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Book Blogging 101 - Totally Random

Welcome to Book Blogging 101, where you ask a question and I try my best to answer it. I'm not an expert -- so if I get it wrong, shhh I don't want to hear it! LOL. No let me know in the comments if you have a difference of opinion, or know a better way.

Spawned from the Big Sis, Little Blog program, Book Blogging 101 was born. Do you have a question? Leave it in the google docs form and I'll try and answer them in the order they are received.

Finally figured out how to make a Google Doc giveaway form but I don't know how to use to pick a winner for me.  Help!  ~Thank you. -- Jinky

A:  Jinky, first you have to get a number. So count up all those extra points and entries until you have a number. So if you had 150 entries, that is your number.  Go to and go to the True Random Number Generator and type in the 150 in MAX area.

Hit Generate.

The number generated is your winner. In this case it would be 6.

And I thought I would add a quote form an author that chimed in regarding asking for interviews. It was great, so I thought I would post it.  The question was in regards to asking an author for was the reply:

I agree ... nobody should ever feel their blog is too small to ask for an interview. What you're really asking is to do the author a favor. You're giving FREE publicity. Yes the author might need to give you a FREE copy of his or her book ... but even if you tell only TEN people about that book - that can result in rich dividends. Anyone who feels SHY about having an author visit is welcome to ask ME (for starters). As author of Ravena & The Resurrected, I feel NO blog is too small. Then again, I'm new to the book publishing industry. I've been published in short story markets for eons ... but I hope (no matter how popular my books become) I never EVER get such an arrogant attitude as to turn down an interview ... unless of course the timing is just not feasible. Point is ... authors are just PEOPLE. Most people LOVE it when someone admires them and wants to review their book.  -- Tami

Thanks Tami for chiming in, it is always great to get an author's perspective.

I really like your toolbar that is under your header (which I also love).  How do you add one like that with a drop down menu?   -- Anonymous

A: First off, thanks! I lurve my header too. Now, the thing about drop down menus...well they are really tricky. It takes a bit of coding knowledge. I have found a site that has a list of sites where you can try to create your own...but it might need a little code finagling also. Here is the post: Drop Down Menus (Geek Blogger)

I don't want to say that it's above your technical skill but if you do have a problem adding them, you might have to hire someone that can install them for you. There are a few bloggers out there that can do that... ;)

I have only been blogging for a few months now, and have obtained a very good amount of loyal followers. I really want to improve my review quality on my blog, and was wondering if it is really necessary to put a "star rating" for a review. I express how much I love or dislike a book in my reviews, is that enough for my reader? And is that alright for publishers/authors to view as well?   --L

A: It is your blog ... do what you want. Set up your reviews any way you like, rate them anyway you like. Bloggers set up rating systems because sometimes it is not enough to just say I really liked this book, or I didn't really like this book. A rating system gives someone a quick glance at just how much they really liked the book or not. I actually did a BB101 on rating systems.

How do you make the little spoiler hider, the hyperlinked text or button that you click on to reveal or hide a section your review?   -- Jennifer (An Abundance of Books)

A: One way I've found is to use a Hide/Show button that you can find on a few blogger buster type sites. One quick and easy way was in this post by Tweak my Blogger

The HTML looks straight forward in that one.

I would like to create an awesome blog button like yours for memes and for just having for others to advertise my blog. How do you do it?    -- Dana19018

A: You use graphic software and create one. I'm assuming you are talking about the actual graphic and not the grab code right underneath right? Dana, I can't really tell you how to create a graphic, depending on the program you use, or your design skills you might have to try and figure that out for yourself. I recommend Photoshop, but that is advanced software.

Or, you pay someone to make it for you. Takes the headache out of it and is much cheaper than graphic's software. (I know I'm shameless!!!)

I want to participate in one of the many giveaway hops, or simply host one myself, but I'm not sure the best way to correlate entries is.  Do you have any advice on the whole forms vs comments?  And how do you kep track of everything?   -- Eli

A: You would use a Link Up widget. This tallys up the entries.

 I have managed to locate these:
Mister Linkies:
Linky Tools:
Simply Linked:

Hi PJ!!!! *WAVES*

Soooo...I'm really excited about a book coming out soon!!!! (shocker, I know!)---The author doesn't have a countdown widget/gadget---at least any I've found---And I've searched all over and can't figure out how to make a custom/personalized one with the book cover image--at least not w/out paying for it...Is there a way to design a countdown widget w/html? Some kind of template where I can plug in the picture---anything like that???

Thanks!!!!   -- nymfaux

A: Hi nymfaux darlin'...I did the research and I have found it for you! Thanks Larissa!!!

Check out the Paranormal Spring Break countdown over yonder ------->

I made it at a site called Counto.

It might take a bit of messing with, but I figured it out. Best thing is to know the exact dimensions of the picture you are going to use for the background or it is going to STRETCH it all over the place.

much cheaper than graphic's software. (I know I'm shameless!!!)

How often do you recommend posting reviews? Automatically as you finish them? One a day, on a scheduled post? Once a week? Thanks!  -- Ariel

A: I would do about one a day and schedule them in advance if you are ahead, too many overwhelm your readers. They are following a lot of blogs, if you are posting three reviews a day they won't  be able to keep up. 

I'm not saying my schedule is perfect but here is what I try to do. About three reviews a week. I definitely do one on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday I usually do a WOW meme (Waiting on Wednesday) and if I have a review I will post it in the afternoon. This is a wonderful day to do one of my After Hours reviews in the evenings. On Thursday I have two mandatory posts that go out, this one the BB101 and my evening is the Hop. So on Friday I usually like to maybe post another review. So min of 3, max of 5. I take the weekend off. This works for me, but find your own pattern.

That's it kids. Talk less. Read more. Happy Thursday.

Ask your BB101 Questions here...


Jennifer (An Abundance of Books) said...

Thanks so much for finding the hide/show content button code!

And I swear, you read my mind! Just this morning I was looking for a way to create drop down menus!

Thanks so much
Jennifer (An Abundance of Books)

Avery said...

Thanks for all of the great advice! I have always been one of those people who is too intimidated to ask an author for an interview, but maybe now I will... As for the blog button question, if you don't want to buy Photoshop you can also use Gimp. It is free and was quite easy to use once you get the hang of it!

Reflections of a Bookaholic said...

Thanks for the resources.

SusanKMann said...

Excellent as always x

Amateur Voice said...

This actually answers a lot of questions I've been having lately with blogger. Excellent job! :)


One Pushy Fox said...

I just wanted to say how much I enjoy reading these posts. Not only do I learn something (often something that wouldn't have occurred to me to ask) but I love the positive community vibe these posts promote. YOU ROCK!!!!!!!!

Julie said...

How do you copy the Random Generator? I have Windows. I know people have said print screen, but it doesn't work for me.

Patti (Book Addict) said...

I always look forward to your BB101 posts - thanks!!!

nymfaux said...

Thanks so much for answering my question!!!! BEST. THURSDAY. EVER!!!! :) THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!

I always love you, but especially on Thursdays ;)

I hope one day my blog grows up to be as cool and smart as yours!!! :)

Kristi The Book Faery said...

Thanks so much for all the hard work you put in and then share with us.

I really had a hard time with the random generator during a giveaway; thanks for posting that!

Your BB101 posts have pretty much saved my life, I think I spend more time on your site than you do :o] Your the only other blogger that I have a badge for on my site (mostly lack of room) but I respect you sharing your knowledge.

I have a question; I would like to put down all the blogs I follow on one of those rotating widgets but I can't find a code for that. I follow a lot of blogs and I want to give them the respect they deserve but only a few show up on my site. Also, I notice that a lot of people have a widget that turns constantly. Could Next Thursday maybe talk about putting Blogs on our site? LOL... maybe making them turn?
Thanks PJ, I agree with Nymfaux, I always love you but especially on Thursdays ;o] I'll be happy to be half as successful, cool and smart as yours!!! :o]
Sorry, Nymfaux, I'm paraphrasing everything you say but I feel the same way!!!

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