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.