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5 Ways To Save Time As A Book Blogger

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As many of you know, the launch for The Fearless Book Blogger Workbook is coming up! I’m ridiculously excited to be sharing it with you. One of the big parts of The Fearless Book Blogger Workbook is about time management and the power of getting organized. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately, so I’ve decided to share ALL the strategies I use to save time blogging.

I used to be a really disorganized book blogger. I was terrible at tracking ARC release dates, I never had time to schedule posts, I took forever to reply to emails, and I made countless other mistakes.

When it came down to it, I just didn’t feel like I had the TIME to get everything done.

Am I perfect now? No way! But I’ve learned a lot about getting the most out of my time, and I want to share my strategies with you today.

1. Use blog post graphic templates

See that image at the top of this blog post? It was created using a blog post graphic template. That means I have an image template saved and whenever I need to create a new graphic for a blog post, I just type in the title, upload a background image and voila, it’s done.

Blog post graphic templates are such a lifesaver. I used to spend 10+ minutes on each blog post graphic, playing with fonts, trying different sizes and text placements, and often starting from scratch every single time. Now I use a template (I save mine in Canva!) so every time I need to create a new graphic for a blog post, it takes less than two minutes!

Easy, right?

2. Set a blogging schedule

No, I don’t mean choosing theme days for your blog posts (e.g. “Thursdays are discussion posts, etc). Instead, I like to create a schedule for myself when blogging.

That means that I have specific tasks that need to be accomplished on each day in order to keep the blog running smoothly. Here is a preview of my Wednesday tasks:

  • Reply to blog comments (10 mins)
  • Do Etsy maintenance (10 mins)
  • Fulfill Etsy orders (30 mins)
  • Write 1 blog post for Bookish Serendipity + schedule it (30 minutes)
  • Total: 1 hour, 20 minutes.

Wednesday is one of my busier days, but you can see how it works. Having a schedule has helped me a lot.

3. Write on the go

You can work on your blog even if you aren’t in front of the computer! Personally, I tend to have a really long commute to school each day, so I try to spend a bit of that time each week working on blog things, like replying to emails, drafting blog posts in Evernote, or interacting on social media.

Think about your own schedule. Where could you squeeze in some extra blogging time each day?

4. Write in a distraction-free zone when possible.

I used to love writing blog posts sitting on the couch in front of the television. Unfortunately, that totally wasn’t the best way to go because I would constantly get distracted by the TV, the doorbell, or people wandering through the room.

Now I work in the home office, sitting in front of the computer. It’s a much quieter room and although it isn’t as cozy as the couch, it allows me to get more done without being distracted. What is distracting YOU?

5. Keep everything neatly organized

This is really vague advice, but think about it. How much time do you spend looking through your emails to check something in an old email, or spend panicking because you forgot an ARC was going to be released tomorrow, or trying to find photos on your harddrive?

In The Fearless Book Blogger Workbook, there is an entire section dedicated to staying organized. It includes all the charts, spreadsheets and files you will need to get organized and spend more time on what matters. Organization is so, so important.


 

There you have it! There are a few of the most important strategies that I use to work smarter, not harder. If you feel like you’re spending so much time on your blog without results, it is probably because you are doing a lot without really getting anything done.

Getting the most out of every minute you invest in your blog is so important. I talk all about it in The Fearless Book Blogger Workbook, so don’t forget to stop by for the launch next week!

Meet The Newbies: Interview With Ava Jae!

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Happy Monday!

I’m so excited to be starting this week off by participating in Meet The Newbies, an event hosted by Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books.

Meet The Newbies is all about introducing and celebrating the debut authors of 2015 across the book blogosphere through interviews, giveaways, and fun events! If you want to learn more, you can read the introductory post here.

I have the pleasure of featuring Ava Jae, the author of Beyond The Red, which sounds absolutely incredibly. Today, I’ll be featuring Ava, interviewing her, and talking ALL about her book, which released in March.

Meet the Newbies

Meet Ava!

Want to know a little bit more about Ava? Read on! Below, you can check out some fun facts and information about Ava and her book!

Author Most Likely To: Be Buried Under A Pile Of Books

Nickname: Bookishpixie
First Day of School: March 1, 2016
Homeroom: Sky Pony Press
Grade: Contemporary YA Sci-F
Extracurricular Activities: Playing Assassin’s Creed, binging Supernatural, hopelessly trying to catch up on her TBR, and occasionally drawing
Favorite Class: Any and all languages
Favorite Quote/Motto: “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” —J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Isn’t that fun? I’m obsessed with that Harry Potter quote as well. Now, I’ve got a fun quick interview with Ava. We talk about

1. Describe Beyond The Red in 5 words.

Alien queen meets rebel half-blood.

2. What is the “story behind the story?” What inspired you to write Beyond The Red?

After trunking yet another manuscript—and one that I’d been working on for a long time—I sat down and asked myself what I wanted to write, just for myself. I decided on aliens, and I knew I wanted at least part of the book to be from an alien perspective, and I also knew I didn’t want to write another alien invasion narrative both because they’ve been done a lot and because…I’d already written one and promptly trunked it—shh!

btrI remembered James Cameron’s Avatar in which humans are the invaders and destroy much of the alien planet they go to before getting kicked out, and I asked myself what would happen if humans went to another planet to colonize, but there was already a native species—one that was super technologically advanced, and had an excellent military. And then I asked myself what would happen if said natives decimated the human forces so decisively that the humans couldn’t escape—and so that no other humans would ever attempt to go there again.

So that inspired the background story of what happened generations before the Beyond the Red’s story begins—and it set up the framework for the dynamics of the Sepharon and humans who call Safara their home. The rest all blossomed from there. 🙂

3. That’s so cool! What has your favorite part of being a debut author been?

Seeing my book in the wild has been amazing. I honestly don’t think I’ll ever get tired of seeing pictures of my book on the shelf or in someone’s hands. Plus I’ve loved hearing from readers; it’s always really nice when I get a surprise message from someone who read and loved my book. 😃 The whole experience has just been awesome.

4. I love that! Did you always want to be an author? What made you want to start writing?

Funny enough, though I’d had various teachers in elementary school tell me I should be an author (which seems to me an odd thing to say to a 2nd grader, but I digress), I didn’t actually want to be an author until I started writing seriously, which was over ten years ago now. When I was a tiny kid I thought writing sounded fun but editing sounded awful—now I actually enjoy revising more than I do first drafting, so go figure!

But basically once I had a story idea that had to be written, I couldn’t stop. I fell in love with writing as I wrote my first manuscript, and I knew from that moment that writing novels was what I wanted to do.

5. If you could put your character in any other 2016 YA novel, which would you chose and why?

What a fun question! And a hard one. Hmmm. Even though both Kora and Eros would be mystified by the ocean, I feel like they’d both really get along with Nix from The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig. Plus I think the freedom of being able to travel anywhere they want to (as long as they have a map) without having to worry about Sepharon monarchy politics would really appeal to them both.


 

This was a really fun interview, and I love Ava’s answers (I’d LOVE to see a TGFE and BTR cross-over! How cool would that be?)


avaAbout Ava: 
Ava Jae is a YA and NA writer, an Assistant Editor at Entangled Publishing, and is represented by Louise Fury of The Bent Agency. When she’s not writing about kissing, superpowers, explosions, and aliens, you can find her with her nose buried in a book, nerding out over the latest X-Men news, or hanging out on her many social media channels.

Social Media Links: Twitter | Facebook | Blog  | Goodreads | Instagram

About Beyond The Red

By: Ava Jae

Get It At: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Alien queen Kora has a problem as vast as the endless crimson deserts. She’s the first female ruler of her territory in generations, but her people are rioting and call for her violent younger twin brother to take the throne. Despite assassination attempts, a mounting uprising of nomadic human rebels, and pressure to find a mate to help her rule, she’s determined to protect her people from her brother’s would-be tyrannical rule.

Eros is a rebel soldier hated by aliens and human alike for being a half-blood. Yet that doesn’t stop him from defending his people, at least until Kora’s soldiers raze his camp and take him captive. He’s given an ultimatum: be an enslaved bodyguard to Kora, or be executed for his true identity—a secret kept even from him.

When Kora and Eros are framed for the attempted assassination of her betrothed, they flee. Their only chance of survival is to turn themselves in to the high court, where revealing Eros’s secret could mean a swift public execution. But when they uncover a violent plot to end the human insurgency, they must find a way to work together to prevent genocide.

Want To Win Your Own Copy:

Meet The Newbies has generously donated 1 pre-order or finished copy of ANY debut novel featured on Meet The Newbies, including Ava’s book! It is open internationally as long as The Book Depository ships to your country, so you could win your own copy of Beyond The Red!

If the giveaway isn’t showing up, click here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you so much to Rachel for organizing and Ava for participating! Loved doing this!

{Monthly Recap} March 2015 | I’m Back + My First Blog Income Report

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See all that snow? That’s basically what it looks like outside right now (minus the mountains). We had a week or so of sunshine and then BOOM! The snow returned.

Anyways…

I thought I would have so much time to blog in March, with Spring Break and all, but I ended up getting way busier with side projects and other tasks (like huge school assignments) than I thought I would be, so I only wrote a couple posts for the blog! Still, March was a hugely successful month for me.

I’ve been working on several cool projects, and I’m excited to recap them all for you!

The Fearless Book Blogger Workbook comes out this month!

I’m crazy excited about this! I announced The Fearless Book Blogger Workbook in early March, and I am ridiculously excited to share this project with you. I got my finished copies last week, and I am crazy excited! The workbook releases on April 19th but if you join my VIP crew for the launch, you get access to some epic bonus content and you can enter an early giveaway for a free copy! You can sign up here.

6 weeks after setting up Mailchimp, I hit 100 email subscribers!

111Okay, this is a pretty tiny milestone, but I only set up my new Mailchimp email list about 6 weeks ago, so I am crazy excited about this! I’ve been using Bloglovin’ and other services, and have a few hundred subscribers on each, so I had hopes that my email subscription would work as well. That’s 100 subscribers in less than 45 days, which I’m excited about. The number is currently sitting at 111, so I’ve set a goal to get to 200 by the end of May.

Crazy? Maybe, but I’m going to try!

My Blog Income Report: $291.00

I’ve been debating whether or not to share this with you, but I’ve gotten so many emails and DMs from people who want to know if they actually can make money from their book blogs. You totally can! That’s why I’m sharing my blog income report with you. This was a reallyyyy slow month, but I thought that you might be interested to learn that, yes, you can actually make a little bit of side money from your book blog.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Affiliate Earnings: $210.00 (this is pretty good for one month!)
  • Etsy store: $81.00 (this month was incredibly slow, but I’ve been focusing all my energy on the upcoming revamp, and didn’t promote it at all).

Is earning money from your book blog something you are interested in? Let me know in the Comments if you want some more content about how I earn money from my blog, and I might put together a series of tutorials and posts if enough people are interested!

I’ve been working on a LOT of things.

One of the reasons I wasn’t able to blog as much this month was because of how bus I was working on other side projects. I always like working on new projects, and I’ve got a few things in the works. They’re not all necessarily Bookish Serendipity-related, but I figured I would share some of them with you:

  • The Fearless Book Blogger Workbook launch (coming  on April 19th!)
  • I’ve been working on my second blog, Fierce Blogging. I’ve been working really hard on that blog to create content and start establishing a readership. I have big plans, and I’ve been working really hard to get the site running.
  • I’ve been working on revamping the Bookish Serendipity Co Etsy shop. I’m adding several entirely new product lines, like bookish sweatshirts, pillows, posters, and more! This should be revealed later this month or earlier in May…
  • I’m also creating some cool new content for my VIP crew for The Fearless Book Blogger Workbook launch. Want in on that? Sign up here.

Attention, reading slump alert!

glassswordOkay, so I’m still in the reading slump I was in last month is still going on. Meh. I only read a few books, but I did love Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard. I’m currently working through The Forbidden Orchard by Sharon Biggs Walker (it’s pretty slow so far, although I’m only on the first few chapters.

I have so many new book releases from the past two months that I need to work through. I had quite a few pre-orders that came in over the past two months, so I really need to get to reading those, as soon as I pull myself out of my reading slump. I’m particularly excited to read Assassin’s Heart, Burning Glass, and Rebel Of The Sands.

Fantasy is my favorite genre, so I really want to focus on reading and rereading some “me” books instead of ARCs or review copies. I’ve already read most of my April review copies, so I will be able to spend a lot more time reading books that I’m interested in. I’m thinking that will help me get out of the reading slump.

Plus, I went to the #PenguinTeenOnTour signing

I was really excited for the Penguin Teen On Tour event. This is the first time ( I think!) that the Penguin Teen tour came to Toronto, and I was able to go this time. The event was a Q&A and signing with 5 Penguin Teen Authors: Sabaa Tahir, Alison Goodman, Rachel Hawkins, April Genevieve Tucholke, and Alywn Hamilton.

I got to see some great bloggers friends again (Nova, Em, Sasha and Sarena, and more), which is always fun, and I had a blast. I would love to have the tour return to Canada again.

How was your month?

Guest Post – The Important Of Commenting

The Importance Of Commenting

I’ve been in bit of a blogging slump, so I was really excited when Jess @ Princessica of Books offered to guest post for me! I’d hosted her here on Bookish Serendipity before, and she’s so incredibly fun. Today, she’s bringing us a guest post about the importance of commenting! This is a really interesting post, and I hope you enjoy it.

After you read this post, you can check out her blog, Princessica of Books!

The Importance Of Commenting

If you ask a blogger what their favorite thing about blogging is, they’ll most likely interaction, commenting, or something along those lines. And it’s true! I love getting comments just as much as I love comments. I’ll admit that it does take a while to comment, while also responding to your own comments, writing new content, reading, and who knows what us bookworms do. However, it’s important that we all take a few minutes (or hours…) everyday to leave some love to our favorite, small, big, and friendly bloggers.

Gets YOUR Name Out There!

If you’re only blogging for yourself and maybe you are a newbie blogger (or not, to be honest this applies to all bloggers), then this reason will definitely appeal to you. From personal experience, the more I see your name, the more likely I’m going to visit your blog and leave a comment myself. I like to give back to my readers and that’s one way I can do so.

Shows Appreciation!

Every time I get a comment on my blog, I get so happy because it means that someone actually visited my blog, read the content, and enjoyed it! I put a lot of work into all my posts, even this one. It feels good to know that someone else appreciates it all the time and effort I put into each post.

Interaction = Relationships

If we have books in common or maybe ideas, even, let me know! That’s how friendships are formed and you bet that all of us are always in constant search for friends. I’d love to discuss it more with you and hear what you have to think as well.

Your Opinion Matters!

Even if you are disagreeing with the discussion or post, your perspective matters! Especially with discussions, there are so many sides to it. You may have experienced more than me and therefore have a better judgement. If you politely let me know, you’ll broaden my horizon and I can do better in the future. You have no idea how many times I read a comment and say, “Hmm, I never thought about that.”

These are the four main reasons why I think commenting matters. What do you think?

3Inm5q4UJess is your local blogger, bibliophile, feminist, and future cat-lady. She enjoys supporting her local library and absolutely adores indie bookstores. When she is not reading or doing any other bookish sorts, she is probably listening to Troye Sivan, tweeting (@PrincessicaOB), or doing schoolwork [yes, although she hates it, she is quite responsible]. Feel free to chat with her on TwitterGoodreadsInstagram or email her at princessiccaaaa[at]gmail[dot]com. Yes, two c’s and four a’s.

My Advice For New Book Bloggers

My Advice For New Book Bloggers

I remember (almost!) 3 years ago, when I started my first book blog. Actually, at the time it wasn’t a book blog. It was a site for young writers, since I wanted to connect with other young writers my age, so I decided to start a blog.

It was called Young Writers Cafe (yikes!) and I set it up on the WordPress.com platform, not even bothering to customize the theme. Originally, it looked like this:

youngwriterscafeoriginaldesign

Yep. I put up about 10 posts at once when the site launched, and then blogged on and off for the couple months. I made several mistakes, like:

  • I barely knew about any other blogs for young writers, and I rarely checked out other blogs in my niche. Little did I know how massive the community really is!
  • I thought I had to put my blog title in every single post title. I really don’t know why I thought that, but it’s interesting to look back on.
  • My posts were short. Like, around 300 words each.
  • The posts had zero formatting. Random words were bolded, headings were the same size as the text, and I typed out every single link instead of embedding them.

The traffic was terrible, but I managed to make some really great blogging friends. Shout out to all the people who knew my blog from all the way back in 2013 and read it anyways! Eventually, my blog turned its focus to reading books instead of writing them. I was on WordPress.com for around a year before I eventually made the switch to WordPress self-hosted, taking the opportunity to change my blog name during the switch.

Over the past few years of blogging, I’ve learned a lot about book blogging. It’s crazy to look back to 2013 and look at how different my posts were, and I’m sure in 2019 I’ll think the same think about my current content.

As a blogger, I’m always evolving and trying new things. Sometimes they work; sometimes they don’t. Blogging is a different experience for everyone, but there are a few things I’d like to suggest to every new book blogger.

1. Get on Twitter!

Twitter is where the cool kids hang out. Okay, I’m kidding (I’m sure you’re dying of laughter right now) but seriously, Twitter is such a game changer. Commenting on other blogs is great, but Twitter provides an opportunity to connect with book bloggers on another level. Even if you feel like their blog is too intimidating when it comes to commenting, you’ll be surprised by how friendly book bloggers are on Twitter.

I’ve met some of my best blogging friends on Twitter, and I likely would have been too shy to approach them without social media. Twitter is a great way to stay up to date on the book blogging community as well. If you’re thinking of joining Twitter, I seriously recommend it. I’m @BookishSC on Twitter, so if you have any questions feel free to shoot me a tweet or DM!

You can also read my post about why I love Twitter, or my suggestions on how to use it for your book blog.

2. Comment, comment everywhere!

Commenting is a great way to get yourself out there as a book blogger! Before I was on Twitter, commenting was how I met several of my book blogging friends.

I have CommentLuv (a WP plugin) installed on my blog, so when someone comments on my blog, their latest blog post link appear beneath their comment. I try to click on those links and comment back (I’ve been absolutely terrible at this lately, though), which has allowed me to start so many great friendships!

3. Choose a schedule and stick to it

weeklytodolist

Book blogging likely isn’t your job. It’s a hobby and if you don’t create a schedule for blogging and fiercely protect your blogging time, you’ll find yourself only putting up post once a month or so.

How detailed your schedule is depends on you. Some bloggers like to have a pre-determined theme for each blogging day (ex. Wednesday is “blogging tutorials” day), while others prefer to just have a rough plan for the week. I’m huge on scheduling and organization, so I’ve created a chart with each of my blogging tasks for each day. It’s really detailed, but it works for me.

At the very least, create a goal for how many times you want to post each week.  If you’re struggling to come up with a blog schedule that works for you, read this post.

4. Use your first few months to experiment

As your blog grows, it becomes harder and harder to make big changes without throwing off your audience. That’s why I definitely recommend that you use your first few months to experiment with your blog.

Think about where you want your blog to be in a year, or two years. Do you want to have a certain design or theme? Do you want to move to self-hosted WordPress? Do you want to be covering multiple topics on your blog? It’s harder to make those changes later on (This is coming from someone who changed her blog name + host after a year of blogging!), so go for it now.

Use your first few months to figure out what works and what doesn’t, and try new things.

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5. Do your own thing (No, really!)

This is the most generic advice out there but for book blogging in particular, I like to break it down into 3 sections.

  • Do all the other book bloggers do memes, but that’s not really your thing? Don’t do them! The only type of content you should post is the type of content that you’re seriously interested in.
  • Read and write about the books that you’re interested in. If a hyped book doesn’t interest you, you don’t have to pick it up or read it.
  • Write in your own voice. If X Blogger uses a certain tone or jokes and is really popular for it, that doesn’t mean you have to write like that. I like to write the same way I talk, because that’s what is natural for me. Write in a tone and voice that feels natural for you!

I’ve learned so much from these past 3 years of blogging, and I’m sure I will learn so much more over the next few years. Instead of struggling like I did, use the tips above to get ahead and avoid potential mistakes later on. Trust me, it’s worth it!

What is your biggest blogging struggle?

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