Talk about best practices within the book community. 

Be honest. Be clear. Be fair.

It sounds obvious when you say it like that but it can get lost in the mounting pressure of book reading and reviewing. This is your blog and should reflect your voice and opinions. You should be ready to back those opinions up and do so without trashing an author.

Set a posting schedule… but don’t beat yourself up about it.

Pick two or three days a week that you are going to post and try to keep it consistent Even if you stray from that a bit, you will find it easier to keep up with posting than with just a random smattering.

This is supposed to be fun. Feeling overwhelmed is not fun. Feeling accomplished is all the warm fuzzies.

Illustration from “Babylon Electrified,” 1889.

Mix it up.

Join a reading challenge, add your two cents to a weekly topic or use a writing prompt. Find different ways to present your thoughts until one really, really sticks. Even then, it is fun to try other posting styles.

Read others’ blogs, and leave comments

No one is doing this to talk to the void. We want to have a (virtual) conversation about books we love and hate, and why. I had a hard time with this one for a long time. I finally created a list in Feedly and I check it at least twice per week. I go down the list and read / comment on as many as I can.

Reply to review requests

This too I took some time to get used to. When a book publicist emails me, asking if I want to read / review something, I respond. I used to worry that if I declined they would get mad at me or take me off their lists and so I’d delete the email and hope we all forgot about it.

Now I send back a very short note thanking them for thinking of me but I just don’t have time. No one has blocked me or put me on a blacklist. If anything, now they know they’re not emailing a black hole and can fine tune what they might want to send to me.

How do you manage your reading and reviewing? 

4 thoughts on “Armchair Book Expo: Best Practices”

  1. Great best practices! I think another great tip that many don’t think of is to create an email address specific to their blog. That way, they can filter out author requests from the usual everyday slew of emails 🙂

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