It’s pretty hard for me not to gush about Novelicious; for as long as I’ve been an editor of women’s fiction, they’ve been championing the genre in a way that’s genuine and professional and downright funny. And Novelicious editor Kirsty happens to be one of my authors too here at Macmillan, so colour me super biased.
But the whole book blogging community is a thing of beauty that we publishing types get very excited about. You might think, ‘Of course you do, they talk about your books and spread the word on your behalf.’ And you’d be right, but there is also much more to it than that.
We start talking about and working on a book inhouse sometimes more than a year before its publication: we obsess over the editing, the layout, the title and shoutline, the cover design, the publicity campaign, the marketing plans, how many copies we’ll get into the shops… And all within our publishing bubble. We’re using our best ideas, skills and experience to get the job done to the highest standards but it isn’t until the book makes its way into the hands of early readers – the bloggers among them – that we really know whether we’ve got it right.
Because bloggers are first and foremost really passionate people: so passionate about their favourite things that they dedicate time and energy to writing reviews, sharing news and hosting blog tours. So if a passionate fan of books Tweets: ‘Oh my God! LOVE this cover!’ we do publishing air punches. If they Tweet, ‘Like the illustration but not sure about the colours…’ then we can rally, have a head scratch and make sure the cover is as beautiful as can be before we release it into the shops. The bloggers are almost like really, really well informed secret shoppers – they tell us what they’ve loved reading, or what was lacking from their point of view. Because they’ve read every women’s fiction novel under the sun, their thoughts are very much worth listening to. And all that feedback can only help us do bigger and better things with our books. We do sometimes stick to our guns, of course – covers and plots and styles are all a matter of taste, but to know someone is engaging with the results of so much hard teamwork is a brilliant thing in itself.
The other thing I really love book bloggers for is reaching out to authors. Whether it’s to say how excited they are about their next novel or how quickly they raced through their current one, just the quickest Tweet or Facebook comment is a very welcome ray of sunshine in an author’s day. It might look like it’s all launch parties and bouquets of flowers and fabulousness, but in reality our wonderful authors are slogging away at their desks, on their tod, all day every day. And sometimes a niggle or worry or doubt creeps in about what they’re writing. So to have a passionate reader say, ‘Oh I love your characters!’ or ‘I stayed up till 2am last night, couldn’t put it down’ is the literary equivalent of a double espresso in getting the day’s word count done. Never worry about coming across as fangirls/boys, lovelybloggers: you’re doing the bookish world a great service!
So blog on, tell us what you’re thinking, keep reading the books and sharing the love.