An author’s best friends…by Deb Sarah

082_Sarah_Pekkanen_4X6I 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?

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Sarah Pekkanen

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18 thoughts on “An author’s best friends…by Deb Sarah

  1. As a book blogger, I have to say this post made me feel really good and appreciated. For me the best part of blogging has been meeting other bloggers and authors! I wish you much success with your book and look forward to reading it soon.

  2. That’s it EXACTLY! In a recent magazine interview, I was asked, “What’s surprised you most about becoming a published author?” My answer was easy: discovering this wonderful world/blogosphere of fellow authors and readers who are incredibly fun and supportive. Who knew?

  3. I would have to agree this VIRTUAL world full of support and interest has been amazing…. as a first time author I have been welcomed and encouraged by people I have never and may never come face to face with – that we share the love of books seems to be enough of a starting point in our relationship. I’ve corresponded with all sorts of people in far flung locations that I never would have met were it not for this amazing network. As a writer who is a bit of an isolationist – this virtual world is an amazing and surprising thing!

  4. I’m a book blogger and it has made me numerous friends! So it goes both ways. But you’re right, book bloggers do help the new author immeasurably. I just did three interviews this weekend! One posted yesterday, one is part of a group of interviews in January, and one will come out on my release day. Go book bloggers! Yay!

  5. Hi Deb,

    I am a relatively new blogger, I started my blog mid-July. Prior to that I didn’t know that a community of book lovers with blogs existed. I am thrilled to have found this place. I have always loved reading and discovering new authors and finding out about them because that always makes the book a little more special for me. In the weeks after I started my blog, I discovered that some authors have a special relationship with bloggers and participate in blogs by writing guest posts and doing interviews. I think that’s wonderfu because authors need readers and readers need books. We can each help the other and why not?!
    Thank you for writing a post about your appreciation of us. I know that I apreciate authors like you very much and I know many, many other book bloggers do as well.
    I only recently discovered The Debutante Ball when I read about Sara Pekkanen’s new book and checked out her website. And now I have found this great site!
    I haven’t had an author interviewed on my blog yet or write a guest post but I will soon!
    Thank you for a great post!
    Amy

  6. oops, okay, I am a bit of an air-head this morning. I thought I recognized the picture in the above post but I didn’t think about it very long. Silly, silly me, I didn’t realize that “Deb” is short for Debutante and, of course, that is a pic of Sarah Pekkanen. How humiliating! I have emailed with Sarah and signed up for her newsletter. So sorry Sarah! I am definitely very embarassed. I came to this site because I thought Tuesday was the day you wrote a post but when I saw “Deb Sarah” without thinking it through, I wrote “Well I guess Sarah isn’t writing today”.

    I am not normally this much of a dingbat, I promise. Uaully I am pretty intelligent. I think I need more coffee!

    So sorry! LOL
    Amy

  7. Amy, I did the EXACT same thing when I first discovered this site! It happens much more often than you’d think. I kept searching for a button where I could delete my comment before anyone saw it, but no such luck 🙂

    And thank you for the kind words everyone!

  8. Thank you Sarah for a beautiful post. Joelle is right, though, about book blogging working both ways…the satisfaction is priceless, most days! 😉

    Btw, a mention and link to Joelle’s latest interview can be found on The Divining Wand today.

  9. I am proud to report to you that I have a group of friends who had not picked up a book to read since they had been at college until last year. (They are all in their 30’s) Now they are more than making up for lost time by reading a book a day sometimes. It took some convincing on my part that reading a book is an enjoyment completely different from watching a movie or the tv. There is so much more to be had and the imagination can never be duplicated by any other media. The things I picture in my head when I read are different than the things they picture in their mind, but this is the beauty of books. Our minds will give us the perfect picture for the words we are reading like no one else can. They have discovered this and they are spreading the word like wildfire. I am so happy to have found this website!

  10. Sarah – We all loved this post when it ran during BBAW, and I’m so glad it will reach even more people with this posting on The Debutante Ball 🙂

    It is so great to connect with authors and to help promote a love of reading and your love of writing – thank you!

  11. That’s amazing – that you’ve gotten your friends to read so much! Well done! And good luck with your own book…
    And Dawn, Larramie, Amy & Kathy – so happy some of my favorite book bloggers stopped by today. Right back at you, girls! xo

  12. Wow! Sounds like there’s a whole universe out there. Needless to say Sarah, your words have propped me up these last 4 months waiting to hear from the big kids. Thanks!

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