This year, I will celebrate my 5th anniversary as a book blogger. In the nearly half a decade that I have been sharing my love of books and helping authors promote their books, I have encountered some really wonderful people and made friends around the world. But there's something that has always bothered me. As an author myself, I know how grueling the marketing/publicity push is before and after a novel is published. I know authors want to share their stories with the world and make money, too. I get it. Unfortunately, amid the stress of promoting a novel, authors sometimes forget their manners. No one is perfect. We all have bad days. But I want to remind authors to always be nice to book bloggers. Book bloggers blog because they love books, not because they make a lot of money from it (if any money at all). They run their blogs with a passion for books and a desire to connect with other people who have the same interests.
Keep these tips in mind when interacting with book bloggers:
1) If you email a book blogger with a review request and the blogger is not able to accommodate your request, thank the blogger anyway for considering your request. That blogger may be able to review your next novel, so you always want to be professional and stay on good terms, even if the blogger is too busy now.
2) If you email a book blogger with a review request and the blogger agrees to review your novel, ask what format the blogger prefers (if it isn't already stated on the blog) and send your book as soon as possible. Remember to thank the blogger for agreeing to read and review your novel. If you both agree on a review date (for a tour or otherwise), then it is okay to send a polite reminder a few days before the scheduled date.
3) Always check a blog for its policies before contacting the blogger. This saves time for both of you. If you are unclear on the policies for reviews/interviews/guest posts/etc and want to send an inquiry, that's fine, but never ask about something that is already clearly stated on the blog. That's frustrating for a blogger and may result in your email being deleted because you can't follow directions.
4) If you email a book blogger and you do not receive a response, move on. Book bloggers get a lot of emails every day, and they can't always respond for various reasons (not interested in your book because it's outside the genres they cover, not accepting any new books to promote, etc.). Don't take it personally. And don't continue to email them with the intention of pestering a response out of them. That's annoying and won't be beneficial for anyone.
This next tip is VERY important. Perhaps the most important of all. Pay close attention.
5) If a blogger posts a review of your novel, ALWAYS THANK THE BLOGGER. I repeat, ALWAYS THANK THE BLOGGER. No matter what the review says, your response is always, "Thank you for reading and reviewing my novel." If you don't like the review, you aren't obligated to tweet or Facebook about it or draw any extra attention to it, but you do need to say thank you to the blogger directly. Reading and reviewing a novel takes a lot of time and effort, and you need to acknowledge that and send your gratitude. Remember that any publicity is good publicity. (See my post on Chick Lit Plus about why negative feedback can actually be good.) If you are happy with the review, then definitely post about it on all your social media accounts. That's a great way to show your appreciation to the blogger.
6) Do your research! Before contacting a book blogger, find out what genres the blogger reads and promotes. Scroll through the blog to see what kinds of posts the blogger writes so that you appear knowledgeable about the content when you approach the blogger. The opposite of what you're trying to accomplish occurs when you send an email telling the blogger you're a huge fan and then say things that make it clear you've never read even one post. Don't offend the blogger. That won't get you anywhere. It's always best to be honest.
Here's another really important one!
7) Always find out the blogger's name and greet the blogger by name in your email! I can't tell you how many times I've received an email that starts with "Dear Blogger." If you want a blogger to take the time to help you, then you need to take the time to learn the name of who you're contacting. I've also gotten emails that start with just, "Dear" and then a space and then a comma like the author was too lazy to fill in a name. Don't do that. It's unprofessional and offensive, and it will get your email instantly deleted by most bloggers. Other generic mass emails start with "Hello!" or "Greetings!" and aren't great either but not quite as bad as "Dear Blogger" or just "Dear." Personalizing the email is always best.
8) If you don't have the time to research blogs and contact bloggers properly, then hire a publicist or a blog tour organizer to contact bloggers on your behalf. But even if you do that, you still need to thank all the bloggers who feature you and your book on their blogs. It doesn't take long to say, "Thank you."