#NewBloggers 101, Book blogging, Discussion

What Are Linkups All About? Nicole @ FYFA To The Rescue! #NewBloggers 101, Post number 6: What You Have To Know Before Linking Up

Welcome to Part 7 of #NewBloggers 101, and this time we will be talking about that thing we are all curious about… Linkups. And we have an incredibly experienced blogger today to help us get our footing – welcome Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction! So one more thing before I relinquish the stage today – if you want to find the other #NewBloggers 101 posts, just expand this list:

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2018 (10)

First of all, thanks to Evelina for inviting me to help out with the #NewBloggers 101 series. I think these posts have all been incredibly informative (and fun!) and I hope mine is too.

So, you’ve found a link-up that you think sounds fantastic, but you’re not sure what’s expected of you once you link up. Should you just post a link and run? (Short answer: No!) Do you have to participate every week? (Short answer: No!) Can you switch the topic up a little? (Short answer: Yes! Well, usually) How can you get the most out of this link-up deal? How can you make your posts stand out?

Over on my blog I run the Monthly Wrap-Up Round-Up and co-host the Book Blog Discussion Challenge. I created both of these as fun ways for book bloggers to share our posts with each other and to help build up a blogging community, and they’ve been a huge success. (Especially the Discussion Challenge—the bloggers who participate in it regularly all know each other well and interact a lot outside of the challenge, which has been one of my goals!)

Here are a few of my tips on how to make the experience of participating in memes or other linkups a positive one.


Tip #1: Really Participate!

If there’s one piece of advice I’d give about a link-up or meme, it’s that you shouldn’t just post your link and walk away. I mean sure, you’ve gotten your post out there, but you’re not being an active participant, and you won’t really get much out of the experience.

Instead, post your link and then interact. Visit and comment on as many other posts in the link-up as you can. Don’t worry, I’m not saying that you have to visit every single one. I’m not expecting you to pull all-nighters so you can read and comment on every one of the over 100 discussions listed in the January Discussion Challenge link-up. (I actually >do comment on them all, but I host the challenge, and it’s a personal goal for me.) But give yourself a reasonable goal and visit as many as you possibly can. One thing I try to do is visit familiar blogs each time I link up, but then also throw in a few blogs that I’ve never (or rarely) interacted with. Try to broaden your blogging circle a bit—nothing but good can come of it!

Especially try to visit (and comment on) the host’s post, if at all possible. Every week, when I link up my Sunday Post, I make sure to read and comment on Kimberly’s post (on Caffeinated Book Reviewer – here is the meme) as well. After all, she puts work into creating great linkups for us—she deserves at least a comment in return.

Will any comment do? Anything’s better than nothing, but try your best to leave meaningful comments on the post. If all you say is “Great post!” and then leave a link to your blog, more often than not, the blogger is just going to ignore you. Surely you can find something specific to say about the post, even if it’s just, “I haven’t heard of any of the books you mentioned here, but I love the cover for such-and-such.” It shows you didn’t just hop from blog to blog and copy and paste your standard “Great post!” everywhere. (If you were tempted to do that, don’t. No, really. Don’t.)

Tip #2: Comment Back


If someone comments on your link-up post, it’s common courtesy to return the favor. If you have time, consider even commenting on a different post on that commenter’s blog as well. Not only will this show the other blogger that you paid attention and you care, it will help you build relationships within the blogging community that go beyond that one post.

Again, I know time is a factor here, and we can’t always be perfect about commenting back, but if your goal in linking up is getting more involved in the blogging community, this is the #1 way to do it. Go on, make friends. You know you want to!

Tip #3: Make Your Post Unique


Now let’s get a little more into the nitty-gritty of actually writing that meme, challenge or link-up post. One common complaint (especially for memes) is that there are a hundred blog posts that are all practically the same. Let’s take Top Ten Tuesday as an example: If the topic is Top Ten Books I’m Looking Forward to in 2018, you might find the same books featured over and over again. And if every post is just a list of books or a picture of ten covers, it might get a little boring. How can you make yours stand out?

Here are a couple of ideas for linkups:


Come up with a twist on the topic. Most of the time, the host of a meme or challenge is totally fine with you coming up with your own clever twist on the original topic. (If they specifically ask you not to in their rules, of course you should respect their wishes.) Some of my favorite TTT posts to read have been a fun twist on the original topic to make it more unique. AJ @ Read All the Things does this sometimes. Here’s an example of one that I particularly loved: Foods I’d Eat If I Was Fictional.

Create interesting graphics. This is usually my go-to for my TTT posts. I still include pics of those ten books, but I put them into a more interesting format. If you take a quick glance at my list of TTT posts, you’ll see that I usually use a collage-type format for displaying the books (and use that pic as my featured image). If it’s not a list of books, I often still try to include some type of graphics to spice it up a little.

Let your personality shine through! Sure, it’s a meme post, but if your unique voice comes through when you describe your top ten list (or whatever else it is), people will want to read on!

Other Miscellaneous Tips:

  • Do you have to participate every week (or month)? Nope! Most memes are pretty flexible. If there’s a topic you’re not that interested in, skip that week. Schedule too full? Skip that week. If you’re concerned about losing blogger connections you’ve made by skipping too often, then feel free to still participate by visiting the link-up and commenting on other people’s posts!
  • You’ve got a great idea for a meme/challenge/link-up. How can you create your own? I considered writing some advice on that here, but I already wrote a whole guest post on Running a Successful Meme or Challenge over at 125 Pages in 2016, and honestly, I don’t think much of my advice has changed since I wrote it. If you guys are interested in a more in-depth post on the technicalities and mechanics of creating linkups (link-up tools, etc.), let us know in the comments!

Looking for Linkups to Join?


Bookshelf Fantasies has a handy dandy Book Blog Meme Directory that lists just about every meme under the sun!

That about sums it up! Have you been participating in memes or other linkups? Has the experience been a positive one? Any other questions you really wish we’d addressed here? Let us know!

I’m Evelina and I try to blog about books that matter, with a bit of fun there too! Disability and equality will be topics you see a lot, but there’s also a lot of scifi, fantasy and… GIFs. I’m also the proud founder of #ARCsAnonymous.

70 thoughts on “What Are Linkups All About? Nicole @ FYFA To The Rescue! #NewBloggers 101, Post number 6: What You Have To Know Before Linking Up

  1. Gah, another awesome post, and I adore Nicole! I totally agree with #3. With linkups, there are so many lovely participants, so there are bound to be a handful of similar posts, especially if the topic for that month/week/etc is pretty narrowed down. It’s hard to stand out! I love seeing TTTs with twists to the topics, and it’s 100% important to let your personality shine through–there’s nothing more unique than being yourself. <3
    Aimee (Aimee, Always) recently posted…I’m Dying of Excitement for These March 2018 YA Books!My Profile

    1. I know right! Who doesn’t 🙂 Nicole is great.
      Hey, that’s actually why I don’t really participate in TTT at all. I don’t enjoy those posts as much, cause most people don’t really bother, some don’t even bother explaining why they made the list look like it does – they just paste the covers into their post and that’s that. Who’s gonna read that even xD but there are some bloggers who make their TTT lists exceptional, and sort of “their own” 🙂 I love that.

  2. Thank you Nicole and Evelina! I also love Kimberly’s Sunday Post link-up and I’ve discovered a lot of great, new-to-me bloggers that way. And there are a few other link-ups it would be fun to participate in but I’d hate to get overwhelmed with memes. Your suggestion of visiting and commenting without linking up is a great one: I think I’ll try it the next time I see a meme I’m interested in before I start posting myself 🙂
    JJ @ This Dark Material recently posted…film review: red sparrowMy Profile

    1. Oh yeah, where would we be without the Sunday post 🙂 I think that’s how I first made it to the light! 😀

      But yeah, I agree, there has to be a good balance with the memes. That’s why it’s good to do monthly stuff, I think 🙂

  3. Terrific advice, as I’d expect considering the source! Yes, linkups are definitely a good way to find your people. Especially if, like me, you’re not super organized about following blogs. Regularly linking up and/or visiting blogs that regularly link up is a great way to stay connected. I also like visiting a bunch of new-to-me blogs and seeing what’s out there. Sometimes it’s immediately obvious that a blog is not for me, but other times you will really connect with someone new.

    1. You’re right! Most of the time, I just don’t have time to actually go on my readers, where I follow people. But I just catch up during linkups, or when I’m visiting back from answering comments 🙂

  4. Another very interesting topic! First time I saw linkup I was WTH??? Now I’m participating in Kimberly’s Sunday post Shana’s top 5 Tuesday, First line Friday and WWW!!! All your advices are spot on!

    1. Thank you 🙂 oh wow, that’s a lot of linkups you’re doing! Yeah, I think we are all a little bit puzzled when it comes to linkups, when we’re seeing them for the first time 😀

  5. I’ve joined the discussion challenge for the first time this year. I’ve had fun visiting lots of the bloggers on the link ups. It is a great way to meet new people. I can’t commit to visit all the link-ups but I make time for some each week.

    1. The discussion challenge is one of the best linkups ever, in my opinion 🙂 it’s not as demanding as the weekly ones, and the posts are genuinely very interesting to read. And fun to write, as well 🙂

  6. Thank you for these tips! To be honest, I hadn’t realised that I was supposed to visit the link ups post of other bloggers (now i feel foolish!). But my eyes now see the light and I’d gladly visit them! I make use of the email notifications for reading blog posts since i still get access to them even when offline.
    Atheinne recently posted…WHUBUT WEDNESDAY + February Wrap-UpMy Profile

    1. That’s why we came up with the idea for this post—a lot of people just don’t realize what they should do. Now, remember, there are never any hard and fast “rules.” You aren’t REQUIRED to comment on other people’s posts, but it’s generally a polite thing to do, and it will help you get the most out of those link-ups!
      Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction recently posted…Sunday Post & Giveaways Galore – 3/4/18My Profile

    2. Glad you found the post helpful 🙂 yeah, I mean, if you leave your post link somewhere, you’ve got to pay it back. Otherwise, if everyone did the same, nobody would ever be visiting anyone. And that doesn’t make sense 😀

      Oh cool, that’s a good point about email blog notifications! Never thought of it that way 🙂

      Anyway, super glad this post could help out 🙂 thanks for reading!

  7. Thank you for sharing these tips! When I first started blogging, I remember seeing some Top Ten Tuesdays, wondering what they were, finally clicking a link one day, and being confused by the list of links! I think this could be a great help, especially for new bloggers. I found the section on how to make your post stand out particularly insightful. I’ve always tried to make my blog graphics the best I can, but I’ve never thought about creating a collage for a header.

    claire @ clairefy

    1. I know right, those first few weeks you’re blogging you’re always like “what iiiiiis this” 😀 it was the same for me. Ultimately, I never did join TTT. But I joined the Sunday post 🙂 glad you found the post helpful!

  8. I love this post! Linkups are one of my favorite things about blogging. I’ve discovered amazing blogs through linkups. I always try to click on as many links as I can. My favorites are The Sunday Post, Stacking the Shelves, Top Ten Tuesday, and Nicole’s Discussion Challenge and Wrap-up Round-Up.
    Aj @ Read All The Things! recently posted…The “Depressingly Real” Book HaulMy Profile

    1. The discussion challenge is definitely the way to go, it’s one of the most fun linkups I know 🙂 such good content! And it brings the best qualities out in you as well – because it prompts you to write good, creative material.
      It’s not necessarily just challenges though, for example, I do a monthly linkup for my monthly wrap up, and a weekly linkup (The Sunday post) for my weekly stats 🙂 it’s fun!

        1. Yeah, that makes sense. I used to wonder if these recaps are interesting for people to read at all, but then I got into the Sunday post so much, I just want to do it every week, so I do. Plus, I like reading recap posts 🙂 but it makes sense to do it every month instead of every week if you have smaller hauls.
          Oh, you can link up to the Sunday post and STS anyways! A lot of people take their own twist of this 🙂 or at least like up to Nicole’s wrapup linkup!

    1. Thanks, Andreea 🙂 I sometimes fail at commenting back to the ones who visited me xD I try, but man, I wake up the next day and it’s like 200 comments. 200 blogs to visit. That’s why I’m so behind :/ I’ve got real life going on too ;_; it’s been hard with the comments lately so here I am, replying to week old stuff xDD but I do try!

  9. This is such a fabulous post! And I love that it features common courtesy. I always try my hardest to go and comment on as many other posts, after I link up. And I love when other people do that too. For me, that’s such a huge part of participating in link ups, and it’s a great way to make new friends! And YES to visiting the hosts post. I feel that that gets forgotten sometimes, but we wouldn’t get to do these fun Link-ups without them, so again, common courtesy for the win! Wonderful post Nicole and thank you so much for doing this series Avalinah!
    Jen recently posted…BOOK REVIEW – The Return (Titan #1) by Jennifer L. ArmentroutMy Profile

  10. This is such a brilliant post, I love it. I used to participate in Link-Ups I don’t anymore but I really love how these things work. They’re fun to do, there are so many interesting themes and it’s always amazin to meet so many people this way. <3 I love that you mentioned here how it's important to not just leave your link there and leave. This is just not fun, the best part of it all is to stop by other blogs and see what they did with the theme, read their blog posts, comment, comment back and have fun this way 🙂
    Lovely post! 🙂
    Marie @ Drizzle & Hurricane Books recently posted…I Would Give Up the Internet Bookish TagMy Profile

    1. Yeah, it’s similar with commenting back – it seems a lot of people just don’t know the general etiquette, so I think it’s the same here. Not that you’re supposed to visit 200 links, of course, but at least visit SOME. And the ones who visit you 🙂
      Thanks, Marie, I also think that Nicole did a stunning job with this post 🙂

    1. I love linkups too 🙂 I think it was linkups that first made my blog, well, visible – at all! Before the Sunday post, my blog was relatively lonely and had no visits. Sunday post was the first thing to sort of drag it out of there 🙂
      Yeah, that’s true – I’ve had times I had to post and run too, but then I’ve taken the time to return in the middle of the week to visit people 🙂

  11. Love this post because link up ettitquette is hard. There was definitely no guidance for getting started it’s all just muddling through and thinking about what would be nice. I try and comment on a couple of posts in every link up (when I can) but sometimes you can’t at the time. If that’s the case I’ll try and got back another day and comment on the posts around my link (or any which sound cool). I think it’s easy to think you have to link up weekly but doing what you want when you want works better. Especially for TTT when not every topic will appeal.
    Becky @ A Fool’s Ingenuity recently posted…Hiatus // Where Have I Been And WhyMy Profile

    1. Thanks, Becky 🙂 yeah, there’s never any guidance, it seems! Oh yeah, TTT would be one wild linkup to join (I don’t do it) – there are just so many posts, you’d never be able to visit them all!

  12. So many great tips here. I know I need to get better about coming back to the linkups I participate in after my initial visit and looking at posts that were added after I visited the first time.

    1. Thanks! Yeah, I sometimes also struggle with that, mostly because I link up on Sunday, and then have no time to even answer my own comments during the week. Oh well, I guess if we visit back then at least there’s that 🙂

  13. That’s such a great post!!! I think linkups can be a great opportunity to check out other blogs and interact with other participants of a meme 🙂 I always try to visit and comment on as many blogs as I can when I participate in T5W, because it’s great to see what everyone else has done with the topic AND it makes people more likely to check out your post as well 🙂 I do try to make a spin on the topic or write a bit more about it e.g. if the topic is ‘favorite villains’ I’d maybe include a list of why I love villains or what makes a great villain for me 🙂

    1. Thank you, Caro! Yes, Nicole really wrote more than I could have ever come up with 🙂 I’m so proud to have such an experienced blogger giving us her wisdom here, on my own blog. It’s an honor 🙂
      Yes! It’s a smart thing to spin the topic. Some people, for example, when doing TTT, don’t even post why they liked the books – they just post a list of covers. What is that even xD who’s going to want to read that? There’s nothing to read, even xD so I feel that spinning the topic is very, very important – to make the post somewhat “your own” 🙂

      1. It’s really great that we get many amazing bloggers as guest-posts over here, so we all can learn something new! 🙂
        Oh yes, I’m always a bit sad when people don’t post why they choose the books, because I want to know! I’m like: Please tell me all your opinions!! It definitely is important to make the topic a bit your own and it can be a lot of fun too 🙂

  14. Nice post Evelina and Nicole 🙂 I love doing memes and currently, I am doing two – TTT and STS. While I try to write a post every week for TTT, for STS I am now posting on alternate Saturdays.
    I agree with all of your above points, Nicole. It is so important to participate. Though I agree it is quite overwhelming at times especially TTT which mostly has over 200 entries. It is quite impossible for me to go and comment on each of the posts. But I try to comment on as much as possible and always return the favor 🙂

    Also, I can see the significance of being unique. These days I am trying to post on different topics each TTT, usually when I am not that happy with that day’s topic. I have noticed that it usually garners more attention 🙂
    Sim @ Flipping Through the Pages recently posted…Ten Favourite “Personal” Dedications from Books I’ve ReadMy Profile

    1. Thanks, Sim 🙂 I’ve never done TTT, somehow. I’ve always felt like it’s a little bit of an impersonal meme, because it’s got so many participants! It’s easier with STS or the Sunday Post 🙂

  15. This post is super helpful and amazing! Nicole is such an inspiration with the challenges she hosts and manages to be super interactive as well. I think I’m only part of the discussion challenge and though I don’t post a lot of discussions myself, I TRY to kinda be active around the blogosphere and what better way than spreading some love through the linked discussions. Commenting back is something I try my best to do but sometimes I kinda lag there and ugh, I get annoyed with myself. BUT I tell myself it’s a new day and I’ll try to return all the love and give some more today 😀 I even loved Nicole’s advise on tweaking up the meme topics. I’m not a part of TTT or any other meme and though they amuse me a lot, I feel like I won’t be able to put something new in it. But this post makes me rethink that 🙂
    Fanna recently posted…Blog Tour – Crimson Ash by Haley Sulich [Review + Giveaway]My Profile

    1. She really is!! I actually fail to visit the posts in the discussion challenge, and that’s sad :/ I wish I had time for more blog stuff, but that’s the way it goes. But I do see half of those posts while just blog hopping 🙂

      I’m also not a part of TTT for mostly the same reason. I feel like it’s too massive, which makes it very impersonal. So I agree 🙂

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