You may or may not be aware of this, but I also write book reviews over at Erlebnisse. I started it roughly a year ago (you can read the intro post here) and it’s still a baby blog. Doesn’t get a ton of traffic, has gone through a couple different edits and trials as I figured out exactly what I wanted to do, with the design and the content; you know, things that usually happen within a year of starting a blog.
But recently, I decided to take it a little bit more seriously.
I love reading. It’s one of the truest escape I have and one of my oldest hobbies. I didn’t start getting into book reviews until recently and I’m pretty quirky about them. I usually only read other reviews if it’s a book I’ve already read, instead of using them to judge whether or not I want to read a book (I find I let reviews actually influence my opinion a little too much, so I like to use them as a way to compare or cement opinions rather than help shape them, as they are usually used). I didn’t start writing them until I finished The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks and I had such a traumatic experience with that ending, I had to write a review, if only to get those emotions off my chest.
I found that I really enjoyed it and decided to dedicate a blog to doing just that.
I always cross-post my reviews to my Goodreads, as well as my personal Twitter account, where I’ll tag the author, if the review is positive. Because of that, sometimes, I’ve gotten retweets from authors or mentions, thanking me for the review (which is always such a great feeling). Sometimes, because of that, stats will skyrocket for a day or two, before going back to my usual zero to three views per day. Though I honestly wouldn’t mind a little heavier traffic, I just enjoy talking about these books that I love and if I get to make a writer’s day in the process or help bring attention to a book that a reader might otherwise not known about, then my job here is done.
Over the course of the past year, a couple of really cool things happen because of my book review blog, two of them which is pretty recent:
- I started reading and reviewing books from Jabberwocky Literary Agency, because I was looking to query them and I wanted to be familiar with the work they represented. While I never queried their agency (yet), I did connect with author G.S. Denning, went to WorldCon (thanks to Denning’s invitation) and met agents Lisa Rodgers and Sam Morgan, who both sent me books afterwards from Jabberwocky to review (almost all of which I’ve loved).
- Titan Books put out a call for more reviewers and I filled out the form, which got me in contact with Publicist Polly Grice and now, I’m regularly getting contacted about receiving ARCS from them.
- Because I thought the connection with Titan was so cool, I reached out to Orbit, one of my other favorite publishers, and asked if there was a list I could join. After talking with Associate Publicity Director Ellen Wright and Marketing and Publicity Associate Paula Crespo, I got added to their list and just received five (!!) books to review over May and June.
The fact that any of this has happened as floored me, first of all. Not to mention how many authors (and idols) I’ve gotten to have conversations with. Working with Titan for a couple of months now, I’ve found some really fantastic books (including Time Shards by Dana Fredsti and David Fitzgerald) I otherwise would never have found. The fact that either of these major publishing houses would be willing to send me books to review for free is both incredible and humbling.
But it also means I need to get to work.
It’s time to take book blogging a bit more seriously, because I want those publishers–or anyone who sends me their book to review–to know how much I appreciate that opportunity. So I revamped Erlebnisse’s look once again and this time, I love it (including a contact page and a new “Tages, Memes and Feature” page I’m pretty proud of). I made a folder in my email for any book review related communications and made a review calendar on my phone of when I’d like to have reviews posted by for each ARC that I get. I am going to start doing “Month in Review” posts, including trying to take some cute pictures** of the books I’ve received, as well as continuing to try and get more involved in the book review community, including reading other reviews and following other blogs, participating in tags/memes/events and just generally trying to post more.
Don’t get my wrong: my reviews will still be quirky, they will still review the experience of reading a book and be filled with potentially too-personal stories, vulgar emotional vomits and desperation for the sequel. Me taking this more seriously doesn’t mean that the nature of my content is going to change at all. I simply want to increase the consistency and the dedication to Erlebnisse, which, at times, hasn’t always been there.
I’d love it if you checked out Erlebnisse and joined me on that journey, especially if you have any opinions, tips or tricks; whether about the layout/design, different features you think I should try out or just general advice on how to be an awesome book review blogger!
Thanks, as always, for joining me on my adventures, friends. May your reading be uninterrupted and your time allowing for just one more chapter.
**I do have to give a shout out to my boyfriend, who, as I was squeeing about my latest book mail and about all the books I’m so excited to read–and then proceeded to tell him about my plan detailed above–he immediately offered to help build me a little book backdrop, after we move, so I could take some really cute and artsy photos of the books I review, to help make this new vision a reality.
That meant more to me than he can ever realize.