One ongoing project this year has been to increase the visibility of the Devil’s Artisan among the people who care about book arts, book design, printing, typography and Canadian book history. The first leg happened — albeit unsuccessfully — a few months ago, when I looked up around fifty blogs written by young librarians in Canada and the US.
It was unsuccessful because only a couple people ever replied to my queries (I asked if they’d like a review copy of the book), and those who did, replied only to tell me that they weren’t interested. (Sigh.) I have a theory, though, for my failure: I didn’t specify my audience well enough. Although all the blogs were written by young librarians — which are a target of the DA, prompted by some advice we received from a funding organization — the blogs’ specific topics varied from the impact of technology on librarianship to social activism, and not one of them were interested in the art of book-making or printing.
This time I have a new tactic. I’ve got a shortlist of about fifty blogs that focus specifically on book printing, bookbinding, book design and Canadian book history (well, only one of those). And this time, instead of only offering a book review, I’ll also offer to write a guest post or provide sample article that they can post for free on their website if they like. I hope that this will be a more tempting offer to the bloggers and that they’ll be more likely to take a look at the magazine.
Finding the bloggers took a long time. The Devil’s Artisan is a very niche magazine and it took a lot of searching to find blogs that not only expressed an interest in bookbinding/book design/book arts/Canadian book history, but that had also reviewed books in the past. I don’t want to email a blog that has never featured a print publication before unless the blog has very similar interests to the DA; after all, it’s hard enough trying to convince a blogger to decide to review the DA. I don’t want the added challenge of convincing them to review print publications at all!
I searched Google but found most of my list by searching blogs’ links to other people. While searching I had about twenty different tabs open on my browser. Once I had my longlist, I cut it down to only the most relevant blogs by searching through their archives and finding similar material to what the DA publishes. One blog, for example, featured the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild a few years back, so I knew that would be a shoe-in. Other blogs had regular review features. Normally they reviewed books, but I hope a book-like magazine will work, too.
The part I’m dreading is the actual emails. Unlike my WorldCat campaigns, where I use a fairly standard, unchanging email (I just personalize it for the name and the comparable title that the library already owns), for this DA campaign I’ll essentially have to write a new email for each blog I contact. I only have one shot at impressing them enough to get a bite, so I hope to bring up archived posts and audience comments in my emails to show that I know their blog, I know their readers and I’m confident that a post on the DA will be a good match. For my sanity, I plan on making this a little easier on myself by only emailing five to ten blogs per day — if I had to sit down and do all of them at once, I’d be overwhelmed! Luckily the DA isn’t going anywhere so I don’t need to rush this project.
This is my second-last blog for the Porcupine’s Quill, so I thought I’d encourage comments and questions one last time. Are there any issues I haven’t addressed? Do you have any questions on how the Porcupine’s Quill works? Do you have a special request for my last blog? (I have something in mind already, but I’m open to suggestions…!)