Tuesday, July 24, 2012

5 Basic Rules To Proper Blogger Shopping Etiquette

Ever gone to job interviews? Or how about writing query letters to agents or editors? Have you noticed the "profound" yet? I know, I couldn't believe it either when I noticed it myself. Yep, every person has different rules and guidelines to follow in regards to submissions. Who would've thought?! :P Still, we take our time looking over the guidelines, making extra sure that the person/company we're trying to wave down doesn't toss or delete our proposals with a second thought. We do this because that's proper submission ethics, right? 

So, why? Why don't we treat the people willing to invest their precious time to give a solid review of our book the same way? Yeah, that's right. I'm talking about the book blogger.

I've heard plenty of bloggers note how often a person will seem to just go on a copy/ paste template marathon when looking up blog reviews, not even realizing that a blogger doesn't review his/her genre. Why, I became a "victim" of that myself. . . and I'm not even a book review blogger! "Dear book reviewer, I'm blah blah blah." He didn't even take the time to copy and paste in my name! I felt so insulted and irritated that I didn't even see the need in telling this author that I'm not even a reviewer. And at that moment, I thought about how many times blog reviewers get emails similar that one.

Here's the thing, fellow writers. Book bloggers need to be given as much respect as a an agent, editor, or person we're hoping will hire us. Some of these people have strong followings, and a credibility that might boost our month's sales. Do we want them to just blaze through our novels, which will take hours and days to evaluate? I most certainly hope not! And if that's the case, what's so hard about spending a solid five or ten minutes checking out a reviewer's blog? If we want someone to give us their time, we best be willing to give some of our own as well. ^_^ And what should we be spending our time doing when we come across a book blog? Here's five:

  • 1. Read a couple of reviews, the good the bad, and the ugly. This will help us get an idea of a blogger's review format, if they fit what we're looking for, and if the reviews are honest (and yes, we should always want an honest review). And let's say the blogger may not be a fan of our stuff, and ends up giving a negative review. It's nice knowing that even if a person can't recommend our book, they can give a thorough explanation why our story didn't work for him/her instead of a simple "This book is a stupid waste of time. Don't read it. The end."
  • 2. Make sure the blogger reviews your type of book. This goes without saying. We don't want to waste our time with an individual that we know won't have interest in our genre, nor do we want to waste theirs. Since I write sci-fi, why would I send a query letter to an agent that only interested in romance? Same rule of thumb goes here. ;)
  • 3. REVIEW the POLICY. Editors have them. Agents have them. And, you guessed it, bloggers have them too. Most of us have always been told if we want a better chance at getting told "yes," we better follow the rules. Again, this is another rule that goes to bloggers. Following their guidelines tells them that we're serious about our story, and willing to do some proper homework before writing to people. In return, that tells the blogger that we're not the sort of writer who just proposes his/her story to everyone. That's a compliment in its own. ^_^
  • 4. Read about the blogger. Bloggers are people, and they have feelings to. What's wrong with reading those 2-3 paragraphs explaining why the blogger decided to make their little spot on the web? We're planning on doing business with this person after all, so why wouldn't we want to know what type of person we're offering our pride and joys to?
  • 5. Follow up with the blogger. When they give us that review, interview, or guest post, we should let them know how appreciative we are. Book bloggers LOVE to read great stories, and most of them are going off a hunch when they read ours. So, believe it or not, they want to enjoy our books! They're cheering for us, and want to put in a good word to help us, usually for free! How can we not go back and just say "thank you?"

I'm sure there are some other things we should consider when looking for an individual to review our works, but following these five "guidelines" can point us in the right direction. We shouldn't be hopping around all over the place spamming every book blog we see. Not only is that bad etiquette, but it's an easy way to get a bad reputation. Like agents and editors, book bloggers network, and they talk to each other. What do you think they'll say to their blogging peers about you?

Appreciate book bloggers. They're not all great, but the ones that we find, willing to invest in our stories, should be treated with their due respect. They are, after all, reviewing something of ours that we want to be respected as well, right? Good luck out there, everyone, and happy shopping! ^_^


  1. Good post. I made the mistake of not doing number two in your list, which resulted in a one start review because she couldn't get into it. While I do take responsibility for not doing my homework until AFTER I saw that one star, it would be nice if book bloggers list the genre they read, which she did not. IMHO a one star review means there is little to nothing good about the work, and I know for a fact that while I may still be a relatively new author, I do not publish work of such a low caliber. So while the bulk of the responsibility falls on the author to do their homework on the blogger, it is the responsibility of the blogger to be professional. A professional reviewer rarely every gives five stars, but also is careful with one stars. Five stars is a perfect to near perfect book. One star means there is little to nothing redeemable about it, from the technical aspects of writing to the storytelling (which is a gray area based on opinion)

    Just my long-winded two cents. :)

  2. This is a great help, thank you. I've just found out about book bloggers and don't know how to find them. Any suggestions on my first steps?

    1. Mardi, maybe you can check under my "For the Writer" tab. I wrote an article about a site called the Indie View. That's where I got started. ^_^ Hope this helps. ^_^