Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Guest Post: The Blogging Life: No e-mail

When I started my own little book blog way back in 2010 there were a couple of book blogs I looked to for inspiration. The Little Red Reviewer was one of those blogs and while quite a few of those blogs no longer exist, Andrea Johnson (the titular Little Red Reviewer) has consistently been putting out great content. This year she's embarking on something a little different - launching a Kickstarter to transform her blog content into an actual printed book.

Below you'll find a guest post detailing a small part of her blogging journey and a great sampler of her work. If you feel so inclined be sure to give her all the support you can.

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The Blogging Life: No e-mail

I don't have my e-mail address posted on my blog. Does that make me a jerk?

If you are a blogger who wants to put yourself out there, but feels weird about having strangers e-mail you, or feels weird about e-mailing them back, this is the post for you! If you feel bad saying No to people, especially complete strangers, this is the post for you.

When I first started my blog, of course I had my e-mail address in my “about me” page! How else were publicists, other bloggers, blog tour organizers, and eeeeek! authors! going to find me? I don't remember exactly what my “about me” page said at the time, but I'm sure I talked about the types of books I liked, if I was accepting review requests, what kinds of books I didn't like, etc. I'm sure it was polite and friendly, because I am usually a polite person.

Why yes, authors were able to find me! And no matter what their book was about, no matter the genre or sub-genre, no matter that it was a self-help slash teach-yourself-Portuguese book written in the style of a Shakespearean sonnet that included Mary Berry's recipes at the end of each chapter (hey wait, this sounds freakin' amazing actually!), the author was convinced that if I only gave their book a try, that I'd love it.

Eight years ago, it was very hard for me to say No to people. And authors who were e-mailing me? They seemed so nice! And they were willing to mail me a book, for free! Who could possibly say no to that, and wouldn't it be rude to say no?

And before I knew it I had piles of review requests. Piles of books. Piles of books that actually didn't look that interesting, weren't that enjoyable to read, and when it came down to it, weren't my thing. But I felt bad telling people I couldn't review their book! I didn't want people to think I was rude, or a bad or unkind blogger, did I?

Was it rude of me to say no to review requests? Was it rude of me to stop accepting requests all together, and take my e-mail address down? For a while, my “about me” section said that I was no longer accepting review requests from people I didn't already have a relationship with, and I gave some tips about how to start a relationship with me. Tip one: say hi! Tip two: wait for me to say Hi back before you ask me to review your book.

Here's what happened:

People who really wanted me to review their book said hello first. They struck up a conversation. They asked me what kinds of books I liked, we chatted, shared some recommendations. Maybe they did some research ahead of time, maybe they didn't. But they waited until they thought I was the right blogger for them before giving me their elevator pitch.

And instead of books to read, I now I had author friends. Who would sometimes offer me review copies. And sometimes they'd introduce me to their other author friends.

Instead of a blogger / writer relationship, there was friendships, there was effective networking. I've formed long term relationships with people, I trust them, they trust me. We help each other out when we can.

I never put my e-mail address back on my blog, and I've never regretted taking it off.

It's been eight years since I started my blog, and who knows how many years since I took my e-mail off my “about me” page. And now I'm kickstarting a print book of my best work!

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