Do you ever feel intimidated by all the blogging terms around the internet? Have you ever tried to follow a blogging tutorial to attempt to make your blog more awesome than it already is, but then gave up because it got too technical?
Trust me, I have shut more than one article just because of that. Like I don’t have time to learn all that! I just want to know what to do make my blog better without having to get a PhD on blogging. Are you with me or is it just me?
If you are like me, your girl is here to save your butt. I put together a glossary for all those pesky blogging terms so that you don’t have to search anymore. And it is beginner friendly, so fret not.
SEO or Search Engine Optimization
As the name suggests, SEO techniques help the search engine AKA Google (or whatever you are using) to find our website.
Do you often go to the second page of results on Google? I guess not. It is essential for us to rank higher on the SERP. The higher our page shows up in the search results page, better chances of a visitor clicking it.
This will help Google know what am talking about, and to show the page to someone who is looking for it.
Alternative text describes when the image does not get loaded or is not visible. Screen readers usually read out these Alt texts, thus helping a visually impaired reader understand the image better.
Not only that search engines also use these texts to index the images in your post better and improves your SEO. So do not shy away from adding them to your images!
If you are posting an article on the topic8 Common grammar mistakes to avoid while writingwith relevant images, all you have to do is add descriptive text to those images in the alt tags. Here I used ‘Blogging terms to know – Keyword’. Pretty simple isn’t it?
Meta description is a short preview or snippet of what your post is about. These two lines are what Google shows you at the first glance before you click a link to a site.
They are also relevant for the search engines because meta elements (like meta descriptions) provide the administrative details about the author, description, date of publishing related to every post.
When you do not provide with a meta description, the search engines usually pick the first lines as the default settings, which may or not be an accurate description. So make sure your meta description is brief and straight to the point, even if your first few lines are not.
Take a look at my meta description for my review on A very large expanse of sea!
Backlinks refers to incoming links from other sites or blogs. For example when a blogger links to your post in their blog it is called a backlink.
Though it is not considered as important as it was once, backlinks still are important for a blog for the search engines to consider it important.
As someone who has been a book blogger for a while and silently lurking in the blogging world for even longer, believe me when I say that book blogging is not like the other niches of blogging out there. True that blogging is blogging and you are anyway talking to the void filled with imaginary (or not) readers but it does go deeper than that, even if you do not want to accept it.
Every time someone (not a book blogger) talks to me about new blogging tips and shortcuts they follow (read as: read on other blogs) and then lectures suggests me to apply them on my blog, I can’t stop myself from rolling my eyes. It is a good thing that most of my discussions are not face to face.
Listen I am not trying to say I know it all or the other person doesn’t, but how many times do I have to explain that most of those tips and techniques do not work for us, as a book blogger.
Why book blogging is different from other blogging niches?
Our problems are different.
The problems that the book bloggers face are so different from the other bloggers. So unless someone specifically addresses the problems of book bloggers in their posts (discussions and guides) we will not be able to use the generic blogging guides. Let me tell you why.We mostly blog for ourselves
I started my blog because I didn’t have many friends who read in real life. They didn’t understand my angst when a character died or the pain of waiting out for a sequel. It was not their thing. There began my journey of writing whatever I felt (even dared to call them reviews- forgive my young and stupid self) and later found my kindred spirits who understood me so well.
That has not changed for me, and most of us. But that makes a huge difference from the other niches which predominantly work aiming at making money or coaching/training people. MOST OF US DO NOT HAVE SUCH A GOAL OR COURSE.
That being said, if you have a successful business idea/plan based on your book blog, you, my friend, are a rock star! Kudos!
We do not get paid or even expect to get paid
Speaking of making money, about 95% of the book bloggers I know do not make money out of their blog. Or even expect to. In fact we spend on the blog much more than we get out of it, financially speaking.
Many bloggers (non book bloggers) earn money to run their blog and more. They charge a good sum of money to review new products or just to talk about them on their channels. They have more avenues to earn, which book bloggers fail to utilize or maybe they don’t simply work for us.
To be honest, we are more than happy to consider receiving free books to review as a fair remuneration. Many of the internationals (a term we use to refer to book bloggers who live outside the USA and the UK) do not even have access to them.
But most of us are happy doing what we love, ie, talking about books for free. Even accepting remuneration for book reviews is kinda looked down upon in the current scenario.
Far fewer number of page hits
Deciding who the audience are makes a huge difference in the blogging world. That is where the niche comes up. A lifestyle blogger might cater to a different set of audience from a fitness blogger. And most of the generic blogging tips will work for a lifestyle or a tech blogger will not work for other niche bloggers.
For example, a mid range ‘successful’ blog in any other niche gets about 1000 to 5,000 visitors each day, which seems too very far fetched for most book blogs. But trying to improve SEO and pinning on Pinterest can only get us to a point, it will not take us to the million hits in the near future. ( I seriously hope I am wrong though.)
What holds good for others, mostly doesn’t work for us.
Many affiliates are not successful
I have seen many many bloggers who stand by affiliate marketing and they even earn a sizable amount as income. By affiliates I mean linking to other sites like Amazon, Barnes and Nobles etc. And it does sound easy money, in paper, even for a book blogger. But in reality not so easy.
As it in my case, 70% of my visitors are other book bloggers, not a random person who is looking to buy a book, who already has or sometimes, even read the book already. Combine this with the already fewer number of page visits and be prepared to be dejected with the even lesser income through your affiliate links.
More genuine reviews
Not everything is bad, to be honest. I feel the book reviewers are far more honest when it comes to talking about the products, ie, books. Maybe it has something to do with ‘not getting paid’ that I spoke about earlier.
They do not particularly have a need to boost up the sales of a book or the author, even though we do all that anyway.
Amazing and strong community support
I know the blogging world as such is really friendly. But the book blogging community is even more welcoming to newbies and others alike. They are more understanding because most of us are inner nerds and introverts and we understand what it is to be a bookworm who disappears into a book.
The community has so much love and warmth to share, mostly, and you always get a helping hand if you ask for it. I think the book bloggers are more powerful collectively. Look at how we campaign for diverse representation in books! I am not so sure if other niche bloggers feel so loved and non competitive among each other.
Despite all these, do not lose hope. There are some amazing book bloggers who have been sharing guides and how to’s specifically for us. Let me know if you need any help!
You do know how weird we, bookworms, usuallyoften sometimes are right? Not all people are suited for the book nerd life but as much as we put up with the muggles in our life, they do with us. So I am gonna write up a quick list about the weird things bookworms do.
Maybe it will make their lives easier, and they will not have to worry every time you burst into tears because a character died. Or complain about your massiveness of TBR list or lack of shelving space for your books when you had just bought a shelf two months ago.
Ten weird things that probably definitely bookworms do in life
10) Bookworms hoard books everywhere
Do I even have to explain more? Despite being on a self imposed book ban for a while now and the fact that the majority of my books are still in India, books are definitely everywhere in the small one bedroom apartment that I currently live in.
Just to dissuade myself from the book buying spree I avoided getting a book shelf for a long time here, and then got the smallest Ikea floating shelf. Well, I should not have even attempted that. Now my books are on the vanity table, coffee table, bed side table, the bed and every other flat surface of the house.
TL;DR: Be prepared to be taken over by our books. Also don’t buy the small shelves, even if we say it would be enough. IT IS NEVER ENOUGH.
9) Bookworms can read anywhere
Running late for your meet up? Don’t worry about your bookworm, they will be reading a book just at a corner. They maybe angry at you but still they won’t fret much because they will a book or two or ten handy to read while they wait for you.
Be it a holiday, a date, a party or even a movie, we are bringing our books and the Kindle with us. Do not attempt to stop us.
8) We complain about our never ending TBR list
If you are new to the bookish world, TBR means To Be Read and any sensible bookworm will have a long ass list of books they ought to read some day in the future. Usually the list is long enough for them survive without having to talk to any other human until the apocalypse.
And of course, we are gonna complain about the number of books waiting to be read and how we do not have space to hoard stack the books. Get used to it, for your own safety.
7) We do not stop buying books
Despite the space issue and the number of unread books, we are never gonna stop buying books. And we will visit the library often, even borrow books from other friends. And you would think all these would reduce our book hauls.
But you would be wrong. We are bookworms and book shopping is what we do.
6) And multiple copies of the same book!
Okay this is a truly weird one. But TRUE!
Many of us buy multiple copies of the same book sometimes. There have been times I loved the e-copy of a book so much that I ended up buying the physical format just to savor them again.
And I know of other bookworms who buy a paperback and a cloth bound and/or hardback because we love owning pretty things. We are humans, too!
5) Adaptations are scary and exciting
Every time a movie or television adaptation of a book I love is announced I am scream with excitement and then cower with fear. It is almost akin to risking to lose someone special.
What if they change the storyline? What if they massacre the character arc or just cut off an entire character? I mean the fears are real. But if and when the movie hits the screen and it turns out to be good, our excitement has no bounds.
We will be right with you telling how it was in the book, while watching it.
Again we can’t help ourselves, YOU need to be more understanding.
4) We will totally judge what you read
We may tell you that it is great as long as you read, no matter what. But you may not have noticed that we had our fingers crossed.
We will totally, truly and repeatedly judge you based on what you read.
Maybe not in a bad way, but we size up your interests, taste and preferences on everything else based on your taste in books. Basically we are using books to typecast you. It may sound wrong, but it is mostly not.
I give up, it is something we should not be doing. But we do.
3) Measure time and distance in terms of books
Did I say we judge a person based on the books and it sounded totally wrong? Well, this may soften the blow. We use books as denomination to measure time and distance as well.
How far is the next metro station? Oh it is close by, I read just one chapter in The Bell Jar.
Do you wanna go to that party? I can finish reading a whole book instead.
Well, you see how it goes?
2) Recommending books
Bookworms read a lot of books. They discuss a lot about them. Their whole life is consumed by books. So of course they can recommend you a book when you ask of them.
That is where you are wrong.
Bookworms simply can’t recommend A BOOK. They give you a list of books that you should read and why you should read them all. And then follow up with the things that you should watch out for while reading each of them. And then opens the book for you and reads along with you.
Okay now you would have realized that you may have made a mistake.
1) Do not ask to choose favorites
I repeat. DO NOT ask a bookworm to choose a favorite author or favorite book.
More often than not, they would be so overwhelmed that they forget their name. There are so many thousands of books to be read, hundreds of books they have read, hundreds that they are hoarding and you ask them to choose one? STOP IT!
The International Mothers Day falls on the 12th May of this year and I hope you all have got your gifts all packed for your mothers. And if you are a mother yourself, I hope you have a special day for yourself.
Badass Mothers from the books
While we are on the topic, I am gonna use this chance to talk about my favorite mothers in the literary world that I totally love.
Marmee is an epitome of strong women in not just literary world. She raised her four daughters Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy under the terrible circumstances of the Civil war that called their father away and drained them financially.
But she never lost her patience and smile even she reprimanded her girls, who turned out to be well read and ambitious making Marmee a great feminist ahead of her times.
Mrs Bennett, Pride and Prejudice
I know Mrs Bennett was not exactly a role model to mothers, but she always had her heart set out for the best of her daughters which was in her eyes – getting married to wealthy men.
She had less or no support from her husband in this area, and despite him, she did achieve what she set out for. I guess that makes her a badass mother. Don’t you agree?
Marilla Cuthbert of Anne of Green Gables
As quite opposite to Marmee, Marilla was not pleasant and she seldom smiled. She didn’t even let Anne call her ‘Aunt Marilla’. But that definitely doesn’t undermine her strength and love for her ward. She was a feminist and practical woman who comes to love the orphan in her own way.
Ma from Room
Despite being imprisoned in a small room for years, Emma did all she could to keep her son Jack, who has never been outside the four walls in his life, spirited and full of positivism.
She does not only teach him to read and write but keeps him engaged creatively and even gets him do yoga. That alone makes her a badass mother.
She has her flaws about her being power hungry, cunning, ruthless and such. But one thing that comes so strong is her love towards her children. Her motto was ‘don’t mess with my cubs’, right from the beginning even when they were not appreciative enough.
Let us chat
Did I miss your favorite mothers in the list? Tell me who is your favorite mother in the fiction world. What are your plans for the Mother’s day? Let us talk.
It was for me, at least. I mean what is there to not like in them, right? RIGHT?
Well, my so called friends (am seriously reconsidering my allies here!) gave me bunch of reasons to support, which I begrudgingly have to accept, that the unreliable narrators might not be for everyone.
But I am sure there is at least one kind of unreliable narrator that each of us like. They are not all the same!!!
Types of unreliable narrators
Yes today I am gonna talk about the kinds of unreliable narrators that we usually find in fictional world and why they are so important in their books. Ready for the ride?
Unreliable narrators that are naïve
Okay not totally naïve but they can’t help it. For some reason they are not fully aware of what is happening to/around them, maybe by their own doing or not.
For example, Jack from the Room was inside the shed for years before he was broken out and seeing the world with the innocence of a young boy is definitely not reliable.
Unreliable narrators whose perception is misleading
There are many characters that fall into this category in the recent times. Christopher Boone from The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, for instance, cannot be taken at his face value, as he on the Asperger’s / Autistic spectrum and his understanding of things is quite literal and lacks depth.
Patrick Peoples from The Silver Linings Playbook and Charlie from the Perks of being a wallpaper have repressed memories, while Rachel from the girl on the train has been under the influence of alcohol almost the entire time of the story.
And these books largely depend on these narrators and otherwise would have been another run of the mill novel.
Omitting to state the facts is also kinda lying, of course. But Eva does that so well in We need to talk about Kevin. The whole books is written in the form of letters to her estranged husband and she talks about everything but why Kevin did what he did (mass shooting at his school) and if she did enough to prevent that from happening.
I recently read the Woman in the Window for my book club and found that Dr Anna Fox holds back a lot from others and the reader as well. Well, on a happier note that backfires right at her and that plays so well into holding the suspense to the story.
Unreliable narrators that outright lie and manipulate
These are my favorite kind of unreliable narrators!
Man, they toy with us and mislead us perfectly into their trap without breaking a sweat. Take Patrick from American Psycho, he is suave, well read and smart and he commits gruesome murders with a finesse (or not!). His unreliability is the only thing that left us questioning the reality at the end.
I love Gone Girl and I adore Gillian Flynn‘s writing and her unreliable characters (yes there are many). Nick and Amy seem sincere and innocent until we start unraveling their traps and deceit. I mean talk about the plot twists these unreliable narrators provide.
Yes, they misrepresent facts, break our trusts and some time lie to our faces even. But so what?
I mean what narrator is truly objective and trustworthy! They all talk about the things they believe are true. So what if these narrators add a bit of bias, color the truth or even hold stuff back from the reader? They are as amazing as their lying conniving selves they can be, to me!