The Business of Blogger/Author Connection
There are some book bloggers out there who have made it their business - literally - to bring authors and bloggers together. In this post, Florinda Pendley Vasquez (of The 3 R's Blog) introduces She Writers to a few of them. I met She Writes co-founder Kamy Wicoff when we both spoke on the "Evolving Publishing Ecosystem" panel at BlogHer'10 this past summer. After we were both stumped by a question from author Gretchen Rubin during our session - "There are SO many book blogs - which ones should I start with?" (there are no quick-and-easy answers to that one!) - we talked about the idea that one way of addressing it could be to develop a greater book-blogger presence in the She Writes community. After all, as most of us know already, one thing that the publishing ecosystem is evolving into is a place where the connections between readers and authors are more direct. We kicked this initiative off during Book Blogger Appreciation Week (BBAW) last month, but it was never meant to stop there - bringing dedicated book bloggers to the She Writes community is intended to be an ongoing thing. Today, I'm focusing on some people within the book-blogging community who are drawing on their experience to function as facilitators between authors and bloggers. Their goal is steering writers toward their most receptive potential readers, while building a business based on doing what they love. One of the first blogger-developed business ventures in this realm was TLC Book Tours. Founded in 2008 by California book bloggers Trish Collins (Hey Lady! Watcha Readin’?), the "T", and Lisa Munley (Books on the Brain), the "L", TLC has access to a large pool of blogs. They draw from that pool to create carefully-scheduled virtual book tours across a small group of selected host blogs. Lisa and Trish get to know the interests of the bloggers they work with, and as book bloggers themselves, are considerate of their time. They strive for a good match between the book and the blogger; to that end, their tours will sometimes include blogs that don't specialize in books but do have a content focus relevant to a particular book's subject matter. TLC encourages author involvement with tour hosts via guest posts and interviews. Newly-established Booklicity is taking a different approach to the matchmaking process. Chicago-based book blogger Jen Karsbaek (Devourer of Books) channeled some of her frustration over book-pitch misfires - books that don't fit a blog, pitches that ignore a blog's review policy, requested review dates without enough lead time - into a targeted book-publicity service. Booklicity maintains an extensive book-blog database, and applies knowledge of the blogs within it to find those best suited to review a particular book; its packages offer authors a set number of blog reviews, but don't organize them as a formal tour. (Jen recently shared some tips about what not to do when working with book bloggers in a guest post at The Debutante Ball.) Getting books into the hands of targeted reader/reviewers may be only part of a bigger strategy for some blogger/author ventures; their activities may also include developing authors' blogs and websites, fostering a presence on Twitter and Facebook, and social-media coaching. While these companies may have similar missions and menus of services, their end-products will be tailored to the client, and their approaches reflect the sensibilities of their founders. Winsome Media Communications is a bi-coastal partnership between Amy Riley (My Friend Amy, founder of Book Blogger Appreciation Week) and Nicole Bonia (Linus’s Blanket). Their recent services to clients have included organizing virtual book tours, hosting Facebook parties, and website design. Nicole and Amy also host The Underground Literary Society, a podcast organized around selected themes and featuring interviews and discussion with authors. Social MediU is operated by Mid-Atlantic bloggers Rebecca Joines Schinsky (The Book Lady's Blog, the Bookrageous podcast) and Michelle Franz (Galleysmith). In addition to social-media consulting and related services, Rebecca - a former bookstore events manager - has a special interest in blogger/bookstore affiliations; she partners with Richmond, Virginia's Fountain Bookstore, and worked with Fountain and the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) in developing the "Get In Bed With a Book Blogger" campaign. If you're an author looking to connect with book bloggers, having a book blogger guide you through the process seems like a great way to get started! Disclosures and Disclaimers: I have met several of these bloggers in person and consider all of them friends. I was not asked to write about their companies and received no monetary compensation for doing so. Rather, I initiated this project, requested, and received permission to write about each of them. However, I am open to working with any and all of these ventures as a blogger; my blog is an occasional tour host for TLC and Winsome, and is listed in Booklicity's database.

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