LonCon3 #23: On The Blogs – Bloggers Discuss their Roles in the World of YA

Panellists: Foz Meadows, Patricia Ash, Shaun Duke, Liz de Jager, Erin M. Underwood

Bloggers have become an integral part of YA book promotion. How do authors find these bloggers? Why should readers trust their opinions? What are the best book blogs out there right now and what makes them so useful?

Professional reviewers are redundant as uneducated non-professionals are doing a better job. Professionals only review big name authors, which are little more than blurbs, and tend to be aimed at adults. Whereas bloggers write in far more detail for young adult and adult readers in such a way that readers can get to know them and are able to use their reviews as a benchmark against their own tastes.

As a result, publishers are now relying more on the blogging community to do their marketing for them. Bloggers are a diverse group, some of whom are young adults themselves.

School isn’t challenging enough for some and is sometimes holding teenagers back while telling them how to think without letting them have and express their own opinions. Blogging can be the only outlet for their opinions while also exposing them to a global community representing more types of people of all ages than they would ever encounter in their face-to-face world.

In the past few years, bloggers have become increasingly worried about writing negative reviews in case authors respond badly or that publishers may retaliate by refusing to give out ARCs. But as long as you don’t attack the author negative reviews are welcome. If you don’t write about negatives then authors won’t learn about they’ve done wrong and how to improve their writing.

How should authors approach reviewers? They should read a blogger’s policy guidelines and be polite without being pushy. Authors shouldn’t ask to have a review taken down after asking for one. They should walk away and let it go.

Blog tours aren’t popular and can be problematic. To some, ARC reviews are little better. They can be seen as less valuable than “normal” reviews, especially if you aren’t familiar with the reviewers.

The best independent reviewers are being snapped up by professional, and sometimes commercial, organisations. Justin Landon writes for Tor.com and Foz reviews for Strange Horizons and A Dribble of Ink. Some are even becoming authors themselves and therefore don’t always continue reviewing. But there are always more bloggers taking their places. When one blogger stops blogging, another starts.

Recommended bloggers


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