Now that you know you want to start reviewing books it is time to start getting the books. As a new reviewer you won’t be able to request books that you want from publishers, but with consistent, creative reviews of books you can get you may get to that point in the future. The road of the reviewer starts with book blogging programs and contests.
Let’s start with book blogger programs. There are several Christian sites that have active book review programs for new reviewers like you, including Tyndale, Thomas Nelson and Bethany House. For each of these you will need to request to join and be approved.
DISCLOSURE: None of the links that we provide at BookGateway have any tracking information in them and we do not receive any thing in return for recommending these sites to you. I provide this informatio because I believe everyone should read books and because I’m are hoping you will choose to submit your reviews to BookGateway.com.
|Tyndale Blog Network||In their own words: “The Tyndale Blog Network provides bloggers with free review copies of current Tyndale products. In turn, we require that participants post a review to the blog as well as an online consumer portal site (for example, Amazon.com). Follow the links below to learn more.” Tyndale publishes Christian fiction and non-fiction.|
|BookSneeze||In their own words: “Any blogger can receive FREE copies of select BookSneeze products. In exchange, all we ask is that you read the full book and post a 200-word review on your blog and any consumer retail website.BookSneeze is the book blogger site for Thomas Nelson publishing, the largest Christian publisher in the United States.|
|Blogging for Books||In their own words: “So you blog, eh? Well, that’s just peachy, ’cause guess what… we love bloggers! In fact, we’re looking for a few good bloggers. So if you love to read as much as you love to blog, then we want to get to know you. What are you waiting for… learn more about the program and sign up today.” Waterbrook Mutnomah is a Christian publisher that is well known for both their non-fiction Christian Living titles as well as their historical fiction books.|
|Bethany House||In their own words: “Become a book reviewer! Do you have a website or blog where you would be willing to post reviews of books from Bethany House? Use the form below to sign up for our book reviewer email alerts. You’ll receive periodic emails alerting you to books available for review. When you request a book you agree to post a review on your website as well as a retailer website (ex. Amazon.com, Christianbook.com).” Bethany House publishes Christian titles and is best known for its historical romance.|
Once you are approved you will be given an opportunity to choose a book to review that the publisher is actively publicizing. Once you make your selection and promise to review the book, you will be sent a book directly. You then read, write your review and then submit it to BookGateway (by emailing Scott Asher) where the review will be published. You will also post the review at Amazon or another retail site. Then you submit both links to the publisher and start the process over.
Most of the time there is not a due date for the book review. However, there are times when the publisher will ask you to publish your review on a certain day. This is sometimes referred to as a Book Tour or other similar names. If you have a requirement like this you should tell BookGateway when you send in your review so that we will publish it at the correct time.
Note: In each of the above programs you receive an actual published copy of the book, not an Advance Readers Copy (ARC), which is also known as an Uncorrected Proof. ARCs don’t always have the final cover art, have errors in the text and may not be the actual final version of the book.
Another option for receiving review copies, generally ARCs, is through contests. Below are some of the sites for contests.
Shelf Awareness. On the home page, on the top right side, you will see an offer to sign up for their free newsletter. Once that is completed you will receive book news every day of the week with tons of advertisements in each email. These advertisements are the key to receiving ARCS. Click on every advertisement and if there is a form to fill out do it. These are sometimes contests and sometimes automatic entries to receive ARCs. Some advertisements are to send email requests to the publisher for ARCs. If that happens then simply say that you are requesting a review copy and put your physical address. In your signature make sure that you mention BookGateway.com as your review site. Shelf Awareness has books from every genre.
Read It First. On the home page, on the left side mid way down the page, you will see an offer to sign up for their free newsletter. You don’t have to sign up (you could just go back to the site every so often and click on FREE BOOKS in the main menu bar,) but if you do sign up you will get offers for contests in your mailbox. Read It First describes itself as having “Sneak peeks at great reads, behind-the-scenes insights from authors, lively and provocative reader’s guides, and fabulous free books.” Read It First was created by Crown Publishing and has books from every genre.
GoodReads is a great place to request books for review by signing up for contests to win the books. It is important to note that the site is actually more social network than about requesting books. The biggest downsides to this site is that the winners are not chosen randomly, but actually selected by the authors/ publishers and that there are so few giveaway copies of each book. This means that new reviewers are less likely to get a book. However, if you do a good job setting up your profile (being specific about genre preferences, being clear about readership,) and are active in the social network parts of the sites (adding friends, filling in your read books and so on,) you are more likely to get a shot. Once you do it is imparative that you complete your review quickly, that you do a good job on it, and that you submit your reviews to the publishers. With a track record of efficient, honest and compelling reviews along with a site with strong history and readership (like BookGatway.com) you should be able to use GoodReads to claim review copies often. GoodReads is not affiliated with any one publisher and has books from every genre. I’m on GoodReads and would like to be your friend! Search: Scott Asher.
Simon & Schuster has a FREE STUFF link at the top of their page where you can sign up for email alerts for when they have give away contests. From their site: “Everyone likes something for free, and this is the place to find everything that is free on Simon & Schuster. Find free downloads of entire books, special giveaways and sweepstakes where you can enter for a chance to win even more free stuff such as books or even a trip to London or Hawaii. As the sweeps and free books are continually changing, be sure to sign up for free stuff alerts and keep checking back — you never know what you might be able to get for free.”For the books you received from these sites, you may also be required to send your review links directly to a publicist once they are published.
From time to time I will update this page with other options. You are encouraged to search for other options as well. (In fact, when I wrote this I came across an offer from Ligonier that promises any title that they publish in exchange for any review on another Ligonier title when you send in your review links!)
Once you have some review copy options it is time for you to go over REVIEW GUIDELINES.