We’re delighted to welcome Kim Strickland, author of Down at the Golden Coin . Kim joins us today to consider whether book bloggers are the new literary agents. Of course, with ever increasing demand, bloggers are receiving dozens, hundreds or even thousands of requests a month – sometimes many more than they can physically respond to. Therefore, there’s no denying their importance in the literary world!
Are Book Bloggers the ‘Literary Agents’ of our time? – Kim Strickland
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 have been a few, “Sorry, I’m swamped and can’t take you on at this time.” And fortunately, several who have 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 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.