Reviewer Databases: An Author’s Best Friend

Customer or employees care concept

A couple of weeks ago I discussed WiseInk’s post about indie authors having difficulty finding book reviewers. In earlier posts I explained why I disagreed with their premise that book reviewers needed to be open to reviewing indie works—my disagreement was primarily prompted by abusive treatment of reviewers by some indie authors. I wrote those posts more to be able to comment on the type of behavior expected from authors.

But, I also disagreed with WiseInk because I felt they had failed to take into account book blogger databases, which is what I will cover below. Combined, book blogger databases provide information about thousands of reviewers, particularly those open to indie authors.

Where Are Some Key Book Blogger Databases found?

 

BarbDrozdowichPic

Barb Drozdowich

In preparing for this post, I had the opportunity to speak with both Kate Tilton, founder of Kate Tilton’s Book Bloggers and Barb Drozdowich, founder of The Book Blogger List. They had some important information that authors should consider when using these databases.

First, an author should expect a functional, updated list of bloggers. Barb said she started Book Blogger List because while researching other databases, she noticed that they were frequently either abandoned or not up-to-date. Currently, The Book Blogger List has a database of over1500 reviewers. Next, focus on a database in which the bloggers are separated by genre, not alphabetically. This will make narrowing down bloggers much easier for you, and can also prevent sending unnecessary queries to bloggers who do not review in your genre. Don’t totally rule out the alphabetical lists, but do know that this will require more work on your part.

As book bloggers themselves, as well as working daily with other book bloggers, both these ladies were clear about the dos and don’ts:

kate

Kate Tilton

Do:

  • Find bloggers who review your genre. One of the reviewers I spoke with said that she finds it insulting when she gets review requests from authors who write nowhere near the genre she reviews.
  • Read the blogger’s review policy. Normally, everything is laid out beautifully, but a reviewer told me that she frequently gets asked questions from authors that are easily found in her review policy.
  • Send a professional query, if the reviewer does not utilize a query form.
  • Be respectful and professional. Know that reviewers talk to one another. If you are disrespectful to one, there is a good chance that it will make it through the reviewer chain.
  • Do add books to your library that are on working with book bloggers. I am a huge fan of professional libraries. Both Barb and Christine have written books on working with book bloggers. Both are highly informative,  yet cost effective. Links to both books can be found on my Author CEO Resources: Books  page.
  • Develop a list of reviewers that you would like to contact. Have extra names on the list to allow for turn downs.
  • Offer a print copy, if available, or ebook. I prefer to read print copies and every so often depending on the book or the author would choose that option.
  • Make a list regarding what you would expect from your book reviewer:
    • Do you want the review placed on the reviewer’s blog, as well as on Amazon and Goodreads?
    • Do you want a reviewer who does raffles and/or interviews?
    • Do you want a more experienced reviewer or would you be open to a new blogger?
    • Do you want someone with a strong social media following?

Don’t:

  • Assume that all bloggers review books. Some don’t!
  • Send unprofessional, dime-a-dozen query letters. (Later in the post, I will give tips for writing your query.) One of the main complaints from book reviewers is about unprofessional queries. Most reviewers can’t believe that people who consider themselves wordsmiths would send such sloppy, unprofessional letters asking them to give their time to review the author’s book.
  • Just contact the first five bloggers that pop up. Scrutinize the bloggers. See how they treat the books and the authors that they work with. Refer to the list you developed under the Do bullets. Does the blogger fit that list? If not, move on.
  • Harass the reviewer about the length of time to review the work. Most experienced bloggers can require up to three-months to complete their reviews.Barb brought up an excellent point: Authors make money from their books; most book bloggers review books for a hobby.
  • Attach a file of your book to the query letter. It looks unprofessional and assuming. Personally, for me as a book reviewer, those would hit the trash without further reading of the query. It was just way too assuming for me and that the author sent out a bunch while wanting no further follow up.
  • Contact the reviewer about anything but their blog review website. One of my biggest pet peeves is when an author who has clearly gone to my A Book and A Review site and seen that I am no longer accepting review requests, comes over to the Author CEO seeking a review. Unfortunately, this happens frequently. Sadly, I am not the only person with this complaint.
Christine Nolfi

Christine Nolfi

A query letter is the most important tool in selling your book to a blogger. Nothing turns away a reviewer faster than a poor query letter. This letter is so important that I asked novelist Christine Nolfi to write the blog post Perfect Pitch: Query Letters That Lead To Book Reviews for the Author CEO.

While developing your professional letter, ensure that the following criteria are included:

• The book’s title and SPECIFIC genre(s)

• The author

• Book length

• A CONCISE book synopsis. Christine gives an excellent example in the above blog post.

• Publishing outlet: Self-pubbed or traditionally published.

• Desired turnaround time.

• A personal note explaining why you would like this reviewer to review your book. This lets the reviewer know that you have both taken the time to review their blog and also thought out the reasons for selecting this reviewer.

• Advertising possibilities (Goodreads, Amazon, giveaway, interview)

A final note from Barb Drozdowich is that most book bloggers receive WAY more queries than they can handle. Showing disrespect for the process or for the reviewer gives the reviewer a reason to hit the delete button on your request. I like the saying, “Work smarter, not harder”— by following some very simple steps, working with book blog databases will make the review process a bit easier and more profitable in the end.

Comment here!

Comments

  1. Morning Naomi!
    Hit the nail on the head with this one! Thanks for the mention and thanks for being so detailed with your instructions! Authors should find this very helpful!

    Barb

  2. Naomi,

    As always, you’ve provided authors with clean and concise instructions on how to garner reviews. I’d like to add something that may not seem obvious to busy scribes: there’s no rule stating one can’t seek reviews for an earlier release. For example, I’m now lining up reviews for my September release, Four Wishes (book 4, Liberty Series). Some of the book bloggers willing to review have shown an interest in my earlier works, which has led me to politely ask if they’d peruse more than one of my books. One blogger has agreed to review the entire Liberty Series, four books in all!

    • Excellent point, Christine. The only thing I would add to that is make sure it is ready for publication. It is not a reviewer’s job to be a beta reader. The book that is sent to the reviewer should be “shelf ready” as I like to say.

  3. My compliments to you all. Keeping track of reviewers is akin to keeping track of mushrooms in the forest. I think some readers have the innocent notion that it will be an easy-breezy fun website to run–and for many it is. But the deluge of requests becomes more burden than pleasure. Throw in a snotty author or two, and it ruins the experience for many. Great post, Naomi 🙂

  4. I love this post Naomi!
    Bloggers love authors but there are definitely things authors need to pay attention to when making requests. I think you nailed it. 🙂

    • I agree Kate. As a semi-retired book reviewer, I loved working with the authors to get reviews for their works. There is just a professional process that authors must follow as they would in any industry.

  5. Amen!

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