Saturday, May 22, 2010

How to Be A Publicist Bloggers Want to Work With

As a virtual book tour (VBT) coordinator, I try my hardest to give bloggers everything they might need to host our authors. I sure appreciate not having to search out information to host an author at The Book Connection or The Children's and Teens' Book Connection. I also figure that bloggers are more apt to host additional clients for Pump Up Your Book Promotion if I make it as easy as possible.

While I have titled this article, "How to Be a Publicist Bloggers Want to Work With," the tips found here can also apply to authors who are contacting bloggers requesting a review, an interview, or a guest post.

1) Address your request to the blogger's name or Editor of (blog name).

Many blogs have profiles listed that provide the blogger's name or username. Considering you are asking the blogger to spend some of her precious time promoting your author's book, the least you can do is address your query to her directly. I rarely respond to an email that begins, "Dear Blogger."

2) Provide all the information a blogger needs to make a decision.

This seems like a no brainer, but I've had to go looking for information before making a decision on whether to review a book--thankfully, not often. Your email should include: the author's name, book title, a short synopsis, genre, the author's bio, a link to the author's website, and whether you are asking for a review to be posted in a certain time frame (as is often the case with virtual book tours). You can also include a short excerpt of the book if there isn't one on the author's website.

3) Make the blogger aware of controversial content.

This could also be included above, but I wanted to speak of it separately to include examples. It is important to let the blogger know--assuming you are aware of it--if the book you are asking them to promote/review contains specific religious beliefs, vulgarities, or obscenities. Sometimes this will be obvious by the genre, but in cases where it isn't, you'll save everyone time if you're up front about the book's contents.

My first example comes from my work as a VBT coordinator. I specialize in Christian fiction and nonfiction because they are genres I enjoy. One of my client's books however, wasn't listed as Christian fiction, but as an international thriller. A blogger agreed to review the book not knowing Christian beliefs played a significant role. My client sent out the book, but ended up with no review when the blogger emailed me to say she doesn't review Christian fiction.

The other example is from my role as a blogger/book reviewer. Last year a publisher sent me a review request for an author I wasn't familiar with. I was very disappointed when I found the book to be so vulgar and obscene that it turned me off. While I was able to provide a decent review, because the book was hilarious in many spots, I had to be honest and explain why it wasn't for me. There wasn't a link to the author's website included, so I made my judgment based upon what was written by the publisher. Big mistake.

4) Don't ship a book to a blogger without asking.

This, again, seems like common sense, but it has happened to me on more than one occasion. I'm a very flexible blogger. I rarely decline a review request. What irks me, however, is when a publicist who I have worked with in the past automatically ships a book to me without asking if I am interested. It's presumptuous to assume I am willing or have the time to review a book just because I have reviewed a book you represented in the past.

Along a similar vein, don't automatically ship a book just because you haven't received a response to your query. While I was on vacation last year, a publicist emailed me about reviewing a book. When I returned home, the book was in a pile of mail I picked up from the post office. I could have saved the publicist some postage, because I knew I wouldn't like the book. When I did review the book, I couldn't give it a decent review because I was so opposed to the content.

5) Send requested material in plenty of time.

Especially in the case of virtual book tours where a schedule is involved, you must provide the blogger with what she needs in a timely fashion to ensure the post will go up on the scheduled date. If I end up having to track down things last minute for an author's tour, I'm not interested in hosting him again.

With the popularity of virtual book tours and the increasing demands on bloggers, it behooves a publicist to make hosting authors as easy as possible. These tips will go a long way in helping to ensure bloggers will say yes when you ask them to feature your authors at their blogs.


Janet Halfmann said...

Great post, Cheryl. Thanks for the suggestions.

Tribute Books said...

Thanks for a well-written, point-by-point summation.

NancyCL said...

Thanks for the great information Cheryl!

Cheryl said...

Thanks for stopping by ladies. I'm glad you found this article helpful.


bronzeword said...

great post! useful info for all, Jo Ann

Donna M. McDine said...

Valuable info! Thanks for sharing your experiences!