Last summer, I went to my first Book Connectors meet up. As I’ve found with the Bloggers Bash, with even a relatively small number of people in the room (around 15-20, if I remember rightly), you still don’t get round to meeting everyone. I seem to recall speaking very briefly to Anne Williams, but that was it. Later in the year, I got to my second BC event, and this time had more time to chat to Anne.
At this point I have to own up to what I suspect is true of so many writers: I’m not very good at promoting myself. So whenever I ask if anyone would be willing to read, review or even glance at my book, I really have to steel myself to do it. There are also more occasions that I bottle it than actually go ahead and ask. It’s ridiculous. I know that. When I was a teenager, I remember my dad telling me there was nothing to lose by asking. The worst that can happen is you get the answer “No”. But that ignores the emotional side of things, doesn’t it? Especially with a book. Most writers will have poured their heart and soul into creating something, so for it to be dismissed has the potential to be painful.
One of the reasons I like going to events where I can meet others within the writing/reading/publishing community, is because you can get a better idea of the person you’re engaging with. And that gives you an indication as to whether they’re likely to be interested in the kind of book you’ve written (trust me, Ravens Gathering isn’t for everyone), and then whether they’d be prepared to consider a review. Because I know we all have busy lives and I don’t want to waste anyone else’s time, any more than I’d like them to waste mine.
So getting the opportunity to chat to Anne led to me thinking it would be a good idea to ask her if she’d be interested in doing a review. By that time, I was comfortable enough with the idea of her turning me down. I knew it would be a considered rejection, and not just an off-hand one. (You see, even the kind of rejection can make a difference.) Fortunately, she said yes. She was also good enough to give me an indication as to when she would get to review it. It’s easy for us authors to assume book bloggers are sitting twiddling their thumbs waiting for our books to be placed in front of them, but the reality is they can be inundated with reading material – and there are only so many hours in the day. So she managed my expectations brilliantly.
I should add at this stage that I realised over the intervening months that I may have misjudged Anne’s preferred reading matter. As a steady flow of romantic fiction appeared on her blog, I began to doubt the wisdom of having asked her to review Ravens Gathering. Like I said, it’s not for everyone. And the outcome?
Thank God for groups like Book Connectors. The online world is great, but nothing beats meeting people in person.
And, talking of groups who like to meet up, if you are a blogger who wants to get out more, take a look at this.