Monday, November 16, 2009

Book Publicity Tips from Little Bird

Guest Blogger Sarah Burningham, Little Bird Publicity, Marketing & Branding

Little Bird founder Sarah Burningham was most recently Associate Director of Marketing for HarperStudio/HarperCollins. Sarah was previously the Associate Director of Publicity at William Morrow/HarperCollins Publishers and Regan, and she has worked in publicity at Workman Publishing, Miramax Books, and Gibbs Smith.

Sarah is the author of How to Raise Your Parents: A Teen Girl’s Survival Guide and Boyology: A Teen Girl’s Crash Course in All Things Boy, both published by Chronicle Books. As an author, she has been featured on the Today Show, FOX News, CBS News, ABC News Now, Teen Vogue, Newsweek, NPR, Oprah Radio, and on local TV and radio programs around the country. She is also the advice columnist behind dear sarah, an advice column with ABC Family.

From her unique perspective as both an author and book publicist, we're excited to share tips from Sarah on how to get your book reviewed on blogs. What questions do you have about book publicity and promotion? We'd love to hear from you about your experience getting the word out about your books --- perhaps we can encourage Sarah to join us again with more tips soon!

*****From Sarah:

So, you want to get your book reviewed on some blogs. Here’s a step-by-step guide with tips for reaching out to bloggers and making good connections.

As an author, you should:

  • Read blogs. Lots of them. Every day.
  • Make a list of the blogs you particularly like and the ones you think actually fit with your book. Note that these might be two different categories. Be brutally honest with yourself. Just because you like baking pies doesn’t mean that a baking blog is going to review your memoir of horse racing.
  • Comment on the blogs you find. Know them inside and out. (I use my google reader to help filter everything in to one place so it’s easy for me to read my favorite blogs daily.)
  • Then, and only then, can you approach them for a review. Email the blogger, address him/her by name, and say why your book is a fit for the blog, in one short paragraph or less. Short and sweet! Include a link to your site and more info on your book.
  • No matter what, do not send a form letter. And don’t mass email or bcc. Would you want to be blind copied as part of a mass mailing? Neither does a blogger.
  • Be nice. This goes a long way with anyone, including bloggers. Treat them like you would any journalist or reporter who is considering your book.
  • Ask for the blogger’s feedback. And then, listen to that feedback. Even if you think you are the next James Joyce, not everyone will feel the same way, and that’s ok. You have to have thick skin to be an author.
  • If a blogger doesn’t respond, wait for a week to ten days before emailing again. Don’t just re-send the same pitch. Write a new email and mention that you sent something back on (enter date here). Be sincere!
  • But…waiting and sending a follow-up email does not open the door for going back again and again. NO STALKING! In the same way that form letters make you annoying, stalking is another hint that you can’t be taken seriously. If a blogger is interested, he or she will get back to you after you’ve made 2 thoughtful attempts at contact. If you haven’t heard back, the blogger is probably just not that into you.
  • When a blogger does get back to you, get a review copy of your book in the mail, stat. Don’t make anyone wait. Hit the post office that day and let the blogger know the book is on its way.
  • In the meantime, keep the conversation alive by participating. Keep reading the blog. Keep commenting. You shouldn’t be reading the blog just to get a review. Consider this a real relationship. The blogger will notice and appreciate it.
  • When the review goes up, thank the blogger. Send the link out to your readers by posting it on your website, on Twitter, on Facebook. Share the love and get some traffic for that blog!
  • And finally, now that you have a good relationship with the blogger, keep it that way. Never – I repeat, Never – add a blogger (or anyone else, frankly) to your mailing list. Not even your mother.

Visit Sarah at:
Little Bird Publicity:
Sarah Burningham, Author:

Monday, November 09, 2009

Reyna Grande on Tour

Reyna Grande's book tour in support of her latest novel, Dancing with Butterflies is now in full swing. Last Saturday, November 7th, New York City's newly renovated Museo del Barrio, in collaboration with La Casa Azul Bookstore, hosted an exciting literary event featuring Reyna and Sergio Troncoso (The Last Tortilla, University of Arizona Press, 1999). The award-winning authors came together at the museum's new Café, where they engaged in a lively dialogue about their works, and the importance of literacy, particularly within the Latino community. It was a real treat to witness such an enlightening exchange of ideas.

About the book:
Reyna Grande's
Dancing with Butterflies uses the alternating voices of four very different women in a Los Angeles dance company called Alegría to weave a story of friendship and love: Yesenia, who founded Alegría, finds herself unable to dance and seeks a miracle from a plastic surgeon in Tijuana. Elena, grief stricken by the death of her child and the end of her marriage, falls dangerously in love with one of her under-age students. Elena’s sister Adriana, wears the wounds of abandonment by a dysfunctional family and becomes unable to discern love from abuse. Soledad, the sweet-tempered illegal immigrant who designs costumes for Alegría, must make the dangerous journey north after she returns to Mexico to see her dying grandmother.

Reyna's follow up to her critically-acclaimed Across A Hundred Mountains received a starred review from Publisher's Weekly®, which proclaimed that the novel [was] "well worth the wait." Kirkus Reviews® agrees, and praises the "fierce humanity" of its characters. You may visit Atria's blog to learn more about Reyna and her work, and to read a conversation with the author. For a full list of the author's appearances, visit the events page on her website. —Adriana

Learning From the Best: Inside Secrets on "How to Write a Great Novel"

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal called "How to Write a Great Novel" picked the brains of a collection of all-star, world-renown writers to share their tips for getting a story to the page. The authors interviewed include Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale), Junot Diaz (The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao), Michael Ondaatje (The English Patient), and this year's Booker Prize winner, Hilary Mantel (Wolf Hall).

Although every writer has their own style, you may find some of their tactics and tips helpful, if not just plain fascinating. Particularly if you've been struggling with writer's block, you may want to give their ways of doing things a try. The article certainly couldn't have selected a more inspiring group to choose from.

And if you haven't read their books, please do! Margaret Atwood's The Penelopiad is one of my favorite books of all-time.


PW's Top Ten List Gets Heat!

Authors out there, if you haven't already, we always recommend staying current on publishing industry news and trends via Publishers Weekly, a magazine devoted to what's happening in this book world. Every week, the issue lists the most popular books selling, as well as reviews of books being released and much more. For an author writing in today's world, it's helpful to know what your colleagues are doing (even if you're at home writing in your pjs, authors around the world, who share your bookshelf space -- or compete for it -- are your colleagues!)

Recently PW has come under fire for its Top 10 List.

Have you read some of these? Let us know what you think!

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