It’s been some weeks since I did not post some discussion topic.
Reading Shanah @bionicbookworms writing about her life and juggling work, family, blog, etc. I thought why not write about what happens behind the scene of a blogger’s life?
What does it take to blog? How does the magic happen?
I won’t speak about building a blog as I’ve already broached this subject in other “listicles” or rather discussions (how to choose a theme, a host, fine tune your theme, choose plugins, etc.).
No it’s all about creating posts, choosing pictures, creating teasers, etc.
What you see on a blog, what you read in a post asks for preparations. Sometimes light as in this post where I only had to “think” about the content, write, edit and choose some picture for my header. That’s a “low cost” post. Not that’s not an interesting one (well I hope it’s interesting) but because it does not entail connecting with authors or reading first or…
I’m the only actor in this post so it’s quite easy peasy.
So let’s get into the nitty gritty of a blogger’s work: planning, choosing, writing and editing for each kind of post.
My beloved author’s interviews
I love interviewing authors that’s not a mystery anymore. I’m fascinated with the process of writing a book. Choosing a story, creating characters, etc.
So what does interviewing an author entails?
First: contacting said author.
If you’re lucky they are on Facebook and you can message them privately. It works with indie authors. With traditionally published authors you have to go through their agent at the publishing house. Let’s say it’s highly unlikely you’ll get a positive answer if you’re a “small” blogger like I still am right now.
If said author is not active on Facebook it can get tricky. You have to hope they have a “contact me” on their site.
Second: preparing your questions
If the author agrees to answer your questions (I’ve been VERY lucky so far and I’ll forever be grateful to these authors who have been so kind to work with me) the first move is to ….make a happy dance! 😆
Second you have to prepare your questions. I only interview authors I admire and know the work quite well. Of course you could always ask the same questions but where would be the fun? I do my best to always come with questions really meant for the author I interview. There are some more or less common questions because come on we all want to know how she/he decided to write or what their next project will be! These few questions aside I ask what I hope are pertinent questions about their books, their writing process, their life as a writer but as a woman (or man) too.
It takes lots of time! I always re-read my reviews, look into their profiles, past interviews and really think about what is their recurring messages or style or…
Once I’m happy with my questions I send them and …wait.
Once I get the answers I never cut anything or change anything. So that should be easy right? Yes and no.
Yes as it’s light work to copy/paste but I still have to create a graphic for the post and illustrate with their books covers.
One of the most common posts on a book blog is of course the reviews.
First step of course: read the book.
Second step: write and illustrate the review.
Writing a review is the “easy” part for me. I rarely struggle to write IF I write my review immediately. If I wait and begin another book it’s tricky. I read so many books that I can forget 😉
Now writing is not the hard part but I want to illustrate my review, to write about the blurb (not mandatory but that’s my choice). You can choose to use a paying plugin to download automatically the synopsis from Goodreads, the author’s info, the links to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. Many bloggers use this very useful plugin. I bought it and…did not use it. Why? Because once I used it for a test post my daughter told me that it lost the “home made” feel and it was like looking at Amazon. She was right…
What takes most of my time, sometimes hours, when I write a review is finding the “right” pictures and turn them into teasers, quotes, etc.
I could spare lots of time either buying them on Shutterstock or another paying site either choosing from Google image whatever the copyrights.
Well as I’m a “walk the line” kind of girl and respect artists’s rights I don’t take any picture that feels good to me whatever the copyrights. I don’t have the money either to pay for pictures on Shutterstock, Adobe , Dreamstine or…
So that leaves me with free of rights databases like Pixabay, Pexels or Unsplash. These pisctures are gorgeous but of course your choice is more limited and the hunt for “just the right picture” can easily take one to two hours!
Once it’s done and downloaded I upload these pictures on Canva (brilliant site and free) to play with them, add titles, make collages etc. Sometimes I need an intermediate step going first through Piccollage or PickMonkey.
All in all what could take only 30 minutes if I only chose to write the review can ask 2 to 3 hours once it’s all done. I know it’s my choice as I want to play with pictures. I never chose the easy route 😀
Discussion posts or listicles
I love writing these kind of posts! As I’ve said above they can be “light work” (well It’s still been one hour since I began writing this one so far…) or “heavy work” if I choose once again to illustrate with many pictures and teasers.
First step: find the idea!
What will I speak about? I can either come with a big fat blank some days or overflow with ideas. I’m not a machine and I know the “blank page” syndrom. So when I have an idea it comes usually when I’m walking or under the shower. Weird I know but I think I’m in a “relaxed” state of mind and that’s when my creativity kicks in!
The danger is to forget my thoughts if I don’t write them immediately (attention span of a two years old)! So my smartphone’s app “note” is now my best friend 😀 I just have not mastered yet the art of typing and walking…
Second step: either write and illustrate (see reviewning here above) either contact other bloggers
I love working on collaborative posts. Of course you have to find your crew. People have to be interested in your idea and have room in their tight planning.
If they are interested and have time all I have to do is gather their “productions” post it all and of course give credit where credit is due!
These collaborative posts are among the best ones as it helps creating links and friendship among bloggers.
If you’re interested or have ideas you’d like to have me participate in just tell me. I’d be happy to play with you 😉
I can now announce a fun and cute colaborative post coming your way on August 24th. No more info yes as I want to keep the mystery LOL
Meme, tags, awards
I love doing meme, tags or awards. Some are easy to do, not too long but others very interesting too require a big investment.
So depending on my schedule I’ll be able to post them…or not.
Promoting, release blitz, blog tours, etc.
These are the “lightests” posts as the PR agency provides you with EVERYTHING! You can even use their html documents copy/paste and voilà!
Except… that the pictures won’t show in your newsletters if your readers don’t actively click and follow the link to the post self.
So it always choose to do it the “old fashion” way.
There is much to tell about social medias: facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
In my opinion they are the blogger’s best friends and worse enemies. Best friends because they show the world that you exist. Without a FB page or IG account or… you should get less visitors as not everyone is on WordPress or Bloglovin aside bloggers of course. You can always add links on Goodreads to your site but of course social medias are a big help.
I also think they are the blogger’s worse enemy as it can quicly become too much to try following and feeding every social media.
I must confess some days I barely have time to go check on FB or Twitter or…
I used to feel guilty if I did not go at least once or twice a day on my social medias but I had to make a choice. I chose to lessen the pressure or I would burn out. So I go as often as I can but if life gets in the way (work + very long commuting hours + kids +dog +…) I don’t feel guilty anymore. I know that the world will still exist if I don’t go read all my feeds every day on every social media.
Aside WordPress I’m loyal to Instagram (I became a fan as I’m a very visual and creative person) and Facebook.
When I have room I add Twitter.
OK that’s it for now. I’ll speak more about Instagram and especially Bookstagrams another day.
As you can see (and you all know) blogging takes a lot of work! I do it with joy but I have to be careful and keep the pressure at an acceptable level. It’s every blogger’s fight!
Now let’s chat. What asks you more time in your blogging activities? Do you have tips for me? Do you have questions (aspiring or beginner blogger maybe)?
Thank you for reading!