How to Get Your Book Reviewed on a Book Blog
Knowing how to market a book is a must-have skill for authors these days, whether they are self-published or traditionally published. That’s right—even if you sign with a traditional book publisher, it will expect you to do most of the marketing yourself.
One way to grow your readership and sell more books is to tap into the power of book blogs. In fact, this is an excellent way to get more eyes on your upcoming title. Many book bloggers have a strong following, with plenty of voracious readers relying on their reviews to find the next great book to immerse themselves in.
Read on to learn how to find and contact the right book blogger for your book. For other marketing help, check out our marketing package.
How can book bloggers help you as an author?
How can a book blogger help you sell books? The simple answer is exposure. They get your name out there—(hopefully) with an endorsement, no less. All you have to do is contact them, introduce yourself and your book, and ask if you can send them a free copy for them to review.
A book blogger already has a following, so you are getting your work in front of more eyes. The hope is that the blogger likes your book and writes a positive review, spurring their followers (who presumably have a similar taste in reading matter) to purchase a copy. They’ll give the basic setting and the most important elements of the story—much like a book blurb—and share their impression and experience of reading it. Book bloggers often post their reviews on other platforms, such as Goodreads and social media. Thus, one review can go a long way!
On top of that, a blog doesn’t reach only its regular readership. Others could find the review of your book through keyword searches. If, for example, someone types “southern gothic” (or whatever genre your book is) into their browser, they may very well find the post reviewing your book. If the book blogger is raving about your work, this serendipitous discovery may lead to a new sale.
How do you find a book blogger to review your book?
There are countless book blogs out there, and you can’t possibly contact all of their owners—you will run out of free copies of your book at some point. So, how do you choose the right blogs? You’ll have to do a bit of research to find book bloggers who are partial to your genre and are likely to give you a positive review.
Start by running a search for “book blogger” in combination with your book’s genre or subgenre, such as “book blogger cozy mystery” or “book blogger urban fantasy” or whatever keywords describe your book. This will give you a long list to start with. If there aren’t enough hits, your search terms may be too niche—make them a little more general.
Next, go through a sample of a blogger’s reviews to see if their reading tastes align with your book. Check if they only post reviews for books they enjoyed or if they also post scathing reviews. Obviously, working with someone who only posts positive reviews is safer, but positive reviews from book bloggers who also post negative reviews might have more credibility behind them. Before reaching out to anyone from the latter group, examine their blog carefully so you can be confident you’ll end up on the good side.
Once you know the bloggers a bit better, you can whittle down your initial list to one comprising only bloggers you consider a good fit for your book. The length of your final list will depend on how many people you feel you can contact. (Again, keep in mind the number of free book copies you can spare.) There’s no limit, so do what you feel is appropriate for your book and situation.
How do you reach out to a book blogger?
Before contacting any book bloggers, check their website for their review policy so you know how to contact them and what information they want you to include about your book. Failing to follow their guidelines will get you off on the wrong foot.
Many bloggers have a form on their website you can fill out to request a review, but if they don’t, approach this as you would approach a literary agent with a query letter. (By the way, you can have us write your query letter.) In other words, send them information such as a synopsis of your book, its genre, and comparable titles. Keep it as short as possible, relaying only those key points that will pique their interest. Don’t give away the ending—while it’s advisable to do that when reaching out to literary agents since they want to know the ending is good before investing in the book, spoiling it for a book reviewer will suck out much of the enjoyment of reading the story.
Avoid sending book bloggers a generic pitch. Instead, let them know why you chose to approach them. For example, you might mention other books they have reviewed positively that are similar to yours in some way. If you’ve already been following them as a fan, definitely mention it—that’ll set you apart from the crowd and make the blogger more favorable toward you.
Make sure to contact book bloggers well in advance (two or three months before your book is published is advisable) so they have enough time to read it and write a review.
What about negative reviews?
We’ll leave you with one last piece of advice: Prepare to receive negative reviews. Even if you thoroughly research book bloggers to find the “right” ones, there is no guarantee they will all like your book. Just as you need to get used to rejection in the publishing industry, so you need to get used to bad reviews. Even the most critically acclaimed, world-famous authors receive negative reviews, so no one is immune. Just accept any negative reviews with grace. If they’re written respectfully, you may glean some valuable insights you can incorporate into future projects, and if they’re incendiary, the reviewer is likely mean-spirited, and you don’t need to bother yourself with their opinion.
As hard as criticism may be and as scary as contacting reviewers may be, it’s a necessary part of the process, and book blogs can lead to greater sales for your book. Book reviews are one of the most effective ways to market a book, so don’t shy away from soliciting them.
Need more help with sales? Let us put together a marketing package for your book.