Monday, September 21, 2009

Day 14: Book Blog Content- The Interview

This is Day 14 of 30 Days to Build a Better Book Blog. We are still discussing Book Blog Content.

Before I began Christian Fiction Blog I ran a column for Suite 101 called African American Women Writer's Finding Voice. In this column I interviewed and later befriended some of the best women in publishing: authors, literary agents, publicists, editors and poets. That column gave me the fuel and the readership to take a deeper look at blogging, as my online source for providing an information asset. To this date the interviews that I host on this blog are some of the highest viewed content here. If you plan to build a book blog, even if the book blog is just about you and your writing, I encourage you to add some interview posts to bring credibility and more readers to your book blog.

You can create interviews in 3 different ways:
  1. as a blog post. Here is an example of my interview with Nicole Seitz
  2. as a podcast. I host Media Candy. We interview their and crosspromote the show in the christian fiction blog sidebar or with independent show notes posts.
  3. as a vlogcast. Stay Tuned for Media Candy TV. coming soon. A vlogcast is interviewing via live video streaming or VoIP technology like Skype.
A few interview writing tips:
  • When you are writing an interview, please note the proper format. Questions are italicized. The answer is written in plain text. This helps the reader differentiate the question from the response.
  • write a one paragraph(two-three sentence) bio of the subject with a link back to their online hub(blog, site url, facebook fan page, social media release)
  • if they have a current title, link it to your amazon associate, bookstore affiliate or chitika account(i will tell you why soon, just do it for now lol)
  • submit the interview to the interviewee with the url link before you post
Below is an example of a print interview blog post...

My Soul to Keep author, Melanie Wells stopped by Christian Fiction Blog to participate in our 1Question Author Interview Series-The Valentine Edition. 2 Questions/Couple. Cute. The questions:

Who are your favorite fictional couple?

I hate to be a cliche' but I'd have to say Rhett Butler and Scarlet O'Hara. They're a charming, cantankerous relational disaster. You just want to smack 'em both.

And what have you learned about them that helps you build the romance arc of your own stories?

Like Rhett and Scarlett (at this point, any southerner knows to add "bless their hearts" -which is required if you're insulting someone) my characters are extremely flawed. My books tend to be populated with broken - or at least bent - people. But they're so likeable, you're rooting for them anyway. Dylan Foster (bless her heart) just can't quite seem to get it right, which keeps the tension running all the way through the story. You WANT it to work out between her and David-who-owns-a-funeral-home-in-Hillsboro, but you're also sitting there thinking, Dylan, you need to go to time out, and David, for crying out loud, get a SPINE and stand up to this woman. They're a mess. That's what makes the story work. Happiness is sort of boring, if you think about it.

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This week I will be giving a weeklong homework assignment at 30 Days to Build a Better Book Blog. Join the group to be a part of the event. It's free.

Day 13: Book Blog Content: The Preview

This is Day 13 of 30 Days to Build a Better Book Blog. We're talking blog content, specifically The Preview Post.

From time to time you will be asked to participate in a blog tour for an author, publicist or publishing house. Should you choose to accept they will send you a boilerplate blog post that will look like a press release from there they will give you instructions on how to post or they will give you the xml code for your post. If you want your blog to stand out you need to one thing. You need to turn that bpr into a Blog Preview Post that fits your blog. You don't want your readers to have read the same post somewhere else, because then your content isn't competing with another blog. It is exactly the same as another blog. So why does your blog have value? You need to go back to the purpose of your blog and create a preview that reflects that.

Your preview can contain:
  • a book summary
  • author bio
  • excerpt of book
  • book trailer
  • whatever you think your blog subscribers are attracted to the most
below is an example of a book preview i did for this blog...

For July I have a Young Adult Series that will bend your mind. Ted Dekker's The Lost Books. The series began in 2008 with Book 1 Chosen.

n New York Times best-selling author Ted Dekker's latest novels--Chosen, Infidel, Renegade and Chaos--four young warriors from another reality are on a life or death quest to find the 7 Lost Books of History. Books with the power to create and destroy. Books that hold the destiny of not only their world, but ours as well.

Lunatic and Elyon are continuation of the series, although we once thought the series was over. Kaci Hill helps Dekker co-write the two novels, which is a great spin to the series.

If you want to get a fast fantasy for the young, old, romantic, dark...a good read period, check out the two new installments to The Lost Books series.

Day 12: Book Blog Content: The Review

For Christian Fiction Blog subscribers: I will be sending 9 posts your way today. Be advised.

Day 12: Book Blog Content- The Book Review

We took a catch-up break at 30 Days to Build a Better Book Blog. Thanks to the bloggers who've been patient. Today I hope you don't become overwhelmed with these posts. I'm simply getting us to Day 21 as we should be and showing how easy and fast blogging can be. I created all these posts in one hour. I'll tell you how tomorrow.

Onto the content...

We've built our blogs or have an idea of the blogs we will create. Now it is time that we look at the different types of content we should have on our book blogs.

1. The Book Review

I was a bit iffy about spotlighting the Book Review post first, because I don't want you to think that the only purpose of your blog is to provide reviews. No. But we will start here, because this is the easiest content concept to grasp.

As you know I am a book reviewer for national publications. I am also an Amazon reviewer and provide reviews her on Christian Fiction Blog. Reviews are very simple. Click here to read an article I written for Novel Journeys on reviews.

A book review blog post should be short(under 250 words) and provide 2 things:
  1. a book summary in your own words.
  2. a rating with buttressed points for the rating.
It is important that you read the entire novel to build your book summary. Oftentimes the summaries that come in the press release are not exact, specifically if you're working with arcs. Your ratings should be based on a point system that you create. I use a five point system, giving a point for: plot, character, theme, style, voice, setting.

Below is an example of a book review. Romantic Times.

African-American Inspirational

Somebody's Sinning in My Bed

By Pat G'Orge Walker

3 tambourine players, MILD

G'Orge Walker's fans might not like her switch from comedy to mainstream women's fiction, because her sassy and distinctive voice doesn't shine through as well as her previous novels. Her new style is more reminiscent to Victor McGlothin and Lutishia Lovely's church dramas, than Reshonda Tate Billingsley or Victoria Christopher Murray's. What she has accomplished is the ability to turn a church drama into a wild and inspirational frolic.

First Lady Chyna Young regrets her marital indiscretions when her husband Pastor Grayson Young dies in a night club fire. With the help of her sister, Janelle, she tries to keep her marriage failure under cover. All that changes when her first husband, Cordelle returns. Is more drama or real love in her future? (Dafina, 320pp, $17.95)

Dee Y. Stewart, Romantic Times Reviewer (reprint)


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