Barb is a Social Media and WordPress Consultant and has taught at University, trained technical staff in the banking industry and, most recently, used her expertise to help dozens of authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular blog, Sugarbeat’s Books.
Barb asked me a while ago to fill in a survey and the results are in this eBook. As a treat for my readers, you get to read Chapter 3 of her book for FREE! Thank you, Barb.
Thanks so much for inviting me to tell you a bit about my book, The Author’s Guide to Working With Book Bloggers! I am a fan of this blog and visit often!
Today we are going to talk about my book and how it came to life. After several conversations with book bloggers, I decided that I wanted to learn about my fellow book bloggers. I created a 26 questions survey that I posted on my blog and advertised on Twitter and Facebook. I figured that maybe 50 people would fill out answers. To my amazement 215 responded.
As the answers came in, I realized what a treasure of information I was receiving. Quickly the decision was made to create a book to help authors communicate or work with book bloggers.
Organizing all the information from the survey into a logical sequence was quite a daunting task. I relied on several people to help me. After several false starts, I had a workable draft and went in search of an editor. That was a bit of a challenge, but I finally found someone who was willing to take me on. Although I knew that editors were pretty important before I wrote this book, I now know the miracles they work!
The Author’s Guide to Working with Book Bloggers covers all the major promotions that book bloggers support. They may go by different names on some blogs, but the essentials are covered. I talk about how to approach a book blogger, what authors can ask for and realistically what they can expect.
Book blogging is a hobby – I think it is the best hobby a person can have, but it is still a hobby. We only have so many reading hours in each week. Authors need to keep these things in mind when approaching book bloggers for some free promotion. We are limited in our time, and many of us are totally overwhelmed by requests. A free book is not necessarily a sought after prize. I have boxes of them in my room!
From my point of view, I get hundreds of emails every month. There are only 30 or 31 days to be filled on my blog. I have to have a method of narrowing down my choices. Because of that, requests that follow my guidelines don’t immediately get deleted. Emails that say “Sign me up dude” end up in the trash.
My intent with my book is to be as helpful as possible. Authors are entering a brave new world where book bloggers are the new gatekeepers to publishing success. We want authors to succeed and I hope that my book will provide a guide to entering this world.
I’d like to thank Alice for inviting me. I hope that everyone will feel comfortable asking me questions either here or on one of my blogs. If you are an author – keep writing and keep learning!
Chapter 3 Etiquette of the Blogosphere and Social Media
FREE for DCC Readers!
If one comment came through repeatedly in the survey, it was regarding the lack of manners in the Blogosphere and in social media in general. I think there is something about social media that allows people to forget about their manners. Things that people certainly wouldn’t do or say in person, they have no problem doing online. Let’s take a few moments and talk about manners.
We’ll move through a number of broad topics while keeping in mind two key points:
1) All Book Bloggers are unique. They all have preferences, not only in their reading preference, but also in the way in which they operate their blog. The vast majority of them claim, in my survey, to have a “review policy.” A review policy is where book bloggers state what they read (and what they don’t read), what they post to their blog, and how they want to be queried.
2) Book Bloggers, like the rest of society, are more likely to do a favor for a friend that they wouldn’t do for a stranger. Because of this, it is in your best interest to make some bloggy friends. In previous chapters we discussed how to find some book blogs that suit the genre you write in. I suggested that you visit a few and go on a ‘goose chase’ to find some bloggers that are potential friends.
How do you make friends in the blogosphere? The same way you do in Kindergarten. Think back. “Hi, my name is Barb. Will you be my friend?” Okay, maybe we’re a little more sophisticated now. Think about the last party, or the last conference you went to. You likely introduced yourself to people you didn’t know. I find the best way to introduce myself to someone new is to offer a compliment as a conversation starter. “Hi, my name is Barb. I love your scarf! Where did you buy it?”
The same method works in the online world. Let’s go back to the example of a blog you are visiting. Have a look around; actually read what they have written. Leave them a comment that reflects the fact that you’re trying to be friendly. “Hi, my name is Barb and this is my first visit to your blog. I really enjoyed reading your review of Book XYZ. Looks like I’m heading to the bookstore to pick up a copy.” When you leave the comment, make sure that you leave your email address and your blog URL (usually required on most comment systems). You’ll notice that this comment is friendly without being self-promotional. Probably one of the worst things you can do is to leave the following comment: “Hi, my name is Barb and this is my first visit here. I enjoyed your review of Book XYZ and I must tell you that I have written a similar, yet better story, which you really must review. I’m emailing you a copy and will expect a review shortly.”
You think I exaggerate! Okay, maybe a little bit, but I can’t count the number of times I have had people leave similar comments on my blog. I have received unsolicited books numerous times. Not only is it rude, but sending unsolicited books is a recipe for piracy. I know that I’m honest, but how does the author know I won’t upload the book to a piracy site?
Back to making bloggy friends. Leaving comments along with the ability to contact you back will allow bloggers to visit your world. Just like you dropped by to say hi, they might drop by to say hi on your blog, too. I must admit, it often takes leaving a few comments for bloggers to get curious and follow your links to visit you. I suggest that you make a list of bloggers that you are interested in befriending and drop by once a week to say hi. It doesn’t need to be time consuming—choose five to visit each morning while you are having your first cup of coffee. Frankly, following links has led me to some of my best author friends. I get curious and go visiting. When I arrive at their blog, I see the cover of a book that seems right for me. I ask questions and I find a new friend—and a new book to read.
If you take one thing away from this chapter, I hope that it will be not to self-promote when trying to make friends. Picture yourself at a party where you don’t know anyone. Do you walk from person to person, handing out books, saying “read my book, call me”? Of course you don’t. Interaction on social media should reflect the real world.
Let’s move on to Facebook and Twitter. Both of these social medias are often viewed as very different. Yes, there are some differences between them, but they are both vehicles of communication. Twitter is the place for short communications and Facebook is the place for longer and more varied communications. They are both places were you can expand your brand, talk about things that are important to you, and share interesting or funny things. The people who follow you or like you are part of your growing community; your group of friends who will help you get the news out about your book.
Show some respect for the blogger’s time and energy. It is generally not all right to ask someone to review your book just because they have followed you on Twitter. I find that it’s not unusual to get some version of: “Hi! I’d like to send you a free e-copy of my new book IMPISH for Kindle or Kindle app—no strings attached. If interested, shoot me a DM!” My friend Rachel has a great blog post about this. As a quick heads up, auto DMs are considered a faux pas in today’s world of social media. Asking everyone to read your book because they follow you on Twitter or Facebook is the equivalent of attending a party where you don’t know anyone, and going from person to person handing out business cards and asking them to read your book. Think about it…do you really think you would have a lot of luck? Then don’t try it on social media!
I’m sure that you would never do any of the above to convince bloggers to read your book, but I’m sure that you think I’m exaggerating. Sadly, I’m not. It’s a daily occurrence on book blogs.
Although there are literally thousands of book bloggers, the book blogging world is a small one. We talk. Book blogging is a social activity. My study shows that most book bloggers start their blog in order to share their love of books with others. Do we all talk to one another? No. But just as gossip flies like wildfire in the real world, gossip flies on social media at warp speed. Any example of bad behavior is passed around quickly. Don’t be the next example of “what not to do” that is passed around Twitter.
Barb’s next book is called “Go Global: Building An International Author Platform That Sells.” This book is about creating buzz for your book – and your career as an author – just got easier. Go Global: Building an International Author Platform That Sells will help you decode the mystery behind building a powerful author brand and navigating the social media platforms essential to publishing success. Social Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich will steer you through the technology behind international marketing without all the techno-speak. She has helped many authors just like you build an author platform that engages readers and builds sales.
Go Global teaches you why you need the various facets of the author platform to build visibility. Barb uses a simple analogy, Operation Book, to help you understand the steps to successful book marketing in the media age. She covers:
- The Difference between a Website and a Blog
- What Your Blog Should Contain
- The Important Components of a Blog
- The Nine Essential Social Media Platforms
- Amazon’s Author Central
With simple-to-follow steps, Barb will help you create and manage an Author Platform to support your career.