Day Three BBAW 2011
Some Thoughts on Community Building
Welcome to Day 3 of BBAW
on The Reading Life
Welcome to Day 3 of BBAW
on The Reading Life
I will follow back all who follow me-either via GFC or Twitter-
Whenever I think about topics like community building I always think back to a conversation I had with my wife when I began my blog in July 2009. She asked me who will be reading the posts I will be doing and I told her I do not know and admitted there might be no readers. (Of course this sort of made my plans seem a bit senseless but that is another story!)
The organizers of Book Blogger Appreciation Week (BBAW) have suggested topics for us to post on for every day of the event. Today's topic is about a very important matter to most of us, finding and building a community for us and our blogs.
"Wednesday September 14th: Community Part IIThe world of book blogging has grown enormously and sometimes it can be hard to find a place. Share your tips for finding and keeping community in book blogging despite the hectic demands made on your time and the overwhelming number of blogs out there. If you’re struggling with finding a community, share your concerns and explain what you’re looking for–this is the week to connect!"
This is a great topic and should produce some really interesting and useful posts.
To me there is the grand international book blog community and then there are numerous sometimes overlapping sub communities, sometimes these can be huge and sometimes just a very few bloggers. I think there are many book blog communities.
One thing almost all of us want is comments on our posts. Nobody wants to really feel they are writing for exercise only. To get comments you must leave comments on other people's blogs. This is the very first step. I enjoy making comments where I think I can make a small contribution and if I cannot will normally not make a comment but I see no shame in leaving a "nice post" comment. Step one then is to leave comments. One of the biggest causes of "blogger burnout" is the sense you are writing for no one who appreciates it. Not everyone will return a comment, don't stress over that. If you do find someone leaving comments on your blog, try very hard to return the comments. Follow the blogs of those who leave comments on your blog. One good reader is worth 100 Google searchers just looking for help with their school work!
When you are on a blog that posts on your core interests, go to the blogs of those who make interesting comments, leave a comment on their blog and see if they will return the comment. If they do, follow them in Google Reader. Be sure you have a very easy to find follow button on your blog.
Also when you find a blog you like, look to see what other blogs they follow and check them out. Leave a lot of comments, I really do not believe that anyone actually is annoyed by a "nice job" comment(I know I am not!) but try to add some value to your comments. Join reading events and challenges on topics that interest you. I do not personally do it much but a lot of people are really into the weekly memes so I guess that is a good tool also.
Join the three main book blog hops also (after looking them over as each one has a different set of constituents.)
The Book Blog Hop-pretty much for all
Follow Friday Book Blog Hop-mostly but not all Young Adult and
The Literary Book Blog Hop-for those into literary quality fiction and classics
Each of these blog hops can help you meet new bloggers and gain followers.
Add your name to Fyrefly's Custom Book Blog Search-this is a great service Fyrefly has done for the community and the more people who list their blogs the better it will be. I use this search all the time and I have added it to my IGoogle page. You can add your blog to it HERE.
Set up a twitter account and twitter your own posts. If you do not know at first who to follow, find a blogger you admire and look at who they follow and who follows them for some ideas. I might talk more about using Twitter on day five. My twitter id is @thereadinglife and I try to remember to follow all who follow me. Twitter, once you have enough followers and if you accept follows from publishers and authors can also be a source of review copies. I admit two years ago when I first set up a twitter account I did not see the point to it and you might feel the same way at first also.
Google circles-I am still trying to figure it out but I can see one day big circles of book bloggers
Facebook-not over all crazy for it and I do not connect my book blog to it
Goodreads-I have an account and I try to remember to list what I read on it but I do not really use it to promote my blog blog. I do read the reviews on there and trust them more than Amazon.com.
From my growing interest in South Asia fiction I am gaining readers from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. From reading events I have added some great readers from Indonesia and Malaysia. Because I am located in the Philippines I also get a lot of visits from there. Someone from a small town in northern Vietnam logs in every day for a few seconds. I have no idea who they are but they have been doing it for a year now so I consider them a part of my community.
Stay true to what you like to read. I read classics, lots of Japanese fiction, modern era writers like Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, Elizabeth Bowen, and Ford Madox Ford. Recently I have begun reading through the novels of E. M. Forester and R. K. Narayan. I am now very much a short story reader. I also like literary fiction and love discovering a new to me writer. I think if you can communicate your passion, you will find your readers and your community. I sometimes read poetry and nonfiction also and lately I have been lucky enough to be asked to post on some very outstanding brand new books.