Dear Writer-Friends,

I've been self-publishing since 2011, and I've shared the knowledge I've gained in two books: the Indie Author Survival Guide, Second Edition, and For Love or Money. I'm not an indie rockstar or a breakout success: I'm one of thousands of solidly midlist indie authors making a living with their works. These books are my way of helping my fellow authors discover the freedom of indie publishing. Write on, writer-friends!

S.K. Quinn, Independent Author of Science Fiction

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR QUICK START GUIDE TO SELF-PUBLISHING and to be notified when the 3rd Edition of the Indie Author Survival Guide releases!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Book Bloggers Are Made of Awesome

I've long appreciated the importance of Book Bloggers - their reviews help readers find books that they love and help writers spread the word about their works. With the rise of self-publishing, I think Anne R. Allen (in interviewing Danielle from There's A Book) gets it right: Book Bloggers can serve as a new kind of gate-keeper. 

When I set out to self-publish Open Minds, one of the first things I did was research book bloggers: finding the ones that would take self-published books, ones that were interested in my genre, and especially ones with those magic words in their policy (I prefer paranormal YA). Then I queried them, carefully reading their review policies and tailoring my queries to each blogger. It was a very similar process to querying agents, only I got a amazingly fast responses and a very high hit rate on bloggers interested in the book. Plus they were friendly and fun. 

WIN all around.

When the reviews started coming in, to say that I was pleased would be a huge understatement. I've quoted several of these reviews in my promotional efforts and they have, without doubt, helped to sell the book. I'm thankful for each and every one of them, not least because I know how much time it takes to read and review.

And then there comes along a review like this (from Danielle at There's a Book):
"In a growing pool of young adult fiction Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn stands out as a novel with a fantastic premise, excellent characters and an incredibly well executed plot."

And this ...
"As many of my readers know, I don’t read many self-published books primarily because I find the stories underdeveloped and poorly edited. To be honest I’m completely shocked Quinn’s Mindjacker series hasn’t been picked up by a major publisher, because it certainly doesn’t fall into either of my dis-qualifiers. This is a novel that’s been extremely well thought out, written beautifully, and it’s obviously been edited professionally."
Most of the book bloggers I queried either didn't specify or explicitly stated they would accept self-published books. Danielle was one of the few that I queried even though she stated that she did not take self-published books. I had followed her blog for some time and really respected her ideas about children's literature. 

"Reading is something I feel can have a transformative effect on people and so much more so on children. The effects can be seen into adulthood and beyond. That’s one of the reasons I decided to create this site." - Danielle at There's A Book
I very politely asked if she would consider making an exception for me, and I would have been completely understanding if she had not, because bloggers have policies for a reason.  I'm very grateful that Danielle made an exception and was willing to give the story a try. (Please, self-publishers, don't flood her inbox asking for exceptions, just because I did!)

As more and more quality self-published books find their way on to the virtual shelves, I am sure that more and more book bloggers will make exceptions for them. Because one thing I've notice about these fine reviewers: it's all about the story for them. 

Which is awesome. (Thank you Book Bloggers!)

Speaking of story, today and tomorrow's blog stops include excerpts from Open Minds, more reviews and giveaways, and an interview with the lovely Sherrie Petersen, where I do quick post-mortem (I'm not dead yet!) on the launch and blog tour.

AND: Don't forget to check out the Goodreads giveaway at the bottom.

WEDNESDAY, November 16th

A Tale of Many Reviews
Julie at A Tale of Many Reviews has an excerpt from Open Minds (not the first chapter!), in which we get to see a bit of Raf and Kira trying to negotiate their relationship in a mindreading world. Plus Julie is hosting a giveaway!

Write About Now
Fabulous fellow author-friend Sherrie Petersen has interviewed me on her blog Write About Now:
Launching Open Minds: A Conversation with Susan Kaye Quinn
in which I do a preliminary post-mortem on the book launch and give a brief status update on Closed Hearts

Mother Lode
Grace at Mother Lode has posted her review of Open Minds as well as hosting a giveaway!

BONUS: A totally fun review/interview by Sher A Hart: Help! I've Been Mindjacked!

THURSDAY, November 17th

Ex Libris
Stella of Ex Libris has posted my guest post: 

"Slang: Using Language to Flavor Your World"

in which I might have called Adam Heine a ninja. She is also hosting an e-book giveaway!

Katie's Book Blog
Katie of Katie's Book Blog has posted an interview and an e-book giveaway of Open Minds! She also has posted her review.

Summary of Giveaways this week (lots of chances to win!):
Scribblers' Cove Two E-Book Giveaway, open until 11/30
Random Thoughts Bookmark and Paper/E-Book Giveaway, open until 11/17
The Reading Housewives of Indiana E-Book Giveaway, open until 11/18
Book Lovers Inc. E-Book Giveaway, open until 11/19
Buried in Books E-Book Giveaway, open until 11/15
Mel's Random Reviews E-book Giveaway, open until 11/18
There's a Book, Ebook Giveaway, open until 11/30 Coolest. Giveaway. Form. Ever.
The Fairy Tale Nerd, E-book Giveaway
A Tale of Many Reviews, E-book Giveaway, open until 11/22
Mother Lode, E-book Giveaway, open until 11/30
Ex Libris, E-book Giveaway, open until 11/25
Katie's Book Blog, E-book Giveaway, open until 11/30

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn

Open Minds

by Susan Kaye Quinn

Giveaway ends November 23, 2011.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win


  1. I love that book bloggers are all about the story! And if we act professionally, we'll get treated professionally! And I'd have to agree, not sure why this wasn't picked up. A downward trend? I'd say the same about Ali's BECOME.

  2. Fantastic, Susan. I agree - book bloggers are ACE. Congrats on all your wonderful reviews.

  3. I agree that book bloggers are not only a wonderful group of people, but also a wonderful way to promote books. And what an AWESOME review from Danielle, Susan! :-)

  4. Susan, congrats! Those are great reviews. I'm reading Open Minds now (slowly because I have a lot going on) and I'm loving it. You deserve much success.

  5. You're so right about book bloggers. They do some wonderful things for writers. I love anyone who loves reading and "talking" about books; they are very special people.

    You're doing such a great job with your new work. All my best to you for continued success.

  6. Book bloggers have been great for my books, too...not to mention some of the best friends I've ever had. :)

    Looking forward to reading your book!

  7. It's SO true. I'm doing a blog tour right now too and they are awesome and fun and it's such a fantastic way to enjoy your book launch.

  8. I liked the interview. And I really think finding new readers with a tour is key. Too many times it seems like authors are preaching to the choir. And the choir is only so big.

  9. Oh yes, bloggers rock! And you too for adding the lovely pics to the links to their blogs.

  10. you are so right - book bloggers are awesome! there's lots of love to go around on the internet.

  11. @Kelly Thanks so much for reading the book! :)

  12. @Pavarti Best of luck on your book tour! :)

  13. You're amazing Susan! Thank you so much for the amazing post and all of your many compliments. It means a lot to me.

    I think you nailed it on the head when you said:
    "I had followed her blog for some time and really respected her ideas about children's literature."

    The primary reason I accepted Open Minds, outside of my obvious interest in the genre/topic, was your connection with me. Though we hadn't chatted a lot I knew from Twitter and your occasional comment on my blog who you were and was familiar with your writing already. So it was easy for me to make an exception to my "rule".

    I definitely don't think I'm alone when it comes to this. So I'd encourage authors to reach out and make connections with book bloggers. You never may just find the exact right person to review your book or potentially even a new "best friend" as Anita above mentioned. It's definitely worth the risk!

    I might also add that since my review of Open Minds posted yesterday the #1 outbound click from my site has been to either my Amazon or B&N links to purchase Susan's book. This may or may not have anything to do with me, but I'd absolutely say it was worth Susan taking the chance on my blog long ago. :)

  14. I agree that book bloggers are fabulous.

    Congratulations on your book. It sounds awesome. I entered the contest.

  15. @1stdaughter (aka Danielle) Thanks for the wonderful comment! And you couldn't make me happier about those outbound link-clicks! :) I think book bloggers and writers and readers are naturally kindred souls - we all treasure books, what's not to love? And in keeping things professional (yet friendly), it makes for a wonderful partnership. Thanks for all you do to promote kidlit! :)

  16. All those great Congrats. It must make you feel fabulous.

  17. Hi Susan .. interesting read and I came over via Lenny's post ..

    Fantastic that Danielle took you up - that's just wonderful .. and the people in the blogging world are just so supportive ..

    Sounds like you have a winner here - enjoy the road ahead .. cheers Hilary

  18. Yes, yes, yes Susan! I absolutely agree that book bloggers are the new gatekeepers, and I love & appreciate everything they are doing for the new rules of publishing. Congrats on your reviews, sounds like a winner.

  19. What an awesome post and I'm sorry I missed reading this until now. I agree with what you've said. It's a beautiful thing when bloggers and authors work together to help spread the word about books we love. Though I sadly still have not read Open Minds (which I'm hoping to do so this next week), I love reading all the glowing reviews for it. Congratulations!!

    1. I'm so excited for you to read Open Minds (yay!). I'm querying a few more bloggers today (especially ones who recently reviewed In His Eyes, the Indelibles Anthology - which you might want to read (before or after Open Minds), if you want a bit of Raf's POV! The response is always so friendly!! Book bloggers are one of the highlights of this whole endeavor. :)

  20. I love book bloggers too! My book tour starts tomorrow, and I owe it all to the 16 amazing bloggers who offered to host me in one way or another.


Erudite comments from thoughtful readers