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Meghan Ward

I'm a freelance writer and book editor represented by Andy Ross of the Andy Ross Literary Agency. You can read an excerpt of my memoir, Paris On Less Than $10,000 A Day, and visit my website for more info about me.

Book Bloggers: The Secret to Book Marketing Success

Hands

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?

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21 comments to Book Bloggers: The Secret to Book Marketing Success

  • Kristan

    You know, I actually did contact — via "cold" email — a few book bloggers to see if any of them wanted to review TWENTY-SOMEWHERE. Again, all in the name of experimentation and learning.

    I didn't *know* any of them, but I had been following a few of them (as part of We Heart YA) and had commented on some of their posts over a period of time, as you suggest. So even though they didn't know me — because we always comment as WHYA, not individually — they probably recognized me as part of the group.

    Being somewhat familiar with them, I was able to tailor the introduction line of my emails to each one, which is definitely more appealing. (EX: "I see that you liked book X and thought then you might be interested in my ebook…" or "I loved your review of Y! Would you be interested in a free copy of my ebook?" etc.)

    None of them were "mega bloggers" but they were into the genre that I had written (mature YA) and they had a loyal, active following. Also, I gravitated towards those who cross-posted their reviews to GoodReads and Amazon, since that would get me additional attention without any extra work for them.

    • Meghan Ward

      And? And? Did they review your book or interview you about it? Did it help your book sales? According to Amanda Hocking, her sales skyrocketed after she began being reviewed by book bloggers. Here' s one of her many quotes on the subject: "Book bloggers have saved my life. Book bloggers absolutely without a doubt sell books. I can prove it to you. In May, I sold just over 600 books. In June, I sold over 4,000. In May, I had no reviews. In June, book bloggers started reviewing my books."

      • Kristan

        Oh, yeah, probably 1 out of every 4 agreed to read a (free) review copy and blog about it. It did give temporary spikes in sales each time, but nothing major. I'm not sure how much outreach Amanda Hocking did, but I didn't want to spend too much time on it (for various reasons).

        • Meghan Ward

          I think the size of the blogger's audience can make a big difference, and I'm sure Amanda Hocking spent a LOT of time on it. That's my guess.

      • Thanks mam for this awesome post. I start my blog 5 month before and now i need some business guidance and you full fill some of my points really love your way of writing and going to share it on my network

  • annerallen

    Great post Meghan! Very useful links (Although the one to the Blog Rank post seems to be broken) Book Bloggers are some of the most giving, hard-working people around. They deserve our respect and support. They are the new gatekeepers, and our queries need to respect their status, especially when you haven't already built up a rapport with them. I have a post on how to query a book blogger in my archives. http://annerallen.blogspot.com/2012/09/how-to-que… for further info. Thanks for this post!

  • I've considered doing this for some time, but I never seem to make time to find the book bloggers. What I needed was a post with links to a bunch of them. Thanks. It is such an easy thing to do, since us authors generally like books anyway, how hard is it to spend a little time each day reading some blogs about that which we love?

    I try to read 10 blogs per day, as it is, there isn't any reason some of those couldn't be book bloggers. I guess I just needed a kick in the pants. Thanks for that, too.

    • Meghan Ward

      You're already connecting with so many people by reading 10 blogs a day, Brian. And yes, why not make some of those book bloggers? (Even just 10 a week)

  • This is a great article, Meghan. I am far from trying to find someone to review my book, but I like to know what I'll need to do to make my book a success.

    • Meghan Ward

      Christine, Now is the time to start making those book blogger connections, so when your book does come out, they already know who you are.

  • I have not had anything reviewed yet, but I am part of two anthologies and neither of my stories release for a few months. But the publisher I am working with has a massive list of book bloggers they network through, which is how I am finding out about book bloggers. Other ways i am starting to meet book bloggers is through blog tours – although these still escape me I am learning. A few of the authors I know have met book bloggers simply by blog hopping and then commenting as you stated above. This is a confusing world these days.

    • Meghan Ward

      M, I'm glad you mentioned blog tours. I'll write a follow-up post about those. Also, would you be willing to share your list of book bloggers? I'd love to take a look if you'd be willing to email it to me at meghan (at) meghanward (dot) com.

  • andyrossagency

    Great post, Meghan. I'm sending it around to my clients.

    • Meghan Ward

      Thanks, Andy! I'm going to compile my own list of top book bloggers as well because I don't know how up-to-date the lists I linked to are.

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