What do you do when you’ve read a book? Usually, you tell others about it, whether it was worth your time, or if you couldn’t get past the first chapter, or found a new author to cherish.
Sharing your reading experience is part of the pleasure, but it’s even more pleasurable if you can turn those opinions into cash or traffic with reviews on your blog.
You can start with your own bookshelf or the library when you start writing reviews, but users like hot, timely reviews of books new in the stores or awaiting release and available on pre-order.
It’s tough to break in, and if you are just starting – where can you get new free books to review without unlimited funds or queuing at the library?
Find Free Books to Review
As long as you have a reading device (which can just be your computer and a free download of Adobe Digital Editions e-reader) you can get on the e-galley bandwagon.
More and more publishers and dedicated e-galley sites are making ARCs (Advance Reading Copies) available to reviewers and bloggers as digital downloads, giving you a host of attractive new titles to tempt users to read your reviews.
Netgalley is the major e-galley site, and it is a very friendly place to start requesting review copies, even if you are a newcomer to book reviewing.
Many of the publishers who use Netgalley will accept requests from small bloggers and content writers in order to drum up interest in their books. Others may reject you unless – or until – you have a good portfolio to show them.
Don’t mind the odd knockback, persevere with Netgalley and as you let the publishers know where your reviews can be found, you will gain a good reputation and be able to snare the more difficult publishers.
Just don’t get carried away and request more than you can read and review in a couple of months!
The range of books on Netgalley is great, from romance and science fiction to graphic novels and cookbooks, and it is free to join and request the books. Some books are available for immediate download, and instead of a request button these books will have a Read It Now button.
Don’t forget to look at the publicity material that is often supplied with the books. The books usually have an expiry date of around 60 days, but you can request extra time.
Free Books to review From ARC tour
If you have a blog that gets good traffic, another way to get free books to review is to join an ARC tour.
Authors often set an ARC ‘on tour’ through various blogs. You can get interviews with the author on these tours as well.
Putting the words ‘arc tour’ into a search engine will lead you to the blogs that are involved with arc tours. Three arc tour resources you can look at are theteenbookscene.weebly.com, princessbookiearctours.blogspot.com and starbooktours.blogspot.com
Simon and Schuster have a Galley Grab program that invites, teachers, booksellers, librarians, bloggers and writers to read and review books in pre-publication. These e-galleys will expire when the publication date is reached, and are offered by invitation only.
Similarly, Atria Books have Galley Alley, where booksellers, librarians and reviewers can apply. Atria is a Simon and Schuster imprint.
Get Free Hard Copy Books
If you prefer a good old fashioned hard copy to an e-galley, you can still find ways to obtain new books. Goodreads is where many readers post unpaid reviews and share favorite books.
That won’t interest a professional writer hoping to earn a living, but it is a good place to go for the opportunity to get a free book to review. Goodreads offers book giveaways, and while you have to enter to win, you have as good a chance as anyone else.
A lot of the giveaways are only available to readers in the US and Canada, but at least that means you receive an actual hard copy, so bookmark the giveaway page and visit regularly. Other places to look for book giveaways are Read It Forward, Kids Book Review and Library Thing.
If you love reading, and especially if you would love to read books before they are available in bookstores, e-galleys and ARCs will give you lots of free reading pleasure as well as lots of free material for your reviews.
This guest post has been submitted by Rebecca P. Lind. Rebecca is a freelance article writer and editor at phlebotomy.net/jobs/.
Image Credit: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net