Armchair BEA – Day 5 – Ask The Experts

June 8, 2012

It’s been almost two years of blogging – still unbelievable to me – and I loved every moment.

Armchair BEA

What have I learned in two short years?
Not much and especially not as much as the more serious bloggers out there. If you check out the main post (with a linky) for the Armchair BEA on this topic you’ll find much needed and wise advice. In order not to repeat the already great advice given, here are a few of mine:

Book blogs are time consuming: This is an important point not only for new bloggers, but also for industry professionals. A book blog is a time consuming hobby, a blogger could spend around 6-10 hours on every book – reading, writing and setting up posts.

–  Know your place: while your blog is all about you, as it should be, you have to realize that 99% of the time you don’t get free books because the publisher/author values your opinion, but as part of a comprehensive social media marking plan. Sometimes that plan works out (good review), sometimes not (a bad one), but the way you’re being looked at is inexpensive publicity.

What should that mean to you?
Nothing really, but it’s good to know.

“No” is a good word: It’s OK to say “No” once in a while – really, it is. No one will get insulted or hurt. I get several (between 2 – 6) review requests a day and my schedule is now starting to get filled out three months ahead.
If I wouldn’t be able to say “no” this would no longer be a hobby.

Get a calendar: After a year of blogging I had to get an editorial calendar (WordPress Editorial Calendar) and every book I agree to read gets put on that calendar with a date and a URL. If you’re not on the calendar, your book will probably won’t get read in a timely manner.

Ignore your calendar: Really? Just after the last point?
OK, don’t completely ignore your editorial calendar but this is a hobby and if you want to read a 100 year old classic instead of the new hot-off-the-presses book by the new-hot-out-of-college-starving-author you should be able to.

Got Chutzpah?: Want to get the next hot book?
Interview by your favorite author?
Get free, high end, electronics for giveaways?
Ask – what’s the worst that could happen?
They’ll say no – so you ask again next time.
When I was on a blog tour for On China by Henry Kissinger I emailed the publisher and the blog tour coordinator to ask for an author Q&A with the famed politician.
I didn’t expect to get a “yes” and I didn’t – but I asked and will ask again.

However, I did get many positive answers from other prominent authors simply by asking (check out my Author Q&A page).
Because of social media authors are more accessible than ever, take advantage of it.

Read out of your comfort zone: It would make you a better reader and a better writer – I promise. If you blog is about paranormal, read a non-fiction book once or twice a year.
If you read novels, how about a short story? Or a photography book?

It’s OK not to adhere to commitments: sometimes we just aren’t able to get to that book in time.
Sometimes it’s life, sometimes it’s fatigue, sometimes it’s “just because”.
Key word here is “sometimes” but the more you read and blog and use your editorial calendar the more you’d be able to schedule book reviews apart so you’ll be able to get to them.

Monetizing does not equal selling out: Making a few bucks off your blog by selling books via affiliate accounts or hosting ads is not “selling out”.
Writing dishonest reviews for payment – that’s selling out.

Last but certainly not least – support other bloggers:
Make it a point to comment on three blog posts a day, read, subscribe and help promote your favorites (like and do be bashful about self promotion – no one is going to do it for you.

Zohar – Man of la Book

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  • Judith June 8, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    These are great tips! I say NO a lot, 95% of the time. I don’t use a calendar but use an excel sheet which tells me per month which books I’ve committed to (I review everything I say I will review, including DNFs) so I can easily see when I’ve reached my limit. I always make sure there’s some room left for other books, that I own already or that I got from the library.

  • Valerie June 8, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    So I’m really bad at reading outside my genre. It’s not that I don’t, it’s just that when I do I don’t enjoy it. Recently, I was asked by an author to read an adult short story – contemporary fiction. I really didn’t like it. Can’t tell you if that’s because it’s not my thing or that the story was that bad. As a result, I just prefer to stay with genres I like. I know very narrow minded of me. 🙁


    • Zohar - Man of la Book June 8, 2012 at 5:38 pm

      I have turned down many books with saying that “I’m not the right blogger to review this book”, so far all the authors understood and appreciated my honesty. I do try to forward them to other bloggers of their genre though.

  • Stacy (The Novel Life) June 8, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Thank you for the tip about the Editorial Calendar – love it! and I’m off to download it for my **new** wordpress site…omg, why did I not move before!

    and your tip about having a calendar and keeping it is so true! I am lost without my calendar system now. Happy Armchair BEA Week!

  • Alex Baugh June 9, 2012 at 9:51 am

    This is a great post, Zohar, sometimes we all need to rememer these things to keep our sanity. I have learned a lot from you over the last almost two years and really appreciate it. So now I am off to download the editoral calendar, which I never heard of before. Thanks for all your help and support.

    • Zohar - Man of la Book June 10, 2012 at 6:10 pm

      Thank you for the great comment Alex, I appreciate your kind words.

      For those who don’t know, Alex runs the blog “The Children’s War ( which deals with YA literature about war. I love her posts and read them whenever I can.

  • SarahRTW June 12, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    Oooh. Great comments and all so true. And I LOVE that calandar. I added it and it makes things much easier. Thanks for the recomendation!!

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