If you’re interested in reviewing books, whether for publications, for your own blog, or just for Amazon and Goodreads, you’ll, of course, need to get copies of books to review. You can always buy books to review, but many authors and publishers are interested in getting reviews before a book is released. That and buying every single book you have an interest in can get expensive, even if you mostly buy ebooks. Here are some ways you can obtain review copies.
1. Goodreads giveaways This one is a bit of crapshoot, but it’s worth trying. Many times, an author or their publisher will do giveaways of books on Goodreads when they’re first released. People will usually flock to these things, so you don’t always have the best chance of actually winning. It’s a chance to get a good free book, however, and you support the author by shelving the book on your Goodreads. You’ve also got a chance to review the book around when it comes out if you win the giveaway as well.
2. Kindle freebies If you keep an eye an author’s activities, you can often find them giving away their books for free on Kindle for a day. This usually happens well after the book is initially released as a way to renew interest in it. This will give you an opportunity to read it and leave a review on Amazon or elsewhere in return.
3. Follow authors and publishers on social media Both authors and publishers will often put out a call for reviews before the release date of a book. If there are authors you’re especially interested in supporting, following them on Facebook and Twitter is a good way to keep an eye out for these calls. They’re usually looking for people who write for publications, but many are also willing to give out a few copies for reviews on Amazon.
4. Contact publishers directly Most publishers will have a way to contact them for review copies on their website. The best time to ask is either right before a book is first released or right after. When you’re asking for a copy, it’s usually best to have other reviews that you can point to. When publishers are getting unsolicited requests, they prefer to have someone who they know has some type of presence in print or on the internet. Speaking of which…
5. Establish a presence as a reviewer This will take some time and effort, but if you maintain a blog with at least a modest following or have reviews published online or in print, you’ll start having authors and publishers contacting you to review their books. If you’re friends or mutual followers with authors on social media, they may see your reviews if you post them and send a copy of their own book to you. If you write for publications or for websites, they can seek out review copies for you as well.
Don’t take these pointers just as hints on how to get free books. Free books are nice, but the point of review copies is to review them. Getting reviews, from both professional critics and from their readers, is important to authors for promotion. If you want to support an author, even a brief review is helpful.