What We’ve Learnt Reviewing Books by Nigerian Authors and Publishers

lessons learnt

So we started our blog in February 2018. Yayyyy…but that was the easy part. We talked about our motivations in this guest feature piece on Naija Book Bae.

Our initial plan was to review all Ankara Press books first. Our desire to share them and the other good books we had read was the inspiration for the blog. We reviewed the first two titles then decided it wasn’t a good plan since it would mean we would have reviewed 10 fiction books of the same genre-romance. So we took a different tack and chose a mystery book next. That is, after googling the difference between mystery and thriller genres. Thank goodness for Google!

Our fourth review was nonfiction to mix things up. Then my sister visited the blog and asked why we were reviewing books by only female authors…welp! We had been so focused on genres; we hadn’t thought about the genders of the authors. So, again, we tweaked the plan and reviewed poetry by a male author next. Thereafter, we reviewed our timetable to include a good mix of genres, male and female authors, published and self-published authors. Phew

But the sigh of relief was too soon for another issue cropped up-technical issues with the platform we were using. The website was taking too long to load up amongst other technical issues. So in May, three months after we started the blog, we had to change platforms. For the first time in three months, we had to suspend our weekly reviews to sort the move out.

The move went well. All is well then, we thought until we realised there are books which don’t lend themselves well to reviews. The books aren’t terrible, they just don’t work when one tries to review them as there isn’t much to say. Sigh

What else have we learned? Mo has learnt how much organisation one needs to run a blog focused on reviewing books by Nigerian authors and publishers. She’d thought it would be as easy as the conversations we had via direct messages on twitter. She now knows it’s a lot more than that. One needs to read the books, review them, publish the reviews, and publicise them on social media. One also needs to cultivate a relationship with other bloggers in the blogging community.

I have learnt technical things like how to build a blog site even though, Mo did all of that. I’ve learnt how to edit pictures (yeah I didn’t know how to do simple things like that) and create cards for posting on social media. Fine… I use Canva to create the cards but I still need to put in the work. 🙂 I’ve also learnt a lot about blogging thanks to the helpful tips on Christian Mihai’s blog. I think this post, 10 Things Your Blog Needs If You Are a New Blogger (or not) is helpful, we had to figure these things out ourselves but it would have been easier if we knew these before.

We are still on our journey and we hope to continue to read and review books by Nigerian authors and publishers. Our dream is to have a community of people converging on our blog to discuss books and reading. We hope shinning the spotlight on these books and authors results in publicity and increased sales for the authors and publishers. In time, we hope we can showcase writing from aspiring writers.

Blogging about books is a hobby which I enjoy and in doing it, my written English keeps improving. I am still working on my creative writing skills, who knows, one day I may write a book. If I do, I hope it makes it to a review blog like Literary Everything!

Do share your tips for writing book reviews in the comments section.

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