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Susan Helene Gottfried discusses blog tours

Today, we have a guest post from our wonderful blogging buddy Susan Helene Gottfried of West of Mars fame. If you missed my review of The Demo Tapes Year 1, check it out. If you missed my two part interview with her, check it out as well.

She’s discussing The Demo Tapes and blog tours. . . and offering one ebook copy of The Demo Tapes Year 2. Stay Tuned for details . . . and now let me turn it over to Susan.

I was recently having a discussion with another author about virtual book tours. She wanted to know if they work, if they result in book sales. The general consensus was that no one knows for certain, but then again, you can say that about almost any advertisting campaign, especially something not done through one of the major advertising agencies.

We authors are often in a hard spot. We’re told that we shouldn’t pay to be published, that money ought to flow to us — but we need to pony up and pay for a publicist. Have you see what some literary publicists charge? Some authors can’t even afford a small Virtual Book Tour through one of the established companies. This author I was speaking to was one of them.

Then she said something that horrified me. She wanted to set up a book tour for herself, on her own. But the “big book bloggers” will only talk to an author’s publicist. And she didn’t want to visit the smaller book bloggers, the ones with only a few readers.

Well… huh. Color me offended. Deeply. Top to bottom, and from outside to in. Making distinctions about the size of a blog’s readership or its Alexa ranking never occurred to me. What’s important in this game of getting your name out is exactly that — getting your name out.

Maybe it’s because of the way my own books — yes, there are two of them now! — came about. The Demo Tapes were never meant to be collected into book form. They were never meant to be the subject of guest blogs. I’d never imagined standing at book fairs with my two slim volumes displayed on a black crushed velvet cloth, telling actual people, in a face-to-face method, about my books.

Nope. The short fiction in The Demo Tapes was meant to do one thing and one thing only: build my audience and the demand for my novel, Trevor’s Song. I figured that if I got my readers as hooked on Trevor and Mitchell as I am, they’d build up buzz. Eventually, the buzz would reach the right ears and the novel would come out.

A famous rabbi once said that a revolution begins with a single person. And then another. And then another.

That’s how my Trevolution began. That’s why I call it the Trevolution. My readers rallied. They wanted the story of Mitchell and Trevor from the beginning. On a timeline. They wanted to watch the boys grow up, grow into themselves, become rock stars. One piece of short fiction at a time. One reader at a time, they called for The Demo Tapes to be born.

To a person, those demanding readers of mine who blog have blogs this other author is dismissing as not being big enough for her. Some of my readers and fans aren’t even bloggers. But they are people who pick up books. People like you, who’re reading right now. It doesn’t matter if there are ten of you or ten million of you. What matters is that you catch my passion for my fiction. That you decide to share it.

As the shock and horror of this author’s snobbery goes away, it’s replaced by sadness. I wouldn’t trade you guys even for a spot on Oprah and all the copies that inevitably sells. I’ll stay a small potatoes author any day, if it means staying close to the people who’ve inspired not just one book, but two.

Best of all, more’s on the way. If you haven’t joined the Trevolution, now’s the time to do it. There’s no right or wrong place to get started; just dive on in. The water’s fine, the rock and roll is loud and thunderous, the men are hot (so’re the women, for any of you who lean that way).

And behind it all is an author who appreciates each and every one of you.

Thanks Susan for stopping by the blog today!

Now for the giveaway details:

1. Leave a comment on this post about whether you’ve read Susan’s first book and what you thought.

2. Leave a comment about why you want to read The Demo Tapes Year 2.

3. Blog, tweet, or Facebook this post and receive an extra entry.

Deadline is October 9, 2009 at 11:59 Pm EST