This entry is in response to posts by two other bloggers regarding the blogger panel at BookExpo America 2009, which was held in NYC this past weekend.
Katiebabs attended ‘Book Bloggers – Today’s Buzz Builders’ and wrote about it on her blog. She summarized the main points presented by the panel, plus her opinion on those points. Veteran reviewer Mrs Giggles shot back with a post of her own, asking ‘Do bloggers need that much love and attention from authors?’
Here’s my take on the points Katiebabs listed:
1. Wants more relationships with bookstores. Would love to highlight certain bookstores from small and large to independent.
This point is irrelevant from my perspective as I am not a US resident and I’m reliant on internet bookstores such as Amazon or The Book Depository.
2. If a publisher or author is interested in a blogger reviewing a book, they should really check out the blog’s review policy and if the blogger likes to read that certain book that is being asked to review. Bloggers need time to read because blogging is very much a hobby and because of real life issues, expecting a book review where a book is only given two weeks before the due date is not realistic. Publishers and authors should understand time restraints.
I haven’t even considered having a review policy on my blog as I’m not anticipating many Advanced Reading Copies coming my way. Until and unless more digital ARCS (DARCS?) are made available, I doubt authors/publishers will want to pay the extra shipping costs to send me a book to review.
Also, I have to be upfront and say that my reading time is limited as it is. I’m averaging three books per week at the moment and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. With so little time to devote to reading, I’m not in a position to commit to reviewing a ton of ARCs. I strongly believe that a reviewer who receives an advance copy (as long as it’s solicited) has an obligation to provide a review within a timely fashion. The book is free for a price.
That said, if I ever get a copy of a much-anticipated book early, I will probably squeal with delight!
3. Communication is very important. Publishers and authors should build relationships with bloggers. It is very much a give and take situation. If a blogger is going to go out of their way to take the time and energy to post a review, an author and or publisher should link the review on their site.
I don’t agree with this point. My reviews are unsolicited, so why should an author or publisher feel obligated to link to them? Be they good or bad, my reviews are my personal opinions on the books that I read. While it could be argued that I’ve provided free publicity to the authors whose books I’ve positively reviewed, the reverse could be said for those I didn’t like. None of the authors I’ve reviewed so far have asked me to do so. Therefore, there is no obligation on either side.
Besides which, this is a blog written by a reader for other readers. Yes, I also write. But this blog is about me as a reader. I’m not sure how I feel about publishers and authors building a relationship with me, to be frank. That seems a tad sycophantic to me and I’m not much of an ass-kisser.
4. Sometimes lesser known blogs or blogs just starting to find their footing are a great way for author promotion. These bloggers will be enthusiastic and go out of their way to promote and author’s work and post contests.
As a newbie blogger, I vehemently disagree. Look, I’ve seen the blog statistics posted at mega blogs like Dear Author. There’s no way my 7-week-old, one-woman show can compete with that.
I feel uncomfortable with the idea of going out of my way to promote an author’s work. If I like an author’s books, I’ll say so, sometimes repeatedly. But it has to come from the heart.
With regard to contests: I’m not sure how other blogs fund contests. Themselves? Paid advertising? I don’t currently have advertisements on my blog. What I could foresee in the future is having an interview feature whereby an author or her publisher would provide a few copies for blog visitors to win.
5. The bloggers could not give enough praise to Twitter. Twitter is a great way for bloggers to network. And if a book review blogger twitters a message to an author, it would be nice if an author could twitter back.
Twitter is fun, as long as you don’t take it – or yourself – too seriously. I’ve had some really interesting discussions on Twitter, which have inspired more than one blog piece, and generated several book recommendations.
I’m primarily interested in interacting with bloggers and authors who are wearing their Reader Caps. I’ve only sent tweets to a couple of authors whose books I’d enjoyed. One responded, the other didn’t. I wasn’t offended by this but I will say that authors who use Twitter shouldn’t simply use it to tweet about their latest book or blog post. It’s a social networking site, so if you’re going to use it, please interact with people.
6. They also mentioned they are wary of working with big commercial book sellers like Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Borders.
7. Would love to have advertisements on their blogs. But I think these bloggers would rather the advertisers come to them, instead of them asking for ads.
I haven’t considered having advertisements on my blog and don’t intend to do so at the moment. Should I change my mind, I’ll let you know.
8. They feel blog tours are great.
I don’t understand the purpose of blog tours. Interviews, yes.
9. Also recommend that authors should leave a comment on a blog post about their work or some piece of information posted about them. A simple “hello” is all you need.
Why should they do this? If I comment on an author’s blog, it’s nice to get a response. But then an author’s blog is a promotional tool and commenters are potential customers. I’m not selling anything, not even their books.
I’m thrilled to get comments from readers and authors alike but I don’t expect an author to respond to a review or an opinion piece which references her. If she wants to do so, she’s more than welcome.
10. One important question someone raised from the audience is why would an author do on-line promotion with blogs instead of with Amazon? How can a book blog compete with such a powerhouse like Amazon? Amazon was brought up a great deal in regards to book reviews and promotion.
I think blogs can definitely compete with Amazon in terms of author promotion. My question to this point, though, is: why can’t authors do both? As far as I can tell, many already promote their books on Amazon and on book blogs.
As for Mrs Giggles’s question, ‘Do bloggers need that much love and attention from authors?‘… This largely depends on the purpose of their blog. If they are in it for free books, courting authors makes sense. If they want to turn a profit on their blog, or at least fund a few contests, soliciting publishers and authors is the way to go. I have no problem with bloggers looking for books or money. They invest a lot of time and effort in their blogs and if they want it to be more than a hobby, good for them.
From my personal perspective, however, I don’t see any benefit to me from actively pursuing business relationships with authors and publishers, at least not at the moment.