Thursday, May 26, 2011

Armchair BEA and Nurturing Relationships

Today's post is all about highlighting relationships that I've made as a blogger and giving tips on how to nurture those relationships. We are one big community of bloggers and it's important that we foster these relationships. Ironic coming from someone that's an introvert but there you go. I do what I can.

I've gleaned a few solid relationships with people from all spectrums of what I'm doing here in this book blogosphere. I've connected with bloggers like Laura over at Life After Jane, my pseudo twin. You might notice the poles start to shift if we don't agree on the like level of a book. But when we do, it's perfect peace and harmony. I'm pretty sure the diversion of the Rapture this past Saturday was our union of book souls over the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa.

We have similar senses of humor and we tit-for-tat on each others' blogs really well. We mesh, if you will. And next year we shall drink as we indulge in all that is BEA.

I've also connected with authors. Cinda Williams Chima is one of them. After I featured The Exiled Queen
last year in my anticipation post for books at BEA, she contacted me to review the series. After I gobbled them up like Cookie Monster on a bender (a love that Sab over at YA Bliss shares with me, and with which we gush on Twitter every time it comes up), we started emailing. With the release of The Gray Wolf Throne in August, we're still going back and forth. Just recently she gave me some suggestions for my visit to Arizona this coming August (yes, feel free to call me an idiot, but the package was cheap).

Another author I've awesomely connected with is Ilsa J. Bick. After randomly clicking on a Carolrhoda Lab add from Publisher's Weekly last year, I found her debut, Draw the Dark, and requested a copy. Oh it was a spiral of love and devotion as soon as I was done with it. She credits me (and you can ask her, I swear I'm not making this up, I have a hard time believing it myself) for single-handedly jumpstarting promotions for her book. Ever since we've just gone back and forth, all developed from a love for her work. And we both agree it is a miscarriage of timing that we'll just be missing each other this year at BEA.

The common theme here that's bringing us all together? Books. Our love of books. We finally have other people with which we can share that love with and who reciprocate. And it's not hard to maintain. This coming from the loner that functions in her own bubble.

Nurturing relationships is easy. All you need is contact. Don't wait for people to come to you. It doesn't work like that anywhere. Go to people. Comment on their blogs. Send them friendly emails. Recommend a book. Join up on Goodreads. Reciprocate conversation.

It's not easy for me to go up to people and start talking to them. I'm not a big blog post commenter and I suck at returning emails. But I give myself a good slap and I just do it. I suck it up and do it. You need to get over that shyness because there isn't anyone else that's just going to up and do it for you.

The most important thing is to be yourself. Unless you're a douche. Then don't be yourself. People will pick up on your lies or if you're being disingenuous. Just be. You want people to like you for who you are, not who they think you are. Be courteous. Say please and thank you. Gush about your love of a book. Indulge in comment conversation. Just plain ol' get involved.

And keep it up. This isn't a one-time deal where you comment and you're friends for life. Just like any other friendship, it requires work. Especially in the big world of the internet where you can too easily just disappear, you need to remind people that you're there. Haven't spoken to someone in a while? Go say hi. Give them a poke on Facebook. Whatever. But keep the contact going. It's all about the contact. Just don't be a stalker. That's creepy.

Now if I could just apply some of my own tips to myself!
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