How to Win the Hearts of Bloggers–Scoring the Book Review, Guest Post or Interview

The world is changing faster than any of us can keep up, and publishing is certainly not immune. Yet, one constant remains. There are only two ways to sell lots of books–good book and word of mouth. Period. Book trailer, bookmarks, giveaways, and flare are fun, but are certainly not major drivers of book sales. If you want to know why, take a few minutes to check out one of my earlier posts that explains why books are not tubes of toothpaste and writers are not tacos.

One of the best ways to generate word of mouth for our books is to enlist the help of bloggers who have large followings. Ah, but be careful. There is a TON of bad advice floating around out there about how to approach bloggers to review a book, give you an interview or allow you to guest post.

I know when I was in Los Angeles earlier this year, a representative from a large PR firm spouted off (with great authority) her “helpful tips” to get writers hunted down and tarred and feathered . Um, I meant, tips to make bloggers want to talk about you and your books.

Um…so does this mean you WON’T be reviewing my epic fantasy?

Normally, I ignore anything negative and, if this bad advice weren’t so pervasive, I’d ignore it, too. But, many social media people believe (quite mistakenly) that what works in the world of business works in publishing, and that just ain’t so.

So, let’s just take a look at some of the ways to make bloggers buy a voodoo doll of our likeness:

Bad Tip #1– Send Out Mass E-Mails

Yes, said PR “expert” in L.A. actually recommended that writers make a master list of all the big bloggers and send them an e-mail request for an interview, book review or guest spot.

No. For the love of all that is chocolate….NO.

One surefire way to make any blogger hate you is to send us a nice form letter that is clearly part of a mass e-mail list. I can’t tell you guys how special I feel when I see:

Dear Madam,

Wow! Whoa! Okay, I often argue that writing is really the oldest profession in the world, but Madam? Seriously? No wonder I suddenly feel the need for a feather boa and a chaise lounge. I just thought it was my normal weirdness.

Let’s just apply a smidge of common sense. The last time you went to your mail and some cable company sent you a form letter, did you get chills? Did you get ooey gooey feelings of super-specialness? No. Okay, so here’s a clue. No matter how “thoughtful” the form letter….it isn’t.

When this PR “expert” recommended mass e-mailing all the top bloggers…I just kinda wanted to punch her.

And don’t think bloggers will fall for….

Bad Tip #2–“Personalized” Form Letters

Yeah, I am not mentioning any names, but this advice really gives me an eye twitch. “You can send a form letter if you just make sure to personalize the first paragraph with tidbits about the other person.” I just love it when people fake interest in me, don’t you?

I love Dale Carnegie and I read How to Win Friends and Influence Enemies People about once a year. But, here’s the thing. Dale was trying to teach people how to actually CARE about other people FIRST. His tactics were not meant to be some phoney-boloney schtick to get people to lower their guard so they could be more easily manipulated.

We are not idiots and we spot a form letter when we see one.

At least once a month, I get something akin to:

Dear Ms. Lamb,

Wow. I see that you like training sea monkeys for world domination. But have you ever thought, “Gee, New York just doesn’t publish anything good anymore”? Critics are hailing The Chiropractor’s Assistant–A Tale of Love, Betrayal, and Orthotics as the best thing since Snookie’s unauthorized biography. I know your blog is top-notch and that’s why I am offering you a rare chance to interview me before I’m too famous to be reachable…

Yeah…I’m right on that. Right after I organize my liquor cabinet.

I know it is tempting to take short-cuts. I’ve listened to the fancy Power Point presentations at writing conferences, too. But, what might work in Corporate America can make us a digital leper in the writing world.

Bad Tip #3–Faking Fandom

This should fall under the “No, Duh” category. Don’t tell a blogger that you are a fan of the blog unless, well…you are.

Okay, now that I have talked about all the BAD advice, how do you really get a blogger to review your book?

Good Tip #1–We Should Never Ask for What We Are Unwilling to Give

When a writer is asking a blogger to review a book, that is a HUGE time and energy commitment on the part of the blogger. It takes an average of 10-12 hours to read a book. Then the blogger needs to think, make notes and write a post. You could easily be asking for 20 hours the blogger might not even have.

Interviews are also tough. We need to read writing samples, research your background and even come up with witty and thought-provoking questions. I, personally, have to get my creepy panel van detailed and buy fresh candy. Interviews are A LOT of work.

So, before you e-mail a blogger asking for something, take a gut check. How much have you given?

Trust me when I tell you that we pay attention to people who take time to leave comments regularly. If a blogger gets a request from a REAL fan who has been leaving comments for months? Often it is a no-brainer. Bloggers are people and if you sow kindness and generosity, most bloggers will respond favorably.

Tip #2–Make Sure the Blogger Does Book Reviews or Interviews or Allows Guest Posts

I don’t do book reviews, so to ask me is kind of a waste of time. Trust me, you wouldn’t want to ask me anyway. My fellow members of my critique group call me The Death Star. Yeah, that’s like asking Ice Pick Vinnie to babysit your kids.

But, there are bloggers out there who do review books. Seek them out. Follow their blogs and leave comments. Then, when your book is to a point it needs a review, you will have an established relationship and getting a review will be far easier.

I rarely do interviews. In fact, in three years I have done…TWO. So again, I am not a great choice when it comes to soliciting an interview. My blog is primarily a teaching blog. Interviews are not my specialty. In fact, I have to get my assistant to help me with the questions because I kinda go all stupid and my mind draws a blank.

If you have a blogger you like, just take some time to see if they even are open to reviews or interviews. This is just common sense. If you need to buy screws and bolts, don’t go to a florist. Check the About Me section and many bloggers will say if they do reviews, interviews, allow guest posts, etc.

Tip #3 Ask the Blogger What You Can Give TO Them

Present yourself as a solution to a problem. Many bloggers are short on TIME. Hey, we’re writers, too. If you want to do a guest post, have some written ahead of time and allow us a choice. If you desire an interview, have a nice bio handy and prepared. You might even have a list of questions to help us out. We might not use your questions, but they can at least help us get us focused and give us a place to start.

One great way to promote your fiction is to offer posts that teach. I know Maria Zannini did a guest post for me earlier in the year. Her post taught writers ways to make an outstanding cover (and there was information about her fiction in her bio). She GAVE FIRST.

This is all just common sense. Serve people first. Be kind and authentic. I know it seems like it takes more time than e-mailing 50 bloggers and hoping a couple will bite. But, if you work to forge relationships FIRST, I promise that your time will be far better spent.

So have I missed anything? For you bloggers out there, what makes you feel warm and fuzzy? What can writers do to get your attention that isn’t illegal in all Southern states?

I do want to hear from you guys!

And to prove it and show my love, for the month of November, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of October I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!

I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer . Both books are ON SALE for $4.99!!!! And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in th biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books!

Mash Up of Awesomeness

BEST BLOG EVER!!! By Roni Loren The Life Cycle of a Blogger

NYTBSA Bob Mayer talks about transmedia. Yes, it is very interesting.

Self-Published Authors Have Great Powers, but Are They Taking Responsibility? by Jane Friedman

Characters and Plot: Can’t We All Just Get Along? by the awesome-sauce Roni Loren

E-Publishers versus Agents by Jami Gold

Social Media Ennui by Kait Nolan

25 Things You Should Know About Writing Advice by MY FAVE BLOGGER Chuck Wendig

Having a tough time keeping up with all the industry changes? Make sure you follow the amazing Porter Anderson’s Writing on the Ether every Thursday for the best information about the industry.

How Do You Get Over a Guy? Even If You’re Not a Kardashian by Emma Burcart

How Our Almost Wastes Our Now vlog by Lisa Whittle

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  1. #1 by Catherine Johnson on November 2, 2011 - 10:19 am

    Totally agree all of these nice things are a time suck. I like to try a little bit of each for my favourite people when they need it the most, like a blog tour. And the rest of the time, do your best to re-tweet and (my latest thing StumbleUpon) for them. If you ever want any of the things you mentioned on my blog, do shout out. I’d love to have you pop over. I mention your books when I know I’ll get a huge hit, like a blogfest or Rach Writes Campaign challenges (when I remember😉 HAGD! (Stumbling this🙂

  2. #2 by Jan Morrill on November 2, 2011 - 10:20 am

    Thanks for all the useful information, Kristen. The way you break down the tips into “bad” and “good” is especially helpful! My “warm and fuzzy” is definitely receiving regular comments from new followers that are not already friends.🙂

    Okay — after following your blog for several weeks now, I’m off to check out your books!

  3. #3 by Teresa M. Owen on November 2, 2011 - 10:21 am

    I love this post, thanks Kristen!

  4. #4 by Kimberly Mullican on November 2, 2011 - 10:25 am

    Excellent advice! I think sometimes writers forget that these wonderful folks are donating their time to YOUR cause – for free. Time is one of the most valuable resources we have.

  5. #5 by Jen Stayrook on November 2, 2011 - 10:29 am

    I think Twitter is also a huge part of this equation. Mass emails are annoying, sure, but for the most part, they can be ignored. Constant @ replies and tweets, begging people to read/review/share etc is beyond obnoxious.

  6. #6 by amyshojai on November 2, 2011 - 10:31 am

    OMG, I wish that I could LIKE LIKE LIKE this a couple cazillion times! My email Inbox mimics Mt. Vesuvius on a daily basis (is that even spelled right?) with requests for book and product “mentions” or reviews. And my bloggicity doesn’t come near to the Mt Olympus heights some bloggers boast. I have a stack of a dozen books that I did request for review and don’t know when I’ll get the time, plus a box of puppy toys to “test” with a local puppy person.

    My fave so far, though, came through Facebook. “I see you like to read. Then for sure you’ll love NAME’S latest children’s picture book . . .”

    I don’t have kids. They scare me. Why would I review kids’ books?

    Wait–I know somebody who DOES have a spawn and is a reader, and a writer, and has a blog and all-that-good-schtuff. Good stuff am a-comin’ to you! *eg*

  7. #7 by Allison Brennan on November 2, 2011 - 10:36 am

    Great advice! Definitely hate the mass emails and I’m not even a review blogger. (Another thing I absolutely hate? 1) people who post promo on my FB page and 2) people who add me to their newsletter list without me opting in.) — But that’s me as an author, not a reviewer, and I’m sure reviewers get this twice as bad as I do.

  8. #8 by M.M.Mohica on November 2, 2011 - 10:37 am

    Well hey there, I’ve been following you on twitter for a couple months or so and have found you incredibly helpful. You give really good advice, and definitely drive home the fact that even if a writer can hit the ground running when it comes to actually writing, adding the internet into the mix is an entirely different ballgame. I’ve added both of your books you mentioned to my wishlist on Amazon, and my birthday is coming up on the 15th, so I might just decide to buy some books for when I finish NaNoWriMo. Stay awesome, and I think I’ll take your advice and start posting on all the blogs I read!

  9. #9 by H.L. Banks on November 2, 2011 - 10:48 am

    Awesome post and as a newbie just venturing out, music to my ears. Thanks for helping me to avoid some potholes.

  10. #10 by timlobrien on November 2, 2011 - 10:55 am

    Thank you for the advice on guest blogging. Very timely. I am attempting to map out my blog topics on my calendar for the next three months. The ideas are flowing pretty freely thus far. Trying to take into account your advice on mash-ups (lesson 7) and VLogs (lesson 6). I had no idea how to approach the guest blogger. Today’s blog makes it all much clearer. As usual, many thanks!

  11. #11 by Cathy West on November 2, 2011 - 11:01 am

    While it’s tempting to do the mass email thing, it’s definitely not a good idea! We need to build on relationships first. When I ask for endorsements, I will go first to those friends I know who have journeyed with me along the road to publication, cheered with me when my book released and are only too happy to give me an interview or write a review or have me guest post on their blog. I think reviewers are a different issue as they are usually actively looking for good books to read and review, but again, you need to make sure the reviewer you are contacting actually reads in the genre you write. It’s too easy to just grab a bunch of links and send out mass emails. This is a huge waste of time and usually you won’t get a response. (I may or may not be speaking from experience. *cough*. The other problem I found as a new author is that there are SO many reviewers out there that it’s really hard to know who to contact. In an effort to help my fellow authors, I recently started a new blog that lists reviewers who review CBA fiction, which I write. It’s called This Is A Blog About Books. http://www.thisisablogaboutbooks.wordpress.com

  12. #12 by Gloria Richard Author on November 2, 2011 - 11:01 am

    I was blessed to have a techie-web-presence guru offer to host a series on my blog. She posts each Wednesday and the stats reflect a growing fan base for her posts and my blog. Why would she do this? I asked. It’s a pay forward win-win.

    Yes, I promised (in an earlier comment) to link back to your site, Kristen. No, I haven’t yet done that. An oversight I WILL correct on my regular Friday blog. I ove you voice and your advice. No baloney.

  13. #13 by mpsfamily on November 2, 2011 - 11:31 am

    I’m here in this strange place called the blogosphere because it seems to be expected of writers these days. Although I do have my wordpress account, I haven’t written my first blog post simply because I feel like a pretender; doing something “expected” in order to give my book the best chance of selling. Your post was witty and very informative, but I’m an old guy who loves to read and write stories, not spend hours of every day blogging, or reading blogs about writing, or following blogs, or commenting on blogs. Not that I don’t enjoy them, it just isn’t what I want to be doing the most. My feeling is that the world of writer’s blogs is becoming similar in some ways to the traditional publishing world. A writer who wants to be noticed must spend a tremendous amount of time and energy with little hope of success unless the right person (be it editor or blogger) takes the time to see that ‘hey, this really is a good book!”
    There are thousands of interesting posts that I should read and would find educational and useful for making my book a success. I likely will read many of them, including more of yours. But following and commenting and “liking” in order to achieve that goal, makes me feel like a “user”, not a “giver”. And I would still rather be writing stories.
    (Ha! Maybe I’ll make this my first blog post!)

  14. #14 by Marianne on November 2, 2011 - 11:42 am

    Great advice. I just bought your book and changed my Twitter name. It became an existential question of epic proportions: maiden or married; nickname or full name. Luckily, I was able to power through!

    • #15 by Leanne Shirtliffe on November 2, 2011 - 3:15 pm

      Well done, Marianne. Kristen held my hand through my Twitter name change thing (including my very own my-name-is-too-long-now-what tantrum).🙂

  15. #16 by Anne R. Allen on November 2, 2011 - 11:47 am

    Thank you SO much for this! I get crazy requests all the time from people who obviously have never read my blog, asking for ridiculous favors. Or because I wrote a couple of posts on writers and depression they want me to promote pharmaceuticals. These are the same marketing people who say you have to have 100,000 Twitter followers and 20,000 hits a week on your blog. Their pitches are so lame they only get a .01% return, so they need those numbers.

    Apparently book reviewers get the most of this kind of spam. Often from big publishing houses, whose clueless publicity people are doing their authors more harm than good. I’m running an interview this Sunday with a popular book reviewer with her do’s and don’ts and pet peeves as well as tips on how to query her. Book reviewers are the new gatekeepers, so this stuff is really important.

    • #17 by Author Kristen Lamb on November 2, 2011 - 1:57 pm

      I will have to check it out. Oh, in case you didn’t notice, I am going out of my way to make Snooki references just for you. *hugs*

  16. #18 by Reetta Raitanen on November 2, 2011 - 11:56 am

    Great list of Do’s and Don’ts, Kristen. Especially the giving back part is important. Win-win deals are the best ones and the only ones really busy people (all book bloggers) want to take.

    And it doesn’t hurt to get to know the book bloggers of your genre early on. That way you’ll spot the ones whose style you like, and who read similar books than the one you’re writing. All bloggers like to get comments so respect their hard work with little love. Then you also won’t be a total stranger when you ask for a favour and offer one back.

  17. #19 by Leanne Shirtliffe on November 2, 2011 - 12:32 pm

    Another fantastic list, Kristen. This is the stage I’m at. My agent, who has a fab sense of humor, has told me to be a “blurb whore.” So, I’m pimping myself out…

    But when you follow your advice, it’s amazing how willing people are to say yes. It has surprised me that people are essentially kind and giving when you approach them respectfully, sincerely, and personally.

    And the “offer something” part of your advice is new to me. I love that idea!

  18. #20 by Roni Loren on November 2, 2011 - 12:35 pm

    Yes ,yes, yes. I HATE getting that crap in my inbox. I have no problem hosting guests who are regular visitors to my blog and therefore, know the types of guest posts my followers would be into. But the random–hey I love you blog and would love to be a guest! (translation: I saw you have a buttload of followers and would love to spam them!)–is super annoying.

    And I also love the–I’ll do you a huge favor and give you my book FOR FREE so you can review it. Yeah, okay, uh *looks at bookshelf full of TBR books I actually want to read but don’t have time to*. Free doesn’t ring my bell, dude.

    (Thanks for including me in the mashup!)

  19. #21 by gingerclub on November 2, 2011 - 12:47 pm

    Dear Kirstin,

    Tough not in the promotion process of any book, your article provides a great insight into the workings of this art. I am glad that you do not perceive writing as a business act but rather a personal craft. When it comes to finding people to get you feedback I guess it is as with any other relationship – people are first of all people and not commodities. I like your human approach to a certainly tough environment:-)

    Sunny smiles

    Ginger

  20. #22 by Charlotte Rains Dixon on November 2, 2011 - 12:49 pm

    You make a good point that bloggers are pressed for time, and I’d add we often are on the lookout for good content as well. So don’t be afraid to inquire about guest posting. I love your #3 Do–ask what you can do for a blogger. It is so great to turn the equation around and think of it in those terms. Great post!

  21. #23 by Tamara LeBlanc on November 2, 2011 - 1:15 pm

    You gotta love Donald Maass and his very true belief that the only good way to sell a book is by writing a damn good one and by getting people to pass that news on to a ga-zillion of their friends.
    He’s got it goin’ on.
    And so do you!
    Thank you for listing those do’s and don’ts Kristen. I’m always thrilled to get great advice from you.
    Have a wonderful Wednesday!!
    Tamara

  22. #24 by Chris G. on November 2, 2011 - 1:24 pm

    Great advice, and a fine list. The mass e-mail is a particular irk of mine – while I understand the desire a lot of have for its potential (I.E. reaching lots of people easily) there’s something to be said for making things too easy…it’s a hard business, and people always tend to respond poorly to being spammed. And despite popular opinion, they can spy out a good dose of spam. Readers are smarter than people give credit for…As you said, for the love of all things chocolate…

  23. #25 by coleen patrick on November 2, 2011 - 1:26 pm

    More great advice. Need to stockpile it “before I’m too famous to be reachable.” LOL–I love that line!

  24. #26 by Sarah Forgrave on November 2, 2011 - 1:27 pm

    Excellent post, Kristen! It always seems to go back to forming genuine relationships, doesn’t it?

  25. #27 by educlaytion on November 2, 2011 - 1:51 pm

    Super perspective Kristen. I have heard some ridiculous stuff at conferences as well, both writing and academic. I would love to hear you present sometime!

  26. #28 by successbmine on November 2, 2011 - 1:56 pm

    Solid advice. I don’t have a published book – yet – but I have been reading a lot about people approaching others to review their books. Some post in a group setting with a general request. I find that to be acceptable as anyone has a choice as to whether they respond or not. I have done a couple of reviews. One was for a ladies’ group meeting and the other was just spontaneous because the book impressed me so much. I don’t think I would want to do this on a regular basis, though. It is hard work and, as you said, it takes a lot of hours of time that is already in short supply for most writers.

  27. #29 by Amy Sundberg on November 2, 2011 - 2:16 pm

    Thanks for this great list of do’s and don’ts. I really like how you focus on how WE, the writers can help the bloggers, rather than the other way around.

  28. #30 by Marcy Kennedy on November 2, 2011 - 2:41 pm

    Really excellent list of what to do and not do. I had a successful non-fiction author approach me a few months ago and ask if I’d write a blog post on my blog about “how to write a killer guest post.” She’d recently opened her blog up to guest posters, but people were flooding her inbox with completely inappropriate material for her audience. They weren’t doing anything but annoying her and wasting her time by offering material that she couldn’t use.

  29. #31 by lynnkelleyauthor on November 2, 2011 - 2:51 pm

    Excellent advice, Kristen. It’s common sense, really, but I love the way you break it down and explain it. And your humor always rocks! Thanks!

  30. #32 by susielindau on November 2, 2011 - 3:10 pm

    I have a friend from Open Salon who reads tons of blogs and comments “rates” them. That is the way you get seen on that site. One day I got an email from her telling me about her new post. I didn’t know right away that she had added my email to her list. I get one a day. If it was anyone else (because of the sheer volume) I would roll my eyes, but she has never missed rating and commenting on one of my posts on OS!
    I don’t have the nerve to email other bloggers. Once in a while I PM the people I consistently read on OS. It is common practice over there.
    Getting views on WordPress is a nightmare in comparison. I know they are working on improvements, so maybe they will revamp their home page. It took me a while to realize you have to rely on Twitter. Even if you get FP’d!

  31. #33 by Debra Eve | Later Bloomer on November 2, 2011 - 3:15 pm

    As a native Angeleno, I can confirm that LA is full of whackadoodle PR types.🙂 The movie industry gives everyone delusions of grandeur. I just got a piece of “fan” mail from someone who noticed I don’t have advertising on my blog and wanted me to sell their product!

    Thanks for being the whiff of fresh air in the cattle pen, and also for offering such wonderful, affordable classes through Who Dares Wins Publishing.

  32. #34 by tamikaeason on November 2, 2011 - 4:23 pm

    A dear blogging friend asked me to help promote her book, and my first thought was a quick ‘yes’. Her words have blessed me more times than I can count. But the real reason is I believe in her work; her message is one that belongs in the hearts of many.

    I hope one day someone will feel that way about my work!

  33. #35 by Jill Kemerer on November 2, 2011 - 4:51 pm

    This is why I keep coming back to your blog–common sense! Jane Friedman recently posted on the importance of a targeted press release, and your post builds on what she said. I think one thing any writer approaching a blogger about a review should keep in mind–would they post a review of a stranger’s book based on their approach? I don’t even like getting form DM’s on Twitter. I’m certainly not going to be moved to action by a form letter! Thanks for always sharing good advice, Kristen!

  34. #36 by Bridgette Booth on November 2, 2011 - 5:48 pm

    I’m really surprised when I get the form messages asking me to go buy a book. I can’t even imagine how folks can do the same with people they are asking really large favors from. Obviously, you have a huge untapped market waiting on your books.

    Thanks Kristen!

  35. #37 by alicamckennajohnson on November 2, 2011 - 6:38 pm

    Okay I have a question. I want to be able to do interviews, get reviews, and do blog swaps, but I feel uncomfortable doing them on my blog at this moment.
    I’m afraid an interview would seem lame and stifled, maybe if I had a van? LOL
    I don’t want to review books because what if I don;t like their book???? I don’t want to hurt anyone especially friends.
    I have done two blog swaps- for your class and again they felt stifled, maybe I just need to do more of them, and let go of expectations?
    I bet I’m over thinking this aren’t I?
    BTW having a van kidnapping interview is no on my “You Know You’ve Made It’ list.🙂

  36. #38 by authorleannedyck on November 2, 2011 - 7:09 pm

    I’ve done a few interviews on my blog. I keep the questions the same from author to author–and view it as a way to network and help promote. I’m always surprised at how well authors let their personality shine through. I’m in no way an expert but I am having fun. My advice, to any blogger who wants to do interviews, is to go for it. You’ll learn a lot and have tons of fun.

  37. #39 by Julie Glover on November 2, 2011 - 7:20 pm

    I like when an author guest posts for a blogger I know. They can then promote their book somewhere in the post or at the end. If the content was great, it piques my interest in their book – more than a straight “What’s your book about?” interview would. Great tips, Kristen! Thanks for always reminding us that we are about relationship not soundbites.

  38. #40 by Renee Schuls-Jacobson on November 2, 2011 - 7:25 pm

    How are you in my brain, you little earworm? People have been asking me to do some writing, and –as the girl who always says yes– (hi mom!), I’m having a hard time prioritizing. Maybe you can explain HOW you say no. I know that sounds crazy, but I like to give. And it seems part of that is writing guest posts. But I’m also trying to write my book and do a lot of other shizzle. So how do you prioritize what you do and what you don’t do. You say you don’t do book reviews. Well, what if Stephen King wanted to review his book. Wouldn’t that be good for both of you? Do you see where I’m going with this? Or is it: Just say no to the stuff you don’t really want to do – even if it could bring you more exposure?

  39. #41 by Tameri Etherton on November 2, 2011 - 8:35 pm

    While I’m no where near any of this, it’s fabulous information to store away for that day it does come up.

    Relationships are key in this day and age. I’m always so surprised when I get a new follower on Twitter and right away I’ll get a DM saying, go to my website! buy my book! I always shake my head and think they need to go out and buy your book right away.

    On the other side of the spectrum is the ever amazing Leanne Shirtliffe who, I believe, has never read my blog, but I love her blog so much I would happily support her blurb whoring. Why? I’m not getting anything out of the deal? Because she’s hilarious and her book is going to be awesome. I want all of my 32 fans to love her and buy her book.

    They’re happy, she’s happy, and I’m happy I could help a fellow writer. And she never even mailed me a form letter. Perfection.

  40. #42 by tomwisk on November 2, 2011 - 8:46 pm

    Dear Madam.,
    How are the sea monkeys. Seriously the underlying theme of this blog is that getting public is a two-way street. You only get what you put in. I’m nor famous yet, but when I am I’ll remember all the people I met on the way up because they’ll be the same people I’ll meet if I fall.
    Thanks

  41. #43 by Debra Kristi on November 2, 2011 - 10:59 pm

    As always, you have showered us all with excellent advice. It never ceases to amaze me how many people need the obvious pointed out to them. Mass emails would seem like a no-brainer. Generic mass emails = bad thing. No one likes getting them so why would anyone think sending them would work to their advantage? The rest is all new territory for me being so new to the blogging scene. It will be a while before I can hope to be on the receiving end of interview but your notes are definitely worth hanging on to.

  42. #44 by Marji Laine on November 3, 2011 - 1:44 am

    I love doing reviews, although I’m a little backlogged right now. But I don’t do them for reciprocity. (Although that would be stinkin’ sweet whenever I get published.) I write them up because I liked the books, because I think the folks that read my blog might like the books, too. And in hopes that the reviews will bring more traffic, which they do, sometimes. As far as warm, snugglies. I love it when authors stop by on the day of their review (I always inform them via email) especially if they mention it on their own blog. And it delights the tar out of me to have them visit and leave comments some other time, just because they were interested in the content. I think being genuine is the key to forming social media relationships.

  43. #45 by Jody on November 3, 2011 - 3:34 am

    Hey,

    I couldn’t make it without your books. I’m still scared to death, but with your help, I’ll take the plunge into social media. Gasp! Now I’m committed.

    Tell me you’re standing on shore with a life preserver to throw at me.

    Jody

  44. #46 by Sonja buckalew on November 3, 2011 - 3:46 am

    Very well thought out post Kristen. I loved it. Already own the two books mentioned and I am almost finished the “are you there?…. And am anxious to get started on the new one. Great stuff. I can spot mass mail from a distance and collect them the moment I open my mail and put them in the bin. And I am a nobody. (Well, for now) Thank you for all your advise. You are awesome.

  45. #47 by Jennie on November 3, 2011 - 5:27 am

    Great post, Kristen! My day job includes being features editor for a newspaper, and nothing makes me hit the delete key faster than pitches for book reviews or stories on authors that don’t fit our market/publication, especially form pitches. Just because email and social media make it faster to contact people doesn’t mean we can take any less time in researching or building the relationships with book bloggers and reviewers. I’ll definitely be sharing this post!

  46. #48 by Kathryn Roberts on November 3, 2011 - 10:24 am

    Great post…again =). This is something I’ve been wondering about myself, and wondered what others did. It makes sense to me. I would feel bad asking for so much of others if I wasn’t willing to do something for them in return. And I like that you were still able to stick something from Star Wars in there. Ha. Gotta love that movie.

  47. #49 by Larry Atchley, Jr on November 3, 2011 - 10:26 am

    I had heard some great things about your blog from some of my writer friends. After checking it out for myself, I realised they were right! So I’m now subscribed to your blog, and I really appreciate the valuable information you offer. I’ve only been blogging on WordPress for a few months, but I need to establish a regular blog post schedule, as I’ve been very inconsistant, and haven’t posted in awhile. I just had my first short story “Remember, Remember, Hell in November” published in a shared-world fiction anthology, Lawyers in Hell, in July of this year. I’m working on stories for several other anthologies currently. I’m trying to get my name out there as much as possible and build a fan base, so I understand the importance of having a good promotions platform, I just need to be able to find ways to do it more effectively and efficiently. Thanks again for sharing your ideas on your blog. I will definitly buy your books once I have a regularly paying day job again with money coming in to pay bills. Currently I’m enjoying being a full-time freelance writer, but I’m still too new to make enough money to support myself and my family. Someday I hope I will be able to do that, if I am persistant and successful enough.

  48. #50 by Kat Jorgensen on November 3, 2011 - 12:57 pm

    Kristen, I’ve been reading your books and now your blog. I’m a firm believer in giving and not taking. You embody this in your writing and teaching. This was just great advice and I’m happy to share it with others.

    • #51 by Author Kristen Lamb on November 3, 2011 - 1:46 pm

      Thanks. I do believe that life is an echo. We get back what we put out😉. Thank you so much for your support.

  49. #52 by Yolanda on November 3, 2011 - 1:17 pm

    Kristen, I can’t thank you enough for this article. I keep telling people that what works in Corporate America WILL NOT work for writers. I have a friend who is taking all of the short-cuts he can think of and is still bombing out on sales. And he is making fun of me for following your advice and others. I will keep following your advice, because it works. And I can’t wait to read both of your books. I’m getting them this week. You’re blog has offered great advice and I can only guess at how awesome the books will be.

    Thank you again!

    • #53 by Author Kristen Lamb on November 3, 2011 - 1:48 pm

      Well, it is an easy mistake to make, but what people often forget is that Best Buy can get away with form letters that insert our name because it is a huge, faceless corporation making an effort to be more personal. When an individual uses the same tactic, it actually has the opposite effect. It distances the target audience emotionally. Thanks for the support and I am thrilled you like the blog.

  50. #54 by Lesann on November 3, 2011 - 2:42 pm

    The really helpful part of posts like this is that sometimes people don’t know any better. The rules of engagement are in flux and having a reminder of how etiquette also shifts if really useful. Even then, we sometimes lose sight of the fact that all our readers have is our juicy words and none of the kinesics that allow us to better read one another in person.

    It’s easy to make mistakes in this online environment and people want to share their expertise, even when it doesn’t always translate. Next month the rules will have snaked off in another direction, so don’t get too comfy.

  51. #55 by Aimee Laine on November 3, 2011 - 3:16 pm

    I didn’t read the comments, so this has probably already been said … but it’s basically “The Golden Rule”. Do unto others …. anything you wouldn’t want someone to do to you, don’t do to a potential blogger. Give with no intention of getting in return and you’ll find (long term) that you get way more.🙂 That’s my philosophy anyway!

  52. #56 by Jenny Hansen on November 3, 2011 - 5:22 pm

    It’s funny, I don’t have any problem asking for guest posts for Writers In The Storm, but I’m very reticent to ask for myself. On the other hand, I try to be a stop for blog tours and such because I want to give all those fresh new books the chance to get good word of mouth.

    I don’t know if this approach is “wrong” or “right” but it’s the way I’ve been doing it. Plus, I give out guest posts/interviews as prizes.

  53. #58 by Jess Witkins on November 3, 2011 - 8:54 pm

    Love this post! I’ve seen this advice in action around the blogosphere where bloggers I love and read often have fitting guest posts from similar writers that I know that blogger has done book giveaways, reviews, and publicity for. You see the relationship and the fun from the comment interaction. One of the things I love about the Life List Club blog hop is that we all write for each other, and we’ve set up relationships to help each other, give feedback and support when we each need it most. It’s about the relationship first, and the blog audience follows. I’m really glad you talked about this on your blog, Kristen.

    P.S. I dig the form letter you created. LOL

  54. #59 by Augie on November 4, 2011 - 1:03 am

    Kristien, I loved this piece. You are so right. I hate when I receive anything from smail/email/fb that refer to me as if they know me personally. That’s one way for me to throw away and or delete your information. As you say that we are not stupid. Thank you for the advice. I decided to officially follow your posting…so we’ll see. thanks again for your input augie

  55. #60 by Jami Gold on November 4, 2011 - 7:06 pm

    Thanks for the link love! And yes, I think there are hundreds of more ways to screw up a review request than ways to do it right. 🙂

  56. #61 by Emma Burcart on November 4, 2011 - 7:30 pm

    I love how you seperated out the do’s and the don’ts, so we clearly know what to do and what not to do. Sometimes it can get muddy with all the differing advice out there. I am now learning how annoying spam can be on blogs and even on twitter. It seems if you mention anything some random spammer replies to you with a “check out the TV’s I sell out the back of my truck”. I want to reply back and say “Stop spamming me, D.B.!” but I figure that will just make it worse. I definately never want to be the person who makes someone feel that way. I think you’re advice pretty much all fits into the golden rule, which makes it easy to remember and easy to apply! Thanks for all you do for us writers. Oh, and thanks for including me in your mash-up. That was my first time. So exciting!

  57. #62 by Kat Hinkson on November 5, 2011 - 12:22 am

    I enjoyed reading your blog, I spend my time looking for blogs that teach. I don’t enjoy blogs or tweets that tell me I have just walked my dog, unless it has something to do with promotiing a book. I haven’t developed a blog…yet. I have a list of ideas, most of them teaching me the art of writing and critiquing. I even have a list of the ideas for editing my writing (not my favorite thing to do). I loved the way you’ve split the what to do and what not to do. Your blog is practical and has a lot of common sense thoughts. A friend of mine would say, “Common sense will not be tolerated.” I’m glad to see it is still “tolerated” in the writing and blogging areana.

  58. #63 by CG Blake on November 5, 2011 - 1:16 pm

    Kristen,
    Thanks for the great post. My suggestion is to connect with some of the outstanding bloggers on lesser known sites and offer to share or swap posts. It is a great way to build a community.

  59. #64 by Marcia on November 5, 2011 - 1:41 pm

    It’s too bad that etiquette needs to be taught to adults, but you’ve proven it does. You made it very clear what not to do and what is right. I believe in helping writers get some attention for their books and frequently do author interviews and guest posts. I don’t do book reviews because I don’t feel I’m good at that. I’ve been planning to find book review bloggers whose blogs I’ll enjoy reading and commenting on regularly and further expanding my list of must read blogs outside of the writer world. It’s time to get started. Thanks for a great post.

  60. #65 by Jessica Aspen on November 6, 2011 - 9:36 am

    I’m so glad you’re out here giving out this information. Otherwise, the only voices we would hear would be the loud ones giving the wrong advice. Lately I’ve been getting many many “thanks for the follow” messages on my Twitter, which is wonderful! But they add, “and check out my book, blog, whatever on http;blahblah”. It sucks the happy right out of my “Thank You” and I never, ever go check out their blogs, Sorry Charlie!

  61. #66 by Danielle on November 6, 2011 - 10:42 pm

    Brilliant post. Truly. I’m over at Anne R. Allen’s site today talking about this very thing, but I love the points that you made. It was as if you filled in all the things that I completely forgot to mention. Thank you! And thank you for bringing it to the attention of so many authors.

    Book reviewing and blogging is incredibly time consuming, as you mention, and to have to filter through the people like the “PR Expert” you spoke with is close to insane. I especially liked your mention of having authors comment on the blogs they’d love to have their books reviewed on. I’ve actually accepted books for review that I would normally turn down because of this very reason. Knowing people makes all the world of difference!

    Love this post! Thank you again for bringing up these much needed discussion points! So glad Anne mentioned you in the post so that I could stop by.

  62. #67 by Patti Mallett on November 6, 2011 - 11:20 pm

    Clean out your liquor cabinet? You are too funny! (Seriously, where do you come up with all this stuff?) Great post! Thanks.

  63. #68 by Dani Nosek on November 7, 2011 - 7:28 pm

    There are so many different theories and “experts” out there it can be kind of hard to figure out who to trust. This person tells you don’t blog, this person tells you do blog, this person tells you only blog about cats, and this person tells you to blog about anything but cats! Ugh! How can you please them all?

    But great post really. I think the hardest part for me is to do more than just lurk on other peoples pages.

    • #69 by Author Kristen Lamb on November 7, 2011 - 8:49 pm

      Go with people who have demonstrated results. My methods have landed nobodies with great books at the top of the best-seller list. Ultimately, the book is the most important sp do what you can that doesn’t interfere with writing great books🙂.

  64. #70 by Kate C. on November 14, 2011 - 12:12 am

    Wow, you are quite the popular blogger. I got linked here via Kait Nolan and I have to say, I LOVE your advice!! I don’t ask for people to review me or interview me, but I have been asked, in many of the ways you mentioned here. ANNOYING!!!

    So thank you. I’m going to repost this and hope that some of my fellow authors TAKE THE HINT! hahaha

  65. #71 by Jeff Faria on December 4, 2011 - 2:11 am

    Aw, nuts. I missed all the contests! But your advice is well-taken. I’ll go put some links up for you on my blog, I never know when I might stop by again asking for a cup of sugar…

    • #72 by Author Kristen Lamb on December 5, 2011 - 9:02 am

      The contest are on-going, so you’re good😉.

  66. #73 by Thomas M. Watt on October 27, 2013 - 3:15 am

    This was way better than Snooki’s unauthorized biography.

  67. #74 by Amina on October 29, 2015 - 3:59 pm

    Great advice. I’ve read this piece three times now🙂

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