Tag: How To

Well, I Didn’t Know That! #14 – Social Media Marketing Strategies

In today’s Well, I Didn’t Know That! post, I’m sharing how I plan to up my social media marketing game. You can employ the tips I share in today’s post too, regardless of your niche! Over the course of this week, I’ve spent five hours working through a course and follow-on action points. In today’s post, I’ll summarise the key action points I learned to improve my social media marketing techniques. 



I’ve only kept a light touch on social media before. If I’m honest, I don’t really like social media that much. Social media can be a wonderful power of good. However, in the wrong hands it can do a lot of harm. I’m glad I missed out on having a smartphone with social media access in my school years, put it that way!

I obviously want to do good! I can’t do much about folks misusing social media to spread harmful messages, but I can cultivate a positive space with my accounts. That’s what my target is.

I found a really useful video course over on Hubspot. Not only is the course broken down over several videos so you can watch what’s applicable, but there are a number of free resources to help you get started. I used their workbook to analyse my data and identify areas where I can improve my content. They also have a content calendar you can use to get organised!

If you want to check out the course for yourself, here is a link. Otherwise, let’s take a look at the tips and tricks I learned and will be implementing on my social media platforms in the near future!


Tips and Tricks


Start Social Listening and Monitoring

It may be something you’re already doing, but checking out what hashtags and popular audio on reels are and using them in a relevant way helps get you seen. Social listening is more than that – it refers to listening for what perception is on your brand too. But, most relevant to me (given my small profile size) is getting my name out there in the first place!

With what I’ve learned in mind, I’m going to try to post some more topical content. I’ve not been one to follow trends all that much before. I’m not going to change that too radically, so don’t panic! However, I may start to pick up more new or highly anticipated releases and talk about them so I have sought for content!


Complete a Content Audit to Work Out What Works on Each Channel

One of the bigger tasks I had to do after taking the course was to take a look at the content I’ve already shared and determine what performed best. The idea is to focus and develop what’s popular and try to build upon it. This can be different for each channel. For simplification, I’m only using Instagram as an example for this post. However, in real terms, I’ve performed the same analysis on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. 

For Instagram, there are a couple of very clear themes. Reels outperform photos in terms of reach and engagement. I also reach more accounts that don’t already follow me, which is great for growth. This is obviously as the algorithm is pushing more video content nowadays, but also ties in with one of the main messages in the course. People want to follow and engage with other people, not faceless brands. As a result, video is one of the most popular forms of content consumption right now. 

This also ties in with my second finding – Instagram photos with my mugshot in performed better on average than those that didn’t! It’s not very often that I include myself in these photos. So far, I have preferred to step back from the camera rather than put myself in it. However, it’s apparent that needs to change. Going forwards, I’ll have to bite the bullet and get in front of the camera. You’ll get to see a lot more of me, you lucky devils!


Change Up What Content Types You Share

Something I’ve never considered before, but really should have considering I engage with content regularly, it that there are different purposes of post.

Typically, my posts have an informative stance. However, there are different formats of content – entertainment and engagement posts. Whilst I don’t think I can bring myself to start filming funny lip sync videos to popular audio without dying of embarrassment just yet, there’s nothing stopping me from creating my own entertainment posts from scratch. It’s something I need to think about and have a play with. As the vast majority of entertainment content is viewed in video format nowadays, this is another reason I need to put my big girl pants on and get on camera! I’m sure it’ll get easier the more I do it!

Likewise, engagement posts should be pretty easy for me to incorporate into my posting schedule. Polls, Q&A’s and asking followers questions are all ways I can engage with an audience as opposed to posting what I think is interesting into a void. I’ve had to think (and look into) who my primary audience is, and I need to incorporate this into future post planning.


Partner Up With Other People and Brands

I’ve produced a lot of solo content for a while. I used to get involved with sharing guest posts on my blog years ago (and some of that is still my most viewed content to this day). Association with other individuals and brands can influence audience perception of you. So, I need to incorporate this back into my blog… and my social media.

One way I’ve thought of this is to duet with someone, or I believe you can go live with someone? I confess neither are things I know how to do, so I suppose the first step is to find out. So, my lovely readers, if anyone could give me some direction in the comments as to how I do this, that would be much appreciated!



I still have a lot to learn, and this is a process I’ll have to do repeatedly to make sure I’m on the right tracks and staying relevant. I won’t get it right 100% of the time, but it’s a continual, active process I need to embrace if I want to connect with more people.

Have you learned any social media marketing tips and tricks from today’s post? What are your most effective social media marketing strategies?



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Discussion Post – Get Out of Your Comfort Zone!

Choosing to pick up a book outside of your comfort zone can be scary. What if you don’t like it?

Well, I suppose you can say that you’ll never know if you don’t try it! Today’s discussion post is all about trying to encourage anyone to try reading something out of their comfort zone now and again. I read a lot, and I read the vast majority of genres. That wasn’t always the case though. However, there are genres and topics that I consider myself ‘not to read’. That’s not to say I don’t pick them up once in a while! How do you know you don’t like something unless you take the plunge and give it a go?

If you want to try something new, but don’t quite know how to do it, you can find some suggestions below that might help you on the right track… Or prove to you that your judgement was right in the first place. Who knows? You win some and you lose some!


Try a new genre/sub-genre/combination

With such a wide variety of books out there, there is no way you have tried every single possibility. It may be that you have never tried one of the main genres before. Before I started my blog, I wouldn’t pick up horror books. It wasn’t something I thought I’d enjoy.

As a first step, I decided to pick one of the most prominent authors in that genre – Stephen King, and give one of his books a try. My first ever read was The Green Mile. Not only is he an iconic author of the genre, but I picked this book because I was familiar with some the story. I hadn’t ever watched the film in full, but I’ve seen enough snippets of it that I had a rough idea of what was going on. That helped immensely! Having some sense of familiarity helped me gel with the story, and let the new experience of the author and his writing style (and the genre) shine through. I’ve gone on to read a number of King’s books, with plenty more still on my TBR.

Sometimes it isn’t as easy as that though. Maybe you don’t know or recognise a prominent author to start with. In which case, I would recommend picking up a book that ties into multiple genres… or is of an audience you relate to. For example, if you want to try to read a book aimed at a younger audience as opposed to an adult book, choose one in a genre you already know and like. Likewise, if you want to try and branch out into another genre, find a book where that genre overlaps with one you already know you get on with. There are so many combinations nowadays that I think you can find something to get you started.


Book Clubs/Buddy Reads and Readalongs

If you need a push to pick up something new, then joining a book club or a readalong can be a great way of encouraging you to do so. A group may be able to vote on the book chosen, but ultimately, it’s the overall result from the group that decides what book gets picked up.

And sometimes, that’s not the one you want.

There is nothing wrong with this; in fact, I’d argue that this is a great thing. Not only does it give you the encouragement to try something you wouldn’t pick up on your own, but it also gives you the opportunity to talk about why you come to like it (or don’t – that bit’s up to you). It makes you think about your reading tastes and really define what works for you and what doesn’t. You can then take that forward and try new books with that element that you have found you liked. And who knows, by reading other books that have the same, you may find another topic/theme/genre that you haven’t come across before and also enjoy. And so it snowballs.

If you don’t have the confidence to be a part of a group, then having a trusted friend instead could be a solution. It will be a lot easier to read the book together and pace yourselves in such a way that you can have a more structured discussion every few chapters, if you wish, or even just be able to meet up more regularly to talk about it and have more detailed/meaningful conversations!



We can only read so many books in our lifetime, but one of the most valuable resources we can use when it comes to sharing the book love and recommendations is each other! We all have our own slightly different tastes, but we can also have a lot in common with others. If you have a trusted person or a group of individuals with which you have a lot in common, they can give you some really good recommendations that align really well with your tastes. Maybe you already take them up on some of them.

But, it is also true that they can recommend great books that don’t necessarily fit in to your idea of ‘your kind of book’. If you already trust this person’s opinion regarding your similarities, then it’s a reasonably safe bet to trust them on your differences too. They are the best people equipped to give you a recommendation, so why not take a chance and take them up on it?


If in doubt, don’t wig out – understand you reading tastes

You aren’t going to love every single book on the planet. For most of them, there’ll be things you like and things you don’t. I have a pretty good idea of what I like and what I don’t like based on my diversity of reading. That is something that comes with experience… and pushing the boundaries now and then.

For example, I don’t really enjoy romance as a genre. However, I will occasionally pick one up (I read The Duke & I by Julia Quinn in May), or read a book where this overlaps with another genre, such as historical romance or fantasy romance. I read The Duke & I, and overall I neither loved nor hated it. There were bits I didn’t like, and unless you read books like that, you don’t really understand what it is you don’t like about them.

My biggest problem with this book is that it flaunted how characters are treated differently based on gender. Men are deemed attractive if they are roguish and rakish, but women couldn’t possibly put a foot out of line or be seen doing anything inappropriate lest they ruined theirs and their family’s reputation. That is what I don’t like… and that’s not necessarily a reflection on the book.

Another example; I have previous experience where I have not enjoyed a book that was not written in traditional prose. Yet, I’m currently reading The Appeal by Janice Hallett, and the story is told through the written communications between characters (text messages, emails, letters etc). Just because I didn’t enjoy the writing style of Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to enjoy The Appeal either. Neither are written in traditional prose, but they are both very different from each other too.

Another example of this is Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. The story of this book is told through interviews of characters after the events of the book have happened, and one of the characters (the interviewer), we don’t know at all. These are all completely different styles, but all testament to the fact that you shouldn’t dismiss one because they have a loose similarity to another. Of the three books, I disliked one but enjoyed the other two.

Instead, define more precisely what you don’t like about a book. The thing I didn’t enjoy about Girl, Woman, Other is that it was written like prose, but it lacked the traditional grammatical structure we expect.

You can see in both of these examples that I have read books out of my comfort zone, and from that experience I’ve been able to take away exactly what I liked and didn’t like. Yes, I didn’t like the gender differences in The Duke & I, but I liked the narrative style. It was easy to read and despite my niggles, it didn’t stop me finishing the book.

On the other hand, I couldn’t finish Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo. One of the biggest factors for me is a book’s writing style, and if I really can’t get on with it then it doesn’t matter how good the story is – I can’t finish it. Again, this is something that I’ve learned through experience. I’ve picked up books that haven’t worked out for me, and that’s fine. You don’t have to love everything you read. And if you are concerned about spending money on books to then not enjoy them, then there are ways around this too. If you have an e-reader, you can download a sample to try the book before you buy. Many people will probably have access to a library, or at least an e-library. So, if you’re really not sure, try and borrow it!



Try to push your boundaries now and again. You don’t have to do it very often, you don’t have to do it very much. How far you want to take it is entirely up to you, as is the means in which you do so. All I can say is that I have learned a lot about my reading preferences by trying something out of the box.

There are times when it doesn’t work, and that’s fine. You’ve learned from it. There have been many more times where I have found something that I’ve really enjoyed and gone back to again; the experience has broadened my horizons. And I will continue to do so. Once upon a time I was a teenage girl who almost exclusively read fantasy books. Look where I am now… still a predominant fantasy reader, but I also read a wide variety of genres around that. All because I pushed my boundaries.

As with everything, reading taste evolves. I’ve already established that mine has changed significantly in the last 10 years. But just because I’ve pushed the boat out before, it doesn’t mean I’m going to stop reading out of my comfort zone. I want to pick up new and different books. One of the biggest changes I would like to make is incorporating more non-fiction into my TBR.

Dare I say it, I want to try my hand at romance books that tackle difficult topics. I really enjoyed Me Before You, which centres around a character who wishes to end his own life. That was a romance and I really enjoyed it, even though it was upsetting to read. There are romance books that centre around abuse and other less savoury elements of life rather than just mushy plot lines. Who’s to say I won’t enjoy those? I can’t… until I’ve read them at least. 

If I can push myself, I have every faith that you can too, and I hope this post gives you some inspiration to do so and how to go about it if you’re not sure!

When was the last time you tried something out of your comfort zone?



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Discussion Post – How I Manage my Blog

How does someone like me manage my blog, as well as all the reading that goes along with it and day-to-day life in general?

That is the subject of today’s post. If you want a blogger and you’re looking for some insight (maybe you are considering becoming a blogger yourself), or even if you do and you curious about how I manage things compared to you, then you’re in the right place! There is always something to learn and I hope today’s post can give you some insight into what it’s like to be a book blogger.



The first piece of advice I can give anyone considering starting a blog is that you have to really enjoy your subject. Having the knowledge to share in the first place is going to take time to learn. Even if you are already well-versed in a subject, there’s always going to be changes that you have to keep on top of.

From a book blogging perspective, it means that you’re going to spend a lot of time reading. If you enjoy it and already partake in the hobby then it’s okay – it doesn’t feel like a chore. If, however, your subject is not that familiar you could end up spending a lot more time on it. If you don’t enjoy it that much then it’s definitely going to be boring. What is the point in spending your time on something you don’t enjoy? The answer is none.

Aside from reading, you also have to manage a blog and draft content on a regular basis (note that by regular I don’t necessarily mean frequency – the emphasis is more on consistency rather than how many times you post a day/week/month). That of course takes time. To give you an indication, I typically post three times a week. I would say on average I spend around an hour to an hour and a half per post. This includes drafting, compiling any relevant information, editing and finally publishing it. That in itself is a decent amount of time to be spending on one post, never mind any pre-requisite reading/research etc. It’s not a ‘quick’ hobby, per se, but it’s very rewarding.

Personally, the speed in which I can create a blog post has increased over the last year. Previously, I drafted each blog post by typing it out on my laptop. Combining the time taken to do this with the rest, I would usually spend between two and 2 1/2 hours on a blog post. Things got a little bit quicker for me when I invested in a tablet. Instead of typing out a post manually, I have employed the use of the dictation function on my tablet to be able to draft my post instead. This makes drafting a lot quicker, but there is a trade-off that a slightly heavier hand is needed on the editing side. I didn’t think I had a weird accent, but some of the word combinations my tablet comes out with suggests otherwise!

If the prospect of spending an hour to an hour and a half on a blog post was already daunting, then you should know that in certain circumstances it can take longer! Honestly, the best advice I can give to anybody is to invest in a device or software that can make use of dictation and then learn to be able to use it. It didn’t come naturally to me when I first started creating posts this way. I often had to spend a lot of time thinking about each sentence before I dictated it. There wasn’t any kind of natural flow. This is something I’ve developed over time, so realistically I can dictate a post now in about 15 minutes tops. It used to take me a LOT longer.

Being organised helps. Having a scheduling plan, even if it’s just a loose one, can help you plan out your posts effectively. Readers know when to expect content from you and it can also help your statistics, if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

However, sometimes life does just get in the way. I was originally planning on sharing this post early on Wednesday evening this week. However, we had a brief power cut that ate into the free time I had and put an end to that plan. It just goes to show you can’t control everything; but doing everything in your power will help you manage your time and blog effectively.



Time is probably the most important consideration, but there are other factors at play that need to be considered when you start a blog. In particular reference to having a book blog, you need to have access to books! Sounds obvious I know, but this is the most basic example. Another is having access to the tools to share a blog. There are plenty of websites online that you can use for free to start a blog, but there are other options available, such as self-hosting. You will need to look into and consider in-depth if it’s something you’re interested in. There is little bit more to it than just using an online site, but at the same time I operate a self-hosted site and I’m no expert. I’ve got it set up and it works. I try not to touch any of the settings or play around with it beyond that.

Sometimes the resources you need to run a blog cost money. Whilst you can have a free blog run from a website such as WordPress, and you can access books from the library, there may be some costs need to take on. Self-hosting a blog costs money; the antispam protection costs money. And obviously, buying books cost money. What I’m saying here is that sometimes you have to be prepared to invest in your hobby; if you ask yourself that question and the answer is no, then I would really suggest you consider taking it on at all.

I hope I’ve been able to share something of interest with you and that you have learned something from today’s post. Are you considering setting up a blog? Do you have any further questions that I can help you with? Equally, are you already a blogger and have you got any tips you would like to share with others?


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Blogging and Social Media

Social media is a huge element of blogging. Regardless of the content of your blog, you need to put yourself out there to get your content noticed. Which platforms you use is entirely up to you, and maybe dependent on the content of your blog. Sounds easy, right?

In some respects, yes. With a few simple settings, new posts I publish are automatically shared to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. All I have to do is write a brief description/summary I want to accompany the link and away it goes. I don’t even have to think about it.

It’s not all automatic though. There is a degree of effort you have to put in to maintain a presence online. Ultimately, readers are connecting with the person behind a blog, not just the content itself. A feed of links to own content can be a bit boring. Here is where I will admit that I fall down. I am not that good when it comes to proactively using social media. My feeds are pretty much as I have described above – links to my own blog.

I try to interact as and when I can, but I can honestly say I don’t really have the compulsion to use social media that much. On a personal level, I use Facebook to keep up to date with what is going on with friends and family, news and such and that is it. I am one of those ghost friends that hardly ever post. My blog has given me some purpose to post more in recent months, but it isn’t natural to me.

Even my ‘blog’ accounts aren’t all that up to scratch. I’m not at all consistent with my use of Instagram. Remembering to take pictures and create a visual medium for my blog is a conscious effort, but it’s one I am not conscious of all the time and so I lapse. I just don’t take that many photos. I change my Facebook profile picture maybe once every six months in a good year, and only when there is a change to the way I look really. Call me lazy, but I just can’t be bothered and I doubt anyone is really all that bothered about it – myself included.

Do you have any tips for me to get better with my use of social media? Which platforms do you find easiest to use and why? I’ll take all comments on board at this point!



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Tips to Get Out of a Reading Slump

We all get to that stage where we lack motivation to read. Maybe you aren’t getting on with the particular book you are reading, or perhaps you’re sick of a particular genre or a trope within it. Hey, it happens. There is no point beating yourself up about it.

My TBR is never far from my mind and when I heave deadlines, I don’t have time for a slump. There are a few things you can do to get yourself out of it, if you really need to.


Read Something Else

If your reading slump is just beginning and you think it might be your reaction to a certain book, try to read something else. Taking half an hour to enjoy something else could be more advantageous than trying to struggle on through the current read. I know it’s tempting to try and slog through it but you won’t enjoy it and might contribute to a longer slump in the long run. Take a break! You deserve it!

If reading another book from a genre you read a lot of doesn’t cut it, then try something totally new! Why not try a short story or novella if you are struggling with a full length novel? Finishing the book is a lot more attainable and the sense of achievement from doing it could be the pickup you need to get motivated again. Alternatively, branch out into a new or under-read genre. If I was looking for something different, then horror might be a genre I would turn to as I don’t read as much of it as others.


Set Yourself Achievable Reading Goals

My TBR this month is one of the longest I have ever set. I have seven books on the list that I want to have finished come 1st November, plus an extra sample read for an author I have worked with. It works out at over 1,800 pages to read, which sounds horrendous. It’s not really though; when you break it down, it works out at 59 pages a day, which I know I can do. I am keeping on track with it too, even considering all the extra blogging I am doing this month.

Set yourself an attainable goal that you can look at on a daily or weekly basis and assess your progress. If that goal is proving unattainable, don’t be afraid to revise the plan. We’ve all over-stretched ourselves before.


Try a Different Medium

Tired of reading books? Have you tried picking up a graphic novel or a magazine instead? Maybe you could try listening to an audiobook instead. I like the variety of reading in different forms and it allows me to maximise my time. I can listen to audiobooks when I am getting ready for work, or when I am driving home at the end of the day.


Take a Break

It doesn’t have to be a long break, but give yourself time to enjoy doing something else. Give yourself the night off to catch up with friends or a TV program you love. In my spare time, I like to play Minecraft and spend time with my family.

It may be that a longer break would suit you; that’s fine too! We read for the enjoyment of it above all else, and if you aren’t enjoying it, what is the point in doing it? Nothing good comes of forcing yourself to do something you don’t want to do… so my advice is don’t.

Do you have any advice for anyone stuck in a slump? What works for you?



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Discussion Post: How to write book reviews… (and how I write mine!)

How do you write a review?

Everyone has their own way of approaching the task – there really is no right or wrong way to do it. Naturally, you are taking the opportunity to express your opinion, so it’s a completely personal experience.

I like reading other bloggers reviews. I love the variety of style and structure to other bloggers writing, compared to my own. There are the same underpinning conventions, but we all have creative licence to do things our own way.

In today’s post, I want to touch on some of the things I do (and don’t do!) when writing my book reviews. So, shall we get into it?


Make Notes Beforehand?

I don’t really make notes as I read. I have tried, but I never stick to it. It interrupts my reading flow and does more harm than good in the end.

If I don’t wait too long to write my reviews then usually my thoughts are fresh in my head and the review is easy to write. That’s also the case if a book makes a good impression on me. I do struggle occasionally. I’ll freely admit in that case that I’ll look at other people’s thoughts and reviews. I would never copy a review, but I’ll shamelessly admit that I’ll use it as a prompt to ask myself what I thought about the same subject. It works!


Describe the Plot

I am not a big fan of reading detailed, lengthy plot descriptions, hashing out 80% of the book before reading a person’s review. I do read posts by bloggers who do this, and to be honest I just skip this section. I’ll have already read the synopsis of the book. If I read a post that summarises the vast majority of a book (minus the spoiler /ending), do I want to read the book then? Honestly, no. You may not have given the ending away, but the plotline and enjoyment of the rest of the book has been taken away from me. Why waste several hours reading something I already know?

Sometimes review points need a little context and I don’t have a problem with that. There is a balance, however.


Expressing views

I always write my reviews as honestly as I can. That is the point, after all. Reviewsfeed is my place to express my views. As a reviewer, I couldn’t in good conscience lie about my experience of a book. How could readers ever trust me to be honest again? It’s probably one of the easiest ways for others to lose their respect for you… and yet, it’s so easy to feel pressured into not saying something that may not be popular.

I’m not saying all bloggers should be brutally honest about their opinions. Saying that a book that an author has poured hundreds of hours into to publish is **** is uncouth. That doesn’t mean you have to lie or even gloss over the fact in your review; there is a way to be tactful about it. If I thought a book was that bad and I had nothing good to say about it, truthfully, I just wouldn’t review it.

I once gifted a handmade jumper to a family member for Christmas. It is one of the very first big crochet projects I completed, and I am really proud of it! That jumper has remained in that person’s wardrobe to the present day, unworn. They’re being tactful; they won’t get rid of it but they haven’t worn it either. I know I love it more than they do because I know how much time and effort went into it, and that’s okay.

That said, I really wouldn’t mind if they got rid of it now. It is several years old.


Star Ratings

Some bloggers like to breakdown their ratings based on various aspects of a book and then average the ratings. From other bloggers, I actually quite like reading these. It’s not something I will ever do though. Don’t get me wrong, I am quite an organised and orderly person (mostly), but I find this approach a bit too regimented.

In a sense I do take this approach, but I am a lot more flexible with it. I would describe myself as more of a mood reviewer. In my mind, sometimes character development may be more important than world-building. Personally, narrative style is a make-or-break thing with me and books. The story could be fantastic, but if I don’t enjoy the way a story is written it will hamper my enjoyment of it. I like to rate the overall experience of the book in a less rigid manner.

Also, I rarely put star ratings on my blog. I have used them in my Throwback Review posts, but I try to avoid them. In my opinion, star ratings are well and good, but the more important bit is the explanation of why I have rated a book a certain way. So, that’s what I focus on in my reviews on my blog. My star ratings are for Goodreads.

How do you write a review? What do you do differently? Do you agree with me?



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