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How To Get Bloggers To Review Your Work - Without Having To Beg or Bribe

Asking bloggers to review your book may seem like it would take a lot of time and effort, but reviews are a very important marketing tool. Up to 80% of all online consumers will read a review of a product before they buy it, and book readers are no exception. Many readers will frequently check in on their favorite blogs to see which books are recommended for the week. The more good reviews you have, the better your book will sell.

Here's a list of 16 steps you can take to get bloggers to review your work

Compile a List of Bloggers To Contact

1. Create a spreadsheet (or download our sample spreadsheet here) for bloggers you are planning to contact. Add columns to include relevant information you would like to keep. For instance, the names of similar books they have reviewed, links to their social media pages and data on their reach. Also create columns to mark the dates you have sent your book and follow up emails. (more on this later).

2. Research other books similar to yours and see who reviewed them. Look at Amazon or Goodreads to see which books do well in your genre. Click the rating details to see the reviewers’ names and go to their profiles. Some of them list links to their websites or other contact details here. Google the book’s title to see which blogs it features on and add those bloggers to your list as well. You could also just Google to see if other authors already published lists of blogs that cover your genre, like this list for Young Adult blogs.

Don't bother listing reviewers outside of your genre - an uninterested reviewer is not going to leave a good or helpful review.

3. Check every reviewer's requirements - some say outright they don't respond to pitches, others don't review e-books at all, others charge money to do a review. Most bloggers have a “review policy” link in their blog’s navigation bar, simply click here to get this information.

4. Check the reviewer's influence Popular sites will give you a better reach, but may be hard to get reviews from, while smaller blogs with little interaction will not give you enough exposure. Here's what to look for:

  • Check the site's Alexa Rank to get a rough indication of how much traffic it gets (lower numbers are better).

  • Check the number of followers the blogger has on social media.

  • Check the amount of comments and shares for every post.

4. Look at the blogger's reviewing style - how helpful are the reviews? How positive is the reviewer? Does he/she "get" the plot of novels similar to yours? How fond is the reviewer of nitpicking?

5. Look at turnaround times - How often does the blogger post new reviews? If the blog only gets updated once a week (or worse, hasn’t been updated for months) chances are that you will wait a long time to get a review from this blogger - if at all.

6. Cultivate relationships with the bloggers you have identified. Comment on their blogs, read their reviews and communicate with them on social media. Don’t spam them with mentions about your book, this is what your email pitch is for. If you interest them as a person, they will be interested in your book.

Create a Marketing Kit

7. Have your book ready in PDF format. Be sure to include a high quality image of the cover if it is not already part of the document. Make it at least 1400 pixels wide so it displays well on the blogger’s screen. Images have a higher impact than the written word.

8. Write a short summary about your book. Be creative and make it interesting, but keep it under 200 words if you can.

9. Get a good, professional portrait photo of yourself that would be suitable for reviewers to post with the review. A studio portrait shot would work best, wearing semi-formal clothing. It should be around 700 pixels wide.

10. Write a very short author bio to include with the review. This should only be two or three sentences (less than 100 words). This is particularly relevant if you are a nonfiction author.

Submit Your Pitch

11. Follow each reviewer's submission instructions exactly - some bloggers insist that you use the contact form on their blogs. Some just want you to send the book, many will ask for a query first.

12. Personalize your email - Address your email to a specific person, by first name. Include references to reviews the blogger wrote about books similar to yours and why you enjoyed reading them. Here is an example of what a pitch letter could look like:

Hi First Name

I recently discovered your blog, Blog's Name and just loved your review of (mention one or two books in your genre). I think your take on (mention something memorable from the book) is spot-on. Add another 2 or 3 sentences that relate directly to things you discover in the blog or author bio.

I would be thrilled if you could also have a look at my upcoming novel, Novel Name. Its eBook release is scheduled for March 23 and the paperback releases in April 22. If you are interested, I would gladly give you a copy via the eBook platform of your choice (provide options)

I have followed you on Twitter and Facebook, which should make it easy to get in touch.

If you are also running an online launch or promotional event, be sure to include more information.

Thanks for your consideration. I hope to hear from you soon.

Your Name

Summary of Novel Name (Sample, The Girl On The Train)

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

Read the first chapter online: link

13. Be polite - Emphasize that you understand the blogger is not obligated to review your book and that you know how time and effort go into reading the book and writing a review.

14. Offer your book in different formats. If you have the book in print, ask the reviewer whether she would prefer a digital or printed copy.

15. Do a spelling and grammar check of your pitch - You can’t be selling yourself as an author and send out emails containing spelling or grammatical errors. Don’t rely on Microsoft’s spell checkers to detect all mistakes, rather make use of a service like Grammarly if you want to be more thorough.

Follow up

16. Wait a couple of weeks before you send a follow up email to enquire whether the blogger still intends to write the review. Be polite, not pushy.

17. Thank the blogger once the review is up, regardless of whether you feel that it was a fair review or not. It is common courtesy and it shows that you appreciate the time the blogger spent on reading your book. The blogger is doing you a favor, not the other way round.

The Six Most Important Don'ts

1. Don't put bloggers on a mailing list without their consent. Every email you send to your reviewers should be personalized and authentic so don't send them press releases unless they have indicated they wanted them.

2. Don't ever comment on the review, even if you discover a terrible factual mistake or even to openly thank the reviewer for saying it is the best book ever. Commenting will just make you look overbearing or petty and can deter potential readers.

3. Don't expect any guarantees - some bloggers just don't get to reading all the books they receive. Don't see the fact that a blogger accepted your review as a guarantee of getting any feedback.

4. Don't ask for a positive review or try to bribe the reviewer - if you want readers to believe a review is authentic, do not try to influence the outcome.

5. Don't pester reviewers who declined your book - if your book is declined, remain on good terms with the blogger and thank her for responding. She may change her mind in the future.

6. Don’t expect an answer to your pitch - some reviewers just don't have the time to respond to all queries. They often only reply if they are interested in reviewing the book. If you don't get any response, take it as a no and move on to the next one. It's a numbers game and you will only convert so many leads to actual reviews.

What To Do With The Review Once It Is Up

Once the review is up, you shouldn’t only thank the blogger, but be sure to share it on all of your social media networks. Fans may also decide to share, or just reading the review may convince followers who haven’t yet bought the book, to do so. For the same reason, you could announce the review in your newsletter and add a link to it.

Scan the review for good quotes. You can share them on multiple places, such as:

  • Your website

  • Any marketing material

  • In your book blurb

  • On the back cover of your book

A good review can still work for you years after your book was published, so don’t ever give up on your efforts to approach bloggers to review your work.

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