(This week we are celebrating the different niches in book blogging--Authors blog, too! Here's a special guest post from Claire LaZebnik)
Remember trying to contact your favorite authors back before the Internet? You could only reach them through their publishers, which meant you had to go to the library to find a copy of Writer's Market (or steal a look in a bookstore), look up the publishing house's address, and send it to your author "c/o Her Editor, Whatever Publishing House." It was a laborious project and you had to be a REALLY devoted fan to go through all that for the tiny shred of hope that this flung out missile would find its target.
Now, of course, every major (and minor) author out there has some sort of website or blog and all you have to do is click on "contact" and the next thing you know you're sending an e-mail directly to your idol (or the object of your fury, depending on your intention and mood). As a fan, I think this is a good thing, maybe even a great thing. As an author, I think it's even better.
I have two blogs at the moment. One's my official website blog (www.clairelazebnik.com), the other is a celebration of independent bookstores that I’m doing with a friend (www.bookstorepeople.com). I only started all this a couple of months ago, despite having read other people’s blogs for ages. (I’m a little slow.) I've pretty much had some sort of website ever since I published my first novel five years ago, but for me actually to spend a few hours every week adding to it—that was the new part. I was inspired by some materials from one of my publishers which urged its authors to maintain “dynamic” websites, ones that were continually interesting and not simply lists of reviews for their most recent books. My websites up till then had been, uh . . . a list of reviews for my most recent books. Nothing dynamic there at all.
Blogging was clearly the solution to my lack of dynamism. I started about a month ago and now I’m completely hooked. It is, as Monk might say, a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, I’m doing something I love: writing about whatever I want to write about without having to worry about whether an editor will approve or people will buy it. On the other hand, I’m spending a lot of my writing time working on something that doesn’t make me a dime. (Not that writing fiction is the fast track to Easy Street, mind you.)
But given the fact that I became a writer largely because it meant I got to stay home (I’m a somewhat introverted homebody), blogging is the best publicity tool I could find. I get to increase my online visibility, pique people’s interest in my writing, bring up book events and get the word out about new releases, all without leaving my house (hooray!). And, of course, anyone who wants to can get in touch with me—I answer all e-mails, even and especially the grouchy ones.
Too bad blogging wasn’t available a couple of hundred years ago. I suspect Bronte and Austen would have written some really kick-ass blogs in their time . . .
Claire LaZebnik lives in Los Angeles with her TV writer husband and four children. She is the author of the novels The Smart one and the Pretty One, Knitting Under the Influence and Same as it Never Was and co-author of Overcoming Autism: Finding the Answers, Strategies, and Hope That Can Transform a Child's Life. Visit her online at www.clairelazebnik.com and www.bookstorepeople.com.
About The Smart and the Pretty One: When Ava Nickerson was a child, her mother jokingly betrothed her to a friend's son, and the contract the parents made has stayed safely buried for years. Now that still-single Ava is closing in on thirty, no one even remembers she was once "engaged" to the Markowitz boy. But when their mother is diagnosed with cancer, Ava's prodigal little sister Lauren comes home to Los Angeles where she stumbles across the decades-old document.
Frustrated and embarrassed by Ava's constant lectures about financial responsibility (all because she's in a little debt. Okay, a lot of debt), Lauren decides to do some sisterly interfering of her own and tracks down her sister's childhood fiancé. When she finds him, the highly inappropriate, twice-divorced, but incredibly charming Russell Markowitz is all too happy to re-enter the Nickerson sisters' lives, and always-accountable Ava is forced to consider just how binding a contract really is . . .
You can also read a review from Shana at Literarily here.
We've two copies to give away from Hachette. Want to win? Leave a comment telling me whether you were the Smart One or the Pretty One. Sadly, this is again open only to US and Canadian addresses. Giveaway open until Friday.