How Bloggers Can Boost Their Income with Freelance Writing

Are you a blogger who’s looking to make some extra income on the side? Or someone who’s interested in making a living as a freelance writer?

Freelance writing (or blogging) is an excellent way to add to your monthly income. I decided last year around this time that I was going to pursue freelance writing and I haven’t once regretted that decision.

I now make over $2,000 per month writing online, working from home or a local coffee shop and I couldn’t be happier! You can read about how I went from $200 to $2000 a month as a freelance writer over on Horkey Handbook!

Come right this way to see how you can get started!

LAY THE FOUNDATION

It can feel overwhelming jumping into something new. When I first started my freelance journey, I enrolled in Gina Horkey’s course, 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success. It helped me in a bundle of ways. The self-paced course lays the foundation for your freelance writing career, covering everything from choosing your niche, to setting your rates, to how to pitch clients and build portfolio samples, to tips for formatting articles, and SO. MUCH. MORE!

It’s delivered in a 30-day email format, with a new lesson coming in when you’ve completed the previous one. Gina was one of the first freelancer writers I came across in my research and she instantly became such an inspiration. I can’t recommend this course enough!

CHOOSE A FOCUS

Just like your blog, it’s important to have a focus for your freelance writing. What topics do you love to write about? What topics do you know lots about?

I write under the lifestyle umbrella, which covers anything from health to beauty and fashion to travel, and even celebrity. These are all related and meshed together, for instance, for the travel blog I write for, I write beauty and fashion-related travel posts! So choosing a focus doesn’t mean you just have to write about one thing for the rest of your life!

You could be a finance writer and write about meal plan budgeting, saving for college, planning for retirement, etc. Don’t think of a focus as cutting you off from other things, think about how you could expand your knowledge about the topic in different ways.

Once you’ve narrowed your focus you can pin point the jobs you’d like to pitch!

BUILDING YOUR PORTFOLIO

It can be hard to land writing gigs without any writing samples. If you have a blog, that’s a great start! Your posts are excellent samples of your writing, especially if you’re going to be focussing on the same topics for your freelancing.

You can also guest post on other blogs! It may not be for pay, but it can be great exposure and if you have your own byline, you can start building a portfolio! You can check out my online Contently portfolio here.

When I started out, I had interned at three online fashion/beauty publications that year where I wrote articles online almost every day, so I had a good foundational portfolio. But I also wrote a few guest posts for free to add to it!

FINDING JOBS

Finding good quality freelance writing jobs can be the toughest part. Make sure you’re not selling yourself short, and that you’re getting paid for the time and effort you put in.

I’ve made everywhere from $25 to $250 for an article, and everything in between. It’s okay to start off on the lower side, especially when you’re just getting your foot in the door and if you want to get samples, but make sure you don’t get stuck there – you have rent and bills to pay!

You can find jobs a number of different ways:

1) Job boards

There are paid and non-paid job board options out there. Here are some that I’ve used or heard good things about, and a quick Google search will show you even more!:

NON-PAID

Pro Blogger

All Indie Writers

Craigslist (not sure if this is considered a job board necessarily, but it’s free and sometimes has great freelance jobs in the ‘writing/editing’ section!)

PAID

Paid to Blog Jobs

Contenta

2) Cold pitching

You can also find jobs by heading to your favourite websites to see if they have writer submission guidelines. Many websites and blogs are open to contributors, in which case they’ll provide guidelines for you to pitch them. Some may want you to email in story ideas, some may want a hed and dek plus the intro paragraph of your story, etc. For example, you can find these guidelines below when you visit Fashionmagazine.com’s “Contact Us” page.

freelance-writing-cold-pitch

Google is another way to find websites to cold pitch. If you type “*Your focus here*, write for us” it will turn up websites that are looking for writers in your niche!

3) Word of mouth

Almost all of my writing jobs have actually come by networking and word of mouth. Make sure you’re always talking about your writing and letting people know that you’re available for hire!

One of my best tips is to join freelance writing Facebook groups! (You’ll get access to the 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success group once you sign up for the course). The group is full of people in the same shoes as you and it’s packed with helpful information from other freelancers. It’s been such a source of inspiration and motivation for me, I can’t even begin to explain! It’s also one of the ways I landed one of my on-going freelance gigs and FAVOURITE clients (Hi, Dani!)!

PITCH, PITCH, PITCH

Once you’ve narrowed your focus and found websites (or print magazines) you want to write for, pitch your little heart out! I will admit, it can take time to build a pitch you’re happy with, but keep tweaking and eventually you’ll have a kick-butt pitch that gets noticed every time!

Here’s the ultimate cold pitching template if you’re feeling a little bit like a lost puppy when it comes to pitching!

My best advice to aspiring freelancer writers is simply to get started. The longer you hold off, the longer it will take to reach your goal, whether it’s making some extra income from a side hustle, quitting your 9 to 5, or expanding your writing portfolio as a blogger.

Freelance writing has kept me afloat while I’m trying to turn my blog into my biz and it’s an awesome way to grow your income as a blogger! If you have any questions, sound off in the comment section below, and as always, thank you so much for stopping by!

If you loved this post on boosting your income with freelance writing, make sure to share the love by pinning the image below!

One way to boost your income as a blogger is freelance writing! If you’re interested in freelance writing but not sure where to get started, click through to read this post! It’s filled with tips and ideas that are perfect for beginners looking for freelance writing jobs! Read it now or save this pin for later!

For more blogging tips make sure to say hi and follow along on Pinterest|Instagram|Twitter

The Blogger’s Guide to SEO: 10 Ways to Improve Your SEO Ranking

Improving your SEO (search engine optimization) ranking is a sure fire way to get more eyes on your blog posts. Search engines like Google and Yahoo! scour the web for content and organize it from best/most popular to least popular. Have you ever wondered why certain pages show up when you search something in Google? SEO, baby!
Improve Your SEO Ranking

Optimizing your posts for search engines is the best way to get organic traffic to your blog, but it can be tricky to figure out. A lot of posts and courses that cover SEO can be downright confusing and full to the brim with too much information. That’s why I created this step-by-step guide that lays everything out in a straight-forward way. Oh, and I also whipped up a handy dandy FREE checklist so you can ACE your SEO every. single. time.

Let’s get to it!

1) WELL-WRITTEN CONTENT

This may seem obvious, but search engines aren’t going to be impressed with posts that have lots of spelling mistakes and paragraphs that don’t really make sense. Once you’ve written your blog post, make sure to read it over, or even have a friend do it for you. You may get off the hook with a few MINOR spelling mistakes, but bad grammar and low readability are a recipe for SEO disaster.

2) USE KEYWORDS IN YOUR POST

Search engines love, love, love keywords. Keywords are the peanut butter to their jelly, the yin to their yang, the Frank to their Claire Underwood. You catch my drift.

What do your readers want to know about? What are they struggling with? What words describe this?

Keywords are words that describe and are significant to your topic. For example, with my post, How to Land Your First Sponsored Post, I made sure to include keywords such as brands, bloggers, sponsor, monetize, products, etc. These are words that people could possibly search for that relate to that topic and post in particular.

3) OPTIMIZE YOUR IMAGES

Always make sure to add images to your blog posts. Aesthetically it makes your post stand out, and search engines favour posts with multimedia. There are a couple ways to optimize your images.

First off, name your images descriptively. If you upload an image from your camera, it might save as something like IMG_1614. Do not keep it that way. I like to name my images with the post title and then a descriptive word or phrase. For example, Bloggers-Guide-SEO-Image-Optimization.

Another way to optimize your images is adding keywords to your image alt text when you add the image to your post. This will make your images searchable, and since search engines can’t interpret the photo, it lets them know what the photo represents. For example, if you’re doing a post on bite size desserts, add “bite size desserts” to your image alt text!

Here’s an example of the alt text I added to my Pinterest post.

Improve Your SEO Ranking

4) WRITE LONG POSTS THAT SOLVE A PROBLEM FOR YOUR READERS

Write posts that are helpful to your readers! Solve a problem, give examples, show your progress, make people want to come back for more! It’s recommended to write posts that are at least 750 words, but I like to go for 1,000 to 1,500 for ultimate optimization. It may seem long, but when you’re writing really in-depth, helpful content, it actually flies by and you wonder how the heck you just wrote so much juicy content in the last half hour!

If you want to know exactly how to create epic content your readers will gobble up, check out this post where I share all my best tips!

5) CREATE A KEYWORD-HEAVY TITLE

Just like your content, make sure you have keywords in the title of your post. Long-tail keywords are even better. Long-tail keywords target a specific market and are typically between 2 to 5 words long. For instance, while Pinterest is a keyword, Pinterest for New Bloggers is a long-tail keyword. With that example, new bloggers are the niche you’re targeting; the audience you really want to reach!

6) INCLUDE LINKS

Search engines really like links – outbound links, inbound links and links to your site from other sites! New to link lingo? Outbound links are links you put in your post that direct people to other helpful posts. For example, if you want to read about dealing with self doubt as an entrepreneur, Morgan Timm tells you all about it here. <– That is an outbound link!

Inbound links, on the other hand are links that direct people to other posts on your site like I’ve been doing in some of the previous sections of this post. This is another example.

Another way to get links to your site is for other blogs to link to one of your posts. The bigger the blog, the better. A great way to do this is to guest post on bigger blogs. Typically, if you guest post you will have an author bio that will link back to your site. One of my best days for traffic was when this freelance writing post went live on Horkey Handbook. My bio at the end of the post links directly to my blog, and using analytics I was able to see that most of my page views that day came from HH!

7) POST CONSISTENTLY AND FREQUENTLY

The more consistently and frequently you post, the more chances you’ll have to pop up in search engines. Search engines like websites that give their readers lots to read and choose from. If you’re not posting consistently and don’t have a big archive for people to read through, readers aren’t able to gain trust and fall in love with you as a blogger.

If readers love you, search engines will love you, too. Easy as pie!

8) ORGANIZE YOUR POSTS WITH HEADINGS

Headings and sections make your posts organized and easier to read. Without them it can turn into a jumble and people are less likely to read through the post. Imagine if this post didn’t have numbered headings? It would be super overwhelming and most people would click away.

Section your post with headings and include keywords in the headings so people can find what they’re looking for!

9) OPTIMIZE YOUR URLS

I cringe when I think back to my first few months of blogging. I clearly knew nothing about SEO, which showed in many ways. One of the EASIEST ways to improve your SEO is making your URL easy to understand. Make sure it tells your readers what the post is about and includes keywords.

When I started out, many of my posts would have URLs like:

https://mydomain.com/564hfg54/mggjjtb=675392015hh#768419

Since I didn’t know anything about SEO, I didn’t really know this was a problem, but check out the difference:

https://mydomain.com/create-epic-shareworthy-blog-posts

Clearly the latter is much better. It tells people exactly what they’re going to get from the post, and of course, makes it make searchable!

10) WRITE ABOUT WHAT’S TRENDING

Write what people want to read about. Don’t guess, do research, and solve a problem for your readers. The best way to find what your readers are looking for? Social media. Social media is queen for bloggers, and search engines can read the links from most social media platforms, meaning if you’re writing about a topic that’s trending on social media, you have a better chance of being found by search engines.

Be active on social media, share your links, and write what people want to read about!

If you loved this post, make sure to share it on Pinterest!
Looking to increase your organic traffic with search engine optimization, but don’t know where to start? The SEO tips and advice in this post will boost your ranking so your website and content will be easily found on Google and other search engines. This is the blogger’s ultimate guide to SEO. Click through to improve your SEO ranking now or save this pin for later!

For more blogging tips make sure to say hi and follow along on Pinterest|Instagram|Twitter

How to Use Pinterest to Grow Your Blog

If there was one thing I wish someone had told me when I started my blog, it would be to get on Pinterest STAT! It wasn’t until three years into my on-and-off blogging career that I realized how crucial it is for bloggers. At the beginning of this year I was really trying to figure out which social media platforms I should hone in on, and through all of my research, Pinterest kept popping up as the number one platform for bloggers.

After purposefully using the platform over the past few months, Pinterest is now my blog’s top referrer and I’ve reached over 140,000 avg. monthly viewers on Pinterest! It was also the main reason I was able to quadruple my page views last month.

Pinterest-Analytics
So how can you start seeing the same results? First of all, start thinking of Pinterest more like a search engine than a social media platform. People are using Pinterest to search and find information from recipes to blogging tips to fashion advice. You need to be creating helpful share-worthy content if you want to do well on Pinterest.

I also invested in myself. I worked through the Blog Clarity course called Pinning Perfectwhich I very highly recommend. There are 8 super in-depth units that take you through everything from creating killer images for Pinterest, to making your blog Pinterest friendly, to using boards to grow your traffic and so much more. All the units have been recently updated and both instructors work WITH Pinterest to bring you the most up-to-date info! This course is seriously PACKED with amazing information and has helped get me to where I am today with my Pinterest account, so if you are looking to invest in a super affordable Pinterest course, this one is for you! (PS. That’s an affiliate link, so if you make a purchase, I get some cash money).

Before we get into the juicy content of this post, I’ve created a Pinterest foundation workbook for you. It will ensure your profile (from your bio to your boards) is set up for ultimate success right from the get go! Read the post, fill out the workbook, and start seeing awesome results!

THE BASICS

1. Set up a business account

First thing’s first. Switch your profile over to a business account. This way you’ll get access to awesome things like Pinterest analytics. Go to https://business.pinterest.com, click “convert now” and follow the steps.

2. Apply for rich pins

To look more professional on Pinterest, apply for rich pins. This means that your website name will be attached to any pin that is pinned from your website. See where it says “From Layered Indulgence” on the pins below, that’s because of rich pins! Pinterest guru, Melyssa Griffin breaks down the process for you in this in-depth post!

Pinterest-Rich-Pins

3. Fill out your bio

Your name and bio will be a key part of your success on Pinterest. Use key words and explain who you are and what you do. Here is mine below. My name on Pinterest is Kate Bialowas| Lifestyle Blogger & Blogging Tips – those are both keywords/phrases. My bio also has keywords placed within it and lets people know exactly what I do. A call to action also never hurts. It’s a great way to bring people to your site or have them opt in to your list!

Pinterest-Bio
YOUR BOARDS

4. Blog board

Create a board that is solely for your blog posts. Make it your first board and pin each of your blog posts to it as soon as they’re published. Then re-pin that pin to all relevant boards and group boards. This will increase your repin number, which works in your favour!

A blog board is also great because when people visit your profile they can see what your blogs all about and see all your awesome content in one place.

5. Clean up your boards

Make sure your boards are on brand. Delete any boards you don’t pin to or that don’t have anything to do with your blog and brand (PS. deleting boards will delete your followers who are only following that board, but if it doesn’t work with your brand, you’re better off!).

Add boards that do suit your brand and place your most relevant boards first. For example, “Blogging Tips” “Entrepreneur Tips” and “Social Media Tips” are my first three boards after my blog board because they’re what I blog about most!

6. Board covers

Your board covers set the tone for your Pinterest page. Pick branded colours and images that all work together. You can even create custom board photos if you want! Here are some of my board covers:

Pinterest-Board-Covers

PINNING GUIDE

7. Your pins

When creating pin images for your blog posts, make sure to brand them. Use the same fonts and colours, similar background photos (you can find free styled stock photos here), and make sure your website name is on them. Anna from My Life and Kids has awesome, branded pins!

Pinterest-My-Life-and-Kids

You can create pin images in PicMonkey or Canva (I use PicMonkey). Both are free and easy to use. Play around with it and find a pin aesthetic that suits you!

8. Pin high quality, on brand content

Make sure the pins you repin are on brand. Pin pins that fit your aesthetic and only pin quality pins that are helpful. That means, click on the pins and make sure they go to legit posts. Some send you somewhere completely different or to horrible content. I find that MOST pretty, well-created pins lead to high quality content, but it’s always best to make sure.

9. Pin… a lot

Like other social media platforms, Pinterest likes when you are active and engaged. Right now I’m trying to pin 70 to 75 pins per day, but I want to eventually get up to 100-150. Invest in a social media scheduler and schedule your pins to go out throughout the day. I use BoardBooster to loop pins and Tailwind to schedule all my pins. What’s looping? BoardBooster will take pins from the bottom of your boards and re-pin them to the top of your boards (make sure you have at least 100 pins on a board before you start looping)– it’s a great time saver!

10. Join group boards

Joining and pinning to group boards gets your pins in front of a bigger audience. Your pins will be seen by anyone who is following that board, so it’s not just your followers anymore. Look for group boards that are active and have lots of re-pins!

The best way to find group boards? Check out Pinterest accounts that are similar to yours and see what group boards they belong to. Any group board will have two little icons in the top right corner. If the group board is open to contributors there will be directions on how to join in the description of the board. And make sure to follow the group board rules!

Pinterest-Group-Boards
Alright, we just covered a lot of juicy stuff. Start applying these tactics and watch your Pinterest account, as well as your blog, grow. And don’t forget, I made a handy workbook for you to create a successful Pinterest foundation!

If you loved this post, make sure to pin the image below!
 Wondering how to grow your blog and brand with Pinterest? If you’re a blogger, creative, or entrepreneur, click through to read all my tips for creating a successful Pinterest account that will result in non-stop followers and increased page views! Plus a FREE Pinterest foundation workbook to ensure you’re set up right, from the very start.

For more blogging tips make sure to say hi and follow along on Pinterest|Instagram|Twitter

How to Create Epic, Share-Worthy Blog Posts

Something I’ve learned over my years of blogging is that you need to share really epic content if you want to be successful. The most share-worthy blog posts spew tons of knowledge, solve a problem for your readers, tell a personal story, make people laugh, etc.

For example, let’s say you’re a fashion blogger. Which of these blog posts do you think will attract more people? A blog post where you tell people what you’re wearing and what brand each piece is, or a blog post that tells your audience why the pieces you’re wearing work together, why you chose to mix the colours and patterns in your outfit, whether the fabric was breathable on a hot day, where you wore the outfit and why, etc.

The second example provides so much more juicy info. Sure, you’ll see some big bloggers basically write three sentences about what they’re wearing and call it a day. But guess what? They’re already super successful so they can get away with it. And personally I don’t get much from those bloggers, so they’re not blogs I visit frequently.
Epic-Blog-Post

When you give your readers AWESOME content, they won’t have a choice but to come back to get more. Plus, they’ll want to share it with all their friends! My post on how to land sponsored posts has been re-pinned almost 1,000 times on Pinterest, with many of my other posts reaching the same share-worthy success.

And do you know when this started happening? When I started writing content that really helped people solve a problem! I don’t hold back, I’m sharing everything I’m learning and that, my friends, is what people want to read!

If you want to learn the exact steps I take when creating epic, share-worthy blog posts, let’s get to it!

PS. This is one long, in-depth post. So I made you a free 2-page checklist that you can follow to make sure every blog post you create is extra epic! It includes every step I take when writing my blog posts and will act as your ultimate guide!

1) BRAINSTORM

Before you write an epic blog post, you have to come up with an epic topic! Every day I think up new topics while I’m browsing the web, grocery shopping or even in spin class. Anytime you think of a topic you want to blog about, write it down!

I have one main Word document where I store all my ideas. If an idea comes to you when you’re out and about, write it down in your phone and make sure to switch it over to your main doc so you have all your ideas in the same place.

If you’re not into thinking up topics on the fly, have a brainstorm session. Sit down and write down all the topics you’d love to blog about! You can find inspiration on Pinterest (see the photo below), Google, and other websites and blog you love – just make sure you’re not stealing ideas!

Epic-Blog-Post-Brainstorm

When you’re ready to sit down and write, check to see if any of your ideas are trending and make those topics your priority! You can check this on places like Twitter and Google Trends. Also think about things like the time of year. Is a certain holiday coming up? If any of your topics can we worked in around a certain holiday, write them up! People love the holidays, and they work really well on Pinterest!

Then think about the following: Will the topic help someone in some way? Does it solve a problem? Will your target reader feel connected to it? Can you provide awesome knowledge, tips and information about the topic?

If the answer is yes to all of the above, then you’ve got an epic topic!

2) RESEARCH

Once you’ve decided on your topic, do your research. This is when you can check out other blogs – what’s working for them? Remember – you are NOT copying their ideas, but you can get a sense of what their readers are specifically drawn to, what you like about their post and what you don’t, and how you can put your own spin on the topic.

If your topic also requires other research, this is the time to do it! Most of my posts are based on my experiences and what I’ve learned, but sometimes I conduct extra research to enhance the post.

3) CREATE A MIND-BLOWING TITLE

Some people like to come up with a title before they write, and some people prefer to leave it until after the post is written. Either way works, but make the title something people can’t resist! Make it specific and make it mind-blowing! Instead of titling your post ‘How to Use Pinterest’, title it ‘5 Pinterest Strategies That Will Totally Change The Game.’

Also make sure to use a keyword or key phrase. Don’t just title a post ‘My Favorite Skirt’, try something like ‘Why The Midi Skirt is the Ultimate Vacation Staple.’ ‘Midi skirt’ and ‘vacation’ are both keywords that do well in search engines. Plus, the first example doesn’t really tell your readers what exactly your post will be about, while the second one gives them a solid intro!

4) START WRITING

I suggest writing your posts up in a program like Word, Evernote, or Google Docs rather than directly in WordPress. I’ve heard horror stories of WordPress glitches and people losing all their work! It’s definitely better to be safe than sorry, especially when writing an EPIC post!

And remember – When writing your content, be helpful, solve a problem for your readers, get personal, be truthful, be transparent, provide tips and how-to’s, tell them what you’ve learned and what you know! They’ll eat it up!

5) FORMATTING

Make sure your blog post is easy for people to read. Create short paragraphs that are no longer than 5 lines each. Also, add subheadings to break up different topics within your topic. Imagine this post was just one long essay without chopping it up into different sub topics? YIKES!

6) COPY & PASTE INTO WORDPRESS

When you copy your post into WordPress, make sure it formats properly, and if it doesn’t, make any necessary changes.

7) ADD PHOTOS

Blog posts with photos are always more successful than blog posts without photos. People are visual beings and they like to have some eye candy! Also make sure to add in a feature image for each of your posts!

Looking for some free styled stock photos for your blog? I’ve got just the thing for you right here!

Epic-Blog-Post-Photo

8) THE EXTRAS 

Add in an SEO keyword (download the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress if you don’t have it yet!), tags, and categories for your post.

9) CREATE PINNABLE IMAGE

Using PicMonkey, Canva, Photoshop or another graphic design program, create a pinnable image for your post – make sure it’s vertical (I usually make mine around 800 x 1090), has a nice image, text overlay with the title of you post, and your water mark.

Create a description for your pinnable image that you place in your alt-text and insert it into your post!

10) SCHEDULE

Try to stick to a consistent posting schedule. I know it’s not always possible, and I’m definitely guilty of straying from my own schedule, but consistency is key. Schedule your posts for the same time and days each week. Your readers will come to rely on this and look forward to your posts!

11) GET SOCIAL 

Schedule your posts on all of your social media channels for the day it goes live. There are social media scheduling tools such as Hootsuite that make this super easy to do. Scheduling your post to social media right when you’ve completed it will ensure you don’t forget to do it when your post is published!

Epic-Blog-Post-Social
12) EDIT

Give it a rest for a while. Read a book, cook dinner, go for a run. Come back to your post and edit it. It’s always good to give your eyes a little break before editing. I like to read my posts in ‘Preview’ mode on WordPress and make any necessary changes.

13) PIN

Once the post is published, pin it to every board you can! PS. If you’re not on Pinterest yet and have no idea what I’m talking about, no worries! But I do think you SHOULD be. That’s why a big, AWESOME Pinterest post is in the works and coming your way next week! WEE!

If you found this post helpful, make sure to share away on Pinterest!

The anatomy of a share-worthy blog post has certain elements that make it stand out. If you’re stumped on how to write a blog post that people will love and share, I’ve got tons of ideas and inspiration for you! From how to create mind-blowing titles to scheduling social media, this is how to write an epic, share-worthy blog post! Plus, you’ll get a free checklist! Click through to read or save this pin for later.

For more blogging tips make sure to say hi and follow along on Pinterest|Instagram|Twitter

My Summer Reading List: The Best Books for the Beach and Beyond

One of my goals this summer is to read more. It’s not that I don’t do a lot of reading. I wake up each morning to The Skimm (if you haven’t subscribed to this newsletter, you must! Each morning they send you a run-down of all the important news stories from the day before in a funny and addictively readable way, and it makes my mornings so much better!), and I read A LOT throughout the day in order to write my articles and blog posts. And since I’m learning the ins and outs of growing my blog, I feel like so much of my time is spent reading and researching other blogs and courses in order to grow. So when I say I want to read more, I actually mean I want to read more for pleasure.

There’s just something about reading in the summer that’s more relaxing than any other time of year. You can read in bed at night with a light breeze coming in, on the beach in between cool-down dips, or even on a flight to your next jetset destination. Some of the books on this list are ones I’ve read and some are on my summer reading list, recommended by friends or other bloggers! These are my top 8 must-read books for summer 2016.

This post contains affiliate links, however I would never recommend anything I didn’t absolutely love or use myself!

The Nest – Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

I’m about half-way though this book (so don’t give anything away in the comments!). It’s safe to say I’m obsessed. Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney is completely captivating in her writing, and each time I pick it up I don’t want to put it back down. It tells the story of a group of four siblings who inherited a lump of cash – “The Nest.” But when one of the brothers gets into a car accident with a nineteen-year-old waitress as his passenger, he endangers everyone else’s claim to the anticipated trust fund.

The story is so intriguing and the character development makes you want to know more and more about each and every one of them. They all have their personal dramas and demons, but family, and all its ups and downs, is at the very core of the story. I’m so excited to see what happens, but at the same time don’t want it to end.

summer-reading-list-the-nest

Why Not Me? – Mindy Kaling

If you’re a Mindy Kaling fan and haven’t read her books yet, what in the world are you waiting for? Her hilarity and wit shine through in her writing just as strongly as they do her acting, so it’s no surprise that her second novel is a page-turner. I also recommend her first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), if you haven’t read that.

Her collection of essays recounts her wins and conundrums as she explains everything from past relationships, to seeking friendships in new places, to making it in Hollywood when you don’t fit the typical Hollywood beauty mould. She brings you through her personal story in a laugh-out-loud way that’s relatable for anyone who’s been at a turning point in their life and career. It really just makes me want to be her best friend.

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The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins

I’ve yet to read this book, but I’ve heard really great things about it. Plus, me and my sister gave it to my mom as one of her Christmas gifts so it’s already lying around the house somewhere. The Girl on the Train is a psychological thriller that is continually compared to Gone Girl, a story I absolutely love. According to Helene over at Helene in Between, “This is a thriller that expertly delivers each layer of a woman’s twisted story, her odd obsession and how it affects her life.” I’m already hooked and I haven’t even opened the book yet.

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The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories

I started reading a friend’s copy of this book two summers ago, and was just reminded of it when I was writing this post. Marina Keegan was on her way to amazing things – she had graduated from Yale University, had a play that was to be produced at the New York International Fringe Festival and a job waiting for her at the New Yorker. In an tragic turn of events, she died in a car crash on the way to celebrate her graduation at her parent’s cottage. The book is a collection of essays and stories that she wrote, capturing the struggles, dreams, and possibilities of her generation. Her story is heartbreaking, but her talent is unrelenting.

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Where’d You Go, Bernadette: A Novel – Maria Semple

I’ve read so many raving reviews about this book. It follows the story of an agoraphobic mother who goes missing before a family vacation to Antarctica. In order to try and find her, her daughter complies email messages, official documents and secret correspondence. It’s both smart and funny, and an absolute must-read for the beach or a long flight.

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Modern Romance – Aziz Ansari

This book was so much more than I thought it would be. Aziz is funny, like, really funny, and I assumed his novel would talk all about his views on dating in the age of Tinder, emojis and endless options. While he does share his personal (comedic) opinions, there was SO much research that went into his inaugural book. Alongside sociologist Eric Klinenberg, Ansari travels everywhere from Tokyo to Buenos Aires to Wichita to conduct focus groups and interviews and share thoughtful insight on the way each place is experiencing romance in the technological age. It’s retable, real and crazy addictive.

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The Vacationers: A Novel – Emma Straub

A perfect summer read, The Vacationers takes you on a family’s two week trip that uncovers secrets, humiliations, joys and childhood jealousies. Each character is developed in an intriguing and lovable way, and although the family is quite dysfunctional, Straub is able to paint a story of the familiar familial bonds that hold us together.

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How I Made 40K My First Year of Blogging – Chelsea Lords of Chelsea’s Messy Apron

For all my blogger babes out there, this ebook is for you! Chelsea details everything she learned in her first year of blogging, and how she earned $40,000! She talks everything from starting a blog, to the importance of social media, to working with companies and her best-kept secrets! I know this is technically more for work than pleasure, but I’m actually so excited to read and learn from it so I had to throw it in here!

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What’s on your summer reading list? Let me know in the comments below! And if you love this list, make sure to share it on Pinterest!

Looking for a must-read list of books for summer 2016? I’ve got you covered! From Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeny’s The Nest, to Mindy Kaling’s Why Not Me, and much more, this is the ultimate summer reading list! Click through now to check it out or save this pin for later.
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