Showing posts with label bloggers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bloggers. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

What Book Blogging Really Is Like | #BloggerConfessions





Today I'll be letting you guys in on a couple of secrets about blogging. 

I think we all know blogging isn't as easy as it looks, but what is it really like? 

~ Well, come in and find out ~





  • #1: Obsessing over self-imposed deadlines
90% of the time you won't have a deadline for reviewing a book. Sure, with ARCs sometimes people will say "review before or close to the release date", but in real life any and every review whenever helps. 
The only deadlines I've ever had were those that I invented myself; the more review copies you accept, the more stressed out you get - the more you obsess. Ugh

  • #2: Side-eyeing other bloggers' follower counts and trying to keep up
It's not necessarily a matter of getting jealous, it's more about feeling left behind. Feeling like people surpass you. I definitely do try to keep up with my friends, to look at people's follower counts who have been blogging as long as I have, and it's really not a good habit. Adds unnecessary stress.

  • #3: Cringing at old posts
All day, every day! Sometimes I click through my old posts and cirnge at every single one. I don't think this will ever stop.

  • #4: Having slight breakdowns when all ARCs come at once
Again, this goes hand in hand with #1

  • #5: Refreshing the page 100 times after a new post went online
Do people like it? Did I make an annoying mistake that will make me cringe for 10 hours? Will this post do well? Will people hate it? You bet I'm refreshing my site 3829829 times every time a new post goes online.

  • #6: Really not reading that much
Yes, we're book bloggers, but reading is really not even half of what this gig is about. Maintaining a blog site is so much work from formatting, to designing, to brainstorming, to writing posts, to commenting, to replying to comments and so many more things! 

IT'S REALLY SO MUCH WORK, and in addition to that, many bloggers have day jobs and/or go to school, and there really isn't that much time left for actual reading. Sometimes I go months without reading a single book, but you guys would never know from looking at my blog because all the reviews are queued up as if nothing happened. Muhaa #trickery

  • #7: Wrestling emails
Review requests from authors, requesting books yourself, dealing with regular inquiries - I spend a good hour daily just replying to emails. Book blogging is really a surprising amount of office work.

  • #8: Crossposting until you want to throw out your computer
Crossposting is a must if you want your blog to grow and the bane of my existence. You must crosspost every single post to every social media platform you have, sometimes even a couple of times to give it the maximum exposure. 

Some sites can do this automatically for you and you can cheat a bit with Wordpress widgets, Google+, and Bloglovin, but you'll always always still have some outlets left to crosspost manually to. Sigh.

  • #9: Theme customization until somebody cries (it's probably me)
Just when you think you've reached that point in your blogging career where you're confident with your old posts, your theme, everything about your blog - oh boy, you'll have another crisis incoming.

I don't believe that blog themes are ever complete, I actually just changed something about it yesterday. Who knows, maybe I'll completely redo the entire site next month and then spend another year completely customizing it to my likings! Wow, just the thought of that makes me want to quit blogging!


What are some of your #BloggerConfessions? 

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Monday, December 19, 2016

When Authors Reply to Reviews and Why This is a Problem | #AuthorsBehavingBadly

I've talked about #AuthorsBehavingBadly on Social Media in general before, but replying to reviews is a whole different matter that absolutely deserves its own post in my opinion.
Many authors who have just had their first book published and are slowly getting their first reviews or are simply not very active and well-versed in book community etiquette, will probably end up doing this.

Not all authors who comment on reviews have a malicious intention and I'm going to start of talking about those authors that really -just didn't know- they aren't supposed to comment.


Scenario 1: You wrote a good review and the author is commenting to say something nice

Why it's not cool
While this is clearly just a nice gesture of the author, or at least meant as such, this is an invasion of safe space. Reviewers sort-of exist in this bubble universe of the book industry. Iit's absolutely okay to share a positive review of your book that you liked, that's what they're for after all - but oh boy, please, please don't comment. Not even to say thanks. Just don't. Tweet the review if you like, share the link if you like, we appreciate it, but please don't comment.

When it's okay
Should you have gotten tagged in the review, this is a whole other story.

See, it all comes down to consent. Reviewers aren't interested in discussions with authors unless they are actively seeking those out. I wouldn't be reviewing if any and every author commented on my reviews. It just doesn't feel safe, you're feeling obligated to be nicer than you usually would have, you're not really able to express your opinion without cringing at the thought of the author reading it - it's just a mess.

So unless you have been sent the review, your comment isn't wanted.

Scenario 2: You wrote a negative review and the author is going "um, actually" on you


Why it's not cool
This is probably the nightmare of every reviewer. Having to justify yourself to the artist. - I get it, your books are your babies and you poured your heart and soul into this, but welcome to the real world. People will dislike your work and it will happen frequently and this is a thing you have to be able to deal with professionally, else, you're probably not in the right industry. 

I'm sorry but this is just making thing unnecessarily hard for everyone. The reviewer's irritated, the author's probably angry, the possible readers are weirded out. Why would you want that?

When it's okay
No matter what the reviewer said and no matter how much you think they're wrong, doing this is never ever ever ever ever okay. Even if you are sent a review, bashing reviewers is a no no. 


"Okay, so you say this isn't good, but I'm still going to comment, I don't care. They're wrong, I'm going to call them out."

The thing is, I'm addressing this in the first place because it is a problem. Recently a dear friend of mine has quit blogging after an author with a medium-sized following decided to unleash their fury on them. 

  • Completely ignoring that this is cyberbullying - is that really the message you want to convey?
  • To have bloggers be scared to be scalded whenever they leave a negative review?
  • To make bloggers want to quit reviewing?
Time and time again I have to say that reviewers deserve respect, that we are a vital part of the publishing industry and that without us, many NYT-bestselling authors wouldn't be where they are right now.


So what have we learned?
  • Reviewers want their safe space and deserve their safe space
  • Respecting boundaries also includes biting your tongue when encountering negative reviews
  • Putting negativity into the world will probably come to bite you in the butt eventually. (RE: the stories of the cyberstalking/cyberbullying authors who aren't selling books anymore now, you know the ones)


How do you feel about authors replying to your reviews? 

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Saturday, November 5, 2016

8 Tips to Get Motivated to Write Blog Posts | Book Blogging Tips (#45)



We all love blogging, don't we? 

As much as we do, sometimes it's hard to get motivated, to keep writing, to even gather enough motivation to click on "write a new post". 

I'll try to help you with that. 


#8 Look at your favorite bloggers that you look up to

You want to be like them, don't you? You aren't ever going to be like them if you don't write those posts! Envy is the biggest motivator. Trust me.

#7 Binge-writing and Scheduling: the OTP

You don't need motivation when you just live for those little moments when blog inspiration seems to come to you on its own. Use those moments up and binge write every idea you have at once and then slack for the rest of the month!

#6 Try something different.

Chances are you're probably not motivated because you're not ~feeling like~ writing a review, a discussion, a meme post, or whatever you're used to writing all the time. Personal posts are a great way to get motivated and to bring fresh content into your blog. What are you passionate about right now? A TV show? Your celebrity crush? Write about that. 

#5 Do something else blog-related

Not feeling like writing a blog post yourself? Comment on other blogs, design something, read a book - eventually you'll very likely randomly get inspired and will want to write a post. 

#4 RANT

Not feeling like writing a post - write a post about how much you don't want to write a post! Ranting in general is so much easier than putting together a well-structured and well-thought out blog post or review. Just rant away, let your anger flow, my buddy!

#3 Set goals and reward yourself
If you like playing video games or writing or whatever you do in your free time - only allow yourself to indulge in your favorite hobby once you've written a post. Half a post, if the motivation really is extremely low. Sometimes you gotta force yourself. You'll be surprised what you can accomplish if you really want to continue watching your favorite show or playing your favorite game.

#2 Brainstorm

It's perfectly fine if you don't want to actually write, but that doesn't mean that you'll necessarily also not have any ideas. Write down the titles of the blog posts you WOULD write if you wanted to actually write. Make a document on your computer with those titles and whenever you're in a motivation slump, read through those titles. The more ideas you've collected the more likely it is that you might fancy writing one of those posts!

#1 Remind yourself why you started your blog. And then do exactly that.
  • Did you come for the reviews? Then go review a book or read somebody else's review.
  • Did you come for the social interaction? Go comment on other blogs.
  • Did you come for the discussion? Participate in a discussion on another blog or write your own.



Remember 

Being in a blogging/motivation slump isn't the end of your blog. If you really need to and none of these tips help, go on a hiatus, if you like. The blogging world will still be back when you return and welcome you with open arms. 


How do you get out of motivation slumps?

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Sunday, July 10, 2016

On #AuthorsBehavingBadly Online and What to Do So I Will Never Buy Their Books EVER | YA Talk



Many people who are active in the blogging community have probably interacted with authors at some point or have witnessed their interactions with other readers. 

Here are some things I've witnessed. Feel free to add your own stories.

Note: I won't mention any names here, only paraphrase stories that have already gone viral, cause, ya know, the message of this post is bullying isn't cool. Also they're sort of old news.



  • What not to do on twitter

Subtweeting on twitter and/or talking down to their readers and/or bloggers.

Every year around BEA or ALA time we have the same spiel. The old discussion whether bloggers deserve to be at conventions because some excessively snatch ARCs and sell them online.  And every year my so-called Blacklist of authors who will never gain any exposure or profit from me grows. It's value to know when not to say anything at all - there are enough authors who are hateful and mean towards bloggers.

It's not cool to write mean things about the people that essentially pay your bills by buying and/or reviewing your stuff.

Retweeting people who subtweet readers and bloggers. 

Retweeting seems like an easy way to state your opinion without actually having to talk trash. While it's very tempting, to me this doesn't make it any different from you writing an actual tweet. It makes you all the less sympathetic because I'll just think you're too cowardly to actually say what you're thinking in the fear that people may quote you.

I always wonder whether these people would actually dare to say these things to people's faces, there are too many authors to mention who are ready to hate on any and everyone who doesn't agree with them. Bullying is never cool, especially not if you're in the public eye. You're a role model for people. Remember that.

  • What not to do on Goodreads

Goodreads is a great platform for readers to discover new books and authors to get more exposure. But apparently, some people just don't understand the concept of boundaries.

Too often I see authors commenting on reviews, trying to justify their work, and too often this leaves reviewers startled. 

A particular case that gained quite the noticeable amount of attention is that of a well-known author attacking a well-known blogger and basically slandering them publicly because they didn't like their book, leaving anonymous comments, basically cyberstalking them and calling them out everywhere. The story even made it to Publishers Weekly.

Or that one author who showed up at a reviewer's house after they left a negative review on Goodreads. That story made it to The Guardian, of course, putting all the blame on the reviewer.

Stuff like this makes me want to quit blogging completely and tell everyone else to as well. So incredibly disappointing and discouraging - usually you see authors say "hey, please review my book it helps me so much" - but then you see other authors do stuff like that.


  • What not to do on your personal blog

While I am very much for freedom of speech and consider blogs to generally be a safe space, authors don't have the privilege of being able to "say what they want" because it's "their blog".

I think a certain degree of professionalism is a must for authors. It's a privilege to be a published writer, and one of the downsides is that people aren't going to like controversial (negative) opinions coming from them.

I've seen authors talk trash about negative reviews, complain, complain, complain about how reviewers aren't understanding their book, and generally being bitter about the lack of success.  Even screenshotting bad reviews and inviting their followers to attack the reviewer!

Think for a second here - what benefit does this serve? Do you genuinely think this is helping? Helping me to decide whose book not to buy, maybe.


  • What not to do on tumblr

Tumblr is known for its avid fandom culture. People make edits, people write fan fiction, and people ship characters. It all stops being fun when the author decides it's "hello kids I'm here to ruin the fun " time and starts to comment on every single headcanon of their book and to state what's actually canon according to them. 

Again, this isn't a "I witnessed this one time" thing. This happens quite often and i physically do not understand why authors think it's okay to barge in on fan conversations.

  • If they get tagged or receive a personal message, okay! Be my guest, glad you replied! 
  • If someone actively reaches out to them and ASKS them, okay! 
  • BUT don't just search a tag and decide to ruin everyone's fun by telling them how wrong they are one by one.

The thing is- people can see you, dear authors. 

People check your social media, typically after they have read one of your books or are planning to buy one. It's so, so, so important to keep your mouth shut about some topics that may offend. I'm not saying that you can't express opinions, but sprouting offensive and hateful non-sense and treating your readers horribly doesn't seem like a smart idea, does it? 

If you're one of those people that has too many opinions that may offend, hire a publicist to handle your official account and post your opinions on your personal, non-public account.



The four golden rules for authors on social media

  1. Don't say anything that you wouldn't say in an interview in person
  2. Don't talk trash about the people who pay your bills, oh my god, I can't believe I actually have to say this
  3. Don't chime in on conversations about your book that no one invited you to
  4. DON'T BE A BULLY


Who is on your author blacklist?



More on the Author / Reader relationship:
More YA TALKs

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

10 Dramatic Changes I Made that Ended up Improving My Blog | Book Blogging Tips (#41)




Sometimes you've gotta make tough decisions blogging-wise. Here are the decisions I had to make that ended up being for the better.

This is only to give you an idea of what you CAN do, you don't have to use any of my tips for your own blog, but feel free to do so if you like!



#10: Crossposting
There's no way around crossposting. Everyone of us probably has one social media platform that's doing a little better than the others. Use that to your advantage and pitch your posts there. Of course don't go overboard so people won't think you're spamming!

#9: Original posts!
Hard to believe, but I used to be a meme and review-only blog. It ended up improving my blog (for myself) a lot I think.

#8: Having a set post structure
Gosh, I can't even look back at the old reviews I wrote. I used to NOT format at all. For chatty and discussion posts that MIGHT work and you can get away with it, but you can't just publish a block of text review. This is never okay. Find your style, come up with something you're comfortable with and stick to that structure.

#7: Making graphics for each post
Before I made original posts much at all, I never had a reason to make any kind of graphics. Now I make them for every single post that isn't a review. It brightened up my blog a lot and I think they're quite eye-catching and pretty.

#6: Reviewing for NetGalley
This is such an essential part of my blogging experience now, I can't believe I never used it. NetGalley can be overwhelming at first, but reviewing new releases is a GREAT way to attract new viewers to your blog. Go on, make a NetGalley account!

#5: Deleting Old Posts
Sometimes you just gotta say goodbye to posts that neither have done well, not are up to your current standards, nor are anything that you think would attract any more readers. I used to do so many memes back when I first started (and not very well and very half-heartedly). Don't be afraid to delete crappy stuff!

#4: Ditching the open post archive
+guiltless reader, remember last year during Bloggiesta when you said to me to ditch that stupid open post archive? I was so upset about changing it because I liked it so much to have all my posts displayed there, but I'm so glad I listened.

Prime example why you should always, always listen to other bloggers' advice! I can't imagine having anything other than a drop down archive on my blog now!

#3: Working more with catchy headlines
I used to not really hashtag or try to make the headlines of my posts go into the clickbait direction, but I think I've gotten a little better at it now.
Try to give out as much info about your post in the headline, this is the prime ground where you advertise for your posts! Use it!

#2: Starting to recommend more!
I used to only have the little section of five star reviews in my header and that was it. I can't imagine my blog without themed recommendations now! If you love them and would like to see a specific theme, head over to my tumblr and send me a quick message, I'll make a post for it on a topic of your choice. Always open for requests!

#1: Linking within posts
Seriously, how did I never do this? If you write a lot of personal or discussion posts, this is such an essential thing to do. Link similar topics below or in the post so people who might be interested can find them. Such a great way to build more traffic.


Have you ever had to make dramatic changes to your blog?


Need more advice? Check out my blogging tips!


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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

10 Must-Follow Book Blogs | Top Ten Tuesday





I think it's very important to share and promote your favorites from time to time. 

Here are some of my favorite book blogs that I visit regularly and that you should definitely check out and follow!



They host the Discussion Challenge which definitely impacted my blog a lot back when I began. A super pretty blog with a lot great content!

If you like to branch out a little and are don't only like reading about YA books, this is your pick. A great source for diverse and unconventional reads. 

If you want to be up to date about the newest releases and read ARC reviews as quickly as possible, this is the blog to read!

If you don't only want to read reviews and discussions but like the occasional upbeat post about something else, try this blog. Even though I love regular book blogs it's refreshing to read a blog that's mixing both lifestyle/personal and bookish!

I originally came across this blog via their original feature Feature Follow Friday. It's a great way to find more blogs and gain followers. You should definitely check their blog out, they write the most entertaining posts!

A wonderful blog that always helps me discover great new reads! They have a feature called Fresh Reads where they post about the new releases on the market. Super helpful!

If you like romance and urban fantasy, this is the blog for you! A lot of reviews of great books here.

I love this blog! Honestly one of those that I almost check every day. If you like passionate reviewing and fun discussions, check their blog out.

A new discovery. The perfect mixture of helpful posts on how to become a blogger and wonderful reading recommendations!


Probably my favorite book blog. Tracy posts the most entertaining discussions and has impeccable taste in YA!
She also hosts the Dystopia & Horror Reading Challenges that I highly suggest you participate in.




What are your favorite book blogs?


Top Ten Tuesday is a meme originating from The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday they choose topics that we are supposed to create a list about, considering our personal reading preferences.

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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Mistakes To Avoid When Pitching Your Book To Book Bloggers | Book Blogging Tips (#33)




I've been blogging for more than a year now. When you've been around for some time, authors and publishers will start approaching you.

The majority of requests I get are from self-published authors or authors that are published in small presses. 

I compiled a little list of things to do if you're looking to get your book reviewed by book bloggers.

Here are my tips for anyone looking to promote their book with the help of bloggers:



1. Not reading the review policy

Look at it like this: You want something from us.
Reading a book is time-consuming, writing a review can take up to two hours, sometimes even more. We aren't getting paid for reviewing. The least you can do is read the entire policy so you know whether you're wasting someone's time.

Pay attention to the blogger's preferences and follow instructions. Most bloggers even state specifically what the subject headline has to say and can tell when you haven't read the policy. Think of it as a business relation. Mutual respect is very important.

2. Pitching books out of the reviewer's comfort zone

Most bloggers state clearly in their policy what they want to read about and what they don't want to read about. Whether it's preferred genres, topics that they aren't interested in - again, read the policy so your request won't be deleted and ignored. Trust me, bloggers rarely take a chance on books they aren't interested in.

3. Following up

Some bloggers reply to every request, some don't.
If someone declines your request, don't send another the week after that with a stronger query. We are not literary agents. We don't make money off this, most people blog for their entertainment only. If the blogger wasn't interested in your book the first try, another pitch will only end up in the spam folder.

4. No personalization

It makes me smile when I can see in the pitch that the author/publisher really wants me to review their book and not just sends requests to every blogger they can find.
There is nothing wrong with looking for exposure, but I don't want to feel like number 3273 on your list of bloggers to pitch. Mention my name, mention books I recently read and liked and you've got a foot in the door already. But please, don't lie about reading my blog. Yes, I can tell when you're lying.


5. Being unprofessional

This includes:

  • snarky responses / insults if the blogger declines
  • offers of compensation (money, gift cards etc.)
  • persistently repitching your book
  • spam 
  • not following instructions in the review policy
  • pitching when the blogger is closed for review requests


Like this you'll make sure the blogger won't ever buy/read a book that you've written.


Bloggers: Have you any more tips on mistakes to avoid?


Come back next Thursday for another Book Blogging Tips post!


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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Why You Should Move From Blogger Comments to DISQUS | Book Blogging Tips (#32)




I've taken the leap a long time ago. I haven't regretted my decision and I'm proud of myself that I did it.

DISQUS has improved my blogging experience tremendously and I can only recommend it if you're thinking about changing commenting systems. 






Why Move?

Blogger probably has the worst default commenting system out of all blogging platforms there are.
Here's a list of everything that's wrong with the Blogger system:

  • The notifications don't work - (only via email, and who does that?!)
  • It's chunky and ugly
  • You can't really decipher if people are having a conversation
  • You can't add pictures/gifs
  • No options to like comments
  • Spam-protection is ridiculous
  • Not a lot options to log in if you don't have Blogger
  • No option to keep track of all your comments on other sites
Bonus: During the move you won't lose the comments you've had before.

What's DISQUS?

DISQUS is a third-party commenting system. It's not only used by a lot of bloggers in the book blogging community, but you can also find it on professional news sites for example. A lot of people use DISQUS because of the clean look and the easy way to keep track of discussions.

How Do I Move?


DISQUS makes the transition actually fairly easy. They have a distinct help site simply for that where they explain every step in detail. 

Of course you'll have to set up a free DISQUS account if you don't have one already.

One of the great perks of DISQUS is that you can get rid of it just as easily as you implemented it in your blog. If you don't like the look and aren't satisfied with it - just go over to your widgets site and delete it!

Do you like/use DISQUS? 

Do you think everybody should transition or not?


Come back next Thursday for another Book Blogging Tips post!


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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Mistakes All Newbie Bloggers Make | Book Blogging Tips (#23)


When I started my blog, I thought I knew everything. I thought my content was fine, my layout appealing and I wouldn't need any advice on anything. 

Two weeks later I overhauled my entire site and thought everything was a mess.

Seems familiar? Here are some mistakes that you probably also made. Don't sweat it, it's all normal.


8. Arrogance

You've just started a blog, but you know exactly what the people want, right? You have studied other blogs for quite some time (or you didn't) and you know what works and what doesn't. Yup, that Comic Sans font and the 32783728 release widgets are the bomb.

Solution: Don't ever think you're the blogger extraordinaire. Maybe you have a nice blog, but you shouldn't elevate yourself above others. Observe and always learn.

7. Not Replying

To anything. Comments, emails - eh. You have better things to do.

Solution: Goddamnit, you're not an unreachable A-List celebrity, just reply for Christ's Sake.

6. Being Super Casual
"Lmao :D i totally liked this book omfg the protagonist is such a hottie I can't even!!!!!11111" 
If you don't like a book, you state that in your reviews the exact same way as you would in a conversation with your best friend. Emojis are your best friend

Solution: Whether it's in reviews or in business related emails, be professional! Of course you can let your opinion shine through, but please write like an intelligent human being. Emojis and gifs can be alright if it suits your style, but don't overdo it. And please, if you don't like something, give constructive criticism instead of just hating on things.

5. Going Crazy on ARCs and Review Copies

People want to give you books for free now, which is nice. So obviously, you're going to take every opportunity you get to snag those free copies.

Solution: Review copies ARE NOT free books. They aren't gifts, you're supposed to give something back in return. A timely and professional review is the least you can do to return the favor. Unless you're able to read ten books a week and keep up with all those copies, don't take every opportunity you get. It'll only lead to delayed reviews on frustration on both sides.

4. No Networking

Crossposting is exhausting. I mean, if people want to read your blog, they're going to find it, right? No need to spam everywhere.

Solution: Well, to a certain degree this is almost half right. Unless you have already established your platform you'll need to crosspost. People won't find you. People won't even try to get to know you if you don't reach out to them first. Sign up to all social media platforms you can find.

3. Becoming a Human Billboard

From one extreme to the next. You know that you're going nowhere if you don't network, so this time you're doing it right! Not a single post you wrote on the internet is written without the links to all your social media accounts. Yeah, might as well slap a few links to your individual posts in there.

Solution: Please don't. One link is fine, but don't just spam your stuff everywhere, people won't go on your blog on principle. Everything in moderation. Also, do you want to get flagged for spamming? Only add your link to comments that make sense and actually contribute to the conversation.

2. Meme City, Residents: 1

Memes are great, everybody loves them, right? There are so many out there that you just can't decide, so let's do ALL OF THEM.

Solution: While this may work for 10% of the blogger community, this isn't the way to establish a great and interesting blog. Unless you're able to put a twist to it all and make your meme posts super original, leave it. A meme for every day of the week is probably a very bad idea. People don't want to see the same content on every blog.

1. Not Improving Anything

Your posts are perfect. You got it all right the first time. Now that you've got the interesting content down and are networking perfectly on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, you're good to go.

Solution: Over time, your blog style WILL change. I guarantee it. Go back to your old posts and revise them one at a time. You don't need to do it all at once, but please try to improve your content as your blog grows. Your readers will thank you.


  • Always keep in mind: 

Even the big names in the blogger community all have been there. If you're doing one of these, or even all of these, it's not the end of the world. Just make sure to be aware that there's a better way to handle things.

Have you caught yourself making one of those mistakes?

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