Friday, May 30, 2014

Why I Don't Post Most of My Book Reviews on My Book Blog

Sometimes when requesting a galley, the publisher asks for a link to your blog and then asks how you plan to promote your review.  My answer always starts off the same:

My blog is at inmymargins.blogspot.com, but I really won't be using that as a focal point for my review because...

And then I go on to explain what I actually do with most reviews, which is, depending upon the book, a combination of:

  • Posting to Goodreads and/or LibraryThing
  • Posting to Amazon and/or B&N
  • Recommending on Edelweiss
  • Submitting to my local Friends of the Library newsletters
  • Recommending to local bookstores for Book of the Month picks
  • Posting in book recommendation communities on Facebook
  • Submitting to journals if appropriate
  • Utilizing Twitter and Google+ to promote
  • Other more social- or sales-focused approaches

My reasoning here is simple: I am not convinced that anyone other than book-bloggers actually read book blogs.  I think it's an insular, circular community where people link and comment to each other mainly to get more hits on their own blogs, and where people really aren't going to get recommendations.  The only thing that seems to drive people to book blogs is giveaways, which really doesn't help all that much because they often have no review or other strong content with them, so readers are just blindly filling out a form they'll forget about as soon as they click away.

I keep this blog just as a "hey, here's a thought I had or something I feel like preserving in a special spot" place.  No one's coming here to get a shopping list.  No one's going to any book blog to get a shopping list.  When you're looking to buy, you're going to go to one of two places: Amazon or Goodreads.  There is a reason that every single review, every book community, every everything always links to those two: they are the ones readers trust for info on whether to buy.  Why read only my opinion when you can read mine aggregated with the opinions of others?  Readers are smart; they know where to go for the best info.

So sure, I post reviews here occasionally.  It's usually if I really liked a book or if I think the review has an important point to make beyond the ordinary.  But if I'm a publisher, I don't care if the book I'm pushing is on a small book blog like this.  I care that it's spread through all of those above avenues by someone with thousands of followers on social media, the attention of the massive reader community network on Facebook, influence with bookstores and libraries in one of the top reading markets, and an active presence on the sites that make actual sales.

So publisher, that's how I plan to promote my review and your book.  And maybe I'll throw it on here, too, but it's not going to matter much either way.

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