Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram are great for connecting with your friends and your fans, but how can you expand your reach to people who have never heard of you? Self-publishing stars like Amanda Hocking know the secret: book bloggers. Reviews by high-profile book bloggers can make the difference between a flop and a bestseller. But who are the book bloggers, and how can you get them to review your book?
There are lists of the most prominent book bloggers all over the Internet. Here’s a list of the Independent Book Blogger Winners, here’s a list of Top 50 Book Blogs, and here’s another titled Top 50 Books Blogs by Blog Rank, which uses 20 different criteria, including Feedburner membership, unique monthly visitors, and Alexa ranking. Number one on the list is Paulo Coehlo’s blog. Number ten is Bookslut, and number 34 is Buzz, Balls, & Hype. My own blog, Writerland, doesn’t make any of those lists, and I don’t review books on my blog, but I do do author interviews, so authors and publicists occasionally send me press releases for their books. Do I write about them? No. Why not? Because I don’t have time. I have a very limited amount of time to read at all, and I tend to read A) Books I really want to read, like Nell Freudenberger’s The Newlyweds, which I’m reading now, and B) Books written by people I know. Most of the author interviews I do for my blog are with authors who are either friends of mine or whom I’ve met in person. Ben Fountain came to the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto for lunch. Melanie Gideon is a writing colleague of mine at the Grotto. Nathan Bransford is someone whose blog I love and follow.
So how do you get your book reviewed by a book blogger who only reviews the books of people he/she knows? You get to know that book blogger—long before your book comes out.
Start by figuring out with which book bloggers you share common interests and connect with them. Read and comment on their blogs, maybe even send an email (But don’t get offended if they don’t respond. Remember, these are extremely busy people). In your comments on his/her blog, don’t just write “Great post!,” write something insightful that will spark discussion and get the book blogger’s attention. Do this until you’ve developed a rapport with that blogger. Then, when your book comes out, you’ll be sending it to an acquaintance instead of a stranger, greatly increasing your chances of getting reviewed.
Does this mean you should not approach a book blogger if you don’t know him/her personally? Of course not. Most of the book bloggers who reviewed Amanda Hocking’s books were strangers to her. But times have changed since the first self-publishing stars struck Amazon gold. Today, book bloggers are swamped with submissions, and anything you can do to increase your chances of getting noticed will help.
What about you? Who are your favorite high-profile book bloggers? Have you ever had a book reviewed by a book blogger? How did you make contact?