Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. They created this feature because as I quote, "... we are particularly quite found of lists".Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers on their blog as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.
I'm not even going to pretend to be an expert with this week's topic, I mean, after close to two years of blogging I am still learning new things each and every day! I'm just going to provide some advice about things that I wish I had known when I first started blogging, starting with a topic that most new book bloggers want to know more about- ARCs.
ARCs are not the end of the world. I know, I know, this is REALLY hard to swallow when you see someone with an ARC of a book that you are. Legitimately. Dying. To. Read. But look at it this way, from my experience, ARCs only come out a few months before a book is released (I think I have maybe gotten one 6 months in advance?)- so that means that you don't have to wait all that long for that highly coveted book! Remember guys, ARCs are a privilege and not a right- if you are blogging solely to get ARCS you might want to reconsider whether you are blogging for the rights reasons (ie. you are blogging to share your love of books).
But... How do you get ARCs? Don't. Email. The. Author (I mean, there are a few authors out there that are okay with this because they will just forward the email to their agent, publicist, or publisher, but I think that the vast majority aren't, so it's just better not to and plus, SKIP THE MIDDLEMAN! It will probably save you a lot more time in the long run, plus your favourite author will have more time on his or her hands to write)- authors don't get tons and tons of ARCs of their books to distribute to bloggers and reviewers, they only get a handful, AND they have to use their hand earned money to ship them to you.
The best way to get an ARC is to directly contact the publisher- look on their website, the vast majority of them have a specific email address to contact for review copies. Join an ARC tour- there are plenty of them out there like Around the World ARC Tours. Join NetGalley. Enter Goodreads giveaways (seriously, they have these going on ALL THE TIME and in some instances 100 copies of a single book might be distributed!). And if all else fails and you can buy a copy of the book from somewhere like The Book Depository which has some of the cheapest prices around WITH FREE worldwide shipping and/or you could always check out the book from your local library.
As for quality stuff? Memes are nice and all, admittedly I do participate in upwards of three a week, but anymore than three or four I'd say is too many. Also, I personally dislike it when a blog posts more than one meme a day. Yawn.
*That isn't to say that memes are bad, they are a great way to get a blog rolling and a great way to meet new people, but you don't want your audience to feel like they are drowning in them.
Make yourself accessible in the world of social media. I cannot tell you how much my blog has grown from being an active Tweeter- seriously, Twitter has opened up so many doors for me, from making contacts that I might not have otherwise, receiving ARCs and books (seriously, do you know HOW many authors and publishers have Twitter giveaways that very few people partake in? A lot!), and the likes of. Ditto with Facebook. A lot of people don't have blogger accounts and therefore only follow their favourite bloggers via Facebook, Twitter, and the likes of, so if you aren't participating in these forums, then you are missing out on a lot of potential readers.
Make an identity for yourself. I recently read that there is something like 5 million blogs in the world. That is A LOT of blogs. Obviously those aren't all book blogs, but there are still quite a number of those too. Because there are so many blogs out there (I mean, there are probably 60+ active YA-focused blogs run by my fellow Canadians that I could find in a snap, so just think of how many American YA-focused blogs there are, when y'all have ten times the population that we do) you want to set yourself a part from the rest of them. Admittedly, this is something that I have struggled with A LOT. I think that now, almost 2 years into blogging I am starting to finally find my identity in the world of YA blogs (I think that the creation of my avatar has given me a much needed boost of confidence since she is a logo of sorts that I can carry beyond my blog header, on bookmarks, business cards, etc).
What are you good at? Or what are your interests? Use those to help you establish yourself. Take Jenny over at Supernatural Snark for instance, she is arguably known for her snarky, yet extremely eloquent reviews or Melissa over at Books and Things for her reviews of a mish-mash of genres, her habit of starting in the middle of a series, and her love of animals.
In my opinion, the only time I think that you should start "drama" (and by drama I mean, "A low key and nicely worded email to the person in question"- take the high road peeps!) is when you find out that someone has lifted something of yours, whether it be a meme that you created, a review or something along those lines. Otherwise, just leave it be.
*However, that's not to say that I don't read blogger-related drama. Because I do. What can I say? It's my guilty pleasure, it can bring me hours of entertainment. But I think that it is also a good learning experience, IE. THIS IS HOW YOU SHOULD NEVER BEHAVE. SO YEAH, DON'T BEHAVE LIKE (INSERT PERSON'S NAME HERE), also it provides you with different perspectives and ways of thinking that you might not encounter otherwise.
fantabulous post about it/ made a video on how to GET RID OF IT.
I personally haven't had Captcha on my blog for over a year now and haven't had any problems with spam or anything along those lines (*knock on wood*). I think that if you *do* have Captcha on your blog that you are missing out on A LOT of comments because A) a lot of people won't even bother commenting on a blog with Captcha installed and B) *if* someone does leave a comment on your blog and they incorrectly type in the wrong words in the Captcha box they will be less likely to give it another try. So save yourself (and your followers) a lot of headaches and just uninstall it.
But most of all, have fun! There are few things I can think of that are more fun than talking books with people from all over the world who share similar interests to you.