Last year was about me building my platform. I will say that it’s grown a GREAT deal!
However, some of my brainy ideas got “followers” who were merely numbers on Facebook, while other ideas drew actual people interested in my work!
My biggest brainy idea, I think, was opening a full-time review site. When I say full-time, I mean it. That thing required so much time and hard work, and it was a constant battle to get enough hits on the blog or even a comment. So much of the time I could have been investing in my own writing, I was working on other people’s posts.
I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. I met a lot of really fantastic authors this way, and you’d think that was platform building, at least. However, most of the authors didn’t talk to me again after I hosted them on my site, and when I asked for help promoting my books, they ignored me.
If you’re main goal/focus is to build your platform, being a book blog is not the way to go, IMHO. Here’s a few reasons why.
In order to be on a tour (where the real hits and followers come from), a lot of the tour sites want to see a real review blog, not an author blog. The reason for this is because they want the touring author to be the main focus for that day. They realize all authors are trying to get some notice. It’s tough, but when you’re offering to sponsor an author on your blog, they need to be the center of your blog’s attention. So now, you’ve got TWO blogs to maintain, not just one.
If you thought you had emails before, now you have more! Signing up with blog tour companies does a couple of things. It keeps you in the current information stream as far as industry trends, cover trends, and what authors are out there. However, you still have to read all the emails!
Reading books you don’t like. This was the downside I didn’t appreciate. When a book goes on tour, the one thing you don’t want is a negative review. So, when you offer to review a book and you don’t like it, you have one of three choices. Write a review that isn’t awesome but borders on lying, write a scathing review (which several tour companies are telling you NOT to), or tell your tour company that you didn’t like that book. Just know that you turn down enough books, you will be taken off the blogger list. Or they won’t schedule you for books you sign up for. If you think being a book blogger’s hard, you should try coordinating a tour. Good grief! That’s a juggling act in an of itself. Those people work REALLY hard!
Staying on top of your calendar. In order to get the big hits on your blog, you’ve got to post regularly, and you have to post what’s popular. However, there are tour groups that don’t send you the materials until the day before, or those that send you three emails for one post, or, worse, those that forget about you entirely.
Stripping the joy from reading. I’ve got to be honest. I’ve lost the joy in reading. I pick up a book and I know in the first chapter how the structure, the plot, the character arcs, the voice, the everything is going to come together. I’ve always had that ability, but at least I wanted to enjoy the ride. Anymore, I’ve read so many books I didn’t enjoy due to weak structural elements, that I’m on high alert. Reading has become a job. The books you signed up to review (whether they’re good or not) take priority over the books you want to read.
Yes. I know. I should be able to read them all, but no. I have enough free time to read one or two books a week. No more.
Don’t be fooled by the copious amounts of whining. Being a book blogger has been a lot of fun! I deeply enjoyed being a part of all the tours I participated in. I had a lot of fun working with the authors who direct queried me as well.
However, a book blog takes a LOT of time, attention, and hard work. If you’re looking to build your author platform, there are other, better ways. I’ll discuss those in other posts.