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Book Blogging 101: The Question Menagerie

Just a little note: I'm actually out of town right now and this post is scheduled to post in advanced while I'm in route. If you see errors, I's been one of those weeks! ;) XOXO - PJ

I'm new to blogging and I was wondering how does one go about getting review books from a publisher? Also, how do you get to sign up for blog tours?  - Danielle Gorman
Danielle there are many ways to get review copies. Usually the best way to do this is to request them via the author or publisher. You have to do your research, first you have to find the book you want, then you have to find out who wrote it and who is the publisher. An email request to both publisher and author might garner you a review copy. Look on the publisher's web site, they usually have emails specifically for review requests. Authors will generally have a contact form or email address on their web sites.

When penning your email remember to be professional and introduce yourself. Let them know about your blog and why it would be great if you reviewed their book (followers, enthusiasm etc.).

Not getting responses from those emails, I would suggest trying or Simon & Schuster's Galley Grab.

To sign up for book tours you would go to the TOUR's hosting site. They usually all have their own personally web page. Usually on their they have a form that allows you to become a tour partner.

I'm a small blogger so I was super excited when I was offered a review copy of a certain series that looked exactly like the kind of book I'd want to read. I said yes and gave all appropriate information and patiently waited for the book to arrive, though it never did. I emailed my contact and asked about the book and the contact said they would try to figure out the problem. I never received the books and I'm a bit confused. Does this happen often?  - Anon
Yes. Publishers are usually big corporations. They have a shipping department warehouses. I've had some crazy things happen with review copies.

  • Giveaway wins not making it to winners
  • Review copies never gracing my doorstep
  • Multiple copies of review copies (I got nine of the same book once!!)
  • Multiple copies of GIVEAWAY copies. I think it was a Gena Showalter giveaway that I did that all the winners got ten copies of the same book. And there were ten winners! Ten copies of Ten to everyone.

Publishers have shipping departments, interns and sometimes bored secretaries that might not get the "order" right. Then on top of it, sometimes the publishers utilizes 3rd party publicists and they have to request the books through the publisher, all of this can lead to misplaced books.

What is the best way to receive swag for a contest? - Gina
Ask for it. Go to book signings. Depending on the book they might or might not have swag. Smaller indie authors will have to order the swag themselves so they might have it. Large pubs will have swag for the "featured" books. All you have to do is ask when you are setting up the giveaway.

Hi PJ!

Kind of a two-fold question - first, what is Networked Blogs and what does it do for my blog?  And second, can you recommend some other networking sites that a blogger should be on outside of twitter?

The Librarian

Networked Blogs is an app within Facebook for blogs. The only thing I like about it is that it posts my feed onto my Facebook page. It functions much like Google Reader but through Facebook. You would follow blogs through Networked Blogs and then they show up in the app.

I'm not too knowledgable about the App, mainly because I utilize the Google products, like Feedburner and Reader. Generally I distrust Facebook apps because of all the tracking software they have in them.

Recommended sites: (new haven't decided yet, but there are a TON of bloggers on their now)
Linked-In (maybe) (must)

And I think that is it for right now.

Rachel, you are always so busy and on top of things. I'm impressed with how well you manage yourself. Do you ever have down time? Or time that you just can't get to your reading and blogging responsibilities?

I swear summertime has made reading and blogging almost impossible for me. My kids (3 of them) are out of school, they're all in special programs, and it seems any free time I used to have has been cut in half... maybe more. I'm finding it really hard to keep up during the summer months, with what seemed so easy while the kids were in school. How do you do it? Is there ever anything that slows you down? And is it normal for bloggers to have slow periods? Or is it just me? - Aimee
Thanks Aimee - of course I have downtime! This post is actually scheduled in advanced because right this minute I'm in Las Vegas… ;)

Which brings us back to the first question. I schedule things in advanced if I know I'm going to not be around. Also, I usually don't post on the weekends. I think five days a week is enough, don't you think?

Summertime is hard, June was a KILLER! It was something every day it seemed. I only have one child, so I can imagine x3. The way you stay focused is by having a schedule. It helps so much! Have at least 10 reviews waiting to be posted. I know this sounds like a lot, but you can do it easily. Maybe prep your blog for it. Have a two week special session, where you schedule fun posts and contest and use those two weeks to read maybe five books and review them. You are on your way!

Switch to audiobooks while you are super busy. Listen to the audio books on your iPod while you are grocery shopping or in the tub, or maybe driving to get the kids to their numerous activities. Audio books can help you catch up fast. I recommend getting an audible account or checking out your local library. Did you know libraries offer audio books and ebooks? Surprised me too.

There are ways to work around it and with organization it can be done. Your commenting on other blogs or twitter time might go down, but at least your blog is still being updated.

In a book blog is there anyway you could post about yourself and not seem unprofessional?  I did a poll once and people wanted to know more about me.  I post little about myself on Sundays along with mentioning what is coming ahead in reviews of books.   Is there a better way of people getting to know you with out going off topic?  What would be a example of a good post like that? - "Confuzzled" Shannon McGee
Shonnan, how about an About Me Page? This way you can have your whole bio there. You can also throw in tidbits here and there. Nothing says you can't do it. You just don't want to have posts all over the place that are all ME ME ME related, then it looks more like a personal blog instead of a book blog.

Maybe you can think of a great meme that let's people talk about themselves in a professional manner…or I know there are some bloggers that host "Get To Know Blogger" type interview pieces. That could be fun to do and sign up for.

That's it folks. Talk less. Read More. Happy Thursday.

Ask your BB101 Questions here...


Aimee said...

I also used networked blog to have my reviews posted to twitter too. I love my library, they actually do have a great selection of audiobooks. I listen at work when I do a lot of inputting on the computer.

Great post!

"Confuzzled" Shannon said...

Thanks Parajunkee! I did add a About page, I will think about a meme or feature.

As for networking I have tried the BookBlog on the ning for giveaways and maybe I am not trying the right groups but I don't get much travel from them it seems.

I haven't tried linked-in or klout. The rest I am all on.

Sandy said...

I use Twitterfeed which sounds to me is like Networked Blogs and it uploads my posts to twitter and facebook so I don't have to do it anymore.


Danielle Gorman said...

Thanks so much for answering my questions. I love all the tips you help us with.

Danielle @Ramblings From This Chick

Shelagh said...

I hope you have a great time in Vegas Rachel!

Another great 101 Q&A - thanks for the tip about networked blogs. I didn't know it could link into my blog's FB page - I set that up only recently.

The Word Fiend

Fiction Fool said...

Great post! Thanks for the input. Very useful. Although, I'm suffering a tad bit of envy that your in Las Vegas! Lucky girl!

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