When my first novel, Nefertiti, was published by Random House in 2007, I knew I would face an uphill battle trying to distinguish the book from the 200,000 other books being published that year. As a debut author, there was little chance that my novel would be reviewed by any of the bigger newspapers or magazines. Certainly, my publishing house would do what they could, but with dwindling space in newspapers for book reviews, and fierce competition in magazines, what were the odds of landing plumb real estate in USA Today or People? Yet I knew from reading other authors’ blogs that to leave publicity up to the whim of the gods was to doom your career before it even started. Determined not be a one-book-wonder, I read countless articles about publicity, searching for that magical idea which would separate my historical novel from the rest.
Then, one day, as I was emailing “Kailana” from the fantastic blog The Written World, it came to me. What do I do when procrastinating from writing? Where do I go when I want advice on what to read? Who do I turn to when I want to share a wonderful novel I’ve just discovered? The answer wasn’t newspapers or magazines, but blogs! And suddenly I realized that the answer had been there all along. Instead of doing a bookstore tour, why not a blog tour? Why not email all of my favorite bloggers and ask if they wanted a book for review?
Thus began a two year journey during which I discovered more than one hundred blogs about books. Slowly, I got to know each and every blogger, and soon I was reading all of their blogs daily (much to my editor’s chagrin, no doubt!). With inspiration from Kailana, I created a page just for bloggers on my website, a one-stop-shop, so to speak, where bloggers could go and collect all of the information they needed about my books.
Today, there are more than two hundred bloggers whose posts I follow weekly, not just because I enjoy what they write, but because I feel like I’ve come to know each of them after several years of reading their entries. When I learned that Kimber An of The Star Captain’s Daughter had just given birth to her fourth child, I celebrated with her. And when Margaret Chind from the blog Creative Madness That Makes Me Myself gave birth to her first little girl, I could not have been happier! Bloggers haven’t just been a promotional tool, they’ve become virtual friends. I can trust them to keep me entertained, and I know that if my TBR pile ever reaches such dangerously low levels that I can see over it, they can be counted on to build it back up to frightening heights.
So for all of the bloggers who keep me laughing and buying new books, I absolutely cannot thank you enough! When my third novel, Cleopatra’s Daughter, debuts on September 15th, I will be doing a blog tour of more than 150 blogs. I don’t believe that any other author has attempted a tour of this scale, and I’m tremendously excited to meet so many new readers. Of course, none of this would be possible if bloggers themselves were not such generous and passionate readers. And this is why we have Blogger Appreciation Week. To say thank you to the many, many people who put in hours of work each week simply to spread the word about great books!
Michelle Moran is the author of Nefertiti, The Heretic Queen, and Cleopatra’s Daughter.