When I get obsessed with an idea, I really get obsessed with it, and that includes throwing myself into book blogging resource, tools, and research binges. Sometimes I get so swept up in blog planning, nitty-gritty details, and more that I barely leave my desk for 8 hours—kind of like a full-time job, actually (which is why I my novels go unwritten!). So I thought I’d put all the time, energy, and money I’ve spent on book blogging to good use and bring you all a list of the best books on blogging for book bloggers, whether you are a beginning niche blogger looking to read the best books about blogging or a seasoned pro hoping to take your blog to the next level. Consider it a benefit of my trial and error as I’ve grown this book blog to 2,500+ page views each month and spent gobs of money to find out the best resources for bloggers. Note: these are the best books about blogging for bloggers, all bloggers, whether you are a food blogger, book blogger, thrifty blogger, or mom blogger, whatever your niche, these books on blogging for bloggers are universally good.
Let’s get started! Here are my Broke By Books blog-tested and Broke By Books blog-approved resources and books of choice for blogging. As the Tenth Doctor in Doctor Who says, Allons-y! (“Let’s go!”)
The Best Books for Bloggers about Blogging
1. Workbooks and Planners
My all-time favorite book blogging books are generally workbooks. I love workbooks because I am a kinesthetic learner—I learn best by writing out answers to questions and prompts and problems. It helps me form a cohesive vision for my blog and my strategy for accomplishing what I want to accomplish. There are a lot of great workbooks and planners for bloggers that are my jam. Here are a few.
The 2016 Blog Action Planner by L. Providence is awesome. This is my second year using an editorial calendar, and man, this one is the cadillac of them all.
Here are some of my favorite features. The pages are big, but not cumbersome. The cover is soft and durable. The paper quality is thick but you can still turn the pages easily, and the ink doesn’t bleed through. The design is simple: every week specific to 2016 gets its own two pages. All of the dates are on one page. I cannot stress enough how crucial this is for me. I dislike having to break up my editorial calendar (read: my plan for what I’m posting each week) on more than one page. The 2016 action planner has useful tips for each week, and there are also four bullet points for what must be done where you can write in your essential actionable items each week. Additionally, there are monthly calendars. There’s also space in the beginning to plan overarching plans for months and seasons. I consider this to be the best planner and editorial calendar workbook for bloggers.
Next up my other favorite blog planner. I am also partial to the Epic Blog planner by Regina Anaejionu of ByRegina. I have taken several courses on blogging, monetization, and infopreneur planning from Regina. I cannot sing her praises enough. If you want to really get serious about blogging professionally, she is your woman. And she posts lots of free content on her blog and gives away a ton of freebies through her newsletter.
Anyway, Epic Blog was the first blog planning tool I ever used, and it remains one of the best. Regina’s Epic Blog is one of the best planners for bloggers because it includes lots of information on creating ideas, creating a blog business plan (for more on that, check out this epic article by her), writing a vision plan, crafting an ideal reader profile, and overall defining your mission. This is big picture stuff that is so crucial to drafting out if you want to have a cohesive vision for your blog. Besides the weekly, daily, and monthly planning space, the blog also contains lots of prompts like tracking stats, evaluating what worked and what didn’t work, defining core themes, and so on. I did not think I would one day ever say you need two planners, but between Regina’s Epic Blog and the 2016 Blog Action Planner you are covered and ready to plan for a kick-ass and successful book blog.
2. Books about Writing for the Web and SEO
Content is king!
You’ve heard it a million times, right? I hated making the mental shift from “my blog posts about books are my little treasure articles to help people” to “my blog posts are my blog’s content, and content should perform well.” Content strategy, folks. That’s the world we live in.
And in that brave new world comes the necessity to learn how to write for the web. It’s not like writing a book review on Goodreads, it’s not like writing a paper, it’s not like writing for your local newspaper. Writing for the web means adapting to how people read, what they want to read, and what makes them share something.
Enter Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley. This book is filled with nuggets of gold about content and talks about content in a way that reminds us what it is. Writing. Good writing.
I felt like her book has the right mix between Don Draper-esque statements (for example, from page 6: “In our world, quality content means content that is packed with clear utility and is brimming with inspiration, and it has relentless empathy for the audience.”) with plenty of examples. Chapter topics include: “Shed high school rules,” “Swap places with your reader,” and “Be rapid about readability.” Handley also includes grammar rules adapted for the web and how to write content for social media. This is really a one-stop book about writing for the web, and I recommend to to book bloggers and all bloggers in general. That’s why I only have one book to recommend in this section.
3. Books about Productivity and Work-Life
If you want to do it, you can blog full time.
But you might need to rethink your idea of “full time work” and revamp your productivity habits.
Welcome to the section on best books on productivity and working for bloggers.
Of course I’m going to mention it. One of my all-time favorite books of all fiction and nonfiction, The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich is a godsend for upending your ideas about work, productivity, and passive income. This book is not for everyone. If you love work and are a workaholic and thrive on it, you aren’t going to want to read this. But if you’re trapped thinking that the real life exists only outside your smudgy corporate office building window, this is the right book to pick up.
In it, Tim Ferriss dismantles the idea that you have to work 40 hours a week to earn enough money to enjoy all 10 of your vacation days you get each year. Ferriss is about outsourcing or at least delegating, focusing your efforts on doing one thing really well, marketing and selling your information product, and being as productive as possible. While also taking three-month long “mini retirements.” I feel like such a money-grubbing capitalist when I say this is up there in my all time favorite books, but I really just mean it made me think about alternative work schedules, productivity, and, above all, passive income. And here I am, three years after having read it, and still it guides me every day. I’ve quit my 40 hour a week day job and now blog and write fiction full time.
Another book that’s excellent is Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen. This book guides you through tackling your to-do list and swarm of emails by helping you learn the Getting It Done (GTD) method. The book has spawned a devoted group of followers. When you’re running a blog, you definitely need some productivity help.
Between moderating comments, working on affiliate ads, getting that newsletter out, keeping social media up to date, and, let’s not forget, writing posts, you have to have a system. As book bloggers, we also have another thing to worry about: reading enough books to keep up with review requests, keeping a schedule of when to finish books, staying current with what’s just been published…it’s a lot! Allen’s system is close to mine and one I find very adaptable to bloggers.
Can I tell you a secret? I’m blogging a book. What does that mean? It means I’m releasing some of the contents of my book (about book blogging, of course) in various articles and over social media to get a sense of the audience reaction, see which things people respond to, and help me organize. And the book that’s guiding me along is Nina Amir’s How to Blog a Book. Since this is the productivity segment of this blog post about the best books for book bloggers, you know the reason why I chose How to Blog a Book because it is all about productivity.
Divvy up your chapters of your book, post in a strategic way, hopefully find an audience that’s there for you when you’re ready to compile it all together…it takes the maximum effort at the beginning but sews up neatly in the end. I am obsessed with the potential of passive income, so this book is a godsend for learning productivity methods for book blogging and anyone who wants to one day collect their book blogging posts or blogging posts and publish a book with them.
Which leads me to monetization…
4. Books about Monetization
Ruth Soukup was one of the earliest champions of blogging for money, or turning your blog into a successful business. She managed to go from blogging as a hobby to blogging as a full time job to becoming a blog consultant and running her own blog schools and going on speaking tours. But she did it in a non-icky way, and she was smart about it. This is why if you’re thinking about monetizing your book blog, the book you want to read is Ruth Soukup’s How to Blog for Profit: Without Selling Your Soul. This short book is comprehensive and talks about monetization in a very honest way.
The book hits all the right points and manages to have useful information for everyone, from someone who just started their blog two months ago and is wondering about this monetization thing she’s been hearing about to someone who’s been blogging for two years and wants to do it full time. I learned many valuable things from this book, and I absolutely recommend it for anyone who wants to run not only a successfully monetized blog but a successful blog in general. (You’ll never write a post without a Pin-able image again!)
Darren Rowse is one of the original professional bloggers. He is remarkably humble, and runs a website with loads of free and useful information about blogging professionally and blogging for a full time income. He has been around since the early days of blogging and has seen the industry and methods of monetization change over the course of a decade. His book ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income is approachable, easily adaptable for almost all blogs (and blog niches, like book blogging).
This is another excellent book to start with for an overview of monetization. Darren not only goes over the kinds of different monetization methods, but he helps you come up with a strategy on which ones work best for your specific niche. He also helps you come up with a timeline. Between his book and Ruth Soukup’s How to Blog for Profit, you’ve got a roadmap to making a few dollars a month off your book blog, or a few dollars a week, or a few dollars a day, or more…