Tips for working with bloggers

This ‘Tips for Working with Bloggers’ post was written by Sharon Bairden, our guest at Waterstones in April.

  1. We are people too! Most of us work and juggle life around blogging, it is our hobby and while it might feel like we are online 24/7 – we cannot always immediately respond to requests.
  2. Check out our blogs – don’t just send mass emails out with a generic “Dear Blogger…” heading, what does our review policy say? Make the email personal
  3. Check what genre we accept for review, if we don’t review dinosaur sci-fi then an email from an author telling us we will change our mind after seeing their book isn’t going to sway us!
  4. It’s ok to maybe follow up an email a couple of weeks later but don’t hound the blogger
  5. If you are arranging a blog tour – what’s your motivation? If it is to increase sales to the JK Rowling level then you are likely to be disappointed. It is impossible to tell how many sales are a result of a tour; but what a tour does for you is raise the profile of you and your work. The review is always there and bloggers have followers who dip in and out of their blog, so they might click on buy at a later stage.
  6. You can arrange blog tours yourself, but they are a lot of work, use a tour organiser who has access to bloggers who are likely to enjoy your genre; they take all of the work out of it for you.
  7. Social media – it might be your idea of hell but it needs to be done! Engage with your readers and reviewers – if they tweet you, tweet back; if they write on your Facebook page respond – you have no idea the buzz that readers get when a real live author responds to them!
  8. Don’t take “negative” reviews personally. Most of the bloggers I know don’t post reviews about books they didn’t enjoy, they want to talk about books they love. However, some bloggers do post about all the books they read. The majority of them are highly professional in their approach and give a fair critique and will point out what worked for them. We all know that one man’s meat is another man’s poison. They are being fair, remember that. If you are unlucky enough to come across a blogger who makes a personal attack on your book then ignore them, step away from them – they are not worth your time! Most bloggers despise this type of behaviour too, it says more about them than about your book.
  9. NEVER pay for a review from a blogger – if someone contacts you and gives you a price list for reviews – walk away – this is a huge NO for the book blogging community (this is not the same as BT organisers – you are paying for their organisation and admin)
  10. If you want a blogger to review their book and they have agreed it is courtesy to send them a review copy
  11. Never send out copies of your book in an initial email, there are a lot of unscrupulous people out there and plenty of pirate sites just waiting for this!
  12. Always check the blog – is it a good fit for you? What are the quality of reviews like, do you like the style of review?

 

My three top blog tour organisers to work with:

Anne Cater http://randomthingsthroughmyletterbox.blogspot.com/p/services-to-publishers-authors-blog.html

Sarah Hardy https://bytheletterbookreviews.com/botbspublicity-promo-services/

Rachel Gibley  https://www.rachelsrandomresources.com/


Indie Authors are the Rebel Alliance

Last month, I (Kim) attended the Publishing Scotland annual book trade conference.  It was a very interesting event – I experienced a full range of emotions from blood boiling rage to cheering optimistically on the sidelines.

Keynote speaker Andrew Franklin, MD of Profile Books described self-publishing authors as a weakness as he explored a SWOT analysis of the publishing industry. In his words “all self publishing is dross as they don’t do what we (real publishers) do! They don’t edit, design good covers, layout book interiors properly or market their books.  In fact – they all would love to be published by you guys (real publishers).”  Yes you guessed this is the point my blood was boiling!

Professional Indie writers know full well what is required to publish a book.  SO yes Andrew – we do all of the above and more.  Not only that but we do it with limited budgets but we often produce a much better result than some of the “real guys”.

Publishing Scotland, Chief Exec’s opening remarks were “publishing needs to explore new ways of doing business”.  So why are Indie’s seen as a weakness?  Are we really still viewed as a joke and somehow belittling the world of books?

Industry figures suggest that the average adult in the UK only buys 2 books a year and we have a high rate of illiteracy (17%) among our population. If this is true then the work of top professional Indie Author Stuart Reid should be applauded.  Stuart takes his fun loving workshops to schools as he encourages kids to read books.  His Reading Rocks events have captured the imagination of kids,teachers and parents. His entrepreneurial approach allows him to earn a living while playing his part in improving literacy rates.

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Mr Franklin, is one of the industry dinosaurs who has no understanding of the quality of the work being produced by professional Indie Authors.  Not only that – he is delusional to think that all authors want a publishing deal.
The author is the heart of our business – was a repeated theme at the conference.  Yet there was only one author speaking as part of a panel at the conference.  That author was Scottish crime writer, Lin Anderson, who spoke in defence of self publishing.  She is a hybrid author – who has both traditional and self-published works.  She raised a very valid point about author earnings.  The average earnings of a writer in the UK is £11,000 a year.  This is well below the living wage!  Lin gets paid every month from her self-published work – money straight into her bank account.  She needs to eat too and even ALDI don’t work on I’ll pay you when my publisher decides that royalties will be paid.

So Mr Franklin – please explain why would I want a publishing deal?

A highlight of the conference was the presentation by Steve Bohme of Nielsen.  I would never have guessed that “The Key Retail Market Trends 2014/15” would have me laughing and cheering.  (No, I never had any alcohol before this.)  You will have to wait until next month to get some of the figures from the content of the presentation but Steve pulled off a fab floor show.  Bookwars VI – A New Hope was the title and he used the Star Wars theme really well to explain the current state of the industry.

Good news for all Indie Authors out there – we were seen as the good guys!  We are the Rebel Alliance who are challenging and defeating the Imperial forces (the traditional book world).  In fact self-published books sales have increased to 22% of the UK eBook market and are helping to generate growth in book sales worldwide.

So we maybe aren’t such a weakness in the system after all!