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As any author knows, getting attention from the ever-declining professional book outlets is harder every year. Each year, more newspapers shrink or cancel their book section, fire or retire their book editor and add those responsibilities to the entertainment editor’s desk (if they even still have one of those).
The odds of getting reviewed or noticed by the New York Times, Oprah, or other national outlets is as close to zero as to be nonexistent. So, how do successful authors get buzz going about their book?
A lot of them work with book bloggers.
How can you start building your own blogger network or get your book to their attention? We have several easy ideas to get you started.
People who love books, love to talk about them, and share them. Where? Everywhere. Instead of thrashing around finding random bloggers, pick a platform and develop it. Look for people who have reviewed books like yours, and make a spreadsheet of them and contact information for each blogger. You might not be able to contact all of them (some platforms don’t automatically share people’s contact information), but you can find enough
Suggested websites for book bloggers:
Once you have contact information for several bloggers, approach them with information about your book. Realize they probably get a lot of solicitations for books to review, so make sure you stand out. Write them a personal email, referencing something they already reviewed that is relevant to your book, so they know you’ve actually read their previous reviews. Give them a hook as to why your book is relevant to them, something personal about yourself or your connection to your book that they’ll find interesting.
In your initial email, don’t send your book, but do include the cover in your signature line, along with more information about yourself and your book. And don’t forget to ask. Make it easy for them to ask for your book in the format that works best for them.
“If you’d like to see my book, just reply to this email and tell me the format you prefer and if you need a printed copy, with your mailing address.”
Track your emails to the bloggers on a spreadsheet and in your email program. You want to track:
After you’ve emailed a blogger, update it on your spreadsheet so you can see who has replied and who hasn’t. If someone hasn’t replied to your first email, after 7-10 days send a polite follow up, either by replying to your original email (so all of that is still in the email) or send a short email just asking if you should remove them from your blogger contact list. If you don’t have a reply after that, keep them on a secondary list for later.
For bloggers who have accepted your book, follow up after about 2 weeks, asking if they’ve had a chance to read it, and what they think so far. Always remember that bloggers receive several emails every day. It’s more efficient if you always include your book title in every correspondence. If a blogger isn’t enjoying your book, this is your chance to get them to not finish it so you don’t get a bad review, or you can answer any questions or concerns they have about your book. Remember to ask them for a link to their review when they’re done (and add it to your spreadsheet).
Once you get a review back, promote it. Thank the reviewer by name, and post a link to the review on your social media. Give them a link back everywhere you can, so if you tweet out a link to the review on Twitter, use the reviewer’s Twitter handle in your tweet so they’ll see it in their notifications. They helped you with a review, so helping promote their blog or work is a good reciprocal back scratch.
Your spreadsheet will become your long-term friend with each new book. You’ll already know reviewers who have read one of your books and what they thought of it. Keep looking to add new reviewers to your list and stay in touch with the reviewers. Find ways to mention them or highlight other reviews they’ve done in between your books, so you aren’t always just contacting them for your book(s). Reblog something they did for another book on your social media, and send them a quick note with a link back to it.
“I really liked your review of [book title] and shared it to my friends on Facebook. Here’s a link to my post.”
Over time, you should build a solid network of bloggers that know you and are happy to help you promote your book.
Here’s a list of a few services that can help, along with some book blogger directories.
Good luck with your outreach and book promotion.