When I first found out that book bloggers can get books for free, it absolutely took me by surprise. Of course, even though I wouldn't have admitted it at the time - I wanted desperately to be one of those bloggers.
I guess each of us knows that being an avid reader can have you have to dig deep into your pockets sometimes.
1. So How Do I Get Review Copies?
- Have a book blog
- Choose which upcoming releases interest you
- Email the publisher
- Receive and review the book
In theory this sounds extremely easy. You'd be surprised - in practice it's exactly as easy as that. In order to be approved for reviews you have to meet certain criteria that are different from publisher to publisher and from country to country. I'm German, so I can only tell you about my experience and the things publishers have told me. Of course, if you're from a bigger country, like the US or Canada, where there are many more book bloggers than in my country, your competition is bigger and you might not get every book you want.
2. When Does My Blog Qualify?
- You've been blogging for at least 6 months
- You have a decent amount of page views per month (500+ at least)
- You publish comprehensive, detailed reviews that include your impressions on the characters, the plot and the writing
- You have a decent and readable blog layout
- You publish posts regularly (it doesn't matter whether it's 5 posts per month or 50 - just be consistent)
- You're able to read and review the book within the given time frame (2-8 weeks usually)
- VERY IMPORTANT: You crosspost on at least two other platforms (Amazon, Goodreads, LovelyBooks, LibraryThing, Twitter, Facebook etc.)
Of course the criteria differ for every publisher. When I first started out, I thought that the most important thing to consider is the amount of followers.
For publishers the main goal is obviously to get their book out there and have people talk about it.
As a small blog you have to crosspost and advertise way more than a bigger blog. There are some publishers that won't even consider you unless you've got an impressive amount of followers, but you won't know until you try.
When in doubt, just ask. I promise you, the people in the publishing industry don't bite and will respond to your emails very kindly.
3. How Do I Ask / Who Do I Ask?
There is no success formula, everyone does it differently. Here's what I do:
- Introduce yourself and your blog briefly
- Include page views, follower count, unique visitors statistics and all other blog statistics that you can get your hands on
- Mention where you crosspost
- Mention the focus of your blog (genres that you mainly review)
- Tell them what book you want to review and why they should choose your blog
- The most important thing is to be polite and still thank them for their time and consideration even when you don't get the book
I know writing emails to publishers can seem scary and make you nervous, but I promise you, you'll only meet kind souls.
You're going to want to start out with small publishers first. Every publishing company has either a request form on their website or an email contact listed.
Do your research on the company and the upcoming releases before you request. Don't get discouraged if you don't get approved for review copies. Build your blog, improve your content and try again later.
If you're just starting out and don't have that many page views/followers yet and don't want to take the plunge to ask the publishers directly, there are alternatives to get review copies:
4. How Many Books Should I Request?
You should only request books that you want to read and will read!
Don't go and request a thousand books, just because you may get them for free! I can not emphasize this enough. ARCs/Review Copies are like a contract with the publisher.
You're obligated to at least try to read them. Printing those copies costs a lot of money. If you're just here to snag the free copies, publishers won't send you anything anymore and believe me, they will notice if you don't send them the links to your reviews in a timely manner.
If you don't like a book or don't want to continue reading, you may always contact the publicist and tell them. But only, only, only request books you intend to read.
5. What Do I Do Once I Received the Review Copy?
Read and review it, while keeping the time frame in mind.
Most publishers expect you to send them an email with all the links to where you published the review.
It's even nicer if you thank them politely and let them know in the email when you really loved the book.
Now repeat. :)
Do You Have Any Tips on Getting Review Copies?
What Are Your Do's and Don't's?
Come back next Thursday for another Book Blogging Tips post!