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I came across a great blog post by Stacey O’Neale called How to Get Bloggers to Review Your Book. Her main points were:

  • You are not the only person out there with an upcoming book release.
  • Attitude will get you everywhere or nowhere.
  • Personalize your request.

These are great observations — that bloggers get lots of requests, Twitter is not the best way to ask for a review, and if you’re spamming blogs, the bloggers will know it.

As both a writer AND a book blogger for www.NovelNovice.com, I felt there were a few more points I could add. I asked founder and admin Sara Gundell to add her two cents, since she’s the one who mainly deals with publicists.

She pretty much wrote the blog for me, so here are her comments!

For any author starting out, I’d suggest you begin by making friends with some book bloggers. But be genuine about it! A bad rap gets around in the book blogging world, because — quite frankly — we’re a tight-knit group.This doesn’t mean it’s hard to break into — we love welcoming new folks into our online community. But if you damage your reputation with one member, the others will hear about it — not in a malicious way, but simply because we are close and we stick together.

Also, before you approach a blogger — do a thorough search of their site and make sure your book is a good fit for their site. Most bloggers have clearly defined review policies or mission statements — and while we all love hearing from authors, nothing makes us crankier than getting pitches for books that have no place on our blogs. So make sure you’re contacting bloggers who cover the type of book you’re trying to pitch!

If you know someone in the blogging world, take advantage of it! I know that I’ve considered authors that were recommended to me by another blogger (or another author) whom I trust — authors I normally wouldn’t have connected with. So networking is a powerful tool (and is probably my #1 reason you should be on Twitter!)

It also helps to have a website where bloggers can easily access your information. It doesn’t need to be fancy, but it does need to be easy to navigate.

Things you’ll want to include:

  • your book title(s)
  • release date(s)
  • book covers
  • author photo(s)
  • author bio
  • links to important information like your official facebook, twitter, etc.; publisher pages; where to buy the book; book trailer & other promotional content (if you have any).

And when it comes to working with publicists, here’s the biggest thing I’ve learned … they are overworked and understaffed positions, which means they’ll never be able to do enough for your book (at least in your eyes, as the author). So it’s up to you to do the leg work you want. If your publicist isn’t doing something for you, go out and do it on your own. Don’t be afraid to email book bloggers! We really are a friendly bunch, and part of what we love about blogging is getting to work with great authors. Some of my most favorite features I’ve put together on Novel Novice have stemmed from authors who emailed me independently to pitch their book.

And when you do email a blogger, be ready and willing to contribute to their site. They’re going to promote your book, but you need to help them make that happen. Be prepared to offer ARCs or review copies. Offer up your time for Q&As or guest blogs (time-consuming, yes — but they get you more “face time” on the blogs, and give you a chance to sell yourself and your books to a new audience), and if your budget allows, have swag you can offer up as prizes. Blogs love hosting contests — and readers love winning them!

Tomorrow I’ll address e-books and self-published authors.

In the meantime, what are your thoughts on Sara’s suggestions? Was any of it a surprise or seem unreasonable? What was the most helpful tip?  

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