Blogging 101: What NOT To Do in the Blogging World

So, you want to start a book blog and you don't know where to start. This is completely normal. Starting a blog is an overwhelming feeling, there is so much you need to know that you don't. We are hoping with this new series that we will be able to help new bloggers navigate the blogging world!

Previous Posts: PlatformsWebsites Essential for Running a Blog | Staying Organized | When, Why & What To Post | How to Write a Banging Book Review

Whether you're a brand new blogger or a seasoned veteran, there are some unspoken rules in the blogging and reading community that keep things orderly and keeps the space fun and enjoyable for everyone. While a lot of these "rules" seem to be unspoken and mutually understood, it's never a bad idea to 

*Please keep in mind that this list is not meant to offend or antagonize anybody -- rather, hopefully everyone reading this (ourselves included) can learn and move forward in a way that is positive for the bookish community as a whole!*

So without further ado, let's jump into it:

1. DON'T neglect a blogger's review policy. Most bloggers have a separate tab on their website where you can access their review policy. This policy not only outlines the guidelines of how to submit books for review, but it also speaks to their reading tastes, which is something important that you want to keep in mind when asking people to review your book or to work with you. It is very, very clear when authors reaching out to us haven't read our review policy -- please respect the policies on each blogger's site!

2. DON'T use the wrong name in emails when addressing bloggers and authors. It'd be silly to say we don't know people copy and paste emails to different bloggers when they're looking to have their story covered, or when a blogger wants to collaborate with a bunch of other bloggers. That is totally fine. What isn't as fine, however, is when we see emails sent to us calling us by different names that aren't ours, or the dreaded "Hi," with no name following at all. Reaching out to a blogger means that you want to collaborate with them -- so take an extra two seconds to type out their name, or their blog name, if you can. It makes it a lot more personal and makes us feel less like another faceless cog in the publicity machine.

3. DON'T harass an author or another blogger when you don't get an answer. A gentle nudge after a few days of waiting for a response is totally justified and in fact encouraged. On the other hand, sending them 400 emails, DMs, and Tweets constantly harassing them for an answer is definitely not the polite way to go about things.

4. DON'T tag authors in negative reviews. For starters, reviews are for readers, not for the authors themselves. You shouldn't ever feel afraid of speaking your mind if there's something you disliked about a book -- you're not going to love every single thing you read, and that's completely normal! However, it isn't really very nice of you to tag the author in that negative review -- if they want to look it up on their own and read it, that's their own decision to make, but going out of the way to tag them in said review just to hurt their feelings is kind of cruel. Our general rule of thumb is that we only tag authors in reviews if it's a 5-star review that is glowing and positive, not critical -- if it IS critical, which is totally okay, we just don't tag their Twitter handle when posting the link. Sometimes they Google search their name and find the review anyway, but that's out of your control, and their own choice to make.

5. DON'T use social media just to drop links. While that's certainly a big part of running a Twitter/Instagram/Facebook account for your blog, don't just be a space full of links and no personality. Engage in the wonderful community  that the bookish world has to offer! In addition to constantly Tweeting links to our posts, we make a conscious effort to check in with the bookish community at least once a day, either by Tweeting about what we're up to, participating in a chat, replying to a few Tweets, or shouting out an author that we like. Staying engaged in this wonderful community is half the fun of being part of it, and it helps keep your blog and your name relevant! 

6. DON'T assume pronouns or genders of authors/bloggers. This one doesn't even need much explaining. Just don't do it! When in doubt, feel free to ask who you're speaking to what their preferred pronouns are. Some Twitter accounts even have them listed in their bio if you don't want to make someone uncomfortable by asking outright. This also goes for not assuming sexualities or ethnicities! 

7. DON'T be afraid to reach out to publishers. Part of their job is getting to know you and your blog, so don't be afraid to Tweet them! Email them! Tag them in Insta posts! 

8. However, DON'T use private publisher email contacts that you get from other blogging friends. Unless an agent or a publicist specifically tells you that they don't mind their email account being shared, don't share those private addresses without permission. Just because Suzy from Publisher X doesn't mind a one-on-one correspondence with you doesn't mean she's necessarily open to her inbox being flooded with ARC requests from hundreds of other people. When in doubt, always ask before sharing, or give your friend the publisher's main public publicity email instead! Similarly, don't go around messaging private contacts that you swipe from other friends without the publicist's permission. It goes both ways.

9. DON'T jump into a heated debate without doing your research. Unfortunately, lots of drama goes down in the bookish community every single day. If you feel you have something important that you want to add to the conversation, that is totally welcome -- just make sure that you get the general gist of what's going on before you participate. 

10. DON'T forget that not everyone has access to the same books. A lot of international readers may not be afforded the same opportunities as U.S. bloggers due to shipping costs and distance. Don't take the things you've been given for granted -- and when you get the chance, reach out and try to lend a helping hand to those international bloggers if possible. They're just as important to this community as you are! Similarly, keep in mind that publishing contacts may be different per country.

11. DON'T feel like you have to play by a certain guidebook! That might sound a bit counter intuitive after this entire post, but hear us out -- while there are definitely some important things to take note of (AKA what we mentioned in this post), blogging should be a fun experience that doesn't feel like a chore. We do daily posts and wrap ups and Waiting on Wednesdays and Top Ten Tuesdays and giveaways and Twitter chats because we WANT to, and because we enjoy it -- we don't do it because everyone else is, so therefore we feel like we have to. Feel free to go out there and do (or don't do!) whatever you please -- your blog is YOURS, and you can run it however you'd like! :-)

So that's the list of some of the important things to keep note of when blogging, working with authors, writing reviews, and more. Do you agree or disagree with any of the particular points? Have any more to add? Feel free to comment down below and start a conversation -- we'd love to hear from you! :-)

A special thank you to all of the bloggers and members of the bookish community that helped us curate the content of this post!

1 comment

  1. Great advice here! Blogging etiquette can be a minefield - I have slowly learned! - but at the end of the day we all blog mainly because it's a fun way to share our bookish obsessions :-)


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