Bloggers and Publishers - Some Post-BEA Thoughts

As I sat in sessions at the Book Blogger Convention I heard a lot of questions and conversations about what publishers and authors want to see on book blogs. I had two reactions to these questions.

The first was quite simply, "Why do you care?" Your blog is your space. You can pretty much do whatever the heck you want on it. If a publisher or author doesn't like what they see on Sassymonkey Reads all they have to do is click that little "x" at the top of the page and go find another blog, just the same as I do when I encounter a blog I may not care for. It's my blog and my space and I'm not confined to any rules here except what I consider that first rule of blogging which is, "Thou shalt not be an ass." (I figure that covers stealing and calling people names but still allows me the freedom to snark.) Publishers and authors have plenty of blogs out there to choose from and if they don't like mine... well we're just not going to be a good fit. End of story. While I really appreciate the odd review copy I don't need to rely on publishers providing them for content. I have more unread books in the house than I care to admit, an excellent library system at my disposal and budget for book purchases.

Am I lucky? Yes. I know that. I've lived in places where I haven't had a great library system at my disposal. I've gone through times where I haven't had the financial ability to buy books. I don't think I've ever not had a significant number of unread books in my possession though. (Whether I was in the mood to read them is a different post entirely.) I know people who rely on publishers to get access to the books they really want to read because they don't have any of the above and it makes me happy to see publishers working with those people to make it happen.

But my second thought was, "What have you been doing for the last week?" The Expo floor is about more than free books and signed copies. It's an excellent place to get face-to-face time with the publishers you want to work with. On the floor at BookExpo America bloggers had incredible access to publishers. Yes, some publishers were more intimidating than others but plenty of the publishers were friendly and approachable. You had the opportunity to ask them questions about how they work with bloggers and what kind of things they look for in book blogs. The person on the floor might not have had all the answers but they would know who to go to for the answers. You could have had a far more personal, and longer, discussion with them than any panel afforded. If you didn't do that, and you really wanted to know what a specific publisher wanted, you missed an excellent opportunity to have that conversation.

Six years ago when I started book blogging I really didn't see the kinds of relationships I see between publishers and bloggers and it really is nice to see how those relationships have developed and changed over the years. But remember, your blog is your blog. You are free to do with it as you wish.