To be honest, when I decided to “see what this whole Twitter thing was about,” I had no idea what would happen. I thought that it would be a new way to look at publicity and help get the word out to people who may not know us here at Peachtree Publishers. Joining the world of social media has certainly done that, especially for those of us that aren’t a part of the Big Six Publishers. Now, we have a platform, a voice and an audience that was previously much more difficult to reach.
What I wasn’t expecting from this online publicity experiment was the relationships that would grow out of a leap into the unknown social media world. When my boss M.B. and I first started exploring Twitter and blogs, we didn’t really know where to start. One of the difficult things about jumping on the bandwagon relatively early is that there isn’t a set industry standard for doing things, which meant we had to wing it. Lucky for us, we had a lot of people offer to help.
In Fall 2009, we made our Twitter account for @PeachtreePub and started following anyone book related. We were observers at first and kept seeing different tweets popping up with links to blog tours. I must admit, that this was the first time I had ever heard of such a thing, but decided it was a fabulous idea and wanted to try it out myself. M.B. and I picked out a book we thought would do well on a blog tour, chose a week that we wanted to do it, and researched children’s book blogs that we wanted to review the book… it was right about then that I realized we had no clue what we were doing.
I decided to put Twitter to good use and threw out there, “Anyone know how to organize a blog tour?” A lot of people chimed in with advice, but Trish from TLC Book Tours offered to e-mail me with as much information as she had about how to organize and run a Book Blog Tour. I was more than a bit surprised by this. Here was someone who’s job it was to run and plan book tours, willingly giving me the secrets of the trade, so to speak. Our first blog tour for 14 Cows for America was a huge success, in large part to Trish.
The more I e-mailed and tweeted with Trish and other bloggers, I began to realize I was being welcomed into and becoming a part of a greater community at large. This is a group of people who, on the whole, just love books and want to see each other succeed (publishers included) and see the books they love get shared and read. As a publicist, my role is slightly different within this community. I get books to people I think would enjoy them, read other blogs, connect new blogs to each other through blog tours, and even started writing my own blog for Peachtree Publishers.
This past spring, at BEA, I began to fully realize the reach of this community. People came to our booth to find me, introduce themselves and shared ARCs with me they grabbed that they thought I would like. Every day I get tweets asking how my wedding planning is going, or how my niece is, if I got the book they sent to my office for me, or letting me know that they got the books I sent them. It is not just about them getting “free” books, or me getting a review. It makes me realize that I am a part of something much bigger than myself, based on a love of books, which is an amazing feeling. Thank you to everyone in the Book Blogging Community that make me love my job. You’re all so wonderful to work with, but you’ve become such fun and interesting friends as well.