Thursday, July 26, 2012

Become a Book Reviewer

Hey everyone, Annette here. Last month I talked about reading in your genre. Afterward it occurred to me that a great way to explore a multitude of books in your genre is to read for review. Here are some of the perks:

~ Free copies. Publishers and authors are desperate to get word-of-mouth marketing kicked into gear even before a book releases. They do that by getting their books into book reviewers' hands. Publishers are beginning to send e-book copies for reading on your e-reader (saves bookshelf space). They often send ARCs (advanced reader copies, which are pre-proof) and you'll get to read the book before it's even released, all in exchange for an unbiased review. 

How do I get connected? Sign up with various publishers'  bloggers' networks. These allow you to choose from their collection. They generally do not require a review by a certain time, though often they'll request the review be posted on your blog as well as,, etc. within a month of the book's release.

Another way to get connected is to sign up with various blog tour publicity, like Litfuse or Kathy Carlton Willis Communications, for example. These will require a specific timeline for posting your review. 

~ Research. Reading an abundance of books in your genre can only help you as a writer. You'll find (and honor) your own voice. You'll see what publishers are looking for. You'll watch publishing trends change. See my post from June about reading in your genre: A Key Writing Tip for more on this.

~ Build a Platform. You need to focus your blog on something, right? Why not post book reviews? I started out posting them on my main blog, but then found I was so overwhelmed with books to read for review and reviews to post, that I decided to launch a separate blog. But even if you keep it all to one, you can mix things up and post reviews occasionally. Plus, all the while, you're getting your name out there. 

~ Practice writing. Book review writing is different from book writing. Even if you normally pen non-fiction, you're still in a different mode than book review writing. But, you can let your voice shine through in those reviews. 

~ Making contacts. Long ago, I made a decision to support Christian fiction. I believe in in. (I'm sure you do too, my dear writing friends). So I work to support other writers, their books, Christian publishers, etc. That's my motivation, and through those connections, in the spirit of promotion, I've made some great friends. You never know when your review might be the best part of some struggling writer's day. The Christian publishing world is small. Keep that in mind as you share your opinions and make contacts. And focus on service. Then you can't go wrong. You'll also endear yourself to publisher house's publicists, editors, etc.

Those are just a few benefits of becoming a book reviewer. Can you think of others? Do you read for review? What kind of contacts have you made? How has reading in your genre helped you grow as a writer? 

Read on!