The book blogging panel, led by HarperCollins's Jennifer Hart, drew a huge crowd of engaged authors, bloggers and publicists as it attempted to “create a more perfect union between bloggers, publishers, booksellers and authors,” according to Hart. Participants included Julie of Booking Mama, Natasha of Maw Books, Stephanie of Stephanie's Written Word, Amy of My Friend Amy, Dawn of She Is Too Fond of Books and Candace of Beth Fish Reads.
With the huge number of books being published, book bloggers are becoming even important gatekeepers, increasing awareness for readers and building buzz. To that end, publishers and authors are working more closely than ever with them, and on new ways of promotion, such as blog tours.
Hart started the panel by asking what could be done to come closer to that “perfect union.” Panelists mentioned such things as “reading our review policies” to know what kind of books each reviews and communicating better on when coverage is expected. “Some publishers think that if they send us a book, a week later it will be covered,” said one panelist, pointing out that as a stay-at-home mom with two kids, sometimes it can’t happen than fast. Other suggestions included reaching out to newer bloggers to help them build an audience. A link-back was stressed as both a courtesy and a way to help everyone build traffic. “It only benefits the book when people know about a good review,” said Natasha.
The panel also covered “book blog tours,” which are becoming a bigger way to promote books. The tours are organized by publicists or authors and can be a one-day blast with 30 or 40 blogs reviewing a book on the same day, or a gradual roll-out of reviews, links, author posts and interviews. All the bloggers prefer their own original content, as it will fit in better with their individual audiences.
Several of the bloggers mentioned how much they like working with their local booksellers, and profiling them. Natasha Maw of Maw Books mentioned that her local store had allowed her to get seven books autographed at a Jodi Picoult signing, which she then gave away on the blog, creating a benefit for all.
Click here for more BookExpo America 2009 coverage from PW.
[Note: An earlier version of this story had incorrectly attributed quotes; they have now been corrected.]