How to Find the Best Review Bloggers

Like it or not, review bloggers and social media influencers are still some of the best people to help promote your book. It doesn’t matter how many ads or social media posts you’ve created for your book if no one who matters is talking about it. The power that makes an influencer so, well, influential is called word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing. WOM marketing is one of the most effective ways to sell any product, especially books. This is because we trust our friends more than we trust advertisements. And because influencers are online interacting with their followers daily, people trust influencers the same way they trust their friends. Therefore, people are more likely to actually buy your book if their favorite blogger is raving about it online.

If you’ve never done it before, finding good review bloggers might seem kind of tricky. It’s surprisingly easy though, and below I’ve detailed the process in three simple steps.

Step One: Identify Your Target Market

This first step is crucial to success, because if you can’t identify who is going to buy your book, then you’ll never be able to actually sell it to them. So figure it out by asking detailed questions about the people you’re targeting: How old are they? What’s their gender or sexual orientation? Do they live anywhere in particular? What are their interests and hobbies? What are their lifestyle habits? Which social media platforms do they spend time on? How do they spend their money, and—most importantly—why would they choose to spend it on your book? Transform them from an abstract concept into actual people, because the more you know about them, the easier it will be to actually find them.

Step Two: Google Your Tags

Take all that information you just gathered and search for bloggers and social media accounts dedicated to the interests and habits of your target market. You might get lucky and find that a news outlet has already created a post with a list of the best bloggers in whatever category you’re searching. The dedicated bloggers have their SEO configured to make them show up at the top of search results, so these are people who you know are serious about what they do. And remember not to limit yourself to only book bloggers, because niche bloggers are just as likely to review your book if it fits with the theme of their blog.

Keep in mind that a common misconception is that it’s important to target bloggers with tens (or even hundreds) of thousands of followers. The opposite is actually true. This is because the higher the follower count, the lower the engagement rate for each post. What you want to look for are micro-influencers. These are people with one thousand to ten thousand followers. Micro-influencers have developed a loyal following, and they’re interacting with their followers daily. This means that if they post about your book, they’re likely to reach all ten thousand followers, whereas a macro-influencer likely wouldn’t reach so many.

Step Three: Develop Your List

Once you find one blogger, go to their social media pages and check out who they’re following. Or see if they’re on any lists. Just keep searching until you’ve created a solid list of bloggers and influencers who you believe members of your target audience would follow. Make sure you save yourself some time by verifying that the bloggers you’ve identified are actually open for submissions. A lot of review bloggers get so overloaded with requests that they stop taking them until they get caught up.

And you’re done! Now you can start contacting the people on your list and sending out review requests. Good luck!

The End of the Printed Game Guide

Ebooks were once feared to be the harbinger of the end times for printed books. I’m not going to spend time recounting that tale; suffice it to say we now know that not to be the case. But the rise of readily available information on the internet has left its fair share of bodies in its wake. In 2012, long-established bastion of knowledge and highbrow bookshelf mainstay Encyclopedia Britannica made the decision to stop producing physical copies of its books, choosing to focus instead on the digital aspect of its platform. In that moment, a thousand children who wanted to grow up to be door-to-door encyclopedia salespeople had their hearts broken. And just like the encyclopedia, the printed strategy guide is on the verge of extinction.

Depending on your age and the relationship you had with video games when you were a child, you may or may not have fond memories of going to a game store and having your much-beleaguered parents purchase you the answer to all of your frustrations—a game guide. In the time before the internet, if you were a kid and you got stuck playing a game, you only had two options for advancing: you could rely on the intelligence and goodwill of friends who had gotten further than you (good luck), or you could nag your parents to buy you the game guide for the game they bought you (which you played on the system they bought you, using the extra accessories they bought you). And when you held that game guide in your hands and cracked it open, a few things became instantly clear: first, the Water Temple was designed by sadists; and second, now that you were holding this real, tangible thing in your hands, you simply were better than all your friends. But now, given the news that Prima Guides is ceasing production, it seems the internet has managed to make another publishing mainstay obsolete.

Yet while the internet has ruined some things completely (like dating and privacy), the transfer of gaming tips from paper to screen was not without its benefits. If you’re stuck on a game or simply want to learn a finishing move, a quick Google search will provide you with dozens of links—some of them from established gaming web publications, but most of them from individuals who want to share what they’ve learned. A constant dialogue has been opened up on subreddits and YouTube channels, so now when you embark on a new game, you’re never really alone. And while the feeling of holding a new game guide and having all your problems disappear may be gone, it’s been replaced by a sense of community and connectedness that an isolated reading could never provide. People can share their experiences like never before, and in situations where it is dangerous to go alone, it helps to have a few friends in your back pocket.

I Ain’t No Followback Girl: Social Media’s Place in the World of Publishing

Hi, it’s me, your friendly neighborhood social media manager! While I couldn’t be more excited about my new position, I’m sure many of you are wondering what exactly a small press social media manager does.

Many students join book publishing programs with the intention of becoming the next big editor; I’ll admit that I was (and, to an extent, still am) one of those students. When I first learned about the world of publishing, I was immediately drawn to the idea of editing, of shaping a book into its final form. I now know that there are many other jobs that change a book along the way: the fabulous designers, who build books inside and out; the crafty marketers and publicists, who work endlessly to make sure the public hears of their books before and after they are published; the managing editors, who keep everyone else on track; and so on. And that’s where I come in.

As social media manager, it’s my job to make sure all of the social media at Ooligan is running smoothly. Almost all of the non–book-related content that comes out of the press is posted by me. I’m the person who schedules each Facebook post advertising a new author’s reading, retweets each mention of the press and our books, and maintains the ever-growing giant that is the Ooligan blog. In addition to posting content created by students about their book teams, I maintain all of the additional content on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and the like. Everyone else at Ooligan makes sure that the press produces the best work it possibly can; I’m responsible for the public learning about all of that, allowing the hard work to pay off.

At the end of the day, my job is really about creating shareable, engaging content. By posting about Ooligan books long before and after they’re published, my goal is to get people jazzed and start a discussion about our books. I want to make sure that our books reach the best audience possible, regardless of when that audience discovers the book. Everyone should have equal opportunities to discover a great book.

The next time you see Ooligan post something on one of our social media platforms (hint: it happens at a minimum of every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), feel free to drop in, chat, and stay a while. And if you leave a comment, now you know who’s on the other end.

Pottermore and Publishing: A Look at the Multimedia Empire of Harry Potter

Harry Potter is a name almost immediately recognizable today in 2016—whether your first thought is of a lightning scar, the Marauder’s Map, or the volume of fans across the world who have for years celebrated the cultural phenomenon that J. K. Rowling’s wizarding world became. On the first day alone, 8.3 million books were sold when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released on July 21, 2007. As consumers, we read, we wept, we watched the movies, we dressed up as characters, and we reluctantly celebrated the completion of such an influential story with the release of the last movie in 2011.
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