Becoming a book reviewer

My blogging career started as a book reviewer. Being a bookworm, I can’t tell you how many books I have purchased and how many Paperback Swap credits I have begged for in my lifetime. Gone are the days when I could buy a good paperback for $1.99 (a quarter if I went to a good thrift store). Little did I know that I could easily have secured books FOR FREE, and often before they are released, if I had an active blog.

I dabbled in blogging back when Xanga and Livejournal were popular, but it was hardly anything to brag about.

If you’re not currently a blogger, you may want to start your own through a free site like Blogger. Type up reviews for books you’ve already read and publish them on both your new blog and sites such as Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Post a minimum of twice a week for three to six months.

Now you’re ready to start contacting publishers and submitting applications!

If Christian books are your thing, here is a list of companies you could work with:
Bethany House
Tyndale
Booksneeze – Thomas Nelson
Blogging for Books -Waterbrook Multnomah

Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive list. If you would like to work with a big company like Penguin, which has several divisions, you would have to contact the one that is appropriate for your interests. Generally, if you’re looking at a publisher’s website, you want to look for a contact section specifically for media inquiries.

You should also put some thought into your pitch, because just telling them, “Hey, I’d like to review some of your books” isn’t going to cut it.

Tell them about yourself and your blog, link them to what you feel is your best work, and show them what makes you a good reviewer. If you don’t hear back, follow up in a few weeks. If they tell you no, continue building your blog and try again later.

In my experience, reviewing children’s books has been far more difficult. I guess it would make sense since it’s the most competitive genre.

The other option is to work with an agency that does book tours. They deal with the authors and publishers and apply for campaigns. Once accepted, you will receive guidelines on publishing and submitting your review. Many include prize incentives such as gift cards and e-readers.

Once you’re done with the books, you can keep them to grow your own personal library, donate them, or give them away on your own blog. That last option is particularly popular because it brings more traffic and followers. Book bloggers often do branch out into product reviews, so if you’re looking for a place to start, there you go!

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