How to: Ask Bloggers for Review Requests

I’m about to dive into my third round of book blogger request emails; I had a friend ask me what that entailed as she is getting ready to start her first round. I thought maybe you could benefit from my process as well. This one’s a doozy, so let’s jump right in.

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Blogger review requests are super easy but pretty time consuming because of the work you want to put into it. It’s pretty common sense stuff if you take the time to do it right.

First off, let’s talk about your own database. I use an excel spreadsheet for my contacts. It includes Blog Title, policy review link for quick access, blogger name, their email, what formats they accept, when I contacted them, and the results (yes, no, review link if available).

BLOG TITLE      REVIEW LINK    NAME    EMAIL           FORMAT    CONTACT?     RESULTS?
Liz’s Blog          www.link.com        Liz     liz@email.com    MOBI/PDF   12/10/13         Yes! Review to come

This keeps me organized as well as from contacting the same blogger more than once (seriously, don’t do it. And don’t follow up with 14 emails to them either – if they didn’t respond to your first email, 99% of the time that was their nice way of saying no thanks, ain’t nobody got time for that.)

One really important thing is to make sure the blogger is accepting self-published books, as well as understand the genres they accept. Bloggers get super annoyed at tons of requests for things outside of their list and usually immediately delete it (for example, don’t send a fantasy book to someone who only reads contemporary or ask about erotica when they specifically say they will not read them). They don’t typically make exceptions. It’s a waste of everyone’s time and you’re not hitting your market.

It’s also important to address them by their first name and include their blog title so they know you’ve taken the time to do your research. I typically also follow them on FB and Twitter while I’m researching, sometimes they see my name and remember it later or auto-follow. Never ever request over anything but email. Drives ’em crazy.

I’m specific in my emails and include an intro (who I am, why I’m contacting them), a book synopsis to catch their interest, availability of title, and offer of the book. Sometimes I attach a cover image to get their attention, but who knows how many of them actually look at it. Don’t attach anything else though – only send them the book if they accept the request or want to read a piece of it.

Here’s a sample blogger review request email from GIFTED’s first run:

Hi Katie!

My name is Liz Long and I’ve self-published my urban fantasy book Gifted, A Donovan Circus novel. Unless you don’t love strong chicks, hot boys, or supernatural murder mysteries at the circus, I’d love to be considered for a review on your blog Katie’s World of Books!

(See that opening line? That hooked the majority of bloggers into at least reading the rest of the email. I got so much response from bloggers that began with, “With an opener like that, how could I say no?!” Who doesn’t love any of those three things, provided you’ve done the research and know they love that genre?)

Here’s what Gifted is all about: (you can skip down to the next italics)

Even in a world of freaks, being a Firestarter is considered a dangerous Gift.

Lucy was born with the ability to create and control fire. She longs to leave the human world for one filled with Earthshakers, Transporters, and Chameleons, to name a few. When she rejoins the circus, it’s everything she hoped it could be—new friends, a potential love interest or two, and a place where she can be herself.

When troupe members begin turning up dead, however, Lucy is suspected of foul play. She must not only prove her innocence but also realize the full extent of her power. To find the real murderer, she must uncover the truth behind her father’s fiery legacy while figuring out whom to trust within her new circle. Little does she know the history of the Donovan Circus and its enemies might actually destroy the entire gifted world.

(There’s your synopsis or hook, if you will. Explain what they have to look forward to and get them interested in the book itself. Same as you would expect any book to catch your eye on the shelf, right?) 

The book will be released on May 1st, though I don’t mind if it takes longer to get reviewed! It will be available for purchase in paperback and ebook form at Amazon. I would be happy to gift you a copy for your e-reader or mail you a paperback copy when they become available in a couple weeks, whatever your preference. If you’d simply like to check out the first few chapters to see if they grab your interest, we can do that too!

(I let them know where the book will be available for purchase. I also make sure they know when the book will be released, though I’m laidback about when they can get to it. I’m in no hurry for reviews as I appreciate the time behind every one – and bloggers are busy. They often have huge TBR piles and feel like they have to tell authors “no” if they’re on a time crunch. This way, the blogger doesn’t feel pressured but might still consider at least adding it to their list.

Offer up different options, since many bloggers need different files – epubs for Nooks, mobis for Kindle, PDF for other tablets or on the computer. I don’t give up too many paperbacks since that gets expensive and I need them for signings, but if that’s the only way it’ll work, then I’ll make an exception. Also, I offer up a few chapters so that if they are sort of interested but not completely hooked, it’s no pressure. If they end up not wanting to read it, no harm, no foul and they didn’t lose 2 days reading something they didn’t really want to read – which means no poor review making you cry in your corner.)

Gifted is my debut title, the first in its series. Thanks for any interest in this. I really appreciate everything you do for spreading the book love for authors and readers! Even if Gifted isn’t something you’d like to review right now, please let me know if I can be help you out with anything (interview, guest post) in the future. Have a great week!

(I also tend to offer up anything else that might help if they don’t have time to read – a guest post, excerpt, interview, whatever. Bloggers love to fill up their calendars and if they don’t have time to review you, sometimes they still accept your help which will still give you some exposure. Plus it builds a relationship with that blogger which is the ultimate goal because they may help you out later when they can. And of course, I always thank them profusely for their time. I know they appreciate it.)

I sign off with my name, double and triple check everything (especially that the name and blog title are correct), cross my fingers, and hit send. More often than not, I get great responses back. I’ve been lucky in that regard, but part of that is targeting the correct demographic – ie, asking the RIGHT readers instead of ALL the readers I can find.

I hope this helps in your quest for book blogger reviews. Honestly, the key is to be polite and friendly. Don’t take it personally if they say no – just move on to the next person on your list. Book bloggers also talk to one another, so chances are your book may end up in their hands once they’ve heard positive things from their peers. Do your research, spell correctly, and, as my mother says, be sweet. The indie community is a great one for authors and readers alike!

3 thoughts on “How to: Ask Bloggers for Review Requests

  1. Tuan Ho says:

    This is actually a very useful post.

    My old method was to find out a reviewer’s home address and show up at their doorstep with a shotgun. It only worked about 30% of the time.

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