Written by Topaz Winters August 21st, 2014

Book Bloggers & Writing Success: Exploiting the Connection

One of the most important relationships an author can have is with book bloggers. These people are the ones who review your books, participate in your giveaways and cover reveals, spread the word about your new releases, and can be one of the biggest supporters an author will ever have.

Sometimes, just finding book blogs can be a task in itself. Never fear, though – if you are savvy about it, it’s easy to scout out bloggers who write about your specific genre. If you’re lucky, it can be as simple as a Google search: “blogs about X genre”. Other times, going on Goodreads and reading reviews on your favorite books will sometimes merit a link at end: “Find this review on X blog!”. Or you can go the direct way, with sites such as the Directory of Book Reviewers. Once you’ve found a couple of quality blogs, don’t stop there – read the comments, where other bloggers often leave their thoughts on posts, and check out those blogs as well. Sometimes bloggers do Weekly or Monthly Round-up Posts including a wide variety of book blogs, and those too can be a prime spot to find new and exciting blogs.

Unfortunately, there is a greater problem at hand: Authors can damage their relationships with book bloggers simply through forgetting that bloggers have lives outside of their blogging.  They are writing about books because they love it – not because they’re paid, not because they’re getting anything in return, but because it’s what they are truly passionate about.

In order to score a great relationship with a book blogger, here are five tips that will help you navigate the sometimes treacherous waters of the blogosphere.

Be considerate.

Whether you’re requesting a review, asking the blogger to participate in a giveaway, inviting them to your blog tour, or anything else, make sure you actually visit their blog before you contact them. Spend some time clicking around. Find out their favourite genres. Carefully read their review policy – make sure they actually are open to requests and willing to accommodate whatever you’d like from them. Most bloggers ask that you contact them through email, but some have a form on their blog that you can use. Are they asking you to include a Goodreads link to your book? The first chapter? The cover art? Whether their instructions are more specific or more general, make sure to accommodate all of them. After all, you are asking for a service from them – it’s common courtesy to be polite about it.

Be personal.

Introduce yourself! Talk a little bit about your book. Craft a separate email for each book blogger you contact – don’t just use a template and copy/paste the separate blog names every time. Be friendly and engaging rather than shoving the link to your book in their face – you’d be surprised at how many brownie points it can earn you to simply put in the effort to greet the blogger by name. If you’ve commented on a couple of their posts or even subscribed to their blog – which, by the way, is a very wise practice – remind them who you are. And always keep in mind: this is a person you’re talking to, not just a figure behind a computer screen.

 Be professional.

At the same time, however, don’t be too up-close and personal about it. Keep your email in the professional zone. Although bloggers are wonderful people, they truly are not interested in hearing about how your book was inspired by that freak encounter you had with your neighbour’s cat – no matter how fascinating the story is. Unless the blogger is a very good friend of yours, remember that they have no idea who you are. First impressions are of the utmost importance. You should, of course, be approachable, but also know that coming across as over-enthusiastic can undermine the blogger’s view of you.

Be concise.

Bloggers are busy people. Although sending them a one-sentence email with the link to your book is bad, the other end of the spectrum can be even worse – rambling on and on. Keep it to the minimum details a blogger needs to know: your name, the name of your book, the genre, and the blurb (and, of course, if the blogger has requested any additional information, be sure to include that as well). You don’t need to go on long spiels about how imperative it is that every single reader knows that your book is the next 50 Shades of Grey or The Fault in our Stars. If it’s that good, the blogger will read it and find out for themselves. Writing a request packed with too much unnecessary information is risking the blogger not reading it at all and instead deleting it and not responding. Keep it simple, short, and sweet.

Be gracious.

Common sense here: don’t ever ask bloggers to buy your book and review it. That’s just rude. Provide a free copy of your book for whatever purpose you’re asking, even if it’s just to post an excerpt or host a giveaway. Keep in mind, if they decline your request, there’s a 99.9% chance that it’s not because of you. Sometimes book bloggers are just overwhelmed with the amount of author emails they’re receiving; they have to say no to someone. In the case of reviews – do not ever trash a blogger in public for giving you a bad review. The book blogging community is extremely tight-knit. Word travels fast if you’re someone who can’t take constructive criticism. Simply take it in stride and keep writing – you have to accept that not everyone is going to like your work.

Book bloggers are absolutely lovely people who do so much for the literary community, and as an author, they can be one of your most valuable assets. Learn how to treat bloggers with the respect they deserve, and you too will receive the same respect from them.

Bio: Topaz Winters is a 14-year old singer/songwriter and novelist. Her first book, Frozen Hearts, will be published in winter 2014. In her spare time, Topaz shares her love for all things bookish over at her blog YA Asylum and talks about writing and music at her personal blog. Currently she lives in Singapore with her mom, dad, little sister, and Japanese Spitz puppy, Hachii. She is discovering new wonders every day.



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