Interview with Andrea Johnson and Elizabeth Campbell

SFFWorld had chance to talk to Andrea and Elizabeth about their blogger’s campaign.
Hello Andrea and Elizabeth! 

When and where did you get the idea for BookstoreBookblogger Connection?
E: Actually, the idea came from email conversations between Andrea and I. We were both thinking “bookstores are closing down,” “I love the local small bookstores,” “I blog a lot,” “I know (online) a lot of people who blog about books,”… but it took several emails for the idea to come together.
A: There really were a ton of brainstorm ideas going back and forth between us, some practical, others not so much.  We kept circling around the idea of how both of us have made book purchases based on blogger reviews, and that it’s the bookstores who provide us with those books, so how do we get everyone to team up together?

What are you hoping to achieve?
E: I’m looking forward to an immense indexed database of book-blogger blurbs! I really miss my small bookstores and I’m hoping to see Andrea’s shelf-talkers in bookstores across the country. Long-term, pie in the sky? I want my small indie bookstores, new and used books, to open up again and thrive.
A:  Publishers and authors are realizing that us bloggers are on their side, when it comes to book promotion. I’m hoping that bookstores will realize we can help them too, and that we want to. 

What do you want people to do?
E: Andrea wizarded-up these cool forms on the website for book bloggers to use–they’re super easy, she did a good job with that! If you are a book blogger with blurbable material, you just pop over to http://bookstorebloggerconxn.com/book-bloggers/ and enter the info. If you’re a book store, the page is this one, also super easy to use: http://bookstorebloggerconxn.com/book-stores/ If bookstores or bloggers have ideas about how to improve the site, or ideas on how the blurbs might be better utilized by the bookstores, we’re all ears. This is by no means a finished product.
A: What she said!   Bloggers – go through your scifi/fantasy/horror/spec fiction book reviews and find your sharpest sentences, the phrases you’d love to see on the back cover of a new printing of that book. You just found your blurb, and you can submit it following the link above.  Bookstores, what genre titles are you currently promoting? past Hugo winners?  Ray Bradbury?  Doing an urban fantasy display to get ready for Halloween?  A display of new books as gift ideas? Let us know what titles and/or authors you’re promoting, and we’ll send you the blurbs that we have.

You both have a blogger’s background. Was this an important factor in your creation of BookstoreBookblogger Connection?  Is it just for bloggers?
E: The blogging background is important I think because of the connections you end up making as a blogger, specifically an SF/F book blogger. These bloggers put so much work and love into doing these reviews, it’s important that they get more recognition for the hours of labor that goes into the reviews.
A:  One of our goals for Bookstore Bookblogger Connection is to further promote bloggers and the book review blogging community.  How cool would it be to walk into your favorite bookstore and see them promoting a book you like with a quote from a review blog you frequent, or even your own?
Blurbs submitted do need to be part of an existing review  on your blog, or a group site that hosts reviews by many reviewers, such as SFFWorld. 

How can we get the word out?
E: Interviews like this help a lot, we get a big surge of blurbs submitted after an interview. Andrea does the heavy lifting with the promo. If your interested readers wouldn’t mind spreading the word via Twitter or emailing their fellow book bloggers, that would be most appreciated!

A: We’re dependent on Word of Mouth (or erm, word of internet?) advertising,  so the more this project is talked about, the more successful it will be. After you submit a blurb, tweet us to let us (and your friends) know what you’ve been up to! we’re at @BSBBConxn .  We’ve even got a badge participating bloggers can put in their sidebar.

Is it just genre (SF/Fantasy/Horror)? Why genre?
E: Yes, right now we’re just focusing on SF/F/H. These are our loves, and since it’s so much work, we decided to focus the website thusly. We also are focusing on books in print, as there are so few brick-and-mortar stores that sell e-books.
A: These are the genres I’m most familiar with, this is what I love.  It’s a lot easier to promote and market a project when it’s something you love and believe in down to the tips of your toes.  Maybe in a year or two we’ll branch out, but for now, Bookstore Bookblogger Connection is for Scifi/fantasy/horror geeks.

Favourite submitted blurbs to date?
E: Blurbs are hard to write. They need to be short, short, short and still generate that impulse-buy punch. One of my favorites thus far is submitted by AQ’s reviews for the Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison. It’s one sentence, and in those few words, I make that connection with the book blogger about why the reader loved reading that particular book: “I read the last page and grinned at my paperback copy because the last few paragraphs fix everything and make me desperate to read the next in the series.” Yah! totally I can identify with that!
A: Although most of us will read just about any speculative fiction title put in our hands, we all have our favorite types of books, specific things that we’re hoping to find. Some of us love urban fantasy, some of us love space opera, or traditional fantasy, or thrillers or first person POV or whatever. The perfect blurb speaks to that, lets a prospective book buyer know immediately if that particular book speaks to them.  A recently submitted blurb from The Ranting Dragon for Roil by Trent Jamieson caught my eye because it speaks to what I’m always hoping to find in a story:  “Jamieson’s newest novel showcases a powerful imaginative streak, creating a darkly fascinating world and successfully combining elements of science fiction, fantasy, steampunk and horror.”  Five minutes ago I had no idea who Trent Jamieson was. Now I want to go find their books and read them.

 

We wish you both all the best. Thanks, Andrea and Elizabeth!

 

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