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.
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.
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.