Tag Archives: bloggers

Federal Trade Commission Disclaimer

The FTC issued new rules that went into effect on December 1, 2009.   These rules state that blogger product reviewers must disclose whether they receive review products for free or receive monetary payment for such reviews.   The books reviewed on this site, except where noted, are Advance Review Copies (ARCs) sent to us by publishers – a common practice in the industry.   Payment is never accepted in exchange for a review or book mention.

The receipt of ARCs in no way influences or has an impact on the opinions expressed in the book reviews  posted on this site.  

This disclaimer will be posted periodically.    Pictured:  Adam and Eve: A Novel by Sena Jeter Naslund, which will be released by William Morrow on September 28, 2010.   

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Award Day!

zombiechickenThe blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken – excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse.   These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring works.   The recipients of this world-renowned award have the responsibility of passing it on to at least 5 other worth bloggers.   Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chicken by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all.

I was a prior recipient of the award, and I earlier selected the first of five or more bloggers that will receive the award from me.   I now elect to select the second recipient.   The Zombie Chicken Award goes to Betsy at Betsy’s Book Club – http://www.betsysbookclub.com/ .   Betsy has run her blog site since December of 2004.

Congratulations, Betsy!

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How will your readers find you? The Findability Formula

The Findability Formula: The Easy, Non-Technical Approach to Search Engine Marketing by Heather Lutze is a book that tells business owners how to set up a successful marketing campaign.   And a successful campaign, these days, means having a website that can be found by Google and the other major search engines.

At first blush this would not seem to have much to do with writing books or even reviewing them.   However, one important lesson pointed out by Lutze is that businesses often make the mistake of focusing on the macro rather than the micro.   For example, a seller of TV sets may think it is easier to use internet ads with broad keywords (words that will be found by search engines) such as “TV seller” instead of “large screen plasma TVs.”   But the broader terms often get lost in the back pages of search engine results; and 87% of those using search engines never look past page 3 or 4 of the results!

The lesson here is that instead of thinking macro/large, it is better to think micro/small or unique.   For writers this may mean that the P.R. campaign for your new book should not sell it as THE NEXT BIG THING, or attempt to sell you as the second coming of THE BIG AUTHOR that readers already know quite well.   Besides, those references to already published big books and authors are going to get lost in the back pages of search engine results.   Who’s going to read you – and feed you – when you’re on page 64?

What does this mean for book review bloggers?   Maybe it’s fine to occasionally review a new book by a currently unknown author, one who has published his/her first novel or work of non-fiction.   If you write a review of Susan New or Joe First-Timer, your review will certainly be more easily found than the 700th review of the new book by Mr. BIG AUTHOR, who has already sold 80 million copies.   And one other thing, if you write about a BIG subject, like the biggest books written by the biggest authors, what is it that you’re going to say that is unique and that hasn’t been said by the major media publications?   The answer is, probably, not much.

Contra, if you’re an early adopter and reviewer of a new and rising author, you’re likely to build a lasting and long-term relationship with him/her and his/her publisher.   Further, it is guaranteed that every friend, family member and acquaintance of the new author is going to read your review; something quite unlikely to occur with your review of Mr. BIG AUTHOR.   (What satisfaction is there in writing the least read review of a new book?)

In summary, while The Findability Formula is a book that was intended to guide business owners rather than writers, book reviewers or bloggers, it offers everyone valuable lessons on how to use the right search engine approaches (including keywords and tags) to get people to read what you write.   It’s a guide book that’s worth purchasing unless you elect – in this age of the internet – to write for just yourself, your mother and your faithful dog.

Joseph Arellano

Reprinted and adapted from the Troy Bear blog.   Originally posted on May 21, 2009.Findability Formula (lg.)

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Bloggers on the Bus

bloggers on 4By itself, Bloggers on the Bus provides an interesting tour of the not-so-distant past political landscape (the 2008 presidential campaign), with stops at particular intersections where citizen journalists – online bloggers – both analyzed and influenced events.   Author Eric Boehlert  makes a nice case for the importance of amateur and volunteer online reporters.   He makes it clear that the traditional media (television, radio, and the relics known as newspapers) are now falling behind the times.   To his credit, he has located specific story lines that were either ignored by big media or picked up too late.

In this brave new world chronicled by Boehlert, amateur and professional writers on the web perform such a credible job of instantly tracking events and issues that true political junkies feel lost without web access.   Fox News and MSNBC might as well be sending us telegrams from across the Atlantic; they seem to be as current as buggy whips.

The problem with this book is the manner in which it has been publicized:  “In the tradition of the classic book The Boys on the Bus…”   Sorry, but I knew The Boys on the Bus as a fun, frolicking ride that puts you, the fortunate and somewhat shocked reader, on the magic bus with a new-wave gang of rowdy reporters.   This is not that book.

However, most readers with even just a hint of politics in their blood will surely enjoy Boehlert’s book just fine.   Its almost 300 pages go by quite quickly.   This is the good news.

The bad news is that this is simply not The Boys on the Bus Part 2.   The publicist who came up with that narrative did the author’s own campaign more harm than good by placing undue pressure on, and expectations for, Boehlert’s book to be something it is not.

Free Press, $26.00, 265 pages

Reprinted courtesy of Sacramento Book Review.

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