According to an article by SquareUp, a whopping 96 percent of holiday shoppers read reviews (sometimes from multiple sources) before deciding whether to buy. But getting those reviews can feel like an uphill climb. Now that Amazon is removing contact info from their list of top reviewers, the climb is even steeper. That's where book bloggers can save the day.
We know that there’s nothing better than a bunch of book bloggers saying great things about your book. Bloggers offer a massive benefit to authors and readers alike. Because of their reach, bloggers offer a great return on your book marketing investment. In most cases, besides their own core audience, they also have a strong social media presence.
Different Bloggers for Different Topics
When you think of pitching bloggers, your mind probably goes straight to book bloggers. But there’s a world beyond book bloggers, especially if your book is nonfiction or ties to something historical (think historical fiction). Consider possibilities that open the blogger door even further.
An example of this might be pitching a fitness blogger with your new yoga or diet book. And what about that WWII historical site? Why not pitch your WWII historical novel to them?
Pitching to Non-Book Bloggers
How do you pitch bloggers who don’t review books? First, make sure their messages align with yours and they don’t have competing books of their own. Even if they do have their own books, they might consider supporting yours. The pitch is often easier if they don’t have a competing book. After you identify bloggers who might be interested in your topic, send them a short pitch. Let them know you’re happy to send them a copy of your book. And send them whatever format they prefer. Book Marketing 101: Make it easy!
While book bloggers are fantastic, their schedules often fill up quickly. Don't hesitate to expand your reach to other types of blogs.
Where/How to Find Book Bloggers
Many blogger directories, like the ones mentioned at the end of this section, become outdated quickly. So while these lists are great, be sure to vet the blogs as you send out your pitches. Other ways to find book bloggers include the following:
—Google: Do a quick search of your genre and “book bloggers.”
—Twitter: Most book bloggers have active Twitter accounts, so use Twitter’s search function.
—Facebook: Another place to connect with bloggers, but the search function isn’t great. Find bloggers on Twitter first and then go to Facebook to review their profiles. See what they’re posting about to get intel on how to pitch them.
—Instagram: By now you've probably heard about the #bookstagram hashtag. While you should promote your book on Instagram, there are bigger opportunities out there. Bloggers, and specifically book bloggers, often use the #bookstagram hashtag to push books they recently reviewed. You can contact bloggers through the Instagram app to ask if they’re interested in your book.
Here are the blogger directories mentioned earlier—just remember to vet them first:
Submission Guidelines & Requirements
Before you caught up in the excitement of finding a bunch of book bloggers you can pitch to, read their submission guidelines. If, for example, a blogger says they won’t review a heavily erotic romance book and your book is erotic, don’t expect them to make an exception for you. Respect the book bloggers you are pitching, and follow their submission guidelines! If a blogger offers to review your book, don’t assume that their request for a book indicates a guaranteed review. In most cases, bloggers know their limits and won’t request a book they don’t have the time to review. But if your book isn’t edited or written well, reviewers might not be able to get through it.
Start Small to Get Big
With book marketing, it’s hard to go big right out of the gate. Sometimes you need to start with smaller bloggers because there are more authors/books vying for the big ones. If you pitch big-name bloggers and get nothing in return, consider smaller blogs where you are more likely to get a yes. By starting small, you still get reviews, reach an expanded audience, and make yourself a more attractive prospect for the bigger names. Reviews drive more reviews, and bloggers are no exception. Starting small is a solid way to build your footing in the book blogger market.
With blogger pitching, start early enough to give the blogger a chance to respond and read the book. Also, there might be a wait time or a queue of books ahead of yours, so give the blogger enough lead time.
That said, if your book is already out and you are just now starting your pitch, that’s fine, too. Just remember that the blogger might take a while to respond. If they decide to review your book, a post might take a few weeks to a few months to appear. Remember, the review happens on their schedule and not yours. Also, think of book marketing as an ongoing conversation. Consider pitching bloggers to gain more visibility for your book!
How to Pitch Book Bloggers
My mother always taught me to respect another person’s time, and the same is true for bloggers. They’re busy, so keep it 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’ll exceed one paragraph. Then your first paragraph should pack an enormous punch and your second (and final) paragraph should offer additional data pertinent to the blogger.
—Before you hit Send on your email, spellcheck and proofread what you wrote. There’s no quicker way to end up in a blogger’s Delete bin than sending a pitch full of typos.
—Never send attachments unless specifically asked to do so. These days attachments are suspicious and, in many cases, wind up in Spam.
—Personalization is key. While it’s tempting to buy a list of bloggers and blanket pitch all of them, leading off with, “Dear Blogger,” is not advisable. Most bloggers love an email addressed to them personally. Even better, mention their recent review or post. For example: “I read your post on [insert book title] and loved it…” Or once, I wrote a blogger and congratulated her on her new puppy she named “Library.” The blogger loved the personalization and she reviewed the book. Taking a few extra steps makes a huge difference.
You may certainly follow up with bloggers in about five or ten days, but keep it brief. Don’t resend the entire pitch, or (gasp!) resend the email and ask, “Did you see this?” People trying to sell me stuff do this all the time, and I have one response to that action: Delete! Maybe you have a new angle, which is fine to send. In most cases a quick follow-up of two sentences, no more. “Just confirming you got the pitch for XYZ book, and thank you again for considering this for review.” Remember that while book marketing is all about you and your book, your outreach focuses on being courteous to the person you want to reach. Be mindful of the other person’s time.
When you finish the first round of pitching, you should keep at it. Why? Because unless your book has been out over a year, you still have a good possibility of being featured on a blog. Your book marketing shouldn’t end when your book hits the 90-day post-publication mark. Ironically, that’s when a lot of authors drop their efforts! Generally, when a book reaches eight months old, finding blogger traction is tough. Tough, but not impossible. And you should still pitch non-book bloggers as I mentioned earlier; they often aren’t as time-sensitive as book bloggers.
Do's and Don'ts
Here are the top do's and don’ts for blogger pitching. Smart book-marketing gurus know these rules and adhere to them. While they may seem like common sense, they still bear repeating:
—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. Smart book marketers always say YES.
—Always thank the blogger for reviewing the book. Always. The most effective thank-you is as a comment on the review or post. If the blogger’s review was unkind, or even if the blogger hated the book and posted that opinion on their page (very few bloggers do this), then avoid that page and don’t respond. One author wrote 300 comments on a review she didn’t like. No one remembers her name, except bloggers, who will never review her books again.
—Share the blogger’s post or review, or feature it with your peeps.
—Never ask for your book back or expect the blogger to pay for your book. Seriously!
Your Blogger Relationship
If you plan to write more books, your blogger relationships will be ongoing. Don’t stop the conversation when you get your review. Stay in touch by commenting on their other reviews or sharing their posts on social media. Don’t just grab your review and vanish. Remember, good book marketing is all about building relationships; an author/book blogger relationship is one worth cultivating.
Want more helpful tips? Check out my new book available on Amazon, 50 Ways to Sell a Sleigh-Load of Books: Proven Marketing Strategies to Sell More Books for the Holidays
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