Top Five Things I’ve Learned About Working with Book Bloggers

So I’ve been at Quirk Books for a little over a year now. When I began, I had a ton of experience working in social media, communicating with bloggers, and working AS a blogger, but had little working knowledge of pitching blogs, PR, marketing, etc. As for my experience in publishing… well, it was limited to a magazine that doesn’t exist anymore.

Needless to say, it has been quite the learning process, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have a team that believed in me, helped me grow, and was patient in teaching me the ways of book-life. And luckily, the book blogging community is an incredibly welcoming (and understanding) one.

So, here are the top five things I’ve learned working with book bloggers. Maybe it’ll help you, dear reader, when you’re pitching books online. Hope it does!

1. WRITING A PITCH? BE CREATIVE: Let’s be real. Fact of the matter is, book bloggers get pitches every day. Some of them get dozens of pitches a day. Big publishers, small presses, self published authors… whatever, we’re all haggling the hell out of them to cover our books. Nothing is more boring than a bland press release attached to an email, or a pitch that just states the facts.

Make your pitch letters as interesting as the books you are promoting.

Get creative. Be funny and friendly. Make some jokes. Poke fun at yourself.  And most importantly, take the time to send a personal email now and again, not just a mass BCC’d email blast (though those are necessary now and again, I know). You’ll get a response, and bloggers will look forward to your future emails later down the line. Trust me. Read more

Book Lover’s Day: Some of My Favorite Books That You’ve Probably Never Read, But Really Should

From the cover of The Frog King by Adam Davies

So according to a handful of blogs on the Internet (which means it must be true) tomorrow is Book Lover’s Day. I love the hell out of books, and when people ask me about my favorites, there are a select few that pop up on my list that no one seems to know about. Whether its just because they’re older titles and they’ve since faded from the public eye (The Frog King came out in ’02, Straight Man in ’98), or because they came from a small press (No Touch Monkey is from Seal), these are some of my tragically lesser known favorites, that you should absolutely pick up.

The Frog King by Adam Davies (Riverhead, 2002): Mark my words. When the film adaptation of this book finally comes out, everyone will be using the word ‘protemplorate’. Just remember, my pal Glen and I were saying it before you realized it was cool. The story is your standard “young guy confused and trying to figure out his future / love life in a big city” sort of tale, with a publishing industry twist. The protagonist is a low level worker at a publishing house, sleeps around to work his way up in the world, hilarity ensues. Easily one of the funniest books I’ve ever read, and I frequently sing its praise when folks ask me about my favorite books. Other awesome titles by this criminally underrated author include Mine All Mine (which I just read this year) and Goodbye Lemon.

Indecision by Benjamin Kunkel (Random House, 2006): When I was super broke and interning in New York City, I spotted this book sitting in a dollar bin at The Strand. I distinctly remember buying this book based solely on the cleverly designed cover, a number of smiling thumbprints. A riotous romantic comedy about a guy who pops a pill that eliminates his problems with indecision, leading him to hunt down his lost love in South America, its a must read for anyone who is a hopeless romantic with a case of wanderlust. Yes yes, it’s a bestseller. But I’ve yet to meet anyone else who has read it. Read more

New Template: Hooray!

Lately, I’ve been hatin’ on the blogs of my friends and colleagues; Christopher Wink’s personal blog, Quirk author Matt Armendariz’s website, Shannon Collins’ portfolio / blog. Their blogs are wonderfully designed and frequently updated. Me? I’ve gone from premium template to premium template, never quite happy.

Last week, Shannon wrote a fabulous blog about staying motivated while blogging. I never had a problem working on posts for Geekadelphia and Quirk, but here… meh. With a site I wasn’t terribly fond of, working on posts was a chore.

So I went ahead and purchased the Thesis theme (which is incredible!), and hired Mandy Newman to illustrate the pixelated header. She helped redesign the site to reflect my love of books and video games. Visit her portfolio and check out some of her wonderful work.

Yay!

Campus Splash: Cause & Effect & Nerf Guns

So Campus Splash published another one of my rants recently, this one about teaching Cause & Effect rhetoric… using Nerf Guns and an intense game of Humans vs. Zombies outside of Peirce College. The activity roused up my students and even caught the attention of Peirce’s alumni association.

While the essay didn’t take off the way my Love & Text piece did, I’m still pretty pleased with it, and flattered that Campus Splash continues to give me a platform to write about my love of teaching.

Give the piece a read. Maybe you’ll like it.