When I first started blogging, I started as a book blogger. If you’ve been around since 2013 then first of all, have a medal. And second of all, you might remember when Jenny in Neverland was a book blog, filled with multiple book reviews each week. My book blogging career even extended into me starting my own book touring business in 2014. Blogging can introduce you to plenty of opportunities but you have to start somewhere. So in this post, we’re going to look at how to become a book reviewer.
Like I said, I started my book blog in 2013 (when I was in the midst of my anxiety disorder) and I reviewed books weekly. 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.
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 realized 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
So there’s a little back story on my own journey with being a book blogger and whilst I don’t review books anymore, I still love reading book blogs and a few years ago, started to introduce more bookish content back onto my blog again, which I’m thoroughly enjoying creating right now because my reading mojo is higher than ever.
Anyone can be a book reviewer. 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:
How to become a book reviewer in 8 easy steps:
Start a blog to publish your book reviews on
A blog is one of the best places to start reviewing books because it allows you to have your own space, establish your own voice and build your blog following and cements your place within the book blogging community. Whether you’re a hobby blogger or eventually want to become self-employed, a blog is THE place to start!
Learn how to write an amazing book review
Knowing HOW to write an amazing book review is really important for being a book reviewer and there are definitely some do’s and don’ts when it comes to writing a book review! Here are some quick tips:
- Don’t just re-hash the plot
- Be respectful of the author and the work – even if you didn’t like it
- Be honest and fair in your review
- Provide links for your readers
Create a Goodreads account
Goodreads is a great platform to use for sharing your book reviews on and should be used in conjunction with your own blog. Goodreads is free to join and also a great way to keep track of the books you’re reading. Come and find me on Goodreads!
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.
Make sure you stand out from the crowd
There’s LOTS of book bloggers and book reviewers out there. You’re going to want your blog and your reviews to stand out. This is where themes and layout could come in, as well as that unique voice you’ve established for yourself!
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.
Start reaching 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.
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.
Great tips! Definitely using these from now on when making book review posts. 🙂
I miss your book tours, they were always so much fun. I haven’t blogged properly in years. This year I made it a plan to get back into reading, so I started a bookstagram and its really helped me read more. I’m thinking of starting up a book blog – mostly for me (to start with) just somewhere I can keep reviews without too much pressure of having to have reviews up by a certain time.
Awh thank you! Glad you enjoyed them at the time, it was quite a venture! Looking forward to seeing if you decide to start book blogging 🙂
Thank you for your post. I just started my own book blog, but i am still researching advice from others. Loved your post, it did shed some light on a few things i have missed.
Hope this helped!
So helpful!! Thank you!
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
Glad you found it helpful!
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! 🙂
Thank you 😌 glad this helped!
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!
It’s a shame that they’ve taken the love of reading for you a bit as well!
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?
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.
Awesome post! Like you, I had no idea how to blog or anything when I started my book blog! lol
Literally clueless hahaha!
This was a really interesting post and packed full of tips. I had no idea about your book business though.
I would love to do some book review blog posts, I’ve read so many books in lockdown!
Go for it!
I’m an ex book blogger too! I still get the odd book sent through the mail even now.
Oh wow really? I did too for a couple years after I stopped but I’m pretty sure I’ve been taken off all publishers lists now!
How interesting to hear the story of how you became a book blogger! Thanks for sharing, as well as the tips!
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!
Great points! It’s amazing you have such a long wait list for reviews!
This was a great read! I have been considering starting a book blog as a second blog but just haven’t found the time for it just yet
Hope this helped!
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.
Yeah you certainly need to read a lot to have reviews up so frequently!
[…] to read and digest. If you’re completely new to this game, check out my blog post about how to become a book reviewer to get started on your book blogging […]
[…] Related: How To Become a Book Reviewer […]
This post is excellent and I agree with every tip!
I’d also say don’t be afraid to reach out to established book bloggers, we’re generally a lovely lot and like to share our knowledge 🙂
Definitely agree with starting by reading the books you have too.
Cora | https://www.teapartyprincess.co.uk/
Yes totally agree! That’s how I actually got my blog started, by reaching out to an established book blogger!
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!
Yeah it’s hard to not give everything away when you’re so passionate about a book!
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
Thank you 😌 I love reading bookish posts – looking forward to reading more of yours!
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
Glad you found this helpful!
Great post! Netgalley is absolutely brilliant. I’ve discovered so many amazing books I probably wouldn’t have ever found otherwise xx
Tiffany x http://www.foodandotherloves.co.uk
I used to love it too!
I’m a book reviewer and blogger and I can definitely recommend Netgalley too x
I used to really like NetGalley x
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
Ah really?! That’s cool!
This is such an interesting post (and an interesting backstory – it’s actually super cool you ran your own business!) xx
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
Well not everyone is going to like them! I loved your last bookish post, I’d love for you to do more!
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!
Thank you! Sounds like you’ve been on quite the journey with your blog !
Some really good tips for aspiring book bloggers 🙂
Thank you 🙂
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!
Wishing you the best.
Definitely do it!
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
Yep! Hardcore book blogger haha!
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. 🙂
Good save! Always good to learn from others too 🙂
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
Shame they’re not mine haha!
This is such an amazing post and I had no idea about your book business! I think I’d struggle with book reviews, as I’d probably get too carried away and end up giving away main plot points haha!xx
Hannah | https://luxuryblush.co.uk/
Haha it was hard to do, especially when you’re so excited about a book!
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!
Definitely valid tips for anyone who just wants to introduce bookish content to their blogs!
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.
Yeah totally. Definitely something to consider when thinking about going down that route!
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
Thank you 🙂
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
It was this same blog. I just transitioned it over time. If you go back far enough, you can still find all my book reviews!
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.
Book blogging is definitely hard work!
I remember your book blog tour company, I had the privilege of reviewing one of your authors! Although I didn’t realise how long you’d been running, haha. I know what you mean about book reviews taking the joy out of reading though, I’ve cut back on mine for the same reason. Now I only review books by favourite authors. These are great tips for any would-be book blogger though, Jenny, super helpful! X
Lisa | http://www.lisasnotebook.com
It feels like a lifetime ago! But yeah I ran that for ages! 🙂
I’ve been thinking about starting to review books so this was so helpful and I’m glad I came across your post !
Glad this was helpful!
This is an amazing post Jenny! As somebody who loves reading and is doing book review posts on my blog, this has given me such great advice! x
Thank you 🙂 x
This was really interesting. I love learning about other blog niches 🙂 thanks for sharing!
Thank you 🙂
Great tips! Being a reviewer is definitely hard work but so much easier if you have a genuine love for reading and writing about everything you read! It’s so much fun 🙂
Anika | chaptersofmay.com
Totally 🙂 x
Great post! Thank you for sharing! I’m considering doing some book reviews on my blog in the future!
Hope these tips help!
This is such a helpful blog post, Jenny! I’ve not been blogging about books for very long and I know there is still a lot I can learn to help improve how I review etc. Reading this post, I’ve realised there are a few things I still haven’t done and there are plenty of things I can do to improve and work on. Thanks for sharing x
These are great tips! It also really goes to show there is so much more to reviewing books being a blogger than you think!
Oh yeah absolutely!
Book reviewing is something I would like to do. I have been asked if I would do one, but I didn’t really know what to do, and I was t keen on the book, so I’ve not done it.
Well if you’re sent an ARC then you’ll need to give an honest review of the book whether you like it or not. That’s another thing – if you go down this route!
I live on Goodreads at the moment, I have so many book recommendations from there right now.
Love, Amie ❤️
The Curvaceous Vegan
Goodreads is fab x
This is such great advice for any newbies wanting to break into the niche. I totally see what you mean reviews taking the enjoyment away from the reading though. I’m reviewing a couple of healthcare related ones for my 2nd blog and the amount of times I stop and start to make notes etc is ridiculous, the reading takes twice as long as it should! x
Yep! I hated having to always take notes x
I also started out as book blogger back in the day with a wonderfully named blog called TashBrilliantBookBlog!! I used to love getting sent books for review and taking part in blog tours but then, like you, I found it restricting being confined to one niche. I then started another blog to talk about other niches but it was too difficult to run 2 blogs during schools and exams that I then merged the 2 together a few years ago and I finally feel happy that I have the best of both worlds now! Such an interesting post that has bought back a lot of memories! Thanks for sharing!
Tash – http://www.agirlwithview.co.uk
Oh wow sounds like we had a similar thing happen to us!
I have never reviewed a book but then I don’t ready much. This was really interesting if I ever wanted to xx
Thank you x
I know someone who this would be perfect for! You’re a wealth of knowledge Jenny, thank you 🙂
Great tips, thanks for sharing. I love reading and have recently started writing reviews, seems like there’s a lot to learn.
There’s a lot involved for sure!
This is a really great tips! I’m sure this post is going to be helpful to some of my book blogger friends.
Thank you 🙂
The best tips for a reviewer.
I’ve always been I interested in book blogging. This is a very informative post! Thanks
You’re welcome 🙂
Thank you 🙂
So many good tips! Super helpful post 😊
Thank you 🙂
I really like to read and I do this whenever I have free time. I had a period of almost two years in which I wrote book reviews on my Romanian blog, but I found that I read almost as an obligation. The pleasure of reading was gone, because while I was reading I was making plans about how to formulate the review. 🙂
I felt exactly the same!
Good guide. Thank you for sharing. I also wrote book reviews on my edutainment section for my blog.
You’re welcome 🙂