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I think we can all agree that before starting book blogging, we had no idea how time-consuming it would turn out to be! As well as actually reading books and writing posts, there are social media platforms to manage, photos to take, websites to design and emails demanding responses. It’s no wonder that many bloggers (myself among them!) have found themselves getting overwhelmed.
Over four years of book blogging, I’ve developed a number of strategies focussed on keeping me sane above making my blog uber-successful! I thought I would collect these tips together into an ultimate guide to stress-free book blogging:
1) Limit your posting regime.
For me, this is one of the main decisions that has made blogging less time-pressured. I would suggest thinking about the maximum number of posts you can probably do in a week, then subtracting one to give yourself a bit of leeway. I could probably manage two posts per week at a push, but posting just once a week lets me plan content in advance and be more flexible with the time I spend blogging.
2) Plan content & schedule posts in advance.
Life inconveniently gets in the way of book blogging sometimes, so it’s good to have some backup plans in place! When things are quiet and I have more time to blog – for example, in university holidays – I schedule extra posts in advance so that my blog can still be running smoothly even when the rest of my life gets hectic!
I also have a rough plan of what types of posts I do each month (week 1 = book review, week 2 = feature/discussion post, week 3 = book review, week 4 = article sharing) which keeps my content varied and makes it easier to schedule posts.
3) Take a break – nobody’s judging!
I took a loooong hiatus from blogging at the start of the year when I just became completely overwhelmed while finishing my English Literature degree. Yes, my stats took a knock, as you’d expect, but not as drastically as I thought, and stats are never the end of the world anyway. People still visited my blog even with no new posts going up, and numbers started climbing back up again straight away once I resumed normal service.
This made me realise – nobody cares that you’re AWOL! I have never unfollowed a book blogger or lowered my opinion of their content because they haven’t posted for a couple of months. Your loyal followers will still be here when you get back! Taking care of yourself should always be your top priority.
If it makes you feel better, you can write a quick hiatus announcement to let readers know you’ll be stepping back for a while, but this isn’t an absolute must. You might not want to go into your personal life too deeply – after all, it’s a hobby, not a job, and you don’t have to justify yourself to anyone.
4) Don’t over-commit to ARCs & review copies.
I sometimes feel like I’m missing out as a book blogger who never requests ARCs, but this decision certainly takes away a lot of time pressure. Plus my family are constantly lending me books, so I have enough to occupy my time trawling through their stacks of recommendations!
It’s easy to get carried away requesting all those exciting new releases, but decide what your limits are beforehand. Each blogger is different, so how many ARCs can you realistically get through in a month? Setting boundaries will stop you entering a panicky speed-reading period when all your requests end up getting approved!
5) Stop comparing.
There will always be another book blogger who has millions of followers, or a stunning website aesthetic, or keeps getting those ARCs you really wanted. Comparison is always tempting, but ultimately irrelevant – they may have more time to invest in their blog than you do, or years more experience.
Switch your mindset to admiration instead – let other bloggers know you love what they’re doing, and be inspired by them!
6) Focus your social media.
Ah, social media – you either love it or you hate it. If promoting your blog on every social media platform is your thing, with pretty bookstagram pics and catchy tweets, then go for it!
If, though, you’re more like me and you find social media the most stressful part of book blogging, then choose a couple of platforms that you’re familiar with or seem less scary and put your energy into those. For example, I sort-of managed to get my head around Pinterest and I already used Facebook, so these are the only two places where I actively promote my blog.
If it still feels like a total chore, whose saying you have to social media at all?!? I tried setting up a Tumblr for my blog at one point and got so bewildered by it that I gave up completely!
7) Keep books & community in the foreground.
I find it so helpful to remember that all of the book blogging paraphernalia – social media, planning content, designing graphics – is secondary to what I’m really here for, which is to read a lot and share my love of books with a like-minded community. If I’m still reading, still feeling connected, then I count my blog as a success!
What are your top tips for stress-free book blogging? Are you going to be trying out any of these suggestions? Let me know in the comments, I would love to hear from you!