how to start a book blog

How to Start a Book Blog: Ultimate Book Blogging 101

Is starting a book blog something you were curious about? Make sure to read the entire article where we will teach you how to start a book blog. In this article, we will cover everything from what kind of book blog posts you should focus on, how to choose your target audience, how to build your brand, how to monetize your book blog, and how to host your book blog on the internet. 

What is a book blog, you ask? A book blog is a blog that has a lot of book blog posts. Whether it be book review, critic, discussions or anything else, as long as it’s around your favorite books, it is a book blog. Not only that, but book bloggers often have guest posts from other writers, which makes it a great networking opportunity. In order to make sure your blog stands out, specialize in one genre of book or another! And in this article we are teaching how to start a book blog.

How to start a book blog

It can also be used as an advertising platform to promote and sell the authors books. As a book blog goes evergreen, this means that the blog content will be of relevance for a long time to come.

So, if you’re interested in starting a book blog, keep these five points in mind: review books, write about books in an engaging way, network with other book bloggers, specialize in one genre of book, and make sure your blog content is of relevance for years to come.

1. Decide on the Focus of Your Book Blog

There’s no wrong way to start a book blog – as long as you’re passionate about books and interested in blogging!

However, it’s important to decide on the focus of your blog before you start a book blog so that you can write content that is both engaging and informative. Once you have a good idea of what you want your blog to focus on, start by writing about the amazing topic you chose in an engaging and informative way.

Only after that, you can start expanding your blog into other related areas as you grow and learn more about how to start a book blog, and gain site authority.

book blog genres you can pick

But for now, until you become authoritative site in the eyes of google and the lord and savior google to grace upon you ( you’ll understand what we mean by this very soon), stick to one specific focus .

Keep in mind that its never too late to start a book blog – all you need is a good idea, some dedication, and a lot of passion! Below, we have listed one of three main topics (in our opinion) you should focus your book blog’s content at in your book blogging journey until you grow.

Of course, if there is any other focus topic that you are extremely confident about, do not hesitate to follow your passion. Just be sure you are saturating your efforts into one main topic for now.

Book Reviews

Is this even a book blogging guide if we don’t bring up book review posts? Book review posts are an important part of any book review blog. You must prove unbiased honest opinions of books you have read to your readers, which helps readers make informed decisions when purchasing those books.

This can be especially helpful to new readers who might not know whether or not a book is worth their time and money. Starting out, its advisable to focus on book review blogs that cover a very specific genres instead of going berserk on every genre out there (for example, fantasy vs non-fiction).

book reviews in a book blog

Doing so builds your topical authority and improve google rankings which will bring in more readers! This will help you grow your blog faster and then you can slowly diversify your content so that it engages more people. Do make sure to always be honest in your book review posts to gain user and search engine credibility!

Book Recommendations

Book bloggers know that maintaining reader engagement is essential for keeping them coming back time and again. One way to achieve this is by writing engaging content that entices readers to check out your blog and read your recommendations.

Writing content that makes the readers wanting to come back time and often is essential. For that, provide regular book recommendations so readers can find new books to read. Also, interview writers on a regular basis in order to get insights into their process and stay up-to-date with the latest trends in publishing.

Book Discussions

Unlike review blogs where you will be reviewing individual books, recommendation book blogs involves recommending a bunch of books to different kind of readers. Refer absolute best books you’ve read and your readers will appreciate your dedication. Not only will this promote word of mouth marketing for you as a blog owner but it will also generate more traffic which ultimately means higher income for you.

Book Discussions

There are a lot of great ways to start a book blog and create content. One of the best methods is by making a forum style website where you act as the moderator, and start book discussion posts. You can then ask for reader opinions on what they think of the book currently being discussed.

Discussion posts can be on anything, it can be on book releases, book authors, new titles, even book covers! Make it a place for like-minded people, fellow book readers, to come and share their honest opinion.

Take care of things like selecting books to discuss, as well as picking various genres every week as its important that everything on your blog is high quality and will intrigue readers to engage with them! Not only can this help connect with more readers, but also generate traffic from search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.

Book Discussions in a book blog

Think of something like Goodreads or just amazon review section where everyone gives their opinion on the books, and you stand there as a neutral moderator encouraging discussions from people who love and hate the book. Ensure you post interesting discussions that are relevant to your audience so that they stay hooked onto your blog!

Finally, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn (choose social media based on your genre, for example LinkedIn is a great place for business related, self help books) offer fantastic opportunities for promoting book discussions and engaging with potential buyers/readers.

Make sure to post intriguing titles regularly so that people feel compelled enough delve deeper into what you have written!

Books Criticisms

Criticizing books can be a great way to learn new things and have an enjoyable discussion with your readers. Unlike a book reviews we mentioned above, book criticisms must always include both negative and positives.

Book criticisms also requires you to be impartial and mention the facts whereas in book reviews your opinions do come in play. Please make sure your comments are objective – you don’t want to seem biased or like you’re attacking the book just because its yours that you dislike.

book criticisms in a book blog

You also need to remember that not everyone will enjoy the same book, so avoid making sweeping generalizations about all books. Lastly, try to remain balanced in your criticism so as not to come across as negative or unapproachable. Have a proper book review policy that is public and you will stick to, book community will appreciate the transparency!

2. Choose Your Book Niche Before you Start a Book Blog

Choosing a niche for blog is an important step in starting of any kind of blog, book blog is no exception. Not only will this help you determine the content and style of your book, but it will also help you find an audience. Once you know what interests you, start researching niches that fit those interests.

The first step in choosing a book niche is to determine what you’re passionate about. Do your homework and make sure the niche is right for your writing skills before starting your book project! After that, you can choose main categories and sub categories. But beware – don’t get lost in the multitude of options!

Stick to the main Cs – fiction and non fiction. And remember, book writing isn’t about having the most books in a genre, but writing books that people will love to read!

Fiction

The efficient route to get started with fiction book blogging is by choosing a genre that you are interested in. After you have selected the appropriate genre, it is imperative that you locate books that are similar to your own. After reading and enjoying these books, it’s time for you to review them on your blog.

In terms of audience, people who love novels full of imagination and dreams will be drawn to fiction blogs. As mentioned earlier, a genre must be selected before plunging deep into book blogging if you want higher probability of a positive outcome!

Fiction Books in a Book Blog

Try experimenting with different genres – there’s no harm in trying something new (even if it scares you!), however stick with one after you discover it. Ensure that whatever genre or topic you select is in line with the “dreamer” theme of your blog.

Examples of fiction genre would normally be romance, mystery, thriller, horror, fantasy, children’s books, and literally anything your imagination can bring (it’s fiction afterall)

Nonfiction

Nonfiction books are excellent options for readers who want to learn facts about various subjects. This genre attracts realists and individuals who want to learn about the efficacy of this world. Once you have found the right niche, start writing and publishing books on that topic.

It can be tiring work writing a book review, book recommendation, book criticism or hosting a book discussion. One must read things the way the author intends it to be read in non fiction for the most part. However, the rewards are well worth it! It can definitely have a positive effect on your career as a book blogger to increase traffic and income from that increased eyeballs.

Non Fiction Book discussions in a book blog

So, before rushing off on this exonerating journey, make sure you think long and hard about what you really want to achieve with your book blog – is it information or entertainment? The choice is yours!

Examples of non fiction genre are what most people consider boring, textbooks, research articles, self help books, parenting guides, and anything that is not “fiction”, “someone’s imagination”.

3. Plan your book blog content ahead

Since you’re intending to blog about books, then you obviously know that owning a blog involves writing content, a lot of it! Planning and writing content can be a time-consuming and expensive process. Even worse when you have website bills to pay at the same time!

Thus it is always our recommendation to plan your content and blog well, before actually moving onto the next step. So follow every step until now, and fully complete and be confident in it before your leap to next steps. Oh did we mention that by taking some time upfront to plan your blog content, you’ll be able to produce high-quality posts that are both engaging and informative, bottom-line making your goals easier.

Content Planning for a book blog

Once you have a good idea of the topics you want to cover, you can start writing by breaking your posts down into manageable chunks. Use effective sentence structure, memorable adjectives, and a catchy writing style to capture readers attention. Finally, make sure each post is well researched so that its relevant and accurate, then post it.

Only after ensuring the proper planning is done with thorough detailing, should you start a book blog to decrease the churn and be efficient as well as motivated.

4. Build your brand and audience

Before reading anything below, a new blogger who wants to own a book blog should choose the kind of books content they want to make a blog on, genre (what kinds of books they wanna write about), and properly plan out their first five posts.

Building a successful brand and audience is no easy feat. Your book blog is your brand, and you need to work on getting it right. With a well-planned strategy, and the dedication to provide valuable content, you can achieve success.

building a brand for a book blog

However a brand name is also plays a vital role in the process. You need to come up with a brand identity that represents your value and what you are about. So, brainstorm what your book blog truly is about except being just a book blog, think of the brand name, your brand logo, your brand color, and what would make it memorable to that

There are many different ways to do this, so its important to find what works best for you. Register your branding and domains to make things official and start building your successful brand today! Below we have a checklist for a new blog to follow in their branding process. To have a successful book blog, getting your branding right will play a very important role.

Choose a blog name

When choosing a blog name, it is pertinent to consider who you are and what your blog is all about. Once you have selected a name that accurately represents both of these factors, the next step is to start building an audience for your content. It is critical to find a catchy and distinct brand name for a book blog. If people can find and browse through your blog easily, then it will be more successful.

You can use online tools such as Namesh, Shopify Name Generator and lots of other amazing tools to generate brandable blog names. This is if you can not think of any at the moment. Furthermore, ensure the name you choose doesn’t violate anyone’s intellectual property rights to avoid lots of massive headaches in the future – this could lead to legal issues down the road!

Brand Name for a Book Blog

Here is a quick checklist for your brand name:

  • Make sure the .com domain is available for desired name,
  • Social media usernames are available for the desired name.
  • You are not infringing on anyone’s trademark/intellectual property,
  • Reflects your profession (or hobby) perfectly.

Choose a domain name

When it comes to choosing a domain name, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Usually, domain names are the same as your blog name. However, if you want something that is more unique and reflects your brand or business perfectly, research your options carefully. Sometimes, the brand name you chose might not have .com domain available, in those cases you need to be able to either live with other domain endings or add fillers like “the”, “get” to your domain name.

Choosing Domain Name

Be sure to avoid vulgarities and choose an intellectual name that people would be willing to associate with intelligent book review blogs. Plus make certain social media usernames are available on the domain name too! To register a domain name with one of the registrars like GoDaddy, Dynadot etc., all you will have to do is provide them with the sites URL (domain plus www), and make payment.

Choose a blog theme

When choosing a blog theme, the first and most important thing is to have a good design. You don’t want your blog to look outdated or amateurish, especially if you are aiming at attracting readership from a wider range of backgrounds. Choosing the right theme that reflects your book review genre and brand colors can be tricky – but its definitely worth the time spent in the long run.

A premium theme will usually come with more features and flexibility than free themes do. However, there are many great free themes available as well; start with one of these and grow into premium later on when you feel ready for it!

Choose a theme for book blog

When starting out, as long as you pick the team with easy to read layout and good on SEO, you are okay. In the process of learning how to start a book blog, lots of people deviate from the path and waste a lot of time reviewing 100’s of themes and it’s completely useless and doesn’t provide any real benefit. Stick with a minimalist free theme when starting out, and change it or have one custom made once you gain more traction.

Set up your blog on social media

Get a social media page/group going since it is an excellent way to build your brand and connect with readers. You will keep them returning for more if you provide engaging and informative content. Utilize social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. to reach your target market. Having social media presence can play a humongous role in your success in the early days by giving you amazing traffic boost. With the internet becoming even more ubiquitous and affordable, starting a blog is easier than ever before!

5. Choose your blogging platform

There are a lot of options available for bloggers to choose as a blogging platform. Choosing the right blogging platform can be difficult, but it is extremely crucial to choose the one that meets your requirements. Researching each option carefully is imperative, since there are many options to choose from.

Before you’ve decided on a platform, do remember it’s a hassle to change the platform once you go for it, so be extremely cautious! Most popular platforms available out there include Blogger, WordPress (Self hosted & Managed), Quora and Medium, however not every one of these platforms will fit every requirement. So whatever your blogging goals may be, make sure to choose the platform that ideally suits you.

WordPress.org (a.k.a Self Hosted WordPress)

Before we get into explaining this, do keep in mind that this is the platform of choice for us, and our recommendation for every aspiring blogger. WordPress self hosted is not as difficult as i sounds, the prices start at $2.5/month for beginners (gradually goes up once more people visit your website), and your web hosting company will take care of all the complicated boring things.

Book Blog Blogging Platform
Like this layout? This is WordPress editor.

WordPress powers 40% of the Internet, and that is for a reason! WordPress comes with heap of features and literally millions of plugins (addons) to extend its features, and is the most scalable solution. Every famous blog you’ve seen is probably a WordPress blog since its the most powerful, affordable and easy solution for a blog.

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is slightly different from WordPress.org. WordPress.org is open source version supported by massive community whereas WordPress.com is mostly same thing, but managed by WordPress. Nevertheless, it is an amazing platform to start a book blog. The WordPress.com prices are definitely not on cheaper side, and you need to pay 100’s of dollar to unlock the same feature set you unlock in $2.5/mo self hosted WordPress.org.

However, it is a very reliable services used by many major newspapers, such as Times and NewYorkTimes, and comes with a lot of security and management benefits. If you are thinking of starting a blog, WordPress.com is definitely a platform to consider! However, we do not recommend the paid version of WordPress.com to anyone getting started. Free WordPress.com account is an amazing way to test out how much you’d like blogging.

Ghost

Ghost is a blogging platform that offers an easy to use interface, great technical options, and focused exclusively at blogging. Ghost, similar to WordPress, has open source and managed version. For Ghost, similar to WordPress, we only recommend the self hosted option while starting out. Its perfect for anyone who wants to blog without any headaches, as there are a lot less things to take care of than WordPress. Ghost is a great solution, comes with modern looks, and definitely a great contender for blogging

Ghost Blogging Platform

Tumblr

Tumblr is a great platform for bloggers and marketers as it has a large user base. There are also lots of tools and widgets that make managing your blog easier, which makes blogging on this platform more efficient. Furthermore, Tumblr is versatile enough to be used for various purposes such as blogging, e-commerce, or marketing, should you choose to expland. You can easily create custom blogs and posts to attract more traffic to your website or blog.

tumblr for starting a book blog

However, building an audience on Tumblr is slightly harder than other social media platforms due the fact that it doesn’t have as broad of a reach, and you don’t technically own your audience as you would in WordPress and Ghost.

Quora

Quora is a platform that can be used as either a standalone blog or integrated with other marketing channels. It has a massive userbase, so its easy to get readers and gather valuable insights into the latest trends in your industry. Unlike social media platforms where you own the content and can monetize it, Quora doesn’t offer much of an opportunity for businesses to make money from its users.

Quora for Blogging

This makes it less likely for people to share your content on social media – potentially hurting your organic search engine optimization (SEO). However, if your main goal is to build an audience for your content, then Quora is probably the best bet for you. They have millions of users, and your content is spread throughout them and is boosted based on their initial performance.

6. Ways to monetize a book blog

There are a variety of ways to make money blogging about books. Some bloggers charge an entry fee for guest posts or reader competitions. Others sell advertising space on the blog, or become affiliates of Amazon, and other book companies to earn commissions. 

Every method you explore will definitely be under one of two categories: Display ads, and affiliate marketing.

Display ads

This is when you are paid for simply displaying ads on your website. You can be paid based on the number of impressions those ads get, or clicks those ads get. The terms depend on which provider you choose to do business with. Although many display ad companies exist, Google AdSense and Mediavine are the most popular ones, but you should explore other AdSense alternatives as well to know your options.

clicksor ad payments
Sample report only, rates vary depending on provider.

Checkout this article on adsense alternatives where we have listed a lot of display ads providers that you can consider for your blog. 

Affiliate Marketing

Unlike display advertising, affiliate marketing gets you paid only when someone buys books through your referral. So basically, you write reviews/recommend books to people, they like your review and decide to buy the book using your affiliate link.

You will get a percentage commission from that total sale amount for every person that buys book using your affiliate link. The percent varies depending on the provider you picked to work with. The best affiliate provider for you as a book blog to work with will be Amazon and Indigo, however there are many options out there. 

Amazon Native Ads Earning Report
Amazon Native Ads Earning Report

Do remember, it is essential for the readers to click on your affiliate link for you to make money from that sale. Also, it is your legal responsibility to let users know somewhere in the blog posts that your content on your website contains affiliate links and you are making money from them. If you want to see an example, there is an “Affiliate Disclaimer” in this page as well, every successful bloggers have it. 

Here are few affiliate programs you can join as a book blogger:

  • Amazon: Amazon, amongst many things, sells books. And they pay around 5% commission for every item you sell, including books. Not only that, they have their kindle section, and even audiobook section for which you can be an affiliate for.
  • Barnes and Nobles: If you’re starting a book blog, you must already know Barnes and Nobles. Well, know this too, Barnes and Nobles has a lucrative affiliate program you can join to promote and sell their books and make revenue.
  • Apple Books: Apple books is one of the most popular eBook seller out there. Good chunk of your readers will be using apple devices, so signing up for an affiliate program for apple books is not a bad idea.
  • Bookshop: Do I need to repeat the same script again here? It’s a popular book store, it sells lots of books, sign up so your get paid whenever your readers buy a book.
  • Your bookstore: There are many bookstores, and I definitely can’t spend my day listing them all. So, if you know a online bookstore you buy books from, ask them if they have an affiliate program and start making money thhere.

Sponsored posts is an amazing way to drive revenue towards your blog. You will require significant amount of traffic for sponsors to consider your blog for sponsorship. However, once you get to that level, it can bring significant chink of money. You do what you normally do, review books, but this time for people who are willing to pay you directly for it. Do be careful and never hide your honest opinion on a book because it’s sponsored, that might bring short term revenue but will end up costing you more in the long term.

Your ideal sponsors will be book publications/authors who are coming up with new book and need someone to create a buzz around the book, whether it be positive buzz or negative. The sponsors should not ask you or gamed reviews and you should not offer them to the sponsors. The best way to get book sponsors would be through conventions where they gather, and direct outreach. Lastly, sponsorship is an amazing way to generate revenue, just be honest with the reviews and disclose your financial gain to the audience.

Selling Books

Who says you have to make money by only promoting other people’s books? If you are an aspiring writer who enjoys writing books yourself then your book blog can actually serve as a launchpad for your own ambitions. Alternatively, you can act as a book store where you purchase books from publications and directly compete with online book stores.

ebook for blog promotion

Just think about it, you already have highly targeted people who want to read books, all you need to is get them what they want. It’s a money handed to you on gold platter, if you manage to organize everything properly. There are massive things like logistics, rights and lots of other things involved which is certainly a massive barrier to entry. But once you have readership of couple hundred thousands, it might be a barrier worth going against.

Places to promote a book blog

We did already imagine bringing in hundreds of thousands of viewers and making money from all sorts of display ads, sponsorships and what not. But, where do we start? Not like there are thousands of people waiting on you every day to start a book blog (if they are then good on you haha). There are a lot of blog promotion sites that can b applied for any blog, but below I will list the ones that are very specific to book blogs.

Conclusion

A book blog is a blog that focuses on book reviews, book excerpts, writing tips, and other book-related topics. It can be used as a platform to promote your book and connect with book lovers of all levels of experience. If you’re interested in starting a book blog, make sure to first decide on the focus of your blog and then follow our guidelines listed above.

It is not an easy process, but also not too difficult if you are passionate about the books you read. Its one of the few niche where starting a blog for the sole purpose of earning money wouldn’t work. To create a blog, follow our outline step by step and you will be able to find a proper brand, build your brand, choose your blogging platform, drive traffic to the blog, and lastly, earn money from the traffic you drove to the blog.

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