Saturday, November 26, 2011

Dear Author: How to Approach Bloggers

Getting review requests has to be one of the most exciting things for any blogger. It means that someone enjoys our blog enough to want to send us their book to read and review. It's a wonderful privilege we bloggers have, and something that should be appreciated immensely.

But, by the same token, the author requesting the review also has to do so in a way that not only appeals to the blogger, but shows that the author actually took the time to investigate the blog they want their book reviewed on.

Blogging takes a lot of time: 1 book can take anywhere from hours to days to read, along with the hours it takes to write reviews and posts, to networking on sites like Twitter and Facebook. All that, plus our lives outside of blogging! Blogging can honestly become like a second job to many of us, so we don't really appreciate it when we get some pretty bogus review requests. Simply saying "Will you please review my book?" is not enough. The easier you make it on us, by including everything we need to know in one email, will greatly increase your chances of getting an acceptance for your request--or in some cases, even just getting a reply back.

You don't want to waste your own time, or the blogger's with requests that either won't be answered, or will be turned down. The best way to avoid that is to:
  1. Look around their blog. First thing's first, get a feel for their blog. If you're book is a steamy adult novel and you see that the most recent posts on a particular blog are all about Middle Grade or YA books, then just click out of their site and move onto a blog that does post about your type of book. The same thing goes for if you have a paranormal novel, but the blog you're looking at mainly reviews historical, then chances are it's not the best fit. PLEASE NOTE, that this is not a sure fire way of knowing whether a blogger will like your book or not. The only way to really know whether the blogger will enjoy your novel is to...
  2. Read the blogger's review policy. ALWAYS. For every single blogger that you contact, ever. This will save you SO MUCH time and trouble, as well as the blogger themselves. Trust me, there is nothing more infuriating then getting a review request for a novel that is so far away from what I stated in the my review policy that it's on another planet. That tells the blogger that you didn't bother taking 5 minutes to read what they do and don't like, and as a result, they will most definitely not review your book.
The email itself is also extremely important in the blogger's decision to accept your novel or not. This is an example of what NOT to send:
Hi,
I would like you to review my new YA novel "BOOK TITLE".

Thanks,
Author
Yes, I have gotten emails like that. Many of them. And to be honest, I don't even reply to those, because it shows me that the author didn't put in any effort.

Things your email should include:
  • Your name
  • Your book's name
  • A picture of the cover, either embedded in the email or attached
  • What genre and age group it's aimed for
  • A summary/synopsis of your book
  • What type of review copy you're willing to provide (ebook, or physical copy)
Things that are not necessary, but could help:
  • If you're willing to do an interview, guest post, or giveaway
  • What other bloggers are saying about it
  • Link to the book's Goodreads page
An example of a good email that will definitely get a reply:
Hi/Hey/Hello {Whatever is your preference, really} *insert blogger's name*,

I would love for you to consider my YA novel "Insert book title here" for review. It's a paranormal romance aimed at a mid-to-late teen audience, and judging my some recent reviews you've done for "Paranormal YA novel #1" and "Paranormal YA novel #2", I think you'll really enjoy my work as well.

Here is a synopsis of "INSERT BOOK TITLE HERE": *This is a book synopsis. Isn't it amazing? Don't you want to read this book so badly now?*

If you're interested, I would be more than happy to send you a paperback copy. I'm aware you have an e-reader as well, so if you'd like an e-book instead, I can provide whatever file type is most compatible.

You can find what other bloggers and reviewers are saying about my book on the Goodreads page. {Insert link to book's Goodreads page}

Thank you for your time, and I hope to hear back from you soon.
All the best,
Author
I'm not saying that this is the magic formula to requesting reviews, or that it's going to work 100% of the time. Everyone is different, and every blogger has different preferences. But something along these lines will absolutely be received more positively by the blogger.

The most important part of all this is to always be polite and friendly, and, if you like, funny! We bloggers love reading emails that aren't just cut and paste, we respond much better to personality and charisma. We're just regular people who love books. Don't be afraid to be funny! :)

Advice from other bloggers:
"Take a look around the blog, see what kind of books the blogger tends to like. If I can see that someone has actually looked at my blog, I'm definitely more interested in hearing their request. Keeping it to the point is good too- if it's paragraphs long, I tend to skim and lose interest. Quick synopsis, links to other reviews (if there are any) are mainly what I'm looking for."
-- @EverAfterEsther on Twitter from Esther's Ever After

"I think the most important thing is to make sure they enjoy your type of book. Making sure your book complies with a review policy isn't enough. If the books fantasy and they mostly review contemp, then maybe it's not the best blog. Aside from that, I think a cheerful e-mail explaining the book is always a good way to go!"
-- @KatelynTorrey on Twitter from Katelyn's Blog

"Don't approach them if you don't really trust them. And that means you should know, to some degree, who you're talking to. You should mention a name, you should actually like/read the blog if you say you do, and know it's something the blogger would read."
--@JulieHeartBooks on Twitter from Bloggers [Heart] Books

"Know the blogger's name and read their review policy! And don't send a general copies letter. Use a template and add details!"
--@RemarkableReads from Jessie's Remarkable Reads

5 comments:

  1. These are good tips! I never include a cover, because I think attachments are scary to receive, but I can definitely see how it would be handy to see the cover alongside the synopsis.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Also when including review requests, i find that if you want to give me an e-copy, please read what format the blogger likes their e-books. That saves a tremendous amount of time....

    Grace
    Livre De Amour-Books of Love Blog

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great post! I completely agree. It really makes a difference when the author/publisher actually takes the time to look at my policy/blog and see what kinds of books I like to read.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Blog tours are a great way to go as well.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think it was SO GREAT that you did this post! I have gotten quite a few of the "I like your blog. Please review my book..." type e-mails lately and I just ended up deleting. I like to think I am not really all that picky but there are definitely some dos and don'ts to requesting reviews!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. I love hearing from you! Please, feel free to comment to your heart's content. :)

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