When I started book blogging, back in 2013, my ultimate aim was to start working with publishers and authors and being seen as a worthy enough book blogger to get sent books to review. Now don’t get me wrong, the free books are not the be-all and end-all of book blogging but having an author or a publisher contact you, regarding reviewing one of their new titles and allowing you to be a part of that pre-publication hype and providing your honest thoughts on a book which, chances are, people are going to read before they decide to buy the book themselves, is quite special. Book bloggers and book reviews are so very important so it’s not surprising new book bloggers (or even experienced bloggers who haven’t yet ventured into the book blogging world yet) want to be a part of that.
I saw a tweet from a girl the other day who, from what I was aware of, is a blogger but wanted to find out how to start building that relationship with publishers and eventually, hopefully, being sent some books in exchange for her fair and honest reviews. I think this is a very valid question because we all have to start somewhere right? So I wanted to offer some pearls of wisdom today for those who want to start working with publishers online.
Showcase your writing and reviewing skills
If you’ve never reviewed a book before in your life then maybe now is the time to start! If you’re already a blogger, chances are, your writing skills are up to scratch anyway but remember that reviewing books is very different to reviewing a make-up product or any other type of blog post. Start by reviewing your own books; books you’ve bought yourself or got from the library and build up a little online portfolio of your book reviews, so they’re all in one place. I also wrote a post on quick tips for writing book reviews here!
Create a review requests page
Reviewed a bunch of books? Brilliant! Now’s the time to make sure publishers are aware that you are actually accepting books to review. A review requests page with an email or a contact form is really important as a quick and easy way for publishers and authors to find a way to contact you, if they want to offer you a book. I wrote a post here with more information on what is important to include in your book blog’s contact page, including; what genres do you accept? and what formats do you accept?
Don’t be scared to contact publishers
If there’s a specific book you’ve seen around that you really love the sound of, is your kind of book and you would just love, love, love to receive an early review copy of it then don’t be scared to contact the publishers yourself. Do your research and make sure you find the correct email (lots of publishers have many different departments with many different publicists who work on specific books so make sure you find the correct person!), be professional and enclose some previous examples of your book reviews – if you’re a new book blogger and haven’t worked with publishers before. This will change over time when you’ve built up a relationship with certain publishers or publicists.
Remember the hard work
Any book blogger will tell you that it’s not easy and takes up a hell of a lot of time; and that’s without the extra pressure of having review copies, some of which that have to be read and reviewed by certain dates. If you want to start working with publishers and continue to work with publishers, you have to show them that you’re reliable and not just out for the free books. Remember that they’re sending you this book out free of charge and are going to expect a review, especially if you’re the one that’s asked for it in the first place. It’s so worth it and working with publishers and authors is one of the most satisfying things but ensure you’re aware of the work you’ll need to put in, before you contact a ton of publishers, get sent a ton of books and then find yourself swamped.