Two proven ways to win modern-day marketing are content marketing and influencer marketing.
In the publishing world, content marketing translates to giving out some "free samples" of a book in the form of summaries, editorial reviews, and reader's reviews, which are searchable using SEO keywords. Influencer marketing refers to marketing activities performed by celebrities or social media accounts with a large following.
In this post, we'll cover where to find book bloggers and book influencers, how to reach out to them, and how to work with them.
Book Bloggers and Book Influencers
Both book bloggers and book influencers may present themselves as book clubs, professional (editorial) reviewers, consumer (reader) reviewers, or book hobbyists. They may look similar, but there are distinct differences between them, such as editorial reviews differ from reader reviews.
Book Clubs and Editorial Reviewers
Most book clubs are groups of voracious readers that usually focus on specific or non-specific genres for fun and pleasure. The members are mostly readers, but sometimes there are also sites calling themselves a "club," but they're editorial reviewers, like OnlineBookClub.org.
Editorial reviewers are experienced in writing and publishing, like editors, publishers, or professional readers. They provide objective third-party review of books during pre-release and post-release phases.
Some famous book clubs include Oprah's Book Club, Reese's Book Club, The Florence+The Machine Book Club, Goodreads Choice Awards Book Club, and The History Book Club. Some of them are categorized by genres or other guidelines, such as the inspiring factor or best-selling factor.
Another way to search for book bloggers is by scouring directories like the following:
Book influencers are individuals who present themselves on social media accounts as book lovers. They write articles, posts, and other types of content that attract people with similar interests.
Today, Instagram is all the rage. It's one of the most popular social media networks with one billion users per month, out of which 500 million use Instagram Stories every day. In 2020, 75.3 percent of U.S. businesses are expected to use Instagram.
Influencer marketing on Instagram is called Bookstagram. Since Instagram itself relies on captivating images to make a statement, Bookstagram is quite interesting as account owners share impressive photos with followers.
Some renowned Bookstagram influencers are Book Girl Magic, Michelle Reads Books, Crime by the Book, and The Reading Women. And, of course, Reese Witherspoon's Book Club with 1.5 million followers. They're grouped by interests, genres, gender, and celebrities' personal preferences.
Where to Find and Approach Them
Locating book bloggers and book influencers is easier than ever. All you need is simply going online, like searching on Google and social media networks. On Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, you can find book bloggers with these hashtags:
"#bookblogger #bookstagram #booklover #bookworm #bookish #bookstagrammer #books #booknerd #book #bibliophile #bookaddict #bookphotography #reading #bookaholic #booksofinstagram #booklove #instabook #bookblog #igreads #bookshelf #readersofinstagram #bookreview #booksbooksbooks #reader #bookcommunity #bookobsessed #read #ilovebooks"
Use these to connect with reading communities, influencers, and book clubs. Check out their posts and the genres they accept and review. Next, introduce yourself by complimenting their work before pitching.
Always personalize your review pitch. Don't just send a generic press release about your book. Whenever possible, address the editors by their name and correct job title. It will make your pitch stand out, as well as looking respectful and more professional.
Some editorial reviewers can guarantee a review for a specific price. However, the payment isn't for writing favorable reviews, but to cover the time spent in reading your book in-depth and writing an honest review. The grandfather of editorial reviews, Kirkus Reviews, for instance, offers paid reviewing services ranging from $350 to $575 per review.
Take note that an editorial review is the only type of review that's approved by the Amazon. Amazon doesn't allow authors to pay for readers to write consumer reviews or to exchange reviews with other authors to write each other's positive reviews. Thus, if Amazon finds out that you pay for readers to write positive reviews or do the forbidden exchange, you'll be banned from selling books on their platform, which can have detrimental consequences to your bottom line.
If you're looking for honest consumer "reader" reviews, search for avid readers who love getting free books. They can subscribe to official author blogs to be notified of new ARC (advanced review copy) available for them. The only catch is they must not be paid to write the review. They can only accept the book in exchange for an objective review.
Here are some sources for giving away books to reader reviewers:
If you're interested in having your book promoted through Bookstagram, make sure to contact the influencer via their preferred method. If no preference is given, you may want to try DM-ing them. If there is a link to their blog, it's better to email them as people tend to respond to emails sooner.
Instagram influencers usually charge a fee to have a product displayed on their feeds. Some charge tens of dollars, others thousands. If the Bookstagram is a passion-based book club, you might want to introduce yourself to the editor and offer to send an advance copy in PDF or other electronic formats for their consideration.
How to Work with Book Bloggers and Book Influencers
Once you have your list of book bloggers, influencers, and reviewers, it's time to narrow it down to a handful of most suitable ones.
Search for competing books on Amazon or Goodreads to get a feel of they rate the books. Check out the reviewers' profiles and sites to grasp their background and tastes. While objectivity is necessary, you want to have a reviewer who's well-versed in the genre. Most reviewers have their own genre and sub-genre preferences, which is very common. For instance, romance novels aren't all the same. There are sub-genres, like: historical romance, fantasy romance, chick-lit romance, contemporary romance, erotic romance, religious romance, YA romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and others.
Every book reviewer has their own review policy, which you must pay attention to. Some of them even explicitly state that they don't accept unsolicited pitches. Others prefer email pitches within a specific format. Make sure that you're familiar with the prerequisites before sending your pitch. Follow the requirements as posted on the site. Make your request politely and remember to ask when the review will be ready.
With a bit of persistence, it's almost guaranteed that your book will reach the public through book bloggers and book influencers. Such avenues weren't available two decades ago, which is a real blessing for today's self-publishing authors. One final tip: make sure that the cover of your book is as enticing as the content, so it's photogenic online and has an Instagrammable quality.
Good luck and get marketing!