Tag Archives: blogging

Help, I just lost all my followers!

Hello… is anybody… out there?

 

Would you like to know how I lost all my followers with one simple click? Or is that to clickbaity?

So, I transferred from self-hosting to hosting back with WordPress and lost all my followers. I mean, I don’t think they mass unfollowed me because they didn’t like my decision to move away from Hostgator (did you?) but the list has been lost to the ether and the kind people at WordPress can’t get you back. So if you followed me and would like to stay on board for this erratic tour of the rabbit hole feel free to sign back up.

If not, this is awkward… but I get it. No, I mean honestly, it’s no big deal, I’ll just… I’ll just be over here doing a thing…

Actually this is probably a good thing, because I’ve decided to see it as a sign that the time is right for a fresh start. I’m not reading in the same way I used to. Back in the early days of this blog, if I only read a book a week I saw it as a personal failing, now I’d take it as a sign that I am crushing life and getting my children to bed at a sensible time on a regular basis.

And speaking of blogging when you have children, or blogging about books when you have children. I read a lot of picture books these days and had been hesitant to post about them because that’s not what people followed my blog for. Well they’re not following me anymore! So I’m going to post a bit more about early literacy and the books I read with my daughters without feeling too bad about it.

I’ll be updating my About Me to reflect my new world order in due course (if the baby lets me, she pretty much runs the show these days) but feel free to check out my back catalogue if you’re curious as to why anyone did follow in the first place.

More reasons I’m not reading books

Following on from my post a few years ago about why I’m not reading, allow me to introduce the newest reason I’m not reading books, and not writing reviews of the ones I do get to read.

Erin joined us in April, and between being pretty tired juggling pregnancy, a toddler and work I haven’t had much energy to write blog reviews of some of the excellent books I’ve read. She’s definitely worth it though and her big sister is a superfan.

Cloud spotting with her big sister

I’m hoping to start reviewing some more grown-up books soon, but in the meantime feel free to ask me anything about picture books. I read about ten of those a day. I might even start reviewing them.

Five Tips for Getting Bloggers to Review Your Book

Most authors know that approaching bloggers to review their new book is a great way to drum up some free publicity that gives their book a word-of-mouth popularity, but when it comes to approaching blog authors with a query, their emails can be very hit and miss, sometimes just plain rude. Based on the emails I receive every day, here are my top five tips to help get your book reviewed with traditional presses and achieve a higher response rate when approaching bloggers about your book, remember you’re asking them to review your book for free so the least you can do is make your query polite.

 

Tip Number 1 – Check the blog’s reviewing policy

I wrote my reviewing policy so that anyone who asks me to review their book knows exactly what to expect when dealing with me – I don’t do paid reviews, I won’t mince my words, I don’t guarantee a review for books that were just blah  and I don’t review self-published novels. I’d say roughly half of the emails I receive asking me to review books are from self-published authors who haven’t spent the time familiarizing themselves with my reviewing policy beyond lifting my email address from it. If their book looks interesting and I know of another blogger who would review, I will try to link them up, but more often than not I have to delete their email without replying.

 

Tip Number 2 – Personalize your emails

No address is just rude, Dear Blogger is a bit annoying. If you’re taking the time to email bloggers, don’t send a clearly mass email in the hope that someone is going to commit at least three hours to reading your book and writing a considered review. Dear Book and Biscuit is acceptable, but most bloggers will have their name in their About Me section, and they won’t mind you using it.

 

Tip Number 3 – Build relationships

Bloggers can be really busy people. I work and have a toddler. Lots of other bloggers do too, or have other really time intensive commitments. If I’m pushed for time and declining reviews, I’m far more likely to make time to review a book by an author or publisher I have an existing relationship with. I doubt I’m the only one who feels like this. Rather than cold email a blogger, take your time to get to know their site, engage with it, comment on their blog, chat with them on social media. It will set you apart from authors who have lifted their contact details from a book reviewers list that many bloggers didn’t opt in to.

 

Tip Number 4 – Use your existing networks

If you’ve written a book, there’s a good chance that you’re a reader too. What existing networks do you have that allow you to reach readers that you’ve already built a relationship with? Do any of those blog, or would they be able to recommend interested bloggers who specialise in your genre? It’s worth reaching out with a personalized email to ask for their help or advice. It seems to me that there can be a lot of ego involved when people start out writing, but the authors I admire and who seem to be really successful are genuinely interested in being part of a community with like minded readers. I guess it’s all part of really understanding your target audience.

 

Tip Number 5 – Don’t pay for reviews

I know that it may seem tempting. And I know that there are unscrupulous sites which tout themselves as blogger networks who will take your money to arrange a blog tour or similar. I found this out when I provided an honest review after another blogger had begged me to as a favour, and the author became very upset because she had paid the other blogger (without my knowledge) and assumed that she had bought a positive review from me. It caused a lot of bad feeling all round. If you put in the work making yourself a part of a reading and writing community, you won’t have to pay for reviews, and you’ll build a more engaged following for it.

 

Fellow bloggers, is there anything else you’d add to this? Authors, what’s worked well in your experience?

Blogging Hiatus

I’ve been taking a bit of a hiatus lately. Since Phoebe came along I haven’t had as much time to read as I’d like, and I’ve been having way too much fun with her to really care about that. It has meant that my blogging suffered though…

I’ve found myself in this strange situation where I was feeling like I should be reading regularly and posting regularly, even if the books I’d read were just a bit blah and I had nothing to say about them. This feeling was going on to the point where I felt like my blog was just another obligation and not somewhere I could enjoy talking about books that had actually had an impact on me with people who have similar interests.  So I kept thinking about that, and it put me off reviewing some of the books that I had read… and before you know it, vicious circle. So I decided to just pause and see how I feel about carrying on with it.

And I’m back, though with a slightly different attitude to reviewing and a new reviewing policy to follow. I won’t feel the need to review every book I read, just the ones I have something I want to say something about so I’ll be sparing you my thoughts on Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser…’s Wife of Bath tendencies.

Sit tight…

Thank you to everyone who has tweeted/emailed me to let me know that links and comments aren’t working on The Book and Biscuit at the moment. I’ve just ticked over past my first year of self-hosting and am now having a few server niggles. My tech support assures me that he can fix them easily, but unfortunately he doubles up as my part-time handyman (and full-time boyfriend, unlucky…) so is decorating our spare room ahead of friends coming to stay.

I leave you with a picture of my new sofa foxes so you can imagine us all brooding over how this would never have happened if I was using a pen and paper instead of pixels and digi-trickery.

Foxes

3rd Anniversary of Book and Biscuit

WordPress has just notified me that today is the 3rd anniversary of The Book and Biscuit. I feel like we should have cake but the occassion has caught me unprepared, so for past cakes try here, here and here.

I started the blog to give myself something to do with all my free time when I finished teaching and to reach out to like minded book geeks, and while logically it makes sense that it’s been three years, it doesn’t really feel that long ago.

Thanks to all my followers old and new for sticking with me through redesigns and moves- your comments always make me smile and sometimes laugh out loud.

If anyone would like to get in touch with comments or ideas for the blog going forward, I can be reached at bookandbiscuit (at) hotmail (dot) co (dot) uk

Books and Reading in 2013

Happy new year, readers! Instead of telling you my New Years Resolutions, I’m interested to hear what you would like to see from me.

I am hoping to bring you some exciting book related posts in 2013, but am really interested to know what you would like to see on The Book and Biscuit in 2013. If you have any ideas for blog posts in 2013, please submit them via the form below.

Thanks!

Author Attacks! Mayhem at BigAl’s

She may have designed her own cover too...

This may be a bit controversial, but something that really annoys me is the misuse of the term “indie” when it comes to publishing. Indie to me (and the publishing company I work for) denotes an independent publisher. Self publishing is still known as the vanity press. Sorry.

Of course, lots of writers don’t want to say that they self publish, because, let’s face it, most people are of the opinion that if you didn’t get a contract with a publisher (indie included here) your book isn’t going to be that good. I know that there are numerous examples of people who have self published and gone on to have great success, and many will cite a variety of reasons (other than flat-out rejection by publishers) for deciding to self publish. Fair enough.

Wherever you stand on the issue of self publishing, you can’t help but notice that there has been a widespread attempt to rebrand self publishers recently. Because of course there will be some genuinely talented writers who aren’t what publishers are looking for, and why not challenge the stigma? Good for them.

Not everyone is making such an effort to cooperate with the rebranding of the vanity press though. You’ll have been hard pressed to miss the recent case of semi literate self publisher Jacqueline Howett who, when faced with a negative review, had an almighty meltdown on BigAl’s Books and Pals, a review website devoted to reviewing books from the indie press. Reading Jacqueline Howett’s comments on Big Al’s blog, I highly doubt her claims that she is from England, or any other English-speaking country. I don’t know how else to explain the misuse of the English language.

I won’t be reading any of her books, not matter how great she claims they are. The only way to have made these comments any funnier for me would have been for her to extend her poor spelling to the book’s title The Greek Seaman.

Thank you Jacqueline, thank you for your crazy comments which went viral around my office and brightened up an otherwise boring day.