Do you ever wish you could get paid to read? Growing up, that was my dream job. Come to think of it, it still is! Over the last couple of years, I’ve found a way to do just that – in book currency. I work with several publicity groups, publishers, and authors who share ARC (advance review copy) books at no charge in return for a review. These options are excellent for authors and readers alike!
So how does one get started reviewing books (or finding readers)? The most important item is to get social. Authors: websites make great ways for prospective readers to learn more about you and your books. And don’t forget social media! Pick a couple platforms and utilize them well. Facebook is an excellent resource with a plethora of groups.
Readers: Goodreads and retail sites provide a solid basis to begin reviewing books. Copy/paste your review to each platform – no need to reinvent the wheel! If you start a blog, start small and free with WordPress or Blogger and leverage social media to promote your reviews! (Also, be sure to note if you received a free copy of a book.)
Three of my favorite resources for book publicity and review opportunities:
- JustRead Publicity Tours focuses on Christian fiction and non-fiction. Services offered include conventional, bookstagram (original Instagram pictures), and takeover tours. This versatility allows authors to publicize their books in a variety of ways; similarly, hosts (readers/reviewers) can play to their own strengths. Readers who enjoy graphic design may prefer a bookstagram tour, while others may choose to interview the author on their blog. While websites are not required for reviewers, that may impact what you sign up for.
- Read with Audra is part of Audra Jennings PR and geared toward readers. Sign up for Christian-fiction, non-fiction, and children’s-title mailing lists to be alerted of upcoming tours. Jennings works closely with New Growth Press and features many books from that publisher on her blog. Tours through Read with Audra operate much like JustRead’s program, and often make use of Netgalley (another awesome spot to procure or promote ARCs).
- Finally, Anna LeBaron works with both authors and readers to leverage social media and make new books successful. She is a pro at both “official” (pre-planned) and “rogue” (“Let’s see what happens!”) book launches and has written a very successful book herself. Most book-launch team activity with LeBaron occurs on Facebook.
Has this whetted your appetite to move forward? Whether you join one or all three of these groups in your journey (or something else altogether!) – I’d love to hear it! What worked (or didn’t) for you?
No matter what, be persistent in the process. It takes time for both readers and authors to build up a repertoire. There is no magic number of reviews that will indicate a reader has “made it” as a book reviewer (or that an author has either!). Once you review your first book, you’ve already “made it”. You are a book reviewer. Even if an author hasn’t published anything, as long as you’re writing, you are a writer.
You also just never know which book will be the “magic” one that connects you with an author, publisher, or reviewer – so keep reaching out. Leverage your opinions. And above all, enjoy the process!
Meagan Davenport is a freelance editor and proofreader who averages 100+ books read every year. She is passionate about global missions, Lord of the Rings, and the finer points of Indian food and Washington apples (though not together). You can find her online at MeaganDavenport.com or on social media @readswheregoes and @readswhereshegoes.