May 26, 2011

Armchair BEA~ Relationships

Today at Armchair BEA, it is all about Relationships. The request is that we write about our experiences with building relationships online with other bloggers, authors, and publicists. I tend to go off on tangents, so bear with me.

I was one of those bloggers that participated in a survey that resulted in the Best Practices of Pitching Book Bloggers. This focused on relationships between Bloggers and Publicists and Authors. Don't you love it when you see "Dear Blogger"? When you get pitched several times from the same person about the same book, doesn't this get annoying?

When publicists contact us for review, and then we get asked for our webpage stats, does that annoy you? Doesn't it peeve you that the person has clearly not read your review policy? These and other pitching pitfalls are covered in this handy pdf, which is free to book bloggers.

It's a strange world out there for those authors who are new to self-promotion. They don't realize the netiquette that has developed along with the bookish blogosphere. If you know one of these newbies, point them to the Best Practices. Help build that relationship of trust between you and author instead of ignoring them. I know of several authors that remember me as one of their first bloggers that helped them through the book blog quagmire. It's a great feeling to be able to help them.

Over the past few years, I have seen the blogosphere quadruple in size. It normally starts as a reader who was looking for a particular genre of books, looking for ideas on what to buy next, and they stumble across a book blog. How neat, they think! A regular person talking about books! And then they discover the blogroll. And then they find more blogs in their preferred genre, as most blogs tend to link to blogs of the same interest. Then the reader realizes you can comment on all these posts too! Which brings reader to realize, how hard can it be to open a blogger account? And a blogger is born.

(That was my experience.) The relationships I developed in those early days of blogging still sit with me. I actually mentioned three of those historical fiction blogs that inspired me in yesterday's post. Two of these ladies I feel a kinship and bond with that I know will last a long time. If I don't get daily texts from one of them then I feel like my day is incomplete. And I know of other bloggers who get to meet up in NYC at conventions and more relationships are forged. It is quite powerful, actually, when I think of how much my life has changed since I became a book blogger. All these potential allies at my fingertips. And how amazing how many genres of book bloggers there are! General lit, feminism, young adult, graphic novel, romance, historical romance, classics, fiction...AMAZING!

It's been almost two and half years of reviewing books for me. It's a commitment. Sometimes it's a struggle as I look at the ARC Bookcase. You know, that ever present TBR pile that you should have conquered last year. So, it's a juggling act; especially for those of us who work full-time, have kids, a husband, animals and a house to take care of. Where does the blogging come in?

Better yet, where does the reading come in?

Somehow, I manage to do a little of everything. Which means I am not the best at anything. I can say I am a well-rounded individual, because I cannot spend too much on any one thing lest the next thing gets abandoned. I balance it out. Little by little. And with a little help from my friends. (Queue the music.) The support from the community of bloggers is there, if you ask for it. It's a big world out there. And book bloggers have really become a force to be reckoned with, even after all those professionally paid literary critics knocked us all down and said we were just a phase.

Go forth.. read.. review.. blog... communicate.. and kick butt. I am proud to be a book blogger. It has opened up my world to people and books I would never have otherwise come across. It's pretty awesome being a book blogger. We even have book blogger conventions! And if we can't go to the conventions, we can sit at our favorite chair for the Armchair BEA and still have a ton of fun! It's a great community, and I am happy to be here. Don't forget the amazing giveaways book bloggers host! (there's one going on right here!!) XXO