Welcome to the second instalment of Blogging Know How, my brand new weekly feature here on Books, Biscuits, and Tea. The aim of this feature is to answer some of your blogging/ reading/ reviewing/ social networking related questions. If there’s anything you’ve been wondering about, you can’t figure out or just want me to help you out with, you can send it to me via email or the little contact form I’ll post at the end of these posts.
“I’ve been watching youtube videos and reading other blogger tips/tricks of the trade and a lot of them say to get a mentor. More experienced bloggers must have a TON of help requests. How would a fairly new blogger go about getting a seasoned mentor when they don’t know anyone? And thanks for this feature, I love it! I’ll definitely support it. ” – Mandee
Thanks Mandee! Having someone more experienced helping you out is great and it definitely makes blogging and exploring this whole blogoverse much, much easier but I can see why it’s so hard to find someone to help you. It’s not the fact that people don’t want to help or not even the fact that you don’t know anyone. It’s rather that blogging takes a hell of a lot of time and most of us go to school or work full time besides blogging and taking on a mentee would mean that they’d have even less time for reading and well.. everything else. So how do you get started? I’ll tell you what I did when I started my blog and entered the blogosphere, the great unknown for the first time.
Take your time. Blogging and getting the hang of things takes time but you’ll get there. You don’t necessarily need to know anyone to get started. There are lots of websites and articles that may be useful for beginners. For example:
- Blogging Basics 101
- Blogging Tips and Templates
- Book Blog Tips & Tricks by The Story Siren
- Top 10 Tips for Beginners
And as the last article says, don’t be afraid to reach out to fellow bloggers for help. All of us were beginners at some point so we know how confusing it is when you’re thrown into the unknown. When I started Books, Biscuits, and Tea I haven’t even heard about blogging mentors. I had no idea such a thing existed and I didn’t know anyone either. But I’m sure you (and everyone else) have some favourite blogs you often visit, and bloggers who you look for inspiration or look up to. You can learn a lot from even reading their posts! And it never hurts to ask for help. I’ve had some people emailing me about review templates and social networking but no matter how busy I was, I always tried to help them out – and I’m sure most people would do the same.
The buttons! How do you make them and the links that they use? THANK YOU!!! – Libby
You mean the “grab my button” photo with the code? You won’t believe how easy it is! I could copy-paste the whole thing for you but d’you know what? This website will do it all for you. If you’re having problems with any of the codes, just click on this photo and you’ll see how I did mine. First off, fill in the first two brackets with your blog’s title and its URL. Then, you’ll need a blog button. I did mine in Photoshop using my (previous) blog template. Once you have a button, make sure to upload it on Photobucket or any other image sharing website and copy-paste its direct link into the third bracket. As for container type, click on “Textarea” if you have a Blogger blog. If your blog is hosted by WordPress or something else, click on Pre.
Container’s border colour: #ffffff (which is white, but you can choose any other colours by clicking on that little black box)
Container’s background colour: #ffffff
Font colour: #000000 (which is black)
Then click on preview and get code.
3. Give a title to your widget, e.g. “Grab my button”
4. Save it. That’s it!
What do you think about people sharing ARC’s? All the ARC’s I have received say not to share with other people but I see all the time on other blogs that bloggers let each other borrow ARC’s. Do you think this is OK or not? – Anon
Judging by your question, you don’t approve of people sharing them – and to be frank, I have to agree with you and I’ll tell you why. An ARC (or Advance Reader Copy) is basically an uncorrected proof of a book. It’s a roughly-produced version of an upcoming book that publishers send out to newspapers, magazines, and book bloggers to create a buzz before its publication. It’s important to note that producing ARCs actually costs more than producing finished copies of the same book.
Going back to the original question, I think passing them on is okay as long as the recipient is a fellow book blogger who will review it on his/her blog as well. Lending ARCs to book bloggers is OK since the person you give it to will also spread the word and write about the book.
As opposed to this, I don’t think that sharing ARCs with non-bloggers or passing them on to friends who won’t review it is okay. That’s not why there were produced and sent to us bloggers, after all. Giving them away if you have a spare copy (sent by the author or the publisher) is one thing and it’s perfectly all right. Selling them on Ebay or passing it on to many people is a different story. Just imagine what would happen if everyone who has an ARC passed it on. Then the next person would pass it on to someone else and so on. Who would buy the book if every single person already read it by the time it comes out? That’s right, no one. The aim of this whole ARC business is to make people interested in the book not to let the whole word read it for free. So no, in this case I don’t think it’s okay to pass them on, nor is it okay to sell them on Ebay for a bunch of money.
What do you guys think of sharing ARCs? Do you think it’s OK?