A: Yes, I post my reviews on Amazon (Barnes and Noble's interface frustrates me). I do my best and try to put an accurate star rating on it (since Amazon requires it). Most of my reviews end up being 4 star because it seems like a happy medium ground between love and tepid admiration.
Q: I've been blogging for a really long time and I don't know what to do to get publishers to notice me or my blog. I don't have money to go to conferences but I really love doing this and my blog just isn't getting any attention. What should I do?
A: First off, what is "a really long time"? Is it two months? Six months? A year? Because I hate to say it, but these days new bloggers have a WAY harder time building their readership. There are just so many people doing it already.
I don't want to come off as a dark cloud, though. The fact that there are so many people passionate about YA and reading is AWESOME! It means more books and more people to talk about them with. But, being a blogger isn't something you do because you want free books, and it isn't an hour a week commitment. I'd say that if you are passionate about YA (because that's what it takes, passion), and you are blogging regularly and you aren't snarky and mean and an all-around downer, then you'll get there. Sometimes you just need time to develop your voice and your niche. As a blogger, you don't have to do every meme or review the popular books in order to gain readers--you need to have something to say that grabs readers' attention (and not something bitchy and snarky about every book you read--we've seen those blogs rise quickly and fall even faster).
So, here's what I recommend you do:
- Get a Twitter account and follow publishers, authors, publicists, and other blogger. Stay up to date on news and ideas.
- Develop a feature or meme that you came up with all on your own (but be careful not to plagiarize). This is hard, I know, but it will be something that's yours that is interesting and different and get people to keep coming back.
- Experiment with your "voice." Try writing a review in a different style, write about a trend you've noticed, comment on something that's in the news that may not be directly related to YA books. Generate discussion!
- Keep at it.
I've been doing this for 5 years, and one thing I've noticed is that the bloggers who have large reader bases is that they are the ones who are passionate, creative, and unique. They realize it's not about the contacts and the books, but about the connections between stories and readers--keep focused on that and you'll be all right.
Q: How do you say your name?
A: It's Tirzah, pronounced teer-zuh.
Q: What's your favorite non-YA book?
A: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Don't be fooled by the romance novel-esque cover. The Hitchcock movie with Laurence Olivier is also magnificent.
Q: Do you have an e-reader?
A: I have a Kindle 3G + Wifi with Keyboard, and I absolutely love it. The Pearl Ink technology is absolutely amazing. I recommend going to a Staples and checking it out.
Have a question for me? Leave it in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!