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The pressures of book blogging – an open letter to publishers

29th April 2017

As bloggers, many of us have come to book blogging because we have a passion for reading. We enjoy the written word, and then we enjoy bringing together our thoughts in written form – words that will anchor and expand upon the thoughts that are floating around in the ether of one’s mind. It is satisfying, enjoyable and very often rewarding, for, oh, so many reasons.

The pressures of book blogging

There are now many book bloggers out there, there are more blog tours, there are many more books coming onto the market, everything in the book world is growing exponentially, which is good news. With growth, however, can come pressure.

In one of the Facebook groups to which I belong, there has been lengthy discussion about the changes that are happening within the world of publishing. Some changes are very obvious, many positive, some, though, are less detectable but have a Blog panelpowerful effect on the balance of relationships in the book world. Things are buzzing, it’s frantic, it’s exciting, it’s overwhelming… but sometimes for many bloggers it can begin to feel quite pressured. Each book blogger of course needs to find their own balance, decide for themselves what they can and can’t do. But for me there are some things that would make my life as a blogger easier to manage.

Thus, in an open letter to publishers here, I flag some of the simple things a publisher could do which I personally would find really useful when it comes to reviewing a book and then spreading the word of that book on Social Media. Some publishers have already come alongside (you will know who you are if you are reading this).

With every book for review you send out, please include a flyer about the book and all the relevant details on there. Even better, print the relevant information on the ARC – imagine, hundreds of books awaiting review, the flyers can sometimes get separated. If it’s digital, then send a PDF with all the details.

So, here goes:

Hashtags: Please detail the hashtag you would like used on Social Media for the book in question. Do you want simply want the title? Or do you have a special hashtag you want to use? I recently reviewed Domina by L S Hilton and the initial hashtag was #Domina which soon morphed into #DominaBook once it was live, because the former would have landed all the Tweeters with all the sexual domina tweets, probably undesirable (although for a brief few moments it was illuminating). Heaven only knows where some of my early tweets landed.

Which Publisher: this may seem simple but once you delve into the imprints of any publishing house, it is is not always evident which publisher should be tagged on Social Media. Amazon says one thing, that back of the book says another. AND it would be really helpful to have the contact person at the publisher who is responsible for the book. So often we are asked to notify the publisher when we post, but if the name isn’t to hand, it can then take a lot of research to find the person responsible for the book…. and that takes time, of course.

Publication Date: this sometimes seems to be a moveable feast. Flyers can often detail the date, but Amazon will often have a publication date that is much earlier – it might be that the digital version came out first, of course, but this isn’t always the case. When there is a definitive date, a blogger can decide the best time to release the review.

Social Media links: I use an inordinate amount of time trying to find an author’s Social Media handles, whether Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. We always link to our authors when we write a blogpost, as most bloggers do. But sometimes the name an author will use, for example on Twitter, is totally different to actual name and consequently it can be very hard to find (take note authors!).

Blog Tour posters. Today we happened to feature on a blog tour. We shared the day with two other bloggers. We would gladly have highlighted their contribution on Twitter, but after a few minutes search, I couldn’t find the link to them or their blog and gave up. Please include a Twitter handle or link to such blog contributors – some publishers already do.

And finally….

Contact: We schedule posts around 6 weeks ahead. Recently we have been contacted 2 weeks in advance of publication (5 days in one case) and have been asked to take part in a blog tour. We can’t do it. I would imagine the schedules of other bloggers are similarly fully booked. Ideally, please get in touch 6 weeks or more in advance to gain a commitment.

Please. Help us to help you!

If anyone has any further points to add, please use the Comments box below.

Tina for the TripFiction Team

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Comments

  1. User: Barbara Khan

    Posted on: 01/05/2017 at 3:41 pm

    This is so timely! I am fairly new to blogging and one thing I’ve been struggling with is scheduling. I was going to message a friend in another group who has had a blog for a long time to ask her advice on scheduling and pub dates. I read an ARC that an author sent me months ago and reviewed it on Goodreads. I happen to see another blogger friend mentioned today was pub date for that book! I do try to read books closer to their pub, but often I feel like I’m just reading willy-nilly or juggling a thousand books and deadlines at once. It sometimes take the joy out of the process. I too started my blog, because I love to read and wanted to spread the joy. Oh, and I do love an ARC that has the pub date prominently displayed. I lose those little papers they send along!

    Comment

  2. User: Linda

    Posted on: 30/04/2017 at 7:57 am

    Absolutely!

    Comment

  3. User: Laura

    Posted on: 29/04/2017 at 10:32 pm

    Completely agree with this especially the point about which imprint and contact! I lose track so many times of which publisher is part of another etc and who’s best to contact about a particular book. Great post!

    Comment

  4. User: Stacey - Whispering Stories Book Blog

    Posted on: 29/04/2017 at 9:46 pm

    Earlier this year I took part in a tour that I ended up searching on other bloggers posts who were before me for the release date and publishing house the publisher wanted me to use.
    Also information on the author is a good idea. Some do, others don’t. Seen as I add information on the author in my posts, I get fed up of searching the web for details.
    On a side note, I’m very surprised about how many authors don’t have a website/Twitter/Facebook or even a Goodreads page.

    Comment

  5. User: JANICE HORTON

    Posted on: 29/04/2017 at 8:23 pm

    Great posted. Shared to my page.

    Comment

  6. User: Lisa

    Posted on: 29/04/2017 at 7:32 pm

    All very good points! I can get confused as to which publisher/imprint to tag as well. I always feel so bad when there is a book I’d like to cover and am lucky enough to receive in the mail but, sigh, it comes out in 2 weeks and I know I can’t cover it. However, I feel good books have no expiration so if I’m not covering around pub date then so be it.

    Comment

  7. User: Dawn Tindle

    Posted on: 29/04/2017 at 6:17 pm

    A great post, Tina. I would also add sending the book in good time. I’ve had to chase one publisher for a blog tour book recently and eventually got it ten days before my post is scheduled to go live. It’s a 500+ page book and I have a full-time job!!

    Comment

  8. User: Briana @ Pages Unbound

    Posted on: 29/04/2017 at 5:57 pm

    Also, I didn’t say this in my first post, but yes to scheduling! I know some book bloggers are more spontaneous, but my co-blogger and I schedule weeks in advance. We have May and June just about fully booked right now, and I mean every day, not just on a “we post two times a week” schedule. In many cases, I can probably move a post to make room for something, but it’s nice to have some advance notice.

    Comment

  9. User: Briana @ Pages Unbound

    Posted on: 29/04/2017 at 5:55 pm

    I don’t request a lot of review copies (partially to avoid pressure!), but you make some great points. It rarely occurs to me that publisher might have a specific hashtag in mind. I also tend to just tag the main publisher account on Twitter and such because some imprints have their own social media accounts, and some do not. If there’s a specific account they want tagged, it would be so helpful to have that listed!

    Comment

  10. User: Jessica Norrie

    Posted on: 29/04/2017 at 5:47 pm

    Very clear. Hope it has an effect!

    Comment

  11. User: Katherine

    Posted on: 29/04/2017 at 5:26 pm

    Brilliant post. I especially would appreciate more details on the publishing house and twitter handles! Info printed in the book would be so helpful! Thanks for such a clear, articulate and helpful post.

    Comment

  12. User: Patricia

    Posted on: 29/04/2017 at 5:15 pm

    I second every point! Great post!☺

    Comment

  13. User: The book review café

    Posted on: 29/04/2017 at 5:13 pm

    Fab post and can relate to most of the points you’ve highlighted.

    Comment

  14. User: Mairead Hearne

    Posted on: 29/04/2017 at 4:54 pm

    Excellent post Tina. Thank you for taking the time to write it. All such relevant and important points. I have noticed a shorter lead time into some tours so am refusing participation based on that alone. Every point you make rings so true. Great post.

    Comment

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