’s latest book, you want to target keywords like: Iron Fey, Julie Kagawa, Faeries, Young Adult, paranormal romance
  2. Use those keywords at least twice in the post, it can be pretty easy to do. State the name of the book, instead of writing “The Book”. Write out the author’s name instead of writing “she”. Write phrases like “This was a great addition to the Young Adult Paranormal Romance Genre”. There are creative ways to doing this
  3. Implement labels, use them and put your keywords there
  4. Write out good titles that have explain what is going on in this post “Guest Post with author Julie Kagawa, author of the Iron Fey series” – it’s long but you got a few keywords in.

Your blog posts don’t necessarily have to sound silly, you just have to put some thought in how to rearrange them.

When I write a review, I put the official book summary. But I get it from Goodreads, as that’s easiest to copy+paste from. I’ve noticed many other bloggers add, at the end of the summary “Courtesy of Goodreads”. Do I have to write that, if it’s the official summary? – Riv Re

A: I think as long as you make it obvious that it is a summary, you don’t have to write that. You just don’t want someone to think that this is your summary, which is the reason why some bloggers write this.

I only read these 101 posts, not the rest of your posts, because I’m not into all this vampire and goth stuff, but I’m glad I found them. Even though we read different genres, can you should list all your publisher contacts, so we know how to get in touch with them and request books. – Anon (Name changed to protect the ignorant innocent)

A: I don’t think it would be fair to my “contacts” to put up a list for other bloggers to use. What if an author asked me for a contact list of readers and I released to them a list of emails that I took from a contest I ran?  I believe that might be a bit unethical. Also, you might be surprised how little publisher contacts I have. I suggest that you go to the publisher’s websites, usually on their sites they’ll have an email that you can request a review copy of one of their books.

And, also, may I make a suggestion? As a mater of tact, please don’t go around asking for other bloggers contacts. It is considered a bit — well raunchy.

That’s it kids. Talk less. Read more. Happy Thursday!

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