How to Become a Book Blogger

I became a book blogger because I love books. I’ve always loved books. My dad was a librarian and loved nothing more than sharing books with others, and I feel the same way. I belong to a book club so I can talk about books with other book lovers, but that isn’t enough. I want to talk about books all the time with people who aren’t sick of hearing me talk about books. So I blog.

Since launching Books & Chardonnay, several people have asked how to get started as a book blogger. It was easy for me because I’ve been into blogging for a long time, and this was just another logical step for me. However, if you’re new to blogging you may not know where to start.

This morning’s post will share a few tips for getting started with book blogging – whether you’re new to the blogosphere or not.

What is your purpose as a book blogger?

All blogs have a purpose. For example,  I became a book blogger to share my favorite bargain ebook finds and create fun book trivia. I also have plans for book reviews and book and wine pairing recommendations. However, your plan and my plan can be way different. Perhaps you just want to share discussions of your favorite books, or maybe you’d like to review books. You might even want to use your book blog as a platform for making money. Once you have a focus, you can set up your blog and start planning the types of content you’d like to share.

Related Reading:  15 Reasons Books Are the Best Friends You'll Ever Have

Setting up your book blog

I’m going to preface this by saying I’m technically challenged. So if you’re worried about setting up and maintaining a blog, I’m here to tell you if I can do it, so can you. When I set up my blogs it’s important to me to do in the simplest and most cost efficient way possible. That’s why I use Bluehost whenever I set up a new blog. Not only does Bluehost offer affordable hosting and domain packages, but I can also use their one step WordPress set up and design uploads without having to worry about it all being over my head in the technical department.

What I love about WordPress is all the plugins you can use to better enhance your blog. For example there are plugins to use to help optimize your blog for search engines, as well as plugins for social sharing, and design elements.

Once you have your blog set up, plan your content strategy. Write down a list of things you’re ready to start writing about, and write your blog posts. You can even write up a bunch of posts in advance. No one is more passionate than book bloggers, so don’t be afraid to let your personality show through.

Affiliate programs for book bloggers

There are several ways for book bloggers to earn money, mostly through affiliate advertising. When you’re an affiliate for a specific website, you earn a commission for every book and other product sold. Mind you, you don’t earn a commission for free books, but some websites will allow you to earn a commission for any items bought after clicking through to their website through a free book link.

You won’t get rich as a book blogger as commissions are low, but if you do well it can be a nice way to supplement your income.

Here are some affiliate programs of interest to book bloggers:

  • Amazon has a well known affiliate program. It’s popular because you can earn money for items purchased up to 24 horus after clicking on their link.
  • iBooks  This affiliate program not only allows you to earn a commission on (paid) books, but you can also earn on apps, music, and other items ordered within 24 hours.
  • Barnes & Noble: Barnes & Noble offers an affiliate program via Commission Junction. Once you set up your account you can apply for other affiliate programs of interest to book bloggers including Books A Million, Moleskine, Thriftbooks, and many more.
  • Kobo: Kobo is a popular ebook seller. They have an affiliate program for book lovers, which you can apply for by clicking here.
  • Smashwords: An ebook seller that specializes in ebooks by independent authors, Smashwords has an affiliate program available for a portion of its books.

The above are the most popular affiliate programs for book bloggers, but there are plenty of options if you’d like to go this route. When you’re ready, take some time to research the various affiliates to learn which ones work best for you. Also, make sure you familiarize yourself with the rules. For example, with Amazon you can’t use affiliate links in your newsletter or via email. So be sure to know what the restrictions are for each so you’re not banned.

Promoting your content online

When you have your blog up and running, you want people to read your book blog. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Take some time to set up social media accounts for your blog on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks. Use these networks to promote your content and blog, and to have conversations with other book lovers. Otherwise to promote your blog (without being a spammer, please!) are via Twitter chats, Facebook groups, newsletters, and forums. Take some time to learn how each specific group works so you don’t make any mistakes like dropping links in a no-link zone.

Some things you should know about book blogging

Really, it’s easy to start a book blog. But before you set up hosting, there are a few things to know:

  • It takes time for a blog to hit: Blogs are rarely overnight sensations. It can several months to even get picked up by search engines. Blogging takes patience.
  • You won’t earn any kind of money right away: If you’re looking to earn money as a book blogger, don’t expect immediate success. Most bloggers don’t start seeing rewards from their blogging for at least the first year.
  • Publishers only give away free books to the most popular bloggers: Publishers receive requests every day from bloggers looking for free books to review. If they took everyone up on it, they’d be giving away a TON of free books, and that’s not cost effective. Only the most popular bloggers have publishers and authors contacting them about reviewing books. You’ll have to buy most of the books you review yourself. At least for now.

Hopefully that helped you to learn some of the basics of being a book blogger. Feel free to ask any questions and I’ll do what I can to help you get started.

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Today’s post contains affiliate links.

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