You wrote a book and now you need people to read it. Even better would be if people reviewed it. Hey, that’s what book bloggers are for right? All you have to do is hit them up on Facebook or email them your book. Done! Wrong.
When I was first starting out I didn’t understand why some authors complained about promo. What’s so hard about sending out a mass email to reviewers? I already knew the answer to this one from my own blogging days. I hated opening up an email and being one of a hundred people who all got the same exact email. Maybe it’s silly but I felt the way I felt. Other bloggers feel the same way. Relationships take time and personal investment on both sides. You want the blogger to invest in you and your book without putting anything in for them? Highly unlikely this route succeeds. I’ve seen posts on Facebook from both sides complaining about this issue and giving their two cents worth. It can be confusing to go through it all and come up with a clear picture.
This list is meant to give you a general idea of how to form connections with the book bloggers who can help your career. What works for one person will irritate another so I cannot promise results. In my experience both as a book blogger in the past and as an author now these tips have been valuable. This is not the easy way out and will require some effort. You’ll need to give personal time to this but isn’t your work worth it?
Do: Form Connections
Like their page Facebook, follow them on twitter, sign up for their blog. Now that you’ve done that actually keep up with them. Contribute to posts and status updates when you can so they become familiar with you. When the time comes for you to approach them about a possible review you won’t be a stranger.
I promise you will have an easier time talking to them about your book once you’re no longer strangers.
Do: Look for Website
Lots of bloggers have a website or page (like where they actually blog for example). I find the majority have a section for authors detailing their guidelines and how to request a review. What do you do if they don’t have a request form? Robin Malone says “If you can’t find one, message blogger and ask them if they have a form to fill out for request. They may say the message is enough, or send you to the form. So simple yet brilliant. Robin’s a smart cookie. Find out if your book is even what they’d read. Sending your YA novel to a Erotica reviewer will be met with confusion.
Review policies tell you the genre, age group, if they take self-pubs or indy authors, and preferences for the blog. I’ve run across some really in-depth review policies that went as far as telling me if the story included cheating couples, animals/kids dying, or cliffhangers to take it somewhere else. It’s there and they expect you to have read it. If they read the book and find out you snuck one of their no go’s past them don’t expect a good review. Save everyone the trauma and read the review policy.
“We don’t do promotional posts. I only take new, original and exclusive material for guest posts…Basically, if you are looking for our time and space, we need you to take the 2 minutes it will take to read what we have to say. A guest post still takes time to lay out. Otherwise what we see is that we are not respected for what we do.” – Stephanie Takes-Desbiens from Fangs, Wands, and Fairy Dust
Do: Personalize the Letters
As we were all given names at birth, so were bloggers. Maybe they work hard to keep a private identity but many are free with their real names. Use it when you speak to them. The blog itself is not a person and cannot help you. The person behind the blog is who you’re trying to win over. Reducing them to a page on the internet won’t earn you points.
Don’t: Sales pitch on the first date
A friend request pops up on my Facebook from Jane. I accept. Jane messages me asking me to read her book.
Think of it like a date. You can’t skip dinner and a movie to go straight for the kiss. Bloggers are not one night stands. Woo them.
Do: Remember SPAM is bad
The huge mass email falls into this category. It’s a pet peeve bloggers share.
“If you do end up sending a mass mailing–sometimes you just have to I know–make sure to BCC the emails. It’s just the nice thing to do 🙂 Bloggers can be very protective of their emails and having it exposed to sometimes hundreds of others can really be a sore spot and lead to a lot of issues like people who will collect those emails and sell them.” Blogger Anna Cade from Herding Cats and Burning Soup
Other things bloggers don’t like: Adding them to any group without permission, signing them up for tours/parties/etc.
Basically making decisions for them. Who doesn’t get annoyed by that?
There is such a thing as too friendly. You can be nice a respectful without using pet names. If we’re not chatty then sending me a message like “Hey babe, are you accepting reviews? Hugs and kisses!”
Whoa! Back up. Too much.
“Hey Bridget, are you accepting review? Thanks, Jane.”
Still nice and casual but I don’t feel like I need a bath to remove the excess sugar.
Do: Accept What You’re Given
Kristen from Literary Misfit said she didn’t like it when she was told if her review wasn’t three stars or higher it would not be accepted. I don’t blame her.
If you want honest reviews you need to accept the reality there will be one stars, two stars, three stars, four stars, and five stars. Bury your head in the sand if you want to but it won’t erase the truth. A mix of ratings is good for your book because it shows readers you’re real. The book wasn’t reviewed but the author’s friends and family only. A bad review might win a reader because what the one star rater hated the new reader loves.
Don’t: Forget Bloggers are people too
“(I don’t like it ) When it seems like they (author/PA, whoever) don’t respect that some bloggers have a LOT on their plates and while they may WANT to read your book, they don’t have the time to do it NOW. It’s all in the approach, if you are kind and respectful, I’m more likely to say YES and then lay out terms, like I can’t guarantee a review until the middle of the month, etc.”- Kristen from Literary Misfit
You’re ultimate goal is to make friends. Bloggers are like you, and me, and everyone else. They want to be respected and to feel special. I’ve had the opportunity to make great friends from their community. When I have a new book or a cover reveal, they’re happy to help. I’m eager to post their updates and keep track of what’s going on in their lives. Make it your mission to sell a blogger on you instead of your book. You’ll find one generally leads to the other.
To all the bloggers out there….