Monday, September 16, 2013

The Author’s Guide to Working with Book Bloggers. Marvelous Monday with Barb Drozdowich.

Barb Drozdowich joins us from British Columbia, Canada today. She is founder of The Book Blogger List, and the author of The Author’s Guide to Working with Book Bloggers. Her recent title was released on August 15, 2013. Grab your beverage of choice and enjoy this informative chat!

Synopsis of  The Author’s Guide to Working with Book Bloggers:

Do you feel out of your comfort zone when dealing with book bloggers? They are the New Gatekeepers to book publishing success – but how can you tap into that source of free promotions by putting your best foot forward?

The Author’s Guide to Working with Book Bloggers combines the advice of 215 blogging professionals collected in a survey covering all aspects of communication between authors and Review Blogs. Whether you are a new author, or have many titles under your belt, let us demystify the promotion of your book on a book blog.

You’ll learn about whom and where book bloggers are, and the following:

The Query,

The Review,

The Giveaway,

The Author Interview,

The Guest Post,

The Book Blurb Excerpt and Cover Reveals and more!

Andrea: Please share details about The Blogger List, such as the number of members, average of monthly visitors, when it was started, etc.

Barb: The Book Blogger List was started in late January of this year. Word got about quickly, and continues to spread.  Book bloggers continue to sign up to the site on a daily basis. I now have well over 600 Book Bloggers listed. I wanted a site that sorts or arranges bloggers by genre. (When authors are looking for someone to promote their book, they look for bloggers who like to read what they write.) That’s what the Book Blogger List does. The site can be searched for a specific blogger, but all the listings are laid out categorized by genre.

Today it has 647 listings, but I also know that I have 9 queries in my inbox that need to be posted. The number will continue to increase!

The site has averaged between 8000 and 9000 hits per month since it’s inception with the number of daily hits varying widely. The lowest number of hits each day is usually about 150 with the highest daily figure being well over 1000. The average time spent on the site is 5:30, which shows that people are looking around while they are there. Our traffic comes from everywhere with US, UK and Canada sending us the majority of the traffic. Almost every country represented to some extent. Almost half of the traffic comes from search traffic, with the major search criteria being the word “blog” or “review” + a genre.

 Andrea: Wow! What inspired you to found The Blogger List and also write your book?

Barb: I work with authors on a daily basis. I tutor Wordpress and I help them put together their Author Platform. I’m the behind the scenes person. I don’t consider myself a writer, but a voracious reader. I find it really rewarding to help an author understand how all the various parts and pieces go together to form a functioning Author Platform.

When trying to teach authors how to use book bloggers as a source of promotion, I was frustrated with the existing databases of book bloggers. Finally, after many months of threatening, I started my own. I really didn’t expect to list more than 50 or so bloggers.

The number of book bloggers that have signed up and the number of hits are amazing to me! I am humbled by the attention my little site is getting.

The ideas for the book began before the site. I got into a discussion one day with a bunch of book bloggers on Twitter about the fact that authors needed some guidance to work with book bloggers. I was curious as to whether just experienced book bloggers were seeing what we were seeing, or if it was more widespread than that. I created a survey, posted it on my blog, and advertised it on Facebook and Twitter. I had 215 responses! Amazing! Again, I was thinking I would be lucky to hear from 50 bloggers. The information that I gathered from that survey as well a follow-up survey were pearls of wisdom. I realized that what I assumed would be an academic survey of book bloggers simply had to be turned into a book so that I could include everyone’s information.

I had a wonderful editor help me organize the information into chapters, and then a lot of help along the way. I had the participants of the survey serve as proof-readers and beta readers.

That was, as they say, that. The book has been published to Amazon, and I am working on uploading it to the other platforms. Since I’m a Canadian citizen, I needed US Tax credentials to apply to the other retailers.

Andrea: Can you briefly explain how your book is organized?

Barb: The Author’s Guide to Working With Book Bloggers is organized into a selection of chapters. I start with an introduction to book bloggers, where to find them and what to look at once you find some. I then progress through each type of common feature offered on book blogs. I’ve placed the raw survey results as well as the analysis in an appendix at the back of the book.

Andrea: Is the book intended for aspiring, new or seasoned authors?

Barb: The Author’s Guide to Working With Book Bloggers is intended for all authors. It is meant to serve as a primer for beginner authors - those authors with their first book in their hot little hand, and not a clue what to do to promote it. I can’t count the number of authors who think that a blog interview involves a personal appearance and wonder what to wear, or ask me why I ask them to send social media links as part of the promotion package.

Once an author has gotten their feet wet in the promotional pool, my book should serve as an idea generator. This author has a basic idea of how to promote their book, but need some ideas of how to take that promotion the next step.  Even authors who are multi-published, and experienced can use a review. I think that everyone can profit from looking at the topic of book promotion from a different set of eyes.

Andrea: Why do you feel bloggers are important to an author's success? Do bloggers influence book sales?

Barb: I think that many people feel that book bloggers are the new gatekeepers to an author’s success, not just me. There have been lots of articles written on the subject. Many of the larger Indie authors credit their success to book bloggers.

The publishing houses used to serve as gatekeeper to who would or would not be published.  Once they published a story, they did everything for it. They designed the cover graphic, edited it, formatted it, published it, and promoted it. With the introduction of Indie publishing, any one can create a wonderful story and publish it to Amazon. Getting it to sell is another matter. Most authors that I meet on a daily basis are wonderful storytellers. They are far more creative that I’ll ever be! In today’s international environment of book sales, the author has to perform all the functions that used to be performed by the publishing houses. Many of the ones that I meet are lucky to be able to use a word processing program, let alone blog, and maintain all their social media platforms. We no longer allow writers to just write. They have to be jacks of all trades.

Book selling is a relationship activity. We buy books based on recommendation most of the time. On my book blog, I can recommend a book to hundreds of people every day, from probably 50 different countries. An author can visit a book blog from their home, in their jammies, and talk books with someone from India, or Japan, for no charge. No plane ticket purchased. Some of the larger book blogs have thousands of hits each day. Visiting a book blog is much more cost effective than hopping in a car, or on a plane and attending a book signing. When done well, the networking potential on book blogs is huge.

Andrea: Do book bloggers influence sales?

Barb: I think so. I think that in today’s world of the Internet, a recommendation from a popular book blogger is worth a lot in terms of sales. It’s like referring a book to your next door neighbor, except your next door neighbor may live in another country, and on a a book blog, you can talk to 150 neighbors at once.

Andrea: Are blog tours worth the time?

Barb: It’s interesting that you ask about blog tours. I’m just finishing up a book on Blog tours. I think when done well, Blog tours can be an incredible networking experience. Again, sitting at home, an author can network with readers from many different countries. Do I think authors understand how to use blog tours to their advantage? No. Blog tours are about networking, not sales. They are the Internet equivalent of Book Signings or Meet and Greets. You are visiting blogs to schmooze – to make an impression – to make relationships that will eventually result in sales.

Andrea: Where can your book be purchased?

Barb: The Author’s Guide to Working with Book Bloggers can currently be purchased at Amazon -

I’m working on making it available on Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iTunes

Barb's contact/social media information:

Bakerview Consulting (Business Site)

Barb Drozdowich (Author Site)

Sugarbeat’s Books (Book Blog)

Facebook (Author blog)

Facebook (Bakerview Consulting)

Facebook (Sugarbeat’s Books)







Amazon Author Page

It was a truly pleasure chatting with Barb. My book review will be forthcoming. I can say that her book is well organized and properly researched. It is an excellent reference tool.