We all know it’s necessary for self-published authors to rack up book reviews – hopefully good reviews, and a lot of them – to help sell our titles. The problem, as we’ve discussed before, is that reviews are getting harder to come by, so we need to allocate time to seek out and query book bloggers on a regular basis. And, we need to vet bloggers to maximize that time!
Fortunately, Barb Drozdowich has written six books focused on helping authors. The first, The Author’s Guide to Working With Book Bloggers, recently won a Bronze Global Ebook award. It covers everything an author needs to know before approaching book bloggers for a review and (free!) promotion for their book. Barb has generously shared an excerpt below. Welcome, Barb!
The Book Blogger Platform
If you want book bloggers to promote your book, the blogger must have some sort of an audience to promote it to. As nice as it is to visit with bloggy friends and have a virtual chat, when promoting a book, you want to get as much bang for your buck as you can. Just as authors should be hooked into various social media, so should bloggers if they are going to attract a large audience and therefore promote to as many people as possible.
It is obvious that a book blogger needs a blog, but how do you locate blogs that have a larger audience? What you want to determine is how many hits your review will get when posted on the blog. The most straightforward way to determine this is to ask. Many will use a Feedburner widget that indicates the number of subscribers, and many book bloggers will actually post their stats on their blog.
A low Alexa rating is a gauge of popularity
A quick way to evaluate a blog is to check it out on Alexa, a service that ranks websites. When you look at an Alexa ranking, the closer the number is to 1, the more traffic the site gets. Google’s home page has an Alexa ranking of 1, Facebook has a ranking somewhat higher. Most popular book blogs will have an Alexa ranking somewhere between 250,000 to 600,000. Since I’m certain that more than actual hits are involved in making up an Alexa ranking, there are valid reasons to approach blogs ranking higher or lower than this range. Is their Alexa ranking the end of the story? I don’t think so. You must look at their whole social media package.
Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ are a must
Other than the blog, the book blogger should have a minimum of a healthy Twitter and Facebook following. Look at their Twitter accounts and see if they are active on Twitter – do they do nothing but spam links, or are they interacting? The same on Facebook. Do they just post their feeds to their Facebook page, or are they interacting? Essentially, are they chatting about books? Will they chat about YOUR book?
I have been doing a lot of reading on Google+ lately and I’m becoming increasingly convinced that everyone needs a presence on Google+. It is gaining in popularity and I think you’ll be hearing more and more about Google+ in the near future.
A Pinterest presence is cool
Book bloggers are often active on Pinterest. There’s nothing like having your book cover posted on someone’s Pin board for everyone to see, especially if it has the comment “Great book” or “Excellent Read.” Goodreads and Shelfari are also popular with book bloggers, with some preferring one over the other. Is the book blogger active on Amazon? Goodreads and Amazon are important places for reviews to be posted and book bloggers often link to these pages. Many of Amazon’s top reviewers are also book bloggers. If they are an Amazon Top Reviewer, they are proud of this and often advertise it on their blog.
Is the blogger a member of Triberr?
Many book bloggers are on Triberr, a site where bloggers can join a “tribe” of like-minded individuals. It is called a “reach multiplier.” This site gives members the ability to tweet and otherwise promote each others’ blog posts. This is a cool creation that expands the reach of the blogger by huge proportions. Tweets are sent out in a measured separation that is determined by the blogger. Tribes that are huge will have tweets appearing days after the original post. This, of course, means that you could have visitors to your feature days after it originally went up. Because of this and as a general practice, you should subscribe to comments on the blog you are being featured on so that you can be notified when a new comment appears.
Search Google for past posts
Lastly, do a Google search. Where do the blogger’s posts end up? Choose one of the blogger’s reviews that have been posted for a bit and Google the author or the name of the book. Ideally, you want a blogger whose posts are popular enough to rank fairly high in a search. Although you want a big promotion for your book, you also want longevity. You want a post that will be found days or even months later when someone is doing a related Google search. Essentially, this will allow you to amass a body of work.
In closing, your time is precious. Reviews and posts written on your book’s behalf by popular bloggers can help sell your titles, but only if the blogger has a presence on social media and is in a position to broadcast that review to a number of people. The information above will help you determine which blogs can do this. To find more book bloggers and reviewers, feel free to visit my book bloggers database. And before you query bloggers, be sure to read 5 Mistakes Authors Make When Approaching Book Bloggers.
About Barb: Social Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught at Colleges and Universities, trained technical personnel in the banking industry and, most recently, used her expertise to help dozens of authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular Romance Book blog, Sugarbeat’s Books. Follow Barb on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+
Readers, do you have questions for Barb about approaching book bloggers, or comments about your experiences? What has worked for you, and what hasn’t? Please leave a comment and share!
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