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Book Blogging 101: Major Book Blogger Mistakes Part 2

Major Book Blogger Mistakes Part II

Continued from last week's, Major Book Blogger Mistakes, here are four more mistakes that can be easily made.

Book Blogger Mistake #4 All About You

Adding a personality to your blog is one thing, making it all about you is another. I might get a few stink faces on this one, because frankly I know you guys like talking about yourself and posting updates about your dogs...cats, gerbils, etc. But, the problem lies with your readers. Those five or so close blogger buddies that you've made along the way might really be interested and respond to your personal posts all the time, but generally it is not something people want to read. The general readership doesn't care about your day-to-day mundane. Readers want interesting - funny quips about a book experience maybe, but the fact that you just did P90X for two days in a row, not really of interest. Let's face facts, you are not a celebrity and only their mundane is interesting.

If you do enjoy blogging about your dogs exploits at the dog park and the fact that you love to collect rocks that look like Jesus - that really is great, but maybe don't post it on the blog you are marketing as a book blog.

Book Blogger Mistake#5 No Collaboration

Do you know who your competition is? Maybe blogs that started up around the same time as you and cover the same genres? To really market well you have to narrow down that competition - and the fun thing about the blogging world - team up with them! Promoting your competition will generate buzz for both. It is not like you are both on the same corner selling hot dogs - there is a huge online world out there and the more book blogs the merrier, right? Collaboration can be anything from Guest Posting on another book bloggers blog, to having that same person guest post on yours. Teaming up together to do joint events, giveaways, reviews, you name it, you can team up and do it!

Networking will make or break your blog and your network is mostly other book bloggers (we are an incestuous bunch!) so get out there and make friends. Cross promotion is fun and there are tons of interesting ways to do it.

Book Blogger Mistake #6 Where is the SEO?

You are an online entity - the point of your blog is to be read - online search engines will help drive readers to your pages, so why are you ignoring them?

You really should make sure that each post that you create is SEO friendly, because those are the bread-winners. All those pretty words that you post day in and day out are getting crawled and processed and spit out there. If you have a bunch of just so-so posts that are not hot with keywords then they won't get you noticed. Yet, if you take a little bit of time to narrow down some keywords for each post you might have a little more luck on Google.

  1. Your first goal is to have a descriptive and keyword rich title. If it is a giveaway, list giveaway in the title. Always list the name of the book and include the author, I even like to include review (if it is a review) i.e. PJ Review: House of Glass by Rebecca Pain. Don't neglect those titles, they are the first thing everyone sees!
  2. Section headers are fun. Use those <h2> <h3> tags! For example maybe put a quotable line within an <h3> tag in the center of your review.

    "I loved this Paranormal Romance! It's is the best Farrah Lynn has ever written!"

  3. Anchor links! Anchor links! Never link something to click here. Link it to a descriptive phrase. Maybe try for CLICK HERE FOR MORE BLOGGING TIPS. This is a very big deal. You always want your links to say what they are linking to. Click here = Bad, use it in a sentence if you want the link to be obvious.

  4. Narrow down and utilize those keywords throughout your post. Let's say your post will be a review of Illona Andrew's Kate Daniels series. You might like to have your keywords as:

  • Illona Andrews
  • Kate Daniels
  • Magic Bites
  • Urban Fantasy
  • Paranormal Romance
How to implement this? Instead of saying "Best Book Ever!" say "Best Paranormal Romance Ever!" I know it narrows it down to genre - but be specific. Use the authors name - instead of saying "the author" or she. Again, use Kate Daniels name. Repeat MAGIC BITES instead of the novel, or the book. And finally, utilize labels, all of your keywords should be labels.

Book Blogger Mistake #7 Engage the Reader

Flat posts don't get comments. Engage that reader! Ask questions, post controversial topics, or post about exciting current trends...just get them engaged and motivated to comment. Then RESPOND RESPOND RESPOND. I don't know how many times I go to a blog and they have maybe 30 comments in their queue and NO RESPONSES from the blogger. There is one particular blog that I see this at ALL the time. And it's like "HELLO? Is anyone there?" I still don't know why anyone even bothers to comment on this blog, but they do and never a response. I've even commented and tried to illicit a response, thinking maybe they responded via email. Nope. Nothing. Next time I'll comment something rude, that'll get a response I'm sure. ;) This just makes the blogger look bad if they don't respond. Or at least to me. Your blog should be a conversation. Responding builds relationships and strengthens your readership. It's said that only 1% of readers comment. Reward those comments, they are making an effort.

Now for some quick questions:

Hello! I've recently started my own book blog and everything has been going great; I get to meet other book addicts who are all very nice, and share my own views  too. However, I heard some book bloggers in the States receive ARCs or review copies from publishers.  As an international blogger residing in Asia, I was just wondering if there was any chance I would receive such requests as well-I know shipping is expensive! - International blogger
You might get a few, but unfortunately most publishers will not go through the trouble of shipping a book overseas. Large publishers have branches in each country - there is a Macmillan US, Macmillan UK and so on. The marketing reps that are in charge of handing out those ARCs are focused on their countries sales. Sending an ARC to Asia would be like taking out an advertisement in Russia for the Superbowl. Granted it might happen a few times, but I wouldn't count on it regularly. I personally would maybe give NetGalley a try - eARCs might be less discriminatory.
I want to link to more positive reviews of a book that really wasn't for me on other blogs. Should I email the bloggers to ask if I can link to their review first? Thanks for any advice in advance! - Anonymous
Yes. At least send out a courtesy email. "Hey I linked to your review." You are not republishing anything so you don't need permission, but the nice thing to do would be a heads up.
Ive had my blog for about a year now and I believe I have made progress considering how I was in the beginning,,Ive actually reached 119 followers thanks to you of coarse with your Follow Friday Hop and several other activities that I participate in anyway,,I was thinking about hosting a giveaway,,to celebrate getting over 100 followers but kind of nervous about it and dont have a large selection in my library,,any suggestions? - Jennifer
I would host a Book Depository contest. Pick a few books from the Book Depository that are within your budget and then give your entrants a choice. The fun thing about doing this is that it is international! That's it folks. Talk less. Read More. Happy Thursday.

Ask your BB101 Questions here...


Shelagh said...

Useful as always Rachel - thank you. I'm much less inclined to comment on someone's blog if I see that they never bother to respond. I know not every comment can be answered on a very busy blog, but at least make an effort with some of them!

And I wanted to thank you again for your enthusiasm for the book blogging community - it rubs off on us n00bs! :)

The Word Fiend

Dani @ Refracted Light said...

Whew. I think I made the cut with this week's post. lol. Although I definitely need to work on my SEO more, I categorize for my own blog organization but tag hardly at all. Thanks for the reminder that I need to work on that :) Love these posts!

Danny said...

As per usual, I enjoy reading your post!
And I would like to add something about international bloggers and ARC's. I'm from Germany.

No, the publisher's won't send to over seas and I also wouldn't even try and ask. (and in fact I never did) One ARC cost them already so much money and then paying 4 times as much on shipping is just not worth it and I had never ever assumed they would send to me.

I'm happy with NetGalley. No happy doesn't fit - I'm in love with NetGalley and with more and more publishers joining, it opens the world of ARC's for us too.

The other option would be to have a US shipping friend. My BFF lives in the US and she is my US mailing address where paperback ARC's are being send. I pay then the shipping from US to Germany myself. Specially when it is a book I've been dying to read I happily pay the $15-20 shipment myself.

All for the love of books :)

Great Post Rachel and thanks for the tagging tips!

Bookish Brunette said...

As usual... AWESOME post. Thanks for sharing chick. I'm totally guilty of the linking words instead of Click Here For... Now I know!! :) xoxo

ParaJunkee said...

FIRST - Those pink lines didn't publish right...I'm trying to quickly redo them...URGH new blogger. LOL

@Shelagh - I'm glad to help out n00bs LOL, and I understand big blogs are soooo big they can't comment all the time, but I think they should make an effort. Everyone has off days, understandable, but if it is on a regular basis? I don't both to follow closely anymore.

@Dani - SEO is tough. The toughest thing out there for blogs.

ParaJunkee said...

@Danny - Thanks so much for expanding on the international ARC situation. Shipping is really expensive - I keep waiting for them to invent a teleporter or something...

@Bookish Brunette - Thank you! Those Anchor Links are a very big deal with Google.

Shelagh said...

Oh, Danny's comment reminded me about something else I wanted to add.

Regarding International bloggers and ARCs: I'm from South Africa and I do manage to get ARCs and review copies from publishers. It's best to approach your local branch of the publishing house (eg. Penguin or Pan Macmillan) directly. The publicists are very helpful.

The Word Fiend

Emily a.k.a WilowRaven : ) said...

Great post as usual!
About commenting on your readers comments. I don't respond very much and it's not because I'm not paying attention it's more so because unless the commenter (sp?) returns to the post - how will they ever know I responded? Other readers will see my response, yes, but the original person who commented probably won't and I always thought this was a little impersonal. Answering a question or making a comment to someone you are 99% will never read it....what do you think?

I do respond via email - but only if their account is set with an email address and not '' or the like.

Alison Can Read said...

Re responding to comments. I try to go to oeople's blogs and comment back instead of responding. I assume that people won't come back to my blog and read my response to their comments there. There are only a handful of blogs that I actually go back to check (yours is one) What are your thoughts? I've considered switching to a comment system where I could reply and the person would get an email notification. What do you think of those? Helpful or annoying?

ParaJunkee said...

@Emily - I gotta say, most bloggers have that no-reply set up with their comments, or at least 50%, so usually I will email a reply if it is important response...but you would be surprised at how many people will subscribe to the comments, or come back and check. I know I will if I left a comment that I'm dying to see a response with. And responding to comments keeps a running conversation going, it is not just for the person you are responding to, but also for the readers to come. I don't think it is impersonal at all. I think having a blog that just sits there and collects comments looks a lot more impersonal.

@Allison - That is usually a good idea, but let's say on posts like this one. It might get a bit tricky. And what if they don't have a blog? I tried the ID comments and they were so quirky sometimes I would lose my commenting system and on the ones that mattered (Murphey's Law)

I just tend to make a habit of responding like this - well on the BB101 posts at least. #FF days I go to their blogs. Reviews, sometime by email (but really mostly they have those no-reply). I just think it's easier this way.

Johanna said...

Great blog tips! Especially the responding part. Hate it when people don't's like posting in hyper-space.

btw, just received the book I won on your book giveaway! So excited to read it!

Vanessa theJeepDiva said...

Thanks again for taking the time to share this knowledge. I have found it extremely helpful!

Sherri said...

Another great post. Just when I think I may have it figured out, you show me something new that I should be doing that would improve my blog. Thanks for the advice.

Moonlight Gleam said...

Rach you ROck!! Love your B101 tips <3

My 5 Monkeys(Julie) said...

Great post as always and something for me think about :)

Amy J said...

Great post girl! On the part about responding to comments, I sometimes find that hard to do. I hate when people don't have their email thing on so I can just hit reply. When I go to do it in the comments, it seems to scare people away and they quit commenting! LOL

I also sent you a question on your form that is personal and not Blogging101. LOL My mistake there.

Hugs girl!

Stephsco said...

This was very helpful, thank you! The blogs I visit most often utilize exactly what you said: key words (without my even realizing it), responses, relevant info. At first my blog was going to be very inward focusing, but the more I saw book blogging sites, I thought, why not post reviews of books I'm already reading and sharing via sites like amazon & Goodreads? It's opened me up to a whole new blogging world beyond writing and getting published.

Thanks for your advice!

Jennifer@The Book Nympho said...


"If you do enjoy blogging about your dogs exploits at the dog park and the fact that you love to collect rocks that look like Jesus"

Shanan, The Book Addict said...

Thank you for all of the wonderful advice--I loved reading through your Book Blogger 101 when I was thinking about getting started and every time I come in it seems to get better and better.

I agree with Jennifer@The Book Nympho...the like about dog exploits and rocks that look like Jesus is hilarious!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You really offer some awesome tips.

"Confuzzled" Shannon said...

I feel like you were reading my blog this week and now I want to hide. Yes I post about my dogs and I also don't reply to comments although I will try to visit the other person site ... it not that I don't appreciate comments it is just sometimes I don't know what to say without sounding repetitive and boring, which I probably do anyway.

Thank you this is helpful to know what I am doing wrong though. I guess I just gotta put more time in then I am, which already feels like a lot.

April (BooksandWine) said...

Honestly I like when people post about their lives outside of books. It gives a blog personality. I think the greater sin would be not having a unique voice.

I don't do any sort of collaboration really, unless you count my weekly posts where I link to awesome content generated by others as well as posting links to other reviews at the bottom of my posts and I'd like to think I'm relatively successful despite making that 'mistake'.

And for the comments, I try to reply but sometimes I have a lot going on in my life and I'd rather spend time visiting other blogs/generating new content rather than saying 'thank you so much' to the one sentence 'nice review!' comment. I mean when there is time, sure I don't mind.

So, interesting take on blogger mistakes this week, but I think I'm just going to keep on blogging the way that I am.

Lan said...

Hey Rachel, thanks for the great advice. Your tips were my guidelines when I was learning the ropes of the blogosphere. I'm one of those serial blog stalkers who lurk around the internet posting comments on people's blogs to make friends and I always get a kick out of someone replying to my comment or even better if they visit my page and interact there.
It's pretty disappointing when you make the effort to comment on someone's blog and they don't bother making the effort to respond in any way. I don't see the point in having a comments section on your blog if it's not interactive.
Anyway that's enough of my ranting. Thanks again for the great post. I'm updating my blog soon and will be putting your button on my fav blogs section.

Have a great day.

mel u said...

I am Asian based blogger (in Manila)-in response to the question about getting books sent to Asia-I have started to simply as for Kindle or Pdf of the book-this is not extra expense for the sender and gets a good response rate-I only request books on topics I have posted on before (and I send the publisher/author a link to show them)-I actually now get a lot of unsolicited requests to send me ARCs-just because a bloggers is located in Asia does not mean she or he may not have a big USA?USA UK readership and if you reflect on it-there are one billion people in India with millions and millions of potential book buyers-smart publishers know this and will send books to established blogs with good readersips

Anonymous said...

Ha!! Brilliant post, Parajunkee!! :)

I normally skip over posts that I'm not interested in, although the easiest way to scare me off your blog is to KEEP ON posting loads and loads of irrelevant stuff ... it fills up my Google Reader and is just ANNOYING.

I totally agree about the commenting part, too ... it's a huge mission to reply to comments (and also visit commenters' sites in return, which I like to do), but it's totally worth the trouble. If I comment on someone's blog a few times and notice that they never respond to anyone - I stop. Usually I stop visiting, too, lol, because I feel totally unappreciated!! :P It's just rude to ignore people who - technically - are talking to you.

P.S. The SEO tips are very helpful, thanks.

ParaJunkee said...

@Johanna - I'm glad you got the book. I hope you enjoy it.

@Vanessa - You are welcome.

@Sherri - You're steps right?

@Moonlight - LOL - Thanks.

@Julie - Thanks!

@Amy J - I know I got fed up with all the no-replys so that is why I answer in the post. Scare people away? Really? That's odd. No biggie about the form. It happens a lot. I don't know how to set it up differently though.

@Stephsco - You know it does and it can sometimes set you in the right path and you can gain industry contacts. On top of that it is great writing practice.

@Jennifer - Glad you liked it.

@Shanan - I'm glad they help. I wish they had something like this for when I started, LOL.

@Alex - Thanks.

@Confuzzled - I did not single you out ... LOL. Do you collect rocks that look like Jesus though? And look above, how many times have I just replied with Thank You...but I don't want to skip people. I guess it is just something I like to do. And really it is not about being wrong or right, it's about doing what feels right. If that is the way you want to run things. These are just suggestions.

@April - Glad to know that you've got it all figured out ;)

@Lan - Sometimes I think - What? Was my comment not stimulating enough? LOL You are welcome thank you so much, I'll head over there now and check it out.

@mel u - That is great, and thanks so much for chiming in. I think most publishers would not have a problem with eARCs that is definitely the way to go.

@Bella - Thank you. I've noticed that most of the blogs I follow do tend to stay on topic, probably because I've weeded out a lot of silliness. I'm guilty of not visiting others sites as much as I should, but I'm trying to make it a mission. I'm glad the SEO helps you out. It's a lot of work.

Grace Fonseca said...

I love the Book Blogging 101 posts. I learn so much about book blogging then I ever thought would be possible. I really like this because I learn something. I try not to post a lot but I do take days off from the blog because I have a job, so I can't blog everyday. That would be insane.

Maria Zannini said...

Rachel, Book Blogging 101 is my absolute favorite of all your segments. I always learn something from you.

People not responding to comments is a pet peeve of mine too. It's not nice, especially when people take the time to visit.

As for the dog comment, I dunno. Granted I don't post that often about the dogs, but they get the biggest Google hits--next to the flying saucer house down the road from me.

Of course, my dogs are usually battling scorpions and snakes so maybe that's what makes them so Google-worthy.

Thanks again! Another great post.

Kah Woei said...

Hmmm ... thanks for the advice. Though I've read some of it before, I do tend to forget. It's good to be reminded of my failings :-)

Emily a.k.a WilowRaven : ) said...

@Parajunkee Seriously, I never even considered the Subscribe to comments option! And you are right, a running conversation is there for all to see (like this one which I am enjoying very much) and is engaging to all readers.

I'm always happy when I learn something new. Thanks again!

Jennifer G. said...

Can someone please tell me what SEO is? I've only really started blogging in the last couple of months, and I'm not familiar with that term.

And sorry, but you might see a post or two about dogs on mine too lol! But then again, my blog is Books and Barks ;) I haven't really used it to talk about the pups except to put their pictures on a page. But I do plan on doing a monthly "dog book" post to merge the themes every now and then.

Lauren said...

Great post!! SEO is new to me and I'm working on it.

I'm pretty bad about leaving a comment and forgetting, so I need to be more aware that a lot of people aren't like that! Baby steps, I guess :)

Thanks for the great tips!

Lupdilup said...

Great post again, thank you.You're the best! and no! I'm not just kissing your a.. You really know your staff.

Lupdilup said...

I meant to say "what your' talking about".. lol, can't get out of my own way

Gina @ My Precious said...

Rachel - I have to say "CHEERS!!", I seriously thought I was the only person who thought it was rude when a comment is made or a question is asked and then the commenter gets no response - lame!

I am really particular about who I follow, I tend select blogs where the blogger takes the time to answer back. In fact, it one (of many) of the reasons I followed you. Despite a big blog with a lot of followers, you still find the time to comment back. That, to me, was impressive and noteworthy.

"Confuzzled" Shannon said...

lol no I don't collect rocks that look like jesus.. I would probably paint them that way. lol Matter fact now that you mention it that is a pretty good idea...;->

Bibliotropic said...

Love the idea of linking contrasting reviews from other people to help give greater perspective. I might have to take advantage of that piece of advice. Thanks, as always, for the tips!

James said...

I'm really enjoying your Book Blogger 101 posts. Great advice about SEO. I think this is one of the things that is neglected by many book bloggers, yet it's a great way of getting traffic to your site.

I too like the idea of linking to other reviews.

Looking forward to the next post in this series.

Sandy said...

Thank-you for the great post!

NetGalley is more international reader friendly. I am in the Cayman Islands and I use NetGalley every now and then :).

Mrs. ReaderPants said...

Great tips! I plan to do some tweaking of my labels and post titles based on your SEO tips. Thanks so much!

Cat said...

Another great post.

Thank you again for your insights on how to make a blog work, not just for the blogger but for the reader too. Excellent.


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