Are you sitting comfortably? Got a nice cup of tea/coffee/beverage of your choice? Here we go!
A is for ARCs
ARC stands for Advance Reader Copy, and is the holy grail of #bookblogging. If you’re new to the book blogging community you may feel a twinge of jealousy at photos of all the lovely ARCs that lucky bloggers show off. That feeling never goes away – I’m incredibly lucky to get fairly regular #bookpost from lovely publishers, but still get all green-eyed when a fellow blogger tweets about a book from a favourite author.
How do you get hold of an ARC? Luckily ace bookblogger Drew over at The Tattooed Book Geek has a handy guide.
Oh, and selling ARCs is very naughty. VERY. I’ve got a SUPER rare ‘two birds’ copy of Jay Kristoff’s awesome Nevernight, but I wouldn’t part with it for anything. ANYTHING. Not even more books.
B is for books
Need I say more? A bookblogger without a book is just a blogger. Go buy a book, quick!
B is also for buying books. It’s not all about the freebies. Every bookblogger worth their salt will have a pile of bought books that are jostling for space on the TBR pile.
And B is for blog tours. A blog tour is where a publisher or publicist organises a group of bloggers to post about a book around the same time. Some blog tours last a week, with one blog for each day, but the bigger tours can last a month, with several bloggers posting each day. They can be a mix of reviews, extracts, giveaways and other content, all with the aim of creating a buzz around the launch of a book.
C is for conventions
I’ve been to a few fabulous bookish events, and they’re a brilliant place to go listen to authors talk about books, talk to other people about books, talk to authors about their books, and maybe even get your lovely books signed. And maybe buy a book or three just in case you ever run out of books. IT COULD HAPPEN.
Anyway, don’t be shy, go and introduce yourself to your favourite author, tell them how much you love their books.
D is for diversity in fiction
I’ve written about this elsewhere, but I realised that I spent a lot of time reading books by old white guys and was really missing out. I’ve been making more of a conscious effort to read more books by women, by people of colour, by people who don’t fit into my default. And my reading is so much the better for it. By reading and shouting about more diverse books, publishers will see the demand for more diverse books and we’ll get more diverse books. Which can only be a good thing.
E is for extracts
Sometimes on a blog tour you might not have time to read and review a book before it’s published, so you often see bloggers posting an extract from a book. Often just a short snippet from near the start of the book to give readers a flavour for what the book is about.
F is for fantasy and science fiction
Two of my very favourite genres. Though I’m also partial to a spot of crime fiction, and especially some Nordic Noir.
G is for guest posts
As with extracts, sometimes an author will be generous enough to write a guest post for your blog. They can either be about the book itself, like this interview with a character from A.K. Benedict’s The Evidence of Ghosts, some thoughts on plotting from Neil White, author of The Domino Killer, research by David Mark (of the DS Aector McAvoy series of crime novels), or even a guest post from another blogger, like the time that Liz Barnsley from Liz Loves Books stopped by to take us on a reader’s journey through the world of Charlie Parker from the books of John Connolly.
H is for helpfulness
The book blogging community is enormously helpful – we’ll shout about new books that we love, but we’ll also shout about other bloggers reviewing books, new authors that we’ve found and any other bookish things. Take that post from Liz – being helpful setting up a blog week for John Connolly to help promote his new book. We’re a helpful bunch. Just feed us books.
I is for immersing yourself in a story
Nothing better than losing yourself in a good book. Apart from maybe losing yourself in a good book with a large cup of tea. And maybe a biscuit. Or a slice of cake.
J is for jealousy
Another blogger gets a book that you *really* want to read. A super advance copy of your favourite author’s new book. One can’t help but be a tiny bit jealous as you wander off to your local bookshop to put in a pre-order.
K is for kindle
I love my kindle. I can carry a ton of books around and have a huge virtual TBR pile on there. There’s an age-old debate about which is better – ebook or hard copy. I love both – there’s nothing quite like the feel of a dead tree book, but the sheer convenience of kindle is hard to beat.
L is for love of books
Need I say more? Bookbloggers love books, we love talking about books, we love recommending books. Just don’t ask us what our favourite book is, unless you’ve got plenty of spare time, a notebook and pen, and a large cup of tea.
M is for meeting authors
I’ve met a few, and taken a few selfies. Felt slightly awkward at the time, but they were all good sports!
N is for non-fiction
It’s not all fiction round here you know. I don’t read a huge amount of non-fiction, but there’s the occasional one which sneaks in. Currently reading Matt Gaw’s The Pull of the River, which is wonderful and has made me investigate getting a canoe.
I am not getting a canoe.
O is for Orenda and Orbit
Two of my favourite publishers. Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books is a veritable force of nature when it comes to promoting brilliant books, and has assembled a phenomenal team of authors, but also a huge team of bloggers. Proud to be part of #TeamOrenda.
And Orbit Books keep me well-stocked in awesome fantasy and science fiction. Good job they’re two of my favourite genres, eh?
P is for publishers and publicists
Where would we be without all the brilliant publishers and awesome publicists who shout about their brilliant books? Looking at empty shelves, sobbing quietly.
Q is for Q&As
So, a book blog could feature an extract or a guest post, but I do like a good Q&A, such as this one with Leeds author RJ Tomlin.
R is for reviews
Extracts, features, guest posts. They’re all well and good, but the humble review is the core of a good book blog. I’ve written a fair few (obviously), sometimes they just seem to write themselves, and other times you find yourself hunched over the keyboard trying to put into words just how much you loved a book.
There’s a regular debate in the bookblogging community over negative reviews – some bloggers will review every book that comes in, good or bad, and others will only shout about the books they love. Each point of view is absolutely fine – I tend to mostly post positive reviews because I like talking about great books. If I’ve not enjoyed it, I’ll probably not have finished the book anyway. That said, I *have* written a couple of negative reviews. It’s up to you if you want to go looking…
S is for shocking twists you didn’t see coming
Can we just stop with this? At least stop plastering it all over the cover. I read a lot of books, and 90% of the time I *will* see it coming.
That said, I read one book where I spotted the twist by about page 20, but enjoyed the book enormously (The Fourth Monkey, by J.D. Barker – hugely entertaining). But all too often you get to the end and go, yeah, I spotted that.
T is for Twitter, TBR and Tsundoku
Twitter is where the #bookbloggers live, where we moan about the size of our TBR piles (TBR: To Be Read). A TBR can also be known as a Tsundoku.
U is for updating the blog
How often should you update your #bookblog? Some bloggers post daily, or multiple times a day. Some weekly, some less often. I tend to go through flurries of posts where I get in the zone and knock out a few reviews at once, or get a bunch of blog tours which all land at the same time. Update as often as you feel comfortable with. There are no rules.
V is for views
Blogging is all about the views – how many views did my latest post get? What’s my most popular post? What time should I schedule a post to get the most views? How often should I update twitter to make sure I get more views? Should I cross-post to Facebook groups?
Stop chasing the views. Blog because you want to talk about the books. I see bloggers who get a ton of retweets and likes, and I’m sure they must get a LOAD of views. But views are just the tip of the iceberg – there’s a lot more to it than that. The conversations that go on about the posts on twitter are often more valuable than the views.
W is for waitingfor new book coming out
Especially when you’ve seen the buzz around the book on Twitter, waiting for the book to actually appear in the bookshop can be torture. Luckily I’ve got a bit of a backlog to keep me going until the new book arrives. Though sometimes you get the lovely new book but it ends up on the shelf while other books take precedence for blog tours. Hey, we’ll read them all eventually, right?
X is for x-factor
No, not the TV series. Who has time to watch telly when you’ve got so many lovely books to read? We’re looking for the book that makes you go whoa. The one with that elusive x-factor, the one which you finish and just know that you’ll pester EVERYONE that you know to read. Books like The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle or The Fifth Season. Books that have that certain… something that makes it jump out at you.
Y is for you, this is why we wrote the reviews
Without you, dear reader, we’re just shouting into the void. Admittedly, some days it feels like that’s exactly what we’re doing when a post goes live and there’s little reaction, but we do it anyway. We’re #bookbloggers, and proud.
Z is for sleep
Pfft. Sleep is for wimps. We’ve got books to read, books that demand to be read, books that insist you read one more chapter. Books like Tall Oaks by Chris Whitaker, which saw me turn the final page at twenty to three in the morning. Books which you just cannot put down.
Has a book ever kept you awake? I’d love to hear about it.
Phew! Well done for making it this far. That’s my A-Z of #bookblogging. Love to know what you think!