Book Blogging 101 – Chapter 1

Making a Plan

Think Blogging is your calling? Want to give it a try? The first step before you even login to WordPress or Blogger is to Make A Plan. To introduce myself, I’m a blogger, a book blogger to be exact that runs a number of side blogs for design and social media. I started book blogging for fun, as a hobby, but I approached it like a business. Yes, it is a hobby, but my career is based in marketing and it has taught me some things along the way, so when there are numbers to be generated (followers) I go for it business style. This always brought me to the question:

What is the first step in starting a business?

Section 1: Write a business plan.

[frame align=”left”] Blogging Tips[/frame]Your blog is going to be your “business”, therefor before you start out you should form the “business” model and plan. It will help you along the way, giving you a road-map of goals and steps to take to promote your blog. You should follow this road-map, revising it as trends change and as you establish yourself.

When writing your plan, here are some questions to ask yourself:

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  • What is your blog’s name?
  • What would you like to convey with your blog’s name?
  • What feelings would you like to inspire when people read/view your blog?
  • What is the purpose of your blog?
  • What do you want to accomplish with your blog?
  • What kind of following do you want to achieve with your blog?
  • Do you plan to do anything else in the future with your blog?
  • Do you want your blog to help you achieve something in real life?
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These questions can help you get the basics down.  For example if you are content with just reaching 100 followers and reviewing a book a week, doing a few memes here and there, you really won’t have to be aggressive with your networking. But, if you would like to one day reach 1K followers, use it to make contacts with Harlequin and Simon and Schuster, etc., one day advancing your career as a freelance writer, well you have to be pretty aggressive and professional.

Your plan should guide you in the direction you want to go, but it shouldn’t be rigid, let it adapt as you progress.  It should reflect in everything from your writing style to the images you place on your sidebar. If you are striving for professional, stick within those guidelines.  Snarky? Keep that sharp wit honed. Consistency, like in any business is the key to success. If your readers know what they want and you deliver it to them, right on time, just as you promise – they will keep coming back for more and more.

After asking yourself the first question, you will then be faced with a very big decision, because now it is time to Brand Yourself.

Section 2: Brand Yourself

OriginalThe biggest mistake I notice in the business blogging  world is the brand. The brand is the first thing everyone sees, hears and reads. Your name. Your identity. Bloggers that quickly brand themselves into something generic or anonymous soon regret it. Especially when they start delving into the blogosphere and notice how many people share their name, their identity, their style. We might think we are original creatures, but original ideas are hard to come up with, unless you put some thought into it, and even then this is usually a talent done best by a select few. Idea people. Ad men. Whatever you want to call them. But, you can channel a good idea, you just have to understand that ideas are usually not just sudden insights. They usually take brainstorming, talking to others around you, research and knowledge. You do not want to be just another Book Babe, or Game Guru. You want to be something that says, I’m here, I’m original and this is what I do. All conveyed in your name. I know this sounds hard, but with some careful thought and research it can be done.

Write down a list of names that you would like. If your name is Linda, you can play on that, but give it a twist. Add some adjectives to it, Lucky Linda’s Blog,  instead of just Linda’s Blog. Maybe you have a nickname, try that out. I would suggest coming up with five unique names – they don’t have to be out of this world, go for short and easy to understand, but stay away from generic terminology.

Lady Linda’s Blog
Linda Loo’s Lair
The Linda Stop

These of course are just examples of different and easy things to come up with. You of course, want to make it personal and uniquely yours. Once you’ve come up with at least five names, Google them. Search and search. If those names show up on Google. Start over with five more names, until you get one you like that isn’t in use by someone else. Even if that blog is a music blog and you are going to be creating an art blog — you don’t want that confusion. You want them to search your blog’s name and that is all they get…watch, search Parajunkee. It’s all me. There is no mistaking it. But, it is on the weird side. Say it out loud to an author and they might look at you like — huh? Or type it in with an ie. Nothing can be absolutely perfect.

[pullquote align=”right”]I can’t tell you how to pick the perfect name, simple, original and easy to spell, type, remember, all I can do is push you in the right direction. ;)[/pullquote]

Along with catchy words you also want to think about things that reflect what you will be covering on your blog. Are you a writing blog, or just a review blog? Maybe include a catchy word in the title that reflects your topic. But, once again, make sure that it is not a common phrasing that everyone is using.

After you have chosen a name, or two. You might want to have a back-up. Think of what you would like to use as the short, URL version. For example, if you decided Linda was just too common of a name and went with your nickname which was Junkee — and decided on The Junkee Stop, you could shorten all your WWW screen names to: junkeestop

Go to GoDaddy or another domain seller of your choosing and search for that domain. junkeestop.com

If it is available you are in luck. I recommend always going with .com because that is everyone’s first inclination.

If that dot com is not available, you have to start all over again, or if you have a second choice try that one out.

If you are in luck and junkeestop.com is available, consider yourself ready to hit the ground running!

Get That Name Down Straight.

Branding via the Internet The name is The Junkee Stop — now you have to put it everywhere. You will use this for everything. You have to keep it straight also. You don’t want to use The Junkee Stop on one thing and Junkee’s Stop on another. You are The Junkee Stop, nothing more. You can drop the THE for your url and email, but consistency once again is a must.

Run over to gmail and grab junkeestop@gmail.com

Run over to Blogger & WordPress and start the blog with junkeestop.blogspot.com and junkeestop.wordpress.com (even if you don’t use one, you don’t want someone to like your idea and start a blog on WP)

Make your twitter name @junkeestop

Facebook, Tumblr, MySpace, Yahoo — everything! You don’t want to be junkeestop@gmail.com and @JunkeesBlog on your twitter. You want your name to be recognized and even if someone doesn’t have a link or URL in front of them, they can pretty much figure it out.

Tune in Next Week for Section 3 — Figuring Out Your Look/Style

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Reader Question of the Week:

When I comment, I follow my morals and only comment when I have something to say. But, I also leave my blog link at the bottom, sort of like a signature. What do you think of that?- Kim

Kim, there is nothing wrong with self-promotion. You just have to make sure it is not spam. If you are following set rules you’ve created yourself, by only commenting when you have something pertinent to say, there should be nothing wrong with leaving your link. Where general grumpiness comes into play is when bloggers comment generic platitudes with the link as the main focus of the comments. The owner of the blog assumes that the only reason you left that comment was to embed your link within their site. Much like spambots operate. This might not be the intention of the person commenting, but it might be received in this way.

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Book Blogger News:

Paid Reviews

Book Reviewers made The New York Times and not in a positive light. The beginning caption is “Todd Jason Rutherford inside his home in Bixby, Okla. He says that he is now suspicious of all online reviews — whether of books or of anything else.”

Fabulous right? The thing is, like all nefarious, wrong-doers, they see only what they are used to and Mr. Rutherford was charging Indie Authors upwards of $1000 to generate 10+ ridiculously glowing reviews. All fake. All targeted to what the author wanted him to say about the book. He was clearing close to 30K a month. Big business in fake reviews. But does this make us all look bad? Judge for yourself. Read the Times article here.

Hippies Shuts Down

Another blog has purportedly succumbed to the wicked machinations of the Indie Author Onslaught (Carrol Bryant and that Idiocracy that is Stop the GR Bullies). Hippies, Beauty & Book Oh My! a blog that rocketed onto the scene in mid 2011 and quickly amassed a record number of followers, claiming unheard of pageview counts within only a short time, posted an out of the blue post, titled Bye, Bye, Blogging. Out of the blue, I state, because of the fact that only three short days earlier they had even started a new function on their blog and were promoting it. Along with the fact that they have a lot of advertising and all their Blog Ad links are still active and clients have the ability to purchase advertising.

Amanda states in her post:

Jon and I have decided we are shutting down our blog for good. This will be our last post. At this time, we feel as if we can serve our community better without all of the drama and without waking up each day with people belittling the things that we do. The stress is not worth it anymore.”

I am sorry to see that these negative clouds of insanity have forced a book blogger to shut down, but I do recommend that if something like this happens to another blogger that they might be other alternatives then packing it in. Of course if it is not worth it then that is your personal choice, but blogs that accept advertising and then just shut-down are not only making a decision for themselves, they are also impacting their advertisers.

Bloggy Awards are now accepting votes

You can now vote on the nominees at The Bloggy Awards.

Twitter Author Spam

A new trend has begun, it would seem in the last few weeks. I’m assuming someone wrote a very misguided article.  But, I’ve recently been bombarded with Author’s personal accounts sending me tweets with just a BUY ME type link. I wouldn’t mention this, except that it is happening almost on a daily basis. I’ve taken to just replying and saying this is a good way to get your twitter account shut down as a spammer, but my evil voice says “why should I?” I should probably just do what I usually do for spam — Block & Report Spam. Have you been having this happen to you lately?

Happy Thursday. Talk Less. Read More. Blog with Integrity.

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