Friday, September 26, 2008

Where would we be without book-lovin' bloggers?

As I come to the end of my virtual blog tour, I just have to say: Whew! That was intense. Maybe more so for me because I have a day job, so cramming in time to do the interviews and guest posts was a challenge, plus I made sure to visit at each stop and chat with readers whenever possible.

That said, I also had a ton of fun. I got to meet readers from all over the world, and I realized that in this highly competitive publishing enviornment, with marketing dollars shrinking and print reviews being ruthlessly eliminated from newspapers across the country, not to mention the thousands of books clamoring for attention, where would we be without book-lovin' bloggers?

Their generosity, honesty, and nondiscriminatory policy when it comes to reviewing books are godsends. Whether you're a bestseller or a debut, they treat you like family. If they liked it or hated it, they'll let you know, usually in no-nonsense terms. And they'll run the gamut, from historical to science fiction to literary - it's all good in the book bloggers' world. They may each have their own distinctive personality and quirks, but most offer us giveaways, contests, interviews and guest posts, with the cummulative effect that providing the author shows up and pitches in, the book will get noticed.
Isn't that what every writer dreams of?

There was a time when the New York Times book review was considered the pinnacle of achievement; if you got reviewed there, you basically had it made. Not so much anymore. While still the foremost authority for book reviews, these days it takes more for a book to get its "legs", as they say in industry parlance. Sales are certainly vastly helped by an NYT review, but more and more books are reaching bestseller status without one; and the majority of these all had major help from the blogsphere. It's like internet word-of-mouth. The more blogs talk about a book, the more readers start to take notice.

All writers, particularly those like me who are starting out, would be wise to take heed of the incredible attention that blogs can generate. The playing field is leveling, and whether or not that is a good thing I'll leave it up to you to decide. I personally am grateful to know there is a vast variety of outlets available online for promotion, rather than depending on a few magazines preoccupied with the latest bestseller, hyped-up lastest debut, or the most recent literary discovery. With blogs ranging in scope from a mom who bakes and reads to a fashion-obsessed bibliophile and everything in between, there's a place for nearly every book under the sun to get its share of notice. It's fast and the blog moves on, but while you're there they give you their all.

I want to thank all the bloggers who hosted me on my tour and took the time, often out of very busy schedules, to talk about my book. I also want to thank all the bloggers out there who talk every day about books and writing, for they help us keep alive that most civilized of human activities: the art of reading.


Sarah Bower said...

I agree wholeheartedly with everything you say here, Christopher. The litblogs have been very influential in getting my own books much needed publicity - including yours, of course! And in the UK at least, I think the print press are catching on - the Guardian's book blog is very well read and regarded. Which raises an interesting point about how international the blogs are, how many readers in other English speaking places pick up books published in the UK or the US they wouldn't otherwise know about.

There's a caveat, however. Sadly, there are instances of litbloggers who gain 'establishment' recognition - they sit on prize panels, get invited to literary festivals etc. and hey presto, all of a sudden they're only reviewing mainstream books by big names.

C.W. Gortner said...

Hi Sarah,
Yes, I agree that some bloggers do go "establishment"; and that's a shame, because part of the joy of blogging is the independance to write about whay you want and help authors with smaller publishers to get the recognition they so richly deserve. I think readers from all over the world read blogs, too; during my virtual book tour, I got comments from readers in Australia and one in India! That just blew me away.

Sarah Bower said...

Wonderful, Christopher. I hope your sales are reflecting the worldwide interest!

Annie said...

I'm an Aussie and I just found your blog from a link on Dani's Bookshelf. I love the sound of your book! I just finished reading a novel on Katherine of Aragon so I'm certainly interested in Juana. It's going on my TBR Pile :-)

Amy said...

Tag, you're it!

C.W. Gortner said...

Hi Annie, glad you found us! Welcome and I hope you like the book. Katherine and Juana led such tumultous, interesting lives (if ultimately tragic); and Katherine makes a few appearances in THE LAST QUEEN.

C.W. Gortner said...

Amy!!! I want to participate. Let me see how I go about it, as I'm juggling 13,000 things right now!

You've got a cool blog, too. I'll add you to my blog roll.

Amy said...

I know you're a busy man, so please don't feel obligated! Thank you for checking my blog out and the nice words you said...that means a lot!

You are a favorite of mine and I look forward to reading your books for years to come.

C.W. Gortner said...

That's so sweet . . . Thank you so much; it means a lot to me! You're on my blog roll now and I just commented on you "Company of Liars" post