Much work is being done to promote books. I did a review of Spin a while back after the book was sent to me from a publicist at Holtzbrinck Publishers, the company that owns book publishers like Tor. Now, Holtzbrinck has decided to create a Web presence. The site includes a blog about literary happenings, the latest books and other news. They plan on offering the first chapters of all their new novels at the site and through RSS feeds. Also, they say they'll be creating author blogs at the site. They could be offering some good stuff, so check it out.
Amazon has now started its own promotional programs as well. Amazon is letting authors blog as part of Amazon Connect. If you visit the page for Meg Wolitzer's novel "The Position", scroll down a bit and you can visit part of Wolitzer's blog. The blog is also published here. I'm not sure how you'd find other author blogs outside of stumbling across them on their pages.
Edward Champion has his doubts on the program and posts about it here.
But I can’t buy into the ethics of a retailer pushing a blog while simultaneously encouarging people to buy things. Whatever the merits of Wolitzer’s posts, however much she feels that “Anything that can get fiction on people’s radar is good,” I get the unsettling aura of Shirley Maclaine talking with the dead during an infomercial.
He certainly is asking the right questions about these ventures. Can the author really be free say what they want when their blog is a part of a huge corporation? I also agree with him that author's would be better off starting their own Web pages and blogs and keeping them updated. It's already proved itself as a marketing model (which is why these companies are pursuing it) and authors are free not to be tied down to any company's demands. Still, I'll keep a watch on them and see what comes up. At the very least, I'm looking forward to Holtzbrinck's first chapter plans.