How many book review blogs and websites do you know of? My list has grown leaps and bounds, in the hundreds, and I’m sure I haven’t even touched the surface. When they say, “It’s a big ocean out there and I’m a little fish!” boy do they mean it! Most times I can’t even begin to see the land or the bottom, and it looks dark as night. I wonder how to find all the possible reviewers that would be happy to give me some publicity in exchange for a copy of my book. Then I get a buzz in my pants.
The new buzz that I’ve found that works is my phone going off telling me I have a new email. The email is to my Gmail account from the great Mr. Google himself telling me it found something on the internet I might want to be aware of. I set up my Google Alerts to find book reviewers in my genre, and it finds an s-ton of true crime book reviews for me. I don’t know of any other tool that works as well as Google Alerts to help me find book reviewers on the internet.
When I get a buzz in my pants I check to see what the hyperlink is that Mr. Google sent me. If the link looks suspect, that’s my gut saying, “Follow this and I will send you to spam hell!” I pretend that I didn’t see that one. Most though are pretty good stuff and look legit, so I forward these on to my book email account to read later when I get my 5 minutes in front of the computer between the kids shouting at me and my day job needing something that is on fire. When I carve out my 5 minutes I chase the lead to the site. Here is where the Google Alert magic happens. A lot of times the reviewers have their preferences, and although most seem to be Young Adult or Romance or Romantic Werewolves a lot of them are also interested in biographies or true crime (my life labels). If it’s a blog finding the contact info for the blogger can be like finding Waldo and being color blind, but if it’s a web site then I cut and paste my pre-written, super-intro hook into an email and hit the send button, light a candle (even though I’m not Catholic) and pray for a reply. A lot of the small reviewers are super sweet whether they are interested in your book or not, so most will reply whether they want a copy or not. I’ve found most will want a copy if your genre fits their listed book likes, but only about half actually give you a review. Perhaps they simply didn’t like the book and are afraid to post a negative review or perhaps they are overwhelmed by authors like me who beg reviewers for the free press? Not sure, but it’s worth the money risk if you catch a reviewer with your book-hook lure, and if your set up it can be start to finish in the 5 minutes.
There are other ways to find reviewers on the net that don’t include a buzz in your pants. One way is to network and friend the bigger authors in your genre on Facebook. If these bigger authors, and I don’t mean weight, are active on Facebook they will post their book reviews on the social media. This is a direct link to a reviewer that may be interested in your work as well. I thank them for this coat-ride, I like their posts, I share their posts with my friends to help pay them back in some way, and I think they appreciate this assuming they are paying attention. In order for this to be affective you have to convince your spouse that networking on Facebook is a productive exercise and that you weren’t looking at their friend’s photos. I have mine convinced!
Why not? Google Alerts is completely free, quick and very effective. Google Google Alerts and it will take you right to where you want to go. I have no negative feedback to report other than sometimes Google Alerts go into Spam in Gmail (irony), and if you make sure your moderately intelligent phone is on vibrate you get the full experience. The alerts just keep coming in, and I assume they will for years. Book sales are linked to book marketing, and this is one way to keep the marketing going for years without a lot of work and dollars leaving the echoing bank account so you can work on the next best seller!
by Dane Batty