How to start a book blog

Have you ever finished reading an interesting book and wished you could discuss it with someone? Or read a great book that you’re dying to recommend to everyone?

Book blogs are a fun way to connect with book lovers around the world. Luisa Plaja, former editor of Chicklish, a teen fiction site that ran from 2006 to 2014, provides her top ten tips for starting your own book blog.

Illustration by Nadia Shireen

1. Start by thinking of a name for your blog

You can name it after yourself (eg ‘Katie Lee’) or come up with a name that fits your blog vision or special focus . For example, Chicklish got its name from its origins as a teen romantic comedy book review site, so ‘a bit like Chick Lit.’

A few examples of other existing book blog names that might help you name your own blog include:

  • Wonderful Reads
  • I Want To Read That
  • Serendipity Reviews

and many more…

2. Decide which blogging platform to use

Two of the most popular free ones are Blogger and WordPress. However, there are many others, for example Chicklish used Typepad.

3. Take a look at some existing blogs for inspiration

Find a great list of UK blogs for design and theme inspiration, and decide how you want your site to look. Most blogging software will ask you to choose a template as soon as you sign up, but feel free to play around and try different styles until you find one you like, as it can usually be changed later.

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4. Start your blog!

If your platform allows it (and most do), create a separate page called something like ‘About’, where you can introduce yourself and your goals for the site. Or you might want to include a page called “Review Policy” where you indicate whether you’ll accept books for review from authors and publishers, and what kind of books you’ll consider (specify genre and format; will you accept eBooks? books?)

Include a contact email (perhaps by creating a new email address that uses your blog name) or, if you prefer not to receive private messages, ask stakeholders to post a public comment to your attention instead.

5. Add Some Posts

Start by reviewing books you’ve recently read or writing about books you want to read. If you’ve exhausted your shelves and wish list, it’s easy to borrow books from the library to review. Publishers and authors may offer you review copies as time goes on, but build your blog first from books you’ve obtained yourself.

6. Join in with memes

Two popular examples of this are ‘In My Mailbox,’ where you list all the books you’ve gotten or borrowed in a given week, and ‘Waiting for Wednesday,’ where you write about an upcoming release you’re looking forward to, and post it on a Wednesday!

7. Join or start some reading challenges

It’s a great way to feel a part of the wonderful online book community and encourage people to get involved with your blog!

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8. Write some ‘list’ posts

For example, you could write about your five favorite reads this year, your favorite characters, or your book gift ideas. You can illustrate each one with a book cover.

You can also go to a site like Goodreads for book information and cover images, or if you’re reviewing a book in a series, a great place to find complete lists of series is Fantastic Fiction.

9. List your favorite book sites

List your favorite sites on your blog, in a sidebar. Be sure to comment regularly on other sites. The book blogging community is generous and wonderful, so it won’t be long before you have regular readers and commenters.

10. Have fun!


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