I am now in the purgatory that exists between finishing your novel and the actual publication date. During this time (which is usually a month but can stretch to nearly two months), I don’t like to start on a new novel project. Instead, I spend the time working on the marketing for the book launch. This includes my favorite thing in the world (NOT!) ~ review requests.
As I’m also a book blogger over on my Readsalot blog, I have a decent idea what makes a book blogger agree to review a novel and what makes a book blogger just delete your request without responding. I’ve tried to encompass my experiences as a book blogger into how I write review requests. Here are some of the highlights:
Don’t be boring. If your email is boring, I’m going to assume your novel is as well. Look at my website, my blog, my social media feeds, I’m not a very serious person. Don’t write me a serious email – especially not about a supposedly humorous novel. I am not “Dear Ms. Haggerty”. I’m just plain Dena. I don’t respond well to formal language. Been there, done that.
Be personal. You should ALWAYS address a review request to a person. Yes, this takes time. No, you can’t skip it and just say ‘hi!’. I can spend up to fifteen minutes searching a blog and social media to ensure I have the blogger’s first name correct. If I receive a request that is addressed to “D.E.” instead of Dena, I immediately hit delete. If you can’t take a few minutes to figure out my first name (it’s actually in my email address!), I’m not taking a few hours of my time to read your book. End of discussion.
Don’t use a form request. One of the reasons review requests take me so bloody long is that I tailor each request to the reviewer. Sure, I have the blurb and purchase links ready to go and these don’t change per request. But I change my intro paragraph for each review. Everyone likes to feel they are special – this includes book bloggers.
Find a commonality. One of the best ways to make a review request interesting and personal is to find a commonality with the blogger. Read the about page of the blog, study the reviews she’s written. You are bound to find something you have in common. Use that commonality to appeal to the blogger. Does she also hate step-brother romances? Use that!
Don’t send requests via social media. This is the fastest way to ensure you get blocked from an account. Goodreads discourages this practice to the extent that they will temporarily block your account if you send review requests via private message.
I know what you’re thinking. This approach takes WAY TOO MUCH TIME. Yep, it totally does. I spend an average of thirty minutes per review request. Unfortunately, I can’t say I have a ton of reviews for all my novels. I get lazy after spending a few weeks doing twenty or thirty review requests. It’s not the most exciting part of being an indie author, that’s for sure. With each novel, I promise myself I’ll do my review requests. With each novel, I fail. Which means there’s room for improvement.
How about you? What approach do you find works best to convince book bloggers to review your novel?