I spend a lot – my husband would jump in and yell, “Too much!” – time on my computer, visiting dozens of sites for writing advice, industry gossip, and tales of what I can expect as my book winds its way through the publishing process. But my favorite on-line resources? For me, it’s an easy question: book bloggers.
A while back, I detailed why I’m so grateful to book bloggers in an essay for Book Blogger Appreciation Week. Here it is again:
You’d think a normal person would react to the news that her novel had sold by getting – I don’t know – excited or something. Maybe dancing around the house in Supergirl underwear, or cracking open the bottle of champagne that’s been impatiently waiting to be trotted out for a special occasion.
But no one has ever accused me of being normal.
After I learned my debut novel had sold, I got scared. Really scared. You see, I’m a former newspaper reporter, and I investigate things obsessively. And very quickly, I learned that books face a steep uphill battle. People don’t read as much these days, I heard over and over again. Tens of thousands of books are published every year, but you only hear about a fraction of them.
I pictured my book – all those words I’d agonized over, bound neatly together with a pretty cover– bravely setting out on a wooden raft into a vast ocean, never to be seen or heard from again. The problem was, I’d loved writing my novel (at least during the times when I wasn’t yanking out my hair or banging my forehead against the keyboard). I wanted to write more books. But what if nobody bought my first one? What if nobody heard about it? My career would end, and so would my childhood dream of becoming a successful author.
Then one day, an email found its way into my in-box. It was from a book blogger. She wanted me to write a guest post about my favorite bookstore. She wanted to tell people about my upcoming book.
“Seriously?” I thought. But … there wasn’t really anything in it for her. She just loved books so much, she devoted a lot of time and energy and talent to writing about them. In the process, she got people to discover books they might not have otherwise read. She got folks excited about reading.
Then I got a few emails from other book bloggers, all pinging into my inbox like happy confetti. They wanted to know about my upcoming novel. And they all invited me to check out their websites and blogs, and to learn about the books they were discussing. At first I was a little shy, but they were so welcoming: Come join the party, they seemed to cry out, handing me a glass of red wine and exclaiming over my new dress and shoes.
Since then, I’ve witnessed bloggers prop up countless authors and books, generating buzz and giving writers much-needed encouragement. I’ve read reviews that made me pick up a novel I would’ve otherwise passed by. I’ve laughed out loud at many zippy blogs, and found others lingering in my mind for days as I thought about the issues they raised. Even the less-than-positive reviews I’ve read have been almost universally respectful and thoughtful.
As I’ve learned how much book bloggers are doing for the publishing industry because of nothing but a sheer love of reading and their generous hearts, my respect and gratitude has grown. The grumpy, nasal voices I once heard – people don’t read as much these days – are being drowned out by the enthusiasm and joy of the book blogs that explode onto my computer every time I surf onto the Internet.
I’m not scared anymore. How can I be, when so many book bloggers are out there rooting for us authors?