Thursday, April 23, 2015

How to become a book reviewer

I've been asked several times recently how to become a book reviewer. Because who doesn't want to get free books?! Several years ago I wrote a brief post about this. But when I went back to reference it, I noticed that there had been several changes. Some companies no longer existed or had changed their names. And some of the guidelines were different. So here is the "new and updated" version.

1. Start a blog. I use blogger and it's free and super easy to do.
2. Find some of your favorite books that you've already read and write a review.
If you are unsure of what type of format to use, find a book reviewer's blog and use that as a template.
3. Ask friends and family to follow your blog. I'll follow if you want to put the address in the comments. This is because some companies require a certain amount of traffic to even send you the book. Once you get started this will become less of an issue.
4. If you haven't already, join at least one social media site. Lots of companies request that you post your review some social media site.
5. Request your first book.

Most of the companies, publicists, and authors that I work for are in the Christian publishing segment. So I will give you some links to the most common sites I use. I know starting out it was difficult to know where to look. If you are reviewing for all of the sites below and feel like you can handle more, shoot me an email and I'll direct you to more.

This is the review site for Thomas Nelson, Zondervan, and Westbow

This is a site that multiple publishing companies use. So you can get non-fiction, cookbooks, self-help, as well as the usual fiction. This one has a few Christian books since it use to be the review program for WaterBrook. But most of the books on here now are secular.

This is primarily for Bethany House, but it led me to Revell, Chosen, and Baker.

They actually have 3 different ways to get free books. The link is for the blog reviewer program. But they also have a rewards program and a summer reading program that sends out free books.

This is a publicist type website that gives away hundreds of books each month. You have to be present the night of the give-away to get the more popular ones, but there are plenty of books available.

Clicking on the links on the right hand side of my page or going to my "reviewing for" page will give you some more sites.

Almost every publisher has some way of getting reviewers. So if Christian books aren't your thing, then google the publisher that puts out the books you like to read. Chances are you'll meet with some success. There is a lot of trail and error at first, but you can be pretty picky once you get a feel for everything.

Indie Authors
There are also a lot of indie authors out there who love the chance to supply a free ebook to anyone will give them an honest review. If you don't have an ereader there are ways to get kindle downloaded to your computer. Check facebook for groups. Here is one I joined several years ago. If you have a favorite author, check out their website and send them a request for a book. This has worked for me several times. Or compliment them on a book you read and ask to review their next one.

Street Teams
A lot of authors have a small group of people that they keep on hand who are willing to review their books before they hit shelves. These people love the author so are willing to do a number of publicist type things to help promote the book before it comes out, in exchange for a free sneak peak at the book. The best way to get on a street team is to friend the author on facebook or contact them via their blog.

Hope this helped. I love talking about books so be sure to ask questions if you get stumped. I know I would have loved someone to bug when I was first starting.

Book Reviews

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