Book bloggers can be an author’s best friends, but figuring out how to connect with bloggers in your genre can be a bit overwhelming. Is there a strategy to follow? And how can you build relationships with bloggers so that they’ll welcome you back with enthusiasm when your next book is released?
1. The Search
Finding bloggers who aren’t completely overwhelmed by requests for reviews, guest posts, or giveaways can be a challenge. Don’t be afraid to look at bloggers who have a smaller audience — sometimes it’s helpful to start small when you’re just breaking in. And the audience size is only part of the equation — book blogging is its own world, and bloggers are often networked with one another. Establishing a solid relationship with one blogger may open the doors at four or five (or more) other blogs.
As you search for bloggers who write about and review books in your genre, make a spreadsheet for yourself. You can use this to create a list of likely candidates, track your submissions and responses. If you are building a month-long book tour for an upcoming release and are pitching 20-30 blogs, this kind of organization will keep you sane before, during, and after the event.
The trick — as with every marketing strategy authors choose — is to strike a balance between the investment of time and resources and the potential return. Part of finding this balance is to get your objectives clear. Ask yourself…
- Are you looking for advance reviewers for your books?
- Are you wanting to set up a guest blogging routine?
- Are you looking for bloggers willing to host giveaways or other promotional content?
- If you are planning to set up a blog tour, what are you hoping to gain? Are you doing it just because you think that’s what everyone does? Or are you looking to establish relationships that will grow and mature and be a part of your strategy over the long haul?
Being clear about your objectives will help you to narrow your search results effectively and contact those bloggers who have the most to offer.
2. Respect the Guidelines
Just like pitching queries to agents and editors, the fastest way to get yourself blacklisted is to disregard the blogger’s instructions. Read their guidelines carefully and consider if they are the best fit for you. If they aren’t, then don’t waste their time…or yours. Move on to the next candidate on your list.
In addition to understanding what you need to provide the blogger and how they prefer to receive it, guidelines may also give you a sense of how long it might take for the blogger to get back to you. Even if the guidelines don’t state this in so many words, it’s important to understand that many bloggers are overwhelmed with requests. Use patience when waiting to hear back from them. It’s not unlike querying editors of magazines or publishing houses: it takes them a while to wade through the requests. And badgering bloggers with requests for updates is a great way to earn yourself a bad reputation.
3. Write Thank-You Notes
Yes, just like your grandmother taught you, sending a thank-you note is a great way to build a solid foundation for an ongoing business relationship. Everyone likes to be thanked, and few people take the time to do it. A quick note to thank a blogger for their help in putting on your tour or hosting your giveaway can make them feel appreciated. And remember what I always say about the know-like-trust marketing axis? It works here too.
Think about it this way. These bloggers — especially the highly successful ones — often make a living doing what they do. And their long hours and sacrifices often go unsung and under-appreciated. If they are generously giving you their platform, that’s an incredible gesture. Ultimately, they are making a business decision, but the best business partnerships are based on mutual respect and trust. And that little thank you can go a long way to establish respect.
Book bloggers and reviewers are an incredible resource for authors. As you build or revise your marketing strategy, consider where relationships with book bloggers might fit and develop a plan for building your network.