I was in Central Park with my running group yesterday evening when I ran into a friend of mine from high school (who, incidentally, I also saw in the start corral — yes, we do feel like cattle if you are wondering — at Sunday’s Nike-NYC Half Marathon). New York may seem like a big city, but running / cycling paths are scarce and I think every cyclist and distance runner I know has bumped into someone they know in Central Park / Riverside Park / Prospect Park / along the West Side Highway or 9W. Indeed. It’s like in publishing where if you go to an industry event, you’re bound to find someone you know.
I was whipping through headlines on my RSS reader this morning and saw that BusinessWeek blogger Stephen Baker had posted dates for his September book tour. For authors who are considering blogging, the time to start would be well before the book comes out. Of course, authors who have already built an online following — whether because of their previous books or because they already are popular bloggers — have an easier time attracting an audience, but given time, even an unknown author can build a following by reaching out to friends first and letting the word spread.
For those of you who missed Monday’s NewsHour segment about the demise of print book reviews, Gabi from Viking Penguin passed on the link. Jeffrey Brown interviews Steve Wasserman, formerly editor of the Los Angeles Times’ book review and Kassia Krozser of Booksquare.com, a very insightful book marketing / publishing blog. If you get antsy listening to interviews, you can also read the transcript.
For those of you who didn’t receive the postcard, Salon’s New York office is moving. As of July 1, the address will be:
15 W 37th St
New York, NY 10018
Kassia Krozser of Booksquare posts about why publishers should blog. She brings up a couple examples, bad and good: St. Martin’s page for Janet Evanovich and Simon & Schuster’s page for Judy Blume. Which reminds me, I was on the Penguin Group website the other day and saw the DK imprint has begun introducing staff members on their blog. I think that’s clever move — as someone who works in publishing, I’m always interested to know more about my colleagues. And for authors, agents and other people who are interested in the publishing industry, it’s a good way to get a peek into a publishing house.
Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists recaps the Landing Ink, Airtime and Blog Buzz in Today’s Changing Media Environment panel at the Writers’ League of Texas Agents & Editors conference over the weekend. Among the panelists: Ron Hogan (GalleyCat), Michael Merschel (Dallas Morning-News) and Sara Nelson (Publishers Weekly).
Joan Reeves at Sling Words posts about the importance of linking (which I have just done here to Joan’s blog in case anyone is hazy about what exactly a link is). Links enable a new blogger to build an audience and increase their Google rank. Think of a blog as an island and links as the bridges. How long have they been on the island on Lost? Four months. No bridges. Don’t create the Lost of blogs — help people find your blog with links.
Frank Wilson also discussed linking the other day on Nigel Beale’s Nota Bene and how it contributed to the success of Books Inq.
My personal preference is to always include one link to the blog itself and one to the individual post. This can be redundant since the link to the blog is the same as the link to the post … until the next post appears.
Kassia Krozser of Booksquare summarizes some online myths heard at BEA including that an author just needs a Facebook page not a website. Websites get a bad rap these days — they’re static, they’re hard to update. This is true, but is this necessarily a bad thing? Depending on the book, it may not matter.
Kassia Kroszer, who blogs at Booksquare
, posted an entertaining and informative piece
about pitching bloggers. I encourage you to click through to the post to read her frank but fair opinions about the matter.Here are a few things I’d like to add/elaborate on:
1. Know the blog: The key here is an RSS reader like Bloglines or Google Reader. (My friend Sharon at Bantam said Bloglines allows you to organize sites better than Google Reader. I’ve never tried the latter myself.) Without a reader you can’t possibly hold down a full-time job and follow the dozens of major literary and publishing blogs out there. Setting up a reader may seem overwhelming, but once you’ve done so, it takes only a few clicks, scrolls and minutes to keeps tabs on pretty much anything important going on in publishing (blogs and more), whether it’s an article by Motoko, a post by Ron or Terry’s latest interview. This site’s blog roll provides a good starting point for building a robust RSS reader. I haven’t had the time to add a lot of other blogs, so feel free to suggest your favorite literary/publishing sites.
2. Know how important the blog is: There are millions of blogs out there. Use sites like Technorati or Alexa to see how authoritative a blog is. Check the blog roll (the list of blogs, usually on the right side of the page) to see how frequently a blog is linked to. Popular blogs will appear on dozens (or hundreds, in the case of a site like Gawker) of blog rolls.
3. Use the “Comments” section: Bloggers like to know people are reading what they write. Although the big literary/publishing bloggers don’t need you or I to pat them on the back, they’ll still appreciate another reader and a thoughtful or entertaining comment.
4. Don’t blast email (most) blogs: Realistically, it’s not feasible to never pitch with a mass email. That said, limit its use. As Kassia points out, most blogs don’t do the “standard” interview or review, so your standard pitch won’t work. In fact, many bloggers don’t list email addresses on their sites, preferring instead that readers use their Contact page. Use it. Some sites like Boing Boing have said they will not accept pitches not submitted on their site.