How do I start a book blog?
July 15, 2017 1:17 AM   Subscribe

How do I start a book blog? Who are some notable book bloggers? What can I write about? What topics can I blog about regularly?

I have been obsessed with reading lately and I would like to start a book blog. I have checked out blogs by writers/illustrators as well as book review sites such as The Millions, SLJ, Kirkus Review. I love Goodreads but I want to do more than review books on my blog. I want to go in depth and make it more personal. I read middle grades fiction/literary fiction so that will be my niche.

My question is what can I write about? How do I give my blog structure? What would readers find interesting? Recommend your favorite book blogs please. I am willing to put time into making this a quality blog.

posted by ichomp to Writing & Language (5 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
For me, the model is Michael Orthofer's Complete Review/Literary Saloon. He has a blog and also reviews many books, primarily but certainly not exclusively novels. He also has a link to many other blogs. You should browse through these and see what model suits you. Most bloggers simply reviews book/comment on books in a chronological way, i.e. the order is based on when they review the books, though many have an index, as Michael does. I would recommend WordPress though it can be complicated and awkward but is probably the best and certainly the most used blogging software. I have a book blog so if you need more info please feel free to mail me.
posted by TheRaven at 1:30 AM on July 15, 2017 [3 favorites]

Best advice I've ever been given: butt, meet chair.

Sit down and start a blog. Begin writing. If you are unsure about what you are doing, spend a few months with a private blog, so you can discover your voice and find your preferred structure. A quality blog is one that delivers consistent quality content with a personal POV. So, work on that for a few months.

I can tell you loads about what I did with my lit blog, but that was what I did and you need to figure out what it is you want to be doing.

Likewise, I am not going to give you links to notable book bloggers, because you should not try to do what they do — because they are already doing it. Find your voice, find your own angle, and get your butt into that chair.
posted by kariebookish at 4:52 AM on July 15, 2017 [4 favorites]

I had a book blog for about a year and loved writing it--I only stopped when my work responsibilities prevented me from posting as often as I wanted.

I totally agree with the advice above--just start writing! I literally started my bookish blog on a whim one day. I had no idea what I was doing.

I used Wordpress--it's free and pretty intuitive. It's also really easy to search for other Wordpress blogs by topic to get ideas on design, etc.

I got started by participating in several weekly book blog memes--bloggers who "host" a weekly bookish topic or question, and then you post a link to your post that responds to it. I found this a great way to "meet" other book bloggers and gain followers. It also helped me structure my blogging schedule. I found that it's important to post regularly so your followers can depend on looking forward to your posts.

I also found that the key to really getting involved was regularly reading and commenting on other bookish blogs--doing so invites others to check out and comment on your own posts.

My book blog had a pretty casual tone rather than scholarly. I summarized what I was reading and wrote about general bookish/literacy topics, but I never took it too seriously. You have to find your own voice and style.

My blog's been dormant for a couple of years but the archives are still up--if you'd like to take a look, memail me and I'll send you the link.

Good luck and have fun!
posted by bookmammal at 5:27 AM on July 15, 2017 [3 favorites]

kariebookish is right. The two things you really need to do are 1. Start, and 2. Persist. You should also post good stuff, but you can work on that.

That said, I do think that these days it's harder to get a blog known unless you back it up with active tweeting etc.

What puzzles me a bit is your asking what you can write about. Write what's interesting to you. If you don't already know what you want to write about you may find that as inspiration wanes the gap between posts is getting gradually longer until you admit to yourself that the blog died. This happens to most blogs, to be fair.
posted by Segundus at 6:58 AM on July 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm a book blogger and it's a great community. I've had my blog for over 10 years now. What you should do is read more book blogs. Find some you like (in middle grade, TheBooksmugglers is a good place to start) and see who's leaving comments. Check out the blogs of the commenters--some might strike your fancy. It's nice to leave comments on others' posts, too, if you enjoy them.

My blog isn't very big, because I consider it a personal blog and don't really want to invest the time in making it bigger. But I don't just write book reviews; I write whatever's going on in my reading life, author appreciations, themes I'm seeing in my reading, things I've realized I look for in books. I don't do interviews with authors or anything--again, because I consider it a personal blog.

But yeah, you don't have to decide what to write about in general. Write a post about what you're thinking about today. Then in a couple of days do another one. Find what you like to write and write more of it. You don't need a plan to start a blog; let it grow into what it wants to be.
posted by gideonfrog at 10:48 AM on July 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

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