This post was originally posted on Busy Author Marketing.
One of the best ways to market your books at all genres and all audience types is to obtain early reviews. Authors can accomplish this in several ways. Many reach out to their existing reader base via their newsletter or social media to remind them how important reviews can be to boosting an author’s visibility. Others form a street team of readers and send out advance reader copies (ARCs) to collect reviews and promotion in the first few weeks of a book launch. But one solution that more authors should take advantage of is reaching out to book bloggers.
Book blogs are very much still around in the literary world! While many have fallen to the wayside over the last few years, there are still a lot out there that are consistently posting in-depth reviews of books. And not just those that are traditionally published: indie authors’ work has been resurging in popularity for many book bloggers due to an increase in content all over the world and the ability to pin down very specific tropes that readers are interested in. Book blogs have amassed thousands upon thousands of followers over the last decade, and a good number of readers still turn to their favorite reviewers to learn what they should read next.
So, where should you start when you want to find and reach out to book bloggers?
Step 1: Find book blogs that are active and align with your genre.
Step 1 takes the most time out of all of the steps to this process: the research portion. There are several databases out there like The Book Blogger List, The Book Review Directory, and Kindlepreneur’s Ultimate List of the Best Book Review Blogs that can be a fantastic place to start combing through book blogs in various genres. Most databases are organized by genre or audience type to give you a category to start with. While some databases are kept up to date, some are years and years old. You will need to open every link and check the dates of the book blog’s most recent posts. Depending on your genre, this could be a quick process or a very long one.
Step 2: Check the book blog’s review policy.
As you’re checking each website, look for their review policy. Sometimes, this is its own separate page on the blog. Other times, you’ll find it in the “about” or “contact” sections. READ THIS VERY CAREFULLY. If nothing else, you have to read this section word for word. You’re not just looking for the genres that the reviewer enjoys or does not enjoy; you’re also looking for information about what tropes they read most often, the types of books they will not read, the formats they read in, and information about how they wish to be contacted. The more information about your book that you can match to their preferences, the better. Your priority should always be to start with reaching out to book blogs that match your book’s tropes. You are more likely to get a reply than you are for a general genre blog. Also, make sure that they are taking review requests at the present time. This is particularly important for indie authors as several blogs will specifiy whether or not they take indie books and if so, additional information they may want for you.
Step 3: Send your message.
In my experience, the best way to do this is to make yourself a basic template that you can copy and paste into your email or into a blogger’s contact form. You will be and should be modifying it with every single message because bloggers can usually tell if they are getting a form letter. But there are certain elements that you can keep consistent across requests that will save you time. Here’s what you need:
- Greeting and Introduction: Say hello! If the name of the blogger is available, use it. Personalization is always the best choice. In the first paragraph, introduce yourself and what book you are the author of. Include the genre(s) and the publisher name (even if it is your own personal press). Mention how you found their blog, whether it was from a database or somewhere else, and talk about any content of theirs you may have enjoyed. At the end of this paragraph, indicate that you are reaching out to see if the reviewer may be interested in reviewing your book. If there are specific tropes that the reviewer mentions in their review policy that are in your book, mention that here.
- Book Blurb: Copy and paste your book blurb into the next paragraph(s).
- Additional Information: The last paragraph here is for giving the reviewer a sense of what you can offer them and when you need the review by. If you have a specific time frame in mind for something like a book launch, give as wide of a time frame as you can. If not, mention that you are in no rush for a review. Book bloggers are extremely busy, and you are more likely to get a yes if you are flexible on timing. Also, mention which formats you are willing to send, including various ebook formats and/or physical copies. (Refer back to the review policy to make sure your offerings match the reviewer’s desires!).
- Conclusion: Thank the reviewer for taking the time to look over your request, and conclude your message.
Example: Chasing Fae
My name is Cady Hammer, and I am the author of Chasing Fae, a young adult fantasy novel published by New Degree Press. I found your blog while looking for great book blogs for YA reviews, and I have been enjoying your content. I wanted to reach out to you to see if you may be interested in reviewing my debut book.
Grace Richardson is a young mortal woman whose only concerns are providing for her family, playing her violin, and spending as much time as possible with her brother Leo. When Leo goes into service in the Fae’s world as a mercenary, she expects him to return with the honor that he deserves.
When Leo suddenly dies in an unspecified accident, not a word, medal, or penny comes down from the higher ups. Suspecting foul play, Grace disguises herself as a Fae and sneaks into the Upper Realm to get some answers. She anticipated being in way over her head, but the Fae soldier who catches her fleeing an angry bar and discovers her identity only a day in? Not so much.
Now Grace is forced to drag Aiden along as she tries to work out exactly how and why her brother died. Along the way, she has no choice but to confront her prejudices against the Fae as she attempts to sort out the difference between the honest and the dishonest. Political conspiracies, demon realm escapades, and family secrets will all lead Grace to the answers she’s looking for… and some that she isn’t.
I am in no particular rush for a review, so if this book interests you, I could fit anywhere on your schedule. I have ebook copies available in Mobi and ePub formats. If there is any other information you need, please let me know.
Thank you for your consideration. Have a nice day.
Step 4: Wait. Then rinse and repeat.
The final step of the process is to wait. It could take days, weeks, or even months to hear back. In the meantime, continue reaching out to other book blogs, and keep an eye on your inbox. If and when you get a reply, you’ll want to send a quick thank you to a rejection or a review copy right away. Remember: even if a blogger doesn’t like the book you are pitching, they may want to read another that you write down the line. Building relationships is so important in the literary world for both community building and marketing, so don’t let a potential one slip away.