Sep 25, 2009

Susan Helene Gottfried discusses blog tours

Today, we have a guest post from our wonderful blogging buddy Susan Helene Gottfried of West of Mars fame. If you missed my review of The Demo Tapes Year 1, check it out. If you missed my two part interview with her, check it out as well.

She's discussing The Demo Tapes and blog tours. . . and offering one ebook copy of The Demo Tapes Year 2. Stay Tuned for details . . . and now let me turn it over to Susan.

I was recently having a discussion with another author about virtual book tours. She wanted to know if they work, if they result in book sales. The general consensus was that no one knows for certain, but then again, you can say that about almost any advertisting campaign, especially something not done through one of the major advertising agencies.

We authors are often in a hard spot. We're told that we shouldn't pay to be published, that money ought to flow to us -- but we need to pony up and pay for a publicist. Have you see what some literary publicists charge? Some authors can't even afford a small Virtual Book Tour through one of the established companies. This author I was speaking to was one of them.

Then she said something that horrified me. She wanted to set up a book tour for herself, on her own. But the "big book bloggers" will only talk to an author's publicist. And she didn't want to visit the smaller book bloggers, the ones with only a few readers.

Well... huh. Color me offended. Deeply. Top to bottom, and from outside to in. Making distinctions about the size of a blog's readership or its Alexa ranking never occurred to me. What's important in this game of getting your name out is exactly that -- getting your name out.

Maybe it's because of the way my own books -- yes, there are two of them now! -- came about. The Demo Tapes were never meant to be collected into book form. They were never meant to be the subject of guest blogs. I'd never imagined standing at book fairs with my two slim volumes displayed on a black crushed velvet cloth, telling actual people, in a face-to-face method, about my books.

Nope. The short fiction in The Demo Tapes was meant to do one thing and one thing only: build my audience and the demand for my novel, Trevor's Song. I figured that if I got my readers as hooked on Trevor and Mitchell as I am, they'd build up buzz. Eventually, the buzz would reach the right ears and the novel would come out.

A famous rabbi once said that a revolution begins with a single person. And then another. And then another.

That's how my Trevolution began. That's why I call it the Trevolution. My readers rallied. They wanted the story of Mitchell and Trevor from the beginning. On a timeline. They wanted to watch the boys grow up, grow into themselves, become rock stars. One piece of short fiction at a time. One reader at a time, they called for The Demo Tapes to be born.

To a person, those demanding readers of mine who blog have blogs this other author is dismissing as not being big enough for her. Some of my readers and fans aren't even bloggers. But they are people who pick up books. People like you, who're reading right now. It doesn't matter if there are ten of you or ten million of you. What matters is that you catch my passion for my fiction. That you decide to share it.

As the shock and horror of this author's snobbery goes away, it's replaced by sadness. I wouldn't trade you guys even for a spot on Oprah and all the copies that inevitably sells. I'll stay a small potatoes author any day, if it means staying close to the people who've inspired not just one book, but two.

Best of all, more's on the way. If you haven't joined the Trevolution, now's the time to do it. There's no right or wrong place to get started; just dive on in. The water's fine, the rock and roll is loud and thunderous, the men are hot (so're the women, for any of you who lean that way).

And behind it all is an author who appreciates each and every one of you.

Thanks Susan for stopping by the blog today!

Now for the giveaway details:

1. Leave a comment on this post about whether you've read Susan's first book and what you thought.

2. Leave a comment about why you want to read The Demo Tapes Year 2.

3. Blog, tweet, or Facebook this post and receive an extra entry.

Deadline is October 9, 2009 at 11:59 Pm EST


Anonymous said...

Susan: You are the sweetest person around.

That was such a great post, we readers appreciate authors who value their readers so much, however small they are. Thanks for the guest post Serena.

P.S: don't enter me, I cannot read ebooks :)

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Aww, thanks, Violet!

And thanks again to you, Serena, for hosting me today. I really dig the chance to connect with readers. Even if they're not MY readers (yet).

Anna said...

Susan, we love you, too! And it's nice to put a face to the name. ;)

No need to enter me, Serena, as I'm sharing your copy. Yippee!

Diary of an Eccentric

bermudaonion said...

I haven't read Susan's book, but I love her for this post and all she does for the book blogging community. There is definitely a place for all book bloggers - sometimes the "smaller" ones are new and haven't found their audience yet. They might have more time and put more effort into a review. Like Susan, I'm offended by that authors attitude!

Julie P. said...

I loved that guest post. It's so nice when you hear how much authors appreciate people like us! I know Susan through the blogging world, but I've never read either of her books. Of course, I'd love to read either one because I could share it and say I "know" her!

Carolyn Crane said...

Hey, great post. Well, I didn't know that about the big book blogs. What is up with that?

SHG, sounds like you had a great strategy and a great story, too!

Tilly Greene said...

It's sad, but there are quite a few who believe I wrote it, and that's all I have to do to be published. They are sure others will organize/do everything else for them and all they have to do is write the next book. So not true and good on you for lifting the curtain on that nasty secret.

Rock on Trevolution!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Tilly, literary agent Rachelle Gardner is talking about how marketing eats into a writer's time today. Go over and throw your 2c in.

Janel said...

Despite many fun email exchanges with Susan I have been a bad reader and not read her books :(

I loved this post. I think that author is missing out on a lot by not reaching out to some of the "smaller" book blogs.


Alice Audrey said...

Susan, you are so cute!

Cat? What cat?

Lisa Marie Wilkinson said...

I just wanted to drop by and say: Susan Helene, you rock! I hope the world knows how much time and effort you put in on behalf of other writers in helping to promote their work.

After reading the Robin Hood post on your blog, (I'm still laughing), I am going to have to acquire your other work, too.

Best wishes, always!

Toni said...

Awh.. isn't she the best!!!!

My cup runneth over with books right now. I just wanted to say I love this post.

Jonita said...

Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you for this guest post. I recently had an author post on a large website that I frequent that she was looking to give out copies of her new novel to bloggers. It sounded interesting to me, so I e-mailed her, and received the response that my blog just wasn't "big enough" to qualify. There was nothing in her original posts specifying anything about blog size. I was offended- perhaps my blog isn't a large one, but I'm passionate about books and enjoy reviewing them. I think that is more important than how many hits I get a day. Thanks for appreciating us little people, Susan, I can't wait for your newest book to come out!

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

Thank you, Susan! And we know you're sincere in what you're saying. A Trevolution, indeed!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Aww, guys, you rock. Jonita, you'll never be too small for me. I promise.

And if you'd like to see what Lisa Marie is talking about when she mentions Robin Hood, here's the link:

Definitely adult, and definitely fun.

Thomma Lyn said...

Fabulous post, my friend -- and I, too, am agog at the comment about big blog tour people wanting to talk only to an author's publicist. Publicist? What's that? Oh, she meant my cats... ;)

Adored Demo Tapes 1 and I'm getting ready to order Demo Tapes 2 -- a girl can never have too much Trevor in her life!

Mary K. from L.A. said...

I love Susan too! She's so generous, and I really like what she said about us small-time book bloggers. It's appreciated!

I haven't read her stuff yet ~ didn't even know about it (I know, shame on me!), but I definitely will now!

Thanks for the great guest post, Serena!

Julia Smith said...

I reviewed Demo Tapes: Year 1 - loved it, of course.

Wonderful picture, Susan! Rock on! Yeah!

The whole writer-as-marketing-guru thing is an initial shock, but all of the hungry writers end up becoming quite good at it. Amazing imagination + desire to see an actual book = look out, world!

Marie Burton said...

i just love Susan and she is a sweetheart to all the book bloggers out there. Including me =)
I wish her all the luck in the world with the Trevolution, and I want to be a part of it as soon as I get a handle on all my other books to read. If it shares the same wit that Susan has in real life then I am sure her books are awesome as well. Great guest post and thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I've been looking all over for this!