Getting your book reviewed by bloggers is not as difficult as you might think.
Sure, it can take some work to find the right book blogger and build up a relationship but it’s worth it to get bookish influencers on your side.
This article offers some practical tips for authors who are looking to get their books reviewed by book bloggers. But, first, a question.
Why are book bloggers important?
I’m clearly biased but I think book bloggers are a pretty important part of the bookselling industry. Bloggers are genuine, avid readers that provide honest and impartial views about books. They don’t get paid so do it for the love of a good book, and can, therefore, be a vital source of credible book reviews.
Bloggers talk a lot. In person. Online. In book groups. They wax lyrical about books at any opportunity and, more often than not, people listen so they’re a great source of viral marketing. That can also be a bad thing if they don’t like a book but, in my experience, decent book bloggers are professional enough not to bad mouth a book they didn’t enjoy. They’ll simply put it aside and not talk about it rather than slate it online.
Overall, bloggers are influential book ambassadors that can have a real impact on the exposure of your book.
How to find book bloggers who will review your book
You probably know a lot of book bloggers already but here are some easy ways to find more:
- Online search: it may seem obvious but sticking things like “book bloggers”, “book blog”, “book reviewers/reviews” into Google will return a huge list of options. Try narrowing it down to focus on your particular niche – “crime book bloggers”, for example – to make the results more relevant.
- Hashtags: find the relevant hashtags on Twitter and build up a list of bloggers that you can follow (Twitter lists are great for grouping the folks you follow into defined tribes – publishers, bloggers, PRs etc). Try #bookblogger, #books #bookreviews, #bookrecommendations, #newbooks, #bookpicks and #blogger for starters.
- Facebook groups: several groups exist for book bloggers, writers and readers, and they’re great for reaching out to booklovers. (More on these later.)
- Blog feeds: join blog feed services like BlogLovin, get set up on Google+ and follow your favourites via WordPress or other blogging platforms to get all of the latest posts from your chosen book bloggers. This helps to familiarise yourself with their content and identify opportunities to work together.
Social Media apps change all the time and some become popular and others fade into distant memory (My Space anyone?)
The tips above will apply to any new social Media platform, whether it is Twitter, Snap, TikTok or something not even dreamed about at the moment. It is the principle that matters and not the platform
Pitching to a book blogger (or how to sell them on your book)
So, you have a book to promote and you have a list of book bloggers. What now? You need to pitch to them.
Pitching is tricky. It’s not as blunt as cold calling but it’s a bit like walking up to a stranger in a bar and trying to start a conversation with them. It’s especially difficult for those introvert authors among you. But, don’t be scared. Book bloggers are a friendly bunch.
Here are some tips for being pitch perfect:
Do your research
Book bloggers will usually have a niche or specific genre that they are interested in (mine’s literary fiction but there are crime, romance, historical fiction and all manner of other blogs out there). Pitch to the right blog. If you’re a crime writer, there’s no point pitching to a romance blog. They will not review your book.
This might seem like very obvious advice but you’d be surprised by how many review requests I get for books that are nothing to do with my interests.
Check the review policy
This is a must. Read the blogger’s review policy and make sure you comply. If they don’t accept self-published books, don’t send them your PDF no matter now much you want it to be reviewed. Sending something that doesn’t comply will just annoy the blogger and show that you’ve not done your homework. Do some more research to find the bloggers that are right for you (they will exist).
The blogger doesn’t need to know your life story when you pitch to them. Just tell them about the book, when it’s released, what you’re looking for and what you can offer in return (see the next tip for more on this).
Long-winded, rambling emails will not make the cut. Bloggers are busy people so you need to be succinct and focused when you approach them.
Bloggers are inundated with review requests so have to be pretty strict with what they accept. They also do this for free so need to think about what’s in it for them (free books are great but not the deciding factor in accepting a review).
Bloggers will be keen to grow their own profile so think about how reviewing your book can help them do that. Do you have a large social media following? Will you retweet their review multiple times? Will you quote their review on your book jacket? Be upfront about what the blogger will get from working with you as well as what you would like from them.
Chasing up an email once is fine. Do it three times or more and you’ll be blacklisted. Bloggers may not always reply to you because their inboxes are jammed, you’ve not complied with their review policy or they just weren’t moved by your pitch (sorry, guys, it happens). Don’t hassle them – it won’t do you any favours.
Similarly, if you’re part of Facebook groups that feature bloggers, don’t spam the page with your book or pleas for reviews. It’s annoying and it’s boring. Build relationships with the individuals on there first and then approach them for reviews.
Mind your manners
There’s all of the usual stuff to consider when sending a professional email – and, remember, this is a professional exchange between an author and a blogger.
Be polite, don’t demand things and be courteous. A blogger is much more likely to respond in the first place, and continue to say nice things about you, if you’re easy to get along with.
Much of this advice seems obvious. That’s because it is. Building relationships with bloggers is fairly simple if you follow these tips. Just be focused, compliant and considerate and you’ll be on your way in no time.
Remember, as in life, there’s someone out there for everyone. For every writer, there’s a book blogger waiting to review your book. You just have to find them.
James Gray has a life-long interest in politics, travel, the environment, and global affairs. He works in IT but his heart truly beats for the written word.