Thursday, April 7, 2011

An Ode to Book Bloggers

I've been getting quite a lot of requests for ARCs and interviews for Between the Sea and Sky, many more than for Magic Under Glass--I'm not sure if it's that I am more well known or if winged dude/mermaid romance is such a good hook, but it makes me happy, and most of the requests have been very professional, with blog stats and some personal notes about the reviewer's interest in the book, etcetera.

I know there is periodical hammering on book reviewers/bloggers. Are they important, do they think they're more important than they are, should they review things negatively, do teens even read them, etc. etc.

Well, sure, most of the books I've sold probably weren't because of book bloggers, but I know a chunk of them were. Maybe 1%, maybe 20%, I don't know.

And yes, I've seen some reviews for Magic Under Glass that were really snide and unprofessional. Sure. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of book bloggers out there and not all of them are absolutely sterling examples of humanity, but it would be silly to expect otherwise from any group of people.

Do teens read them? Well, some teens ARE book bloggers themselves, so sure, some teens do. Most teens probably don't. Most teens don't know who even the hottest selling YA writers are besides Meyer and Rowling. Books are already a little off the beaten path, book blogs moreso.

But the thing is, I don't really care about these things. What I do care about are the worldwide community of readers who are passionate about books--talking about them with each other, talking about my books with me, doing interviews and contests and guest posts and super cool events like the upcoming Fairy Tale Fortnight at The Book Rat and Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing!, or fan sites that have evolved into community sites like Mundie Moms.

I don't want to sound like I'm kissing up. I do think SOME authors overestimate the power of book blogs. Some of the most popular authors don't appear on book blogs or engage with bloggers and reviewers and they do just fine. I don't really worry about the career benefits, for better or for worse. I just love it because it's fun. Bloggers, you guys love books, you talk about books. It makes my day when you ask me for an ARC or an interview. It makes my LIFE when you run up to me at trade conferences, recognize me, and want my autograph or picture!

Librarians, teachers, booksellers, professional reviewers, etc., do a LOT to get books noticed. And I love all those people too. But usually, they're invisible--behind the scenes--unless they themselves are book bloggers, of course! I might stumble across a mention of Magic Under Glass on a school or library reading list (YAY), but I'm not privy to the discussion. I might see a nice trade review, but they're short and kinda dry and I don't get to squee with the reviewer about Jane Eyre unless I bump into them at ALA (that totally did happen, though, it was awesome). Most of my life is spent in a quiet room, in pajamas, surrounded by chocolate wrappers, sun deprived and slightly lonely. You guys give my life scope, reminding me my books are going all kinds of places, all the time, even when I can't.

I always try my best to make time for you because I just enjoy the heck out of it. I don't really care if a blog interview doesn't sell many copies (although huzzah if it does), it's amazing to have such engaged readers. Your excitement over Between the Sea and Sky makes ME more excited about it (and I was already pretty excited). As I wrote Magic Under Stone, interest in Magic Under Glass spurred me on. Even when your reviews sting a bit, I'd rather see more talk than silence.

So, thanks. Really. Just stop asking me where I get my ideas.


  1. Thank you! It is nice to see an author with good things to say instead of ranting about us.

  2. Well, authors are sensitive folk, and I guess bloggers get hammered on for the very same reason I love them--you guys are our first line of feedback. But for me personally...the world would feel quite a bit emptier if all the book bloggers disappeared! So this is my week to give you all a big virtual hug!

  3. Awww! What sweet things you say!
    As a book blogger, I have no idea if I help sell books. What I do know is that since I've started to blog I've bought TONS more books for myself and friends, but more importantly I've met (in the flesh) and met in the online community sense, so many many great and wonderful people who all love books and the people who write them as much as I do!

    Just like I don't blog to receive 'free' books, I know the authors I've started friendships with don't interact with book bloggers to gain sales ranks.

    Great post Jaclyn! Hope to see you again at BEA if you're going this year! (not sure if I made a fool of myself when I saw you last year but I do know it was a highlight of my week!)

  4. I think that community will be more and more important, too, as bookstores close. (NOOO!) (But maybe it will also help keep some open! Book-lovin' communities of all kinds are so important.)

    I wish I was going to BEA. OMGOSH I wish it. If I miraculously come into money this month...but right now, I am broke, so I will sit home and be sad. I hope next year is different!

  5. I loved reading this post! I started reading book blogs a couple years ago then created my own. Honestly without the book blog community, I wouldn't know about 90% of the books I've read or have. So it'd be really sad if I never got into this lovely community.

    I'm so excited about the Fairy Tale bash going on soon! I can't wait to see who all is going to stop by :)

  6. What an awesome post! As a librarian, I really value book blogs. Sometimes book reviews will appear on blogs sooner than they appear in professional review sources, and if I'm trying to decide whether or not to order a book for my library, blogs just might sway my decision (usually in the "buy it!" direction).