Bookish Ramblings: How to communicate with bloggers

Okay so here’s the deal, I’ve been doing this book blogging thing for over 3 years now, and whilst I don’t pretend to be an expert, a very wise and lovely author reminded me that I am living it every day. Living it every day, in part, leads to contact from authors in various ways. Contacting book bloggers was something that I touched upon with the authors attending Chapter.Con earlier this year and honestly it’s not hard to get right but in kind, it’s oh so easy to get very wrong.

Lets look at bloggers. We’re most likely blogging as a hobby arising out of our love of reading. We’re also likely to be time poor but overflowing with love for books. As bloggers we want to support authors, we want to spread the word and share the love. I have spent so much time advocating independently published authors and helping authors with their platform and the payback has been amazing at times. So I think that in many ways I’m a little qualified to put an opinion forward on this.

I’m not saying that all authors are terrible, on the contrary, I have had some amazing contacts with authors who have ticked all the boxes for communication, but I have had others that were an utterly painful experience. I understand that socially some authors may struggle with communicating with a stranger, if you feel this is holding you back then maybe consider an alternative route as there are plenty of PR places that will do the leg work – for a price of course. The Do’s may seem like hard work, but your book is your baby and you want it to be in the best possible hands surely?

So here we go!

DO:

  • Research the bloggers you approach. Many will have a website/blog page and any good blogger will have their review criteria available. You can tell from there whether your approach is likely to be fruitful. Be clear about what you are looking for in your contact, a review, promotion, a guest post, or all 3!
  • Look at their earlier reviews. Do you like their review style and are the likes and dislikes mentioned things that wont be an issue with the book you are putting forward.
  • Give plenty of time. Currently I have a 2 month lead time on reviews because I’m trying to make a dent in my own TBR alongside of Arcs. Many bloggers are likely similarly busy.
  • Format your approach like you would do with any other professional. Introduce yourself, tell the blogger that you have seen their site and enjoyed their reviews. Provide the details of your title, provide the blurb, page count and a goodreads or amazon link if you have them. This will help the blogger feel appreciated (well it does for me) and give them all the information they need to respond.
  • Make sure you can send your book in a format the blogger can easily access.
  • Thank them for their time and if you liked their review share it to your social media as it will bring traffic to their site. If you want to quote the review, please attribute as well. That way the relationship feels reciprocal and fosters a great place to start if you want to work with the blogger again.

DON’T

  • Speak to bloggers like you’re sending a quick text to an acquaintance. I have lost count of the amount of contacts I have had which don’t even start with a simple hello. Contacts like “I’ve got a book” and “my book’s coming out, join my arc team” are an instant delete for me. If you can’t even greet someone, then i’m quite certain we’re not a good fit.  You’re not sending a tweet, DM’s have capacity to contain a lot of information so make good use of them.
  • Provide dead links or hyperlinks that can’t be accessed. This is usually more of an issue on instagram. If you want to communicate with a blogger this way then you’re probably better off asking for an email address and taking it from there.
  • Ask a blogger to review a book where the genre clearly isn’t one they specify in their review criteria. It’s just a waste of everyone’s time and if you’re asking a blogger to step outside of their comfort zone be prepared for a middle of the road review.
  • Ask a blogger to buy your book in order to review it – I’ve had this twice. It might just be 99p but trust me I have 101 other things to spend my money on first.
  • Ask on social media if anyone wants to read and review your book, you’ll likely send out a vast amount of your hard earned work for free and get an incredibly small return on that investment (I know this isn’t related to bloggers per se but it’s just good business sense and I’m amazed how often I see this)
  • Don’t expect that every blogger will want an ebook version to review from. I know of many bloggers who have real problems reading from screens. Again this should be clear from their review criteria but it’s something to keep in mind.

I’ve lost count of the amount of Authors who have told me they are struggling to find reliable bloggers and I honestly find that baffling, if there is one blog market that is full to bursting it’s the book world.  There are so many of us out there all happy to read, review and support, I’m hopeful that by taking a look at the points I’ve laid out it will help foster what can become amazing relationships – honestly some of my best friends started out as authors I reviewed for. It just comes down to showing a little kindness and respect ❤

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