Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Nurturing Blogging Releationships (an Armchair BEA post)

When it comes to nurturing relationships amongst the blogging community, I suppose everyone has their own way of doing it. How do I personally do it? Lots of Twitter and a smattering of blog comments. Not that I'm opposed to chatting through Skype though (I'm decaying.notes) but I should warn you that I'm more talkative when I'm typing than when it actually comes to talking. Wait, well, that's both true and false. I can talk a lot, but it tends to turn into rambling and I'm always shy at first.

Then there are blogger relationships with publishers. I'll be honest and say that I would love to make a solid contact with a publicist but alas, I--like many bloggers--currently find myself sending it to their general publicity e-mail address and then I begin hopping around in my rendition of the "Oh goodness, there's no reply! Did I get it? Didn't I get it?" dance. Usually, this also leads to a lot of listening intently for the UPS man--or USPS man.

I'll be honest, I find it hard sometimes to balance "professional" with "friendly." I know to keep my e-mails short, hit on the key points, and to ask nicely. But when I keep my e-mails short, I worry that I'm coming off as blunt and you can't read inflictions through the internet.

How do you like to be pitched a book?
I like friendly e-mails but more importantly than that, I really want to make sure that you've read my review policy. I hate to say it, but it is obvious when you haven't read it. Please include a brief summary of the book when you send me a pitch, it really does help when I'm making up my mind. Cover art would be nice, but I can always go track it down if I need to. If you'd like me to get my review up on a certain date or week--or if you don't mind if I post it early--that would really help if you let me know too.

What do you, as a blogger, wish that you knew about sending review requests? 
I'll be honest and say that although there are posts on who to contact and what to include in those e-mails, sometimes I'm not sure what to title the e-mail. In particular when there's more then one book that I'm requesting. So I suppose my first question would be, "What would you like us to title our requests?" Lately I've been titling mine "Review Copy Request: Title by Author" or "Review Copy Requests."

From blogger to blogger, how should you go about requesting a copy of a book? What else should a blogger keep in mind?
I'd say that it's important to remember and understand that review copies are marketing tools. They're there to get the buzz going for a book. Think about how many people your blog reaches, how long you've been blogging (some publishers prefer six months of blogging or more) and remember that they (generally) want to know how many unique visitors and number of page views that you get a month. Followers aren't everything though, so if there's a book that you're dying to read, don't be afraid to send an e-mail! But when sending that e-mail, please remember to spell everything correctly and it might help to go over the e-mail after you've finished typing it to check for mistakes. Remember to be polite and ask nicely for the book that you want. Never demand a book. Also, publicists are very busy people--please include your mailing address in your e-mail to them! Lastly, remember to say thank you and to send them a link to your review! :)

Then we come to authors; the people who write the books that we love--and make us fangirl/fanboy out when they @ us on Twitter, comment on our post, or shoot us an e-mail. I adore Victoria Schwab (she's finally watched--a lot--of Doctor Who, hurrah!) and I'm crushing on Karsten Knight (who is, let's face it, funny as hell, cute--only because I don't use the word "hot"--and wrote what is probably one of my favorite books of the year). They both have blogs, both vlog, and both use Twitter which makes it easy to "talk" to them; but I won't say that I have a blogger/author relationship with them, because I think that entails a lot more chatting and I'm shy. xD

I'll be honest, it's been eight months now since I've started blogging and I love watching my blog grow and watching other bloggers flourish too. A huge thank you to the publishers who support us book bloggers and do us the honor of trusting us with ARCs!

Lastly, fellow bloggers, is there anything you wish that you knew about sending ARC requests/publisher interaction?


  1. I am such a scaredy cat when it comes to asking for books. So I'm always super excited when someone approaches me. Great post. It was really helpful for me.

  2. Right now I mostly use NetGalley and I get ARCs from friends-but I do want to start building those relationships as a blogger and for my library as I've a number of book club kids who would love to be involved in reviewing ARCS. Thanks for sharing your thoughts..!

  3. Great post! I often worry about how my emails come off aswell. I am a chronic abuser of the exclamation mark. So I try to bite back on my excitement a little, but still convey how eager I am for the particular title. And yet not ramble (I'm REALLY bad at that, both online and offline). For the most part, I hope my emails come off as 'eagerly professional' in some way!

    Twitter has revolutionised the way we interact. While I don't tweet a ton of authors because like you, I'm shy about doing it, I love reading what they tweet and getting to know their personality more. I would be lost with twitter! <3

  4. I have sent very few direct review requests to authors. The couple I've sent have actually been over the course of a twitter conversation.

    Rather than talk about bookstores, publishers or bloggers, I'm talking about volunteering. Come see what I mean.

  5. Thanks for sharing. I have been blogging for 2 years and I still feel awkward asking for ARCs.

  6. @Jenn;
    I completely agree, asking for books is terrifying for me. But at the same time, I think that it's easier to see my taste in books from the e-mails that I send and hopefully if the publicist who read my e-mail works with me again in the future, they have a better idea of what I will and won't like.

    I really need to get in contact with the main branch of my local library (more specifically, their YA Librarian)! I've been meaning to do so for a while now but haven't gotten around to it--when I was in school, they terrified me. But I agree, friends and NetGalley are great ways to get ARCs.

    Thanks! :D I completely agree with you. I try to sound professional, open, and warm but I always feel like I'm tip-toeing the line--on a tightrope. xD

    I also try to keep direct requests to authors at a minimum. :) I'll check out their websites, blogs, and Twitter feed to see if they're taking requests from bloggers and if they are--and I really want to read their book--I'll usually shoot them an e-mail.

    Same here! It's still incredibly awkward for me to e-mail a publisher and ask for any books. That's why there's nearly always a line in my e-mail that says something to the effect of, "I completely understand if it isn't possible for me to get this book, but I'm very much looking forward to its release nonetheless."

  7. I agree that I know when someone hasn't read my review policy. It makes things much easier when they do.

    I would send a request titled the way you have. I don't think you have to worry.

  8. Great advice and tips. Very useful. I think I will use NetGalley in the future. I currently have no issue with getting author interviews, I just ask them. But I'm behind on reading, so I'm trying to slow up on the interviews some. I think I'm going to try adding more guest bloggers, perhaps once a month.

    I do have one question, when trying to get an ARC, do you contact the publisher directly of a specific book you want? And have you built any relationships with publishers as a result?

    Thanks. I loved your post.

  9. The Saturday Review of Books each Saturday at Semicolon is another good way to connect with other bloggers and with book reviews, which is what we're all about, right?

  10. I totally agree with what you said about being pitched. All it takes is a little personalization and a bit of knowledge of what I actually review (!) and I will be WAY more likely to consider reading someone's book.

  11. Great advice! You're not alone in sending emails to the general publishing folks :)


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