How do you get bloggers to review your novel? That is the magic question. Allow me to discuss the strategies that worked for me and that I believe can work for you.
Speaking as a blogger and a former newspaper reviewer, it’s really annoying when an author sends a form letter seeking a review. It’s also kind of insulting. You want a blogger to spend how many hours reading your book and then writing a review, and the most you can personalize your letter is by adding the person’s name (and not always that)? Oh, no, no, no.
Requesting a review is not unlike querying a literary agent. A certain set of parameters apply to the situation. Well, they do if you want to see results.
#1-How to find book blogs.
If you’re a YA author, your life will be made much easier by the YA Book Blog Directory. If not, that’s okay. Do a search on Google or your favorite social network and try to find a blog that caters specifically to your genre. Most blogs have blogrolls (either a list of links or a cluster of badges that link to other blogs). The blogroll displays blogs that the blog site you are on enjoys—that’s a mouthful! Chances are, the blogs linked in the blogroll will review similar kinds of books. Most blogs have a pretty robust blogroll, which means finding one blog can lead to dozens and dozens of others. It’s a tangled web, but it will get you to your destination.
#2-Approach the right bloggers!
This should go without saying, but, sadly, it doesn’t. Most book blogs have a review policy in place. A little digging through the menu bar or side bar will easily reveal it. If the blogger doesn’t have an explicit review policy, take the time to read through their past book reviews to determine if your book is a good fit for the site. If a blogger says they do not accept your genre, don’t push it. Don’t write a letter that says, “listen, I know you said you hate romance novels, but I think you’ll really love my novel, because… (insert narcissistic idiocy here).” That’s so not cool.
#3-Construct a query letter. Personalize it for each blogger.
Aw, but that seems like a lot of work! It is a lot of work, but again, you’re asking bloggers to spend somewhere in the neighborhood of 10+ hours to read and review your book. You can spend 10 minutes looking around their sites and showing that you care. Really. This is much like querying an agent. You should construct a basic form letter with the relevant information about your book, and then personalize a portion of it. Include the blogger’s name in the title. I even include the blog name in the subject of the email to signal to the blogger skimming his or her email that, yes, this letter was written just for you—it’s not a mass mailing.
I have a template of the letter I sent out to recruit for my tour. It worked very well and may give you some ideas on how to write your own. Click here to see the example.
#4. Follow, follow, follow, follow, follow on social media sites!
Notice how I said “I’m now following you on XYZ sites?” Bloggers often include links to their Facebook, Twitter, and BookDaily accounts on their sites. Whenever I see a link to connect via social media, I do it. I also make it a point to follow any blogs I visit via Google Friend Connect (or G+). This is yet another way to show bloggers that you spent time on them, and as they see your name popping up on their follow and friend lists, that query you sent will become more ingrained in their memory. Besides which, if a blogger is just too busy to feature you or your book now, they’re now connected with you and might (okay, it’s a long shot, but they might) remember the offer and approach you later.
Although contacting bloggers through the above query method is extremely time-consuming, it’s far more effective than recruitment via social media. Why? Because you are specifically targeting bloggers who enjoy your genre!
I’ve had pretty good success recruiting via social media as well, but the bloggers I acquired through that method are not die-hard fans of my genre like the ones I got through the query method. That being said, recruiting through social media is super fast and easy, but… it might not be so fast and easy if you have a small following. Yet another reason to build your social media presence, methinks!
Alright, that’s all I have for you today. I might write a post about organizing your own blog tour, if that’s something you guys want. Just let me know!
Editor's Note: To read Emlyn's full article click here.
About the Author:
Emlyn Chand is the president of Novel Publicity and a YA author. She loves to hear and tell stories and emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). Her first novel Farsighted released in late 2011 and is of the YA genre. Learn more about Emlyn at www.emlynchand.com or by connecting with her on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.