Book Bloggers: The Life Blood of the Indie Author
You see, I truly believe that bloggers are the life blood of an indie author. Amanda Hocking admits they're what broke her into the big time. It wasn't hefty expensive marketing strategies or viral book trailers. It wasn't one of the million books or seminars on "making it big." It was just paling around with bloggers and here's why. Bloggers are first and foremost hard core readers. And their friends and followers are readers. And readers are the people writers need most.
The beautiful thing about book bloggers is that they'll usually help you for free or for a review copy of your book. Bloggers are always looking for books to review or bookish content to post. They have to keep their followers entertained and engaged, and that's where you come in. You are an author. You have a book. You have something to say about books and writing, and you can offer this to the blogger. You give them content and you get free PR. It's as simple as that.
Now, there are some basic guidelines, as in any professional endeavor. First, BE professional and treat bloggers professionally. Don't abuse them or assume they can drop everything and post your content. Most bloggers have a Policy Page which outlines how to solicit them for reviews and promotional posts. Follow all the rules of that page carefully. Be sure to check 1) if they are open to submissions (many bloggers have a LONG waiting list and close to submissions to catch up 2) what genres they accept 3) if they accept self-published authors (some don't), and 4) how to send content to them (what review copy format they want etc.). Do not break these guidelines or ask that they make an exception for you. That's just rude. Also, realize that any review they give will be an honest one. Bloggers are not obligated to give you a good review for any reason, especially not because you gave them a review copy. This is not bribery. It is the book business.
I have seen authors treat bloggers badly because they do not consider them professional. "I'm not paying them," they say. "Or what do they know? They're just a reader." I don't know how many times I've had to repair the damage a rude author has done by belittling a blogger. And I don't understand that at all. Here is a person who loves books, authors, and reading, who has a reach to readers the author doesn’t and will help them reach those readers for free because of their LOVE of books, and a writer bashes them? This makes no sense. It's embarrassing and gives writers a bad name.
But if you can be considerate of others and realize what an amazing service bloggers are providing, they can rocket your career as an author. You can either approach bloggers individually, finding them by doing Google searches for your genre or utilizing one of the many book bloggers lists on the internet. Or you can hire one of the many blog tour service to organize a book blitz, cover reveal, or book tour for you. I have done both, depending on my budget and the time I have. For example, right now I'm running a Book Blitz through Lola's Blog Tours for my new release, Ghost Heart, the third book in my YA paranormal thriller series. A tour service will arrange the blogs, dates, and content for you and usually has a pool of bloggers they work with.
Bloggers can also help you promote on social media. Most of them have a considerable following. Sometimes they'll serve on an author's Street Team (a group of fans and readers who help promote an author's work), or even serve as an author's personal assistant for free or payment in books and swag.
For me personally, the book bloggers I work with are some of the nicest people I've ever met. They are giving, caring, and love books and authors. They give tirelessly for very little in return. They keep working for authors even after they've been treated badly by one. Many of them are more passionate about books than the authors I know.
I'm not afraid to admit it here. I owe book bloggers my career. If it wasn't for them, I'd still be whistling alone in the dark. Without book bloggers I wouldn't have near the success I do. They are my life-blood and I wouldn’t want to write without their wonderful support.