First of all, book bloggers who review books on blogs are just as legit as book reviewers in magazines, so treat them with the same respect (yes, I know they don’t have to go through the same gatekeepers that magazine and newspaper writers do, but they should be treated professionally).
1. Contact relevant bloggers only. If your book is about shopping, don’t pitch your book to the blog that clearly only ever reviews books on heavy metal. You don’t have to be a subscriber necessarily (though if you are, it’s nice to say that you’re one of their readers), but do have enough of a look at the blog to know whether contacting them is a waste of your time.
The key to finding a reviewer is finding the perfect match. It’s a lot like landing a book deal. You don’t want necessarily just the only publisher who will take your book (tempting as it may be). You want the right publisher. So don’t go pitching to every book blog in existance–they don’t all review your kind of stuff. Pitch the ones that are right for your topic.
Remember also that you’re not just looking for book blogs, but blogs on your topic that might be interested in reviewing your book or even interviewing you or running an excerpt. One way to find blogs by topic other than the typical google search (or searching on Technorati.com) is looking at who’s talking about your topic on Twitter. If they seem to know what they’re talking about regarding your subject, look at their profile and see if they have a website or blog. They may be interested in reviewing your book or posting content from it on their site.
How do you know if these blogs have any readers? Sometimes they will tell you in the sidebar how many people have subscribed to this blog. Other times, comments are enabled, so if there are a lot of comments under each post, there are a lot of readers. A lot of times it works the other way too: no comments means few readers.
2. Unlike some larger book reviewing publications, sending unsolicited copies is a bad idea. Unless you’re using a database, you may not find their mailing addresses anyway. It’s best to send them an email. A personal touch is always nice and increases your chances, but copying-and-pasting your press release is fine if you’re tight on time. If they are interested in the book, either way, they’ll email you back and ask for a review copy. Some blogs even do Q&A, exclusive excerpt, or get original content from the writer.
3. Send the cover image, whether they ask for it or not. Do not send this out in your pitch because often people will not open emails from people they don’t know if it has an attachment. But if they’ve asked for a copy sent to them, feel free to email them a hi-res jepg they can use, because if you don’t, they won’t use a picture, or they’ll copy a low-res one from the internet, or they’ll try to take a picture or scan themselves which don’t always come out looking good. You may also want to include your author photo. Only include an interior image if you have permission to use images from the book as part of the publicity efforts. Don’t forget to include a credit line for author and interior photos.
4. Give them time. If you don’t hear from the blogger a month after you’ve sent the book, email them and say that you’re just checking to make sure they received the book, and if they did not, you can send a replacement. A month is a good time because if you write too soon, the mail might not have delivered it yet. It’s also a long enough time where they may have set it aside, meaning to get to it later, and put it out of mind for a while. A month after shipping, this might be a good reminder and spark a new interest in them to pick up the book. Remember, book bloggers have lots of other books to read, but they also don’t like to be hounded: “Have you read my book yet, are you going to do a review, how about now, or now?” If they say that the have received your book and plan to review it, it might be another three to six months before they do. This is normal and to be expected.