For any of you that knew me way back when, you’ll know that I used to be a book blogger, book reviewer AND own my own book blog tour business. That was from 2013 until 2017 – when the last remnants of my book blogging and businesses owning days fizzled out – so if you’ve been here since then, HAVE A FREAKING MEDAL. And although my blog has moved on quite dramatically since then, today I want to offer some advice on how to become a book reviewer, from someone who’s been there, done that and well and truly got the t-shirt.

How To Become a Book Reviewer

Photo by Tanya Trukyr on Unsplash

Before we get into the tips, a little back story on my experience as a book blogger and book reviewer. I started my blog back in 2013, when I was in the midst of my anxiety disorder. I had absolutely nothing to do or look forward to and was slowly sinking into a pit of despair. But I’ve always loved reading, so one day, I was Googling book reviews of the current book I was reading and I found…

A book review blog.

And I was just in awe. I thought that that’s something I could do. And wanted to do. I emailed the owner of the blog (bookboodle) and she very kindly helped me set up my own book blog where I started reviewing books I was reading on a regular basis. Book blogging really did save me and come to me at the perfect time in my life.

And that was that for the next 4 or 5 years. At first, I had NO IDEA how to actually run a successful blog. I had no idea how to grow a blog following or what a DA score was. I just wasn’t aware of that side of running a blog and I  plodded along, enjoying what I was doing and growing naturally in my own time.

By mid 2014, I’d already had the opportunity to review plenty of books from publishers and take part in book tours and that was when I decided to start my own business. My book tour business was incredibly successful for what it was. Although arguably I wasn’t the MOST business savvy, it was a super exciting venture into running a business.

Top Tips on How To Become a Book Reviewer

Photo by Tanya Trukyr on Unsplash

As my blog started to grow when I decided to venture out into lifestyle (I personally got bored of limiting myself to only one topic) and I started to make more money from my blog than my business, I also realised I was falling out of love with organizing book tours, so I closed my business down. And shortly after that, stopped writing book reviews altogether.

Related: Book Blog Post Ideas

For me, reviewing books ended up taking the love out of reading. And now that my blog was gaining traction and success, I didn’t really NEED to be reviewing books anymore as my passions for content creation lay elsewhere. So I quit reviewing books and that was officially the end of my book blogging, book tour owning and book reviewing career.

I absolutely loved it but life moved on and I grew out of that phase of my life. And that’s okay! But I still have a LOT of advice to give and wisdom to share on how to become a book reviewer and how to run a successful book blog.

Anyone can be a book reviewer. Anyone can read a book and review it on their blog. But how do you gain that influence within a community of book reviewers, get opportunities to review advance review copies and grow your blog as an established book review blog? Here are some tips on how to become a book reviewer:

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Start by reviewing your own books

Same as a lifestyle blog with products like skincare or make-up, a brand probably won’t send you products to review (and publishers with books to review), if you don’t have ANY reviews on your blog already. Use your blog as your portfolio to build up your work, your voice and your book reviews.

Follow the right people

Get on social media and follow authors, publishers, agents and other book bloggers. Social media is so important for networking – whatever type of blog you have and social media promotion. So by following and interacting with people in the industry, tagging them and chatting with them, you’re expanding your potential for growth.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to publishers

When you find you’re in a book place with your blog, get a decent amount of traffic and have built up some sort of social following, it’s time to reach out to publishers for advance review copies! You can contact them:

  • Directly through the publishers website using similar methods to how you would pitch to brands
  • Reply to tweets from publishers looking for book reviewers for a specific book
  • You can contact an author directly if they’re self published

Sign up to NetGalley

NetGally is like a goldmine for book reviewers as you can apply to review literally hundreds and hundreds of books. You build up your profile, submit your reviews and gain more and more access to publishers works through this site. be careful though, you NEED to keep your percentage up. If you request and get accepted for 10 books but don’t review any of them, it’s not going to look very good.

Understand what makes a good book review

Back in 2015 I wrote this post about top tips for writing a book review which all the points still stand strong but in case you can’t be arsed to read that, in summary:

  • DON’T RE-HASH THE PLOT: Re-hashing the entire plot of a book isn’t a review. It’s a summary.
  • Provide links for readers to purchase the book if they wish
  • Always disclose when a book is gifted / an ARC sent for review
  • Keep your paragraphs on the shorter side: Longer paragraphs deter some from reading. Especially those with conditions that make digesting large chunks of text particularly difficult

So you’re well on your way to learning how to become a book reviewer. Here are 5 extra things you need for your book review blog:

  • A contact page: How are authors and publishers going to get in touch with you otherwise? Make sure you have a clear and easy to follow contact page with a contact form AND your email address (never just a contact form – a lot of brands won’t use these). Here’s a post to help you establish the contact page for your book blog.
  • Clear directions as to what you’re accepting: Are you currently accepting books to review? If so, state it. What genres do you accept? What genres DON’T you accept? Any topics and genres don’t you feel comfortable reading? How long will it take you to read and review a book?
  • Disclaimer and privacy notice: Every blog needs one of these, not just book blogs. Find mine here.
  • Categories (or an easy way to navigate your reviews): You’re going to build up quite a backlog of reviews so ensuring there’s an easy way for readers to navigate your old reviews is a good option. I personally prefer categorizing by genre.
  • A Goodreads account: I bloody love Goodreads! Although anyone can have a Goodreads account, they’re particularly useful for bloggers. Lots of authors will want your review posted there too. Come and find me on Goodreads here!

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I hope you found this post helpful on how to become a book reviewer. Do you review books on your blog? What extra advice would you give to anyone who wants to become a book reviewer?

111 Comments

  1. I’m getting into occasionally reviewing bookso n my blog so this was super helpful thank you! I’ll be coming back for reference!
    artie ~ artiecarden.com

  2. Hey Jenny, I considered becoming a book blogger before I started my blog too. I love these tips, and I am gonna pin this blog post just in case I ever decide to start a book blog. For now, my TBR pile is insane lol. I haven’t been reading much all summer gahhh! Thanks for sharing, have a lovely weekend! 🙂

  3. You are so bang on with your point about rehashing the plotline. It’s a fine line between intriguing your audience and just telling them what happens. I find book reviews some of the most difficult to write as I know that’s someone’s dream come true, but I do love talking about books on my blog. I hope to scale down the number of blog tours I’ve done though – I see what you mean about them taking the joy out of reading!

  4. Book blogging has been an amazing journey! I’ve learned so much from it. I would add that having a review policy on your blog is essential as it helps authors and publishers know your preferences. Btw, how did you make the change from book blogger to lifestyle blogger? Any advice for someone who wants to follow the same path?

    1. Oh yeah of course. I just transitioned slowly. I was getting bored of only talking about books. If you’re going to go in for a full transition though, I’d recommend getting some content (lifestyle) scheduled beforehand and maybe having a slight branding re-vamp.

  5. This is excellent advice. I think your point of reviewing your own books first is a great idea – this is what I started doing, and within a few months I’d already got to the point where I was getting inundated with requests because of them. I generally have at least a three month or more waiting list for book reviews at all times, which is great! It’s also about connections like you’ve said – a contacts database is so important for book blogging, and getting your name on tour lists is a good idea as well. I know book blogging won’t be the biggest focus of my blog forever as there’s no money in it, but it’s something that I really love doing!

  6. This is a great breakdown for anyone interested in diving into the world of book blogging and reviewing! I love reading book reviews to find the next book to read, but I don’t think I could keep up with the reading necessary to support a book blog.

  7. Such great tips! I would definitely feel quite daunted running a book review blog, I’d definitely worry about how much I should be adding to the review as I wouldn’t want to write too much and ruin it for others. Great post, I definitely would review books from time to time, but probably wouldn’t make a whole blog around it!

    Chloe xx

  8. This is some really good advice! I am not a book blogger, but have a couple of bookish posts on my blog. I wanted to write more about the books I have fallen in love with as I have gotten into reading lately. I will be taking your advice on board!

    Em | http://www.loveemblog.com

  9. I loved reading this! I’m not a book blogger but I love reading and definitely want to incorporate more of my reading and love of books in to the blog – so this is really helpful! meg xx
    whatmegmeans.wordpress.com

  10. I used to be a book blogger too! I’m not anymore but these are some really great tips and advice I wish I had back when I was reviewing books!

    Great post x

  11. Such a helpful post, I am enjoying reading so much at the moment that I really want to shout about what I’m loving from the rooftops. But I worry about recommending books in case people don’t like them! (I’m the same about restaurants and films!)

    I think if I had more time to read regularly, I’d focus more on book reviews because I love reading others reviews.

    I’m loving goodreads, very late to the party but it’s awesome.

    I think I need to go and look through your book reviews x

  12. This was quite helpful! I’ve transformed from fashion, to fashion and lifestyle, to lifestyle with fashion and books as the side genres on my blog over the past 5 years. Now I run a bookstagram in addition to my blogging Instagram – and I find SO much more joy in it than the blog page. It’s just a lovely community, and it’s fun to talk about books all the time. But I never want to lose my joy in reading, so I’ll have to keep that in mind. However, I am looking to add more bookish content and reviews to my blog, so I enjoyed your tips!

  13. I wish I could do this but I have so much on my plate to read books! This is an amazing post! I was inspired by you stating not to be afraid to reach out to publishers. I could take this a reach out to companies that I want to work with. I can take a leap of faith.
    Thank you so much!
    xxxxxx
    Wishing you the best.

    https://ooomaye.com

  14. This is such a great post! I had no idea you were a book blogger before! I do love to do the odd book review on my blog, it was one of my first posts actually. These are such good tips, thank you for sharing x

  15. A wholesome list! I am not quite ready to actively pursue book reviewing, but I love your tips here for setting up a solid profile. The first time I wrote a book review, I almost wrote a summary by mistake. I saved myself by basing my writing off book reviews I have read and enjoyed and that worked. They say we learn best from people who have already done it well. 🙂

  16. Such beautiful photos. There’s something magical in each one of them! You’ve got them skills, girl! 🙂 Also, your content is really good. It made me forget I was hungry, lol. Keep up the good work. <3

  17. So many good tips! I’m starting to add books/reading to my blog but I don’t think I want to become a full book reviewer or totally transition the blog. But still great tips for the reviews I will be writing. And so interesting to learn about your history as a book blogger!

  18. Literature is such a big part of my life and hopefully is something I’ll be incorporating a lot more into my blog! I think if I had *just* a book blog I would get burnt out eventually, a bit like yourself, though.

  19. Such a helpful guide for anyone wanting to become a book blogger, you shared some great points. I enjoy reading but only reviewed one book and that was around superhero therapy, which was quite interesting.

    Tx. // Tajinder Kaur

  20. It was cool reading your little blogging backstory, would’ve loved to been around when you had that blog up and running. I love reading book, TV and film reviews so reading what it takes to become one from someone who’s there and done makes for great insight. I’m gonna have a read through your post on writing a book review shortly!

    Johnny | Johnny’s Traventures
    https://johnnystraventures.com

  21. I was a book reviewer for a long time too! I started in 2011 and then it slowed down for me over time. Then I got into creating crochet patterns and had a blog for that. Neither of those blogs did really well, but I’m hoping my current blog does better.