Imagine opening an email like this:
“My book [BOOK TITLE HERE] is coming out on THIS DATE and I was wondering if you want to join my week long blog tour.”
We receive emails like this almost daily. Know what my (Muse KJ) usual response is?
Who the hell are you?
Know what my usual course of action is?
Does the email mention Jo or I by name, or even call us The Muses?
No. -> Quick reread of email. If it seems generic, is rude, or is otherwise uninteresting, I delete.
Yes -> Quick search of email + Twitter + Goodreads to see if I know the person and am forgetting something. If email is polite, I respond, and/or forward to our book Muses. If it throws me directly into a Google Docs form, I do not.
This isn’t being mean. This is the same thing as turning down someone at a bar who walks up to you and asks if you want to go home with you. Because if I don’t know, I expect you to respect my boundaries. I expect you to be polite.
So, how should you contact a writer or book blog?
“Salutations!” said the voice.
Wilbur jumped to his feet. “Salu-what?” he cried.
“Salutations!” repeated the voice.
“What are they, and where are you?” screamed Wilbur. “Please, please, tell me where you are. And what are salutations?”
“Salutations are greetings,” said the voice. “When I say ‘salutations,’ it’s just my fancy way of saying hello or good morning.”
― E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web
Do you usually approach people and launch into what you want from them? I can’t say that approach would go well.
Say hello. Look up the names of who you’re speaking to, and personalize your message. Show that you really care about connecting, and that isn’t 100% a generic copy and past message. Put some effort into it.
As a girl from the South, this is common sense to me. I mean, I come from a place where most of the time if you meet someone at the bar, THEY SHAKE YOUR HAND. That’s right – the men will shake your hand. So, don’t just launch into your spiel. Say who you are. Say how we might know you – if you’ve been an avid reader of the blog, say that – just make sure it doesn’t sound like BS.
Make your request.
Here’s the thing – bloggers are helping you, not the other way around. Do not invite them to join your tour. Do not wonder if they’d like to join your tour. Ask them.
This goes for whatever you want – to do a guest post, to offer your book for review, etc. ASK.
Is there a reason why you think they may enjoy doing this? Maybe your book has a similar theme to one they raved over? Is their favorite author one who promoed your book? Give them the scoop – why should they want to work with you?
Avoid being presumptuous.
Yes, it’s easier to just include your book if you’re asking for a review – but it’s rude. In chez KJ, rudeness gets you nowhere. Don’t auto include files, or just toss in a Google docs form.
Linking to a form is okay. Asking what format of book they prefer so you can email is okay.
Just be polite.
A thank you goes a long way.
Bloggers have busy schedules. Appreciate that. Thank them for their time, their consideration, and for whatever help they offer you. Why? This builds relationships. Friends are more likely to help you than strangers.
One of the authors I would most go out of my way to help was an author who I met because of a book tour. I reviewed her book. She thanked me – profusely. She offered to send me the sequel to review early. She eventually sent me a swag care package that had a bonus of a signed hardback. You bet I’ll go out of my way to review her books, share her info, and do whatever I can in general.
The secret to approaching blogs? Be polite, be friendly, and be real. It goes a long way.