Welcome back to The Ultimate Guide to Book Blogging! If you’ve never been here before you can catch up on previous posts in the series here.
Networking is one of those buzzwords that fills me with a certain amount of dread. I am an introvert with social anxiety, so the idea of striking up a conversation with someone I don’t know–online or in person–makes me feel just a little bit queasy. Unfortunately for people like me, networking is an essential part of having a successful blog. If you want people to visit your blog, you’re going to have to put yourself out there.
Next week we’ll start talking about how to network and promote your blog using social media, but today I want to talk about six other ways to network with the book blogging community.
1. Leave Comments on Other Blogs
This is the most fundamental thing you can do to connect with other book bloggers. Here are some tips for commenting on other blogs.
- Create a bookmarks folder in your browser or use a feed reader like Bloglovin’ to track your favorite book blogs and leave frequent comments. This is a great way to make long-term friends and contacts.
- Reach out beyond your circle of favorites and discover new blogs to comment on. Some bloggers publish a list of their favorite bloggers (known as a blogroll in old school blogger speak). Check to see if any of your favorite bloggers have a blogroll and follow the rabbit trail of links. Alternatively, check to see who your favorite book bloggers are following on social media and check them out. Don’t feel confined to commenting on other book blogs. Lifestyle, fashion, tech, and mommy bloggers love to read to!
- Leave thoughtful comments. While there’s certainly a time and place for one-word comments and hastily-thumbed emojis (think Instagram), it’s usually better to leave comments that demonstrate you actually read the post. Instead of a quick, “Great post!” specify what you like about it. You don’t have to write a mini essay, but a thoughtful sentence or two will go a long way.
You don’t have to be the Casanova of comments to make new blogging friends. I admit that I’m not the greatest at remembering (or finding time) to comment on other blogs, but I do make a consistent effort.
2. Write or Host a Guest Post
I have a monthly feature where I interview fellow book bloggers. A couple of months ago I interviewed Rissi from Finding Wonderland (formerly Dreaming Under the Same Moon) and gave her the chance to reach out to my audience. In return, she asked me to write a guest post for her blog, giving me the opportunity to reach out to her audience. That’s what I call a win-win.
Contributing to other blogs and editorial websites is a cornerstone of my blogging strategy. Three years ago I became a Book Riot contributor and now Book Riot is my fourth largest source of traffic. Writing for Book Riot has also plugged me into an amazing community of writers and digital content producers who have helped me to grow creatively.
Feature your favorite book bloggers and keep your eyes open for opportunities to be published on other websites. I keep a bookmarks folder of websites and publications that advertise for submissions or contributors. (If you’d like some specific ideas, feel free to email me and I’ll send you a personalized list.)
3. Collaborate on a Blog Post
Collaboration is something BookTubers are great at. Collaboration posts aren’t as common in the book blogging community, but I do occasionally see them around. Ask one of your blogging friends to co-review a book or discuss a topic that’s of interest to you both. A great example of ths is Liberty Hardy and Rebecca Schinsky, who used to write a regular Book Riot column called “The Well-Readheads” in which they publicly conversed about a wide range of literary topics. Collaborating with other book bloggers is a great way to build friendships and find common ground.
4. Participate in a Meme
A meme (sometimes called a blog hop) is a central topic that multiple bloggers post about on the same day. For example, Mailbox Monday is a meme in which lots of different book bloggers post about the books that they receive each week. Participating bloggers are encouraged to comment on each other’s posts and make new connections.
[tweetthis]Make Friends + Gain Followers: 6 Ways to Network with the Book Blogging Community[/tweetthis]
When I first started Parchment Girl I participated in a number of memes, but I have since backed off considerably. Generally speaking, the quality of meme posts isn’t that great and I don’t subscribe to blogs that post a lot of memes. Nevertheless, I do feel that there is a place for them every once in a while. As long as you don’t overuse them, memes are a good way to build community and they can be useful when you are out of ideas and need some quick inspiration.
5. Attend a Convention or Live Event
Attending a live event is not something I can do, but if you have the funds and ability to travel, this can be an amazing way to connect on the most personal level with fellow book bloggers and readers of all stripes. Here are three of the most popular live events for book bloggers.
- Book Expo America is a massive annual event that attracts book lovers from all over the world. It includes a few smaller sub-conferences including the BEA Bloggers Conference, an event that could not be more perfectly tailored for book bloggers.
- Book Riot Live is an annual event for readers who value diversity and community.
- ALA Conference & Exhibition is the American Library Association’s annual event and it’s a great place to connect with fellow book lovers, meet authors, and learn more about the publishing world.
6. Participate in an Online Event
If you, like me, you can’t travel, there are a couple of great online events for book bloggers.
- Armchair BEA is the virtual equivalent of the BEA Bloggers Con. It may not give you the opportunity to meet authors and take home masses of ARCs, but it is a great way to connect with the book blogging community.
- Book Blogger Appreciation Week was founded by Amy of My Friend Amy a few years ago, but she had to step away, so BBAW was discontinued. Luckily, Andi and Heather of The Estella Society revived it this year. BBAW is a great way to meet book bloggers and make new friends.
I said at the beginning of this post that it’s unfortunate that networking is so integral to blogging success, but that’s only partially true. Yes, networking takes me out of my comfort zone, but I’ve met some amazing people and made great online friends in the process. And that, to me, is worth it.
Questions? Leave them in the comments below!
Check out The Ultimate Guide to Book Blogging for more tips and tricks on how to become a book blogging wiz!