Brilliant Book Bloggers and Where to Find Them
Reviews, publicity, and eager fans clamoring for more: that’s a writer’s dream, and it can all come in a single bundle. A handful of good book bloggers on your side can make all the difference in your book’s success--and it’s all for free. Better yet, book blog tours work whether you’re a writing veteran or just starting out, and they can be a lot of fun.
Who are these fantastic bloggers, and what do they do? Book bloggers are medium to high authority readers who will read your book, write and post an in-depth review, and often hold a celebratory release featuring a giveaway and/or author interview.
A good book blog tour will involve showing up in at least 5-10 of these blogs in quick succession, each one pitching your book to a different subset of voracious readers and allowing you to join in the fun. Even if this is your first release, you can be treated with star quality and have the opportunity to be presented as the author you are.
So where are these bloggers, and how do you get started?
Let’s review the most common ways to encounter book bloggers.
Book Blogger Databases
The first way is the most obvious. There are databases filled with contact information for book bloggers. If you’re just starting to build your network, this might be the fastest and simplest way. It also involves a lot of sorting to figure out who would be interested in your book; so later on, you’ll want to visit the other methods.
The database I used when I organized my first tour was The Book Review Directory, which has a massive list of every kind of book blog you could imagine. If you’re pitching cold like this, prepare to send out at least a few dozen requests before you start getting answers. The work can be well worth it!
If you’re an active reader on social media or have an extensive author network, your network can help connect you directly to bloggers with whom you already have a good connection. This can be an easy way in and give you the additional advantage of knowing that these bloggers are active and out there.
Sites like Goodreads and Librarything are crawling with reviewers and bloggers, many of whom are actively looking for new reads. If you don't already have accounts on popular reading websites, it might be a good idea to start now and get out there. You can find people who like books similar to yours and pitch your book to them directly.
Many of these sites also have benefits for authors who join that may include easy giveaways or events. While that's not a direct part of a book blog tour, it can be a great tool in the long run.
Lastly, you can find some reviewers and book bloggers on Amazon directly. If you go to your comparison titles (books similar to yours that would appeal to the same readership), you can sometimes find social media accounts of people who left the best reviews.
Granted, this is a better technique for getting reviews than landing publicity in book blogs, but it can still work if you want to get some excellent bloggers onto your team!
Ok, you found some bloggers. Now what?
If you meet bloggers on a casual social platform, don’t be too desperate about your book. Keep and maintain a friendly conversation, and then mention that you have a book and ask how they would like it submitted. Keep that conversation brief and to the point. No one wants to hear a sales pitch--even if it’s for a fantastic new read.
Most often, book bloggers accept submissions on their sites or via email. The submission process is comparable to submitting to a literary agent or publisher, and will likely include a pitch and sample of your book. If the bloggers like your initial sample, they’ll ask for a copy of the book itself, and then you’re ready to go.
Follow the guidelines.
Seriously. When you submit a book to a blog or anywhere else, make sure and double-check to see that you are following all the guidelines listed. Not meeting these simple rules can get your submission deleted without bloggers even seeing what you have to offer. It’s an auto-rejection. Some bloggers will insist on using a certain headline and your submission email. Some will request that your manuscript be sent in a proper format or prepared for a certain kind of e-reader. Some will only accept printed manuscripts.
Also, some bloggers need additional time to read. Since these guys get regularly flooded with submissions, be sure to contact them well in advance of when you would like your review.
Bonus tip: Keep track of all your communication with bloggers. When you have a long list you’re pursuing, you want to know who responds to your queries and who doesn’t!
Join in the fun!
When it’s your time to shine on the book review blog, feel free to get involved! Comment on it and share the post in as many places as you can for added publicity. Of course, if the review happens to be on the critical end (as may well happen sooner or later), you can refrain. Often critical reviews are kept to the blog itself and not published to Amazon or other booksellers so as not to damage your reputation as a writer.
Book blog tours can be a lot of fun and give you a substantial boost in your writing career. Give it a try! While you’re at it, share your thoughts in the comments below or join my Facebook group for self-publishing fiction writers. We’d love to have you onboard!