Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Blogoversary Celebration Day 3: FAQ

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For the 3rd day of my blogoversary celebration week I’m going to go into questions that I often asked about my blog and blogging in general. 
How did you get followers?

This is by far the most common question I get. How I got followers, and how I got them so fast. First and foremost you have to understand that blogging is not about followers, and followers doesn’t equal readers. With that said:

Yes, giveaways are the fastest way to get followers, but also the way that gets the most inactive followers. Meaning they follow and don’t pay attention to your posts. Nonetheless, giveaways hops (I Am A Reader, Not A Writer has great ones every month) are a great way to get a head start. Seeing people follow your blog is a great motivator to keep at it – blogging is not always easy, and is always hard work. Also, some people may be more inclined to follow once you start getting followers. This is unfortunate, but there are a gazillion blogs out there, and a lot of active blog followers would rather follow blogs who show dedication and that they’re here to stay.

Where can you advertise giveaways?
Saturday Situation at Candace’s Book Blog with a new linky every Saturday
Got Great Giveaways at I Am A reader, Not A Writer with a new linky every Wednesday
Goodreads Groups that you can join and post about your giveaways
Buttons!! Have a button to give extra entries for people who add it on their sidebar


This is THE most important and best tool that you have to get your blog out there. The Internetz! Use Twitter! If you don’t have Twitter, get it ASAP. There is nothing better than Twitter to spread the word about your blog. Tweet your posts a few times every day – as most people follow tons of bloggers, within a few minutes your tweet is gone to lala-land, so I find tweeting every 3 hours or so works well and still avoids being spammy. When you tweet reviews that are positive, tag the author and publisher to one of the tweets even if it’s a book you purchased. Oftentimes they will Retweet it, and guess what? That’s more people who hear about you. Facebook, Triberr, Goodreads, are all great sites to use as well.


Source: Pics22.com

Blogging is not just about you! We are a social community. Half of the point of blogging is to share your passion of books with others! You should enjoy reading others’ opinions as much as sharing your own. To get bloggers to know you, and to get to know other bloggers: comment, comment, comment! Don’t just comment to get comments back either because we can usually tell. Leave meaningful comments, and this goes hand to hand with being social on Twitter. This will not only get you blog readers, but you will make friends for life!

Maintain an inviting blog
Have good, regular content on your blog. This does not mean you have to post every day, but if you post only once every 2 weeks people may be less inclined to keep visiting. On the other hand, if your blog has 7 memes a week just to get content, that’s not generally inviting either. A good combination of reviews and  memes is what I like to see on blog as well as what I do on mine. I also attribute my design for a lot of the visits I get – no one wants to visit a blog that takes ages to load, or is filled with distracting widgets. No one cares about cats that move with your mouse, no one plays with those interactive fishbowls, no one wants to hear loud music from a book countdown widget; these are all things that can be detrimental to your blog. Keep it clean and relevant. A blog that is nice to look at is one of the main deciding factors of my becoming a follower, and I know lots of others share the same opinion.

So no, I do not have magic tricks, I put myself out there and made friends. That’s it. I visit other blogs regularly, I’ve been social on Twitter since day 1. Don’t be afraid to approach people and get to know them!

How do you get comments?
Image source: Savvy Social Solution

This is another question I get very often. It’s also very simple and a little repetitive – be social! If no one ever sees you commenting on other blogs, or talking to others on Twitter, how do you expect us to know you exist? Go, visit other blogs, leave comments, and a lot of the time, they will retaliate. I try to visit back every blogger who comes to visit me, although it may not be the same day, but the important part isn’t being on every blog every day, it’s being a regular face in the blogging community. Also to note is that comments aren’t necessarily a tell of your readers – I read plenty of posts through my RSS reader that I simply don’t have time to go and comment on. Only a small percentage of your readers actually leave a comment.

How did you get your slideshow?

I have to address this because I get an email or Formspring about this every other day. But… it’s unfortunate that I’m no help – my husband is the mind behind all that’s moving on my blog. The slideshow and the blogroll were both implemented by him and I couldn’t even begin to tell you how. He’s a programmer and I’m… not. I can tell you that I have seen other blogs with these specs so I’m sure if you search you’ll be able to find tutorials on it. That’s all I got for this one.

How do you get ARCs?
ARCs, a big deal in the blogging world, but they should never be the reason you’re blogging. Blogging is hard work, and you’ll soon realize these “free books” aren’t free at all. It takes a lot of time and effort to maintain a book blog so that you can review said books. Our efforts give us the privilege to get advanced copies for review.

So you’re a new-ish blogger and you would like to get books for review on your blog? A good place to start is Netgalley. Fill out your reviewer profile with your blog stats, your Goodreads stats, your blog & social network links, and before you know it you will be getting plenty of approvals for e-galleys.

Once to get around to making yourself known a little bit in the blogging world – you’ve got a few hundred followers and been blogging for a few months at least – you can start to contact publishers with specific ARC requests, or to ask to be on their blogger/reviewer mailing list. All the publishes have websites with a contact page, locate the publicity contact and send them the same info you have in your Netgalley profile. At first you may not get many replies, and some cases they may simply send out the books requested without replying, but you can email again in another 6-8 weeks and eventually you will get some contacts.

If you’re looking at a specific book you’re DYING to read, check the author’s page and often they will have their direct publicist’s contact information, this is who you would send your the request to, and be more likely to get a response then the general publicity email. This is what I did at the beginning and it worked very well.

Also, I’m in Canada so I’m not sure how it is in the US with distributors, but you could check with other bloggers or on Google if your country has distributors that work with publishers to send review copies to bloggers. For example, in Canada there’s Raincoast Books and Thomas Allen & Son.

I’m not sure if you learned anything new today, but I do get these questions on a regular basis so I hope I was able to give some people some insight.

For more in-depth posts on subjects I brought up here and more, I recommend you check out my friend Anna’s blog, Literary Exploration! She has great discussion posts that you can check out and even request future discussion topics!

Do you have a question I did not cover today? You can find me on Formspring!

For today’s FAQ giveaway, Hachette UK, Bethany Griffin, and Michelle Davidson Argyle have offered some awesome books for giveaway! Here’s what’s up for grabs:
Winner 1
 -Signed copy of Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin + Bookmark
-E-copy of The Breakaway by Michelle Davidson Argyle

Winner 2
 -Paperback copy of Slated by Teri Terry
-Paperback of Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson

Giveaway details
There will be two winners as listed above. Thanks so much to Hachette UK, Michelle Davidson Argyle and Bethany Griffin for this giveaway opportunity!
Both giveaways are open internationally.
Ends on September 25th, 2012
Use the Rafflecopter below to enter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

Latest posts by Giselle (see all)

57 Responses to “Blogoversary Celebration Day 3: FAQ”

  1. Sarah (saz101)

    Giselle, this is a FABULOUS post. WONDERFUL answers–thank you thank you THANK YOU for sharing. And seriously, socialising, leaving comments, all of that, it’s the BEST way to built community, and, in turn, followers. And it’s not a chore–it’s FUN! It’s half the point of blogging. Reading about books, and talking about them with people who love them too. WONDERFUL ♥

  2. Danny

    Wonderful round up post about blogging :)) There is a lot of truth found here, especially the point that “ARC’s” firstly are not totally “free” and second no one should blog just because of them.

    and YES socialize! Most important part if you want to have a successful blog!

  3. Mia

    This is quite possible one of the most helpful posts I’ve ever come across on blogging. Starting off a blog is frustrating and hard but there’s so much reward that comes with it, and honestly, if you don’t put in the effort and interest in other people’s blog how can you expect others to do the same? This is a really great general post on what blogging really is and how important socialization is, something I really learned. In my opinion, people should blog and read because they want to not just for ARC’s.
    Awesome, awesome post — and happy blogoversary!

  4. Kathy Ann Coleman

    Some very good insight to questions a lot of people likely have. I think my biggest weakness is the “consistency” thing. :p

    I also strongly agree with what you said about ARCs. They’re not the book blogging equivalent of trading cards. *cringe* Truthfully I’ve never run across anyone who seemed to be out to get them *that* badly, but I’ve heard stories that have made me go “huh?”.

    Generally, I actually prefer buying stuff. It’s *awesome* on the occasions someone wants me to read an ARC, but I feel it’s a huge responsibility and I know I’m really busy between blogging, writing and my grandma, so I accept stuff with a lot of caution right now.

    The thing I don’t know is how in the world you read so many books in a month, lol. Even on a good month I can only get through twelve to fourteen. (When I’m writing forget it. *laughs*) That’s actually a big part of why I’ve been absent this summer.

    Anyway, I’ve got two posts that need formatting, an event that needs planning and a novel that needs its other half edited all calling my name at once so I’d better cut this “short”. (Why doesn’t that sound right?)

    Have a great day! 🙂

  5. Kat Balcombe

    Great post Giselle! Socialising is THE key – and that includes commenting to getting to know people and in turn they want to know you.

    And here I always thought you were the one making all these slideshows and fancy bits 😉

  6. Tyler-Rose Neath

    Thanks for the FAQ, I did wonder about the followers thing… I kept getting told you weren’t going to make it unless you had followers. That kind of annoyed me… Also, the ‘free books’ comment,it took me ages to convince my friends that what I do on my blog is actually hard work! It doesn’t just happen!
    Much like you, my boyfriend has been a great help with things like the blog roll on my blog xD
    Great FAQ and such an awesome giveaway! UK follower 🙂

  7. Jasprit

    Thanks for sharing such a fab post with us Giselle,
    it will definitely help new and existing bloggers out in a big way! Congratulations again on your blogoversary! 🙂

  8. Amy

    Great post hunny bun!! I think it’s very informative. I think a lot of people are really scared to just put themselves out there. I also agree that some people get very hung up on how many followers they have. Yes, followers are great, but there are many blogs that I see with thousands of followers, but not many comments. To me I like to see an interactive blog where you know people are actually reading it. Just like yours!! Love ya chick!!

  9. Jenni @ Alluring Reads

    Great post chick! I couldn’t agree more with everything you said. This is a social community and comments are reciprocated, so the best thing to do, I have found, to get your name out there is to comment until your eyeballs hurt! Another fantastic post in your awesome event!

  10. Kris (Imaginary Reads)

    This is a wonderful post on blogging, and I agree with every word you said. It’s definitely important for us bloggers to socialize with other bloggers and readers, and I especially agree that ARCs are not free. I worked hard on my blog to earn the privilege to request ARCs. And it certainly takes time to read them and blog about them!

  11. Mel - Thedailyprophecy.

    This was so much fun to read! Socializing is very important indeed. I’m still a newbie, but I notice that there are coming more comments every month 🙂 I’m actually using twitter for a very bad reason, haha. I always post twitters about giveaways; to get them more publicity for them and I ‘need’ to participate in them to get free books, because ARC’s are impossible to get over here (I believe.. Perhaps you could tell me if internationals get any chances?)

    Anyway, it’s fantastic how big your blog is for just ‘one’ year. When I started blogging, I thought you were a professional at it; like you were blogging for years ^^ Look at the amount of (deserved) comments you get 😀 Amazing!

    Thanks for sharing this 🙂

  12. Sarah Dixon

    Great post about blogging. I don’t yet have a blog but I am considering setting one up. I love talking about books and reading others opinions on them. Thanks once again for a great post!

  13. Candace

    Fab advice! Having giveaways draws followers but like you said, not necassarily readers. But if you visit and comment on blogs regularly they will quite often visit you back. Once it becomes a habit, well then you have a regular reader! Of course you still want to visit them.
    Anyway its all great advice!

  14. Alexa

    I absolute adore your FAQ. I think you gave very simple, easy to understand answers, as well as sharing some very useful tips. I’m in complete agreement with the stuff you mentioned!

  15. Ashleigh

    Fantastic post, Giselle! Wow, I didn’t realize until now how badly my naturally-solitary personality and the blogging world clash. I have GOT to do something about that! In fact, I’m going to bookmark this post for future use because you give nothing but great advice.

    (I’m trying to come up with something better to say, but darn it, this epiphany doesn’t want to be put into words.)

  16. SweetMarie83

    I have to say I’m really, really happy to see you answering questions like this. I’ve often wondered if you’d ever share all you’ve learned, because you became such a popular blogger in such a short amount of time. I remember watching your blog go from just a couple hundred followers to a couple thousand, and I’d see you EVERYWHERE commenting on blogs and posting on Twitter. You really do have to put yourself out there to be seen…most bloggers aren’t lucky enough to just have people stumble across their blogs and become an overnight success, you really have to work for it, and it’s obvious you have. Thanks for sharing all this info…there have been times I’ve wanted to contact you and ask for help requesting ARCs from Canadian publishers, but I hate bugging people lol. Congrats on the blogoversary!

  17. Akira Villalpando

    Giselle, this is such an awesome post! I just started my blog and was actually wondering how someone gets people to visit them. I am usually a loner, I guess I’ll have to start socialising. Congrats on your blogoversary. 😀 Wonderful giveaway, btw. I’ve been meaning to read Ultraviolet for a while now, hopefully I’ll win it.

  18. Lyns

    Happy Blogoversary! I really like your blog and read your reviews when I get the emails! I’ve bee attemtping to actually get my blog going and am not having very much luck with it… I’m finding out I’m not very techy when it comes to blogging. Also Breakaway is an amazing book! One of my favorites this year! Excited about this giveaway! You have a lot of great ones! Thank you!

  19. Kelly @ Dandelion Dreams

    This is such a wonderful post and extremely helpful! Thank you so much for sharing. This is probably one of the most helpful posts I’ve read about the book blogging community and how to get books to review. Happy Blogoversary and keep up the amazing work, Giselle! I’m looking forward to seeing what you have in store for us tomorrow. 🙂

  20. Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed

    I always feel like I am doing this whole blogging thing wrong when I read that one of the most important things is to have a twitter. I must be one of the only ones that doesn’t have a twitter but I still think blogging is fun. Love all of your answers! And yes, your slideshow rocks!!!

  21. Sam

    Great post, Giselle! Getting social can work wonders for your blog, I completely agree with that! It’s also nice to meet bloggers who become good friends! It’s one of my favourite parts of blogging actually. 🙂

  22. Eileen

    Yay thanks for the tips! 😀 I totally wish I wasn’t so clueless when I began blogging because seriously. I was like a total fish out of water and I definitely think this will be so useful to everybody out there! 🙂 Happy Blogoversary Giselle!

  23. Kristilyn (Reading In Winter)

    So many great things! I started out my blog by doing a lot of hops — only one giveaway hop, though. I found out that I prefer to have a few dedicated readers rather than a whole bunch of followers who never say boo.

    And yes! Blogging is such a social thing! Nothing bugs me more than someone saying something like, “Wow! Great post! Come check out my blog?” I love it when people leave MEANINGFUL comments! That’s a must.

    Thanks for sharing this!!

  24. Chrystal

    Fabulous post today. I love how you answered so many of those burning questions that bloggers ask. And I totally believe that socializing is a great big part of why I have the followers I have and well the giveaways give a big boost too (but you are right that sometimes they only follow to enter the giveaway and you never hear from them again). I love getting comments and try to reply to every one that I get.

    Cheers for a great post! 🙂

  25. Amanda

    Congrats on your blogoversary! And thank you for this really helpful post. Each time I read one of these advice posts, I feel like it gives me a little more knowledge and understanding about how being part of the blogging community works.

  26. Lena

    Great Advice 😀 It’s so true though, there are some many book blogs out there 😀 But the best part about blogging from what I seen is the connections you get when you talk to other book bloggers, authors, and any book fanatic that you know 😀 i just like making those smiley faces haha

  27. JessicaRaexox

    This is a GREAT and very helpful post! Ever since I started my blog I’ve been trying to research good tips but none that I have found are as good as this one is! 🙂 I just opened a new twitter account JUST for my blog (I used to use my personal one) and I’ve already gained quite a few followers just in the short time I’ve had my “blog twitter”

    I also wanted to say that I googled and searched FOREVER on how to add the blog rolls/slideshows and finally figured out how, so I did a post with an extremely easy way on how to get them on the blogs! I hope it’s been helpful and will continue to be helpful and hopefully helps answer a lot of people’s questions!

    Here is the direct link for anyone who wants to check it out:


  28. BecAlora Walker

    Giselle, I’ve been doing this for almost a year and I’ve really been slacking according to all your information. I will definitely be getting on top of things from now on. Thank you for all your amazing advice and suggestions. You are the most. (aka you are nothing short of amazing)

  29. Sunflower38

    Very informative information, It’s appreciated. Blogging is a job even if it’s an enjoyable one. I appreciate all the Bloggers and their devotion and dedication to the craft.

  30. Alba

    You are so famous it’s not even funny 😀
    I guess what’s been hard for me, the most, is the interacting part. I mean, I do tweet and stuff but when I have to first approach someone… It gives me all kinds of panic attacks…
    I’m soooo shy you won’t even imagine…
    But the community is so welcoming and sow awesome that lately I’ve been feeling more comfortable at rambling on twitter…
    As for meaningful comments, you’re oh so right!
    I really am not a fan of people just leaving generic comments on my blog, and whenever I visit a blog I leave comments either rambling, freaking out, or simply longer than life… I can’t help myself… It all comes down to my love for books…
    And I someone else loves books as I do, HUMANLY impossible might I add, it’s only normal I go ahead and leave a thoughtful comment when the blogger has taken the time to write a meaningful post 😀
    Like yours today for instance hehe

    Keep up the good work 😀
    You know you have a stalker, I mean, follower in me ~winkwink~

  31. Vyki @ On The Shelf

    Great post! A lot of really great advise here. It can be difficult for me to socialize as much as I would like to since I work a fulltime 8-5 job, but I sneek in some blog time during work to try to get in as much socializing as possible 🙂

  32. Denise Z

    This was a wonderful post. I am a follower of many blogs and love to lurk. I used to always leave a comment even if it was only to say, Hi I stopped by for a visit. But more and more I am seeing statements like leave a meaningful comment. Well I do not always have something profound to say and now I no longer comment to say hey! Which is preferred? o_O I am not always a profound individual just as posts are not always profound. I like to comment when I have something to say. Today I have to say Happy Blogoversary!

  33. Maji Bookshelf

    I TOTALLY agree on the commenting thing. We’ve noticed it too on our blog when we started commenting on a lot of different blogs. Before I used to think commenting is a chore but now i actually look forward to it and to see people’s various posts and reviews of books I have read and would love to hear other people’s opinions or reviews of books I am looking forward to read.

    Great post Giselle!!

    – Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

  34. angela0777

    I like your post! Truly that social community often grows through viral marketing. Your members will invite their friends, and hence you can reach a large number of people with a very limited marketing budget. But even more thrilling is the fact that once members connect within a social community they will stay there. This extreme customer loyalty makes social communities highly valuable. Thanks!