Category Archives: Writing

My Top Five Tips when asking bloggers to review your book

Most authors know that approaching bloggers to review their new book is a great way to drum up some free publicity that gives their book a word-of-mouth popularity, but when it comes to approaching blog authors, their emails can be very hit and miss. Based on the emails I receive every day, here are my top five tips to help authors with traditional presses and self-published authors achieve a higher response rate when approaching bloggers about their books.

 

Tip Number 1 – Check the blog’s reviewing policy

I wrote my reviewing policy so that anyone who asks me to review their book knows exactly what to expect when dealing with me – I don’t do paid reviews, I won’t mince my words, I don’t guarantee a review for books that were just blah  and I don’t review self-published novels. I’d say roughly half of the emails I receive asking me to review books are from self-published authors who haven’t spent the time familiarizing themselves with my reviewing policy beyond lifting my email address from it. If their book looks interesting and I know of another blogger who would review, I will try to link them up, but more often than not I have to delete their email without replying.

 

Tip Number 2 – Personalize your emails

No address is just rude, Dear Blogger is a bit annoying. If you’re taking the time to email bloggers, don’t send a clearly mass email in the hope that someone is going to commit at least three hours to reading your book and writing a considered review. Dear Book and Biscuit is acceptable, but most bloggers will have their name in their About Me section, and they won’t mind you using it.

 

Tip Number 3 – Build relationships

Bloggers can be really busy people. I work and have a toddler. Lots of other bloggers do too, or have other really time intensive commitments. If I’m pushed for time and declining reviews, I’m far more likely to make time to review a book by an author or publisher I have an existing relationship with. I doubt I’m the only one who feels like this. Rather than cold email a blogger, take your time to get to know their site, engage with it, comment on their blog, chat with them on social media. It will set you apart from authors who have lifted their contact details from a book reviewers list that many bloggers didn’t opt in to.

 

Tip Number 4 – Use your existing networks

If you’ve written a book, there’s a good chance that you’re a reader too. What existing networks do you have that allow you to reach readers that you’ve already built a relationship with? Do any of those blog, or would they be able to recommend interested bloggers who specialise in your genre? It’s worth reaching out with a personalized email to ask for their help or advice. It seems to me that there can be a lot of ego involved when people start out writing, but the authors I admire and who seem to be really successful are genuinely interested in being part of a community with like minded readers. I guess it’s all part of really understanding your target audience.

 

Tip Number 5 – Don’t pay for reviews

I know that it may seem tempting. And I know that there are unscrupulous sites which tout themselves as blogger networks who will take your money to arrange a blog tour or similar. I found this out when I provided an honest review after another blogger had begged me to as a favour, and the author became very upset because she had paid the other blogger (without my knowledge) and assumed that she had bought a positive review from me. It caused a lot of bad feeling all round. If you put in the work making yourself a part of a reading and writing community, you won’t have to pay for reviews, and you’ll build a more engaged following for it.

 

Fellow bloggers, is there anything else you’d add to this? Authors, what’s worked well in your experience?

Oh hello, sexy typewriter


This reconditioned Imperial 1950’s Typewriter is one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen. If I won the lottery I would invite it to join me in my life. Unfortunately I would need to win the lottery, so I’ll just have to stick to cute typewriter stationary like this notebook and these book-plates.

Ah, typewriter porn.

Bowing Out of NaNoWriMo 2012

I’d planned to try NaNoWriMo this year, but my computer had other ideas, breaking down to a blue screen every time I tried to save anything. Tech support (boyfriend) diagnosed conflicting driver problems, so the whole thing had to be backed up, wiped and reformatted. This took me up to November 7th, and with a week-long residential training course next week and a commissioning trip to Scotland the week after, you can see that 50,000 words would be even more of a challenge than normal.

I am a little disappointed, but would have been a lot more so had it not been for Scarlett Thomas’ Monkeys with Typewriters which advocates a more laid back approach (1000-2000 words per weekend starting out) which is something I could roll with.  Even so, I think that NaNoWriMo is a really cool thing to do, so I’m hoping to take part in the 2013 event.

Next time, I’ll keep my schedule clear and have my laptop in peak condition.

Best of luck to those NaNoWriMoing (or whatever the technical term is!) if you’re taking a break to go blogging, let me know how you’re getting along.

NaNoWriMo

I’ve heard about NaNoWriMo and always been tempted to have a go at it, but decided that I didn’t have time. However after reading about it on mattdantodd.com I decided that I would have a go. I have signed up on the National Novel Writing Month website, even though I’m in the UK there is a group for my local area.

Now that I am signed up, I am recruiting writing buddies. So, how about it? Join me at NaNoWriMo and add bookandbiscuit as your writing buddy.

Pleeeeease?!