In this section:
Writing for and getting reviewed by blogs is still one of the best ways to get yourself known, build your platform and reach your potential audience. Especially if you are a non-fiction writer – it should be a no-brainer.
Read a lot of magazines and blogs in your genre and get a strong sense of what is out there and what is successful. Know your market and match your book to bloggers who also serve that market. Seek out the magazines /blogs that will give you the most bang for your buck, which reach the readers who would likely be interested in your book and target those.
Most magazines/blogs will have strict submissions guidelines, which you will need to follow. You may find bloggers use abbreviations for certain genres and categories in their guidelines. We have a list of the most commonly used in Appendices: Common publishing abbreviations.
Some like to be pitched to, others like already-written content. Some have a book review section and accept review copies, though few accept review copies three months after publication. Most want their articles to be written in a specific way.
When pitching for reviews, publications ask for all sorts of different information so draft a letter which includes it all, and cut and paste.
This would include:
Offer the option of sending a printed copy or a PDF.
It can sometimes be helpful to include the first chapter in your email (not the last chapter – you don't want a "spoiler" – and don't send the email with attachments).
If you give them what they want, and approach the process positively, you can develop valuable relationships. However, it is highly unlikely that you will be paid, though with social media, and the right article at the right time, there is the chance of significantly expanding your audience.
When pitching, always think about what would interest the editor and what would engage their readers, and not what is of interest to you (i.e. telling people to buy your book).
The trick is to produce a piece that can mention your book in passing, or in your bio, but also satisfy the blog/magazine and their editorial agenda.
Start your pitching to magazines and blogs early on in the publishing process. If you are using this to specifically promote your book, please wait until the book is available to pre-order. Six months before publication is advised. This timing does not apply to articles/blogs about you and your work, where you may just mention that a book is forthcoming.
Online reviewers and editors are busy and swamped with requests, many of which are badly thought-through. Assume your reader is in a rush. Get to the point quickly, and say it in the fewest possible words,
Don't expect everyone you contact to write back. The response rates can sometimes be as low as 2 to 3 percent. But however many replies you get, don't be disheartened – it's massively competitive out there – keep going and don't give up.
We have many bloggers in our Contacts Database. Your publicist will contact those applicable to your book in their initial approach with a targeted email for a review or guest blog article/interview. Some publicists have built up relationships with certain bloggers to the point that they can send through extracted articles that suit the subject and style of the blog and the contact will automatically place the article for us, and share them to social media.
You can search for blogs by filtering your search by Type: Blog site.
Look at the contact's Marketing History to see how many books they have reviewed through our PR.
If you find a blogger that we do not have on our Contacts, please do add them. When we add bloggers to the database, we try to ensure that they are current, blog regularly and have a reasonable-sized audience.
If you're adding a new blogger/reviewer, enter her/him as an Organization rather than an Individual.
Copy and paste the relevant sentences on what the reviewer is looking for into Description rather than Notes – it's then quicker for future users to see whether the contact is relevant or not.
Checking on duplicates can take the computer a couple of minutes in some areas, so please be patient. More on Contacts in CHAPTER 11: THE CONTACTS DATABASE.
Blog tours are when a number of blogs feature reviews, articles, author spotlights and giveaways, featuring your book. These tours can last for a few days or weeks and are best-timed on and after your publication date. They can be combined with other promotional incentives, such as an ebook special price-drop for a set period. They provide an author with links and items for their social media, help spread the word, and show that their book is getting exposure.
If you'd like to organize one, it is imperative that you link all the elements together.
Some savvy bloggers have got themselves together in certain genres and now offer such tours for a price to authors. To pay for such a service necessitates caution and research on behalf of the author. You want to ensure that the bloggers involved have a decent audience.
We have a whole chapter on blog tours here.
You don't just have to publish on other people's websites. You can publish on your own, too.
Write an engaging blog once a week for the next nine weeks with enough hook to make a potential reader click the buy link and aim to reach somewhere between 10K and 25K (more if you can) reads per blog. If you achieve this you will have a very successful book launch.
Imagine... if you could reach 1 million people over the next two months with engaging blogs... the impact that would have on the book!!