Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Importance of Communication

During Book Blogger Appreciation Week, there was one day devoted to giving blogging tips, but I chose to forgo it because 1) I’m a newbie, 2) therefore I know nothing, and 3) I was tied up at school. However, I have gone back on my decision and here’s something I’d like to touch on for bloggers, and maybe even any authors and other readers out there who happen to stumble upon this post:

It’s so very, very, very important to be communicative. What I mean is, be available! Be friendly! Be responsive! When people email you, please email them back. Try to get to things as possible as you can, and if there’s a holdup, let the other person know so they’re not left hanging.
Don’t stall on others.

Don’t ignore messages.

Don’t take forever to do every little thing.

I’m always disappointed when I email someone and receive no response. Interview requests ignored. Could-you-put-me-through-to-your-publicist-cos-I’d-really-like-to-review-an-ARC-of-your-work requests left unanswered. Nice notes every once in a while to see how things are, to congratulate a person on recent successes, or to compliment them on something like their work or cover, all left to gather dust.

Worse yet is when someone doesn’t reply mid-conversation and you can’t very well email them, sweating indignation, and say, “So, when do I get your side of the dialogue back?” That’s just awkward.

Now, this is just me, but:

I don’t mind being turned down on an interview request. I just would love to know I’m being rejected instead of receiving no response and wondering if the person got my message at all and risking coming across like a pest when I re-email them.

I get I’m an intimidating person (or so I’ve been told) and that my reviews are of a rather brutal nature (depending on which book we’re talking about). But ARCs are there for a reason: One can’t make a profit on them, so, after they’ve exhausted all mainstream publicity venues, and if they have any copies left, what’s the harm in putting a teenager with a site through to their publicist?

Ignoring these requests, even when there aren’t any left, is just plain rude. Explain the situation. Let us know we’re not annoying you by expressing interest in your work and posting about it to our audience. If you just don’t want a certain blogger with your work, I’d still reply anyway—don’t hide behind your screen! A response is better than nothing to the person inquiring.

And, finally, when I leave a comment or whatever on a person’s profile saying I like their cover, I’m not fishing for an ARC or a review copy. I know that’s how it looks, but believe me, if I wanted your book, I’d just get a publicist to send it to me and not bother you. The only time I contact authors for their books is when they’re published by a house that won’t send abroad unless the author requests it to their publicist themselves. (And again this is why I’m doubly disappointed when I’m ignored on such requests—I only ever go through this when the book is too expensive for me to afford and given I live in a country with no English-book libraries because English is not our primary language, I have no other choice if I want to read a book.) So, if I leave you such a comment, it’s okay to reply back—I won’t pounce.

And I mean this to bloggers as well. If a book is offered to you, turn it down if you don’t want to, but do it politely. Don’t just reply to people whose books you want to read—that, too, is rude.

This industry, I’ve found, can be quite lonely. When someone singles you out about something, emails you politely asking for something that won’t pain or cost you to do, or is simply being nice, they should always be acknowledged. Reputations go around, and unless you’re a bestseller (which most aren’t) or a mega star like JK Rowling, Philip Pullman or Stephenie Meyer, those expressing interest in you and your work will become few and far between should you regard yourself as too important to reply. (Because that is how it looks.)


Amee said...

I wholeheartedly agree! It really bothers me when I get no response at all. Reject me please! Just don't ignore me.

Anonymous said...

Very much agree with you, which is why I always try and reply to someone as quickly as possible, though I will admit there are times that I forget about something or put it off until later. But usually, I'm always happy to email someone back and chat. :) I love talking to people, esp. about books.

Khy said...

"This industry, I’ve found, can be quite lonely."

We should all start a big club on myspace or something with a forum and such, or make a Ning, so that we all can be together in harmony and not be lonely.

...I sound like a hippie. I think it's the effect my essay is having on my mind. I swear I am not always this hippie-ish; I'm usually quite pessimistic, actually.

Anyway. Fantabulous post, Steph. I agree.

Anonymous said...

Khyrinthia- Well, there's the Young Adult Book Bloggers group. But someone could also start a Reviewer group on myspace, or maybe something else.

Nurin said...

I agree.

Rejection> being ignored.

And that goes for any situtation imo and especially when someone is taking interest in YOUR work.

Unknown said...

Obviously, I'm really new to this, but on the flip side of things I want to say how surprised I am at how sweet and approachable some of these authors are. For me, living in the United States, where the only coverage I see of authors in the news is who JK Rowling is suing now, I love coming across actual nice people. I'm sure (sooner rather than later probably) I'll come across some real jerks or jerkettes, but right now I have nothing but nice things to say :)

Anonymous said...

You are talking about common courtesy here and I'm shocked authors could (would!) blow off getting reviewed/responding to book bloggers. They must be big honcho types b/c all the authors I know are so thankful to be considered for a blogger's review. Plus, most authors know exactly how unpleasant and crappy it feels to get no response and wonder if the person is even aware of your existence. See, Manuscript Submission aka Rejected and Dejected 24/7. btw- my communications with reviewers, whether on their own blogs or Goodreads, etc, have been the nicest part of getting published. BBAW-- go for BBAM, at least. You guys have the support of the masses!

Rachael Stein said...

i also try to respond quickly, but sometimes (unfortunately) i lose internet access or get lazy!! (eek!) which reminds me that i havent posted in YABB for----weeks! bad me :(

Diana Dang said...

That I agree. I always reply back to everything unless I have a feeling that the conversation have closed off. A favourite author of mine agreed on an interview. I did sorta of ask a lot of questions... But I haven't gotten her reply for awhile now. I'm sort of worried that she forgot about it or never received it yet.

I just hope she say something soon! If not, I'll email her next week.

Liviania said...

My addition: keep your e-mail clear. I dislike when I send a reply and I'm told it failed because your inbox was full. I don't know when it's going to be clear and I don't want to try to reply endlessly just so you think I'm not being rude.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you there.

I hope I didn't spark this conversation, though. You did get my email about Jillian right?

Anyway, I hate it when authors don't bother to reply. It's quite ridiculous, especially after I've taken the time to even bother emailing them.

I think everyone else has pretty much said everything else, though.

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Hey! For some reason, this embedded comment form makes most people click twice before the comment is processed and published. It's not you - it's just that it's a new Blogger feature with kinks and all that. (But I adore it and don't wanna get rid of it!) I removed Captcha to make the process easier. You don't have to rewrite the comments twice; just click on SUBMIT twice and it should work. If not, email me. Thanks! -Steph