Archive for blogging101

Blogging 101: Scheduling and Time Management

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Oooo it’s been a little while since I did one of these hasn’t it? *rubs hands* Okay, so today I thought I would talk about something that I could clearly improve on - and that is scheduling and time management. Actually, I am being a little hard on myself. I go through moments where I am very organised and on top of things and am the scheduling queen. And then other times where I just fail at life in general and even doing up my shoelaces is an effort. You know those days. We all have them! haha The aim of scheduling and managing your time is to help you take more advantage of those times when you are on top of everything - and then you’re not carrying around “bloggers guilt” for not posting during those “failing at life” times that inevitably come around every so often.

Have a blogging routine

I know routines aren’t everyone’s thing, but trust me when I say it makes running your blog so much easier when you’ve got regular features or weekly posts that you know you have to be on top of. For instance, around BNR we have a routine - that being said we’re flexible enough to change things here and there, or skip posts some days, but the general gist is that Mondays will be a review, Tuesdays are Blogging 101 posts, Wednesday is our WWW Wednesday meme, Thursday is also a review, Friday is reserved for our Feral Friday discussions. Then the weekend. Saturday is our Stacking the Shelves post and Sundays are usually something a bit fun - usually an ‘Inspired by Fiction’ post.

Routines help enormously. For instance, at the top of the week, Kristy and I both have a clear understanding of what day we each need to have a review ready to post, so we can manage our reading time around this. It means there’s no surprises (generally! lol) or last minute having to race around trying to put bits and pieces together for an impromptu post that one of us has sprung on the other. Now that doesn’t mean we don’t have our fair share of times where we ARE writing and posting at the last minute (now for instance), however the content of the post is never a surprise. Honestly.. one of these days I’ll be more organised. ;)

Schedule ahead of time

Some of our posts (like our Sunday feature) we can actually have scheduled via WordPress and ready to go ahead automatically on Sunday morning. This is the amazing thing about blogging these days, is that you can have a full time job, a busy social life and things happening in your life at the same time as running a successful blog. You don’t need to be sitting at your computer for hours at a time (although I warn you that Kristy and I still do this a fair bit at times - it doesn’t eliminate this, but it can help reduce it!) but rather pre-write your posts at a time that suits you and schedule them for different days and times during the week to ensure your readers constantly have something new to read each day.

You actually give yourself back MORE time in your day the more organised you can be with this!

Granted, not all posts can be scheduled ahead of time. Posts like our Stacking the Shelves meme on Saturday is very much dependent on books we received during the week, and since we won’t always know what we got for the week until Friday night, this is not really the type of post you can schedule in advance. But by scheduling in all the posts that you KNOW you can do ahead of time, it takes the burden off you for the other posts you need to write on the day.

Manage your time effectively

Oh this is a work in progress for me. I sometimes start a post, and then 45 minutes later am still “working” on the same post, and yet there’s 5 words on my screen because I got sidetracked googling Miley Cyrus Wrecking Ball memes again… *sigh*

So I guess what I am saying is that when you’re sitting down to post, make sure you’re in the right frame of mind to write. Focus on what you’re doing and you’ll be able to smash out a good quality post in no time. Easier said some nights when you’ve had a solid night at work or school and you come home to write. But again, this is where scheduling ahead of time can be a wonderful thing. You can write the posts when you’re in the mood to, and schedule it in for later on.

And I think in the new year this is definitely going to be one aspiration that Kristy and I will be aiming to become better at. Whilst we schedule some things, I think we’re able to do this more effectively ourselves. Going into a new year, it’s not a bad idea to start thinking now about what you want to do in the new year as far as your blogging habits go too! :)


How good are you currently with scheduling your posts? Do you have any parting wisdom or advice? Or like Kristy and I, are you working on improving this yourselves? Let us know!

If you have any questions or ideas for topics we can discuss next week leave them in the comments below and Kristy or I will make sure we answer them for you - possibly in a new post next week!

Blogging 101: Speed reading tips

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Hey readers! Today I want to talk a bit about learning how to speed read - or at least to be able to read faster than you do already. I am currently in the process of learning this myself, since I am not the fastest reader, but there’s some really practical good tips that I have picked up recently and I think these would be helpful to anyone who loves reading - especially if you have a lot on your TBR piles!

Stop Reading To Yourself

When we read, we sub vocalise the words, or hear each of the words in our head. We don’t actually need to do this to be able to comprehend the words we’re reading, and really - this actually slows us down considerably. One tip that I’ve found is that if you repeat the numbers 1,2,3,4 in your head, or hum to yourself as you’re reading you’ll still be able to read and comprehend what’s going on in your book, but you’ll then be able to just focus on doing it much faster since you’re not pronouncing all the words in your mind as you read along. If you’re the type of reader who moves your lips as you read along, you’re sub vocalising in another way, and to help, cover your mouth as you read. It might sound silly but it works!

Use a Marker

Sometimes when we’re reading, I know at least I do this - I go back and re-read sentences to make sure I have understood them correctly. We don’t actually need to do this, and it wastes a lot of time. Some sites recommend using your finger as a guide to set and keep a reading pace. Let your eyes stay with your finger and move over each line without stopping. You will be blown away by how much more you read in the same amount of time just by following this one. You could also use a piece of card if you find it hard using your finger as a guide and move the card along the page as you read. Don’t allow yourself to go back, just keep plowing through.

Time Yourself

I definitely recommend you time how fast you read before you start doing any of this. There are sites online that will time how fast you read at the moment, as well as test you on how much you comprehended at the same time. And then most importantly, speed reading is about practice. So make sure you are in a quiet room where you are able to focus. Make sure you’re in the mood to read as well and that you’re not going to have distractions. And just practice the two above tips. I guarantee they do work, they have been working for me at least, but they do take a lot of time and patience, and I am definitely a work in progress personally. I would recommend re-timing/testing yourself every now and then to see how you’re improving too.

This is a huge benefit if you’re able to make better use of your time, by being more productive and reading faster. We all know reading can be time consuming, and with so many books on our lists to read, I know I am always looking at ways I can make the most of my time. There’s plenty more tips out there too guys! I have just given you three today. I’d be happy to share more if you’re interested - but if you jump on Google like I did, that’s where I picked up most of these tips, and they’re really easy to just get started too!!

Does anyone out there use these techniques already? Are you finding they help you read faster? Or are you like me, a little slow at reading and wanting to improve your reading speed?

If you have any questions or ideas for topics we can discuss next week leave them in the comments below and Kristy or I will make sure we answer them for you - possibly in a new post next week!

Blogging 101: Commenting and socialising

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Hey readers! I love todays topic - because it’s where I get to confess my blogging sins! I am talking about the importance of commenting back to your readers as well as social networking.

If you’ve been a long time reader of BNR you’ll see that I have made progress over the years in some ways, but overall I think we can all agree that I am a pretty slack blogger. lol But one area that I have improved on quite a lot over the years is taking the time to comment back when someone comments on BNR. Of course, since the site has grown so much in the last 12 months - having Kristy on board actually helps so much more.

Value Your Readers

One reason I started blogging was that I wanted to network and communicate with other book lovers out there. And so when someone comments on my site, I like to thank them for taking the time out to say something. It’s showing people that you really value them. I know I am pretty lousy at commenting on other people’s blogs, and so I get that for someone to take the time out to say something on my blog - well, it means something to me. So I always like to say something back.

Socialising is Time Heavy

One area I’d like to be better at is commenting more on blogs that I really enjoy - especially when they post blogs that I get something out of. I think as bloggers, there’s a lot of reasons why this is a good thing. But some of my favourite bloggers are also the most social bloggers. They appreciate their readers, and they take the time to write some thoughtful messages. This is my goal in the next 6 months, to become better at this. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it - because I do. I just find I don’t dedicate much time to this, and so I’d like to make more time.

I also think this includes using Twitter more to socialise and get to know my readers and fellow bloggers. I used to be decent at this, but again it’s a time issue for me. So I’d like to dedicate a bit more to that and actually allow people to get to know me, and likewise so I can get to know you. Hold me to this!!

Think Before You Speak

If you are going to comment on other people’s blogs - my advice is to make it count. I have to admit, there’s nothing I hate more than “Cool site - here’s mine!”. To me - that’s bordering on spam. If you’re going to comment, put some thought into it. Post a comment because you really want to contribute to the conversation. People respect that so much more - and I think if anything, people will be even MORE inclined to click the link to your blog based on the fact that they loved what you have to say - not because you told them to come visit you.


I think the benefits are huge for your blog if you can get the social aspects and commenting down pat. I’ve noticed in the last year people are contributing some wonderful comments to our site, and I love reading what you guys have to say and being able to converse with you about all the topics we’ve talked about in that time. Socialising and commenting actually isn’t all that easy and you have to dedicate a lot of time to making it happen, but I think people respect a blogger that takes the time out to actually comment and talk to their readers on a frequent basis as opposed to someone that talks at their readers. As a community, that’s what this is all about right?

Are you a reader or a blogger, and either way, how social are you with other readers? Do you comment on other blogs much, or are you like me and sometimes find it all takes too much time? Let us know!

Also, if you have any questions or ideas for topics we can discuss next week leave them in the comments below and Kristy or I will make sure we answer them for you - possibly in a new post next week!

Blogging 101: Feeds - Bloglovin vs Feedly

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Hey everyone! I hope you’re well. I wanted to talk a little bit today about RSS feeds - what that is if you’re new to RSS, and why they’re so handy - plus of the RSS readers that are big right now: Bloglovin and Feedly, which one I think is better and why!

What is an RSS Reader?

The easiest way I think I can explain an RSS Reader is it’s a website where you’re able to subscribe to all the websites you love, and it aggregates all of the posts that are published on those sites and allows you to read them all in the one place. So if you’re time poor or just want more convenience, an RSS Reader is a fantastic tool. They can be accessed anywhere as well, so no need to remember URL’s if you’re using another computer. Websites such as Bloglovin and Feedly are two of the biggest RSS Readers around right now.

Home Screens

When you sign into these sites, you’re taken to the home screen. Both basically show the same information, but in a slightly different way. If you’re going off looks alone, you would give this one to Feedly, since it looks a bit nicer. Functionality wise though the posts are more spaced out on the Bloglovin page, and personally a prefer this when it comes to scrolling down the page I find I am able to find what I want to read faster whereas it’s a little cramped on Feedly.

I’m giving this one to Bloglovin. At the end of the day, it’s about functionality, not how pretty it is.


Ultimately in a good RSS reader you want to be able to easily create folders, and customise your feed to suit your interests. You can create categories so if you’re into different things, it will let you arrange this. Both Feedly and Bloglovin allow you to do this, although they work slightly different. I have to say, both sites actually do this really well.

I like Feedly’s drag and drop feature that they use in order to create new categories, I find that really cool and it’s something different to Bloglovin. I actually think it’s easier to customise your feed via Feedly than Bloglovin, where you have to click around for a bit to get to the same page.

So for navigation when it comes to organising your folders, I give this one to Feedly. It’s just easier.

Reading posts

This is what’s important!! Reading posts. Both sites do this different.

If you click a link via Feedly, your post will open within Feedly, and you can then quickly move to other posts. The speed in which posts load is impressive and something I really like.

Bloglovin will actually open a new window that takes you to the ACTUAL post on the website where it was published. And as someone that runs a blog, I prefer the way Bloglovin does this… takes you to the source.. you can see the post laid out as it was intended. You also get to see the site itself and sometimes you miss out on this through other feed readers.

Bloglovin wins this round.

Overall Performance

Look - it comes down to personal preference really. But if you don’t use RSS readers right now, I think you should try one and see what you think - I love them, it saves me so much time and I am able to still keep up to date with all the blogs that I enjoy reading quite easily that way.

Some people will tell you they love Feedly over Bloglovin, and hey…. whatever works for you! But Kristy and I both use Bloglovin… I think when you pick one that you really like, you end up just sticking with it. I also really like that you can follow people and not just sites on Bloglovin. You can see your friends activity and what they like, and interact a bit more with people that way. It’s almost more of a social platform I find, and I am enjoying that element of it heaps!


I hope you find some of this information useful! Let us know what RSS reader you use, and why you like it. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below and Kristy or I will make sure we answer them for you.

Blogging 101: Tips for Potential Co-Bloggers P2

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Last week Melissa provided an insight into her decision making and some excellent tips on things that should be considered for taking on a co-blogger - but now it is my turn to tell prospective co-bloggers some things they should consider before embarking on a journey like this.

Earlier this year when I came on board Book Nerd Reviews, naturally I did have some uncertainties about going into co-blogging, and I think these are things that everyone should consider before applying to be a co-blogger. I have been extremely lucky and Melissa has been nothing but utterly amazing, but these are things that I did consider before applying (or later thought of how lucky I was that I didn’t need to think of them).

Find out what the blogger wants

All bloggers have different ways of doing things, and therefore have different wants and needs. I think it is best to find out what a blogger wants or requires from their co-blogger upfront. Do they want someone with experience? How many reviews do they want each week? Do they want someone who reads a specific genre? How hands on do they want their co-blogger to be? Do they want someone to follow a set schedule? Do they want someone technically savvy?

All of these things should be discussed with the blogger to make sure it is workable on both sides, so be honest with your abilities, likes and availability! Don’t be afraid to discuss things with the blogger, as it is very important to ensure that everyone is on the same page right from the start. Remember, this will be a working relationship - and you need to be able to make it work, and being upfront and honest will save issues from arising later on. I am not saying focus on the things you can’t do (yes, they need to be mentioned), but you also need to tell them what you can bring to the blog as well.

You should be picky too!

I understand that co-blogging opportunities do not come up very often, but you still need to be picky! Do not apply to any blog just to be a co-blogger. You need to understand the blog (if you don’t already) and you need to like it! All of it - its general style, feel and principles. If you don’t like the blog as a reader, you will not enjoy it as a co-blogger.

I think being a fan of the blog is an important factor, as you are already invested in the blog and you are already wanting to see it succeed. I was extremely fortunate in the fact that I was a fan of Book Nerd Reviews long before I came on-board - and I think that fact has helped me tremendously. I have never thought “oh, if only I could change that” or “gee, I don’t like that”. Joining a blog is like entering a relationship: if you instantly see things that you want to change, then it probably won’t work long term.

Don’t kidnap someone’s baby

Don’t forget, if you are going into an already established blog, that someone created that blog. They have built it, loved it, cared for it, obtained followers and established relationships. This has been their baby! And while a blogger should be willing to let go of some control, don’t forget, that sometimes that is easier said than done. It is natural that a person who has created something through blood, sweat and tears will be a little reserved about handing over control. No matter how great the creators intentions are, letting go will be hard for them, so be understanding of this.

You also cannot go into a blog and instantly start making massive changes and throwing everything out of whack. This will not only frustrate the blog creator, but it will also confuse your followers. I am not saying be a wallflower, definitely show initiative - but make sure you discuss ideas with the creator before going ahead and making changes.

This aspect is one where I have been ridiculously lucky! To the point that I cannot find words to explain how utterly amazing Melissa has been - and I will be forever grateful for that! This situation cannot be easy for a blog creator, and I can only hope that other bloggers in her situation would be half as amazing as Melissa has been.

Be willing to work for it!

You really need to be able to have time to dedicate to a blog. It is not as easy as whipping up a quick review and then your job is done. There are other fun, but time consuming tasks you need to consider as well. You need to build and maintain relationships with publishers, followers, authors and the blogging community - and this will involve things such as spending time on social media, ensuring you are up-to-date with things happening in the publishing industry, contributing to and creating posts, responding to comments on the blog and brain storming for original content. All fun things - but it can be time consuming sometimes - so make sure you have the time to dedicate yourself to these things.

Get ready to learn

There is so much to learn about blogging - so be ready and willing to learn lots of things! This could include understanding the blogs style, being on a schedule, learning how to create posts, understanding statistics, and how to establish relationships with followers, publishers and authors. It could also involve learning how to use social media sites, or systems that are used by bloggers to obtain ARCs.

Basically, this will all rely on your communication skills, your adaptability, your willingness to learn and ability to take instruction. My suggestion to learning the ropes is to not be afraid to ask questions. I think it’s better to ask than to fail - I know I have pestered Melissa on numerous occasions (so many times), but I would much rather her roll her eyes at me asking questions than for her to have to go into damage control mode if I make a mistake. I also suggest learn things one at a time - learn to master walking before trying to run.

Go into it for the right reasons

The only reason to go into blogging is really because you enjoy talking about and recommending books.

Blogging is fantastic and lots of fun, but at the end of the day, to ensure the blog succeeds, it does require effort. You need to go into co-blogging because you want to help the blog be the best it can be - and that requires work and dedication.

If you can answer yes to all the following questions, I recommend you apply to be a co-blogger of the blog you are considering.

  • Do I like the blog?
  • Do I have anything to contribute to the blog?
  • Do I love reading and recommending books?
  • Do I have the time to commit to hours of work per week?
  • Do I like interacting with people?
  • Would I be willing to do this even if I did not get access to any ARCs?

I entered this last point as some people may think that blogging is a quick and easy way to get ARCs - but, this is one of the biggest misconceptions about blogging! ARCs are a privilege given to some bloggers, it is not a right, and it is certainly not guaranteed (and it certainly is not a reason to get into blogging)

How do I become a good co-blogger?

Create a good relationship with your co-blogger. Talk to your co-blogger, discuss any concerns you have, ask them questions, bounce ideas off them, just talk them in general - all of this will help with your working relationship - and if you are as lucky as I have been, you will also gain a great friend!

Be yourself. Do not try to be your co-blogger, or anyone else out there. Being yourself is your best asset - use it!

But most importantly - have fun!


I hope you find some of this information useful! If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below and Melissa or I will make sure we answer them for you.

Blogging 101: Tips for Considering a Co-Blogger P1

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Hi everyone, this week is going to be part 1 of a two part blog. In May, I sought out a co-blogger due to falling into a huge reading/blogging rut that was about to see the end of the site. It was Kristy I chose to come on board, and I have never regretted that. This week, I want to talk about things you should consider when taking on a co-blogger, as well as the benefits this can have on your site. And next week, Kristy is going to post part 2 of this blog, which will be things that you will need to consider if you are the person applying to be a co-blogger for a site. I think this will be great to give people a different perspective!

Firstly, I am aware some people refer to co-bloggers as a cover-all statement. For the purpose of putting it into context as to what I mean:

The difference between Contributors and Co-Bloggers:

A contributor is just that – someone who contributes content for a website. They don’t own the blog, they don’t have creative say as to what happens on the blog. They read books and give you reviews to post (for example). The difference between a contributor and a co-blogger, is that a co-blogger does all of the same things that you do. They discuss post ideas with you, discuss the general direction of the website and work with you to bring that vision to life.

Be selective

I had a lot of applicants when I first asked for a co-blogger. And I was wanting originally to have more than one. But I was really selective and picky with the applications, and whilst I had some amazing people apply, I was looking for some very specific qualities in the person I picked. I found Kristy’s application, and I went with my gut and have never looked back. And thank goodness in hindsight I only had the one co-blogger and not more, or I would have had my hands full. lol What I am saying, is trust your instincts. It’s okay to be picky. And don’t just pick someone for the sake of it. You need to really trust and get along well with this person remember!

Learn to Let Go

If it’s just you on the blog at the moment and you’re thinking about advertising for a co-blogger, my first, and biggest piece of advice is that if you’re a control freak – you’re gonna have to learn to relax a bit! I don’t consider myself a control freak, but I still found it difficult at times to let go of my old ways. It’s not as easy as you think! But if you’re accepting a co-blogger, you also need to make that person feel like welcomed. From the moment Kristy became a part of this, I have always referred to BNR as our blog, not my blog. We both have equal say in what we post and Kristy is able to choose the books she wants to read and review and brings lots of ideas to this blog that have come to life, such as our Feral Friday blogs, which have been really popular.

Be a teacher

When Kristy first came on board at BNR she had no blogging experience at the time. When you’re taking on someone who hasn’t had any blogging experience, you need to be prepared to teach them what to do. I’ve introduced Kristy to new aspects of the blog a little bit at a time – because it can be incredibly overwhelming! But she’s now able to log in and post remotely via WordPress, view and analyse our stats, has her own publisher contacts and access to ARC’s and can pretty much run independent of me. Which works great, because we can basically each do our own thing and each add new content to the site. It’s definitely something that takes time and you both need patience and good communication skills to make it work. Thankfully Kristy is pretty awesome, so we’ve never had any issues!


So many benefits guys. I realise co-blogging won’t be for everyone, and once upon a time, I thought it definitely wasn’t going to be for me either. But after a long hard think about it, I decided to go for it. There are plenty of pros to having someone co-blog with you though:

  • Double the exposure – we have two twitter accounts, two sets of followers who see our tweets. Our visitors have doubled in the last 2 months alone.
  • Add a new voice to your blog – sometimes it’s really nice to change things up and have someone with a different personality or “voice” posting. Not to mention different opinions and perspectives can actually bring in new visitors that you wouldn’t have previously attracted.
  • Halve your workload – this is huge! I know that as BNR was increasing in popularity, so was my workload. And I was feeling more and more pressure to deliver all the time. Now that I have Kristy, we both provide one review a week, and the pressure is off having to read more books easy week – but if we do, it’s only ever a bonus since we can post more reviews on a quiet day. It’s also great having her to bounce ideas off and visa versa.
  • Friendship – okay, so I realise I have bookish friends already, and whilst making new friends wasn’t my priority in a co-blogger, Kristy and I get along amazingly, and I’d consider her one of my good friends given how much we talk! I am adding it to the list because it’s definitely been a pro as far as I am concerned.

I hope you find some of this information useful! If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below and I’ll make sure I answer them for you (or point you in the right direction if I am not sure).

Hi everyone, I hope you’re all well!

Today I am talking about publishers. This is something that Kristy and I have both been asked before, and there’s some definite dos and don’ts when it comes to approaching and interacting with publishers. I thought today I would talk a little bit about some things you should keep in mind when you’re emailing a publisher - especially for newer bloggers.

Tips for New Bloggers:

Don’t contact publishers for ARC’s within the first 6 months of blogging. This is the general time frame publishers will have expected you to be blogging for before they will even consider giving you ARC’s. This gives you time to establish your blog, develop a readership and time to review some books in this period.

Any requests you send to publishers should include the following information:

  • Introduce yourself and your blog. Include information like how long you have been blogging for
  • Unique visits and page views are important. And if you have been working hard in the first 6 months, this will have improved over that time
  • How many followers/subscribers you have, including Facebook, Twitter, Bloglovin, Goodreads
  • Where else do you post your reviews? Just your site? Or do you post on Goodreads also?
  • My requests have traditionally been to ask publishers if they could add me to their blogger database, and I don’t specifically ask for books upfront. Many publishers email a monthly catalogue and that is when I will ask for books I am interested in
  • Include your full name and mailing details in the chance you might be added to the database.

You can find email addresses on the majority of publishers websites for Publicity or Marketing, and these are the people you want to originally contact.

Okay, so you’ve been emailing a publisher. Important things to keep in mind:

Don’t forget - be professional. You might not be paid to be a blogger, but you’re representing your blog. And when talking to publishers, remember that this IS their job. This is what they’re paid to do, and your dealings with them should always be respectful, courteous and professional to them in turn.

You won’t always get what you want. Whether this is a request for an ARC you’d like to read, an interview or giveaway you’d like to arrange - sometimes the answer is no. And it’s in these times that the way you react is important. Try and be gracious in these moments. It’s definitely disappointing when we don’t get what we want, but publishers will remember you leave a lasting impression if you act bratty about it.

Share your reviews with them! Publishers after all give us these books, and they like to know that we do read and review the books we receive. Personally I will email the publishers my review directly (depending on the publisher), but on occasion we might tweet the link to them instead for them to check out.

If you’re lucky enough to have developed an existing relationship with publishers, I do not recommend sharing your contacts with others. I have been approached in the past by new up and coming bloggers asking if I could give them my contacts so they can ask for ARC’s. And as much as I love helping new bloggers out (and always will if I can), the answer to this question is no. Purely out of respect to the publishers that I have developed a rapport with.

Finally - patience is a virtue. I have been blogging for two and a half years with this site, and I would say it took a good 12 to 18 months for publishers and I to develop a really good working relationship. These things don’t happen overnight, but hard (and consistent) work pays off. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have a positive outcome immediately. Keep at it, and remember to be polite and gracious in the times you don’t get approved for a book you’d like, and try again in the future. It’ll happen eventually!

I hope you find some of this information useful! If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below and I’ll make sure I answer them for you (or point you in the right direction if I am not sure).

Blogging 101: Why Your Netgalley Ratio Matters

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Hey readers, I hope you’re all well!

I don’t know how widely known this one is, I know for myself this was something I really only fully came to realise within the last 6 months or so as it wasn’t totally obvious to me *looks around… maybe it’s just me* - but your netgalley ratio of galleys to reviews counts quite a lot. As in, it could be stopping you from receiving galleys if your ratio isn’t high enough.

Before I go into this in more detail, I am going to take a step backwards.

What is Netgalley?

Netgalley for those of you who aren’t aware is a source that is available to bloggers. You can register for free, and essentially, they act as the provider of the service. Publishers that use Netgalley make available upcoming releases of books (ARC’s), which bloggers, librarians and educators can request to read, which the publishers will either approve or deny access to. These galleys can then be read on your computer or ereader.

Netgalley says:

“In return, you are asked to consider reviewing or recommending the books or at least providing feedback to the publisher; writing reviews is not mandatory, but publishers can see your request-to-feedback ratio, so they may be dissuaded from accepting requests from those who rarely offer feedback.”

What’s your ratio?

So your ratio is essentially the amount of galleys that you have been approved access to vs the amount of feedback (reviews) you have left for these books. I am going to be completely honest with you all right now and tell you how bad mine is…. see, I didn’t realise how important it was when I first started blogging… or even a year and a half into it. I understood there was a ratio, but as I was still being approved for books, it didn’t really seem to be a priority for me. I was being approved for books, and so I wasn’t overly selective about what I requested. Regrettably, I have only really started to understand the importance of this now.

Currently, I have had 102 galleys approved to read, and I have left feedback for only 25 of these. Eeek!! That means roughly I have a 3:1 ratio, or 25% feedback level.

This is what one of the publishers (St Martin’s Press) on Netgalley says in their own words about ratio:

“The ratio of “Requests Approved” to “Number of Reviews” is very important. We are only allowed to share a limited amount of galleys, so we want to make sure that the people we are granting requests to will read and review the book. If you want to improve your ratio, please consider submitting reviews for St. Martin’s Press titles you’ve been approved for in the past.”

I am still being approved for galleys currently, but I am actually on a bit of a self imposed hiatus from requesting books unless it’s something I desperately want, because I want to start making my ratio better instead of exacerbating it further.

How can you fix your ratio?

This one is easy. Read those galleys that you have available to you now, and review them!! Leaving feedback is super easy on Netgalley. You go to your shelf, and then I usually toggle to view my “reading list” and then there’s a green button with “start feedback” and I paste the link to the review on the site, and the review itself there, and let the publisher know.

In the next month or two, I plan on getting many of these reads completed and I will be posting my reviews on the site, but also on Netgalley, which in turn will lift my feedback amount. I am aiming for 2:1 ratio in this time.

I am hoping I am not the only one out there with a shonky Netgalley ratio! But the sooner you get control over it and try and fix it up, the more books you’re likely to be approved for in the future which of course is important as a blogger, let’s face it!

My advise to new users or those in the same situation as I am in currently is to be really selective about the books you request. Request books you know you will read or can fit into your schedule. For me, it wasn’t always lack of interest, but more so too many books to read in an unrealistic time frame, so books inevitably get left behind. Keep this in mind when you’re requesting books! And make sure when you do review books, to also leave feedback directly on Netgalley for it to count.


I hope this was of some help to you. If you have a question or something you want to know more about, let me know in the comments below, or email me at and I might just answer your question in an upcoming blog. :)

Blogging 101: Before You Hit Publish

12 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: blogging101

Good morning everyone. :D

I thought I’d talk a little bit today about staying true to yourself as a blogger, and also posting content that interests you and that you’d like to read, and not posting things you don’t necessarily care about because you think it’s expected.

Don’t compare yourself to other bloggers.

When I first started book blogging, I have to admit, I was in a little over my head. I visited a whole bunch of blogs and generally knew that in order to run a book blog, you’d need to be able to post certain things apart from reviews if you want to have a successful blog. A lot of my original posts were really trial and error.. mostly error if I am honest about it! haha

It’s very easy to fall into this trap of feeling like you have to “keep up with the Joneses”. You know what I mean - Sally posts a whole lot of author interviews, and so maybe I should post author interviews too. Or Marie participates in so many blog tours… to be successful maybe I need to also?

Stop for a minute before you go down this route and think - is this something I really want to do because I think it sounds fun? Or am I just doing it because I feel like I need to?

Find your voice.

It’s tough, especially when you’re a new blogger. I know when you first start, you want to be like everyone else, just for guidance if for nothing else. There’s nothing wrong with being different.

Every successful blogger that I know of in the book blogging community has gotten this way by being unique or unusual. There are so many book blogs out there that have the same features, and same memes and same templates and look and when you compare them to the blogs that have major followings, it’s very clear what the difference is. Owners of successful blogs are not afraid to try new things, or to do things differently to how they’ve traditionally been done. They take risks, and they post things on their blog that they find really engaging themselves. And traditionally, at least with the blogs that I follow, they’re all really good communicators. They’ve found their voice, and their niche and they’re sticking with it.

Post content that you would genuinely want to read on other blogs.

I can’t stress that enough.

I am not perfect at this, it’s easier said than done. But seriously - when you’re about to hit publish on your latest post - firsly imagine yourself going to a blog you really enjoy and respect. Imagine reading that post on their blog. Is it engaging? Is it something you would honestly like to read? Is it boring? (Not a fun question to ask yourself, but we sometimes need to ask the tough questions) Am I just posting this because I feel I have to as a book blogger?

If you cannot say 100% that you’re enjoying what you’re posting - do not post it. That simple.

And I know some of you right now are sitting back and thinking “Der.. who’s going to post something they don’t love?”, but to tell you the truth, it happens all the time.

Think about the types of posts you mostly like to read when you visit other blogs. Whatever those posts are that you enjoy, that’s the type of thing you need to post more of on your own blog. The beauty of this is that we are all different people, and things that don’t really interest me all that much are the same things that other people absolutely love - and vica versa.

Personally speaking, I know blog tours and author interviews on a general level don’t interest me, and I’ll mostly scroll past these without a second glance. That’s why you won’t come here expecting to see a lot of these on this blog. That being said, if you ever do see interviews and blog tours, it’s because something has really excited me! lol

Because I am always trying to improve and trying to do better you’ll see a lot more discussion posts, blogging tips and posts where we actually get to communicate better with our readers, because I personally know when I visit other blogs, those are the posts that I really enjoy the most.


I hope you find some of this useful! As I said last week, I will post more things like this in the coming weeks. If you have a question or something you want to know more about, let me know in the comments below, or email me at and I might just answer your question in an upcoming blog. :)

Hey readers!

I thought I’d start a post on Tuesdays (where possible) with some tips for bloggers (and I know there’s a lot of you out there) based on things that Kristy and I have tried, that we find works really well.

I don’t profess to be any sort of expert when it comes to this type of thing, but I can say that in the two and a half years that this site has been running, I’ve experimented a lot with different things via the trial and error method. I’ve fallen on my face sometimes, and then gotten back up and tried something new, and through process of elimination I have a better idea of what my readers respond to, as well as what tools work really well for our site and what software we prefer to use over 0thers.

Over the coming weeks, I’ll talk about different topics depending on what it is you’d like me to talk about, and the aim is that you find this information useful and not have to waste as much time as I did figuring this out yourself!

This week I am going to share with you some very real ways to increase traffic to your blog

As a book blogger, you might not care about the amount of traffic that comes to your site. Or you might. For me, it’s not about being a popular blogger, but it’s more to do with myself. I always try to out do myself. If you’re not constantly striving to do better, then in my mind, you’ll never improve. Self-improvement is absolutely huge to me, both in the blogging world, but offline also. I am always enrolling in new courses or trying to learn as much as I can about anything I can, so it’s natural that my online self would be the same! Over time there’s been some days that I have done things differently and as such you’ll get more visitors to your blog.

1. Post more than once a day.

I don’t know how you’d go long term doing this, because between Kristy and I we have plenty of content for each week, but probably at this stage, not enough for multiple posts per day. That being said, on days where we HAVE posted more than once per day, the traffic goes through the roof. This is due to the blog being hooked up via (There are plenty of these types of services out there - wordpress even will do this for you if you want, but I use Networked Blogs). Basically what that does, is anytime Kristy or I post, Networked Blogs will pick up the new post via our feed, and will automatically update my twitter account and facebook account letting our readers know we have posted. And if people are interested, they’ll wander over. The more you post, the more of these alerts go out to people and logically, the more visits you’ll receive.

2. Post original content regularly

Probably the one thing that people can start doing immediately. By original content, what I mean is that memes will only drive a certain amount of traffic. Don’t be afraid to be selective about the ones you want to participate in. Kristy and I currently only participate in two memes out of the we will post in a week. The first, Stacking The Shelves, is one we really enjoy because people are genuinely interested in seeing the books that other people receive. I know that I love seeing other people’s hauls and so this one is a really good one to partipate in. The other one is WWW Wednesday. Now I’ll be honest. We don’t get a lot of hits out of this meme. But I continue to do it, because I really enjoy it. It’s good to know what your bloggers are reading, have read and are planning on reading coming up. Bloggers do this in different ways, but we do ours on Wednesdays.

The posts we do every other day of the week are original content. We aim for two reviews a week (Mondays and Thursdays). Tuesdays have always been a little up in the air, but I feel like this post will be a regular feature on a Tuesday. Fridays is our Feral Friday discussion day, where Kristy and I discuss a burning topic. And Sunday is our original feature Tattoos Inspired by Fiction.

If you aim to post at least once a day, and original content that can’t be found elsewhere, you will build on a loyal readership. People like coming to places where they know they’re going to read something a little bit different.

I can tell you now, that just in the last 8 weeks since implementing Feral Friday and Tattoos Inspired by Fiction, we had an extra 2,000 hits to our blog last month alone. Not solely because of those two features, but I can see they had a huge part to do with it.

3. Giveaways

I know not everyone can afford to have a giveaway on their blog, especially the type that comes out of their own pocket. They ain’t cheap! But let’s get real. Giveaways = hits. You may not like this, but it’s the truth. Since implementation, BNR has pretty much always had a monthly giveaway at any time. I pay for those giveaways each month, which works out anywhere from $40 - $60 a month in prizes. I am fortunate enough to be in a position where I can afford to run these, and I genuinely enjoy being able to giveaway free books to people that do continue to support the site. And in return, I get a lot of the same people coming back, and not just for the giveaways, but they become really loyal readers of the website, and of course, this means traffic.

Now if you’re not in a position to offer giveaways due to financial issues, it’s not all lost. If you have good relationships with publishers, there’s no harm in asking if they’d be willing to help you host a giveaway, you might be surprised with what they say! Kristy and I have some amazing relationships with the Aussie publishers, and from time to time they’ll allow us a giveaway on the site, but usually they come with terms and conditions, like that it’s available in your country only, which is fair enough. This might be an avenue you can explore!

4. Consider a co-blogger

I bought Kristy on board this year, not for hits (I didn’t realise it would even have an impact)… but because I was going through a terrible reading slump that threatened the existance of this site. I was about to close the doors in May but thought about this avenue first. And the unexpected thing that has come out of this is that our readership has grown. It makes sense when you think about it. Two twitter accounts, two goodreads accounts. Two people posting reviews, commenting, networking….. twice the readership in theory.

I think it’s actually been a wonderful experience having Kristy on board. Kristy and I have a lot in common but also two different voices and interests… and this has only added to the diversification of this website. Not everyone is going to love me and my “online voice”, and by having Kristy around, she’s appealed to people who previously wouldn’t have visited this site. It’s definitely something to consider! The added benefit is that with two people working on the blog, you have more time to put into posts like these. ;)


So there’s just some tips that you can consider. Some things you can implement immediately and some things you could consider if you’re ready to go to the next level. I will post more things like this in the coming weeks, and I’ve got lots of other ideas about things I’d love to share. But more importantly, if you have a question or something you want to know more about, let me know in the comments below, or email me at and I will address the things you want to know more about in upcoming blogs!

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