Get Massive Eyebrow-Raises of Skepticism For Your Book, or “Not All the Book Bloggers Buy What You’re Selling”

At Bestseller Labs, blogger Jonathan Gunson recently offered five tips on How to Get Massive Publicity for Your Book Without Spending a Cent.

Insert self-deprecating jokes about my blog stats here.

Gunson, in short: “Ya rly! Book bloggers!”

According to Gunson, “Book bloggers are high on the trust list for readers, which means they’re among the most influential connections we can make. … Their subscribers trust their opinions and buy the books they recommend.”

But how to get on the side of these wily and elusive “book bloggers,” lurking behind their laptop screens in obscure, hipster-infested coffee shops, the smoke from their clove cigarettes trailing above their heads as they hold your book’s very life in their hands?

Gunson, again: “The Secret Is To Build Rapport With A Book Blogger Before Asking For A Review.”

This blog: more sarcasm than an episode of Bunheads. (You ARE watching Bunheads, right?)

…Snarky owls notwithstanding, my book-blogging self thinks Gunson is on to something at first. His first two recommendations – to check that the blog actually has a following and to make sure the blogger(s) there actually review books in your genre – are good stuff. In fact, it annoys the crap out of most book bloggers when authors offer their books and the genre is totally wrong and/or the blog isn’t even accepting books for review at that moment.

(For the record: I read YA, non-fiction on law and social justice issues, and literary fiction, not necessarily in that order.  And yes, I accept books for review!  I should probably make that clearer.)

But then I noticed how he thinks you should go about schmoozing book bloggers. And, um, ew.

3. Support them on Twitter

If you’re on Twitter, retweet the best of what they tweet and cast supportive opinion on those Tweets. Fight for their corner if they get into a debate. The same tactic applies to Facebook and G+.

I love Twitter followers. And I’m pretty active on Twitter. But ffs, PLEASE do not follow me solely for the purposes of re-tweeting my every not-so-hilarious opinion on the U.S. Olympic men’s water polo team or anthropomorphization of my cat’s behavior. ESPECIALLY do not be all “yeah! what she said! woo!” if/when I get into Twitter debates (it rarely happens). Those are actually going to make me less likely to review your book, because creepy.

If you’re going to follow me on Twitter, do it because my tweets brighten your day, not to get something out of it.

4. Canvas their ‘expert’ opinion

Ask for their opinion on related matters – by blog comment, by email, and on Twitter. Everyone likes to feel valued, quite apart from it being directly useful to you. The idea is to approach them without being sycophantic.

Save the sycophancy for Twitter!

Seriously, question-because-question is probably a good tactic. Question-because-notice-me-and-be-my-friend is not. That said, if the question is good, I probably won’t be able to tell the difference – especially if you refrain from following up my response with “ha ha, omg, ur so brilliant, be my friend also I wrote this book?”

5. Support them on their blog

Leave comments on their blog that constructively enlarge on a key point they’ve made in their blog post.

Not in the mean way, though. Seriously.

This is why I have a blog: to have conversations about stuff. Often, those conversations are very one-sided. Sometimes, they consist only of cat photos.

If you’re interested in whatever I’m talking about and/or the other commenters are talking about, then yes, get involved. But don’t do it for the sake of free book publicity; do it because you’re actually interested in the topic. If you’re only in it for the publicity, save yourself the time and just ask me if I’ll review your book.

If you show up, say some witty things, ask me to review your book and then disappear, I’m going to notice. I’m probably going to update my review, as well. You may not like the updates.

So how DO I get you to review my precious book?

Stay tuned. In the meantime, rotate your owl.

About Dani Alexis

Dani Alexis is an MA candidate in English, focusing on disability studies, pedagogy, and humorless feminism. She earned a law degree once. It didn't take.
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6 Responses to Get Massive Eyebrow-Raises of Skepticism For Your Book, or “Not All the Book Bloggers Buy What You’re Selling”

  1. Jonathan Gunson says:

    Agree entirely. A cynical or insincere approach to book bloggers is verboten. I’d never advocate that. :)

  2. Haha reminds me of also how Foyt went to guest essay on blogs and just pimped her stuff ;)

  3. Dani Alexis says:

    Have you seen Foyt’s blog post on how book bloggers are the new “opinion czars” ? http://www.victoriafoyt.com/2012/05/bloggers-the-opinion-czars-to-readers/

    She notes in there that so far she’s been “richly rewarded” for reaching out to book bloggers regarding her latest book, REVEALING EDEN. I wonder where? (Seriously – I’d like to see some review of her latest book that isn’t “holy racism handbook, Batman!”)

  4. Dani Alexis says:

    Yeah, I wavered because I didn’t get the impression you were, but at the same time, I can see how some writers might read your post and be all “schmoozing yay!” One of the limitations of the blog genre, I suppose – there’s only so much you can spell out for people before the audience heaves a collective yawn and goes back to watching kitten videos. :)

  5. Edward Smith says:

    Or you can sidestep the whole blogging thing and get on TV. I coach authors how to get on TV and I can tell you TV producers really don’t care what kind of reviews you got from bloggers. I have a blog myself, so I am not knocking bloggers. TV producers want guests who are experts, no authors, and they don’t care much about your book. If you use the right system, you can bypass a lot of things that just take up your time and don’t sell massive amounts of books like a shot on Good Morning America would. OK, thanks, Edward Smith.

  6. Great tips here Jonathon. Thank you!

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