Thursday, September 18, 2008

BBAW Guest: Kathryn Maughan

(I met Kathryn through TLC book tours because she stopped over at my other blog, The Friendly Book Nook. By the way, her book is wonderful. Anyway, she voluntarily told me how much she loved book bloggers so I asked her if she'd write a little something for us this week. I think you'll enjoy her perspective. Be sure to check out her book Did I Expect Angels? and her website.)

Up until a year ago, I didn’t know book bloggers existed. I was a proud Luddite—still am, actually—and didn’t do much on the Internet that I didn’t have to do. All right, email was fun and a great way to connect. And oh, okay, it was fantastic to read breaking news. And wow, maybe I like reading the newspapers online. And then we’ve got my friends’ blogs, and it’s wonderful to catch up with their lives. But darn it, I said, keep me away from the computer for the rest of the time!

So I did all of the above. I have a cousin-in-law (who was a dear friend before marrying my cousin) who keeps a blog about all things television and baby related. An odd combination, yes, but I love her. And her baby’s an adorable pill. Then I got hooked on her sister’s blog; her sister lived in Peru and is now in Venezuela, and has all kinds of adventures with two tiny boys in foreign countries. (Recently they paid $1.30 to fill up their 13-gallon tank with gas. Yeah. I know.) And looking at Linsey’s blog, I noticed a link that looked interesting. I clicked on it, and it was…lo and behold…a book blog.

Now, what struck me immediately was the “blog roll” at the side. One book blog had links to ten others; each of the ten others had links to another ten; and another, and another. Book blogs are exponential! A lot of them interlink, with many people linking to many of the same sites, but if you give a chunk of time to any one of them you’ll find five or ten blogs you’d never seen before, five or ten people whose viewpoints are new, and who can introduce you to books you’ve never heard of. And while it might seem insular, anyone can become part of it and be included in this world instantly. If you try it, you’ll find yourself right in a new circle of friends.

With all the hullabaloo about reading dying out in the Internet age, book blogs represent a marvelous crossing of a bridge. Book bloggers fully embrace the technology age (Luddites they are not!) and use it to remind people that even though books were invented hundreds of years ago, they still are a little miracle. They transport us to worlds we didn’t know existed; they introduce us to people and lives and viewpoints we wouldn’t have gotten to before. Book bloggers remind us that reading is a glorious experience—and ironically lead us turn off the computer and participate in it.

I also have a more personal reason to love book bloggers: because so many have embraced a little book I wrote, I am getting much more exposure than I would have gotten any other way. I self-published this book basically on a prayer that some people would hear the story I wanted to tell, and hopefully be helped by it. I have almost no publicity budget and it’s currently available only on Amazon or special order at bookstores; this is great when people are looking for it, but who’s going to look for it if they don’t know it exists? I started to send it out to various book bloggers, and the response has been tremendous. I’ve gotten exposure and sales I never would have gotten before—and, more importantly, I’ve been included as part of this wonderful network. I have friends I have never met and may never meet, but who are as dear to me as the friends I see in person.

So thank you, book bloggers--to those who’ve read my book, and those who haven’t. We all know that reading is a transcendent experience, and I am deeply grateful to those who are helping others find their own ways also to transcend.

4 comments:

Shooting Stars Mag said...

What a lovely thing to say! I'm glad you enjoy book bloggers. I love reading ton's of blogs and finding new books...it's my main way of doing so! And it's great to hear you are actually helping.

-Lauren

Booklogged said...

Hello, Kathryn. It was great reading and learning more about you. I love participating in the book blogging world and have made new friends with other readers and authors. I never expected that.

I loved Did I Expect Angels and hope you will be writing more novels.

Red lady-Bonnie said...

What a great letter about book bloggers! Your book sounds very interesting and I am adding it to my wish list of books and look forward to reading it.

LisaMM said...

"They transport us to worlds we didn’t know existed; they introduce us to people and lives and viewpoints we wouldn’t have gotten to before."
Very well said, Kathryn! That is exactly the reason I love books so much.

I'm glad we've helped to raise the visibility of your book! Personally I can't wait to read it, based on Trish's extremely enthusiastic recommendation, and the glowing reviews it's receiving from your tour hosts, plus the excerpt I read on your website. I ordered it yesterday on amazon.com.

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