Day 16 of the A-Z challenge.
P is for Publishers
In a world where coverage of new books is on a markedly downward trend, book bloggers have become an increasingly important element of a publisher’s marketing strategy.
From a book blogger’s perspective, a strong relationship with publishers and publicists can result in opportunities to read books before they hit the street. Not all bloggers look for advance (and free) copies of books but for those who want to go down that path, it’s essential to know how to have a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship.
Jen Lucas and Cathy Johnson enjoy good connections with publishing companies. What do they see as the dos and the don’ts.
Here are their key tips.
Jen Lucas @ jenmedsbookreviews
I am by no means the most prolific of Twitter users or Instagram posters but they are the place to be if you want to connect with publicists and enhance your profile. Here are a few rules of thumb from my perspective.
1.Follow publicists and publishers on twitter and Instagram.
Interact with them and for more than just requesting arcs. Share their posts, help to publicise books and give more than you expect to receive back.
2. Make sure that you are producing good quality reviews and tagging the author/publisher in your tweet some how.
I know that may seem simple but many don’t do it at all. And a review should be more than just “I liked it – buy it.” It doesn’t need to be War And Peace length (like mine) but your review should make readers want to read the book.
3. In the early days you may need to review books you bought yourself, or got from the library.
Publishers like to see consistency as well as quality and writing about the books you love, even older titles, is a good way to show you are serious about books.
4. Keep an eye out for publicists offering ARCS via Twitter.
They regularly ask for readers and if you are quick and savvy you may be one of the lucky ones. Just make sure you do a quick “thank you” tag when it arrives (another good ad for the book) and REVIEW THE BOOK . Again should be obvious but too many people take the books and run. Even that first bookpost picture or a simple promo post if you don’t get on with the book is better than nothing.
5. Sign up to publisher’s newsletters and read them.
They often have the book giveaways in them and are sometimes the only way to get the ARCS.
6. Use but don’t abuse Netgalley.
It’s easy to get caught like the kid in the candy store and become overwhelmed with books. Never ask for more than you can feasibly review or when you spot a book you really do want, you may find the pr guru says no!
7. Just keep sharing the book love.
That’s why we do this and really is the best way to get yourself noticed. for example – If you love a book drop onto Amazon and share a link to the book on Twitter so others can buy it. Tag the publisher and author and they will see it and they will remember.
There are no guarantees to getting books and I get/accept far fewer books than many other bloggers (I’m rarely sent them on spec) but this is how I’ve managed to ensure that at least I keep being asked.
Cathy Johnson @ WhatCathyReadNext
Here are my tips on working with publishers and attracting their attention. I’ve confined my advice to getting physical copies rather than digital copies via NetGalley, as that seems like a whole separate subject.
1. Identify publishers who publish books in the genres you enjoy.
2. Follow them on social media and share and comment on their posts.
If you can, identify the members of their publicity team and follow them too
3. Tag publishers on Twitter when you share reviews of books they publish.
These could be books you already own but you can also use this technique when you have borrowed a copy from the library.
4. Ensure your Twitter profile includes your blog URL
Also make sure that your “About Page on your blog has details of the genres you read and how to contact you.
5. Try to build followers by being active on social media.
This is an important step because publishers are more likely to work with book bloggers who have a good reach. They are not going to be interested in a blog that few people read no matter how well written the content.
6. Establish a reputation as a responsible book blogger.
Don’t accept offers of books or invitations to join blog tours unless you’re absolutely sure you’ll be able to meet review commitments. If an unexpected event occurs that makes it impossible to post your review on the agreed date, do tell the publisher as quickly as possible. They may be able to jiggle their schedule.
7. If you are sent books by a publisher, post a picture and a thank you on social media before you do your review.
Let Me Ask You A Question
What has been your experience of working with publishers and publicists? Do you agree with Cathy and Jen’s advice or is there something else you’d like to add?