How book bloggers help authors – 10 Dos and Don'ts

Bookbloggers read, review and promote books in their spare time. They don’t get paid. They love reading and want to share that joy with others.

Delving into a new world, meeting enthralling characters, being chilled or thrilled, rooting for the protagonist, biting their fingers off, never mind the fingernails, or sighing with pleasure or regret at the story’s conclusion – we all do that as readers. But bookbloggers  go and write their impressions and produce thoughtful reviews, some of them every day, others more than once a day. Next, they post the review on their blogs, to Amazon or other retailer, Goodreads then Tweet and post about it on Facebook and Instagram.

If you’ve written a book review yourself, you know it takes time. Most readers, for perfectly good reasons, never get round to writing them even for the books they love. Our bookbloggers do, consistently and continuously.

Let’s stamp on one myth of fake news

These generous people don’t get paid. Well, the reputable ones don’t. Yes, there are organisations who charge an admin fee or an express premium; these are a whole different thing. Then there are the sharks who blatantly charge for giving a 5-star review. Do not go there. Moving on…

The benefit for readers

A good book blogger will have a following which appreciates their dedication. These followers will be able to find out what to read next, what’s new, what’s not-so-new but so damn good you shouldn’t waste any more time in getting your hands on it. Bloggers’ thoughts may be subjective, but they are usually fair and honest thus giving their audience insight into books they might be considering buying. Today, bloggers review books published via any route and in different formats such as ebook and audio as well as paperback so readers are offered opinions on an ever widening choice of books.

Benefits for authors 

Your book gets exposure to new audiences and if you’re a new author, you are introduced to the book market as well. It costs nothing except a little time and perhaps a book to give away in a prize draw. You may well gain reviews (and quotes) for your book. Although not the primary objective of a guest spot/review, you may nevertheless get sales. The golden advantage is that bookblogger audiences are automatically tuned in to wanting to know about books, i.e. a semi-captive market.

A typical blogger review

Back to our volunteer bloggers…

Some cover specific themes or genres such as historical, romance scifi/fantasy or crime; others have preferred types of books such as clean, steamy or non-violent. Some only review non-fiction. Do check this when thinking of approaching a blogger as this will save your time and theirs.

A few author dos and dont’s

  1. Check the blogger’s site to see if your book is relevant to their audience as well as the blogger’s taste. Read a few of the posts and comment or at least ‘Like’ them.
  2. Write a nice, but succinct email with a hook line, the blurb and possibly a couple of things about your publishing history. Most importantly, address the blogger by name. Apart from being unprofessional, it’s bloody rude to write ‘Dear Blogger’.
  3. Do not send the book until asked to, even an ebook. Also rude, as they get flooded out.
  4. If requested, send a good quality (hi res but not enormous) author photo, succinct bio, social media and buying links, book blurb and cover image in good time.
  5. Do not chase. I know it seems impolite, but it’s accepted now that if they don’t reply, it means ‘no thanks’.
  6. Remember they are not obliged to read your fabulous tome.
  7. Genuine bloggers try to be diplomatic and kind in their reviews, but be prepared for a few that are not completely raving about your book. Honesty is a hallmark of a good blogger.
  8. Unless there is a blatant/glaring and factual error, don’t challenge the review. It’s their subjective opinion. If you feel there is really something wrong, send a polite, unemotional private email explaining the inaccuracy. Otherwise, just move on.
  9. And thank them in the comments. Most bloggers will tell you when they are going to post the review so you should go back and check for their readers’ comments and questions.
  10. Post on your own social media with the URL to the reviewer’s original post. It’s not only good manners as they are making an effort for you, but it may also ease the way when you want to send them another book to review.

Be nice!

This was said to me many years ago by a marketing guru and it’s stood me in good stead.  Bookbloggers don’t always feel appreciated by authors, which is self-defeating on the part of authors. Interacting with bookbloggers is all about the relationship.

Making friends with bookbloggers means not only being part of the book and publishing ecosystem, but also has the reward of being in the company of people who like nothing better than to be absorbed by and discuss every kind of book you can imagine.

 

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers –  INCEPTIO, CARINA (novella), PERFIDITAS, SUCCESSIO,  AURELIA, NEXUS (novella), INSURRECTIO  and RETALIO,  and ROMA NOVA EXTRA, a collection of short stories.  Audiobooks are available for four of the series.

Find out more about Roma Nova, its origins, stories and heroines… Download ‘Welcome to Alison Morton’s Thriller Worlds’, a FREE eBook, as a thank you gift when you sign up to Alison’s monthly email newsletter. You’ll also be among the first to know about news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways.

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