In preparing my most recent release, The Road She Left Behind, I set out to find ARC reviewers as well as rounding up contact lists for book blogs in those countries where I know I have a following. This is part of my approach to launching a new book. However, this time I wanted to expand my reach since The Road was a more literary book than my prior releases.
A few more confessions: I limit my time in cyberspace. I didn’t own a cell phone until 2016. If I find time to be entertained by a screen, it’s usually for a dose of TV to watch BBC America or a movie with my family. And we have a rule: Mom can’t spoil the film by revealing the plot when she figures it out.
If I am on my computer, it’s usually to flesh out the first draft of an upcoming novel. Most revisions (and more revisions, and more revisions) are completed longhand. Usually with Lucy staring at me as I scribble away in my easy chair.
So when I finished my latest novel, I had to be strategic about what I pursue in terms of promotions and focus on what I know works—and book bloggers work. They’re amazing, sweet, special people drifting through cyberspace with the message that literature is a good thing and you ought to pick up a book and read.
Regardless of your tastes, there’s a book blog that’s right for you. Women’s fiction, high literature, mystery, suspense, romance, experimental fiction—and many more. Somewhere on this pretty blue planet, a dedicated bibliophile is spending his or her precious time posting on a blog so that you’ll know what to read, what’s new, what’s not-so-new but damn good so you should hurry to the library and dig the book out from the stacks. Many bloggers are open to reviewing ebooks—thank the heavens—allowing many novels that weren’t published in the traditional method to reach the light of day.
Early in my writing career, I spent several years watching my various novels garner interest with the heavy hitters in NYC. I was sure Random House would pick up Second Chance Grill. An editor at Penguin was so enthusiastic about publishing Treasure Me, and the rest of the Liberty series in hardcover that I spent several months sweating bullets while writing a series proposal. When the Great Recession hit, the editor lost interest. Which I understood. It’s difficult to gamble on a debut novelist when your publishing house is laying off your compatriots in droves. But those books met with success in no small part to bloggers sharing their reviews.
Through it all, book bloggers continue to write about books they love and those they dislike. And best of all—they are everywhere sharing their blogs on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and many other places. They keep interest in literature alive and—I suspect—they introduce younger readers to the delights of fiction. You can never get beneath another person’s skin. Perhaps the closest you’ll get to understanding another human heart is through fiction.
So please read. And visit those book bloggers in cyberspace for the sweetest celebration of literature you’ll ever enjoy.