- “Author Blogging 101: The Art of Becoming a Regular Commenter” by Bob Murray
- “6 Quick & Easy Tips to Get Bloggers Talking About Your Book!” by Sarah Miniaci
In this issue…
As more authors seek coverage for their books online, the competition to secure bloggers’ attention grows increasingly difficult. In this newsletter, you’ll be introduced to two differing approaches on how to secure visibility for your book on blogs. In our feature article, “The Art of Becoming a Regular Commenter,” Bob Murray, President of StyleMatters, provides tips on how to forge relationships with bloggers and others interested in your topics through regular commenting and link sharing. Smith Publicity’s Sarah Miniaci explains how to pitch to bloggers to encourage reviews, interviews, Q&As and giveaways in her Tips for Authors contribution, “6 Quick & Easy Tips to Get Bloggers Talking About Your Book!” We hope this blog issue educates and inspires you to tap into the world of virtual reviews—the possibilities are seemingly endless!
—Interested in having your book displayed at BookExpo America 2012 (June 5 – 8), New York, NY? Don’t miss the opportunity to showcase your book at the largest book trade show in the U.S. With a simple registration form, your book and important information will be on display at the world renowned Combined Book Exhibit, New Title Showcase! Deadline: May 7, 2012 To register, contact Kathy Weick at firstname.lastname@example.org or 856.489.8654 x306. Price per title for BookExpo America: $250 (call for multiple book discount).
Questions? Contact a representative of the Smith Publicity sales team:
Sandy Diaz, email@example.com, 856.489.8654 x301
Dan Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org, 856.489.8654 x101
Marissa Madill, email@example.com, 856.489.8654 x314
Dina Barsky, firstname.lastname@example.org, 856.489.8654 x319
Sarah Miniaci, email@example.com, 856.489.8654 x329
Kevin Gray, firstname.lastname@example.org, 856.489.8654 x316
Author Blogging 101: The Art of Becoming a Regular Commenter
by Bob Murray, President, StyleMatters
The Internet is a social medium. We blog, Facebook, Tweet, and Tumbl to have conversations. By participating in these conversations, we build connections, grow our networks, and even make friends.
In many ways, blogs and Twitter have become the new intellectual “salons” where people hang out to trade ideas, opinions, and feelings. Establishing yourself as a regular is a great way to forge connections with other people in your field. And, if you ever write a book or launch a product yourself and want to set up a blogging tour, those relationships are going to be vital to making it happen.
If you’ve ever found yourself staring at an empty comment field for half an hour, trying to think of the wittiest, most insightful, or most original thing to say, don’t worry—becoming a master commenter is easier than you think. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Answer a question.
Many bloggers end their posts with a question related to their topic, such as “Would you self-publish?” or “What do you think about the new Mac OS?” Some bloggers even ask questions just for fun, like “What’s your favorite break-up song?”
Questions like this are the perfect place to start your commenting career. You don’t need to think up a brilliant new angle on the topic or worry about introducing yourself—all you need to do is chime in with your answer.
Share a personal experience.
If you have a personal connection to an issue raised in a blog, or expertise in a certain field, go ahead and share it. You might say something like “I self-published a book last year and I would definitely put more thought into cover design if I did it again” or “As an interaction designer, I find the new OS frustrating because…”
It’s okay to talk about yourself in a comment. After all, the person blogging is sharing tons of their personal experiences and/or expertise—by reciprocating, you’re establishing a relationship and adding value to the discussion.
Studies have shown that complaining, gossiping, and other “negative” forms of communication actually play a key role in establishing feelings of friendship and solidarity. So if your target blogger just posted a rant or a lament, why not comment saying “I hear you, brother!” or “I was disappointed by that movie, too.”
Commiserating can create a feeling of closeness, even among strangers. Just like strangers in a coffee shop can connect by trading gripes about the terrible weather, strangers on a blog can find common ground by chatting about the things that get their goat.
Share a link.
Have you read an article somewhere else that sheds light on your blogger’s topic? Drop a link into your comment with a quick note explaining why you’re sharing it. You might say: “There was an article about this in the Washington Post recently—here’s the link” or “Have you seen this interview with the director? Neat stuff.”
Say “thank you.”
Sometimes, a blog post doesn’t lend itself to much discussion. If you’ve read something entertaining, moving, or useful, you can always poke your head in and say “thank you,” “beautiful post,” or “this made my day.”
Show some personality.
Some commenters have an intellectual style. Others are funny, argumentative, or just plain friendly. Everybody’s commenting style is different, just like the various regulars at a coffee shop can be counted on to be sarcastic, flirtatious, or shy. Your commenting style is something that will emerge with time—you shouldn’t force it or feel that you have to act a certain way. Just be yourself, and soon commenting will come as naturally to you as ordering your “usual” drink.
Come back often.
The most important part of being a regular is just showin’ up. Week by week, post by post, you’ll develop a presence and personality that others will start to recognize. You’ll get to know the other commenters, and they’ll get to know you. You might not realize it, but bloggers find just as much inspiration and fresh ideas from their regular commenters as readers get from their favorite blogs. Commenters are a crucial part of the blogging ecosystem, and becoming a great one is an increasingly valuable social skill.
Bob Murray is President of StyleMatters and the company’s trade book agent. Bob has been managing editor, trade agent and strategic advisor for over 100 book, web and social media publishing projects since joining the company in 2006. A former investment banker and U.S. military officer, Bob holds an MBA from the Wharton School and an MA in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He graduated with a BA in Engineering from Northwestern University. He lives in Philadelphia with wife and business partner Suzanne and their two children. For more information, visit http://style-matters.com.
So You Want to Be Blogged About?
6 Quick & Easy Tips to Get Bloggers Talking About Your Book!
by Sarah Miniaci, Sales Associate & Publicist, Smith Publicity, Inc.
They’re front-row fixtures in the fashion world, invited to super-exclusive product unveilings in technology, and key influencers in just about every industry and topic imaginable. They’re bloggers, and you’d be unwise to forget them when looking to get some buzz for your book.
National magazines and newspapers will always be important, but they’re not the be-all-end-all of promotion as they were even fifteen years ago. Armed with laptops, opinions and high-speed Internet connections, the battalions of book bloggers that exist today are powerful, selective, and savvy and can easily make–or break–a new author.
Here are six tips to keep in mind when looking to get some buzz from the bloggers:
1) Know Who You’re Pitching – This one may seem straightforward, but it’s number one for a reason. You’ll instantly set yourself apart from 90% of the other authors looking to get blog coverage by taking time to personalize your pitch to the blogger you’re targeting and their interests. Got a great romance read? It’s probably not the best idea to firing off mass emails to sci-fi sites (and vice versa). Take a deep breath, spend a few minutes longer, and always address the blogger by name.
2) You Get What You Give – At the end of the day, a blog is ultimately only as good as its readers. So offer them something that will make their constituents happy: free stuff. In exchange for a handful of e-book giveaways (which, let’s be honest, won’t cost you a cent), you’ll have several strong placements for the book online and in front of your target market. And hey, you might even make some new fans in the process!
3) Be Specific – While many book blogs cover a wide range of genres, why not establish yourself in your niche before going up against the big, bad world of general interest? One of the greatest things about the information age is that it’s democratic, whether your book is a post-apocalyptic black comedy or a straightforward paranormal romance title, you can bet your bottom dollar that there’s a blog out there that covers it and only it. Transcend general and hone in on your audience. Quality, not quantity.
4) Do It Like A Rock Star and Go on Tour – Take a page from the book of musicians and go on tour! ‘Blog tours’ are all the rage, and with good reason. Community is an important aspect of the book blog world, and ‘touring’ – a specific type of online publicity wherein you designate a start and end date for blog promotion, and give participating blogs coverage exclusivity on their chosen date. Blog tours can be a great way to not only engage the community at large, but to drum up lots of publicity within a very short period of time.
5) Interview Yourself – Save everyone some time and draft up a mock Q&A with yourself that you can offer up to bloggers can run as is. Many blogs are content-driven, and many readers want to know more about you, the author! Be funny, be serious, be worldly or fresh-faced – whatever persona choose, have fun with it! Another option is always to interview your protagonist, which can be great promotion and great fun, especially if they’re a particularly unusual character.
6) R-E-S-P-E-C-T –There are very, very few bloggers out there for whom online book reviewing is their full-time job. If they don’t get back to you immediately, or decline on reviewing your book because they’re simply too swamped with other titles they’ve promised to review, don’t take it personally. Bloggers are often doing this for free, and have the right to be discerning. Where there are submission guidelines, read them, when a blogger says no, listen the first time, and never fail to be respectful and gracious. Not only is it basic human courtesy, it’s also better safe than sorry: many a reviewer has gone from blogspot to publishing industry bigwig.
Bonus tip: When a blog does cover your book, return the favor and use your website and social media channels to point your fans and followers in their direction. Linking media coverage is not only a great look for you and your book, there isn’t a blogger out there that doesn’t appreciate a trackback or two!
About Smith Publicity
Beginning in 1997, Smith Publicity has evolved from a one-person operation run from a bedroom office to one of the leading book promotion firms in the industry. Fueled by a passion for making good things happen for clients, we’ve worked with over 1,000 individuals and companies—from New York Times Bestsellers to first time, self-published authors in every genre.
The Smith Publicity reach is international; we’ve effectively worked with clients throughout the United States, Canada, the U.K., and from Australia to Israel and Malta. We have offices in New Jersey, New York City, Los Angeles, Toronto and London.
While our expansion from boutique publicity agency to a multi-faceted public relations firm has greatly expanded the breadth of our services, the fundamental driving force behind everything we do is superior presentation, promotion, and positioning of our clients. Our refrain, “make good things happen for clients,” has propelled Smith Publicity from just another agency to a premier promotional firm offering outstanding, cost-effective service with unparalleled customer attention.