Automated Review Archives, Resizing Images, & Sending Followup Emails to Publishers

BBB Question Roundup

I’m including three BBB questions in this post! I’ve started to realize how much of a backlog I have! Included in this post are:

Automated review archives

Ashley,

I’ve been looking over your site and I noticed how organized and put together your review pages are. I love how everything is “clickable” and links back and forth to everything.

Forgive me if you have discussed this before, but I was just wondering if you could share a little bit about how you put together and organized your review pages so efficiently.

Thanks!

No problem! All of my review pages are automated. When I create a new post, the page in WordPress looks like this:

Book information boxes in WordPress

I have created boxes for every piece of book information. The HTML then gets formatted automatically and put into my review. But since I store the book title and author (and other data) in separate fields, I can retrieve those fields and manipulate them. That’s how I created automated archives sorted by title, author, and a variety of other ways. I use PHP to pull out all the book reviews, rearrange them, and display them in a separate way.

After using this on my own blog for several months, I started thinking about making this feature available to other WordPress bloggers. That’s when I created the Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin for WordPress.

Resizing images in WordPress

Hi Ashley! WordPress recently changed how they let you resize images in posts and I’m finding myself frustrated. I used to use the percentage resizing, but that’s not an option anymore so now I’m going into the HTML and just changing the height or width of the image. It shows up great on my blog and in my email subscriptions, but not my RSS feed. In my RSS feed the images show up their original sizes, which are usually a bit bigger and not consistent which just looks horrible for book covers. Is there a good way to resize an image in my blog posts without having to download it, resize it manually, and reupload it?

Anya

Hi Anya! I don’t recommend that you resize images with HTML or CSS. Here’s the problem with that:

Let’s say you upload an image that’s 1000×1000 pixels and is 500KB in file size. But you don’t want to show it at 1000×1000 pixels so you resize it like this:

<img src="IMAGE URL" alt="ALT TEXT" width="400">

It may only be displaying at 400×400 pixels now, but the end user still has to download the whole 1000×1000 (and 500KB) image. Bigger images means slower page loads.

So what I’m saying is that you should really only be uploading images at the exact size you want to use them at. I personally resize all my images in Photoshop before uploading them. I then run them through various compressors to decrease the file size even further. However, if you’d rather not do that, then you should at least make use of the sizes in WordPress (thumbnail, medium, and large).

You can set the sizes in Settings » Media. Then, whenever you upload an image, the image is automatically resized for those three settings. When adding the image to your post, simply select the size you want: thumbnail, medium, large, or full.

Resize images in WordPress

This is the best way to approach different sized images because it allows you to insert an image that has actually been resized at a file level, rather than just at the display level. This should also fix your problem with images not showing up as expected in RSS feeds because the image itself will be the correct size.

Sending followup emails to publishers

If I sent a mailing list request to a publisher and they haven’t replied in, say, a month, what do you think I should include in the follow-up email I plan to send?

Jay

Hi Jay! Sadly, publishers often won’t send a reply. It’s not something you should take personally; it’s just because they’re so busy. For example, when I used to request physical ARCs, I’d often send a request, never hear back, but then they would send the book! However, it goes the other way as well. Sometimes you’ll send a request, never hear back, and still not get the book.

You can send a followup email, but I’d personally suggest limiting it to one. Do not keep emailing them if they don’t reply. Your followup email could be something like this:

Hello {publisher name}!

I sent in a request a few weeks ago to be added to your blogger mailing list. I haven’t heard back so I just wanted to check in and see if you received it. 🙂 To refresh your memory, here are some details about me and my blog:

{about you, your blog, and what kind of content you post}

{stats about your blog}

I’m open to accepting both eARCs and physical ARCs. My NetGalley account is {netgalley account} and here’s my mailing address:

{shipping address}

Thanks, and I look forward to hearing from you! 🙂

Best wishes,
{your name}

The key thing is to include EVERYTHING. Don’t just say, “I sent you an email a few months ago—did you get it?” They’re probably not going to want to look for it. So include everything again and don’t make it necessary for them to respond to you. If you include all the facts, your format preferences, and your mailing address, then they can add you to a mailing list without sending a followup email. That’s what publishers like. They don’t want to have to ask for more details or information.

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I'm a 28 year old California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). My three great passions are: books, coding, and fitness. more »

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6 comments

  1. I’m so thankful that the UBB plugin does all that for me – I can’t imagine trying to keep it all organized. Wait – yes I can – there were three weeks before I switched to WordPress that I tried to make my own index and it was hell.

    I still haven’t contacted a publisher beyond Netgalley or Edelweiss – not sure I ever will. I guess I have a hard time believing they will send me books LOL

    1. I find that with NetGalley and Edelweiss I never need to contact publishers! It’s nice that we have those services to make the process of getting ARCs so much easier. 🙂

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