What do you want? Book reviews! How do you get 'em? Book Review Bloggers!
We've already talked about how powerful word of mouth can be with your first readers. Thanks to the power of the internet (all hail the mighty resource) you can create this same buzz virtually with your friendly book blogger.
This can be an easy step in your marketing efforts, but it can also be confusing and unproductive if you aren't doing it right. So here are my best tips for finding and soliciting book bloggers.
1. Be selective in picking bloggers. There are a gazillion book bloggers out there. And while most of them are good intentioned, they are not all created equally. Make sure that you are getting the biggest bang out of your free copies by selecting your bloggers carefully. Make sure you only solicit a blogger whose readership consists of your core audience (Alexa can give you all kinds of information about different sites). Just because someone says they are willing to review a certain type of book doesn't mean they are a match for you. If they mostly review category romance but are willing to review SciFi on occasion, most of their readers are going to be romance readers. They probably aren't interested in your SciFi even if the reviewer is.
Don't just look at the reviewers genre preferences; look at what they post reviews for. Only solicit reviews from bloggers whose core content lines us with your genre. Also, make sure they have a decent readership. A review on a site that only averages 10 hits a day is probably not worth your effort.
Another resource is your local first readers. Ask you new best buds if they have any review blogs they check frequently for new book recommendations. These will definitely be ones you want to check out.
2. Always, ALWAYS, follow submission guidelines for reviewers. This is the same rule to follow when you sent out queries. Not following the rules tells a reviewer you don't respect their time and will probably be difficult to work with . Reviewers get enough requests, they don't have to work with someone they don't want to.
3. When appropriate, be specific in your request. This is just like personalizing a query letter. This says to the reviewer that you understand their readership and tells them why your book will be a good match for their followers.
4. It is okay to follow-up with a reviewer, but don't hound them. They get a lot of requests and your submission doesn't guarantee they will read your book or review it. Remember that they don't work for you and don't "owe" you a review. Daily emails asking when their 5-star review of your book will be posted is a quick way to get yourself rejected. Many of these bloggers have formed a tight community. If you become known as a needy author, it will be even harder for your to get reviews.
5. Identify potential reviewers early so you can become a natural part of their community. If you regularly comment on a blog, this is a great segway into asking for a review. Also, so long as your book meets guidelines, a reviewer is generally going to be more likely to review your book over a stranger's.
6. Use Netgalley, but don't depend on it for your reviews. Most of the time, your publisher will be in charge of posting your book on Netgalley, so check with them first. If this isn't something they do, you can have your book added through services such as http://www.youdopr.com/. Just remember that posting your work on a site like this doesn't replace soliciting reviews from your ideal review blogs.
7. There is no such thing as too many reviews. You are limited only by the number of free copies you have to give away. Most readers need to see or hear about a book several times before they make a commitment to purchase. The more reviews you have out there the better chance you have of getting in front of those readers.
These are my tips for finding reviewers. Share yours in the comments. Today's task: start researching reviewers today. Start by asking your first readers and then hit the web. Try to come up with a base list of 50 reviewers that you can narrow down into the best 20.