by Donna Huber
I take great pride in offering a wide variety of authors opportunity to appear on Girl Who Reads and featuring their books in various ways. And when an author's review request is passed over, it doesn't mean I didn't "see" the author, but more a result of too little time.
I'm going to pull back the curtain and give you a peek into my life as a book blogger.
So far this month I have had 26 review requests, Last month I read 5 books, but I only read 2 in April. I do have two people who also review for Girl Who Reads and I offer some of these requests to them, but still that is an awful a lot of review requests.
Then there are the requests for cover reveals, interviews, and guest post spots. While these requests don't require me to read a book, I do have to take the time to read and respond to the requests and check the schedule. I do have an interviewer, but every so often I do an interview so there's the time requirement for coming up with questions. This is often made more difficult by the fact the author sends no information about themselves or the book. Also, there is the follow-up to the accepted requests to make sure I get the post material in time to actually put together the post.
There is also the writing and formatting of posts. At this point, I've already been working on this post for 30 minutes. I usually spend 3 to 5 hours on the weekend writing and formatting posts. And that doesn't usually mean I got all the posts for the week scheduled. I format the posts for all my contributors and usually find the images to use.
I also have to find the time to actually read the books I'm reviewing. Some months I get lucky and I have a number of short books on my list (200 pages or less) other times I get stuck with a 500+ page novel. Or a a nonfiction book that is so dense that I can only read a bit at a time. Since I charge for editing, I have timed how many words I read in an hour. On average I read about 10,000 words an hour. So a 50,000 word novel takes about 5 hours. With everything else I have going on in life, particularly work, I'm lucky if I can get 30 minutes to read a day. I might get a couple of hours of reading done over the weekend. So even a relatively short book can take my more than a week to read.
Oh and author, you know all the marketing you do for your book and the time it takes each week away from your writing? I have to market my blog. People don't just wander by. I have to craft tweets and Facebook posts. There are the comments to respond to and interactions on social media. I research best practices to increase my traffic and investigate revenue sources.
I'm not complaining about the time involved. I love blogging, but I thought I should give you a realistic look at the time involved.
Why it is some authors appear on the blog more often
As you can see book blogging is time consuming and a lot of work. Outside of free books, there isn't a lot of monetary reward. And I'm okay with that, but that means sometimes I want to pick up my favorite author's new novel. You might think that I give preferential treatment (more blog time) to JB Lynn's and Chevy Stevens's books because I have read all their books. But I truly love their novels and I know when I pick one up that I'm going to be entertained. Something that's not guaranteed when I pick up the novel of a new author.
I also find I need to take a break from reviewing every once in a while. I have a different mindset when I read a book for a review than a book I'm just reading for fun. I have to think about word usage, character development, plot pacing, etc and I have to remember what I think!
Then there are the authors that appear frequently because they provide me with content that is easy to post. Often these authors are represented by the big publishers and the publicists are sending pre-made (and well done) interviews, excerpts, and press releases with their pitches. It is great to have these materials available. Particularly when I'm reading those 500+ novels and I know I'm not going to have many reviews that month.
What you can do to be noticed more
My biggest piece of advice is to be professional. Be professional in every aspect of your writing career, from creating a quality product to promoting properly.
Put together a media kit, including a press release, and provide it with your pitches. Speaking of pitches, polish them! You should know your book better than any one else and be able to tell others why they should read it. (I can figure out from the pitch that you wrote a book so you don't have to start your pitch with "I wrote a book")
Provide other material - interviews, guest posts, video, etc. I much rather have the material upfront because there isn't much worse than schedule an author a month in advance and never getting the material (not to mention it is extremely unprofessional).
A lot of bloggers also like to time their reviews with a release of a new book. So getting your review requests out early (6 - 8 weeks) is also important.
Authors, I see you
Authors I know how frustrating it can be to send out requests week after week and getting no response (or a No as a response), but unfortunately there are way more books than book bloggers.
But, please know, I do see you and I'm continually looking for ways to feature more of you on Girl Who Reads.
(and now I've been working on this post for an hour and I still need to proofread and dress it up some)
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