I recently read an article that attempted to dispel the myth that book bloggers hate authors. As I read the opening sentences, I was shocked – does that really exist? Surely, authors don’t really believe that…do they?
The article was interesting but I couldn’t shake off the remnants of disbelief taking up resident in the back of my mind. Then I had an experience with a blogger that made me think… ah, that’s why. I made an honest mistake as I misread something and contacted in her that didn’t comply with their policies. I promptly apologised and expressed my sympathy – rules are there for reason and it honestly isn’t like me to make such a schoolboy error.
I immediately wondered if I’d managed to tick off anyone else. Of course, my rational mind quickly took over. She didn’t hate me. I was probably the tenth author who had contacted her that day who had misread her submission guidelines.
I brushed myself off and considered my experiences overall with book bloggers and also with tour organisers. I should also mention that I am an author and a tour host – my experience comes from both sides of the equation.
These are the lessons I can share:
1. Before you submit a book for review or ask for support with a promotion, check their site for submission guidelines or policies. Not all will have them. You’re not a mind reader but pay attention to them if they do. If someone says use a form to contact you – use the form. If it’s email, use that. Don’t decide that it would be better to hunt them down on Facebook and try and friend them (yes this has happened to me).
2. Send bloggers materials that are properly formatted. Don’t do anything weird and wonderful with the font or graphics that they’ll have to try and replicate their end. An important thing to note is that WordPress doesn’t like html and will only accept certain code so don’t waste their time or yours setting it up. This also means that it doesn’t allow for Rafflecopter widgets. Send a post in good, old fashioned, word! Make sure it is properly spaced, use headings and so on.
3. Avoid double spacing in a document. They may have to spend a lot of time deleting all the extra spaces to prevent them looking like huge gaps (this applies to some blogs but not others).
4. Send them the right type of blog post and send it on time. Is it a spotlight (book cover, blurb, very short author bio), it is an excerpt (book cover, short blurb, excerpt of around 500 words max) or it is a guest post? I’ve had posts sent to me which are all three, running into three pages of A4, and guest blogs which are like essays. Of course you want to maximise your promo opportunity but trust me on this, very few people are going to get past your 1000 odd words to check out that amusing story about how you were inspired to write, after they’ve already trawled through reams of other stuff. Decide on what you want to achieve and send appropriate materials. You can always do two posts after all. Personally, I think it’s best to have a spotlight as a “warm up” followed by a guest blog or interview at a later date. Winning your audience or building a relationship with a blogger is a marathon not a sprint. Don’t swamp them with things
5. Attach images as jpegs, don’t just paste the picture in the documents you send them. Ensure they are good quality. There are plenty of good apps for smartphones and online apps which will enable you to ensure they are of the best quality. In my opinion, avoid sending the full paperback/Createspace cover – it can look sloppy, like it’s the only thing you can send. A good quality cover image from the front page is much better – 3D images or anything fancier is great too (there are plenty of people on Fiverr who can whizz you up something for next to nothing… remember, you’ll be able to use it for lots of different things in the future!).
6. If a book blogger/reviewer asks for a review copy, ensure you can send one in their preferred format (mobi,epub etc). If in doubt, or you struggle with software conversion, then offer a pdf.
7. Thank them for promoting or reviewing your book via email or the comments section on their blog. The majority of bloggers don’t receive any income from their work. The least they deserve is a thank you. It can be difficult to get around everyone in a timely manner but do try – retweet their promo links etc.
8. Do your share of the leg work in promoting their blog post on your book. Share it on your own blog, Facebook accounts and Twitter. Refer back to the blog and suggest they follow it. 9. Make a note of the bloggers you have worked with and give them first refusal on future reviews or promo opportunities.
10. Pay it forward. If you have a blog, offer a guest spot to other authors, or even to a blogger if they’d like to get some broader exposure.
Helen Treharne is the creator of the developing “Sophie Morgan Vampire Series” as well as short stories and other prose. Helen lives with her husband, three cats, an entrenched tea addiction and an increasing collection of stringed instruments. When she’s not writing she spends her time daytime hours working in communications and volunteers for a feline welfare charity. She also runs a very successful book blog, reviewing and promoting the work of other indie authors. She also can’t stop purchasing stationery. She can be found at here, on her Facebook page and on Twitter