uthors, have you ever asked a book blogger to review your book? Along with being a blog tour manager for WOW!, I also moonlight as the occasional book blogger at my personal blog, The World of My Imagination. Being on the receiving end of things, where authors pitch to me and ask me to review their books or host them (rather than the other way around), gives me a glimpse into what authors should expect of book bloggers.
If handled in a professional, mutually supportive way, a book blogger can be part of a long-term relationship of support and growth for an author. So, before you Google search “book bloggers” and email one hundred random ones, asking if they can review your book, there are a few things you should keep in mind. To build this guide, I reached out to the book blogging community and asked for their insights, too. Hopefully, after reading this, you will be able to successfully approach book bloggers and gain some much-needed attention on your book.
Finding the Right Blogger for Your Book
There is one question you should ask yourself: is this the right blogger for my book? Tina Hartas of Trip Fiction, a website that promotes setting-rich books, says, “An author needs to choose the book blog that will work best for her book. You want quality and reach...and a blogger who will push a given review into the world via social media. That does take quite some research. A scatter-gun approach needs to be considered hand-in-hand with quality vs. quantity.” Basically, this means that you need to find a book blogger that has the same—or similar—audience you want to reach.
So, how do you find bloggers to work with? Which book bloggers would want to work with you?
There are some lists published online of bloggers who are open to working with authors, although keep in mind these lists may sometimes be out of date, as there are new blogs started every day. These links below are a good starting place to collect a list of potential blogs to work with:
In addition, you can also search for bloggers the old-fashioned way—Google. For example, start searching for book bloggers within the niche of your book (i.e., if you have published a memoir, search out terms such as “memoir book blogger;” and likely, you will find a listings bloggers who will review your book.). As you put your list together, when deciding on which bloggers to work with, don’t just look at numbers alone. Sometimes, a blogger who appears to have a small audience will also have the most dedicated audience. Large and small book bloggers can be of value to you.
Another tip when looking for a blogger who is a good fit for you is to pay attention to how recent the posts are. If they’ve published book reviews in the last month, odds are they are active with reviews. Bloggers who haven’t published in a while may have other things on their plate and may not be able to review your book.
Once you have a list, this is when you need to ask your next question:
Will This Blogger Review Your Book?
So, you’ve found ten bloggers who are the right match to review your book. Maybe you even found twenty. Maybe one hundred! But wait, before you contact them all, take another moment to look at each blog. In fact, before you do anything else, look for one thing: a review policy.
Author and book blogger Anthony Avina, who often works with WOW! Women on Writing for blog tours, was kind enough to let us use a screenshot of his blog’s review policy to show you what to look for:
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Right now, Anthony’s blog tells you he has a large amount of books to read already. So if you do want him to review your book, it may be a while for him to get to it.
Bloggers’ review policies may tell an author exactly what they have lined up before they can read your book. It can also tell the author what genres the blogger will accept or will not accept. Besides this, review polices can explain the accepted format (print, Kindle, pdf, or otherwise). Sometimes, the bloggers will tell you other ways that they can help you with your book, such as cover reveals, interviews, guest posts, and other partnership options.
Here are a few other examples of review policies:
Not every blogger has a review policy posted. Sometimes, a blogger’s review policy is hidden within her “about me” section or under her contact info. So, if it isn’t obvious, look around the website.
All right, so you’ve found the bloggers you want to work with—what’s next?
How to Pitch to Book Bloggers
Whether you are hoping the blogger will review your book, are seeking an interview with the blogger, or want to write a guest post, it’s time to pitch to the blogger. Yet, before you write the email and hit send, here are a few important tips to keep in mind:
- Make sure you call the blogger by the right name. Ouch, right? Hopefully, you haven’t made a mistake on someone’s name before! If you are sending out more than one email, especially if you are using some type of template, make sure you call the blogger by the right name, just like you would if you were pitching to an editor or agent.
- Personalize your email. If you are trying to get a blogger’s attention, show that you’ve read her blog. Comment on her latest post. Acknowledge her review policy (i.e., if the blogger says they may take a while to get to your book, let them know you are okay with that; if the blogger gives authors the opportunity to write guest posts, let them know you are interested). Personalization means a lot and will get the blogger’s attention far more than a template you’ve sent to one hundred other people.
- Be prepared for the interview. One of the best pitches I received included a press kit with information about the book and the author, as well as interesting topics the author could talk about in an interview. Laura Brennan of Destination Mystery interviews mystery authors for her podcast. She shares, “Have a story of your writing career; know what your themes are; know what matters to you and how it comes out on the page. Don’t sign up for an interview if you don’t have an interview to give.”
- Respect the blogger’s time. When you pitch to bloggers, remember that they are more than likely not able to read your book right away. Steph Warren of Bookshine and Readbows says, “Most authors who contact me are very understanding about the fact my list is months long; but some don’t seem to realize that I blog for free and therefore, have a day job, plus a young family, plus a chronic illness, and can only read so many books at a time. (I wish I could read all the books!) The earlier notice I get, the more accommodating I can be with dates.”
- Adhere to the agreed upon schedule. If a blogger has scheduled you in her calendar, be sure to adhere to that scheduled date. For example, Liz Mistry of The Crime Warp blog described an instance where she received an author’s guest blog post on the day of the scheduled date. Authors, if something happens and you aren’t able to send a guest post (or interview answers) in time, as Liz states, “[accept] it gracefully when the bloggers say they have no time to then put the article up that day.”
- Have a variety of digital formats available to send. If you aren’t able to send over a physical copy to a blogger, and the blogger does accept digital copies (not all do), be sure to have a few formats available. Anthony Avina says, “For any new authors who aren’t familiar with the industry, be sure to always have a digital copy available to send to reviewers should you not have a paperback or physical copy book available. Not all reviewers have Kindle Unlimited and definitely can’t afford to buy a copy of every book that’s requested for a review.”
For those who learn by example, as I do, here’s one of the best pitches I have ever received from someone asking me to review a book. The email below is from JKS Communications, a book marketing and publicity firm:
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To highlight a few important details:
- They address me by the right name in the email (not generically, as if this email had been sent out to a few hundred people).
- They include a compliment about my blog! They described my blog as “helpful and detail-oriented.” It was a personal compliment that I appreciated and took to heart. Sure, they may say that to almost everyone, but it didn’t come across that way. Other personalization tips are to remark about some of the latest posts or a common interest you both share.
- They provide a brief description about the book. Don’t simply include your Amazon or GoodReads link. Describe in a few sentences what the book is about since book bloggers receive tons of these requests. It will save them time and let them figure out fairly quickly if it’s the right book for them.
- They acknowledge that since I’m booked up with reviews at the moment, the author would be open to an interview or a guest post. This means they also read my review policy. I describe on there that while I’m not accepting reviews, I’m open to pitches and also provide other options to the authors for promoting their books on my blog.
- Last, but not least, a media kit was included that provided further information about the book and the author. This lets me know if this book is a good fit for me and my blog.
So, as you prepare your email to bloggers, be sure to read over their review policies closely. Often times, book bloggers will have a specific format they want authors to follow as well as links and other details that need to be included. Also, make sure that the bloggers review the type of book you are about to send them.
So, you’ve written the email, hit send, and you find out the blogger will read your book. What next? Well, now you wait. Remember, unless it’s a specific date agreed upon for a tour, the blogger needs time to read and review. But once they’ve posted it, your work as the author isn’t over yet!
After the Review Has Been Posted
So, the blogger finally has read your book and has posted her review!
First, let’s get this fear out of the way: what if the blogger doesn’t like your book?
Author Graham Smith of the thriller Fear in the Lakes suggests to authors, “Show respect to the bloggers and understand if they don't enjoy your book. Not everyone is going to love it, and bloggers are generally polite enough to quietly let you or your publicist know and then not say anything negative on their blogs.”
Keep in mind, though, that isn’t always the case. Some bloggers still post a review, even if they didn’t finish the book or didn’t like it. Stacey from the review blog, WhisperingStories.com, suggests this to authors, “Once the review has been placed, if they [the book reviewers] have given you three stars or below, don’t insult the blogger or moan about it. Accept that not everyone will like your book...Whether the review is good or bad, thank the blogger.” Basically, keep in mind, this is one blogger’s opinion and likely will not be what everyone has to say. So, thank the blogger for taking the time to read your book and move on.
However, if the blogger did like your book and you want to share and support the blogger, there are a few things that you can do to boost your relationship with him or her. Consider these tips:
- Comment and share the post. One of the best and nicest things you can do for a blogger is share her post on social media and tag her, expressing your thanks. Remember, this blogger took time to read your book and put a thoughtful review together. So, extra shares and appreciation go a long way. Briennai of Bri’s Book Nook says, “Please interact with the bloggers on your tours! I try to @ all the authors that I am on tour with more recently, but it is still discouraging when I can’t find the author mentioning the tour at all.”
- Become part of their reading community. Authors, one thing to remember—regular commenters do not go unnoticed in the blogging world. If you become a dedicated follower, commenter, sharer, and supporter to a book blogger, you will be noticed and appreciated. Blogger Philomena Cheekypee Callan of Cheekypee Reads and Reviews suggests to authors, “Keep a list of the bloggers that help you. Reach out to them every time you release a book. Friend them on social media. Like their posts, comment, etc.; build a relationship up with them. Bloggers can be very loyal to the authors who don’t forget them. I’ve seen a few authors drop the ‘small’ bloggers who have helped them for more popular blogs.”
- Give the blogger time to share the review to GoodReads, Amazon, and other websites. Book bloggers are very aware of how important it is for authors to gain reviews on places like Amazon, but take care in asking for the blogger to share her review to Amazon too soon after the blog post goes up. Stacey from WhisperingStories.com says, “Once the review has been posted on the bloggers’ blog, give them time to put it on Amazon. Nothing worse than an author requesting you to put the review on Amazon as soon as your review goes live. [It] shows me the author didn’t care about the review, just that it went on Amazon.”
One of the most important aspects of working with book bloggers is respecting their time and becoming part of their community. Most of all, remember that book bloggers love working with authors and promoting their books.
While this article covers many points to remember while finding book bloggers, I am hoping it will help you, the author, navigate the book blogging world and successfully promote your book. Researching blogs, creating an exclusive pitch, and having patience while your book is read and reviewed are some of the most difficult parts of book marketing. However, with the right tools intact, you will walk away from this process feeling like you’ve successfully reached new readers.
Nicole Pyles is a writer, blogger, and bookworm living in Oregon. Her articles have been featured with The Write Practice, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and Perfect Bar. Follow Nicole on her writing journey by following her on Twitter at Being the Writer and on her blog, The World of My Imagination.