In our last meeting on March 31st, we talked about promoting our books through blog reviewers. The post I read to the group and taught from was,”Book Bloggers: Where to Find Them and How to Win Them Over,” by Jenny Bravo (see link at bottom of article).
Some writers don’t realize that there are bloggers out there that do nothing but read books and review them for FREE. But now that so many authors have caught on to this, you have to figure out the right approach to get them to review your book.
But before that, you have to find them.
The two biggest sources are Twitter and Instagram, and the way you find them is through hashtags.
For instance, on Twitter, put #amreading in the search window. The page that comes up will have tweets from readers and blog reviewers. If you click on their name, it’ll take you to their profile page and their bio will tell you if they’re a book blogger and what their site address is.
In her article, Bravo has a list of good hashtags to search for in both Twitter and Instagram.
Once you’re on their site, you can verify what books they review and what their contact info is.
Another source for book bloggers (not in Bravo’s article)
Book blogger lists and directories are great sources of names and contact info of book bloggers. All I did was Google “book blogger” and got several directories and lists to go through. They were organized by genre and had clear information about the bloggers. I will say that if you have some back and forth conversation with them on Twitter, or retweet their tweets, you might have a higher chance of getting a positive response from them, but finding them in a directory is a good start.
Paid-for services to get book bloggers to notice you
Bravo’s article mentioned NetGalley, a site that let’s you post your title for book bloggers to peruse. If a blogger likes your title they will request an Advance Reader Copy (ARC). She also mentions that there are co-op sites. Patchwork Press is affiliated with NetGalley but is a co-op. I’m not sure how this works, but I give the link below for you to noodle the particulars.
Something I added to this section is a discussion about WhizBuzz and Piece of Cake PR.
Whizbuzz is a website that reviews books and posts the reviews on their site–for a fee. BUT, there’s more. For that small fee (right now it’s $49) they promote your book on their site and on Twitter for one year! Go ahead, check it out. (The link is at the bottom of this article.)
Then, I talked about Piece of Cake PR. Piece of Cake writes a press release for you, then distributes it to thousands of media outlets that fit your book topic! These releases go out to more than book bloggers, but also to newspapers, magazines, radio and television. So, they reach out to online media and brick-and-mortar outlets. Their link, also, is below.
To reach them and win them over
To reach book bloggers yourself, you must use their contact page or email them directly. Here’s where you need to win them over. There are ten actions Bravo lists to help your chances of getting a review, but these are the five I found found important to me:
- Abide by their review policy (usually on their blog).
- Make sure they review your genre before you approach.
- Tell them your release date and other information.
- Keep your email short.
- Read their blogs. See what they’re saying about other books.
And I would add–
- In your email, attach a free copy of your book (usually a PDF) or request an address to send your print copy if that’s what they say they prefer (unless it’s an e-book).
- Remember to type the email subject line exactly the way they tell you on their blog.
We discussed how long is reasonable to wait for a response and one of our members said that her wait was approximately one month when she emailed book bloggers.
The third bullet point above suggests you are conducting a launch campaign. If you are, that means you are pre-promoting your book for about three months before your book release. My suggestions are 1) to email the blogger a full three to four months before your release date so you can get it promoted during your pre-launch time period (if your book has released recently, email the blogger now because you want to say your book is “new”) and 2) to put a “Pre-order” button on your online bookstore page (or ask your publisher to do so). People get excited for your book during the pre-launch phase, and you want them to be able to buy it while they’re excited. A “Pre-order” button lets them strike while the iron is hot.
At our W.I.S.E. Coffee meeting, we also talked about the archetypal romance/buddy plot and about honing in on the pain and vulnerability of the couple. This creates a dramatic and fascinating emotional arc. But, I’ll cover that in another post.
AND, before we left, we briefly discussed Bad Christian Fiction and how to improve our work. I said, the answer is subtext, which I wrote about in this post on Red-Hot Writing Tips, “Subtext—Kick Your Writing Quality Up a Notch!”
Links to articles mentioned in this post: