As an author, you already know how important book bloggers can be to the success of your book. If you catch the attention of the right people, your once under-the-radar novel just might skyrocket to the top of the stack. That’s all good and fine, but how exactly do you catch the attention of these literary tastemakers? What do bloggers really want?
We surveyed over 60 bloggers about what makes them tick. Here’s what we learned:
1. Book bloggers want to find great, unique books.
Bloggers are in this game because they love to share books with the rest of the world. They don’t want to share the same book as every other blogger because then they lose out on the excitement of discovering a new title. That said, each book they read comes with the opportunity cost of another book they could be reading, so they want to make sure the books they choose are worth it.
What this means for you: Don’t be afraid to send your book out to each and every blogger you think might be a good fit. Even if their most recent review is Divergent, they are probably still interested in experiencing your awesome, indie story. However, do read their submission policies, and read them closely! If they don’t read your genre, they don’t read your genre.
2. Book bloggers want to help you.
They love to read; they love to share books; they love to help authors find new readers. That’s why they blog. But many of the bloggers we surveyed expressed frustration that authors don’t act professionally, be it from sending rambling rant pitches to not sending a promised book to complaining about a less-than-stellar review after asking for honesty.
What this means for you: Remember that bloggers, like Superman, are doing this because they want to help you. Don’t make them consider not saving Lois Lane! Always be professional and respectful, and the bloggers will want to do more for you. Make sure you send requested materials on time so bloggers can keep to their schedules, and do your part in promoting posts about your book via your own social media accounts.
3. Book bloggers want to read.
Above all, bloggers are in this game because they love to read. The number one wish our surveyed bloggers expressed was to create more time in the day for reading. Many of them are carving their blog around full-time jobs, family responsibilities, and active lives. That is how much they want to read your awesome book.
What this means for you: Keep in mind that every email you send takes away from their reading time. Since you’re probably an avid reader, too, you know that can make a person grouchy. Keep your pitch emails concise and be patient. A follow-up email is fine, but if you don’t hear back after that, it’s time to move on to the next blogger. When interacting with bloggers, share your enthusiasm for stories but remember that they can’t read every book sent to them even though they all really, really want to.
4. Book bloggers want quality.
While indie bloggers love the surprise of discovering hidden gems, they don’t love the surprise of inadequate copy editing and grammatical errors. Books with these problems bog them down and take away from precious reading time (see above).
What this means for you: It’s absolutely imperative to invest in a good copy edit, and the book should be reviewed for errors by more than one set of eyes. Your book is your baby, and you want it to be at its best before you send it out into the world!
Book bloggers want to make a difference in the reading community and they want their voices to be heard, but most of them are doing this in their free time. Approach them with the knowledge that they are there to help you–but that you also need to help them by being timely, professional, and having a great product. After all, creating a successful book is a two-way street!
Katie Flanagan and Rachel Waxman are the co-founders of Story Stork, a newsletter that connects book bloggers with excellent small press and indie authors. Katie and Rachel are both graduates of Northwestern University, and have combined experience in writing, editing, marketing, publicity, and book blogging.