On Saturday, I gave a talk at the Australian Society of Authors about how to approach book bloggers. Part of a two-day in depth workshop that the ASA held in order to cast light on the myths and realities of indie publishing in 2018, I was invited along to speak to a host of both published and aspiring authors about the ways in which I like to be approached as a book blogger, It’s been a subject that’s been on my mind for a while – I often get in excess of fifty review requests a week; from both publicists and authors alike – and with an ever-growing pile of books to read, as well as freelance work and writing commitments, I’m only able to review a very small percentage of books I’m sent.
And while in the past, authors and publicists relied entirely on traditional print media to review their books, these days the online world of book influencers can have equal, if not more impact on both book sales and buzz. And so, if you’re an author – whether traditionally, independently or otherwise published – read on for my personal recommendations for approaching book bloggers..
Do your research:
Ahead of approaching a book blogger, it’s important to do your research; do they only review a specific genre? Do they only write about books by women? Where are they based? I’ve had many-an-author approach me, offering me everything from graphic novels to sci-fi books to review, when it’s quite obvious from my blog that those aren’t the type of books I feature. By doing a bit of research prior to contacting a blogger, you’re more likely to save time in the long run by not approaching bloggers who aren’t the right fit for your book.
Always make sure you’re personal in your approach – all book bloggers will have their name somewhere online, and a blanket email that starts ‘Dear book blogger’ is never the best way to start a conversation. Taking the time to find out a blogger’s name and a little bit about both them as a person and their literary tastes will help ingratiate you to the blogger, thus offering them a reason to prioritise your review request over any others they get.
State your case:
When you’ve found a list of bloggers you’d like to review your book, tell them why you think they’d enjoy it. Have they read something similar? Do they live in the city in which it’s based? Giving them a reason to read it above any other number of books they have sent to them will help to move your book to the top of their pile.
Don’t be afraid to follow up:
If your first email has gone unanswered, don’t be afraid to give the blogger in question a gentle nudge. I do my best to reply to all review requests that come into my inbox, but it’s very easy to miss a stray email – particularly if I don’t already know the sender. A simple follow up a week or so after your initial email is a perfectly reasonable reminder for said blogger.
Don’t take things personally
If a blogger isn’t able to or interested in reviewing your book, try not to take it personally. The vast majority of book bloggers do it as a passion project and thus can be constrained by time and the vast number of books that are sent to them for review. I do my best to read as many books as I can, and to support as many authors as I’m able to, but reviewing every book that comes my way simply isn’t a feasible option for many bloggers.
Be shameless in your self promotion:
As well as reaching out to book bloggers, it’s always worth contacting Instagrammers, Podcasters or YouTubers who specialise in books as well to see if they can feature your book on their platform. Is there a Bookstagram account you follow that features books similar to the one you’ve written? Do you regularly listen to a podcast that interviews writers and think you’d be an interesting guest? The wider you cast your net, the better your chances of success.
About the Australian Society of Authors
The ASA is the professional association for Australia’s authors and illustrators. They provide advocacy, support and advice for authors and illustrators in matters relating to their professional practice. The ASA is governed by an elected Board of Directors, responsible for making major policy decisions and setting directions and is run by a small team of staff with backgrounds in writing, publishing and arts administration.
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