Monday, January 30, 2012

Texas Book Bloggers are Rockstars: Day One

Today I begin a week long blog series that I have titled “Texas Book Bloggers are my Rockstars.” Please understand, all book bloggers are my rockstars. But here in the Lone Star State, we’ve got an amazing community and I see them frequently at conferences and conventions and book events. So it’s time to spread some blogger love!

When DREAMING ANASTASIA came out in 2009, I was an unknown English teacher/author. There was no big marketing campaign. It was largely through blogger word of mouth that news of the book spread once it released in September. And because of that blogger love, Sourcebooks asked me to write the sequel, HAUNTED, and later, the third book, ANASTASIA FOREVER, which will be out this coming August.

The blogger community as a whole, and the Texas blogger community in particular, has been generous and supportive and amazing. They support not only authors but literacy in general and they do so because of their passion for books and reading and the craft of writing. I am awed and humbled by this generosity, and I am not alone in that feeling. Both Sourcebooks, who is also participating in this blog series, and Soho Press, whose new Soho Teen imprint will include my THE SWEET DEAD LIFE in Spring 2013, understand and appreciate what book bloggers do for our industry.

They include them at dinners and events and today Sourcebooks’ Derry Wilkens, the Publicity Manager for Children’s and YA and Kay Mitchell, publicist, have stopped by the blog to express their gratitude. (Pictures: Top- Derry; Bottom - Kay)

In the coming days, I will interview 9 amazing Texas bloggers!

And now, let’s hear from Derry and Kay at Sourcebooks:

JP: I know Sourcebooks is very supportive of the book blogger community. Can you talk about that relationship?

DW: We love them!! Bloggers are the best cheerleaders EVER for books. On their own dime and on their own free time, they spread their love for reading, for books and for authors to anyone and everyone who will listen. I am so impressed with the joy, enthusiasm and smart commentary they put into their discussions of books on blogs, websites, Facebook and Twitter. And then they go out into the “real world” and do the same thing. We rely on them to start the buzz about a book long before it goes on sale and they also remain fans of the book and the author long afterwards, too. That long term support is invaluable.

KM: We love the blogger community! I’ve worked on a lot of different types of books, so I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of different bloggers. They are a fantastic group of people as a whole and really lovely as individuals as well. I have an enormous amount of respect for what you all do—especially those of you who also have other jobs, families to take care of, that kind of thing. I bow down to your ability to multi-task.
One of the things that we understand is just how important the bloggers are to our media outreach, to the success of our books, and to our authors. Just this morning I had an author email me about a note she had gotten from a blogger and she was literally squeeing because she was so excited about the positive response to her book. Just after the holidays 3 of the bloggers we work with selected one of our adult fiction novels as part of the Top 10 of 2011 lists and that book made it into the Amazon Top 100 Women’s Fiction that very weekend. So we get to see the big, big impact of bloggers every day.

I love to send out an email about a new book for review, a blog tour, or an announcement about good news to bloggers because the response is like a tidal wave of warm fuzzies (to use the professional and technical term). Bloggers are, as a group, one of the most responsive and positive groups of media professionals I work with. (Disclaimer: I am not saying that the other media professionals are surly, just that bloggers are awesome.)
We love bloggers (and their reviews, and their love for our authors), and I really feel like they are supporting us at least as much as we are supporting them.

JP: Where do most of your interactions with book bloggers take place? Email? Twitter? In person? What's the most fun for you about that blogger/publisher relationship?

KM: I mostly talk with the bloggers via email, though I’m connecting with more and more bloggers on Twitter (yes, I’m book-stalking you). It would be terrific to meet more bloggers in person! It’s always such fun to meet someone at a conference or a book signing and realize that you’ve been “talking” with this person for months (or years!) on email—I’m not sure who enjoys that more, me or the bloggers. I’m going to say me (but my psychic powers are on the fritz this week, so I can’t say for sure!)

DW: The best part about talking with bloggers is seeing the same excitement for books that I have. Unlike most industries, everyone in publishing has a genuine passion for books. And it’s wonderful for us to be able to share that with the people who read them. We talk to bloggers by email, on Twitter, and then, best of all, we meet them face-to-face at book conferences like Book Expo America. I encourage every blogger to stop by our Sourcebooks booth whenever they can!

JP: Derry, you're a Texas girl. If we promise not to tell book bloggers from other states that you're a teensy bit biased toward the Lone Star State, could you talk about why Texas book bloggers are the biggest rockstars?

DW: That’s easy. Texan Blogger = Rock Star. It’s just what happens when you live in the Lone Star State. Kidding aside, the thing that impresses me the most about Texas bloggers is how they’ve built a community across such an enormous state. Not only online, but I see Texas bloggers in big numbers at conventions, too. So, you get bloggers from El Paso meeting up with Dallas bloggers and South Texas bloggers to go to book festivals and conferences. Do you know how much driving that takes? It can be as much as 10 hours in the car! And all for the love of books.

JP: Kay, you're not a Texas girl. If we promise to forgive you for not growing up in the Lone Star State, could you talk about why Texas book lovers are the biggest rockstars?

KM: Conditional only on that forgiveness! Honestly I’ve found all of the book love that comes out of Texas to be just phenomenal. Every blogger I’ve connected with that is based in Texas (including gracious hostess Joy Preble) is incredibly enthusiastic, wanting and willing to do whatever they can to find out about new books and share them with their readers and everyone else who will listen, and just generally loves books with their big Texas hearts. TLA has been by far my favorite trade show to attend because the energy level is so incredibly high, people are excited to be there talking about books and I’ve gotten to meet some terrific Texas bloggers!

Thank you, Derry Wilkens and Kay Mitchell!

Up tomorrow: Katie of Mundie Moms an Stacy Wells from Girls in the Stacks! Stay tuned!


Kristin Rae said...

Great hearing what they have to say! Texas bloggers really do rock! Thanks so much for highlighting it :)

Emily said...

Book bloggers are amazing, and judging from your interviews, Texas book bloggers are extraordinary.

What a great community, thanks for the interviews and new blogs to stalk!

Cari said...

Great interview and I'm not just saying that because I'm a Texas blogger. We really are lucky to have such a great group of authors and bloggers here. I have said to Derry before but I'll also include this for Kay come to Houston and I'll buy cupcakes! Thanks so much Joy and thank you to the publishers who work with all the bloggers!

Carolee Dean said...

My novel, Take Me There, is set in Texas and I came to Texas the summer of 2010 on a Blog Across Texas Blog Tour. I got to meet several fabulous Texas bloggers.

I Read Banned Books said...

Awesome (quotable) words from Sourcebooks! Thank you so much for this, Joy!

We love our authors and rally and support them for life. Viva Tejas!

Jen said...

Texas bloggers do rock!! But we couldn't do it without awesome authors like you are the wonderful publishers like Derry and Kay at Sourcebooks!

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Shelley said...

Hard to find a livelier/prettier/happier looking pair of blogger photos!