When I started Pretty Opinionated, I wasn’t exactly sure what types of products I wanted to review, but I knew I at least wanted approximately half the content to revolve around books. Anyone who has ever had to help me move is painfully aware of how much I love books, and I think even those who know me in passing can see that it borders on an addiction. There are far worse things to be addicted to than knowledge or the ability to escape into a whole different world for a few hours though, so I think I can safely avoid the book addicts anonymous groups for now.
Although it took me a while to figure out how to find new products to review on my blog, books came easily. That’s the great thing about being a book blogger, there are thousands, if not millions, of both new and established authors looking for a place to promote their work. Finding books to review is pretty easy, especially if you’re flexible in the formats you’ll accept.
- Don’t discount the obvious sources. Obviously, buying the books yourself is the most obvious way to get new books for review, but not everyone has the money to spend on dozens of books a month. The library is a great resource. For popular books, get your name on the list earl, as libraries have a limited supply. Also, take full advantage of your library’s inner-library loan system. My library allows me to request up to ten books at a time, so I go through my Amazon wish list and update my request list monthly. Sometimes the books never come, but usually I get them within about two weeks.
- Sign up for programs and groups that offer books for review. I’ve had less luck with this one because the biggest book review programs typically only offers Christian books, and I don’t review those. But I’ve heard others say wonderful things about BookSneeze and Blogging For Books. I’m also a member of Book Blogs, and they sometimes have authors or publishers that are looking for reviewers.
- Sign up for book tours. There are two basic types of book tours- one in which the same book travels from place to place, and one in which every reviewer gets their own copy. While the first one is a fantastic option for those who know that they will be able to finish a particular book within a week of the day it arrives on their doorstep, I tend to stick with the second option because my reading time is very random. One week I may have time to read at least seven books, and the next I’m lucky to finish two. Also, I usually have a backlog of books waiting to be reviewed, and I try not to go out of order unless it’s a time sensitive review.
- Be flexible with formats. Most independent publishers offer review copies in electronic format. Even the larger publishers are moving towards electronic ARCs because they are so much more cost effective. I use my Kindle, but there are dozens of other options for reading in digital format. I know a lot of hardcore readers are quick to judge the e-book, but let me tell you, it has broadened my reading horizons in so many ways.
- Don’t discount the indie author. Sure, we all want to get free copies from our favorite best-selling authors for review, but don’t discount the lesser known independently or self-published authors. They’ve kept my Kindle full for the last six months. Had I not opened Pretty Opinionated up to indie authors, I would never have known about Derrolyn Anderson and her captivating mermaid series or Daisy Piper’s super adorable and amazing Princess Callie . Some of my current favorite authors are those who decided to publish on their own.
- Sign up with Netgalley. Remember a couple of bullet points ago where I mentioned that a lot of publishing companies are going the way of the electronic ARC? Well, this is one of the biggest places that they’re listing them. They have a few different options for viewing the galley, including downloading them to your computer or having them sent to your kindle. If you opt for the second, I suggest setting your document fee limit on Amazon to $0.00, that way the documents will go to your free Kindle email and you can download them yourself or have them sent through the wi-fi option. Otherwise, you’ll end up paying. I have no idea how much, I set that sucker to $0 as soon as I registered it.
- Make sure authors and publishers know your policy. I let authors and publishers know that I accept books for review, and also exactly what types I’ll accept on my book review policy page. I couldn’t tell you if mine is a good example of one or not, but it seems to work well for me.
- Win them! This one always get a double “yay” out of me because I like getting books and I like knowing my little name was figuratively pulled out of a virtual hat. Good Reads and Library Thing are great places to sign up and try to win free copies. I also enter hundreds of book giveaways when I have the time, especially during the big giveaway hops sponsored by I’m A Reader, Not A Writer. Yes, this is the least likely way to get books for review, but it’s still fun to try, and sometimes it does pay off! I’ve won a ton of children’s books, The Goddess Test, and a few others that way.
These are just the ways that have worked for me, or, in the case of the second one, have seen work for others. It’s not an exhaustive list, and I’m sure there are other methods. Feel free to share them in the comments section! If you’ve written a post that has to do with how to find books for review, leave a link so I can check it out. I’m always open to more suggestions or a second opinion.