There was a post on Sugar or somewhere about jealousy that was relatable to authors. Then posts sprang up about jealousy in bloggers. The only one I recommend reading is the one on My Friend Amy’s Blog.
I don’t feel jealousy for bloggers. You see I see bloggers as fish in an ocean. Fish live in schools (which boggled my mind in second grade folks) and each of these schools have different ideas about what they want, how they blog, what their level of success is. In each of these camps there is a few big fish, without big fish the ecosystem of the ocean would crash. We all need big fish and little fish and the salmon that swim upstream (I like to think I am a Salmon – feel free to correct me).
For me I have never understood which school I am in. I came to book blogging from tech and music blogging and this ocean has always boggled my mind. I have my own rules that I follow for me. I have my own set of successes that I want to meet and as I meet them there are more. I am an over achiever fish with rainbow scales.
I am marketing minded, half the jobs I have held in my life have been marketing based, technology based, internet based and so I take these skills to my blog. Do I care about stats? FUCK YES I CARE ABOUT STATS. That doesn’t make me an evil person. It makes me a person who pins their goals on numbers, swirling beautiful triple and quadruple digit numbers and these numbers make me happy, with myself and my blog.
I don’t work my ass off for these numbers to get ARCs or promotions or bookshelves or whatever the hot ticket item of the week is. I do it because I WANT those numbers for me. I want to say “BOOYAH PAM 2,000 unique today beyotch.” Yes that is how I talk to myself in my head.
I want to be good at what I do, I want to learn more about publishing. I may want to pursue a career in publishing in the future. This digital stuff excites me more than Ian Somerhalder shirtless and dripping wet. (Sorry Ian)
When I see a blogger get an ARC, an iPad, a panel invitation, when I see my homies in Publisher’s Weekly or Galley Cat I get excited not jealous. Because to me that is one small step towards blogger domination baby. One more slap in the face to everyone who ever said we were all unprofessional losers who love our cats (note: I have a dog *feels superior*) and can’t write in a critical manner.
My mission is to bring books into the hands of others, to bring IRL people into my indie. To give my stats back to other bloggers who are starting out and are full of awesome. My mission is to have an orgy of love and kittens and fucking double rainbows.
So no, I can’t understand blogger jealousy, I also can’t be happy with only ten readers, I need to feed my marketing monster and I will continue to do that without jealousy clouding my vision. I will check my three different stat engines daily and glean what I can from those numbers to my my blog a better place for everyone to visit.
For the past few months with all the hoopla about negative reviews and burning bridges and now the YA Mafia, I have been doing some major soul searching about my blog. I was told at a conference that having a ’large readership’ gave me a ’responsibility’. I tend to agree but where does that responsibility lie?
To my readers yes, but beyond that. I never started this blog to be BFF with authors, or to solicit ARCs (had no idea what an ARC was), or to brownnose my way into the industry. After three years of book blogging though I have learned some things. I really love publishing. This industry is so interesting to me beyond anything else I have ever forayed into. I would like to find a position someday using my tech background, social media savvy, and my ever growing curiousness about the business. So that brings me back to responsibility and what you say online stays forever and be nice and all of that jazz.
The truth of the matter is I am a subjective reader, I have had life experiences and while I try to always be open minded and I am always respectful there are just sometimes books that don’t click with me personally and more often than not when I state my reasons for not liking a book, I get feedback from my readers saying they want to read it, because those reasons are the exact ones that make them adore a book.
A book blog is nothing more than a recommendation engine. When I started Bookalicious in December of 2008 I had no idea that it would grow to what it is now. I love that I have a platform large enough to help people find books that they will love because that is why I went into book blogging. I never knew that publishers, and books, and publishing professionals were so easy to access. The name of my game was to get great books into the hands of readers. Therefore the recommendation engine mantra.
I have a great responsibility to the readers of my blog to provide them with reviews and recommendations and even writing those reviews is a craft I am still honing and those first reviews here were horrendously full of suck. However I don’t want to burn any bridges. I do want to ’be nice’. I am a nice person and I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. When I have a few months of great reviews, where I am vetting hit after hit from the TBR I get emails and private messages asking me if I still have integrity, did I really like those books and the answer is yes. Why is it you lose street cred if you are reading what you love?
Bookalicious is a’changin’ and I hope for the better. I will unveil a new site soon that will make this site less about Pam and what Pam thinks and more community based. There will be fabulous ways for me to give back to other industry professionals, publishers, authors and bloggers. I want to share my platform with you, because in the end I am only one person and I want Bookalicious to grow even more and I want to be known as nice and smart and helpful. Not as vile and immature and the blogger who hates everything.
I can’t wait to show you what we are working on here and invite you to share your opinions. For now my book blogging peeps, be strong, have integrity, and never back down from something you truly believe in!
What do you think?
Book blogs encompass so many things. I for one use my blog to market books that I love, while I still honestly review those that I didn’t like that much. Since I use my blog as a marketing tool and I use social media to further my reach and bring new readers in I am aware that I am my own Brand Ambassador. I am not working at the moment and I am able to take years of marketing and community management experience and see how far I can reach out. How many readers can I reach? How many books can I get into the hands of the average reader? There are a lot of things to consider if you want to be the kind of blogger who uses their blog for marketing books, it’s extremely hard work and a lot of the blogs I read are the ones that are more diary based.
Social Media Top Ten
10. Pick one network that you feel comfortable with. Too many at once may cause overload and abandoned networks looks worse than no networks at all.
9. If you want to market for your blog and your blog’s name is BookieRocks.com then your social media efforts for your blog (not your personal) should reflect that. Example: Twitter: @BookieRocks instead of @ILikeCheese09
8. Be informative. Got the scoop on something? Share it.
7. Sharing is caring, link to and from your fellow bloggers and local indies.
6. Use third party services like HootSuite to schedule Tweets or Facebook updates for when you can’t be around.
5. Be respectful, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Every blogger I know will answer them gladly.
4. Share what you know, what are you an expert of? Horror, LGBT, YA Paranormal? Show us what you got. Specialize.
3. Follow like-minded people, generate conversation and be a team player.
2. Join in on some of the Tweet Chats available even if it is just to watch. I always learn. Follow Twitter Hashtags on TweetChat.com like #YALitChat #LitChat and so on.
1. Follow Neil Gaiman and do whatever he says.
Always have fun, always maintain your sense of integrity. If you didn’t like something and don’t feel comfortable about reviewing it then just don’t, don’t fabricate a review that makes it seem like you did. Contests and memes are okay but make sure your blog doesn’t become and orgy of these things. Content is key and if I can’t find any ‘real’ content I am so outtie. Sidebars are there, but that doesn’t mean you should clog them up with every fugly graphic known to man. All things are good in moderation. The sidebar is there for navigational purposes for people to find out more about you, your blog, your interests, other blogs you like.
Participate in the community by commenting on other blogs, participating in discussions and making an effort to learn. We learn as we go and this is a fabulous time to be a book blogger! Now let’s all go kick some branding ass.
I really like all the positive discussion lately on what is a book blogger, what is their job, their responsibilities and are they a viable marketing tool. I wanted to wax poetic on a lot of this as a am a marketing professional and there are several misconceptions and they are easily cleared up.
What is a book blogger?
A book blogger is anyone who reviews, talks about, posts pretty pictures of, waxes poetic about books online in any shape or form. It can be diary style, marketing style, it can be on WordPress, Blogspot, Self Hosted, Tumblr, or even a private diary domain. The common thread is that we are all in one way or another talking about books online. A book blogger will positively faint at the sign of new books with giddiness, they are maybe your not-so-average reader in the fact that they read voraciously and are able and willing to share thoughts and feelings about books. However not every blogger is going to do this well, or use criticism or journalistic integrity.
That is why it is important to make sure if you are sending books to a blogger to read back through and make sure they are a good fit with the book you are sending them. It takes you ten extra minutes but it saves a lot of he said, she said hurt feelings if a blogger who has been known to not like this type of book criticizes your client.
Are bloggers a free marketing tool for me to tap into
Sometimes, but only when we want to. Again these little domains of ours are in fact ours. When we love a book we will sing it from the mountain tops Julie Andrews style. When we (at least when I) have some issues with a book I try to explain it in a way that lets others know it was probably just a personal problem, because let’s face it. We are all subjective. So yes you can tap into blogs like mine and like The Story Siren which is awesome, and at times allows her blog to be used as a marketing tool. However you can’t expect us to jump behind every book and try to sell it when our hearts aren’t in it, when we spend hours reading for free, when we just didn’t love it that much and when selling those books means we have to spend more time marketing them. So yeah ARCs and swag rock, but it doesn’t make us slave labor. I get a lot of these questions:
Can you tweet this?
90% of the time yes!
Can you post this?
90% of the time no. I don’t know what it is, haven’t read the book so I can’t stand behind a product I have no idea what it is.
I spend a lot of time Tumbling, Twittering, Blogging, and other stuff. I enjoy using my blog as a free using marketing tool for the books I love! However not every blogger is going to feel the same and your mileage may vary.
I was on the internet last night (I know big shocker) and I participated in YA Lit Chat, which is generally awesome. Basically it’s a chat that happens on Wednesdays at 9pm on Twitter where booksellers, publishing professionals, authors, teachers, librarians, and those darn bastard children bloggers hang out and talk about whatever topic is on the table. Last night’s topic was free stuff, does it sell books, which swiftly turned into why do bloggers get all the free stuff when teachers, and librarians sell all the books (and you do sell books I love teachers and librarians), and then turned to bloggers suck because they ask me for free shit, then to I bet bloggers don’t sell books at all, my teens don’t even know what blogs are, *cough*bullshit*cough*, the only people reading blogs are other bloggers and on and on and on.
I got a little more than disheartened. I spend a lot of time on my blog, and excuse me while I blow smoke up my own ass here but I am very successful at what I do. I run this blog on my own with no outside help. I don’t have co-bloggers, besides my blogging anniversary each year I don’t do mind boggling contests (I hate the post office). What you find here is real content. The fucking brick and mortar if you will of book blogging. So when you treat me like the bastard child of the publishing industry, tell me I am not professional, group me with the uncontrollable group of idiots who are contest and swag mongers I feel I have a right to be offended.
Good bloggers do sell books, we sell them online and off. I have at least 900 unique a day even when I have months like this one where I am slacking off big time. Yeah I threw my stats out there. I have my own URL shortening device when I throw a link out on twitter to your shit, it gets at least 75 clicks, at least! These are stats I can and would love to share with you. I can provide you with pictorial proofs. I am in my brick and mortar putting up shelf talkers, hand selling, doing spring, summer, fall, and winter book previews talking up your titles. I am at the library and in the bookstore devoting my time to teen book clubs. I am at the NCIBA the NCCBA learning and growing and trying to be a better blogger for you! To sell more books for you, because I give a fuck about the publishing industry.
Every time I turn around some publishing professional is reminding me I am the bastard child that they are happy to use but will never respect and that saddens me because I am a wealth of untapped information. I am a plethora of creativity and media savvy. I am opinionated and loud and by god whether you fucking like it or not I am going to keep selling your books and giving a damn about literacy.