How to not piss off a book blogger when requesting a review

When my book Dolls Behaving Badly published a few years ago, I was a first-time author. I was so naive! I knew nothing about promotion or blogging or the importance of reviews. I assumed that the publisher would take care of everything and that I would sit back and bask in the glow and glory of my new-found success.

Well, hee, hee, I had obviously assumed wrong. A few weeks after my publication date found me desperately contacting book bloggers, begging and pleading for them to please, please, please take the time to read and review my book, feature me on their blogs or include me, at the very last minute, in their bloghops.

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Luckily, enough of them took pity on me so that I was able to pull in enough reviews and promotions that my book didn’t totally fall flat on its face (or should I say on its legs??).

Since then, I’ve held a special place in my heart for all book bloggers, no matter their skill or reading preference. It’s tough job, and I fear that we writers don’t always give them the due that they deserve.

I’m going to repeat that, for added emphasis: As writers, we don’t always give book bloggers and reviewers the credit that they deserve.

So when I interviewed book blogger Julie Valerie a few weeks ago and asked her what writers should and shouldn’t do when contacting book bloggers, her answer was so spot-on that I knew I had to feature it as a separate post

All of you writers cozy up in your chairs, take note and enjoy.

And now, heeeere’s Julie.

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Q: What advice would you give authors about what they should and should not do when approaching a book reviewer?

A: Oh, gosh. Where to start?

First, please remember you are asking the book blogger to commit about eight hours of their life to you. Six hours (on average) to read and two hours (often more) to write a review, prepare a post, upload book reviews to the various review sites, and schedule social media.

Second, please remember that you’re not only asking the book blogger to read and review your book, you are also seeking coverage on their platform, a book website and community they’ve worked hard to build and nurture. It’s precious to them. And if they schedule social media support (tweets, shares on Facebook, Goodreads, etc.), they are spending their social media “currency” to promote you beyond their website and into additional social media circles. They’re giving quite a lot. So be polite, reciprocate when possible, and make it easy for them.

Before you ask: 

Start by interacting with their book blog to insure your book is a good match for their platform. Remember that like you, book bloggers want their content shared on social media, so when it’s appropriate, like, share, and leave comments. Book bloggers want to establish a thriving book community on their sites. They want to foster conversation between authors and readers. If you’re an author, visit book blogs and participate in that world, even if you don’t have a pending book release at the moment.

When you ask:

Write a personalized query letter. And by that, I mean: Use the book blogger’s name and give a few sentences to indicate you know who they are and what they do. Give them enough information about your book to help them decide if it’s a good match for their platform and readers. Offer your book in the format they prefer to read—paperback, ebook, or audiobook, if it’s available. Indicate if you are available for an interview, blog post, book giveaway, etc.

When they say yes: 

Send a complete media package (book cover, jacket copy, excerpt, pub date, buy links, author bio, author photo, author social media links, etc.). The purpose of the media kit is to provide them with everything they may need in one comprehensive package.

When coverage goes live: 

Thank them in the comment section of the blog post and keep an eye on the comment section so you can interact with other commenters. Think of a book blog as an indie bookstore with book lovers browsing the stacks. When your book is being discussed on a website, act as you would act at an actual book signing. It’s polite to the bookstore owner to interact with customers in the store, so be a kind steward of the comment section of a book blog.

Important to note:

I know by watching my website traffic that a book review can receive a ton of hits and reads – but that doesn’t always correlate to an increased number of comments. So you can’t judge traffic by simply counting comments. I know I spend a good portion of my day browsing other book sites and I don’t always leave a comment where I go, but I do take note of the books being discussed and very often buy books using affiliate links or the buy buttons in the post. Also, every day, I receive traffic on book reviews I’ve written in the past. So the time you’re investing today for this coverage continues to pay dividends in the future.

Thanks so much for such great advice, Julie! Hope you stop by again soon.

 

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106 thoughts on “How to not piss off a book blogger when requesting a review

  1. Cinthia,

    Thank you for inviting me to your website to discuss book reviews and the work of book bloggers. I enjoyed answering your question and appreciate the opportunity to speak on behalf of book bloggers and the contributions they make to the reading community.

    I am so grateful to the authors who have shared their books with me over the years. 🙂

    Cheers!

    Julie

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh, thank you for commenting, Angela.

    I just read your “Dos and Don’ts in Rural Alaska Outreach Campaigns” and found our insights on two separate topics very similar. Advice and tips are always helpful – no matter the subject. I especially like the bulleted list you provided and the slide show with the map and resources – so helpful.

    Question: In your corner of the blogosphere, what are your favorite blogs and websites?

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  3. Cinthia, if I may . . .

    I have a few questions for visitors to this comment section.

    I’d love to know:

    1. What are your favorite book blogs?
    2. What do you find challenging about the book review process?
    3. Do you have any tips you’d like to share with other writers?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a GREAT post and I wish every author who is requesting reviews from book bloggers would read it. One thing I might add — if a blogger has agreed to review your book, please do that blogger the courtesy of following his or her blog. If someone can spend 8+ hours reading and reviewing your book, you can spend a few minutes here and there reading the blog — and possibly sharing/commenting. Bloggers are writers too!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks for visiting, Ann! And yes, yes, I totally agree with you on that writers should follow a book blogger who agrees to review their books. Heck, they should follow them before even requesting a review, to show their support and let that book blogger know that yes, they did take the time to check out their site. It’s pretty much common courtesy. Everyone wants to feel appreciated.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Oh, my gosh, Ann. Yes, yes, yes!!! Couldn’t agree more.

    And for anyone reading this – you should definitely follow Ann’s book blog: Books on the Table. OMG. Crazy high quality book content. One of my favorite book blogs in the blogosphere.

    I especially enjoyed the March 5, 2016 tribute Ann gave about Pat Conroy (My Reading Life with Pat Conroy). Cinthia, you’ll really enjoy that, as I know you’re also a huge fan of Conroy.

    Ann, whatcha reading? Do tell!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Free Men by Katy Simpson Smith is “…set in the late eighteenth-century American South, that follows a singular group of companions—an escaped slave, a white orphan, and a Creek Indian—who are being tracked down for murder.”

    WOW!

    And Evicted by Matthew Desmond – just released last week and sure to be a groundbreaking book on the complicated issue of poverty in America.

    Ann, I’m impressed! CAN’T WAIT to hear your thoughts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Ethan. I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

      Love your blog – A Book A Week – it’s fabulous! Even entered your The Girl in the Red Coat giveaway. Haven’t seen many books with the word ‘Girl’ in the title. Must be something new. Ha! Just kidding, A little book humor. The cover of Kate Hamer’s book reminds me of Sally Koslow’s The Late, Lamented Molly Marx.

      What are you reading this week? Any favorites in 2016 yet?

      Like

  7. Great discussion post! I’ve been book blogging for about 10 years and I’ve had lots of interactions with authors, publishers, publicists, etc. over the years. It’s always interesting to observe the way they interact with me as a reviewer. Mostly, they’re respectful and polite, but sometimes … not so much. My biggest pet peeve is when an author (this happens especially with debut authors who have self published or used a vanity press) begs me to read their book and then gets upset when I give it a “negative” review. I try to write balanced reviews, but the fact is, I’m a say-it-like-it-is kind of blogger. If an author looks around my blog a little, they’ll see that right away. In my opinion, if authors are going to get offended over reviews that aren’t glowing and full of praise, they shouldn’t be contacting bloggers/reviewers at all. Fact is, not everyone is going to like every book. I think bloggers/reviewers have an obligation to present a balanced view of a book, but authors shouldn’t be angered by reviews that are not 100% positive. Personally, I’d rather read an honest review of a book than one that glosses over its problems and focuses only on its strengths.

    I also love your advice to authors about getting to know a blogger and his/her blog before contacting them. I can’t count the number of times someone has offered me erotica and other forms of “literature” that I don’t read, despite the fact that my reading preferences are stated clearly on my blog. An author who does his/her homework will go a lot further in the book blogging world than one who does not 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Susan: I think I kind of love you. Or at least I love that you’re not afraid to give negative reviews. Thank god for that, eh? I’ve read too many glowing reviews for too many shoddy books with shoddy grammar and sloppy plot/character development, etc. it’s refreshing to know that there are still many reviewers who value honesty.
      Before blogs, most reviews were in newspapers and magazines, and those reviews were known for their often scathing qualities. Today, though, reviews, and especially book blogger reviews, are too often regarded as promotion by authors, and many feel entitled to receive positive reviews, regardless of the quality of their books.
      I love what you said: “Fact is, not everyone is going to like every book. I think bloggers/reviewers have an obligation to present a balanced view of a book, but authors shouldn’t be angered by reviews that are not 100% positive.”
      Yes, yes, and totally yes (!!).
      Cheers, have a great week, happy reading and I’m totally heading over to your site right now.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aww, I feel the love 🙂 It’s funny, I think of myself as an extremely nice person, one who goes out of her way not to offend people. When it comes to books, though, I can’t seem to censor myself. I have to say what I REALLY think. No sugar coating. I’ve gotten plenty of nasty emails/comments because of it, but that’s okay. Like you, I’d rather read (and write) an honest review than a glowing one that misrepresents the quality of a book.

        I also think authors underestimate the whole “any review is a good review” idea. Even if I criticize aspects of your book, I’m still giving you free publicity on my blog. Your book is being talked about. Plus, I can’t count the number of times one of my readers has said, “I know you didn’t like this one, but it sounds like the kind of thing I enjoy. I’m going to check it out.”

        Thanks for visiting BBB. I hope you enjoy it!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Susan, yes!
      As a reader, I don’t actually trust a book where there have been no negative reviews. We can’t possibly all like the same stuff and even the mega-authors get critical feedback all the time.
      And, recently, I agreed to give my “honest review” a debut self-help book. The follow-up email from the author then asked if we could discuss any problems before I posted. That didn’t sit well with mel, for all the reasons you give above. Happily she was gracious when I expressed my disquiet. I haven’t read it yet, but fingers crossed it’s good!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I agree with you, Pauline. When a book receives a smattering of stars – fives, fours, threes, etc. – it gives the book “street cred” and indicates the book is being read widely and across a broad audience – not just the friends within the author’s personal network.

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      2. Agreed. I’ve never encountered a book that had 100% positive reviews 100% of the time.

        Your story reminds me of a publicist who contacted me one time. She was from a small press and offered to send me books to review as long as I promised to say only nice things about them. Needless to say, I turned her down. I still can’t believe her audacity. Sheesh.

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    3. Couldn’t agree more, Susan.

      And wow! Ten years of book blogging? So you were book blogging before book blogging became book blogging. Meaning, pre-Kindle circa 2009. 🙂 I know you have LOTS of wisdom to share!

      In what ways has book blogging changed in the past ten years?

      I really love the way you rate the book and then give it a movie rating for its content. Super cool! And I’m so happy to connect with you, Susan. You’ll find me a dedicated reader of Bloggin’ ’bout Books. You’ve created a wonderful site and I know you’ve spent a ton of time doing so.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Awww, thanks so much for the kind words! It’s definitely a labor of love, but I absolutely adore book blogging. It’s been a fun ride and I’ve had lots of great experiences because of it!

        The book blogging world has definitely changed over the last decade, both for the good and the not so good. On the plus side, there are more book blogs now, which means more variety in bloggers’ style and books being recommended. I love all the interaction, even if it sometimes comes with its own brand of drama. The whole e-book thing means there are more ARCs available to reviewers. Getting review copies (at least e-versions) is easier than ever. And you don’t have to have thousands of followers to grab some of the good ones. On the not-so-great side, blogging’s been around long enough that people are getting burned out. Lots of my favorite bloggers have stopped posting in recent years. That makes me sad. I also miss getting publishers’ thick paper catalogs in the mail. E-versions just aren’t as fun! It seems, too, that publishers are sending out fewer books to reviewers and being more selective in what they send and to whom. I still get an average of a book a day in the mail, but I used to get double (sometimes triple) that. Despite all that, I think book bloggers are getting more respect now than we used to. Authors and publishers have seen the power of book blogging in action — they know how persuasive we can be and appreciate what we can do for them.

        I’d love to have you stop by BBB often! I’m happy to return the favor. Glad I found your site 🙂

        Like

    1. Yes, Erika! Oh my gosh that drives me crazy. A form letter (impersonal) about a book that doesn’t match my genre (why? why? why?) asking me to work for eight hours. I’ve never spoken about these things before today. But in my three years of book blogging, I sure scratch my head wondering what some people are thinking. One particular publicist comes to mind in the Sci-Fi genre (which I don’t cover), when I see her name in my inbox, I hit delete now because I’ve told her no fewer than five times that I DO NOT COVER Sci-Fi and please take me off her list. But she doesn’t listen. I sure hope she’s not charging authors for these blanket emails sent out to everyone and no one.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Fantastic article. Julie not only took the time to review my novel, she also gave me some helpful advice on the perils, pitfalls and pleasures of writing. How she fits everything in I don’t know (I think she might be magic!) 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Maureen! Hello my friend. Thank you for your kind words. You know I only do nice things for people who “put the kettle on” and serve me English Breakfast with two lumps of sugar from across the pond. Without our virtual tea parties, I don’t know where I’d be!

      How’s things in your neck of the woods?

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Julie has promoted dozens and dozens of authors on her blog and I firmly feel we owe her a huge debt. In fact, I’m not sure, but I think I first “met” Julie when she was one of the hosts for my first blog tour.

    She was too polite to say this, but it’s worth mentioning that if a blogger declines to read your book, don’t push it! I’m not a book blogger but I was recently contacted by someone requesting a review… which I declined… and hey presto, he emailed me the book anyway, because apparently he was a better judge of how I should use my time.

    Now, to answer Julie’s questions:
    1) My favorite book review blog is Novelicious. It has a very British slant (which is great) and a real aversion to indie authors (which isn’t). And I could mention julievalerie.com here but that goes without saying, right?

    2) What do you find challenging about the book review process?
    The book bloggers I’ve interacted with have been awesome: thoughtful, thorough and fair. As Julie says, they give up such a chunk of time to read the work. The reviews I find frustrating are the ones left on Amazon which aren’t even about my book (someone liked the Irish setting – it isn’t – and someone else praised the illustrations of teacups – there are no pictures at all). It would be really nice if Amazon could have a button to flag when it seems like the review relates to and entirely different book.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, we all owe Julie a huge debt (thanks so much for being who you are, Julie!). Can’t believe someone actually sent you a book after you declined a review. I’m kind of guessing here that the book wasn’t so great, either.
      I’ve also been fortunate enough to meet some great book reviewers and I’ve been trying to review more books to pay it forward, though I’ve come to the realization that writing reviews is a tough, tough, tough job. The reading, though, is such a fine pleasure..

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    2. Hello my lovely Pauline!

      I love Novelicious, too. (Have always loved the name.) And I agree with you – the book blogging community seems to be a VERY nice one indeed! Very supportive.

      Don’t you wish you could write back to all of the misleading and dopey Amazon reviews? (A huge no-no, I know-know.) I once heard that a grandmother was so taken by a book she gave it a star on Amazon. A star. On Amazon. That means: One. One star. I bet that writer nearly pulled her hair out. Apparently, the written review was glowing. Hence, the sweet lady gave the book a star. Like a teacher placing a sticker on the top of your spelling homework…

      Good job! Here’s a star.

      Like

  10. Love this! I get over 50 review requests a month and most authors don’t check out my policies first. They are posted for a reason and I don’t have time to hunt down information on a book. Please give a synopsis and the link to Goodreads or Amazon. Make sure your book is a good fit for my site, read at least a dozen reviews to check out my style and tone.

    Please also use my name. I can’t count the number of inquires I have gotten that say Dear 125. In my About Me and after every review it has my name, take the time to look and personalize your request. Tell me why I need to read your book. Is it similar in tone to one of my top reviews, is it a genre you see a lot of on my site? I blog and review because I love books and authors and want to help promote them, so help me do that. I would rather have way too much information than not enough when I make my choice.

    I also write honest reviews, and if you don’t love my review, it is not personal. Not everyone likes a book, don’t use social media to “scold” me when you don’t like what I wrote. I accepted the book and stated that my review was going to be my actual feelings and opinions on the book. I will never personally attack an author in my review, so please don’t attack me.

    And my biggest pet peeve – Please don’t add in the review request “If you can’t read it please just post about it and let everyone know where they can buy it. I’d love if you could do that ASAP.” If I can’t or decline to read it, then it will not go on my site. I feature books not advertisements. Also if you had read my review policy, it says I need a minimum of 6-8 weeks to post anything. I am currently booked till June so asap for me is 3 months.

    So the tl;dr version – Bloggers love books and authors and want to help, help us help you. Be nice. Check the review policy. Be nice.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, wow, Laura. I just spent twenty minutes (easily – maybe more) reading your book blog. I’m exhausted! How do you find the time?!? Do you stay up all night? Are you a vampire?!? 🙂

      All kidding aside – you are doing seriously great work for the book blogging community. Keep it up! I’ll be reading your blog posts from here on out. SO SO SO happy to connect with you here on Cinthia’s website. And all of your comments are spot on.

      Question: What are you reading right now?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha, so not a vampire, but totally a night owl. My hubs go to work at 4 am so he and my 11 year old go to bed at 8:30 pm, then I will read till midnight then go to bed.

        Thanks for checking my site out, I’m a sort-of new blogger (Started in April of ’15) and it’s always nice to get feedback about what I’m doing. BTW i loved your post Top Trends in #BookTitles. So very true.

        I am currently reading Only Ever You by Rebecca Drake and I have This is Where the World Ends by Amy Zhang up next. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Laura,

        (I think this comment is going to appear above yours.)

        Only Ever You by Rebecca Drake looks so interesting – a puncture in the missing child’s arm? Intriguing! And the Amy Zhang book (This is Where the World Ends) – (1) I love the cover. (2) I’m curious about its “nonlinear writing style.” I noticed the book isn’t coming out for another two weeks – since you have the book – are you able to detect from a quick peek what you’re in for – nonlinearally? (Totally not a word.) On second thought, don’t peek. Might spoil the plot. And DEFINITELY don’t look on Goodreads. GOOD GOLLY there’s a lot of spoilers in the early book reviews. Ugh! I typically don’t read psychological thrillers (YA or adult) because they scare me – but a “nonlinear writing style” would certainly peak my interest.

        Thanks for your positive feedback on my Top Trends in #BookTitles post. So glad you enjoyed it.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. YES, that’s a huge pet peeve of mine as well. I don’t promote books by authors I’ve never heard of, especially without reading them first! Yikes. I mean, who does that?

      Sounds like we have a similar reviewing style, Laura. I’m checking out your blog right now …

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi, Laura! Thanks for stopping by and also, thanks for your great comment.
    And, OMG, I can’t believe authors, expecting a review, wouldn’t even bother to find out your name. Wow, that’s almost insulting.
    Love what you said, especially about authors not “scolding” book reviewers via social media if they don’t like the review. It’s like: Hello! That’s the risk writers take when asking for a review. As you and others have said, no everyone is going to like every book. And that’s okay. It would be a sad and boring world if we all liked the same thing.
    I also love (love, love, love) that you requested that everyone be nice. Yes, yes, and yes (!!).
    P.S. I checked out your site and am jealous and amazed that you read five to eight books a week, work full-time and volunteer. How, how, how do you do it?
    P.S.S. I love your glasses (hope that doesn’t sound stalkerish or creepy. I used to have the most wonderful pink frames but they broke and I can’t find anything like them and now I’m jealous over other people’s glasses).
    Cheers, take care and happy reading.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Cinthia. It’s funny to me how much kindness helps. I had a writer follow me on Twitter, then she would reply to things I had said. We built a nice little rapport and then when I saw her submit a review request I was happy to check it out, even though historical fiction isn’t a genre I read a lot of. I ended up loving the book and we talked more and more and now the author is participating in a yearlong read-a-thon with me on 125Pages. (C.H. Armstrong & The Edge of Nowhere, it’s a great read). I read her book just because she was nice and now we connect a lot. But then I had an author “yell” at me on twitter over a 4 star review I gave him, because he didn’t like one sentence in the review. It’s just silly to be that petty.

      So as mentioned in my reply to Julie, I read a lot at night. I am also a pretty fast reader, my college writing class did timed reading tests and I clocked in at an average of 125 pages an hour (hence my site name 🙂 ). Because of my reading speed I generally finish a book a day, and give me a free weekend and it is almost scary how many books I can get read. I usually volunteer one day a month then have board or committee meetings another 2 or 3 nights after work, so I always find time to read and always have a book or my Kindle on me for any unexpected downtime.

      Not at all creepy and thank you. I’ve spotted shoes on a friend of a friends FB post and demanded to know where she bought them ’cause they were amazing.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Love these suggestions. Book blogging is very much a labor of love. I know I want more than anything to give a book a glowing review (why spend the time reading it if that’s not the hope?) but I will always be honest about my reading experience. I don’t know that I get angry about unresearched pitches but I do get frustrated by the time it takes to go through all of the requests that didn’t respect me enough to discover what I do and don’t read. I, as do other bloggers who do not make a living from their blog, have many other demands on my time so please don’t flood my inbox or presume I have nothing better to do than wade through off target emails or read a book that doesn’t fit my sweet spot (and I’ll be honest, I’ve got a sweet spot a mile wide but there are in fact books that do miss it). Also, please don’t be angry if I don’t respond to your email. A follow up is fine but most likely no response means I’m so crazy busy in my regular life I can’t add another book in or that the book just isn’t in my wheelhouse. I used to try and respond to all emails but I found that it was taking me hours to do so kindly and thoughtfully.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for taking the time to visit and comment, Kristen. And you’re a runner (heart be still!). Love what you said about not flooding your inbox. I think many writers forget that book bloggers/reviewers also have their own lives/complexities to manage. Books are books, but life is life.
      Cheers and happy reading (and running!).

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    2. Kristen, thanks so much for dropping by. I’ve been cruising around BookNAround jotting notes for books I want to read. I had to smile when I read your Monday, March 7th “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” post. You have been busy, busy, busy and it looks like there’s no end in sight for the list of reviews waiting to be written. Isn’t that the life of a book blogger? Voracious readers reading book after book and then finding themselves between TWO stacks of books. A TBR (to be read) pile and a TBR (to be reviewed pile). Such a (happy, happy, happy) labor of love!

      Do you have a copy of Helen Simonson’s The Summer Before the War yet? That book looks soooo good. I need a “fix” after the final episode of Downton Abbey. And oh, my gosh, I can’t WAIT to read The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer. I’ve been drawn to novels about books lately.

      That ‘Waiting on Wednesday’ meme looks great. And I see the Monday Mailbox meme. What other memes to you join?

      Liked by 1 person

  13. What a great post.
    To answer Julie’s first question, I recently found RatherTooFondofBooks, which I stumbled across on twitter (@hayleysbookblog). Excellent choices of books and interesting reviews.
    I’m now looking forward to visiting the book bloggers I’ve discovered in this thread. However, that will have to wait until tomorrow because it’s way past my bedtime in England now. 🙂
    Before I toddle off to bed, I’d like to add a big thank you to Julie for her tireless enthusiasm for books, and the support she’s given me personally.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wendy, thank you for your kind words – especially coming from the most generous person I know on Twitter. Your ability to craft a tweet is unsurpassed by no one. Wait. Was that sentence written correctly? If it’s ‘unsurpassed’ then no one can surpass it. But if ‘no one’ ‘unsurpasses’ it, then everyone surpasses it?

      Oh, my gosh. HELP!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aw, thank you, Julie. I’m blushing at the compliment. 🙂

        I’ve just been catching up with the great conversations going on here, and would like to echo the point you make about using first and last names prominently on blogs and websites. There are some wonderfully imaginative and clever website titles, but often I find myself searching high and low for a name.

        Loving all the advice here about building relationships.

        Liked by 2 people

  14. So it’s getting late tonight and I have to launch my husband and father tomorrow on a trip to Peru. Sending them away with a kiss and a copy of Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time by Mark Adams (Dutton – 2011).

    I’ll be checking in bright and early tomorrow morning with my cup of tea. Need to get caught up on a few conversations happening here… 🙂

    I’m so excited to connect with new book bloggers through this post. (Thanks, Cinthia!) But all of this great conversation has me wanting to update my list of great book blogs.

    QUESTION: Do you maintain a list of your favorite book blogs? If yes, care to share?

    P.S. Maybe we should invite a few more book bloggers to join us in our discussion…? I’d love to hear more insights. Hm… Think I might reach out to a few of my friends tomorrow… The more the merrier, I always say.

    Cheers everyone!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, Stacey, you are so welcome. And thanks so much for visiting. P.S. I love that you love happily ever after after the ending, and I especially love your Style Setter Tribute. Such an awesome idea, outfitting characters from books. Can’t wait to read/see more. P.S.S. Your son did a great job with your avatar.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much. I love that you checked out my blog. Yes, I think my son did a good job with my avatar too. This topic has sparked some very interesting conversations on my FB profile. So many authors are worried about commenting and making a nuisance of themselves. So surprising 🙂

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    2. Standing ovation? *takes a bow* Why thank you, Stacey! So glad you enjoyed it. And I think there are some real gems in the conversation taking place in this comment section, too. I love hearing everyone’s feedback. I think comment sections of blog posts contain some of the best content on the internet. I checked out your book blog – you’re a FABULOUS resource for the romance genre! I especially love your “romance, fashion, family” tagline. (And I had difficulty pulling myself away from the pervathon posts. Such delicious content!)

      Do you read other book blogs? Which ones do you like?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you so much for checking out my blog. I have a great time doing it…and Pinterest…and Twitter…and Goodreads. I don’t know about you but I feel like I spend more time chatting on social media than blogging or reading 😉 I have a few friends who have book blogs. Some of them are a wee bit naughtier than others. Dirty Girl Romance, Foxy Blogs, Bex Nightowl Reader and The Crazy World of A Book Lover. I love love…and I’m always looking for the next best romance read 🙂

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  15. Julie, I am glad you mentioned the media package. Besides perusing a bloggers past reviews, it is a good idea for the author to check to see if bloggers have a “review policy and rating system,” and if so, please read it before sending a request for review. Mine is a separate page on my blog. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve received queries and no information about the book. My reviews are genre specific, yet I get many requests to review books in genres I clearly state I don’t read (this information is on my review policy page. I am more than happy to spread the word about a book I’ve enjoyed reading, and I love to find new books and new-to-me authors, but I need to have information to start the process.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I completely agree with you, Michelle. Genre specific information is so necessary. Readers of book blogs frequent certain book blogs because the book blogger covers titles they like to read. Reviewing a book outside of the book blog’s genre is a surprise that can disrupt the book blog’s traffic and subscriber lists. Authors should check that the book blog is the correct genre and they should include genre information about their book in the query (e.g. NAME OF BOOK, 85,000 words, contemporary women’s fiction). Great point.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I love this post! Great advice!

    1. What are your favorite book blogs?
    ~ I have many. I have a blog scroll on the footer of my blog. I need to update it.
    2. What do you find challenging about the book review process?
    ~ Oddly enough, I find books I loved to be the most challenging to talk about. Condensing my thoughts, while still getting my love of the book and plot description is always the hardest for the books I love.
    3. Do you have any tips you’d like to share with other writers?
    ~ I really don’t think authors realize the time involved in reading, writing a review, and promoting their books. It is all for free, save the price of the ARC if we are given one. I do it because I love books and want to share that love with others. Whenever an author simply emails me or contacts me on social media with a thanks for a review I wrote, or for sharing information about their new release, I always feel appreciated (and more willing to help them out in the future). Out of the 3 years I have been blogging, I can count on my hand the authors who have commented.

    One more thing, daily I receive more than 5 review and/or promo post requests on Facebook. Many times, these requests are for books which aren’t in genres I read. This is why going to a bloggers blog and reading their About Me/Review Request section will give you information about the person you are requesting help from. After all, (as you mentioned) you should get to know a little about the person you are asking a favor from.

    YES, YES, YES, Laura@125Pages. Totally agree! I don’t write form reviews, please spare me the courtesy and write me a genuine request.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It happens ALL THE TIME – but it still broke my heart when you wrote: “Whenever an author simply emails me or contacts me on social media with a thanks for a review I wrote, or for sharing information about their new release, I always feel appreciated (and more willing to help them out in the future). Out of the 3 years I have been blogging, I can count on my hand the authors who have commented.”

      Writers – a few observations to make after reading her statement:

      1. QUESTION: What is your post- book review networking plan? How do you keep book bloggers interested in your publishing pipeline? Remember, book bloggers are true “turbo readers” because they not only read a lot of books – but are building platforms to talk about books. They are your #1 source for word-of-mouth publicity. Certainly, begin your longterm relationship with bloggers by starting with a proper thank you. I’d suggest you say thank you via email (which is more intimate and personal) and say thank you on social media (which builds social influence for both parties). Feeding My Addiction Book Reviews just said she’d be more willing to help in the future when an author reaches out to say thank you. Book bloggers do it for the love of reading and to support of authors. For most of us, a simple thank you will go a loooong way.

      2. NOTICE: In three years of book blogging, she can count on her hand the authors who have commented. Now, if you ask me, that’s just bad manners. Goes back to what I said above – treat the book blog as you would the bookstore. If there are customers (readers) TALK TO THEM. Pretend you’re at a book signing. You’re missing a HUGE opportunity to build a relationship with your readers through the comment sections of book blogs.

      🙂

      Your thoughts?

      Liked by 2 people

  17. So I wonder if there are any writers in the crowd who want to ask questions . . . anything you’re wondering about?

    The reason I believe a media kit is helpful for book reviewers is this: We don’t have to go searching for things when we’re preparing the post. This saves us a significant amount of time – something we’re sensitive to because we’re in the business of producing content that takes 6-8 hours to produce (read time, review time, posting time, promoting on social media time, etc.). Help us help you by putting everything we need at our fingertips.

    With this in mind, a few tips I’d give writers about their websites:

    – If you don’t have an author website that prominently features your first and last name (e.g. gillian-flynn.com), then make sure your full name appears somewhere on your front page. In the blogosphere, it’s common to see website titles like: “Books by Beatrix” OR “Midnight Musings” – both great titles for websites, but sometimes the identity of the person behind the website needs to be made more clear without a lot of clicking around. And yes, I know we have your first and last name on the book cover but sometimes we’re needing to confirm we’re on the correct website before we link to it. I think a lot of book bloggers could benefit from making their first and last names more apparent, too. Case in point: a piano follows me on Twitter. So does a monkey. I love them both – I just have no idea who they are.
    – Your contact information should be complete and easy to find on your website without a lot of searching or clicking around. Be sure to keep this information current.
    – If you’re writing a series – have the books appear in the order in which they should be read and clearly indicate that order. So often, a new book in the series will appear at the top of the page – and I get it – you want to feature the new release, but if it’s part of a connected series – say so. Likewise, if it’s a series but the books can be read as stand alones, note that. As a book blogger, it would be very embarrassing if I got that information wrong so help me out a bit by making things clear so that I can be accurate.
    – You should always provide the book blogger with links to where your books are sold. (But know that not all book reviewers will include the buy links. I sometimes do, I sometimes don’t. For various reasons.) And try to give more than just your Amazon link. Some folks will want to support IndieBound or Barnes & Noble, etc. But if for some reason you’ve neglected to provide these items in the media kit and the book blogger has to retrieve information from your site, they may skip adding the buy links or a link to your Goodreads page (or whatever) if it’s hard to find and takes too much time hunting for them.
    – Likewise, make the links to your social media sites easy to spot. I prefer seeing a full Twitter handle (e.g. @Julie_Valerie) rather than “just” a button with a blue bird – because I don’t always want to click through to Twitter to find out what your Twitter handle is. It should be clear from your website.

    Hm… Anything I’m forgetting? Any questions you want to ask?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by, and welcome to the wonderful world of blogging. I loved what you said in your last post, “Because that kind of shit comforts me in a world where we aren’t allowed to show weakness or frailty. Where crying is looked down on and confrontation carries a misnomer of fighting.”
      Nice–I so love honesty.
      Cheers and have a great weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Hi everyone,

    Wow, this is such a great and valuable post and discussion. I’m a debut author (book released on Feb 1), so I’ve just gone through my first book review process. Most of the reviews were requested through my publisher, NetGalley and the company organizing my blog tour. So my direct contact with book bloggers was limited to the ones where I had to organize guest posts. For the latter, I gave lots of thanks to the bloggers I worked with (they were all SO amazing!) As a newbie though, I was really worried about breaking any of the “rules” when it came to reviews, and in the process, I’ve just learned that I broke a major one anyway:( I read and really appreciated every review that was written on my book, but I was afraid to like or comment in case the reviewer thought I was cyber-stalking every reviewer who mentioned my book (which I was basically doing!) or that by thanking them it might somehow taint the impartiality of their review (especially if my thanks was the only comment on the review). I also worried that if I thanked a reviewer that gave me a great review, they’d think I was only thanking them because they were positive about my book. On the other hand, I worried that if I thanked reviewers that gave me a less than glowing review, they might think I was being insincere. My first instinct was to thank reviewers, but I was too worried about doing something wrong. Reading through this post and comments has put my fears to rest. I think that over the weekend I’ll go back and comment on the reviews I did receive. Thanks again, Katherine

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, Katherine. It’s so valuable to hear your insights. Thank you so much for contributing to this post discussion.

      First, congratulations on the new release! That’s so awesome. The Secret of Letting Go (Entangled Teen) has a wonderful premise and I know readers will be captivated by the relationship between Daniel Hudson and Clover Scott. Be prepared. Soon your readers will be demanding Book #2! When you feel the pressure from your readers to write more – enjoy it. 🙂

      I love the “guest post” tab on your website and your wise decision to put that coverage on your site with links to the actual coverage. Crazy smart. More authors should do that, but strangely, most don’t. One, the media coverage makes you look great. Two, it helps drive traffic to the websites that covered you and I know that gesture is much appreciated by the bloggers who hosted your content.

      I totally know what you’re talking about regarding authors leaving comments and the worry that it might be inappropriate – for the many reasons you cited above. But I don’t think anyone will think you’re stalker-ish in the day of Google Alerts and similar technology. In fact, if you haven’t done so already, you might want to open a Google Alert account and enter your name and your book title so you’ll know when either you or your book is being talked about. Perhaps enter the name of your publisher, too, so you can help support other Entangled Teen authors.

      I’ve learned over the years that certain misinformed folks tell authors to act aloof and not interact with book bloggers because you wouldn’t want to give the impression that you influenced the book review in any way. On the surface, I think I understand that concept . . . but if you dig deeper into the issue . . . it’s not polite in a social media world to consciously ignore someone and not say thank you when someone uses their platform to promote your work (and yes, even a bad book review is a promotion – you want to be discussed. Obscurity in a crowded marketplace is far worse than a bad book review.) I’ve always had a hunch that the people who give that advice to authors (to be aloof and unavailable) don’t fully understand the opportunities of digital marketplace and the discussions held there. They’re a bit “old school” and operating from an outdated business model if you ask me. That said, I probably wouldn’t want Amazon to think you’re BFFs with your reviewers or they might take the reviews down. But we’re talking about the goodwill of book bloggers and the important role they play in the book world. Certainly, think of the book bloggers as hosts to a very large book club discussion. If you were able to attend every book club in every living room that ever talked about your book you’d be quite exhausted. How lucky authors are to have this vehicle for interaction with their readers. Perhaps follow this guide: Interact and say thank you on platforms owned and run by the person discussing your book (e.g. book blogs, Fb, Twitter, Google+, etc.) but on platforms not run by the content creator – platforms like booksellers (Amazon, B&N) don’t interact with the book reviews. And definitely don’t dispute a negative review. Say a simple thank you and then move on.

      (SORRY CINTHIA! I’M BLABBING ON AND ON AND ON . . . !)

      Katherine, book blogs are gold mines for establishing a relationship with readers. Mine those opportunities. Celebrate the opportunities it presents. And network with the book bloggers, fostering a relationship that will make looking for book reviews much easier for books #2 and #3.

      Okay. I’m going to stop now. Katherine – great talking with you. Best wishes always with The Secret of Letting Go. 🙂

      Like

      1. Hi Julie, Thanks so much for your response. I stumbled on this post and discussion originally, but I’m so glad I did. It’s been invaluable. The idea to set up a Google Alert is great and something I hadn’t thought of. I’m going to do it today:) Thanks for checking out my website. The guest post page was an idea mentioned by the publicist at Entangled Teen, and I jumped on it because it just seemed like such a great way to acknowledge the people who hosted me and to hopefully keep some traffic going to those posts. Yesterday, I started a spreadsheet of all the bloggers who reviewed my book and have been contacting them all to thank them. I’m a little late, but it definitely feels like the right thing to do:) And I love your advice of interacting on their platforms, but not on bookseller sites. That’s exactly the kind of concrete advice I needed. Also, I chuckled at your “old school” comment. I am 46 yrs old and there are so many times that I feel old school. Social media is such a rapidly changing medium.Thankfully I have teenagers, who keep pushing me forward and out of my comfort zone, but I always still feel like I am playing catch up! Thanks again, Katherine

        Liked by 2 people

  19. Katherine! I love the way your mind works and how you obsessed over whether to comment on positive reviews and if you did, what would others think, and what would the reviewers think. Oh, I’ve SO been there, done that, hee, hee. Thanks for stopping by, and big, big congrats on your recent publication. I have “The Secret of Letting Go” on my list and can’t wait to read. (I’ve been reading more and more YA lately. I think I’m trying to recapture my youth and why not, eh?)
    P.S. Reviewers loved to be thanked. Everyone loves to be thanked. It makes us feel good and special and smart and kind of glowing, you know? Take care, and big writerly hugs.

    Like

    1. Hi Cinthia, I’m so glad I read this post and discussion now when I’m still starting out and thanks for the kind words about my book. The whole debut has been really emotional, exciting and nerve-wracking. So thankful that there is such a great literary community to support one another. Thanks again to you and Julie!

      Liked by 2 people

  20. This is sound advice, Julie. Seems like we should already know this – “ask nicely” is one of the first things we learn growing up, right? But we sometimes, forget, in this warp-speed digital world we live in that there are real humans behind those blogs & bytes. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and reminding us to be more polite and considerate. .

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Eileen! Thanks for the comment. You’re so right. Keeping up with the warp-speed of a digital age – it’s easy to forget there are actual people behind all of these book blogs and websites. It can be so overwhelming keeping up with everything in an ever-changing social media world. And I think BECAUSE there’s so much to do and so little time to do it – we forget our ‘thank yous’ and look for shortcuts and form letters and anything that will help us get through the day’s to-do list. That said, my goodness, a little courtesy sure goes a long way toward building valuable relationships.

      Reading and writing is a slow business. Odd that we’re thrust into a fast world and expected to run at warp speed.

      Like

  21. Cinthia,

    Great news! 🙂

    Anne R. Allen wrote a thought-provoking piece yesterday (all of Anne’s content is thought-provoking – but this particular piece is also quite tragic and funny!) about the abundance of marketing advice and social media sites and how daunting it can be to keep up with everything. In it, she mentions the conversation we’re having here on your website.

    Check it out:

    When You Step in Dogma, Scrape it Off Your Shoe: Writers, Ignore Dogmatic Marketing Advice
    http://annerallen.com/2016/03/step-dogma-scrape-shoe-writers-ignore-dogmatic-marketing-advice.html

    I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I came away thinking: Good gravy, there’s a lot to keep up with. It’s a wonder we don’t all drop from exhaustion!

    Hope you and your readers are having a great day, Cinthia. I know I am.

    Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. […] Rather than be a worry wart or put time into a draft that may end up being a total rewrite I’ve decided on option B. With that in mind, I clicked the trusty ole’ Search button on the side of my blog admin page and started hunting for answers on how one goes about finding book bloggers who might be willing to give my humble tome a shot. I found a few useful posts — and a few, well, less than useful posts — but the cream of the crop is a post from the blog of Cinthia Ritchie on how to not piss off book bloggers entitled, “How to not piss off a book blogger when requesting a review.” […]

    Like

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