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As requested in the comments yesterday by Sara, here is the nuts and bolts on the SBBT and how long it took to put together:

Honestly, it took a lot less time then you might think. First I contacted about a dozen bloggers I knew and told them I was thinking of doing a multi blog author tour and got their feedback on some other sites to include. From there the new group then threw out names of people they would all like to interview. I came up with a lot of the names this last time as everyone was a bit unsure of how it would go (I came up with Brent for example) but we got a healthy number and then I just put together a basic form letter and started sending it out. Some of the authors I knew from interviewing or reviewing in the past so I could be less formal (Brent, Justine, Justina, Chris, the Hooblers, etc.) but either way I got in touch with everyone I could who had a website. From there I started contacting publishers to get the others. There were four or five authors we wanted that we didn't get (Scott Westerfield was in a deadline crunch, Mark Zusak was never tracked down, etc.) The PR folks at the publishers were really great though and helped a lot (that's how we got Hilary McKay and Gene Yang for example - I got Shaun Tan by tracking him down through his speaker's bureau).

And then I matched authors to bloggers. A lot of them had given me a preference for who they wanted if we got them (Hilary was Leila's dream and Betsy thought Shaun would be "impossible") and for the rest of the authors I sent out an email saying "here's who I got - who wants them?" and that was easy to figure out. (Everyone wanted them - we just had to work it out so no one was overburdened!)

So I don't know - four/five hours of work in getting to that point probably and then everyone was on their own to contact and interview authors. They just had to let me know when an interview was done so I could be sure they were happening. When all the interviews were done I spent about an hour or two putting together the final schedule we worked from - I wanted to make sure everyday was fairly even and that kind of thing. (When you used to schedule airplanes, pilots and routes for a living, something like the SBBT was cake!)

And then....then I sent out an email to every single publisher who had an author in the tour and referred them to my post of the general schedule. This was important as it gave the pubs a chance to see what we were doing. I heard back from all of the pubs except the comics guys. I didn't hear back from Image or DC which I thought was odd - especially DC who are trying to break into the YA market.

But they will learn!

So that was a couple more hours. I also emailed several friends with sites in the lit blogosphere to ask them to mention the SBBT and from those mentions it kind of took on a life of its own.

And then I just did what everyone else did and posted my interviews and linked to everyone else's. I spent a lot less time on the interviews then other folks did, I think. I'm "graphically challenged" so I didn't have any of the awesome illustrations other bloggers did - I'm hoping to change that for the next round.

Altogether I want to say I spent around ten hours maybe on oganizing this whole thing. I need to say again and again how much everyone else came through on this. There were originally two more bloggers who had to drop out for personal reasons (no time) and that was fine. But I said from the beginning that it was my credibility going on the line - I was the first point of contact for all these authors - so if someone couldn't do an interview they needed to let me know asap. I wasn't looking for people I had to "hand hold" or that kind of thing in this project; I don't have a martyr complex! I knew this was going to be great for all of us and I wanted bloggers who recognized that and were willing to to do their share of the heavy lifting. I can't stress enough how impossible the SBBT or our future projects would be without the other great people involved. Those interviews are outstanding - I could have organized all I wanted to but if the interviews were crap then no one would have cared.

So don't give me a lion's share of the credit; the SBBT was totally a cooperative effort.

I hope this does answer any questions about how it was organized though. I tried to be smart, careful and comprehensive - and made sure to let everyone I know what we were doing. That's something I will continue to do for our future efforts as well - it will be much harder to dismiss the lit blogosphere as amateur hour if the industry and writers are aware of our efforts to do something constructive out here. (And for other examples I would point to the creation of Dzanc Books and their efforts towards publishing books in translation, Ed's amazing podcasts, Kelly's continued publication of The Edge of the Forrest and Scott's Quarterly Conversation. And Bookslut, of course - just in case you're wondering what else is going on in the lit blogosphere!)

Really, I don't think my ten hours (or so) was much at all when you consider what I got in return. The SBBT is proof that with just a bit of hard work and effort in the beginning, something really wonderful can be the result. And I'm sure because it succeeded so much, our Recommendations Under the Radar series and the WBBT will be that much easier to organize. Here's hoping everyone enjoys them just as much!

I will be gone between Sunday and Thursday - off to the boonies with no internet connection so I can work on this blasted AK flying memoir. (Many thanks for the positive response to my Dead Body Contract entry - that helped a lot!) I do have posts sceduled for each day so there will be new content at Chasing Ray; I'll just be a bit behind on comments and emails. See you Thursday night!

comments

Have a great trip, Colleen.

And, thank you for SBBT. You DID do the lion's share of the work. Hopefully next time you'll farm out some of the "contacting" so your hours will diminish to ten :)

Thanks again.

Thanks Kelly - you're a sweetheart....and I am out of here!!

Thanks, Colleen. And I agree with Kelly; you DID do the lion's share of the work. Obviously, it paid off! Now, off with you, for some well-earned internet-free time with the memoir. Happy writing.

Just wanted to say thanks for organizing the SBBT. I met three of the SBBT authors at ALA, and I tried to remember to tell each of them that I "discovered" them through your efforts. (Justina Chen Headley, Ysabeau Wilce and Mitali Perkins) Thanks!

Laura

Well, even so -- the SBBT was awesome. Great authors, great interviews, great organization -- it was wonderful! Thanks for organizing it!

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