Kim Strickland Guest Post/Paperback Giveaway


Kim Strickland, author of Down at the Golden Coin, joins us today talking about a subject that I think about all the time! Make her feel welcome, ask questions about her post or books, and be entered to win a PAPERBACK COPY of Down at the Golden Coin. Giveaway details at the bottom, please read post first.

Are book bloggers the equivalent of literary agents for the digital and self-publishing age?

Recently I’ve been querying book bloggers, including this one, for reviews of my latest novel, Down at the Golden Coin. The entire process is reminiscent of going through a very similar chain of events while querying literary agents for my first book, Wish Club: all the research and lurking on websites; personalizing the letter; proofreading; proofreading some more; and then with a prayer and crossed fingers, finally sending the query letter off.

Even the responses of the bloggers, while better than that of literary agents, have been comparable. More often than not, the long sucking silence is my “no thank you.” There’ve been a few, “Sorry, I’m swamped and can’t take you on at this time.” And fortunately, several who’ve agreed to give reviews.

With hundreds of thousands of titles published every single year, it’s hard to get notice for a self-published or small press book. Book blogs are a great way to do it, and of course, everyone has figured this out. Now, the trick is to get noticed by the book bloggers. (I’m open to suggestions!)

It’s no secret when a book is being considered by a large publishing house, by the time it gets to the final round with the editorial board, whether or not it is chosen has very little, if anything, to do with the writing and everything to do with how they believe they can market the book. Enter Snooki.

The shift to blogs as filters to readers is a terrific development. For one, the bloggers are probably not in it for the money, but for a love of books. You’d have to be, because as any blogger can tell you (myself included), it takes quite a while before those Google Ad sense payments are enough to buy you dinner, much less retire on. And unlike literary agents and publishers, since the bloggers have no vested interest in how a book sells or doesn’t sell, this would make them much more inclined to review a book based simply on their own perceptions and enjoyment of the story and the writing. What a concept.

The definition of an agent is “a person who acts on behalf of another.” If bloggers writing about and reviewing new books doesn’t fall under the definition of an author’s “literary agent” then I don’t know what does. The best part? I have yet to have one ask me for fifteen percent!

The love of a book is such a subjective thing—one person’s five star masterpiece is another person’s trash—yet, book bloggers are adding a fresh, non-monetary, objectivity to the rating process. Readers naturally align with bloggers whose tastes in books are similar to their own. The fact that book bloggers (read: book lovers) are now such a force to be reckoned with in getting new titles in front of more readers is a fantastic thing, for both writers and readers. That is of course, unless you want more novels from Snooki.

Author Bio:

Kim Strickland lives in Chicago with her husband, three children, two cats and one dog. She’s written two novels, Down at the Golden Coin and Wish Club, and blogs as A City Mom at ChicagoNow.comWhen she’s not being a mom or a writer, she flies jets for a major airline, which means, every now and then, she gets to eat an entire meal sitting down.

 

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Down at the Golden Coin

Amazon synopsis:

During the horrible recession, former airline pilot Annie Mullard feels she has sunk to a new low when she’s forced to go to a run-down laundromat, the Golden Coin, after her washing machine breaks. But it’s here she meets a Messiah. Even though twenty-something, blue-haired Violet can read minds, send Annie into past lives and levitate Tide, she isn’t anyone’s idea of a Messiah. Yet she is equipped with the wisdom, love and humor to help Annie find a way to a more authentic life, one in which Annie is free to create her own reality and where money is not the key to happiness.

 

 

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Author Links:

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/acitymom

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/484265.Kim_Strickland

Website: http://www.kimstrickland.com/

Blog: http://www.chicagonow.com/a-city-mom

THE GIVEAWAY!

Kim has been so kind as to offer one PAPERBACK copy of Down at the Golden Coin. To enter to win all you have to do is comment on this post with a question for the author about her post or her book. The comment/question is MANDATORY!

For extra entries, Like her on Facebook and/or Follow her on Goodreads. Make sure you tell me what you did in your comment so that I can count it. Contest ends September 21, 2012 at midnight. Good Luck!

Click HERE to friend or suscribe to her on Facebook.

Click HERE to like the book on facebook.

Click HERE to follow her on Goodreads.

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Posted on September 19, 2012, in GIVEAWAYS and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Thank you so much for this. If you had to stop being a writer today, what field would you go into?
    amotherway@ aol (dot)com

  2. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity! What a great prize for the giveaway! I love my Kindle, but I sometimes miss turning the pages of a real book!

    My question is, do you suggest a book blogger to wait for authors to ask them to review their books or should the blogger go search for authors?

  3. I subscribed to her on facebook, liked the book’s page on facebook and followed her on Goodreads!

  4. Allie, I already have my other career: I fly jets for a major airline!

    Morgan, If a book blogger contacted ME about my book, I know personally, I would be thrilled!!! But I wonder about the ethics aspect– does asking for a book you want to read mean you’re already biased in favor of it? Open to other thoughts and opinions on this one!!

    • I think about this too. I DO go looking for authors and ask to review books occasionally. I don’t think it would already be biased towards the book. Books you think you will like are not necessarily books you WILL like. Also, I usually ask authors that I have never heard of, to find new books to love and promote new authors. :)

      • You know what, Cynthia, I think you’re right. I’ve read new books from author’s I adore, convinced I’ll be in love with them and then, well, not so much. And I love that you’re actively hunting down new authors!

  5. I loved the truth and to the point of what she had to say. It all makes so much sense. I am learning exactly what you have written. Now that I have entered the blogging world, I would have it now other way, but to be there strictly for the author, the promotion and the help to get their book out there. And it is all based upon my love for books and authors. I can’t wait to check out your book.
    Have a fabulous day~!

  6. i’ve had a love affair with books since i learned to read – my house is filled with them – i’m always awed by the storylines and plots and can often lose myself in a book — i’m just curious as to how author’s get their ideas for their books – i look forward to reading your books

    • Ideas just seem to strike–and not only when I’m in “the chair”, but often when I’m out running or in the shower. I wish I knew the “formula” for it–so I could bottle and sell it ;-)
      At least for me, the aha moments for both my published books were truly aha moments–I just knew it was a great idea I needed to run with. For my first novel, Wish Club, I was in a coffee shop and had just finished writing (another, still unfinished project) For Down at the Golden Coin, the idea came when I was getting ready to go to bed. Go figure.

    • Congratulations Jo! You are the winner of the giveaway! I need your address so that I can pass it on to Kim.

  7. Thanks for the insight. I’ve become disenchanted with the business since I’ve been shopping my first novel. Like you mentioned, agents and publishers aren’t the most responsive bunch. So here are a couple of questions:

    1) How did you hook up with your two publishers? Also, why did you choose to go with these particular houses? I’ve heard horror stories that the big publishers don’t want to spend the money to promote your book and the small publishers don’t have the resources. What has been your experiences.

    2) How do you go about selling your book’s marketing potential to publishers? As mentioned, they only want profitable books. How do you sway skeptical publishers?

    3) Do you take much stock in the reviews you’ve gotten on sites like Goodreads?

    • This reply could be my third novel!!

      The first publisher my agent found for me and it was very exciting! Three Rivers is a division of Random House and I don’t think the word “no” could have formed on my lips in terms of not going with them. They did do a fair amount of promotion for Wish Club (my agent had negotiated it) but in the end, it really does fall on the author to market their books. I took half of my advance and hired a PR firm, and it was STILL a lot of work on my part. The saying you will spend as much time promoting your book as you did writing it is very, very true!

      Three Rivers didn’t want Down at the Golden Coin. (I was a naughty author. Departed genre, no best-seller first time out.) After trying for a long time to get an agent for it, unsuccessfully, I had decided to self-publish when two of my old college buddies started their own publishing company, Eckhartz Press. Eckhartz did a ton of promotion for my book when it launched, but again, a lot of the leg work still falls on the author. I’m here on Cynthia Shepp’s blog (Thank you again, Cynthia!) because of my own efforts.

      If I knew the answer to your second question, I would be on my own private island somewhere counting my money! ;-) Like I said, I was unsuccessful getting DAGC to a large publisher, but I’m still confident in its marketability and that it will find its audience. At Eckhartz, and this is just one of the wonderful things about them, it will never go out of print. So just because DAGC hasn’t sold a baziliion copies immediately is no big deal. Unfortunately, I think its that immediacy the big houses want.

      Goodreads is a great website and I think most of the reviews are fair. (Yet, shortly after I got into an online dust-up (no names, please), my three and four-star-average book, Wish Club, started getting a lot of one star slams. Just a coincidence? Maybe.) And there have been reports of bullying over there by posses of roving negative reviewers, although fortunately I’ve been spared. This is what I know: I’ve written the best books I’m capable of at this point in time. Some people will like them and some people will hate them. You know what they say, If you believe the good stuff, then you have to believe the bad stuff, too. I like to think the truth is where it always lies, somewhere in the middle.

  8. I’m a book blogger, and yes, we do get inundated with author review requests! Some of us (like myself) need to keep a spreadsheet to keep track of all the books we promised to review and the dates we agreed to review them by. It’s almost a job. But no, we don’t get paid, we do it because we love reading.

    You ask for a trick to get noticed by book bloggers… well, I can’t quite help you there, but I wrote some guidelines a while ago on what a good pitch to book bloggers should look like. Maybe it’s helpful: http://leeswammes.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/authors-how-to-pitch-your-book-to-bloggers/

    Good luck with your books!

  9. Kim,
    I enjoyed your post. The correlation between book bloggers and literary agents is interesting and not something I had considered in exactly that way. Thanks for sharing and best of luck!

    (I’m a subscriber! )

  1. Pingback: Are book bloggers the new literary agents for the digital age? | A City Mom

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