How to Work with Book Bloggers to Market Your Book: A Crash Course for Authors

Book Promotion, Tips for Authors
How to Work with Book Bloggers to Market Your Book. Do you want to work with book bloggers but don't know where to start? Or maybe you want to improve your strategy. This blog post will help you understand book bloggers and how to work with them to make the most of your marketing efforts. Tips for authors. Resources for authors. Book marketing for authors. |

Hey there! Welcome to my new series of blog posts for authors. I’ve wanted to create a crash course on how to work with book bloggers for a long time.

Since it’s a new year, I figured there’s no better time to start than now.

I’ve been a book blogger for five and a half years and I get approached by many, many authors and publishers, asking if I’ll read and review their books.

Most of the time, I say no. After all, this blog is a hobby that takes up a lot of my time and I can’t read EVERYTHING. (I wish I could, but I’m only human.)

Sometimes, however, I say yes.

I’m going to tell you what makes me say yes to a book review request and how you can improve your chances of getting book bloggers to say yes to you as well.

We’re also going to discuss other (non-review) ways of how to work with book bloggers to promote your book. Many authors think of bloggers only as a way of getting book reviews and they pass up wonderful opportunities to get their book in front of readers.

Keep in mind that this is a crash course overview. I’ll be going into more depth on each of these points in later posts.

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How to Work with Book Bloggers to Market Your Book. Do you want to work with book bloggers but don't know where to start? Or maybe you want to improve your strategy. This blog post will help you understand book bloggers and how to work with them to make the most of your marketing efforts. Tips for authors. Resources for authors. Book marketing for authors. |

Ready to dive in?


Understanding the Book Blogger

First things first. If you want to work with book bloggers, you need to understand them. If you just rush ahead without understanding us, you’re not going to have much success.

1. Why Book Bloggers Blog

Book bloggers are avid readers who started a blog because they wanted a place to talk about books and discuss what they loved and hated about a specific title.

Book bloggers love joining the tightly knit online book community. They love connecting with other bloggers to host events, post on each other’s blogs, discover new books, geek out, and participate in memes together.

Don’t shoot the messenger, but I don’t know many book bloggers that started their blog because they wanted to become a free publicity service for authors. Don’t believe me? Download a copy of Book Blogger Survey: From a Survey of 500+ Book Bloggers (affiliate link). It’s only $0.99 and contains some very interesting insights.

Sure, helping authors is a nice side-product of blogging and some bloggers offer services or products for authors. But as a whole, book bloggers are online to have fun and connect with other bookworms.

2. Book Blogging is a Hobby, Not a Job

If you want to work with book bloggers, you need to remember that they often don’t get paid for the work they do. For most of us, book blogging is a hobby. And like most hobbies, it sits pretty far down on the list of priorities.

Family, jobs, forgetfulness, other books, and life often get in the way of book bloggers posting reviews on time (or at all).

Working with book bloggers can get frustrating when they don’t post in a timely manner. But remember that unless you’re paying them for their work, they aren’t obligated to post at all.

3. Understand What You’re Asking For

If you’re asking for a review, be prepared for honest feedback, both positive and negative. That’s what a review is. Bloggers have a responsibility to their audience to write honest reviews, not just positive ones.

If you don’t want to deal with negative reviews, there are plenty of other ways to work with bloggers to promote your book.

For example, you could ask for a sponsored spotlight post, social media post/blast, lifestyle post, book list placement, or something else that falls under the umbrella of “advertising”. But be prepared to offer monetary compensation.

After all, you’re requesting hours and hours of the blogger’s time, energy, and skill set.



7 Things You Need to Catch a Blogger’s Attention

With so many books being thrown at bloggers every day, it can be tough for your book to stand out from the rest. So let’s talk about the things you need in order to catch a blogger’s attention.

1. A Stunning Book Cover

There are no two ways about this, folks. If you want to catch a blogger’s attention, your book cover needs to blow them away.

I get many books submitted to me every single day and the first thing I look for is the book cover. It tells me just about everything I need to know about a book.

Your book cover is your #1 asset (other than offering payment) to getting book bloggers to work with you. If your cover stinks, you may as well save your energy because book bloggers will simply delete your email.

2. A Professional Pitch

When you work with book bloggers, your pitch is almost as important as your cover.

Use the blogger’s name and please be polite and courteous. Keep it short and sweet. The shorter the better. And be clear about what you want.

My favorite pitches go something like this:


Dear Dena,

I have a new book that I’d love to share with you.

[Insert book cover and Goodreads synopsis here.]

Are you interested in receiving a promotional copy for review or mention? I can also do a giveaway or guest post. (If you’re asking for promotional posts and advertising, mention that here.)

Awesome Author


And whatever you do, keep it professional and watch your wording. Don’t crack jokes at the blogger’s expense (it’s happened), beg, grovel, or make demands.

Keep it simple and professional. You’ll be fine.

3. Great Cover Copy

If you have a stunning cover and you’ve managed not to scare the blogger off with your pitch, then you’re doing very well. The next test is going to be your cover copy, which you should insert into your pitch.

As you already know, your synopsis or cover copy is a huge selling point for readers, and bloggers are no exception. We want to be hooked without having the entire plot spoiled.

4. Payment

Some bloggers are strictly in the hobby zone and refuse to take payment for anything, which is fine.

But most bloggers are open to accepting payment for posts. If you mention in your pitch that you’re interested in purchasing a promotional post or another form of advertising, you can bet your booties you’ll have their attention.

*I’m not suggesting you pay for reviews. Scroll down to the section about non-review ways to work with bloggers for ideas on how to get positive press on book blogs.

5. Some Reviews on Goodreads

If you want to work with book bloggers, it’s a good idea to have some initial reviews on Goodreads before you approach them.

I always check Goodreads before I say yes to a book. I quickly check the average star rating and maybe scan a review or two to see what people are saying.

But be smart. If you have your mom write a bunch of five-star reviews for your book, using fake Goodreads accounts, it’s going to be pretty obvious.

Ask friends, neighbors, or book club members to leave you an honest review. You can also join Facebook groups or Goodreads groups for swapping reviews.

6. A Well-Written and Edited Book

If you want to work with book bloggers, you need to have a well-written and edited book. Book bloggers are unflinchingly honest in their reviews and things like spelling and grammar mistakes will plummet your star ratings.

7. Be a Blog Follower

If there is one thing that book bloggers want more than anything else, it’s engaged followers.

So follow the blog on social media and bloglovin (or however you follow blogs), make comments, and respond to their tweets. Cultivate relationships with bloggers and they’ll become some of your biggest cheerleaders.

There's Nothing to Do by Dev Petty, illustrated by Mike Boldt. A cute and funny picture book about boredom and finding joy in the small things. Sometimes the best days are those when you have nothing to do. Picture books about creativity. Picture books about boredom. |

After a Review or Post

Your relationship with a book blogger doesn’t end when they hit the “publish” button on their blog post. Here are some things to consider once the post is live.

1. Negative Reviews

Negative reviews stink. Bloggers hate writing them and authors hate getting them. (Yet another reason to consider sponsored posts or advertising as opposed to a review.)

Whatever you do, DO NOT RESPOND TO NEGATIVE REVIEWS. Everyone gets them and everyone hates them. But responding to them or attacking the blogger will only hurt you.

It could literally end your prospects as an author — especially if you’re a self-published author and are relying on book bloggers for a hefty portion of your book marketing.

2. To Comment or Not to Comment?

If you get a positive review or the blogger included your book in a list or discussion post, feel free to direct a comment to the blogger, thanking them for mentioning you. Blog post comments boost engagement and help them get found in search engines, which helps both of us.

If you get a negative review, don’t comment.

Don’t respond to other people’s comments. I can’t even tell you how weird that is.

Don’t solicit reviews from other comments. Again, super weird and totally desperate. Just don’t do it.

3. Can You Share the Review or Blog Post?

YES! Please do.

Some authors get told not to, but that’s terrible advice. Bloggers want more page views. We’ve just done you a huge favor by reviewing or marketing your book. Please return the favor by sharing our hard work on your social media channels or in your newsletter.

Falcon Wild by Terry Lynn Johnson is a middle grade, lower YA book about a girl who gets lost in the Montana wilderness. Her family gets in a car accident and she goes for help, but gets lost along the way. She meets up with a homeless, wandering boy and the two of them rely on each other, and her falcon to survive in the harsh Montana mountains. Great for kids that like books about wildlife, survival stories, and books about friendship and troubled teens. Target audience is boys and girls ages 10-14. |


Other (Non-Review) Ways to Work with Book Bloggers

Everyone asks for a book review, but unless your book is a bestseller from a large publisher or has a movie adaptation coming out, a book review isn’t the most effective way to work with book bloggers.

There are many other ways to work with book bloggers that don’t involve a review. These can be more effective than a book review and also remove any worry over negative reviews.

So before you ask for a review, consider one of the following options. Chances are, you’ll get more page views and engagement, which is better for both you and the blogger.

1. Guest Posts and Interviews

Cost: Usually free.

Readers love these — especially if you have something interesting to say. Write a compelling guest post about the story behind your story, or captivate an audience with a behind-the-scenes look at how you work.

If you’re doing an interview, put in the proper amount of effort. Don’t just rush through the questions with short, one sentence answers. Give us some funny personal anecdotes and make us fall in love with you.

2. Giveaways

Cost: Usually free, but you have to provide the prize.

These are great for building your social media presence and engaging a new audience. Bloggers usually participate in several blog hops and giveaways every month, so offer to sponsor one. The blogger will be happy that they don’t have to come up with a prize and you can get your book in front of hundreds of new people.

Sponsored Posts

Yes, you CAN pay a book blogger. In fact, if you want to work with book bloggers to promote your book, it’s a good idea to have some marketing budget set aside for that purpose. Whether you’re booking a blog tour or asking for a sponsored post, you’ll need some cash to work with.

1. Blog Tours

Cost: Varies

Many bloggers offer blog tours as a service for authors. These are generally cost-efficient ways to get your book in front of hundreds or thousands of people.

Blog tours have become a staple in the marketing plans of many authors and book publishers because they can have amazing results.

2. Roundup Posts and Book Lists

Cost: Depends on the blogger. Check out their media kit or, if they don’t have one, email them and ask what they charge.

Book lists are usually more popular than a single book review and they perform well on Pinterest and social media and bring in consistent traffic over long periods of time.

Here are a few I’ve done recently:

Glad to Be a Girl: Awesome Chapter Books for Girls Ages 6-8

10 Creepy Middle Grade Books to Read This Halloween

10 Mind-Blowing YA Books You Need to Read This Fall

3. Lifestyle Posts

Cost: Depends on the blogger and their audience size.

These can be just about anything, from favorite book quotes to bookish items found on Etsy that remind the blogger of your book. Share a bookish recipe, craft, or products related to your book.

Get creative and look around to see what other types of blog posts are out there. Here are some examples of popular blog posts I’ve written:

Shades of Doon: 4 Things to Get Before You Go to Doon

Would Lord of the Flies be the Same With Girls?

4. Discussion Posts

Cost: Depends on the blogger.

Bloggers love to discuss books, reading, and the bookish lifestyle. From characters to trends, bloggers want to talk about it all. Some of my most popular posts are discussion posts like this one:

Trends in Children’s Books and Young Adult Books for 2018

Ask a blogger to come up with a discussion post about your book. It could be anything from favorite tropes in YA to best professions for female characters in romance novels.

5. Social Media Posts

Cost: Depends on the blogger, their following, and engagement.

Many bloggers will happily sell you social media posts. From creative tweets to Instagram posts to Facebook ads targeting their followers, the possibilities are wide open.

For example, you could approach a bookstagrammer and ask them how much they charge for creating a post with your book, description, and a purchase link in their bio.

Or you could ask a blogger to promote your book trailer or advertisement on their Facebook page.

All the Wind in the World by Samantha Mabry is a young adult novel set in the near future when global warming has expanded the deserts and changed the social landscape closer to the American Old West. People are wild and rule breakers are punished swiftly and without trial. It's a magical story about a girl and boy caught in this harsh desert world and their struggle to survive, keep themselves safe, and keep their love hidden. Great for teens that like books about the future, speculative fiction, stories of magic and legend, and dysfunctional romance. Great for older YA ages 14 +. |

In Conclusion

The possibilities are endless if you’re willing to think outside the box and work with book bloggers in new and non-traditional ways.

While reviews are wonderful things to have, there are many other ways to work with book bloggers to market your book that have the potential to be highly effective.

Don’t pigeon-hole yourself and don’t sell yourself short. Get creative and see what options you and a book blogger can come up with.


Sign up for my AUTHOR NEWSLETTER to stay up to date and get more ideas about how to work with book bloggers.

Want to work with me? Check out my “Hire Me” page to learn about options and pricing.

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  • Reply
    Susan (Bloggin' 'bout Books)
    February 9, 2018 at 9:47 am

    There’s some great information and insight here. I hope authors read this and actually pay attention to the invaluable things you’re telling them 🙂

    The only thing I disagree with (and only in a personal way) is sponsored posts. If an author/publicist offers me money to review a book, I won’t do it. I never want to feel like my opinion is “bought and paid for” — I wouldn’t be able to review objectively in that kind of scenario. No offense to bloggers who do these kinds of posts, I just don’t.

    Thanks for writing this up, Dena. It’s very well-written and informative. Now if authors would just follow your advice …

    • Reply
      Dena at Batch of Books
      February 9, 2018 at 10:31 am

      Thanks Susan!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree that paying for book reviews gets to be sticky, which is why I suggest sponsored posts as an alternative to reviews. Sometimes authors pay me to put up a “spotlight” post or other types of posts like a craft/recipe that goes with their book. I’ve also worked with brands like zulily and Little Fun Club to create sponsored content for my blog. Authors and bloggers think the only way to work together is to write reviews, but there are SO many alternatives where the blogger gets paid, the author gets positive exposure, and everyone wins.

      The hard thing about reviews is like you said, bloggers don’t want to feel like their opinion is bought and paid for (and we want to keep things honest for our readers). But because we don’t receive any income from all our hard work, bloggers often feel taken advantage of. The sponsored post eliminates negative feelings on the blogger’s part while eliminating the risk of bad press for the author.

      Long story short – don’t pay for reviews. Pay for advertising/sponsored content.

      Of course, this only works if the blogger is open to doing something other than a review. 😄

    • Reply
      Dena at Batch of Books
      February 9, 2018 at 10:46 am

      I updated my post to (hopefully) make it more clear that I’m not suggesting authors pay for reviews.

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