Tips For Vetting A Book Blogger’s Platform

Kindle-glasses-dictionary_OWe 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

The-Authors-guide_OPIf 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.

BarbDrozdowich_OPAbout 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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27 Responses to Tips For Vetting A Book Blogger’s Platform

  1. Barb September 15, 2014 at 1:52 pm #

    Hi Molly!
    Thanks so much for sharing my thoughts on Book Bloggers – a subject near and dear to my heart 🙂 I’m happy to chat with anyone who wants to chat. Please share your thoughts!


    • Molly Greene September 15, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

      Barb, it’s my pleasure, I’m thrilled to have you. Reviews are super important, and as a self-published author I know how challenging it can be to get them, so we appreciate your help!

  2. Helen Hanson September 15, 2014 at 3:30 pm #

    Thanks! It’s a helpful resource for people who view approaching book bloggers as akin to herding cats.

    • Barb September 15, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

      Beautiful analogy Helen! Love it!


    • Molly Greene September 15, 2014 at 3:57 pm #

      Ha ha! Perfect.

  3. A.K. Andrew September 15, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

    Very informative post, and I agree time is precious and when you have a specific goal , even more so. I was late coming to the G+ party, but I agree it’s a good place to be. There’s much more scope to give your opinion and for targeted sharing. Frankly I use it much more than I do my facebook authors page.

    • Barb September 16, 2014 at 5:42 am #

      Hi A.K.
      You are correct with Google+. It does seem to be the place to be. I tend to use Facebook as the place to chat with friends and family. I maintain pages for my blogs and keep them updated, but don’t spend much time there.

      Thanks for stopping by and chatting!

  4. Anne R. Allen September 15, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

    Great advice. It’s good for all bloggers to know their own Alexa and other ratings so they know where they fit in the picture.

    Google Plus has become much more important recently. Like A.K. Andrew, I now use it much more than my FB author page, which FB doesn’t allow anybody to see.

    • Molly Greene September 15, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

      Anne, Barb, Pam, and A.K., I need to get busy on G+!

    • Barb September 16, 2014 at 5:45 am #

      Hi Anne,
      Thanks so much for sharing. You are correct, there are so many details that authors need and often aren’t aware that they need. In my experience, authors are very good at storytelling, but we now expect them to be jacks of all trades – totally unreasonable, but that’s where the industry is at.


  5. Pamela Beason September 15, 2014 at 4:47 pm #

    Another excellent article, Molly and Barb! I always learn so much from your posts. Now I know all about Alexa. And Anne, I use Google +, too. SO much more useful than Facebook, and much easier than Twitter.

    • Barb September 16, 2014 at 5:46 am #

      Hi Pamela,
      I know that I’m supposed to enjoy Twitter, but maybe I’m just too wordy 🙂 I like the ability to say more on Google+. I really like some of the conversations that I get involved in!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Elizabeth Ducie September 15, 2014 at 11:46 pm #

    Great article, many thanks! And yes, Google+ seems to be the next place to be. I’ve been on there for ages, but haven’t managed to work out how to use it yet. Molly, another blog topic for you?

    • Barb September 16, 2014 at 5:47 am #

      Hi Elizabeth!
      Thanks for stopping by! I think Molly should attack Google+ soon 🙂 hehe Making work for you Molly!!


      • Molly Greene September 16, 2014 at 11:45 am #

        Barb, I should know more about it … heading over there now.

    • Molly Greene September 16, 2014 at 7:43 am #

      Ha! Elizabeth, you know me well. I started researching yesterday!

  7. Laura Fredericks September 17, 2014 at 1:43 am #

    Thanks for the information Barb!

    I would add a quick caution that Alexa rankings often don’t tell the whole story, as they are affected by a number of variables that don’t all have to do with popularity. For instance, a webmaster page will get higher up in the rankings than a non-webmaster page. I like to use Alexa coupled with a few other sites like and feedburner to understand the reach of a blog.

    Great tips for all of us, thanks again!

  8. Barb September 17, 2014 at 5:51 am #

    Hi Laura,
    Thanks for dropping by. You are totally correct that Alexa isn’t the end of the story, but it is a good place to start. A lot of the authors that I work with are just beginning and the finer points of judging a website are simply too overwhelming to them at first. I generally start them looking at an Alexa and then searching for a specific post on Google and that will give them a broad stripe look at the blog. At the beginning, authors are just happy to have anyone read their book. While that isn’t a bad thing, they gradually realize that some blogs are more powerful in their reach than others. To really get the word out about their book, they need to reach out to bloggers who have that bigger reach or bigger audience. So much to learn, isn’t there!


  9. Patricia Sands September 17, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

    Barb has a wealth of information to offer that is invaluable to authors! Thanks so much for inviting her to your blog, Molly!

    • Molly Greene September 17, 2014 at 2:22 pm #

      Thanks, Patricia, and the pleasure is all mine!

  10. Zoe Brooks September 21, 2014 at 4:04 am #

    Alexa rank has limited value in my opinion. Whether the blog is targeted at your audience is of more importance. Clearly specialist blogs won’t have as high an Alexa rank, as they won’t have as large a readership but that readership is more likely to buy your books.

    • Barb September 21, 2014 at 12:59 pm #

      Hi Zoe,
      I need to disagree with you. I have a lot of friends in the blog world who write specialist or narrow focus blogs and get thousands of hits each day – many support their families through the money their blog makes – either directly (through the sale of advertising) or indirectly (through the sale of books or other products). Blogging certainly can be a money-maker.

      Is Alexa the be all and end all? Absolutely not! Can it be manipulated? Absolutely! It is a starting point, however. And for those authors looking for somewhere to promote their book, they need a starting point. They then need to learn what they are looking at. I read an article yesterday that says that there are 400,000 blog posts posted every day in North America on WordPress and there are 350,000 comments posted every day on a WordPress blog. Clearly, comments are not as popular as they used to be. Molly enjoys a lot of comments, but not all blogs get the same reaction from their readers. Judging how much reach a blogger has by the number of comments they get may not result in an accurate answer. So…choosing a book blogger based on the number of comments isn’t necessarily helpful.

      I had a quick peek at the Alexa of my most favorite author blog. She has an Alexa of 200K and she has 1450 sites linking back to her blog. If nothing else, that tells you that 1400 other bloggers think highly enough of her to link to her blog 🙂

  11. Man of la Book September 21, 2014 at 4:43 am #

    Great tips. To be highly ranked on Alexa the blogger has to have the Alexa toolbar installed, promote their widget and surf their own website. Also, if others don’t have the Alexa toolbar installed (could be considered spyware since it sends “home” all the sites you surf) those might not count as well.

    • Molly Greene September 21, 2014 at 8:38 am #

      Hey there, Man of la Book! I have to disagree – my blog enjoys a high Alexa rank and I do not have an Alexa toolbar installed on my browser, although I am aware that doing so can help game the system. That “personal” surfing & activity will not, on its own, give any one blog a high ranking without others also visiting your site. 🙂

  12. Kristopher September 21, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

    All great points. I think it is also important to note the non-social media reach of book bloggers. Do they attend a lot of conventions in your genre. Are they moderating panels and participating in other ways. Word-of-mouth is still the strongest way to sell books and often that contact happens in person.

    It basically comes down to the fact that there is no ONE way to determine if a book blogger will benefit your book. It’s the whole picture that tells the story.

  13. Christina Garner September 24, 2014 at 5:33 pm #

    Great insight, thank you! It’s such a time consuming process to find bloggers and pitch them. I respect them all, but the truth is that with how much effort it takes, it is better to target those bloggers who can do my books the most good.

    • Molly Greene September 25, 2014 at 12:05 pm #

      Thanks, Christina. I agree, querying book bloggers is SO tedious that it’s one of my least-favorite self-publishing-related tasks. Unfortunately, reviews are one of the most important elements of book sales and getting on book promo platforms. Argggh! Anything that helps cut the time involved is appreciated – so many thanks to Barb!