Thursday, August 7, 2014

Blogger to Author (1)--That first meet!

Blogger to Author is a bit of an advice column for authors with tips and suggestions about working with bloggers, blogging in general and making the most of the platform.

Am I the be all and end all of bloggers? ::snort:: Hell no. But after near 3 years of blogging I've noticed trends and methods I think can help or harm authors and their goals and wanted to put something together to hopefully create better author/blogger relations and help authors who may not be bloggers present themselves if ways that may show them off better. It's all based on interactions that have happened here on herding cats & burning soup over the years. From sending requests to guest posting and what works best on the blogger side of things with this or that. While it might not all apply to every author/blogger it will hopefully give a bit of a starting point for discussions. 
*waves madly* Good morning authors! Today kicks off our first Blogger to Author chat! Woot! with a side of I'm nervous as hell about doing these. ::snort:: Excited too because I'm hoping they'll really help get some topics out in the open and some discussions happening. And for today I wanted to talk a little about first contact and reaching out to bloggers via social media and email. Something that can go awesomely well for both sides or be an immediate...crash and burn. (A lot of these points can also be applied to bloggers reaching out to authors but to keep things simple for this post I'm just going to go with authors reaching out to bloggers when I type).

I've been blogging for getting close to three years and I really enjoy sharing info for authors, spotlighting them, helping in my little way, etc. But some days that enjoyment can be a bit tainted and I get hit with feeling incredibly used as a blogger. Something that often stems from the way I've been contacted and approached by authors/assistants/etc. Is this by all authors--absolutely not. But it's happened enough that it's something I think needs addressing, you know?

Alright, so, the following are examples of  actual FB messages and tweets I've received--with the book/author's identifying info removed since this is not about calling anyone out. These were all the first contact with me. These authors had never come by the blog or commented or liked a status or had any interactions with the blog.
  • Tweet: {Amazon book link} Could you please support my dream of becoming a bestseller author by checking out my book. Thanks. @herdingcats2012
  • Would love if you could share the new book trailer!  {Youtube Link} 
  • My new BIKER book just went live.  I'd love a share!  Thank you so much!  
  • Please share  xoxo {Amazon Link}
  • Hey Dolls! If it’s not too much trouble, can you please share my sale on your page? I would greatly appreciate it! 
  • Thank you for sharing {Book Title--one I'd never shared before or heard of} for us! We're back to ask if you can share it again, please. Could you share this tonight, Saturday or Sunday?  (I then received another similar message from them a week or so later)
  • Happy Saturday! I'd be so honored and grateful if you could share the news on your Facebook wall about my price drop  
*deep breath* Whewboy! Please, please, please don't do this. Holy cow. Messages like this make me feel like such a bitch because my first thought when opening one is..."I'm sure you would.". That is definitely not the first response you want a blogger to have about you and I hate that that's my first thought. I don't remember it bothering me when I was first starting but after the 100th or 200th time? a girl will really start to feel a little jaded as a blogger and like I mentioned... used. They're obvious cut and pastes with no thought to me as a blogger other than that I can do something for them--which yes is technically the case with all promo I guess but lordy you don't want a blogger to feel that way, ya know? It may be a way to get your message out to a lot of bloggers very quickly but it'll also get messages marked as spam and for me is a sure fire way for an author to never make it on my blog in any way.

The same can go for email messages concerning requests for reviews, tours, guest posts, spotlights, etc. I don't know numbers for other bloggers but I get them by the dozens and a lot of time they have the same spammy vibe to them. They're mass sent, don't identify anything about me or my blog, are posts that I either don't do on my blog or are for books that aren't my blogs genre. Many will include something along the lines of oh I just adore your blog and all of the things you post, etc and think my book would be perfect for your readers. Which sometimes I'm sure is true but often it feels like a generic ass kissing that they're using to send out to everyone. Ex--review requests for middle grade books, heavily religious romances, young adult romances, non-romance storylines. If any of yall are regulars here you know I'm all about the naughty romances, sometimes a little sweeter but really I like lots of sheet time and weird things like monster porn. Books for 10 year olds...not so much. ::snort::

Alright so my advice for reaching out to bloggers...take a little extra time. Quality over quantity and all that. Kick off the blogger/author meet in a way that'll foster long term relationships and be a good thing for both sides in the long run.
  • Check for a Requests Page--This is crazy important. Many blogs have these now days and it'll have info on what types of books or posts they'll take on and will likely have a method they prefer to be reached--via email, submitting a form, via FB message, etc. Go with the method they prefer. This can make a huge difference in how the blogger will view your request. This is my requests page for example. I prefer getting emails from authors the first time they reach out to me. Even with my requests closed due to personal reasons I got a ton of blitz requests recently and it was obvious they either didn't check or ignored my request status which just makes my eye twitch and even if it seems nit-picky makes me less inclined to work with an author.
  • Check for a blogger name. That may sound silly but really this can make a difference. Not all bloggers will have their name on their blog but if it's listed..go ahead and use it. I've gotten emails to Hey Blogger, Reviewer, Hey you sexy thing you--I shit you not I got one with that and it was a first contact, no greeting at all just the request, cat herder, Book lover, etc. It would be like me sending out something like "Hey Romance Author--I'm doing XYZ please donate at this link" kind of emails. It's sort of the same thing here. It's just not all that polite I don't think and more likely to be ignored. 
  • Socialize if you can--It's okay to follow blogs, to like posts and interact with them on social media. It really makes a lot of our days honestly--Yes I totally squee and fan girl when an author replies to a tweet or visits on FB. lol It's not a guarantee in but it can help when you want to go on a blog to have that bit of contact. For them to know your name without it being a promo push, ya know? I have a handful of authors that follow the blog's FB but have never actually been on the blog since they've not requested it. But I know their names and if they sent me a message asking if they could come on I'd say yes no problem--even if I wasn't really taking requests right now. I'd find a way to get them on. Because they've been around. They've interacted and have made themselves a part of my community of reader friends. 
  • Give a little intro--Even if you need to do a mass mailing introduce yourself a little. A "Hi--I hope you're having a great day so far. My name is X and I write YZ. I'm contacting bloggers today..." type of start goes over a lot better for me than a "Reviewer--You can find the sign up for my current tour at this link." (yes I've received emails where that was pretty much it)
  • If you do end up sending a mass mailing--sometimes you just have to I know--make sure to BCC the emails. It's just the nice thing to do :) Bloggers can be very protective of their emails and having it exposed to sometimes hundreds of others can really be a sore spot and lead to a lot of issues like people who will collect those emails and sell them. 
  • One extra point about actual review requests in general. My advice after speaking with many bloggers is to not include an actual review copy of the book in the initial email. It can make a blogger feel very pressured and can come off a little rude even without meaning too. While it won't bother all reviewers it's best to wait until after the review request has been accepted by the blogger. 
Alright so that's the first Blogger to Author and my 2 cents. Not the most monumental of ideas but something I think authors--and bloggers as well--should keep in mind when reaching out to each other for this or that for the first time. Each blogger is going to be a little different and not every point I made will apply to ALL bloggers but checking them out and doing your homework can really make a huge difference. It might take a little extra time but if you start things off in a positive way it can really make for a great long term relationship. I think a lot of it boils down to that golden rule of treating others how you'd want to be treated, you know?

So, what about yall? Authors or bloggers I'd love to hear what you have to say. What would be your best advice for initial contact with each other? What would you love for the other to do...or not do when reaching out with a request?

Blogger to Author
Do you have a topic you'd like discussed? Shoot me an email!

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