Question of the day: What's your opinion on book review blogs? Do you think people read them? Do you expect that they'll become an influential force in the publishing world? Do you as an author consider them valuable?
My opinion on book blogs is that they are the wave of the future, if not the here and now. To a degree. We all already know that valuable review space in newspapers is being hacked left and right, which plenty of readers are up in arms about. So that stinks. However, given that fewer people are reading newspapers these days and that more people are turning their eyeballs to the internet, I'm, well, not okay with it, but I recognize that there are plenty of other places for your book to get reviewed and mentioned. (Please note: I, too, think that review space getting axed sucks - if only for the symbolism that fewer people are reading - but I also sincerely think that people just don't read papers in the same way that they used to, so it's not the end-all-be-all.)
To that end, book bloggers are filling a valuable and necessary space, and I, personally, have seen direct results from their work. When Time of My Life came out in paperback, my publisher sent me (and the book) on a blog tour, which meant that book blogs either interviewed me or reviewed the book. And the following that some of these bloggers have is substantial. I mean, they really, really contributed (in my opinion, with no hard stats to back this up) to the sales of my book. As we all know, word of mouth is king, and these bloggers really can control to a certain degree the word of mouth and buzz about a book. That's what's so great about online reviews: they're viral. One person blogs about it, and another person comments about it, and then another person takes it from there and chooses to blog about it as well. And that's really where I think book bloggers are critical and wield a lot of power.
Now, that said, like any other aspect of blogging, there are some who are great at it, and some who aren't. Some who have huge followings and some who don't. But as a whole, I really think it's the wave of the future, and wave I very much support.
Anyone else want to share your thoughts on book blogging or give a particularly good blog a name-check below?