Hello everyone and welcome to Book Blogging 101. I would like to start out this weeks posts with an apology and a thank you. Let’s start with the groveling. Last week I lost my brain, for three days I thought it was the wrong day and when I looked up on Thursday I realized it wasn’t actually Tuesday. How can this happen? Well, in my world, where I pretty much live on the cusp of mental instability, very easily. So, Thursday evening went by and I hadn’t posted a BB101 because I hadn’t written one. So, the question that pops into my head is — do I pull one out of my posterior or do I just let it slip quietly by? Not a fan of expletives, I chose to let it slip somewhat quietly by. Can you ever forgive me?

Secondly, the thank you. As some of you might have heard, this particular feature {the one you are reading currently, Book Blogging 101} took the overall win for the Book Bloggers Appreciation Week, Best Feature award. For something that started so innocently it sure has grown into something that you guys seem to like. I never would have thought that I would become more known for my blogging advice than my paranormal tendencies. I guess it is what it is and I’m rather, well no, quite honored that this feature was awarded. I guess it means, you don’t think I’m full of crap — even though I tend to think I am. So, thank you. It was awarded by votes, meaning that you guys are the reason that all my tweets have thank you in them for the last three days.

I also feel like the pressure is on…no posterior pulling now. Definitly.

Now on to the advice.

How much blogging is too much? Is it strange to blog only once or twice a week? Is it better to have a set routine than just be a random blogger? I.E. reviews one day, trailers another, etc. I am not overly concerned with gaining a huge following, I do enjoy blogging for myself mostly (admittedly though it is nice to know that others like what I do). I am more of a must get it right kind of person rather than exposure type. I hate advertising for myself and I won’t ask anyone to do what I wouldn’t. I am grateful for the wonderful word of mouth from I get from small band of followers. I guess what I am asking is how not to be cheesy and how to keep the followers I have happiest. I think (hope) that I am heading in the right direction with these starter questions? – Lenmeo

A: Lenmeo, follow your own schedule and blog in a manner that will work for you. Just keep some things in mind, don’t inundate your readers and too little posts and they might think you’ve disappeared. But, there is nothing wrong with blogging two times a day and there is nothing wrong with blogging two times a week. Just make sure it is consistent. If you blog twice a week, do it on the same day. If you blog twice a day make sure they are quality posts and not fluff pieces.

To expand on your question, I know you blog for yourself, but if you didn’t blog for other people you would be keeping a private diary and not a blog. Blogs are set up for others to read and each reader that gives you kudos on your posts affirms the reasons why you blog. If you are happy with your follower base, just tweet out your latest posts and try to expand your twitter followers by joining in conversations with the people you follow. Keep your current followers happy by delivering them quality posts and information that they want to read, interact with them and visit their own blogs. You’ll make friends and new followers.

Im thinking about contacting publishers for the first time. I know that you need to present them with your stats, but do you ask for books right away or do you ask for upcoming titles first? Can you outline the process for contacting publishers and requesting ARCs – Anon

A: Now, when you are saying stats, keep in mind that we don’t always know what the publishers are looking for exactly. Each one may vary, but the consistent theme from a lot of publishers is that they look for blogs that are consistent and have been in operation for about six months. Staying power. So including your operation might be a good thing. Introduce yourself, let them know a bit about your blog. If you follower count is low, don’t mention it, include something else that is also note worthy. But, don’t go into great detail. “Hi, my name is Anon and I’m a book blogger at…”

Regarding the books. You as a book blogger are a marketing outlet. Publishers will have on hand books that they are currently marketing. Most of your contacts will be Marketing Coordinators, Reps, promotion interns, those type of things. It is sometimes hard to know what will be on the current marketing agenda – but those will be the books that are available for you. Now ARCs you know those are on the agenda – because they are up and coming – those are the babies waiting to be born, the campaigns in the works. The campaigns that are on the forefront of those publishers minds. Therefor those are the books that usually are sent out by the publishers. Now, granted, campaigns also happen for series or rereleases or books that they feel should be put back on the market because of changing trends in consumerism. Will you know what these books are? Probably not. Not that it is kept in secret…just usually in-house info and we find out about it when a publicist starts contacting bloggers or you receive a hardback in the mail. So, what does my lengthy explanation break down to? You actually might have better luck requesting ARCs than already released novels. My buds Patti worded it “The Window of Opportunity.” Those four months before a release of the novel are the sweet spot for requests. Keep on top of release dates and politely introduce yourself and request books you want to read from the publishers. Keep it short and to the point and it is suggested that you include in the subject: REVIEW REQUEST: BOOK NAME.

Im working on block ” ” – can you help me find a list of fonts.

Im looking for a cursive or script style but dont know what style go’s with which family and I would love to do one of those pretty first letters to begin the block with in a different color…

A: Anon – http://www.google.com/webfonts . I can’t help you pick the font though.

How many followers should you have before trying to host a giveaway?

A: You don’t need any followers. Just spread the word via forums and twitter and other blogs.

I’ve only just really started to promote my blog. I’m still new to the book blogging world (under a year old), and I’m currently at a wp.com account. I wanted to switch to a self-hosted domain now, but worry that since I’m already at a wp.com account it’d be weird to make that switch. On the flip side, because I’m new and have so few followers, would it actually be a good idea to do it now rather than later? – Kim

A: Doing it early always helps
. But, I don’t see how it would be weird. Transitioning your blog is a regular occurrence on WP. In fact they encourage it. Your followers shouldn’t even notice a difference.

I was hoping for some help with centring my post title please. I cant seem to work out how to do it. Do I need a CSS code or so other code to center my post title? Any help will be great thanks. – Tasha

A: Tasha you’ll need a little experience working within your EDIT HTML, because your post title alignment will be in your CSS. And unfortunately a lot of the templates are different. Most of the time they are posted under a H3 tag within the post, with the element h3.post-title

Most of the newer templates use this.

Step 1: Go into your blogger dashboard

Step 2: Go to DESIGN > EDIT HTML

Step 3: Download Full Template (Back up your template before you mess around in the code)

Step 4: Go to Template Designer

Step 5: The Blogger Template Designer should have opened. You are going to click on the Advanced link in the far left column which will open the advanced interface.

Step 6: Scroll down in the Advanced options in the second column until you get to ADD CSS

Step 7: In the white text box copy this:

h3.post-title {

text-align: center;

}

Step 8: Check your work in the preview pane, have your post titles centered??

Step 9: Click apply to blog the orange button in top right corner.

I know you do that Book Blogging twitter party. I don’t know anything about twitter and the terms people use are confusing. Can you explain the process and when the party is it and how do I join? – Janie

A: First off you need a twitter account and don’t worry you don’t need one follower! All you need is to login to twitter to join the party. Twitter in it’s basic form is a status update program. The term people are using a lot is microblogging. What it really is – a great information outlet. Twitter broke Osama Bin Laden’s death before Fox News & CNN and I knew an earthquake had struck the East Coast before any news update flashed. It is like instant information for breaking news and a way to showcase your feeds and then they new popular – live blogging events, like we’ll be doing with the #BB101 party.

Now what did I do there? I added a # before BB101 – that is called a hashtag. The # symbol is used in Twitter to mark keywords. Hashtags can help you search, find relative and interesting tweets and keep track of everything that is tweeting out that particular hashtag. Give it a try – tweet…

I’m joining the #BB101 party! 

Look how your hashtag #BB101 looks like a link. Click it. Now you’ll see everyone that has tweeted with #BB101. You’ve joined the party!! That is all a twitter party is, everyone using the same hashtag. In this case, our hastag is #BB101. But, you have to remember, no one will see your tweet at the party, unless you use #BB101 in EVERY tweet.

Within the twitter user interface you can track via search: http://twitter.com/search/#bb101

Some other things you should know about twitter.
A trend is a topic on twitter that has gone viral. Let’s say 1000 people join into the #BB101 chat and the hashtag gets a ton of mentions, there is a chance that it could trend. Trends are based regionally. So if there are a lot of US twitter peeps on

A MENTION is when you put an @ in front of a username. This was someone knows you are tweeting to them. In the actual twitter interface, easily mention someone by going to a tweet of the person you want to mention and underneath their tweet hit reply. Twitter will automatically put their username with the @ before to send them a message. The person does not have to follow you to mention them.

Another way to interact is through a Direct Mention or a DM. To DM someone longhand you would D username (D space Username). DMs are private and only you and the person see these. But…the twitter user must be following you to DM them. This way you don’t get DM nasty spams.

For advanced users and trend following I recommend using Tweetdeck, you can track hashtags, your @s and DMs in different columns.

I can’t get to all the questions, but please ask your BB101 Questions here…