Jen runs the successful book blog Devourer of Books, which was recently voted ‘Best Eclectic Book Blog’ during Book Blogger Appreciation Week and is the host of the Debutante Ball Reading Challenge. She is also the proprietor of Booklicity, a company dedicated to providing targeted blog publicity for books and authors.
We’re delighted to have Jen join us to give us her worst (and best!) advice on reaching out to book bloggers!
The Worst Advice for Working With Book Bloggers
I have been blogging about books since February of 2008. In those days, we spent our time writing about what we were reading primarily because the people in our real lives were sick of hearing about books all the time, and we thought that the internet might care. Or maybe that was just me. Since then, book bloggers have become one of the go-to marketing venues for authors and publishers. Between the fact that it doesn’t cost more than sending out a review copy – and maybe sponsoring the odd giveaway – and the fact that more and more people are looking for information about pretty much everything online these days, we seem like a logical choice.
However, it seems that some author and publicists, both some independent publicists and a few who shall remain nameless from publishing houses, have been taking the absolute worst advice for working with book bloggers. For example:
Send out any pitch to any blogger you happen to know of. Don’t bother looking at their site or reading their review policy first to see if the book is a good fit: After all, they all read books, right? So they should be THRILLED to read your book, even though it is self-help and they only read literary fiction, or it is women’s fiction and they prefer narrative nonfiction.
Assume the blogger can drop everything to read and review your book by the release date, even though that’s only two weeks away and you haven’t even sent them a copy yet: Sure, most bloggers have families they want to spend and jobs that are actually paying the bills, since most blogging is unpaid and even those who make money through advertising and affiliate links generally don’t make enough to live on. And yes, they also probably have large stacks of books that were sent to them for review, in addition to library books and their personal TBR books that they want to read. That’s no reason, however, that they can’t ignore their kids, take a sick day, bump back other reviewing commitments, or stay up all night to get YOUR book. Lead times, schmead times.
Fail to treat bloggers like professionals: Yes, they’re giving you their support and exposure on their blogs just because they love books so much and for a very minimal output on your part – or sometimes for none at all when they review books they have purchased or borrowed from the library – but that doesn’t mean that they deserve your respect.
Luckily, the majority of authors are gracious, and many publicists are a joy to work with. Others are still learning but trying their best. It is a whole new world, however, and one that can take more time to learn than many people have the time or inclination for, whether it is because they are trying to promote their current book while editing the next one, or because they have more books to promote than they can give full attention to.
This is why my best advice for working with book bloggers is to hire a book blogger-owned business to do the work for you. We know how to address bloggers, we know the community and who best fits which books, and what kind of lead time is required, all of which helps your book be accepted for review by the best-fitting bloggers. I would feel comfortable recommending any of the blogger-owned businesses I know, all are the women who run them are smart, hard-working, and know the blogosphere well. I don’t think you would go wrong with any of them.
That being said, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I think you should check out Booklicity first. I recently launched Booklicity specifically to offer books and authors targeted publicity on book blogs. I love matching books and bloggers; it is like a logic puzzle to figure out whose traffic, audience, schedule, and reading preferences make them the best match for an individual title. I also do some social media coaching for clients who feel the need for it.
If you’re interested, even in just knowing more about Booklicity, shoot me an email. I’d love to talk to you about finding the best book bloggers to review your book!
Jen is one of those amazing people who makes you wonder, ‘How does she do it?’. Mom, book blogger, reader, business owner, and all-around wonderful human being, she’s exactly the kind of person we’re proud to call a Friend of the Debs. Ask about book publicity, book blogging, book reviews, or anything else you’d like in the comments!
And don’t forget to check out Jen’s Debutante Ball Reading Challenge!