I recently spent a couple weeks doing book review requests with book bloggers. If there's one thing that brings all writers together, it's the fear of self-promotion. Nothing feels more uncomfortable then knocking on someone's door and asking them to read your book. Yet whether you're SP, Indie, or TP, eventually we all have to suck it up and go forth, but before you wade out into these waters, I want to pass on some knowledge I've acquired. Might save you some embarrassment in the long run.
- Be prepared for the "no-replies." I thought I was done with that when I stopped querying agents. Apparently not. Out of the thirty or so book blogger sites I sent emails to, only eight have replied so far. Mind you, out of that eight only one turned me down. So not that bad of odds.
- Like querying agents, know who you're dealing with first. If you write urban fantasy and they say they review fantasy, check out the books they've read. Fantasy has a very wide range of sub-genres and some reviewers might not care for urban fantasy.
- If you've been through the query process, you already know how confusing sending out multiple emails can be. Who did you send requests to? Who replied? Who didn't? Who's not taking any more subs until later? Mind boggling. Keep yourself organized. I have three folders: one for all the requests sent, one for those who reply, and a folder for the ones who are temporarily shut down. Yes, keep an eye on the ones that are currently closed. I'll discuss more about that below.
- Read over their Review Policy ON THEIR WEBPAGE. While I was looking over the list of sites, some stated they accepted self-published novels, but their Review Policy page stated otherwise. Remember, this is like querying. There are rules and you must follow them. You are not the exception to the rule. Not following their instructions will get your email request deleted.
I did come across one site which required you to sign up to their mailing list in order for your book to be reviewed. I didn't submit to that one.
Now, what to do in case they aren't doing reviews?
As I stated above, I kept a list of those who weren't taking book requests at this time. Doesn't mean they won't be doing so in the future, they're just bogged down and need to catch up. Go back and visit these sites once a month, or even twice a month, but DON'T send them emails asking if they're open to submission. If they are, they'll put it on their website.
Many bloggers offer to let you do a guest blog in place of a review. Sure they're not talking about your book, but it's exposure and in the end, that's what you're looking for. The guest blogs I've done have posted my cover art and links to my books, so no matter what, doing a guest post is a win/win situation.
Most importantly, have fun. Yes, promoting your work is a serious business, but try to have some fun too. The more relaxed you are, the easier it is to promote yourself.
Darke Conteur is the author of stories from the darker side of life. Blogs here, Tweets here & plays Facebook games here.