Posts Tagged Blogger
Michelle Cavalier, Owner, Cavalier House Books
I was terrified to go to the SIBA trade show! I opened my store in September of ’09, and it still doesn’t feel real, so I knew people were going to call me out on it. I thought that people would tell me I wasn’t a real bookseller and that I didn’t belong. Basically, that they would find me out and know my secret. I’m not a bookseller! I’m just a book lover. I don’t know anything about running a business.
And then I got there and I saw it. You are all just like me. Everyone in this business is in it because they love books. Yeah, they may be older and wiser than me and they may have some clue as to what it means to own or run a small business, but really I had nothing to hide or be ashamed of.
The day of education served to solidify this new belief. SIBA is, as the acronym allows, an alliance. The trade show was about being a book lover and learning to be a better bookseller. There were people here to help me learn the business and promotional stuff! I wanted to divide myself into several ‘mini-me’s in order to attend all of the available classes and panels, but alas there is only one of me. However, those I was able to attend were great.
First was “Get in Bed with a Book Blogger” with the bloggers from Beatrice.com (Ron Hogan) and The Book Lady’s Blog (Rebecca Joines Schinsky) as well as Kelly Justice, owner of Fountain Bookstore and SIBA president. I was so looking forward to this because I am ready to jump in bed with a blogger of my own. What should I expect of her? She of me? They answered it all and I am ready to implement their suggestions in my store and online. Then there was what I called the Malaprops’ Twitter Class. I asked several questions, but they were patient with me. I had no idea how Twitter worked really or the etiquette of it. Thanks to the Malaprops’ ladies I have been significantly more active on Twitter, but I still have a lot to learn (and a lot of first day of school awkwardness to get over).
I also attended two author panels (“True Southern: Books Steeped in the South” and “Cooking Up a Storm: Sharing recipes with readers”) as well as all of the author meals (wherein we did not eat authors, but listened to them speak). From the very first breakfast my TBR pile started growing and by Sunday evening it was taller than I am. How could I ever have been intimidated by these authors? They were all so eager to talk about their work and mine. Everyone was so approachable, and I realized – these are my people! Then the exhibits opened and I saw so many people geeking out over new books. It was so exciting and refreshing to see so many people as excited as I was about exactly the same things. Our collected passion: books!
The final coup came on Sunday morning at the “Good Ideas Breakfast.” I shared my idea of partnering with a local travel agent for literary tours, and they liked it. Everyone was so supportive. They liked my idea and counted me as one of their own. As it turns out, all of my insecurities were unfounded. I am not only a booklover, but a bookseller and business owner. So, thanks to you, my fellow SIBA members, for reminding me why I’m doing this in the first place. See you again next year.
When I started my book blog a little over two years ago, book reviews were in a precarious place. Many of the traditional media outlets were discontinuing their book review sections and publishers and authors were looking for new ways to get their books noticed. They began turning to book bloggers to fill the void left behind.
As a book blogger who likes to feature book related content, as well as book reviews, I attend as many author and book events as possible. Quite often at these events, I find myself explaining (and sometimes defending) book blogs. That’s not the case at SIBA! I’ve been lucky enough to attend this wonderful event the last two years and have found that the folks at SIBA know the true meaning of Southern hospitality. I felt welcome and appreciated both years. Sure, people have questions, but only because they want to know more – they’ve never questioned my validity. This year, I was pleased to see that SIBA featured a panel encouraging booksellers to work with book bloggers.
Attending SIBA is like attending a weekend long book party, and it’s heavenly to a book geek like me. There’s not a whole lot better than spending a weekend rubbing elbows with bloggers, authors, bookstore owners and publisher’s reps. I came home tired, but also enthusiastic and refreshed! I love learning about new books, trends in publishing and book selling, and author’s motivations and goals.
I think so highly of the wonderful booksellers I’ve met at SIBA, I decided to create The Okra Picks Challenge to encourage people to read the fantastic Southern books being promoted by them. I am proud to feature Okra Picks on my blog!
I can’t thank everyone at SIBA enough for the warm welcome they’ve given me the past two years and I look forward to seeing everyone again next year!
Kathy, Bermudaonion’s Weblog
This information should not surprise anyone but, for the most part, booksellers are baby-boomers, and bloggers are not. Blogs have only been around in a big way for the past ten years while most bookstores that are thriving today are either brand new, or they are 25+ years old. And herein is an opportunity for you. Surviving and thriving over the last 15 years ensures outstanding bookstores that are well-established in the industry and able to provide you with contacts and information that could take years to gather on your own.
And because booksellers are often baby-boomers (as am I), we may have a tendency to think we know everything and many may need to be convinced to enter these partnerships. But together, we have the tools to convince them. So, what kinds of information does a bookseller want when considering a blogger as partner? Booksellers want someone who shares their passion for books as well as the First Amendment. That said,
FOR WEEK THREE:
1. Create a one-page with information you are willing to share about your blog. How many folks read it? What kinds of books do you review? Which is your most popular post? Where do you get your books from? Are you a customer/browser of their store/blog? What kinds of things can you assist with and what kinds of assistance do you need? How long have you been blogging? Why do you blog?
That’s it. Stop. Go post something. More next week.
Why do book bloggers blog? Well, I hope they will let me know, but here is what I think: Book bloggers love books, love sharing about what they have read, and want to connect with other book lovers. Most book bloggers are something else as well, either full-time moms, librarians, booksellers, writers, students. But they are all readers and the reader is king in my business. (which led to my title, which led to my changing king to queen, which led to my putting this APB out for male book bloggers – please let me hear from you! )
Those of us in this industry of selling stories on street corners yearn to hear directly from “the reader”. Harry Potter, Nancy Drew, The Passage, The Stand, Stephanie Meyer, Sense & Sensibilities, James Patterson, James and the Giant Peach; oh, if you could only hear the conversations that go ’round and ’round about how to create buzz for a book, what causes a book to intersect with readers, what makes a book “fresh” or “a book club read”. And the book blogger is the new reader, and SIBA wants to find you and nurture you and bring you inside the circle. Partnering with an indie bookstore is your ticket to becoming an industry insider. We welcome you. It’s crazy in here but it is also where the stories are.
FOR WEEK ONE:
1. Watch this video, Independent America: The Two-Lane Search for Mom & Pop (this will help you understand just what bookstores are facing and their value)
2. Find an independent bookstore near you (http://www.authorsroundthesouth.com/STARS/bookstore.php OR http://bookweb.org/aba/members/browse.do) , if you haven’t already (learn who these fine folks are and that they love books just as much as you do)
That’s it. Stop. Go post something. More next week.
Booksellers are first entrepreneurs. They are spirited and passionate for books and their businesses in a way that many cannot imagine. These are people who want to build a business that serves their community, protects the First Amendment, and provides a cross-section of choices for consumers. And they want to be able to make a living, support their families, and provide for their employees. This is no small feat any time.
And especially now, booksellers are trying to do everything they have always done, and add a whole slew of new things to their day. Blog, Tweet, Post, Website, E-Commerce, Events, Newsletters, on, and on, and on and on. So SIBA wants to help you break it down. Let’s just do one thing a week. This week, I want you to learn about blogging, what it is, what it can do, and how you might not need to do it at all. You might only need to find someone who is already book blogging who can see that your established name in the industry, bevy of contacts, extensive expertise, and unparalleled passion is all they need from you to support you and your store’s efforts.
Take a stroll around The Book Lady’s Blog: Literary Adventures of a Panty-Throwing, Book-Loving Wild Woman. This is the blogger that has partnered with The Fountain Bookstore. Everybody wins. Fountain Bookstore promotes The Book Lady’s Blog at the store website. Kelly shares ARCs & Galleys with Rebecca. Rebecca has introduced some of her favorite authors at Fountain Bookstore’s events, and Kelly and Rebecca went to BEA together where Rebecca garnered favor with Kelly’s contacts, and vice versa. Kelly has enjoyed sales via Rebecca’s blog, Rebecca has garnered advertising for her blog, and both have gained some recognition in the industry as players.
FOR WEEK ONE:
1. Watch this video, Blogs in Plain English (this will help you understand just how blogs came to be and their value)
2. Read a book blog or two (http://bookbloggerappreciationweek.com/index.php/awards/2009) , if you don’t already (learn who these fine folks are and that they love books just as much as you do)
That’s it. Stop. Go shelve or something. More next week.