Thursday, May 26, 2011

Armchair BEA: How to Win Publishers and Influence Bloggers

Ok, right from the start, let's just say I'm the one in need of advice about blogger/author/publisher relationships. I'll be reading everyone else's relationship posts religiously for some tips.  Mind you, I have some contacts with publishers, publicists, and authors, but I'm definitely not a model for others to emulate.  So, with that oversized grain of salt, here's my two cents:

1. Remain courteous no matter what.  Seriously, imagine being face to face with them, would you say nasty things?  No.  If someone is making you angry, cool off before you shoot them an email (or twitter/other social network something nasty).  Personally, I've never been that angry, since they are all really nice, even when I give them a not-so-amazing review.  

2. When receiving a review request from an author, think carefully about the book.  If it's an author that is tried and true good for you, then you can probably accept a request without worrying.  For those you know less about or if a book doesn't sound like something you would like, don't feel bad declining.  I think sometimes they'd rather have you decline than accept and hate it.  And believe me, it's hard to send a not-so-glowing review of a book to the author.  I've done it.  It stinks.

3. Don't be afraid to send out requests for books you're interested in!  Maybe this only applies to a small minority like me, but I was absolutely terrified to send requests to publishers.  I've only done it a few times, but every time they politely responded or simply sent the book without a response.  Either way, there was no pain involved.  Give it a try.

4. On the other hand, don't overdo it.  Don't request too many books, especially all at once, especially if you are very new at blogging.  I've heard this over and over from much smarter bloggers and it rings true to me too.  I didn't send a request until I'd been blogging for at least 2 years.  Not that you have to be like me, but wait a few months at least.  And don't forget to send them info about your blog, your stats, and your mailing address.

Other Book Bloggers:
Again, I'm not very good at blogger relationships, but here's my experience.  You can make fantastic personal connections online, but meeting bloggers in person definitely solidifies friendships.  I was so lucky to meet up with bloggers in Utah (see all these Utah Book Blogger Social posts) and I joined Suey's excellent book club as a result as well.  I made some of my best book-y friendships during those socials, so I highly recommend trying it out.  Now I just gotta find me some Arizona blogging friends...

Some of the Real-life Book Blogging Friends
Suey of It's All About Books
Natasha of Maw Books
Jessica of The Bluestocking Society
Kim of Good Clean Reads
Jenny of Alternate Readality
Emily of Emily's Reading Room 
Britt of Confessions of a Book Habitue
Julie of A Small Accomplishment

Meeting other bloggers is one thing that really makes missing BEA and ALA events suck.  Still, relationships can (and do) flourish virtually.  I'm open to receiving your advice about that, cause it's definitely something I could work on.

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. Excellent advice, Melissa! I totally agree with meeting blogging buddies in RL - it's so rewarding. That's the main reason I'd like to go to BEA someday.

    I've been blogging for a year, so maybe I could send out a request for something? That really terrifies me.

  2. Hey! Just listened to the first panel...and Emily was on I think (sad that I can't remember, it was only an hour or so ago) But the blogger community in Utah came up a couple of times...mentions of jealousy, lol!

    Thanks for sharing your tips, this is all knew to me too so I'm anxious to learn. Will be moving to Utah :P

  3. I have cut back to almost zero with accepting or requesting books for review. I'm finding it's more fun and satisfying to get them through the library.

    Rather than talk about bookstores, publishers or bloggers, I'm talking about volunteering. Come see what I mean.

  4. Most of the review requests that I receive are from self-published authors and it saddens me that I'm not usually interested in them. :( I did mention in my Review Policy that I don't reply to all emails, I don't know how to turn them down when they're offering copies.

    Yep, it's always great to meet fellow bloggers in person. You're lucky there are so many bloggers (and authors) in Utah! I'm just thankful I get to meet up with Filipino Book Bloggers every other month.

  5. twitter is how I have developed most of my wonderful blogger friendships. :) I also see you have my blog on our sidebar. I feel honored, thank you!

  6. Twitter has been big for me in librarian and blogger relationships too! I completely admit to the "too enthusiastic" review requests at the beginning and still working my way through them. Thanks for a great post.

  7. Great advice! I especially agree with the 'be polite' part.

  8. Terrific Post! Great advice...I have been blogging for quite a while but have never requested a book that was not pitched to me. I feel braver just reading your advice! Thanks.

  9. Great advise.

    I was always taught if you don't have anything nice to say they don't say anything at all and i agree. There is no need to trash someone (blogger or author) online when you know very well you would never say it to their face.

    I agree you always should be polite and professional because not only are you representing yourself but other bloggers too.

    Having gone to BEA last year I have to say I wasn't very happy with what i saw. It was bad blogger behaviour.

  10. Awesome title for this post! And thanks for the shout out! You aren't so bad yourself! :) Great advice too, and I am going to be less shy about requesting things, yes I am.

  11. Great advice!! I've been putting off sending a request for a book I really want, but now I'm just going to do it!

  12. Very good advice. Especially to me, a new blogger.

  13. Holly, I definitely would say a year is plenty long to wait!

    Deb, moving to Utah is a smart bet :)

    puss, I'm a huge fan of using the library and find that the majority of what I read still comes from there. I'm totally interested in your post, though!

    Chacic, I can see how it would be super hard to meet up with Filipino bloggers often. But it's great that you are sometimes! I completely agree also with saying no. I usually just state that the book they're offering isn't a good fit for me and my blog at the time. Everyone has been very gracious with my refusals :)

    Monica, I'm still trying to figure out twitter - it's really not intuitive for me :)

    booksnyarn, no worries as I'm still working it out too!

    Chrisbookarama, thanks and I hope I always follow my own advice.

    joemama, definitely give it a try! I've only done it a handful of times, but it's always been rewarding.

    Cindy, excellent advice as well. Too bad your experience at BEA was not positive :(

    Suey, way to be brave!

    Jenn, you can do it!

    Jenny, thank you - you're doing fabulously, BTW.

  14. Great post!

    Since I'm way away from most bloggers it's not easy at all for me to meet up with bloggers. However, I've really gotten to know some awesome bloggers via Skype, which is so much fun! One of the best things happening to me this year. So glad to have met them!

    My Nurturing Relationships post can be found here!

    Rebecca @ kindle fever

  15. I just sent out emails for the first time recently and didn't get responses, but I'm hoping at least one might come my way in the mail!

    It was lovely meeting you on Twitter tonight! I can't wait to follow you. We seem to have a lot in common!

  16. Great advice!

    When I'm dealing with publicists, I just always remember the mantra, "It's not personal, it's business." At least from their end. My blog feels very personal to me, and it can be hard to remember that to them I'm just one more (tiny) media outlet.

  17. great advice! i'm not good at book blogging relationships to be honest. and i've never requested a book from an author/publisher. it might be worth a try though! thanks for the tips :)

  18. Bex, I know I've been really lucky to live near bloggers. But, skype sounds like an awesome way to connect!

    A Backwards Story, I don't get responses back most of the time either, but sometimes the books just come! And it was lovely chatting with you as well - I love meeting new bloggers and their blogs!

    NotNessie, ooh an excellent point! Sometimes we want them to respond personally or whatever, but it isn't always going to happen.

    Bailey, I'm not very good either, but hopefully this will help us both to keep in mind!


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