Book Blogger Appreciation Week – finding and keeping community

posted in: 2. Illustrators and Authors | 23

Today’s theme as part of Book Blogger Appreciation Week is “finding and keeping community”.

For me, finding and keeping community amongst book bloggers faces the same challenges as finding and keeping community in my neighbourhood; time and engagement. I’ve no tips I can share on finding time but in terms of engaging with readers and other bloggers here’s what I try to do:

  • I try to reply to every comment made on this blog. It sounds obvious now but it took me at least a year to come round to thinking this was a good idea. I don’t know how often commenters return to any given post to see if I’ve replied (do leave a comment on this post to let me know if you do like to see if I’ve replied to any comment), but for me it’s small way of saying I care about you commenting. And I do! I don’t blog because I like to yell at people through a megaphone (though I’ve been known to do this); I blog because I enjoy conversations about children’s literature and play.

  • I take part in community events such as the Carnival of Children’s Literature, Nonfiction Monday, Interview Wednesday, the yearly Comment Challenge. Sunday night twitter #fedbkgrp conversations and of course BBAW. If you haven’t ever taken part in any of these events, please don’t be afraid to dive right in and try them. Don’t expect them to increase your readers drastically, but they are all great ways to find new book bloggers, and new blogs to enjoy as well as playing an active role in the community. The one event I’ve yet to take part in but would really, really like to do is Bloggiesta. If you’ve any questions about any of these, do ask and I’ll see if I can help.

  • One aspect of the community I find a little hard is that I’m a book blogger based in Britain, when the vast majority of book bloggers, especially those specialising in picture books are US based.

    To that end, I’d like to create a list of everyone we (yes, that includes you!) know who blogs about children’s books in the UK (leaving for another day a list of British authors and illustrators who write blogs).

    I’ll get the list rolling with some blogs I regularly read and others I’ve come across in researching this post, but if you know other UK-based bloggers who regularly review children’s literature (especially for the younger crowd) or share news and information about the children’s literature scene in the UK, please add them in the comments and together we’ll be able to make a great list and help build our community.

    Blogs with a focus on the youngest readers (especially, but not only, picture books)
    Library Mice
    5 Minute’s Peace
    Children’s Books for Grown-ups
    Picture Bookshelf
    The Book Sniffer

    Lots more Children’s literature (inc YA/Teenager) blogs
    March House Book Blogs
    Nayu’s Reading Corner (Nayu also reviews picture books, although they are not her primary focus)
    Treasury Islands
    Girls Heart Books
    Writing from the Tub
    An Awfully Big Blog Adventure
    Fantastic Reads
    Did you ever stop to think and forget to start again?
    The History Girls
    Seven Miles of Steel Thistles
    The Bookette
    Armadillo Magazine Blog
    The Mountains of Instead
    Books 4 Teens
    The Acorn and the Thimble
    Book Angel Booktopia
    Mr Ripley’s Enchanted Books
    Wondrous Reads
    Tall Tales and Short Stories
    Trapped by Monsters
    Scribble City Central
    The Book Zone (for boys)
    Laura Atkins’ Blog

    The Bookette has a dedicated list of UK YA / Childrens Book Blogs here.

    Wikio UK has a listing for literature blogs (no separate listing for children’s book blogs) which you see here: Wikio – Top Blogs – Literature

    Cision UK has several listings for literature bloggers and tweeters. I really like that they have separate lists for blogs focussed on teenage/YA books, and blogs focussed on books aimed at younger children. You can see Cision UK’s top UK Literature blog and twitter rankings here.

    So yes, please do add any other UK book bloggers you know who focus on children’s literature (for any age). If I’ve included you and you don’t wish to be on this list, or I’ve made a mistake, please let me know and I’ll rectify the situation.

    One last thing, if you’re a book blogger (from anywhere) you might want to submit your blog to list maintained by The Future Book (in association with The Bookseller).

    My thanks go to AliB68, NatashaWorswick, LibraryMice, ACKidsUK, tockla, emma_naomi, breakfast_tales, bakingteacher, TreasuryIslands, MarDixon, chaletfan, ladybookbird, keris and ljbarton on Twitter for their help in pulling together the information in this post.

    23 Responses

    1. TreasuryIslands

      Thank you for the mention.

      You mention replying to comments on your blog. I’m inspired to do the same – I don’t get a huge number of comments as a rule, so I have no excuse not to, and you’re right; it does help build a community.

      I’m relatively new to blogging, so your list of similar blogs is very helpful. *gets lost in the blogosphere*

      • Zoe

        Hi Treasury Island, I’m not so new (just over 2 years) and I found quite a lot of new blogs when writing this post – blogs are always fading away and new ones being reborn so for me this was a great opportunity to find out a bit more about our “local” scene.

    2. se7en

      Oh what a packed post – full of goodness!!! Love the list to wander through, thanks for all the hard work!!!

    3. Barbara

      I’m going to look at everything you suggest, thanks for taking so much time over this.
      I’m also in Britain (Somerset) and blog about children’s books but in my case they are all vintage and mostly (not all) out-of-print. My main love is book illustration and I try to share lots of beautiful pictures.

      • Zoe

        Aah! Barbara, how could I forget about you! I’ve updated the post to include your blog. It’s beautiful and full of interesting finds.

    4. Ellen (We Read it Like This)

      Great post, Zoe! The very little free time I have means I hardly ever have time to find new interesting kidlit blogs. You’ve just given me more than a few to follow!

      I definitely believe in answering comments. Monologues can be interesting, but never as interesting as conversations!

    5. Zoe

      Thanks Ellen, yes monologues can give one space to think which is nice and when I started blogging I didn’t think I “had the time” to reply to comments, but then I started realising what was important to me was talking with people about books.

      Chalet Fan, it’s a pleasure – I love your tweets and need to subscribe to your blog. Off to see if I can do that now!

    6. Mital Patel

      Thank you for the mention! That was really great! if you have any bloggers that wish to be added to our list, please drop me an email.

    7. Zoe

      Thanks Isil – I never know if people do come back and read them, so it’s great to hear that you do! I need to find a way to improve commenting on my blog so I can do threaded comments and notifications…

      And yes Lena, Happy BBAW – it’s going really well so far ๐Ÿ™‚

    8. Library Mice

      Thank you my lovely, much appreciated!
      Wave to Barbara, I am in (North) Somerset too :0)
      I didn’t know about Picture Bookshelf so a great discovery for me :0).
      Also I didn’t know about The Future Book blog list (some blogger I am) so will be having a look :0)

    9. Tasha Goddard

      Thanks for yet more interesting blogs to read. I’m really enjoying some of the ones you’ve pointed out recently.

      I frequently come back to look for replies, yes, though I sometimes forget to. I also try to always reply to comments, though it can take me a while to do so.

    10. Tasha

      Thank you for this. And thank you for the mention. A great list that I’m looking forward to wandering through and enjoying. :))

    11. Zoe

      Hope you find some new blogs to enjoy tasha – sure you will!

      Thanks Tasha G for letting me know about comment checking – it’s reassuring to know that.

      Laural-Rain – I have to admit I’m better at replying to comments on my blog than checking to see if others have replied to my comments on their blog.

      Library Mice – I got to know about the Future Book via @MarDixon – you should definitely add your name to the list.

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