And book bloggers are proof of that.
Book bloggers didn't really exist until very recently. Heck, my generation didn't even have access to computers when we were school-aged (except to create very basic programming loops on beasts better used as anchors than computers). And no, I'm not ancient.
From my perspective, book bloggers have burst onto the publishing scene and you all are changing EVERYTHING. You guys are EVERYWHERE and very diverse.
If I'd been published for the first time about five years ago I probably wouldn't have even considered doing an online blog tour for my book's release. But now? I'm prowling book and writing blogs to see who has a different audience of followers. I'm weighing popularity and professionalism and trying to figure out where I fit in.
I've contacted book bloggers who say they like to do author interviews. I've contacted some with chat rooms they're willing to drag me into. It stuns me how many options there are for online or virtual visits with people. (And it stuns me how many book bloggers have responded with stuff like "of course I know who you are!" and "I can't wait to read your book!")
You book bloggers have some amazing powers of persuasion at your fingertips.
You can impact an author's sales by giving them what equates to airtime. You show our cover and our blurbs and people take notice.
You can build egos and break hearts.
And although lots of authors may not be traipsing around to do interviews online right now, I think doing such will only become more popular.
So book bloggers, I encourage you to do the following:
1.) Contact your favorite authors and ask them for an interview.
2.) Build a base of author interviews to complement your book reviews. Make them easy to find on your site.
3.) Approach reviews professionally. Use tact (and good grammar). If you absolutely despise a book that's your right as a subjective reader, but do your best to clearly define the issues you had so your followers can make a good choice themselves.
4.) Brand yourself (well, your site). Make sure you're distinct somehow. Book bloggers are popping up all over--what will make you stand out in the crowd?
5.) Do some of those memes like Waiting on Wednesday and Teaser Tuesday and Trailer Thursday. They'll help you build connections (and a regular schedule).
6.) Connect and complement with other book bloggers, but don't cannibalize eachother. This goes back to you making your site distinct (even when doing memes).
7.) Use site "common sense" like:
- Keep your site design clear and clean and easy to use.
- Keep your blog posts brief (I know, I know, it's an example of "do as I say, not as I do").
- Use hyperlinks to connect you into a stronger web.
- Use tags, labels and phrases people may search for.
- Get a "Delicious" account and bookmark all your posts.
- Find affiliates that complement your site but don't duplicate your efforts.
9.) If you're doing interviews, come up with distinct questions (we authors see questions about our inspiration pretty frequently--ask what you or your followers really want to know).
10.) Post your reviews more places than just your blog (it'll build your reputation and show you're a serious reader--possibly getting you more access to ARCs).
11.) Educate yourself (there are conventions and conferences--did you know?!).
12.) Get to book readings and signings to meet authors in person (and hand them your card so you can connect for an interview later).
13.) If you're only starting out with a book blog, think about ways you can help promote visiting authors' interviews so there's no doubt as to the value of being a guest at your site.
And don't be afraid to ask questions. Recently I was especially impressed by one young blogger who will be interviewing me soon... Here's a link: http://tinyurl.com/y9r748l It thrills me when people are willing to reach out and ask questions. And she did it beautifully with the inclusion of the cover and link, too. She may not have planned it, but she's actually raising awareness of my book already. And I appreciate that.
I think the growth and increasing professionalism of book bloggers and reviewers will create an impressive new dynamic for publishing--and I'm looking forward to seeing what our joint future holds.
Take care, gang!