If you want to become a self-published author, your largest hurdle (other than finishing your book) is promotion. The bulk of your readership will no doubt come from the internet, which is a tremendous market to cover.
That can seem overwhelming, but don’t worry: there are ways to reach your target audience and distinguish yourself from the crowd. One of them is through bloggers.
Don’t underestimate the power of bloggers in ebook promotion.
It’s safe to say bloggers might be among the most important assets you have in your marketing toolkit. They’ll publish a review of your book and broadcast it to their followers, expanding your market reach in ways you could never do alone.
They’ll also provide those crucial first reviews, which you’ll need before you can even begin thinking about listing your book in the big e-publishing markets like Amazon.
But how exactly to go about getting bloggers to review your books? There are a few simple rules to follow, and the rest is just good old-fashioned perseverance.
Before you start issuing review requests, however, read this next section carefully. It shows you how to find the right bloggers, whose followers would be especially interested in reading your book.
What to look for in a blogger-reviewer
The trick is finding the bloggers whose audience matches your own. The expanse of the internet may seem too huge to handle, but the good thing is: it’s large but it’s also capable of incredible specificity.
In fact, when searching for bloggers to review your book, you should feel free to go beyond broad book genres and go for niches instead. Tailor your efforts to your book’s niche category and you’ll see better results. For example, “Young Adult” is a very broad genre. So is “fiction”. For something more niche, try “Young Adult Disaster Fiction”. If that describes your book, and there are bloggers out there with the same area of interest, you might have made a match made in heaven!
Finding bloggers in your niche isn’t only a good idea, it’s required. Approaching bloggers who don’t review your type of book is a dead end, not to mention very annoying for that blogger. Before making a review request, read the blogger’s review policy. If they don’t have one, you can figure it out by browsing his or her review history.
Here are 3 ways to find bloggers in your niche.
- Do an internet search. Your best friend at this point is the search engine. Type in your niche genre + “blog” and start digging around. This is definitely time-consuming but you’ll dig up some gems if you stick with it. Find a few, and start building your list of potential blogger-reviewers. One essential tip here is to use the “blogroll” feature that’s found on most blogs. It’s a list of other related blogs, with links to them. This is how these bloggers form their networks: by helping one another and sharing links. For you, it’s an instant web of potential reviewers.
- Use Twitter.If you have a Twitter account and you haven’t built it up, start doing so now. Once you have a few thousand followers, your tweets may get noticed by enough people so that you can connect with potential review bloggers (or better yet: customers!). If your book sounds interesting, people may even ask you for a review copy! Granted, building up your Twitter account takes time and effort so this tip works best for people who have already done this. By the way, all this applies to other social media platforms as well.
- Consider Reddit. If you’re an expert in a highly specific niche, chances are there’s a thread for you. Become part of that community, interact, and you may get some like-minded bloggers on there who will review your book very willingly, given you’re both interested in the same ultra-niche topic.
How to make a review request.
Probably the biggest mistake you can make is to send a generic request that’s impersonal and unmemorable. You are asking a busy blogger to read your book, so it makes sense to craft a request that not only catches the eye, but also stands out from the rest.
In other words, think of your review request as an advertisement for your ebook. The aim here is to entice the blogger to want to review your book!
You should compose a letter that includes the following items:
- Explain how you found the blogger.
- Tell why you contacted the blogger (i.e. “you’re a fan of ***” and “I’ve written a book about ***”)
- Ask politely if they’d like to take a look at your book.
- If you can, offer something in return, like a guest blog post (see below*).
- A Thank You
- A summary of your book.
- Links to where the blogger can read an excerpt or a chapter, if you have a website. Some authors even create a promotional video and post it on YouTube
Offer to do a guest post
Like you, bloggers are busy people so they often welcome guest bloggers on their sites. Offer to do a guest post (let them choose the topic, just to be nice), and either make it clear you’d like a review in return, or hit them up later once they’ve gotten to know you as a guest blogger.
Either way, it’s about forming a professional relationship, with an end result that’s mutually beneficial. In fact, that pretty much sums up what you’re trying to do here no matter which technique you try. Marketing on the internet is about forming relationships, remember. By the way, this is a good reminder to get those social media accounts up and running!
Good luck with your review requests, and feel free to let me know how it goes in the comments below.