This interview is part of a series that looks at how authors collaborate with, and benefit from, building relationships with book bloggers.

Cherie Kephart was having the time of her life traveling around the globe, until she developed a mysterious illness. A Few Minor Adjustments: A Memoir of Healing is Cherie’s story about her search for a diagnosis, the healing journey, and her ultimate success with finding life-saving answers.

Q: How far in advance of your release date did you start approaching bloggers about reviewing or featuring your book?

A: I started contacting bloggers and reviewers three months in advance of my book release date.

Q: Did you have criteria for selecting a blog? What were you looking for?

Yes I did. My book is non-fiction, a memoir, to be specific. Most bloggers and reviewers tend to focus on fiction. However, the ones that do cover non-fiction are generally responsive and dedicated to the topics they cover. I also looked to determine whether the reviewer was active in the last few months and gave honest and objective reviews. As much as we want reviewers to sing praises about our books, I believe authors want a fair and unbiased review that is intelligent, comprehensive, and helpful for readers.

Q: Every blogger has a preference for how they are contacted. What process did you follow when approaching bloggers?

The Book Reviewer Yellow Pages was a great resource for determining how each reviewer and blogger wanted to be contacted. In addition to consulting this resource, I would take the additional step of going to their website and following their guidelines. Oftentimes they post updates on what they are reviewing, their timeframes, and how they prefer to be contacted. If they preferred me to fill out their online form on their website, that is what I did. Otherwise, I wrote a personal email with whatever information was needed, per their submission guidelines.

A Few Minor Adjustments: A Memoir of Healing Cherie KephartQ: Can you share what your process was for contacting bloggers? i.e. recordkeeping habits, what you prepared ahead of time, how much time you invested, etc.

Contacting reviewers and bloggers is a time intensive process. I kept a log of everyone I contacted, how I contacted them, the dates, and what their responses were. It took a few months to go through the list and to make all the personal connections. Some people choose to do a form mail, but I believe if people are willing to take time out to read and review my book, then I can take the time to find the appropriate reviewers and write them a personal request.

Q: What tips can you share about the process?

Be personal when you reach out. Do your homework for each person you contact, and remember they are doing this for free, so be appreciative. Know that a lot of people you contact simply don’t have the time and won’t respond to everyone. It is nothing personal. And only approach those reviewers and bloggers who take your genre of book, otherwise, you are wasting your time and theirs. Besides, it is best to contact those who enjoy the type of book you read, which increases your chances of getting reviewed, and perhaps a more favorable review at that.

Q: Any happy surprises or unexpected benefits from this experience?

A: Yes. One blogger loved my book so much that I made it to her top 20 books she has read in 2017. Also, from her promotion of my book I was contacted for a radio interview.

Q: How was your review or feature promoted by the blogger? And how did you promote it?

A: Promoted on social media such as twitter and Facebook. They posted their reviews on GoodReads and Amazon as well as their website.