Not long ago, Playground Monitor came across an interesting post on author Brenda Coulter's blog about a promotional blogging opportunity. After looking at the information, I agreed to try it, because it involved reading an inspirational romance. Though I don't write them, I've had experience reading them, and looked forward to reading something new from that genre.
I was also intrigued by the idea of promoting books through blogs. A lot of authors have blogs and know fellow authors who have them as well. I'm all about giving authors another opportunity to get the word out about their books. And I'm storing away ideas for that day when I have books of my own to promote.
Here's the idea, paraphrased from Ms. Coulter's explanation:
Ms. Coulter is priviledged to be a part of an author blogging tour at the beginning of March. During this time, other inspirational authors will post author photographs, books covers, interviews, and reviews, along with an Amazon link. Each of those authors would receive a free copy of her book to review.
Why do this? To increase the chosen book's rating with Technorati.com (a search site like Google that just searches blogs) which features a Popular Books page. The more times the book is mentioned, the higher it ranks on the Popular Books list. Also, the books purchased through the Amazon links would boost the book's ratings there also. More than anything, it would increase the author's profile within the blogging world and possibly reach an audience that hadn't had previous knowledge of this particular author. Ms. Coulter explained that she was aiming for "increased awareness."
In preparation for her blogging tour, Ms. Coulter decided it would be an interesting experiment to offer the same opportunity through her personal blog to fellow bloggers (both authors and readers) not on the tour. Each blogger who wanted to participate would receive a free copy of her new book in exchange for a promise to blog about it. Blog content was left to the recipient; it could be an interview, review, or something totally different. And bloggers were assured they didn't have to gush over the book if we didn't like it.
Other stipulations included the insistence that the post appear on a weekday during the chosen month of February and must include the following information and links (which she supplied already written for ease of use, though you could post it however creatively you wanted to):
A Family Forever by Brenda Coulter
From Steeple Hill Love Inspired
Look for it in stores after February 28
or order it now from Amazon.com
Read most of the first chapter at BrendaCoulter.com
Visit Brenda's blog, No rules. Just write.
In return Ms. Coulter would publicly thank the blogger and give them a shout-out on her own blog. Thus giving the blogger something in return besides a free book.
Having been back to Ms. Coulter's site to view the mention of other bloggers, I'd like to say that she did a great job. She didn't just list the names and sites, but also mentioned little descriptions to entice her readers to go for a visit.
As for the book, I enjoyed reading it. It approaches the traditional storyline of the forced marriage with a pregnant heroine from an understanding Christian perspective. The heroine has faced several major tragedies in her life, leading to a crisis of faith. Though I haven't experienced the same things, I have dealt with repeated losses that led to some of the same questions addressed in this book. "Why is God allowing this to happen to me?" "Does God love me at all?" "Why can't I feel His love?" and the soul-shattering "What have I done wrong to deserve this?" Each of these is considered with gentle scripture reminders and honest feelings. For me, A Family Forever was a truly touching read.
For more information on Ms. Coulter's experiment, check out her blog at the above link. The original posts are archived under January 2006.