Book Blogging 101: @CwtchBookClubJanuary 12, 2021
Hello lovely readers! My name is Brontë and I run a blog where I chat about the books that I read. I began blogging in April because I wanted to be able to share my book recommendations and reviews with other readers. Since then, my blog and instagram have grown to a community of almost 2,000 fellow bookworms. I am still so overwhelmed that anyone is interested in listening to me ramble on about books. It has easily been my proudest achievement of this year, weirdly even more so than my graduation!
Today I am going to be answering the questions that I get asked frequently about my blog. While I definitely don’t know it all just yet, I have learned a lot since I started this fun project and I hope that I can help demystify the world of book blogging a little bit. So, let’s get to it!
Q: What do I need to start book blogging?
The lovely thing about book blogging is that it’s really easy to start and is completely free of charge. As long as you have access to either a computer, smartphone or tablet, then you are ready to go. I use my phone for everything blog related: I write my reviews and posts, I take photos, and I interact with my audience. I even often use it to read ebooks and audiobooks through my library’s app. This is really handy for me as I tend to write up posts in any ‘down-time’ I have, be that waiting in line or in my lunch break.
Q: How do I start my blog?
This totally depends on how you want to blog. Many of the book reviewers that I interact with do not actually have a traditional ‘blog’, instead opting for the convenience and familiarity of social media sites. However, I find that the flexibility of using both Instagram and WordPress allows me to be more creative with my content because I can play around with different word counts and structures. I’d recommend doing some research for inspiration by finding and reading blogs that appeal to you. Then, just choose your username and you’re ready to go!
Q: What is ‘bookstagram’?
The clue is in the name – bookstagram is just another name for the bookish community on Instagram. This is personally my favourite way to blog about books, as it is really interactive and you can make friends easily. If you search #bookstagram, you will discover over fifty million posts by fellow book lovers.
Q: How do I decide what to blog about?
Many of the bloggers that I follow have a couple of niches that they post about. I personally stick to book reviews, but I’d recommend posting about what interests you the most. If you’re reading this then you likely already have a few favourite books, so why not start by chatting about them? Many accounts also like to focus on a specific genre such as YA, romance, or thrillers. If you are stuck for bookish ideas, consider the following for inspiration:
– reading tips
– book reviews
– top five favourite horrors / rom-coms / comic books
Q: How did you grow your account?
It may sound cliche, but it’s not about the amount of followers. If you are creating content that you are proud of then you are already succeeding! I follow lots of amazing accounts that have a small amount of followers, while there are others with huge followings that aren’t my cup of tea. My main tips are that through consistently posting content that I am proud of, using hashtags, and following similar accounts, I have built up a supportive and friendly following. It also helps to have a ‘theme’ so that your audience knows what to expect from you. For me, that’s bright and creative photos and highlighting underrepresented authors, but for you it might be anything from in-depth reviews to bookshelf selfies.
Q: How do I get free books?
This is definitely an area of book blogging that is kept hush-hush. My biggest tips are to check out Netgalley, like and comment on publishers’ social media, and don’t be afraid to send a friendly but professional email to a publisher’s PR team. As a rule of thumb, I only accept books that I think that I will enjoy reading. Reading and reviewing a book takes time, and having a blog should be a hobby not a job, so make sure to only accept an early release if you really want to read it.
Q: Do you plan your content in advance?
Originally, no. I would just take a photo when I felt a stroke of inspiration, tap out a quick review and upload it straight away. After some time, though, I began batch taking photos when I had a spare hour or so. This means that I always have something to post, even on days that I don’t feel very creative or if I’m really busy. This works really well for me and keeps everything fun and stress-free. I also keep a list of blog ideas written down so that I have ideas when I’m stuck.
Q: What are your biggest tips for blogger newbies?
I’d say to be authentic. Don’t feel pressured to talk about what’s popular – your content will be ten times better when you talk about your unique interests. Make sure you keep your personal information private so that your blog is a safe space, to give yourself time off social media when you feel like a break, and to not place any pressure on yourself so that it stays a fun pastime.
That’s it! If you’ve been considering starting a book blog or ‘bookstagram’, then I really encourage you to do it. It’s something that I have contemplated for years but was too nervous of what people might think. I’ve since realised that being a reader is actually cool and it’s something I’m really proud of now. The book community is probably the warmest and most welcoming corner of the internet, and you will never be short of reading inspiration. I hope that you have learned something or that you now have the confidence to start your blog. Most of all, don’t let the worry about how to start or what to post stop you from starting. Learning as you go is the best way to find out.
If you would like to chat to me further about book blogging then drop me a DM on my instagram, @CwtchBookClub, for a friendly chat!