Skip to main content

BBAW 2011: Essential Blogging Practices

Today's topic for Book Blogger Appreciation Week is Blogging. We're supposed to share three tried and true practices for every blogger, as well as a new trend or tool we use or would like to try in the future.

1. Tracking System. I think one of the most important tools I use every day is a tracking system for the books I read and review. I've tried a few different formats, but the one that has worked best for me is a simple Word document with a table. Here's what it looks like:

For some books, the Review On column is set, particularly for those that are part of tours. For others, the Read By and Review On dates change as I read. When I add in a new book, I revise the dates for the others to keep track. I've also included notes on publishing dates, giveaways or interviews. And I added a column for 2011 to keep track of the state where the book takes place for a challenge I'm participating in. Finally, I change the shade of the row based on where I am in the process. At first, it's not shaded. When I am reading the book, it's light blue. When I've finished the book but haven't reviewed it yet, it's light gray. When I've published the review, it's dark gray. I think it's absolutely essential that every book blogger have some sort of tracking system to manage all their reviews, interviews and giveaways.

2. Standard Review Format. Another thing I find very helpful is having a standard format for all my book reviews. Some bloggers have specific details about the book that they include at the top of the review, such as publishing date, number of pages and genre. I don't include those details, but I do have a format I use even if it's not obvious. I always start off with a description of the book in my own words. This is usually one or two paragraphs. Next, I write about what I liked about the book. Then I mention any issues I had with the book. Then I recommend the book to specific types of readers. I end with a rating and sometimes include links to the author's website, reading group guides or other resources. I also have a standard disclosure statement that is at the end of every review. Having a standard format helps me organize my thoughts better.

3. Connections to publishers, publicists, authors, etc. The third thing I think is essential for book bloggers is having connections to people who can provide the books. Of course, if you're a blogger who only reviews your own books that you buy or get from the library, you don't need this. But it seems most book bloggers are working with book industry folks to promote books. And so it helps to have connections with certain ones. I have my name on several lists so I get emails often from different publishers and publicists asking me to review books. I decline the majority of the books I'm offered, because there are so many. But as a blogger, I need those connections to ensure when I want to review a new book, I have access to it.

I'm not sure what new trend I should talk about, honestly. I'm not sure what to consider as new trends. I'm on Twitter. I set up a Facebook page for my blog. I'm not on Google + so maybe I should be. I participate in readathons and blogging events like BBAW and Armchair BEA. I'd love to hear what new trends you have found helpful. If you want to read about other bloggers' suggestions, check out the BBAW website.


  1. Wow, your table is so organized! I keep a Google Spreadsheet, but it's not as neat as yours. I have a loose format I use for my reviews, too, which helps me especially when I'm not sure what I want to say about a book. As for new trends, I can't help you much. My goal is to get better with Twitter!

  2. Do like your word doc for keeping track of books for review.

    BBAW has been a great week


  3. need to organise my booklist better, I use twitter for my book connections, got some great books to review from there.

  4. I love your Word document for tracking. I keep my information in LibraryThing but something to keep track of upcoming tours, etc. would be useful.



Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Popular posts from this blog

Getting back to blogging

It seems that blogging has dropped to the bottom of my list for the past year, and was pretty low for the year or two prior to that. I love to read, and am continuing to do so, but as my regular readers know I haven't been around much. My last blog post was almost a year ago!!

There are many things that have taken me away from blogging. Work has been much more challenging and interesting these past few years, but that means I really don't want to get back on the computer when I get home at night - or on the weekends.

Family life has been more busy with kids having multiple activities in the evenings, leaving little time to just hang out and write about the books that I read.

I will admit to a bit of a Facebook addiction, which means way too much time spent scrolling through my newsfeed instead of doing something more productive. This is one of the things I'm working on and hoping that this will free up some time for getting back to the blog.

Overall, life is good. Work is …

Banned Books Week: Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park

This is the end of Banned Books Week and unfortunately, I haven't had a lot of time to write about banned books this year. But I did want to include at least one post about it, so today I wanted to share one of the book series that it seems most people are surprised to find on the list: Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park.

According to Wikipedia:
The Junie B. Jones series came in at #71 on the American Library Association's list of the Top 100 Banned or Challenged Books from 2000-2009. Reasons cited are poor social values taught by the books and Junie B. Jones not being considered a good role model due to her mouthiness and bad spelling/grammar. This is an interesting example of a banned book. Many times there are serious, controversial topics featured in books that are challenged. Things like homosexuality, drugs, vulgar language, etc. You can actually understand why people may not want their children to read those books, and why they may challenge their inclusion in school libra…

April Reading Review

Where exactly did April go? I swear it was just the middle of March and now it's May. Once again, I'm going to provide a quick review of each of the books I read last month. For the last two weeks of the month, I participated in the Spring Into Horror Readathon hosted by Michelle at Seasons of Reading. The only rule was that you had to read at least one book that was horror, thriller, etc. I read one book that qualified. With the exception of the first book in my list, the books I mention below were read during the readathon

My book club's May selection was Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. I had started reading this nonfiction book about the author's work representing men, women and children who were on death row in March but finished the book in April. This is an eye-opening story that everyone at my book club discussion agreed should be required reading for law schools and police officers and even legislators who are making the laws related to judgements. I learned to…