Book Promotion: Do This, Not That – June 2019

by | Jun 6, 2019

By Amy Colllins

I recently saw a tweet that made me stop in my tracks. It was from a very popular blogger with a huge following. She said that her main wish was that “authors would stop acting like they ‘deserve’ a review from a blogger.”

A number of other bloggers joined in the conversation online to weigh in.

It was fascinating.

Bloggers everywhere rose up to say that they read for pleasure and that they review to be of service to readers. They do not do it to be of service to authors or to be a free marketing arm for a publisher.

This was the inspiration I needed with this month’s edition of DO THIS NOT THAT.

What I Did

I took the wrong approach with bloggers and reviewers.

Anyone who has been following me or listening to my advice for the last several years know that I am all about “being of service.”

I counsel authors over and over to not approach a librarian or bookseller until they completely understand what that librarian/booksellers goals and needs are. There is no point in reaching out to a store and asking them to stock your book until you know exactly what the store needs from the books that they stock.

What really surprised me as I was reading the reviewer’s tweets and all the follow-up comments was how clearly I have missed the boat at times when approaching them, before I fully understood what they wanted and why they review.

I did not take my own advice!

What I Should Have Done Instead

I can think of many times that I approached bloggers with an offer of a review copy of a book armed only with their first name and a cursory look at their submission guidelines.

I rarely take the time to truly get to know their reviews and their mission. Because of this, I sent books out for review, not realizing many of them write reviews simply for their love of books.

I mistakenly assumed that most bloggers do it as a vocation. But once I looked more carefully at the numbers, I realized that for the vast majority of bloggers, it’s an avocation.

While many bloggers actually review for a living and generate ad revenue as well as other income from their blogs, the majority of literature and fiction review bloggers do it simply for the love of it.

How disheartening it must be to receive a book from an author and then get hassled for their review.

Even worse? What about the readers and the bloggers out there who take the time to write a review and then get called out by the author because it’s not five stars? Or because their honest opinion upset the author?

In the world we live in, many books rise and fall on:

  • reviews
  • endorsements
  • testimonials
  • reader opinion

The currency the publishing industry trades in quite often rests on the back of grassroots opinions and reviews.

When we approach

  • bloggers
  • beta readers
  • reviewers

we need to first get to know them and their

  • goals
  • needs
  • desires

From this point forward, we all need to make sure we approach others for reviews from their point of view… not ours.

What I Will Now Do Going Forward

From this point forward in

  • every review copy I offer
  • every email I send to a blogger
  • every reviewer I approach

I will take the time to find out what makes them tick. I will only offer them the type of books that they clearly love and if they are not a perfect fit, I will move on and keep looking until I find a reviewer or a reader who reads books just like the ones I’m offering.

After that, I’m going to leave the poor things alone and let them read or not read, let them review or not review. That’s between them and their Kindles. I will give each of them all the different ways to reach me and offer the books that I truly believe they will enjoy.

But that is where “The Book Stops.” HERE.
Photo: BigStockPhoto

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  1. Sonia Frontera

    Thanks for the excellent post. Reviewers are doing us writers a kindness and we need to be grateful and make their lives as simple as possible. I find it useful to scour their blogs and look, not only at the genres they list, but at their readership as well, to make sure my book might be useful to the readers. I have gotten favorable responses from the bloggers–but no reviews are in yet. Patience is part of the mix.

  2. carolyn leonard

    Excellent information here. Thank you @Amy collins for this column.

  3. Valentina Cirasola

    Amy, many times I received books from authors I barely knew online. They only wanted a review and did’t even care the books they sent me were of my interest. Often the books weren’t the subjects I read and got ignored.
    I would say, first build a relationship with a person even if it is a virtual relationship, get to know the likes and dislike of that person, participate to dicussions, then ask if it is OK to send a book to review.

  4. Jaq D Hawkins

    It’s important to remember that not only are bloggers people with busy lives, but they are inundated with requests so review guidelines is your starting point! If your genre isn’t their preference, move on.

    Read their about page and say something personal that shows you bothered.

    Never rush them.

    Don’t comment on the review apart from thanking them for their time and effort (unless it’s glowing, then a little gushing is allowed).

    Put yourself in their shoes. Do you want to read something from a genre you don’t enjoy? Do you want to be rushed? Are you going to think well of a book given by someone less than polite and considerate?

    • Mark Schultz

      Excellent advice ad common sense also. Sadly, the latter seems to be in short supply.

  5. Marquita Herald

    Well said, and thank you! I used to mentor firsttime authors on marketing their books (for free) until they began expecting me to do everything for them. I used to be listed as a top reviewer on Amazon and stopped reviewing books all together because I got so tired of the emails I received from people acting like they were doing me a favor by offering their book to me to review. I hope writers and author-wannabes will read and pay attention to your good advice.

  6. Jan McClintock

    Vindication: I review books for the love of it and to be helpful to future readers, and I’ve never made a penny from it. I gave up on reviewing for authors because I received so many offers that didn’t even come close to my requested genres. On my blog, I made it very clear which genres I would be interested in, but the vast majority of the review offers didn’t follow this simple rule.

  7. Bill Peschel

    No wonder reviewers will do it for love, because they can’t make money at it anymore.

    When I was reviewing print books for newspapers, I could at least make a little money by donating them to the local library and writing it off on my taxes. In my prime I was able to write off $5,000 of my income that way. That also encouraged me to write as many reviews as I could.

    Turning to ebooks killed that model. Reviewers online turned to Amazon Associates program until they killed that possibility of making money.

  8. Mark Schultz

    Thanks, Amy, excellent post! I have a list of reviewers and bloggers on my Twitter home page. That might be useful for you and other authors. I will share this widely.


      What is your Twitter Handle? I would love to connect!

      • Mark Schultz

        I am @wordrefiner. I would connect happily with you also.



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