Hello, all you artistic, imaginative souls! I’m talking to the authors out there. Book Bloggers everywhere want to feature you! Hosting content by authors is such fun. Not only does it clue me into fabulous new books being released but it allows you to chat at a group of readers that maybe you hadn’t reached yet.
I also want to outline what an author can do on most book blogs. We all love featuring authors within the genre we specialize in and we don’t mind being approached. I love emails from authors with upcoming releases asking for postings other than a review. I can’t always review, but I can always post a feature. So don’t be afraid to read through this list and approach the bloggers who didn’t have time to read your book for review or who you just want to be involved with them period, no matter what post type they accept. We book bloggers are friendly! I swear it!
How can you be a featured author at For the Love of Chick Lit, you say? I’m so glad you asked! (I hadn’t realized I was going full-on infomercial with this post but… it is what it is.)
Screening question number 1:
What genre do you write in? If you’ve had a look around my page you’ll see there’s a lot of pink. That’s not unintentional. Do I like pink? Uh, yeah… I’m a girl (woman). But there is another reason as well. When I first started reading when my kids were young…
Wait, there is another story in there I’ll tell first (cause it’s my blog and I can). When I was in my early twenties I had two toddlers. Pretty much all I did all day long was yell no, pick food up off the floor, rock someone to sleep and beg they kept their diapers on long enough for me to change them before they wiped whatever was in them on the walls while they were ‘napping’. I was tired, I have little adult interaction most days and I watched a lot of daytime TV. My mom said to me one day ‘you need a hobby! read theses.’ and she handed me the Love Comes Softly books by Janette Oke (Holy Moses I’ve just discovered while grabbing the amazon link for the books that this was once a tv mini series?!). I read them all in less than a week and realized that while it wasn’t completely a book set I would’ve chosen on my own, I liked being able to disappear to another more exciting world from my couch. (I also discovered it’s really easy to ignore children while reading.)
Ok, so now we can go back to why my site is pink and what that has to do with the genre you write. I discovered Sophie Kinsella not long after I read a few random library books and I fell in love with what was once called ‘chick-lit’. It’s upbeat, it’s funny, it’s sometimes romantic and 99% of the time the main character gets a happy ending. That set the tone for what I would read, likely, forever. I like escaping to a story that leaves me feeling good. Not that other books are bad but I don’t want to close a book and be depressed. I like to laugh, I like ridiculousness and I love a good happy ending.
So… my site is pink because it reminds me of chick lit, romantic comedy, and happy endings. Therefore I base my blog around my favorite genres and I don’t extend outside those much for promotions because I’ve built my readership based on them.
Other bloggers will likely have genre requirements. Make sure you are requesting only those accepting on your particular genre. It would do no good for a horror author to be featured on my blog because my readers aren’t looking for horror. Just as a romance author should be approaching sci-fi bloggers. There are thousands of bloggers on the interwebs and all love different kinds of books. Finding them may take some time but so did that book you wrote, promote it well and with pride of the genre you wrote in. We as bloggers can always tell when an author is desperate so they’re just sending requests to anyone with an email. We delete those pretty quickly.
You qualify for promotion on For the Love of Chick Lit if you write – Chick Lit, Romantic Comedy, Cozy Mystery, Women’s Fiction (the more light-hearted the better), Sweet Romance & some Contemporary Romance (NO erotica).
What kind of feature do you offer and what does it cost?
There are so many ways to be featured on For the Love of Chick Lit (and honestly on many book blog sites). I always tell authors that they don’t have to have a post with a ‘writer or writing’ subject. Readers know you can write, that’s why they buy your books. What readers LOVE is topics about pretty much anything else. Did you just become a new mom, or grandparent or furmom? Readers love it. Do you have a habit of attempting Pinterest finds only to find that really you’re better at the Pinterest fails? Readers love it. Did you recently go on vacation and have it resemble nothing short of a Chevy Chase movie? Readers love it. I’m sure you get the picture. The more personal you are and the more personality you show the more people are going to want to grab your book to see if maybe your biting wit they saw in a feature blog post, carries over to the book you just released.
Never pay a blogger for a feature post. And never EVER pay for a review. Good bloggers and reviewers do this for free because they love to read and they love books. If someone is charging you for a review or to appear on their blog (unless they are providing another service such as a blog tour or what not) you should not be paying them. Think of it as a red flag… if a guest post will cost you $1 or $500 you’re being ripped off by someone with no soul.
Here are the ‘options’ a lot of bloggers offer authors – (I require books to be 3 months old or newer within the categories in pink above – but all bloggers are different so read their requirements before requesting):
An author Guest Post – this is where you write about whatever you want, as detailed above. I try to keep these between 500-1200 words simply because, humans don’t have a long attention span. We’re impatient beings and in order not to lose a reader on sentence 6 of 8000, we like to keep it on the shorter side of life, but not too short because then it looks like you weren’t really interested. It’s a fine line, folks. You can include pictures (non-copyrighted pics of course) in your post, games, questions, whatever you want as long as it’s PG-13 and under (I’m kind of a prude…) out of respect for readers you know nothing about.
An author Q&A – this is basically an interview. Most book bloggers do them and we all have different questions. I try to mix up writing questions with life questions with questions you’d really prefer to not even answer. It keeps it fun and unique. I don’t expect you to answer ALL of my 30 questions on my list, but 8-12 of them makes for a great interview. One time, I emailed a very well known author and her assistant approved my interview request and said I could send over 5-10 questions. I didn’t want to be greedy so I sent 8. I got back 5 and 3 of them literally had one-word answers, the other two, one sentence answers. My initial thought… ‘what the fuck am I supposed to do with this?’. It wasn’t an interview and it actually kind of pissed me off. Why even answer the questions? Why not just tell me no? It was one of those ‘I met someone who I’m starstruck by and now, after meeting them, I’m not.’ I don’t ever want that to happen to you as an author so my advice for any questionnaire you agree to do is to only accept if you have the time to give a great interview. Answer in short paragraphs if the question allows for it.
A Book Excerpt Post – this post is as simple as copying and pasting a section of the book into an email and asking a blogger to post it. I’m always surprised when getting an excerpt from an author is such a huge deal. I do understand that some publishers don’t allow this but I’ll never understand why. I, as a reader, am more likely to read a sample first chapter, have it grab my interest and then go buy the book than I am to read a blurb and decide to buy. You get a much better feel for the authors writing style with an excerpt than you do a blurb. Excerpts I try to keep under 1200-2000 words or a chapter 1 that isn’t 15 pages long. I’ve had that too… an author will send over chapter 1 for their excerpt and it is literally 8000 words long. That even loses me as a blogger. So, if your first chapter is too long for an excerpt maybe pick the first 5 or 6 pages, excerpts don’t need to be an entire scene in the book, just a piece of it.
Release Day Promotional Post – these are always fun but generally, there are a lot of them so they don’t get as many hits as something more unique like a guest post or q&a. I say a lot of them because, in order for a release day to be successful, you need some blogs promoting it. There may be 20 different blogs with the exact same post which means if you share readers some posts might not get many hits. It gets the info in front of the reader and they may or may not buy on release day but they might remember it when they’ve got that extra $10 to buy books. These posts are great because they bring all the info to a reader the day of release. Instead of seeing the quick tweets with the title or author you see everything, the cover, the blurb, the buy links, the author info and sometimes even reviews. I love doing these posts because I want to bring awesome new books and authors to not only myself but my readers as well. I want you authors to succeed as much as you do and you’ll find that from most book bloggers.
Cover Reveal Post – this post is as simple as it sounds. Helping the author promote their newly released cover. It’s normally simple and short and can help the book gain some attention before and leading up to the release. After all your cover is your first impression. Covers, I feel, can make or break a book. Your story could be the next New York Time best seller on the inside but if your cover sucks, looks cheap, portrays the wrong genre, or your two-year-old designed it, you’re not gonna make it to the top of that list. I can honestly say, I’ve never been fooled by a cover. The cover could be drawn up by Picasso himself and if it doesn’t match the blurb or the excerpt, I’m not buying. The reason for that is the simple fact that your book cover is as important as your author label. When I check out Sophie Kinsella’s social media I do not want to see chit chat about horror movies or war stories, I want light and fun, romantic and witty, just like her books. Her covers portray her writing style and the stories inside and visa verse and that is SO important.
Giveaway Post or add-on to another post type – these are POPULAR but in both a good way and a bad way. The good way is that people love a giveaway. Who doesn’t like to win something? It’s fun, you feel superior to all the losers (kidding… mostly) and sometimes you get a fabulous gift from your favorite author or a book that will lead you to a new favorite author. People flock to the giveaway posts. And that brings me to the bad way. People flock to giveaway posts. People who don’t read, people who have entire feeds of nothing but giveaway entries, people who just want the gift card or the book or anything as long as it’s free. If a computer can be found, they will enter a giveaway from a free box of Tampax even though they’re 63 years old and male. It happens, a lot. But there are the honest entries too. It’s hard to say which way it will fall. I’ve done giveaways that have had thousands of entries and I’ve done giveaways that have had none. They’re a mystery but they’re fun. If you don’t mind the fact that you may give a prize to someone who will never even google your author name, giveaway posts often get more hits than non.
Promotional/Spotlight Post – I do these at times when I want to feature and author or a book but the author doesn’t jump at any other post types I offered, although, I do try to keep them at a minimum. Why? They’re boring as hell. It’s just the book info, cover, blurb, buy links, author info. That’s it. No personality, no interaction with the author, just the hard facts. I can find that same info if I see you tweet something interesting on twitter and go to your amazon page. They just aren’t super exciting. Most of the time when an author requests just a promo post they either don’t have the time to put into another type of post or they aren’t willing to be very interactive in promoting themselves. These types of posts are completely acceptable for a new release, a cover reveal, or gaining exposure through a blog tour. But I’d limit them to that.
So, those are the basic posts available to authors from most book bloggers. Obviously, the one post type missing is a review but, every reviewer is different on how they write their posts, what they include and what they accept so for a review you really need to be reading bloggers ‘review policies’. I no longer have a review policy because I’m no longer accepting reviews. But, there are MANY bloggers on the interwebs and if you spend enough time going through websites and reading policies you will be successful on finding reviewers.
I want to feature you if you meet the genre guidelines. Check out my ‘Be Featured – For Authors‘ page and don’t be afraid to drop me a line with a feature request.
Thanks for reading and if you feel the urge to share I’d much appreciate it!
I want to hear from you in the comments below!
What is your favorite type of post to write?
What post topic that you’ve written about was your favorite?
Are you a blog who features authors with the post types above? Leave your link and a short note detailing what genres you accept in the comments below!