How to Cultivate a Winning Author/Blogger Relationship

Hi friends! Stacey here with my buddy and fellow PubCrawler Stephanie! Today we have two awesome guests, Bay Area bloggers Christy and Nancy from Tales of the Ravenous Reader, who’ve been kind enough to answer some questions for both authors and bloggers. They discuss how they choose which books to read, how to get a blogger’s attention, things that authors should do—and avoid—at book signings, and much more!

Stacey: We’d love to start by hearing a little more about your blogging routine. How do you decide which books to read? How many books do you read a week? Do you try to review a variety of genres?

Nancy: It all depends on blog tour obligations and when post commitments are due. In regards to the books I read, it’s a combination of author commitments and whatever books that I feel that I can handle at the moment.  Since I have a long commute and love audiobooks, I tend to listen to 4 books a week and may read 1-3 books, depending on how my schedule is. Right now I’m listening to way more compared to physical reads. When I began blogging, I would only read novels in the paranormal and fantasy genre but over the years my reading purview has vastly expanded. The only one that I am not too comfortable with is Sci-Fi.

Christy: I write every minute I have time, when I’m not reading, of course. I keep posts drafted in case we need to fill in a date. I’m the self-designated post scheduler. I maintain a list of blog ideas on my phone and write them whenever I have time. Admittedly, I judge books by their cover or by authors I know. For upcoming author events, I try to read at least one book before attending. I read about the same amount as Nancy for the same reason – long commute! Nancy and I are a good balance because I LOVE sci-fi and tend to shy away from high or epic fantasies. I’m really digging YA non-fiction this year and wish there was more of it.

Stephanie: What makes a great blogger in your opinion?

Nancy: Honor, dedication, diplomacy, and, most of all, kindness.

Christy: I second all of that and add consistency and branding. Every blogger has something special they bring to the blogging world and should showcase that!

Stacey: What are the hardest parts of the job?

Nancy: Working full time and other commitments keep me rather busy, so not being able to read all the books that I would like to read plus, being able to find the time to properly sit down and post can be a great challenge for me. Balancing reading and blogging is a challenge.

Christy: Staying unique and balancing different types of posts. During the big publishing time of year, it’s hard to write anything but reviews, author interviews, and other promotional types of posts. We want to help authors get the word out about their work and talk about all the great books that are coming out. The original content ideas are piling up on my phone right now.

Stephanie: How active are you in the blogging community, and how important do you think those relationships between bloggers should be?

Nancy: Since I have been blogging for over 8 years, my patterns of activity have changed and I must admit the last six months have been the most active I have been in years. Yet, I still keep in contact with many bloggers that I have met over the years either during conventions, conferences, or signings. They are some of the most important relationships that I have

Christy: I am newer to the book blogging community but not to blogging (who else has a Livejournal hiding from 2002?) so I am still forming relationships. Relationships with other bloggers is key to the success of a blog because they’re your best champions! The blogger community is tight nit and full of wonderful people who want to support each other. I love participating in Twitter blogger chats and blog events because they bring bloggers (and authors!) together.

Stephanie: Does the personality of the author matter when you choose to review books, or are you just there for the story?

Nancy: If it is a story I really want to read, then the author’s personality does not matter to me.

Christy: I agree, if it’s a story I want to read, then I am going to read it. However, when an author engages in interviews, Twitter conversations, or other types of social media, it makes promoting a book that much easier. We like to include related tweets and interview snippets into our reviews and event recaps to add variety to the post. We also like to repost author posts on social media for that “viral” effect.

Stacey: What things should authors avoid when interacting with bloggers?

Nancy: Do not engage in negative behavior. I have been around long enough to have seen some pretty bad things but one of the worse is bad review responses.  I personally don’t tag authors in my reviews and can never understand why anyone would tag an author when the review is negative. Responding usually makes everyone out to be the villain.

Christy: Totally agree. There are some bloggers or people who post reviews and do not know social media etiquette. Let that be their bad, not yours. Even a private message from you or your publicist can be made public and taken out of context.

Stephanie: That is great advice. What do you wish authors would do more of when it comes to bloggers?

Nancy: Authors should engage with all level of bloggers frequently to help promote their novels. We are here because we love books and love to read, so why not have us help you. It is a journey that we are more than happy to join you on. There are also great blog tour companies (such as Rockstar Book Tours and Irish Banana Book Tours, both of which we participate in) that will help you host great blog tours, free of charge.

Christy: I had the opportunity to moderate the Boldly Bookish Tour, featuring Tiffany Schmidt, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, and Tara Altebrando, and it was one of the funnest experiences of my life. I wish more authors would work with bloggers to moderate/interview at events, or even allow short interviews a few minutes before or after the event.

Stacey: For new authors, what are your hot tips for catching your attention?

Nancy: Pre-order incentives are a great way to catch my attention. Also, engaging with an audience about your novel on social media.  Jennifer Niven did a great job of showing her journey as she went on book tours and conferences and such. It made me feel as if I was in on everything with her and gave me something to talk to her about when I met her. Also, try to get some swag into subscription book boxes (we love the Bookworm Box, curated by author Colleen Hoover, because it benefits non-profits).

Christy: Those pre-order bonuses are HOT right now! New authors shouldn’t be afraid to reach out to bloggers with a professional email that includes social media contact and book information. Nancy and I pick many new authors who are not on the “hype train” to review solely because they sent great introduction emails. Also, this is such a small thing, but even a “like” on Twitter or Instagram gets our hearts fluttering.

Stephanie: It seems as if you two attend almost every book signing you can, which is amazing! So, we would love to know, what types of things you love seeing at events?

Christy and Nancy: We do attend a lot of events, for authors we know and even those we don’t. We have the best indie bookstores in the country that bring us great authors and for that we are lucky.

Things we like to see at events include:

  1. A five minute author introduction. Could be by a bookseller, the teen advisory board (if applicable), another author, or a blogger.
  2. Conversation about your novel (with someone else or by yourself is fine, too), which may include a small reading of no more than a few pages. You can get an idea about what people are questioning or interested in by what they ask on social media.
  3. Audience Q&A. On top of questions about the book, people will usually ask about your writing process, what you’re currently working on, and what you’ve read recently.
  4. Visual aids, like a PowerPoint presentation or a book trailer, give us a little more insight into your novel and your writing process. We love the presentation Stacey showed with her launch for Outrun the Moon. That presentation gave us inspiration for a book tour video that we did.
  5. Signings, of course!  We love swag and giveaways and think everyone does, too, though these are not required.

For large events, a moderator may be necessity. It helps to have someone who can keep the event on track and not let it go on for too long. Since most events happen during the week, and the audience is geared towards a younger crowd, parents and working folks appreciate that. A posed photo at the beginning with all the authors at the event is greatly appreciated.

Stacey: Conversely, is there anything you don’t really enjoy when it comes to seeing authors or a signing or while on a panel?

Christy and Nancy: NO LONG READINGS!! People tend to check out, no matter how great your voice is.

Have fun at the event! Introduce yourself to us if you’re in the store early or if you’re at another author’s event. We are all there for you and understand how nerve wrecking it is to be in the spotlight.

Nancy and Christy of Tales of the Ravenous Reader.

Christy and Nancy of Tales of the Ravenous Reader.

Thanks again for joining us, Christy and Nancy! All of these were fantastic answers. Those of you reading this, if you’re not already following Nancy (@ravenousreadr) and Christy (@diamondxgirl) on social media, we highly recommend changing that.


20 Responses to How to Cultivate a Winning Author/Blogger Relationship

  1. Jen Crane Oct 7 2016 at 9:22 am #

    A quick note to say I loved this interview on author/blogger relationships. It was insightful and kind, and I appreciate the information.

    Authors like me often don’t *know* how to proceed with bloggers… Are we pestering you? Should we contact you, or will you contact us if you’re interested? So many questions. Thanks for offering answers.

    Have a great weekend.

    • Christy Oct 7 2016 at 11:46 am #

      Hi Jen! We are glad you enjoyed the interviewed; we certainly enjoyed sharing!

      The author/blogger relationship can be daunting, for sure. Nancy and I get regular requests from authors and what is helpful for us is when an author reads our review policy prior to contacting us (it’s listed on our website). If the book isn’t a fit, it’s not worth your time to send the email.

      We recently received a wonderful email from an author who was relaunching her books under a new publishing house. Neither of us had interacted with her but she fit within the boundaries for books we will consider. She invited us to her online launch party (which took place on Facebook), information about the book and series, why she was reaching out (with the relaunch, she lost all the reviews on Amazon but maintained them on Goodreads, which she pointed out so we could see what people were already saying), a little about herself, all her social media contacts, a giveaway for us to enter or share, and in invitation to review.

      The email was well laid out and professional, which made us both interested. We couldn’t fit the review in during the release month so we asked if we could review it the following month and offered to promote her book around the release day. You can see what that looks like here:

      With all that said, the email didn’t make us feel pressured but provided us with all of the information for us to share with others, if we chose to. We also make a point of responding to all requests, even if it’s just to say we aren’t interested. Some bloggers do and some don’t but we believe you always catch more flies with honey versus vinegar.

      In short, you’re not bugging us when you contact us! We have authors tweet and email us all the time and so long as you can accept a no (or a modified yes, like above!), you should be fine reaching out. I like finding books that I would have never otherwise seen (the two YA non-fiction books I read this year were because someone reached out to us – I would have never read them otherwise, which is a shame because they’re two of my favorite books this year).

      Thanks for your questions and feel free to reach out to us if you have more 🙂


  2. Darshana Khiani Oct 7 2016 at 3:09 pm #

    Great interview Christy, Nancy, and Stacey.

    Christy & Nancy – I enjoyed learning about your process. Totally in awe that you can get through 4 audiobooks a week. I listen to audiobooks on my commute as well. Bay Area traffic is totally getting worse. Hadn’t heard of your blog before, but will be following it now.
    I’m a writer and blogger focused on picture books and branching into YA.

    Thanks again for being here. 🙂

    • Christy Oct 7 2016 at 3:42 pm #

      Hi Darshana

      To be fair, we listen to the books at hyperspeed (2x for me and 4x for Nancy), so those 12 books turn into 6 hours, which equates to 2ish days of commute time.

      Glad to have you following us! We post daily – reviews, event recaps, some original content, and other types of author friendly posts! Can’t wait to hear more about your YA stories 🙂

      • Nancy Oct 20 2016 at 3:51 am #

        Hello Darshana,

        Thank you so much for your kind words. We hoped that our interview helps people and bridges the gap between bloggers and authors.

        Bay Area traffic has been so horrible lately. I am so happy that I can listen to my audiobooks to help me get through hours of traffic.

  3. lisa ciarfella Oct 8 2016 at 1:08 pm #

    good article here. Thanks much for this.

    • Christy Oct 11 2016 at 4:16 pm #

      You’re welcome, Lisa!

    • Nancy Oct 20 2016 at 3:52 am #

      Thank you! We hope that it helps everyone involved.

  4. Kitty Oct 10 2016 at 9:34 pm #

    Thank you for the post, Christy and Nancy! These were some great tips, and it was great getting to see the thought processes of book bloggers. (And 5-7 books a week; that is a ton, even considering audiobooks and a long commute. I wish I could do that.)

    I have a question, though: if a blogger’s review policy mentions no self-pubbed books, should a self-pubbed author not bother with a review request, or send one anyway with a note of acknowledgment of the blog’s policy, but also an explanation of why the blog would be a good fit, and hope the blogger is interested in the story? I know Tales of the Ravenous Readers doesn’t accept self-pubbed books. Have you gotten review requests for the anyway? How did you respond?

    And also, does the no self-pubbed books rule usually extend only to book reviews, or to blog tours/guest posts as well?


    • Christy Oct 11 2016 at 4:15 pm #

      Hi Kitty!

      You ask a great question and I’ll answer it from my perspective.

      You’re right, our review policy states no self-pubbed books. However, I’ll consider any book that interests me and I feel can be appropriately marketed. Our readers trust us to give them fair and accurate thoughts on a book. One of the concerns in self-publishing is ensuring the book is quality (has been edited, etc). If the grammar and development of the book is solid, I’m totally ok with reading and reviewing (or even just promoting) self-published books! Your thoughts on emailing why a blogger might be interested are perfect. That’s exactly what would potentially interest me in reading a self-published book!

      Hope this helps 🙂

      • Kitty Oct 11 2016 at 7:21 pm #

        Thank you so much, Christy! This helps a lot.

    • Nancy Oct 20 2016 at 4:04 am #

      Hi Kitty,

      My blog partner Christy could not have stated things better. We receive emails every day and we look into each of them and decide based on the content provided, and our interest, if we will read and review a book that is presented to us.

  5. Rayna Oct 12 2016 at 6:09 pm #

    Thanks for the awesome interview! Quick question: when contacting bloggers, how formal should the address be? Dear Mr./Ms. Lastname or Hi/hello, Firstname? Is this more similar to a query/business letter, or interactions with a peer? Thanks!

    • Christy Oct 17 2016 at 11:02 pm #

      Hi Rayna

      Sorry for the late response! Gosh, I think professional but casual is the best way to go. Most of our emails come addressed to Nancy and Christy, which is how we refer to ourselves on our blog. Bloggers tend to be relational so interactions with a peer is the best route!

    • Nancy Oct 20 2016 at 4:13 am #

      Hello Rayna,

      Great question. Bloggers love having their email queries addressed directly to them and to be professional but with a casual edge. I have received many emails in the past and I will look at all of them but those that spell my name correctly and address me directly will always bring me to attention. Nothing irritates bloggers more than getting constant pings on twitter from someone asking them to “check ” out their book.

      • Rayna Oct 22 2016 at 5:22 pm #

        Thank you, Nancy!

  6. Stacey Oct 12 2016 at 6:35 pm #

    I’m loving all these comments and answers. I also received a question from an author who would like to be anonymous: “What is the etiquette when bloggers tweet you their reviews? Personally, I find it somewhat distressful to be tweeted ‘bad’ or mediocre reviews. And for great reviews, I hate flooding my feed with RT’s. Would love to hear what are best practices from the perspective of a blogger.”

    • Christy Oct 12 2016 at 10:56 pm #

      Great question!

      Bloggers should know by now to not tag authors in unfavorable reviews. There are two problems with this, though. 1. Favorable is subjective. Sometimes I love a book even if it has some major flaws, which I might include in my review. Overall, the best course of action is to ignore the tag if you’re unhappy with the review. 2. Tagging an author is basically like putting your name there for some people.

      I wrote a review months ago for a recently released book, so the review only just posted and I tagged the author in it. I later went back to read the review and was horrified at how negative it sounded, even though I didn’t mean it that way and I gave the book 4 stars. I’m still thinking about how bad I may have made that author feel.

      Personally, I don’t mind seeing a bunch of reviews on an author’s feed. I basically expect this whenever an ARC or book is recently released. It’s like free marketing! But if you want to acknowledge the review, a like or a comment is totally fine, too. Or nothing at all. You’re not expected to interact with readers at all, though we do enjoy it :).

    • Nancy Oct 20 2016 at 4:27 am #


      I can never understand why anyone would want to tag an author when the review is less than favorable. I find it to be unprofessional and simply hurtful. Yet, I really enjoy seeing RT’s on an author’s feed when they receive great reviews.

      I think it is always best not on interact with those that promote negative reviews or comments, but as Christy has stated we do love it when you interact with us although you should not feel expected to do so.

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