Sunday, July 29, 2012
A Thank You
This is going to be a long-ish post.
There's a question I get asked a lot when I do interviews for aspiring writers. What do I think helped make such and such book a success? Success, just like reading and reviewing, is a very subjective term. What is a success to one person could honestly be a failure to another. So it's all relative, but that's not the point of this blog.
Looking back, I could say it was the first editor who took a chance or the first agent who didn't send me a form rejection or the first publisher that thought there was something in this book that may really appeal to people. Sure, they all helped. Duh. But the main ingredient in my happy cupcake recipe isn't agents, editors, publishers, or bears, oh my! It's not even one person. It's actually a collective group of people known as book bloggers.
Now I'm going to give you the Jennifer definition of a book blogger from the Armentroutopedia
Book Blogger-- a person who, for the love of reading, reads and review books on a public platform with little to no financial support. It's not a job. There are really no rules. It's a passion that the share with other people who have a love of reading and/or writing. It's even an obsession, just like writing is an obsession to authors. Book Bloggers take their websites seriously, their reviews, and their promotions.
In a few seconds, I'm going to get to the 'little to no' financial support statement. But I know for a fact, and I'm also sure that if someone asked the publisher of my very first book they would agree, that the reason why people even heard of Half-Blood was mainly due to Book Bloggers. Someone out there in blogging community read the blurb and got excited. That person talked it up to another blogger, who got excited, and that second blogger talked to another blogger, and by the time Half-Blood was scheduled to come out it had 1,000s of to-reads on Goodreads. Word of mouth, baby. Word of mouth that me or my publisher didn't pay a dime for. And that word of mouth in the book blogging community is PRICELESS.
Let's talk about books:
Sure, bloggers get a lot of books for free. They also buy books that they get ARCs of. They also are on first name basis with their local book store. They also buy multiple copies for contests. They probably spend more money on books then a country does to feed a small army. And keep in mind, they don't get paid to blog or review, so all of this is coming out of their pockets. Why? Because they love books.
Let's talk about promotion and word of mouth:
When a blogger likes a book, you better recognize. Because that blogger is going to spread the love your book like a virus you actually want to catch. They are going to tweet about it, talk about it, do status updates about it, blog about it, and some will even start fan sites. Others will go as far as to petition foreign publishers. Two of my foreign sales came from bloggers overseas doing that and I'm sure that was what got the ball rolling. How freaking insanely awesome is that? Bloggers will promote the hell out of your books. Why? Because they love books.
And they do this for free. FREE. I don't know about you guys, but has anyone checked into marketing plans and prices that will get you the same amount of exposure as a handful of excited bloggers will? Thousands of dollars. I am not kidding. THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS.
Let me say it one more time: Book Bloggers do all of this for no money and for the love of books.
Let's talk about reviews:
Bloggers review books. They take that shit seriously. (Yes. I cuss. I actually cuss a lot in real life. I have a potty mouth. It's bad. An epidemic) Just like authors take their writing seriously. Messing with a blogger's review is like throwing stones at someone's kid. Bloggers don't have to like a book. They don't even have to review a book sent to them. Even if they request a book, they don't have to review it. It isn't their job. They weren't hired by you to do it. I talk to Bloggers who liked one of my books and hated the other one on a regular basis. Hey. Reading and reviewing is subjective. There are books out there that I loathe. And if I'm allowed to think that, then people are allowed to think that about my books.
Let's talk about Jen's sad face:
There's a reason why I thank bloggers in my acknowledgements. Because I am humbled by them. Bloggers have a huge impact in sales. Some people may not believe that, but I'm living proof or my books are of how much a blogging community can do for you. And I'm not the only one. From traditionally pub'd authors to self pub'd authors and everything in-between, have been impacted in amazingly positive ways by bloggers. I have had and always will have mad respect for the blogging community and it saddens me when I see crazy ass websites dedicated to 'revealing bullies' or when some of my favorite bloggers, ones who were there with me in the beginning, have stopped blogging because of how people behave. The latter actually really ticks me off, to be honest. Someone should never have to stop doing what they love because of other people. The only time a blogger or a reviewer has a negative impact on an author, is when the author makes it into a negative thing. That's the painful, cold truth. The positive will always outweigh the negative in the blogging and writing community. That power is in the author's hands. Use it wisely. (I've always wanted to say the 'Use it wisely' thing in regards to use of power.) Bloggers are a part of the reading community, something I feel that people tend to forget.
Let's talk about Jen's happy face:
In closing, thank you to the Book Bloggers. Without you guys, I damn well know a lot of people would be like Obsidian-what? Aliens? Are you eff'ing kidding me? Or Half-Blood-who? Isn't that something to do with Harry Potter? I also wouldn't have heard of half the books that are out today without you guys. So even though there are people out there who are in bad need of rabies shot when it comes to handling bloggers and reviewers, please know that the vast majority of authors recognize the importance of bloggers, are thankful for everything you do for free and for the love of books, and respect your position in the ever changing publishing environment.
Posted by Jennifer L. Armentrout at 1:25 PM