September 1, 2007

The blog book tour.

Oh, come on, is it any more humiliating than slogging around to Borders bookstores all over the place and hoping for a decent crowd? It's like this:
[A]n author pops up on a series of blogs, usually over days or weeks, variously writing guest posts, answering questions from the host or sitting for a podcast, a video interview or a live chat. The blogs’ readers may comment and leave more questions. Ideally, they follow links to the author’s Web site and to an online retailer like Amazon....

Many publishing houses have now hired Web-savvy publicists or outside blog tour “producers.” Some blog tour producers say they have, from time to time, paid bloggers to review an author’s book as part of a tour. Bloggers may or may not reveal this detail. Producers also say they may try to dissuade bloggers who want to post a negative review. But in general, negativity is hard to find on a blog book tour. Gushiness — on the part of authors, bloggers and readers — is not.

“Wow — I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was when Michelle Rowen invited me along to do a guest spot on the Midnight Hour,” wrote Amanda Ashby, a romance author, who, like Ms. Rowen, is a member of the Girlfriends’ Cyber Circuit, a group of about 40 authors who have blogs and regularly promote one another’s books. In this post on Ms. Rowen’s blog, Ms. Ashby was chronicling her attempt to land a publishing deal for her novel “You Had Me at Halo.”

“The book sounds fantastic and is one I’ll definitely have to pick up soon,” said a poster named Cory in the blog’s comments section.

“Thanks so much, Cory!!” Ms. Ashby responded.
Those two exclamation points say it all, don't they? You can't trust those bloggers. Unlike mainstream editors, who never calculate self-interest when they decide how negative they want to go.

1 comment:

Paddy O. said...

The problem with such 'tours' is that they can be very insular. Forty authors with blogs who visit each other might have a big sounding network, but my suspicion is that it's the same small audience.

Plus, I'm thinking that it's not the mass positive reviews that help. Get someone feisty about your work. That's Hitchens' genius. His bluster and over-the-top rhetoric gets folks mad and then they write posts, and it reaches into a whole new audience. Not just true believers but also true foes who buy the book to debunk it.

Then again, I'm thinking that Hitchens chooses his subjects to have the most passion on either side. I can't imagine a book called "You Had Me at Halo" would inspire much passion either way. They have to go the insular route and get the built in audience, for anyone that doesn't like it will most certainly ignore it rather than get up in arms about it.

In my nascent blog marketing I'm trying to get out of my immediate circle and that means getting away from those who are congratulatory just because they expect me to be the same. And I'm hoping for at least a couple 1 star amazon reviews when the book comes out. Shows I've touched a nerve.