For many authors, getting book reviews often feels like an uphill climb. And now that Amazon is pulling contact points off of their list of top reviewers, the climb is getting even steeper. We know that when it comes to book marketing, there’s nothing better than a bunch of book bloggers saying great things about your book. So book bloggers, who do this just for the love of the book or topic, are a fantastic resource.
Bloggers offer a massive benefit to authors and readers alike. They’re often voracious readers and often because of their reach, they offer a great return on your book marketing investment. In many cases, they not only reach their own core audience, but they also often have a strong social media presence. (Check out our tips for smarter social media book marketing in 2018!)
Different bloggers for different topics:
When you think of pitching bloggers, your mind probably goes straight to book bloggers, doesn’t it? But there’s a world beyond book bloggers, especially if your book is non-fiction, or ties to something historical (think: historical fiction books). There are a lot of book marketing possibilities out there, which lets you open the blogger door even further.
An example of this might be pitching a fitness blogger with your new yoga book or diet book. And what about that WWII historical site? Why not pitch your WWII historical fiction book to them?
So how do you pitch bloggers who don’t do book reviews? Well first, it’s a good idea to make sure their message aligns with yours and that they don’t have a competing book of their own. Even in this case, they may consider supporting yours, but it’s often an easier pitch if they don’t. Once you identify bloggers who might be interested in your topic, send them a short pitch and let them know you’re happy to send them a copy of your book. And send them whatever format they ask for, book marketing 101: make it easy for the blogger.
While book bloggers are fantastic, their schedules often fill up quickly, so if you have the opportunity to expand your reach to other types of bloggers, do it!
Where to find book bloggers:
There are a lot of blogger directories (like the ones mentioned at the end of this section) but keep in mind that these become outdated quickly. So, while it’s great to have these lists, it’s always a good book marketing policy to vet them as you send out your pitches. A few other places you can find book bloggers are:
Google: by doing a quick search of your genre and “book bloggers” you can easily turn up lists of folks who will review your book.
Twitter: Most book bloggers have vibrant Twitter accounts, so look for them using Twitter’s search function. (Read my top tips for connecting with influencers on Twitter here.)
Facebook: It’s another great place to connect with bloggers, though the search function isn’t great. I prefer to find them on Twitter first and then go to Facebook to see what they presence is like there. Then I can see what they’re posting about, the kinds of book reviews they do, and how I want to pitch them.
Instagram: By now we’ve all heard about the #bookstagram hashtag and while it’s great to push your book there, there are bigger opportunities out there. Bloggers, and specifically book bloggers, often use this #bookstagram hashtag to push books they review. And, you can often contact them via the app to see if they’re interested in your book!
There are also some great blogger directories as I mentioned earlier. Here are a few to consider – just remember that it’s always a good book marketing policy to vet them first:
Submission guidelines and requirements for book reviews:
When it comes to book marketing, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of finding a bunch of book bloggers you can pitch to. But before you get caught up in the process: read each blogger’s submission guidelines. If, for example, a blogger says they won’t review a romance book that’s heavily erotic and yours is erotic, don’t think for a minute that they’ll make an exception for your book.
Respect the book bloggers you are pitching and follow their submission guidelines. They’ll appreciate you for it! And remember, if you do follow their guidelines and they offer to review your book, don’t assume that book requests guarantee book reviews. In most cases, bloggers know their limits and won’t request a book they don’t have the time to review. But in some cases, if your book isn’t edited, or very poorly written, they may not be able to get through it.
Start small to get big:
When it comes to book marketing, sometimes it’s hard to go big right out of the gate – much as we might want to. Sometimes you need to start with smaller bloggers, because the big bloggers are understandably busy.
If you’re sending out pitches to big name bloggers and getting nothing in return, you might want to consider going for some smaller sites that have more time and aren’t getting pitched as frequently. This is a great way to start and will still offer you a solid, dependable list of bloggers to target. Also, by starting small, you’re still getting book reviews, reaching an audience and making yourself a more attractive pitch for the bigger names.
Reviews drive more reviews and people like what other people like – bloggers are no exception. So if you have to start small to gain traction, do it. It’s a solid way to build your footing in the book blogger market.
Book marketing lead times for bloggers:
When it comes to blogger pitching, I like to start early enough to give the blogger a chance to respond and read the book. Also, there could be a wait time or a cue of books ahead of yours, so giving the blogger enough lead-time is really beneficial. (Read here for more pre-order strategies.)
That said, if your book is already out and you are just now starting your pitch that’s fine, too. Just remember that it may take the blogger a while to respond and, if they decide to review your book, it could take a few weeks to a few months for a post to appear. Remember, it’s on their schedule and not yours. Also, think of book marketing as an ongoing conversation, and for as long as you can pitch bloggers, please consider doing so. It’s a great way to gain more visibility for your book!
How to pitch:
My mother always taught me to respect another’s time and the same is true for bloggers. They’re busy so keep it brief. I talk a lot about book marketing being all about your elevator pitch and that means: be brief. Your pitch should be short and succinct. If you can keep your pitch to one paragraph, the blogger will love you. In some cases, you won’t be able to. But your first paragraph should pack an enormous punch, your second (and final) paragraph should offer any additional data that you feel is pertinent to the blogger. (Here are my top tips for the perfect pitch!)
Before you hit send on your email, spellcheck and proofread what you wrote. There’s no quicker way to get into a blogger’s delete bin than having a pitch full of typos.
Never send attachments, unless specifically asked to do so. These days, attachments are often viewed as suspect and, in many cases, wind up in a spam filter.
Personalization is also key. While it’s tempting to buy a list of bloggers and blanket pitch all of them, leading off with “Dear blogger…” it’s not advisable. Most bloggers love it when the email is personalized to them. Even better, mention a recent review or post they did. For example: “I read your post on (insert book title) and loved it…” or in one case, I wrote a blogger and congratulated her on her new puppy she named “Library” and the blogger loved the personalization and reviewed the book. Taking a few extra steps really helps make a huge difference.
You can certainly follow up with bloggers, in about five-ten days but if you do this, keep it brief. Don’t resend the entire pitch, or (gasp) resend the email and ask them “did you see this?” I will tell you that people trying to sell me stuff do this all the time and I have one response to that action: Delete! But, maybe you have a new angle, which is fine to send, but in most cases just a quick follow up. Two sentences, no more. “Just confirming you got the pitch for XYZ book. Thank you again for considering this for review.” Remember that while book marketing is all about you and your book, your outreach has to be focused on being courteous to the person you’re reaching out to. Be mindful of another’s time.
When you finished the first round of pitching, you should keep pitching your book. Why? Because unless your book is a year old, there’s still a good opportunity to get featured on a blog. And your book marketing shouldn’t end when you hit the 90-day post-publication mark. Ironically, that’s when a lot of authors stop marketing their books! Though generally, if a book is 8 months old or more, it starts to get tough to find blogger traction. Tough, but not impossible. You could still pitch non-book bloggers as I mentioned earlier – because they won’t be as time-sensitive as book bloggers.
Top things to do, and not to do:
I’ve talked a lot about do’s and don’ts when it comes to blogger pitching, but here are a few more. Smart book marketing gurus know these rules and adhere to them. Some may seem like common sense, but are always worth mentioning.
- Always say yes: Never turn down a single opportunity to spread the word about your book. The minute you say “this blogger isn’t worth my time” you’ve started the downward climb into book-obscurity. A smart book marketer always says yes.
- Always thank the blogger, in the way of a comment on the review or post: Always thank bloggers for book reviews. Always. If the blogger wasn’t kind in their review or hated the book and posted this on their page (very few bloggers do this) then keep off of that page and don’t say a word. There’s a story of an author who wrote 300 comments on a review she didn’t like. No one remembers her name, and her books will never get reviewed by bloggers again.
- Share the post/review: share the review or feature you got with your peeps.
- Never ask for your book back or expect the blogger to pay for your book. I’m serious, this gets asked more than you’d think.
Your blogger relationship:
If you plan to write more books, your blogger relationship is an ongoing one. Don’t stop the conversation once you get your review. It’s always nice to stay in touch with bloggers who give you book reviews. And you can do so by commenting on other book reviews they do or share things they’re posting on social media. If social sharing isn’t your thing, be sure to post a comment. Don’t just grab your review and vanish. Remember: good book marketing is all about building relationships and an author-book blogger relationship is a good one to have!
And, book bloggers are just the tip of the book marketing iceberg. So if you’re ready to kickstart your book, check out this brand new package we have to help authors launch into the world of book marketing!
Do you have a good book blogger story you’d like to share? Or some success you’ve had with blogger outreach! Feel free to share this below!
Thanks for reading!