October 27, 2012

Working with book bloggers

Before publishing In the Hands of Children, I didn't reach out to any book bloggers. I used to think that people wrote book reviews because they bought and read the book and decided to post a review. After all, that's how the reviews on this blog come about. :-)  I didn't know that authors and publishers contacted book bloggers, I didn't know what ARCs were, and I didn't know how many book blogs were out there.

As part of my growth as an author, I learned the role of book bloggers to my writing career. Shortly after releasing In the Hands of Children (still too late, I eventually learned, because I didn't have a "book launch"), I began looking for book blogs and contacting them in the hopes of garnering a review. I don't know what the experience of other authors have been, but I found it to be both frustrating and rewarding.

The frustrating part has been how few reviewers returned my emails. Out of the hundreds of book blogs I visited, I sent emails to about fifty of them or submitted their online forms. Of those, I heard back from less than ten. To date, two have posted reviews.

The rewarding parts of the experience are the interactions I've had with the people who have responded. They've all been very nice, even when they tell me that they'll add my book to their TBR pile and don't know when they will get around to reviewing it. I try to be courteous in return, and I hope that these relationship won't end with this one book review.

When working with book bloggers, I try to follow these principles:
  • Always read their review policy - The reason I filtered down my initial list of hundreds of book blogs to the fifty or so that I contacted was because of their review policy. If a blogger isn't currently accepting review requests, I won't send them one. If they don't review books in my genre or they don't review indie authors, I won't ask them to. After all, if they took the time to write a review policy, I should take the time to read it and honor it.
  • Be polite and helpful - I feel that the book bloggers are doing me a favor, so it's my job to do anything I can to make it easier for them to review my book. That includes making sure I send all the information they're looking for, not pestering them (where's my review? where's my review?),  thanking them for their help, and just being a nice person in general.
  • Keep expectations in check - I went in thinking I'd get a ton of reviews, but I haven't. And I have no idea what kind of reviews I'll get from the bloggers who agreed to read my book. Fortunately, the two who posted reviews of In the Hands of Children liked it, but I'm preparing myself for the nasty review that I'm bound to get one day.

What's been your experience with book bloggers? Or if you're a blogger, what's been your experience working with authors?

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