They’re front-row fixtures in the fashion world, invited to super-exclusive product unveilings in technology, and key influencers in just about every industry and topic imaginable. They’re bloggers, and you’d be unwise to forget them when looking to get some buzz for your book.
National magazines and newspapers will always be important, but they’re not the be-all-end-all of promotion as they were even fifteen years ago. Armed with laptops, opinions and high-speed Internet connections, the battalions of book bloggers that exist today are powerful, selective, and savvy and can easily make–or break–a new author.
Here are six tips to keep in mind when looking to get some buzz from the bloggers:
1) Know Who You’re Pitching – This one may seem straightforward, but it’s number one for a reason. You’ll instantly set yourself apart from 90% of the other authors looking to get blog coverage by taking time to personalize your pitch to the blogger you’re targeting and their interests. Got a great romance read? It’s probably not the best idea to firing off mass emails to sci-fi sites (and vice versa). Take a deep breath, spend a few minutes longer, and always address the blogger by name.
2) You Get What You Give – At the end of the day, a blog is ultimately only as good as its readers. So offer them something that will make their constituents happy: free stuff. In exchange for a handful of e-book giveaways (which, let’s be honest, won’t cost you a cent), you’ll have several strong placements for the book online and in front of your target market. And hey, you might even make some new fans in the process!
3) Be Specific – While many book blogs cover a wide range of genres, why not establish yourself in your niche before going up against the big, bad world of general interest? One of the greatest things about the information age is that it’s democratic, whether your book is a post-apocalyptic black comedy or a straightforward paranormal romance title, you can bet your bottom dollar that there’s a blog out there that covers it and only it. Transcend general and hone in on your audience. Quality, not quantity.
4) Do It Like A Rock Star and Go on Tour – Take a page from the book of musicians and go on tour! ‘Blog tours’ are all the rage, and with good reason. Community is an important aspect of the book blog world, and ‘touring’ – a specific type of online publicity wherein you designate a start and end date for blog promotion, and give participating blogs coverage exclusivity on their chosen date. Blog tours can be a great way to not only engage the community at large, but to drum up lots of publicity within a very short period of time.
5) Interview Yourself – Save everyone some time and draft up a mock Q&A with yourself that you can offer up to bloggers can run as is. Many blogs are content-driven, and many readers want to know more about you, the author! Be funny, be serious, be worldly or fresh-faced – whatever persona choose, have fun with it! Another option is always to interview your protagonist, which can be great promotion and great fun, especially if they’re a particularly unusual character.
6) R-E-S-P-E-C-T –There are very, very few bloggers out there for whom online book reviewing is their full-time job. If they don’t get back to you immediately, or decline on reviewing your book because they’re simply too swamped with other titles they’ve promised to review, don’t take it personally. Bloggers are often doing this for free, and have the right to be discerning. Where there are submission guidelines, read them, when a blogger says no, listen the first time, and never fail to be respectful and gracious. Not only is it basic human courtesy, it’s also better safe than sorry: many a reviewer has gone from blogspot to publishing industry bigwig.
Bonus tip: When a blog does cover your book, return the favor and use your website and social media channels to point your fans and followers in their direction. Linking media coverage is not only a great look for you and your book, there isn’t a blogger out there that doesn’t appreciate a trackback or two!
Sarah Miniaci is a Sales Associate & Publicist at Smith Publicity, Inc. Beginning in 1997, Smith Publicity is one of the world’s leading promotional firms, specializing in book publicity. Fueled by a passion for making good things happen for clients, the company has worked with over 900 individuals and companies–from authors and entrepreneurs to publicly-held companies and businesses representing a wide range of industries. The Smith Publicity reach is international with offices in New Jersey, New York City, Los Angeles, and London. For more information about Smith Publicity, Inc., please visit www.smithpublicity.com.