Tuesday, December 2, 2008

So You Want Them Free Books :)

My chum Kristi over at The Story posted about a great topic yesterday: How she gets so many books. It’s safe to say book bloggers—especially beginning ones, like me—have wondered this at least once in the course of their blog’s life. Am I right?

Kristi really said it all, but I have a little thing to add on to this:

Believe it or not, it doesn’t happen overnight either, (unless of course you’re Steph, you know, that girl from Reviewer X).

Very true, it doesn’t happen overnight—wait, what?

Ha ha, good one, Kristi. :)

I don’t know what it is about my blog that makes people think this. It’s not the first time I’ve heard it put that way, so allow me to give my side of ths story:

Like most bloggers, I started from scratch. I didn’t even tell my other blogging friends (Amee and Reader Rabbit), so any visitors I had for the first few weeks were entirely by chance. Didn’t have many of those, either—at most 10 a day.

Here’s a good place to add that visitor count is much more important than page view count. Any stats I give below are of visitors, not of page views.

After the initial weeks, I realized doing just interviews and reviews didn’t satiate me. So I added random things in—Young Adult Weekly, Author Weeks, and Reviewer Profiles. My stats started picking up. I like to think I entered this game at a time when book blogging was gaining momentum—not so much that it was getting crowded, but not so little that I needed to act like a trailblazer. (Unlike Miss Erin, Jocelyn, or Little Willow, who’ve been here forever.) So, factor in timing as an asset, too.

I wasn’t receiving a lot of books by this point—I did get lucky a few times and had random offers, but not many.

Then I took a chance and put the money where my mouth was. I’d said from the very beginning that I’d rip a book to shreds if it deserved it but had never done so. Then I did. And I guess this snarky trait became a reputation of mine, which as far as stats go, is never a bad thing.

Unlike Kristi, as soon as I formed my first publicist contact, I emailed away to begin understanding how things worked. I rarely emailed (or email, present tense) authors for books, but publicists? HA.

I did my homework early on and figured out who to contact for each house from there. About half of my publicist contact were initiated by me. (Figuring out who worked where took a long time. Don’t even ask me how I managed because I don’t know. Hand to God.) (Please don’t blindly email me asking for a publicist contact. If I know you, that’s one thing; if I don’t, it feels really unprofessional.) They’re 90% of my source of “book income”. Random offers come about one or two a week, or sometimes zero a week. Depends.

It took eight months to get here, and believe me, there is still a long way up. Not overnight. Many, many hours working on reviews, features, and other crap.

This blog’s reach kind of just snowballed. Those initial 10 visitors grew to the current 350+ a day. Then there are subscribers, followers, etc. I really have no idea what exactly made it pick it up. Like I said, timing was a big, big factor. Aside from that?

I have no clue. You, dear readers, can help me out here—why do you come to Reviewer X?

So, in conclusion: Work hard on your blog, keep working hard, and believe me, it is as simple as that. There are also publisher programs you can enter, but they do not send abroad to me so I kinda had to handle this one myself :) And remember - NEVER do something just for the free benefits. Do it for yourself, too.


Alea said...

I come to your blog (stalk it) because you always have something interesting to say! Be it a review of a book I'm interested in or a discussion question etc! You can't help it, you are interesting!

P.S. I always thought I was good at research but i look like the biggest slacker of them all next to you! :P

Great topic Kristi brought up!

Lenore Appelhans said...

We come because it is the only way to stalk your brother ;)

WannabeWriter said...

I come for the snark and stay for the snark. Haha, kidding ( though the snark is golden ). You have honest & thought-out reviews of all the kinds of books I read & fun features. :]

Sarah Woodard said...

You have great reviews that are honest and your feature are also amazing.

Anonymous said...

I found you through Jocelyn back in the early days! I liked what I read, so I stayed. :) As someone who read your blog before the more negative reviews were posted, I can honestly say I'm not here for the snark. I like the mix of books you review and I like reading what you have to say about books, authors and other stuff!

dawnmetcalf said...

Me, I come for the food. ;-)

Amee said...

Haha, great Ever After reference LitWitch! (Am I right? That's the only time I've heard it anyway.)

I come here because you're my bestie but also because you're awesome and interesting. And yes, you may have put a lot of hard work in and it wasn't literally over night, but you have gone from nothing to everything faster than most. That's why you're considered an overnight success story. ;)

Anonymous said...

I'm here because I read a review of an Ally Carter book (a semi-snark review) you cross posted on Amazon. Because I agreed with the review, and you put it into words better than I could, I googled Reviewer X and found you.

I'm an aspiring YA author, and reading reviews from my target audience is helpful. Plus, you're really funny, you post quite a lot, and I like to see how my taste matches up to you and all of your commentors.

Anonymous said...

I found you through other reviewers' blogrolls and I like reading your reviews because you don't just read a book and then spew fluff about it because you may have gotten it for free. You tell the truth and it factors into what I buy since I've found that we have similar taste in books.

Anonymous said...

Cos, I be your stalker.

And you always have something interesting to say ;)

Chelsea said...

Steph, stop being modest. You're like a celeb in this here YA-reviewing-world. It's because you've got balls. (Figuratively, of course.) You say what you want, when you want. And it's admirable. Plus, you read a heck of a lot and always have new content.

To put it mildly, you rock.

Unknown said...

Uh, I should think why I come here should be pretty obvious....

I want to get in good with your brother.
Nah, you're my friend and your site is my favorite -and it's also really fun to watch you do something new and see other people replicate it a day later.

Liv said...

Okay, I semi-stalk your blog (but rarely comment, yes I'm lame) because it's super fun to read. and you write some seriously great reviews; whether they be snarky or fan-girly, you have a VOICE! i feel so totally blah in comparison. :P

BookChic said...

I come here because you're awesome. 'Nuff said.


Aside from that, though, I come because you have great posts, great thoughts on books and bookish type things, fun original features. I love reading your reviews and your discussion topics and your interviews. I just love it all!

Khy said...

Because you are FAWESOMETASTIC (That's a word now) and so are your reviews and such.

the story siren said...

i'm going to be so lame and just do a ditto to what liv said, but it's totally true.

and thanks for mentioning me, my chum. and i love how you pretty much did everything the opposite as me! but hey i would say that it worked.

i love your blog, i respect you as a reviewer, and a person, you really just kick ass.

Kimberly Derting said...

Hmmm...envy! :p

Anonymous said...

I come to your site for ... You! I mean, you're just so hot, and you know, I like to stalk you. Actually, if you look out your window right now ... yes, right near that big fat bush where ten million of your male stalkers who are busy drooling and gazing adoringly (is that even a word?) up at your window ... you'll probably see me ... :P

You know I love your site. I love the book reviews; the honesty and no bullshitin'; your site ain't a book-promoting site in the sense that there are fluff pieces everywhere; the funnyness and original 'events'; and, your writing is amazing. Absolutely brilliant!
As Number One Fan of the Steph Fan Club, you know I love, love, love you and your site! :D

Anonymous said...

Hey Steph! I nominated you for the I Love Your Blog award!


Shelly B said...

I got here from other bloggers, subscribed to your feed and come in regularly to look around. I too have taken to contacting publishers on my own, through research, to get my books. So far, it's working for me too. I am new (less than 6 months) to blogging and I am receiving at least 2 books a week.

Anonymous said...

I come here to say hello and see what you are reading or have read recently.

Thanks for the link!

Shalonda said...

I visit your blog because you are just so real. I would rather hear the truth about a book, rather than some fluff review. You tell it like it is and I admire that about you.

Other than that, I love the many features of your blog. It's not just a review site, but is built of many different things.

Keep doing what you're doing and I'll keep visiting!

Em said...

Sage words of advice. Thanks for offering them. :)

Alessandra said...

I coem to Reviewer X because I love YA books - even if I'm in my twenties - and your opinions are always worth reading.

Post a Comment

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