Author Gets Publicity for Her Young Adult Novel from Savvy Teen Bloggers

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With the traditional book tour for all but blockbuster authors quickly becoming a thing of the past, media-savvy teenage book lovers have taken the lead in creating and orchestrating virtual Blog Tours for writers whose work attracts them. The {Teen} Book Scene, an online consortium of young adult (YA) book bloggers, gave novelist Barbara Quick ( ) the kind of publicity blitz that authors dream of and publishers are all too rarely willing to bankroll. An award-winning writer whose 2007 novel from HarperCollins (Vivaldi’s Virgins) has been translated into 15 languages, Quick had to start all over again in building a readership when HarperTeen brought out her first historical novel for teens, A Golden Web:

"Barbara's characters befriend you like living, breathing people. The worlds she creates are so real that you feel as if you've actually spent time in these faraway places...Barbara's 'historical novels' give all the pleasures of fine literary fiction."

Young adult book bloggers gave a mid-list novelist what big publishers don’t include in their budgets any more for all but their blockbuster authors: advertising and an author tour. The {Teen} Book Scene, a consortium of over 200 bloggers with thousands of followers between them, took Barbara Quick on a four-week author tour through Cyberspace this month, introducing her debut historical novel for teens, A Golden Web, to far more readers than the writer would ever have encountered on even the best-planned book tour in the real world.

Discover Award-winning novelist Barbara Quick, whose 2007 title from HarperCollins (Vivaldi’s Virgins) had been translated into 15 languages, bumped up against the limits of marketing and publicity for mid-list writers when HarperTeen published her first young adult (YA) novel, A Golden Web, in April 2010. Quick had all the enthusiasm and support an author could wish for from the editorial side at HarperTeen. But the new business model for publishing depends on authors themselves to pay for and orchestrate the bulk of their own marketing and publicity. Ads for books and author tours—once de rigueur for all new titles at major houses—are deemed to be a losing investment for publishers today.

With its attractive book jacket and appealing subject matter based on the story of Alessandra Giliani, a 14th century Italian girl who defied society and her family by running off (dressed as a boy) to study anatomy at the University of Bologna medical school, A Golden Web attracted attention and some rave reviews from a passel of young adult book bloggers. But in a season of teen blockbusters that all had to do with vampires, A Golden Web didn’t catch that particular wind that propels books to best-sellerdom.

“Someone named Kari sent me a letter on my website email back in October,” said Quick, “asking whether I might be interested in going on a Blog Tour orchestrated by Teen Book Scene. Of course I said Yes!”

What the bloggers wanted—and got—was a series of command performances by the author. Quick gave honest and thoughtful answers to the bloggers who chose to do author interviews (three of which required her to produce her answers as videos). She fulfilled 16 individual assignments, from talking about her “10 Favorite Disguises” to crafting a 250-word biography. She shared personal photos and impersonated the protagonist from her novel for a character interview.

It was a win-win situation, led—as so many trends are—by the tech-savvy young.

“While my virtual self was touring the Blogosphere,” says Quick, who is about to be married in August, “my real self was tagging along with my fiancé” (violist Wayne Roden) “on tour in Europe with the San Francisco Symphony. Talk about multi-tasking!”

To read The {Teen} Book Scene blog posts and book reviews for A Golden Web, please go to

About Barbara Quick

"When Barbara Quick's book proposal showed up in my mail, I was smitten upon reading it. Her prose dances off the page. Her characters befriend you like living, breathing people. The worlds she creates are so real that you feel as if you've actually spent time in these faraway places. Unlike so many other books in this genre, Barbara's 'historical novels' give all the pleasures of fine literary fiction." —Felicia Eth Literary Representation

In addition to Vivaldi’s Virgins and A Golden Web, Barbara Quick also wrote Northern Edge, which won the Discover: Great New Writers prize in 1990. Her research for her novels has taken her from the frozen tundra of arctic Alaska to the musical cloisters of 18th century Venice. For A Golden Web, Quick spent three weeks in and around Bologna following the 700-year-old trail of her protagonist, Alessandra Giliani, who is reputed to have died at the age of 19 after making a major anatomical discovery about the coronary-pulmonary circulatory system. The author’s abilities as a linguist (she speaks and reads five languages) have aided her research and eased her travels.

Ms. Quick is a trained dancer who has paraded and performed with several samba schools in Northern California. She assists her fiancé in tending his vineyard and making wine—and has some of her best writing ideas while working in the vegetable and flower gardens she’s been cultivating on their property in Sonoma County since her move from Berkeley—her home for over 30 years—to the Wine Country.



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