Authors often ask me how to go about finding those all-important book reviews, and how to approach bloggers, so I thought I’d share this with you.
For those of you who don’t know, book bloggers are those amazing bookworms who have a blog (an online diary of sorts) where they share their thoughts on the books they read. They are typically open to review requests from authors and publishers, take part in blog tours (find out more about blog tours here), and basically love to help authors spread the word about their books.
Most will have a review policy. Some will have given them their own page, some will have a note on their contact page, but somewhere, on a blog there is a review policy. I know not everyone will know to look for this, but if you’re reading this, now you do and you have no excuse in the future.
The review policy sets out the terms that particular blogger will read and review a book under. For example, it will detail the genre of book they will read (this will also be fairly obvious from the blog itself which you should be reading and following, and will most probably be in their About Me section too), it will detail what format of book they will read (EBook [Kindle, iBook etc.] paperback) it might detail how much notice they need/want, some will say how long they expect to be able to get the reading/review done, and it will TELL YOU HOW TO request a review.
Most importantly, it will say if they are actually accepting review requests. If they aren’t accepting requests don’t email them.
In my opinion, this is the bit that a lot of authors seem to just ignore.
I don’t know why, but I know it happens all the flipping time and not just to me. It’s a real bone of contention for bloggers and to be perfectly honest, authors who ignore this tend to go on a blacklist, a very private list that most bloggers keep, to remind them who couldn’t be bothered to read their review policy.
I have one.
I know others do too.
You don’t want to get on one of those lists.
The next step, once you’ve found a blogger you love and whose review you would value (because you don’t just send your precious book to everyone ~ it’s pointless), and having read their review policy, you know they are accepting review requests. What now?
First, find out the correct way to contact them. They may have a different email address to send review requests to. Make sure you’re following their preferences. Don’t use Twitter or Facebook direct/private messages. The chances of these being read and responded to are slim.
Second, tell them everything about your book without boring them with an email reminiscent of War and Peace. I, personally, want the following in the first email:
My name! Do not send a generic email without at least adding the blogger’s name at the start.
Name of book.
Blurb (in the email please, not a link to Amazon or your website).
When you want it reviewing by.
Is the review for a blog tour you are organising?
The formats you can send it in.
Is it your debut? Part of a series? Standalone?
Not your CV or life story – bullet points will do.
If they are interested after this, they will email you back.
Bloggers don’t have time for twenty emails back and forth to get all the information needed, so please, give us it all straight away so we can make an informed decision. Imagine you’re on Dragon’s Den … You have one minute (probably less to be honest) to grab our attention and make us mark your book as one we want to read and review.
It may not be immediately, it may not be that week but if an email has grabbed my attention, it will get a response.
This is where authors perhaps need a little understanding that bloggers do this for love.
They don’t get paid.
They have lives away from the blogging world: husbands, wives, children, pets, jobs, all sorts of other things going on in their lives so they simply cannot respond to every email they receive immediately.
If I’ve got two emails, one from an author/publisher I’m already working with and they need a response; and one from someone whose name I don’t recognise and I only have five minutes to read and reply before I have to bathe the kids, the first email will get my attention.
Anyway … Once you’ve emailed, leave it, perhaps follow up a couple of weeks later because yes, things do happen, we may forget to reply, your original email may have gone into the spam folder, blah blah blah.
But don’t pester.
Please don’t hound us, as even if your book sounded brilliant, and we were going to reply and you then send us ten messages a day, you’ll probably end up on the blacklist.
Bloggers are not sat at their laptops, all day every day, waiting for review requests to come rolling in (we wish!) and their blogging email is most probably different to their personal one and therefore emails aren’t always checked immediately.
If you don’t get a response to your second email, scratch that blogger off your list, and move on. They may surprise you with a response in a few weeks, they may not, either way you have kept yourself off the blacklist and saved yourself time not chasing uninterested bloggers.
Don’t be upset, don’t panic and think your book is pants, it’s just not that blogger’s cup of tea. Find someone who will love it.
Don’t send another email telling them to fu*k off either (yes that happens more than you would think!) Sending rude emails telling them how horrible they are for not replying and tagging them in arsy posts on social media is guaranteed to secure your place on our ‘public’ blacklist.
We will warn other bloggers about your behaviour and us bloggers stick together.
Nasty to one, nasty to all.
Hopefully, though, you will have done your research, you will have found the perfect blogger for your book, read their review policy, contacted them in the proper way, and sent them a meaningful email the first time that has grabbed their attention.
They will reply.
They will tell the rest of us about this brilliant book they’ve got to review. You might then end up with several other bloggers prepared to review your book. But, if for whatever reason your book isn’t of interest to them, they may know someone who will be and, due to how lovely and upfront you have been, they may mention you to them.
The possibilities are endless when that first contact is done properly.
Authors, particularly those who are doing this kind of thing for the first time, please take note, every blogger will be different but with this bit of advice you may just stand out in a very long list of emails.
And most importantly, read their review policy.
Once you have made contact, and the blogger has responded, if they are interested in your book, you’ll most probably agree a date for them to review the book by. Ninety-nine point nine per cent of these agreed dates will be met but please take into account the points above; life happens, and the review may be delayed for a whole host of reasons. Most bloggers will share their review on social media and tag you in it, but some don’t, some won’t have a chance to do that every time, and some don’t do that at all. All bloggers are different.
If the date has passed, wait. Check the blog and search for your book a couple of weeks later and if it still the review isn’t up, get in touch with the blogger. A polite update request isn’t uncalled for at this stage as long as you keep it polite. Don’t go in all gung-ho demanding that they review it immediately and accusing them of stealing your book under false pretences (yes, I’ve seen this done!)
Just check in with them, ask if they’re OK, find out if they’ve read the book but didn’t like it – it may well be that they don’t review books they didn’t enjoy or finish. Whatever the reason, don’t be scared to ask if a date was agreed and it has now passed – not the day after, unless it was a blog tour please.
Here’s a list of some of the best book bloggers I know, in no particular order. If you decide to contact one of these bloggers, CLICK ON THEIR LINK AND READ THEIR REVIEW POLICY BEFORE YOU MAKE CONTACT.
Although these bloggers have all agreed to be listed here, they are under NO obligation to respond to your email or to review your book.
Feel free to mention that you found them via Creating Perfection as although this won’t result in preferential treatment, it might help break the ice a little.