How To Network with Bloggers to Boost Book Exposure
Last month I talked about the importance of how you go about writing a request for a blogger to review your book. As a follow-up, I wanted to take a little time and explore how to connect with those bloggers, something that will be helpful both in getting reviewers to agree to take a chance on your book and in getting continued promotion after your book gets reviewed.
Connect and Interact with the Bloggers on Social Media
I’m not talking about going out and adding them to your friend list, or obsessively stalking their every post. But a little bit of interaction goes a long way. People tend to pay attention as they see the same name continually interacting over a period of time. They make note of you and that forms a foundation to work from. Many bloggers are reading and reviewing books out of a love for the industry. Their compensation, if anything besides review copies, is likely too low to be considered a real incentive. There are thousands upon thousands of books in just about any subgenre you can imagine, meaning a list of books to read is never-ending. So they are more likely to do a favor for someone who has shown the willingness to interact. If you’ve been commenting on/retweeting their stuff, then you might find them doing the same when you mention the book you just released or that review which just dropped. It really is a two-way street, and this is the fastest way to gain indirect exposure.
Find a Facebook group that has authors and readers and bloggers in your genre
Don’t spam the group with self-promotion. Just like the social media interaction, this is a place where you’re building things up over time. By becoming an active member in a subcommunity, you improve your chances of making those connections that will provide value. You’ll meet readers and bloggers who are genuinely interested in the types of books you write, and this will allow you to gain a lot of insight into their minds. How? By seeing what books they are talking about, the things they mention liking or disliking about books, and other book-based discussion points. Even if you make no lasting connections, this information will make you a better writer because you can keep those things in mind as you write your next books. You may even find that the group occasionally generates a post where you can share your Facebook Page/Twitter Profile/Goodreads Profile/Latest Book/Website, and those are the times to really jump in and get to do a little self-promotion.
Subscribe to their blogs and leave comments on their posts
This is perhaps even more important than social media interaction. Most bloggers would tell you they get a paltry number of comments compared to their page views. No blogger wants to feel as though they are communicating to an invisible audience. Furthermore, this demonstrates your awareness of what they’ve been posting and a willingness to be interactive in a setting that requires a little more effort than simply retweeting something on Twitter. Many bloggers take the time to respond back to every one of those comments, whereas they may not get the chance to do that with every social media interaction. This route allows you to engage in that back-and-forth exchange with a book blogger which lays the groundwork for having a strong relation with them.
Don’t Force Your Book(s) Upon Them
You’ve got a book needing reviews. They like to read your genre of book and write reviews for those books. That sounds like a formula for an ideal working partnership, doesn’t it? And certainly, if they don’t know you have a book they might not have any plans to read it. The problem comes from this question: do you want to genuinely network with them, establishing a strong rapport that could carry you through your long writing career? If the answer is yes, then you don’t want to be obnoxious about your book. Yes, odds are they saw the word “author” when they saw your Twitter/Facebook profile. They might even have seen those social media messages not directed at them, making mention of your book. The key to establishing a good relationship with a book blogger is to not mention your own book early in your interactions nor to mention it often. If your first tweet to them is self-promotion, they’ll assume all you want is someone to write a review. That is why the above tips emphasize interaction rather than promotion. That step can come later – and those bloggers whom you’ve connected well with might be willing to feature interviews, do previews, and other special posts in addition to a review. But if they feel like you’re spamming them with your own book? That might be what breaks down some of those established bonds. Which benefits neither of you, in the end.