Okay, let's assume that I am also a blogger, since I'm online and I'm babbling about romance novels most of the time. But I guess this is where I and the rest of the other bloggers go different ways because to me, maintaining my website is a hobby even if it's a time consuming one. I never expect freebies (although I won't mind getting some), I never expect to be paid in any way, and I will keep doing this as long as I have the drive in me to do so, even if I get a traffic of 5 people a day and 4 out of them is me checking to see whether my pages have been uploaded correctly.
Of course, I'd feel curious if my current daily visitors drop from the usual 1500-2000 range to 5, but I'd just shake my head if that happens and assume that my sell-by date has passed.
Which is why I don't understand the "what bloggers want from publishers and authors" thing. I'm not saying that anyone who believes differently from me is wrong or greedy or whatever, let me make this clear, I just don't understand their way of thinking.
The points that were raised at the NYC Book Expo America were supposed to be that bloggers:
-Wants more relationships with bookstores. Would love to highlight certain bookstores from small and large to independent.
Er, why would I want to do that? What "relationships" do we need for a blogger to just highlight a bookstore when that can be done voluntarily? Maybe I am reading this wrongly, which is likely, but "relationships" seem suspiciously like a call for freebies or attention here.
-If a publisher or author is interested in a blogger reviewing a book, they should really check out the blogs review policy and if the blogger likes to read that certain book that is being asked to review. Bloggers need time to read because blogging is very much a hobby and because of real life issues, expecting a book review where a book is only given two weeks before the due date is not realistic. Publishers and authors should understand time restraints.
This is fair to me, although I find it interesting that every new blog that is started nowadays has a cry for book submission for review. I know time is hard and free books are always wonderful, but still...
-Communication is very important. Publishers and authors should build relationships with bloggers. It is very much a give and take situation. If a blogger is going to go out of their way to take the time and energy to post a review, an author and or publisher should link the review on their site.
I am not interested in being the best friends of folks in publishing houses and I don't care if authors link to my reviews, quote me, or whatever. I can imagine why some folks do, since it's a form of recognition for their blogging "work", but me, I'd settle for way much less than direct address from authors and publishers because they do not factor in my plans at all when I started doing what I do back in 1999.
-Sometimes lesser known blogs or blogs just starting to find their footing are a great way for author promotion. These bloggers will be enthusiastic and go out of their way to promote and author's work and post contests.
Bad idea. New blogs = no traffic, so I don't understand how blogs with low traffic can help promote anyone. This is like another cry for attention. "I'm a new blogger entitled to love and freebies from authors so give them to me today!"
Am I the only one uneasy with this constant association of blogs by bloggers with author promotions? I know, this is a good way to get freebies from authors, but eh, maybe I'm just an old-fashioned conservative purist dinosaur who can't keep up with the time, but I like to imagine that the purpose of blogs should be first and foremost to inform, rather than sell things, to people.
-The bloggers could not give enough praise to Twitter. Twitter is a great way for bloggers to network. And if a book review blogger twitters a message to an author, it would be nice if an author could twitter back.
Twitter... oh don't make me laugh. Why do you need Twitter to network when you already have blog softwares like Wordpress that automatically shows all the blog entries out there that list to you? And again, the mention that book reviewers would love attention and acknowledgement from authors. Sigh.
-They also mentioned they are wary of working with big commercial book sellers like Amazon , Barnes and Noble and Borders.
Except... most of these blogs will not hesitate to carry Amazon affiliate links. There are many things wrong with Amazon, but let's face it, they are just taking advantange of a market environment that allows them to seize a monopoly on things. And why are poor Borders and B&N get lumped with Amazon?
-Would love to have advertisements on their blogs. But I think these bloggers would rather the advertisers come to them, instead of them asking for ads.
Freebies aren't enough, now they want authors to give them money too? Call me a stingy ass, but since the use of free blog services like Wordpress.com and Google Blog (Blogspot in the old days) is free, I don't understand this constant cry for advertisement revenue. Sure, I'd like to monetize my hobby too, but you don't see me gnashing my teeth and complaining that my time is money, do you?
-They feel blog tours are great.
What is this blog tour thing? Are we talking about those weird "tour" thingies where an author makes the rounds in various blogs putting up the same cut-and-pasted interviews all over the place? If I ever start interviewing authors, I would never do those canned online "please answer this list of questions" thingy - I'd buy a chat software where I can later print out the transcript and then grill the author in real life with spontaneous questions, heh. Because online interviews always have that lack of spontaneity that never appeals to me. What was I talking about again?
-Also recommend that authors should leave a comment on a blog post about their work or some peice of information posted about them. A simple "hello" is all you need.
Another suggestion that pretty much boils down to "LOOK AT ME! PAY ATTENTION TO ME!"
- One important question someone raised from the audience is why would an author do on-line promotion with blogs instead of with Amazon? How can a book blog compete with such a powerhouse like Amazon? Amazon was brought up a great deal in regards to book reviews and promotion.
Why are we comparing blogs to Amazon? Apples and oranges, people! And the fact that there are bloggers out there trying to push their blogs as places an authors should shower freebies, money, love, and attention to... oi. This is like the situation with Perez Hilton or Ain't It Cool News, places that used to be about information dissemination that had soon become monumental online showcases for the creators' special relationships with "VIPs".
I am going to be frank here and say that I personally do not appreciate the idea of blogs being sold as promotional vehicles for authors. If a blog turns into such, I'd personally take it less seriously than before. A blogger selling ad space or accepting freebies is not doing something wrong or unethical, mind you - it's when the blogger goes out of her way to cultivate "special" relationships with authors and publishers that I get put off.