Believe it or not, many authors are intimidated to approach book bloggers. I know a certain percentage aren’t and those bombard bloggers for reviews, but they really are a very small percentage. The rest of us are cowering at our desks at the thought of reaching out to strangers. No one gives authors instructions on what to do after we write the book, so it can be overwhelming to figure out how to make connections with potential readers. And writers often do fit the stereotype- a lot of us are shy, even in online situations. I won’t say we lack social skills, except maybe some of us do.
Another big issue is that authors themselves get so few advance copies, we feel like it’s awkward to approach a blogger and say, “Would you like to read my book? If you would, you’ll have to figure out a way to get a copy.” I’ve been excited to learn with my latest book, that I can accumulate a list of interested bloggers and pass that on to the publisher, who will then try to meet the requests. That doesn’t happen with everyone though, and I don’t really know a good solution to that. We do want to be read and reviewed; we just don’t know how to make it happen.
On the issue of reviews, whenever you get a bunch of published writers together, the talk often turns to how to respond to reviews. Opinions are all over the place. The most common wisdom is not to respond to a negative review, though I know people break that rule occasionally. I, for one, feel like the reviews aren’t for me, they are for readers, so it’s really none on my business to comment. I get that not everyone will love my books. We also wonder what to do about positive reviews. Some want to comment and thank the reviewer, but others say then they feel stalkerish. We really are quivering masses of insecurity.
That’s why the whole Armchair BEA has been great for me to be able to click on various blogs and see who is out there. I am also thrilled bloggers seek out books by newer authors. It’s all to easy to get lost in the crowd, especially when we don’t like crowds!